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Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000 ... all on grinder or new machine / grinder.
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Dilemma deciding...  
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oswell
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2011
Posts: 6
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Fri Feb 25, 2011, 8:24pm
Subject: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000 ... all on grinder or new machine / grinder.
 

A few years ago we picked up a Breville machine and a Krups grinder.  At the time it was a stretch convincing the wife to spend the $300 or so we spent on those and I now want to actually start making decent espresso. :)

So, given $900 - $1000, am I best off buying a new grinder only and just living with the Breville for the next year or two, or should I look at say a Vario and saving a bit extra to get a Silvia or Gaggia Twin, or for that matter perhaps a used .. something .. :)

I've been reading for days and had originally thought I would pick up a rocky and silvia but have since decided that I would be better off with the Vario for a grinder and perhaps a Gaggia or a Silvia.

I primarily drink espresso / americanos, but we do the odd cappuccino as well.

Also, let's say the general agreement is that I should go with a Vario and a new machine, am I better off saving a bit extra for a base level HX or going with something like the Silvia / Gaggia Twin.

I know there are lots of similar questions out there, but after reading them all over the past few days I am more confused than when I started.

thanks :)
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,382
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Feb 26, 2011, 8:21am
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000
 

Welcome, Mike, to CG . . .

oswell Said:

I know there are lots of similar questions out there, but after reading them all over the past few days I am more confused than when I started.

Posted February 25, 2011 link

Not too surprising -- "analysis paralysis" is a frequent side-effect of reading this board.  Sadly, no one can answer your question.  Not, at least, in a way that is the most meaningful to you.  We could tell you what we would do if it were us, but that may not be the best option for you.  Keep that in mind as you read the replies that will be posted in reply.

OK, so know upfront that I have a very low opinion of Brevilles.  You don't say which model of Breville espresso machine, nor for that matter, which model of Krups grinder you have -- so we don't know if you're using a blade "grinder," a burr grinder or what.  And since we don't know where you live (it is a relatively large planet), we have no idea if the machine and/or grinder that we might suggest is available to you, let alone making any specific vendor suggestions.  (There is little point, for example, in linking you to a website were __________ is available if they are based in the US with its 110v electricity and you need 220v-240v where you live; or if you are in, say, Canada, and buying in the US will void the warranty; etc., etc., etc.)

So that makes replying even more problematic.  However . . . .

oswell Said:

So, given $900 - $1000, am I best off buying a new grinder only and just living with the Breville for the next year or two, or should I look at say a Vario and saving a bit extra to get a Silvia or Gaggia Twin, or for that matter perhaps a used .. something .. :)

Posted February 25, 2011 link

Doesn't that depend upon how happy you are with your Breville?  I mean if you love what you're getting from your Breville (BTW, pressurized pf or not?), then it's much easier to "stick with it" for a time and get a new (better) grinder.  OTOH, if you aren't happy, wouldn't you need to upgrade both?

Let's put it this way:  both your machine and your grinder need upgrading (IMHO).  How soon can you do that?  Is it easier for you to upgrade in two stages -- grinder now; machine in the near future, say a year or two -- or is it easier for you to upgrade both now and, eventually, upgrade both again?  Only you can answer that.

More specific information from you will result in more specific, detailed recommendations for us.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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oswell
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2011
Posts: 6
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Feb 26, 2011, 9:30am
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

OK, so know upfront that I have a very low opinion of Brevilles.  You don't say which model of Breville espresso machine, nor for that matter, which model of Krups grinder you have -- so we don't know if you're using a blade "grinder," a burr grinder or what.  And since we don't know where you live (it is a relatively large planet), we have no idea if the machine and/or grinder that we might suggest is available to you, let alone making any specific vendor suggestions.  (There is little point, for example, in linking you to a website were __________ is available if they are based in the US with its 110v electricity and you need 220v-240v where you live; or if you are in, say, Canada, and buying in the US will void the warranty; etc., etc., etc.)

Posted February 26, 2011 link

Good points. :)  the Breville is a Cafe Roma and the Krupps grinder is a CVX2, so it is a burr grinder.  And I am in Canada.

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Doesn't that depend upon how happy you are with your Breville?  I mean if you love what you're getting from your Breville (BTW, pressurized pf or not?), then it's much easier to "stick with it" for a time and get a new (better) grinder.  OTOH, if you aren't happy, wouldn't you need to upgrade both?

Posted February 26, 2011 link

So it's not that I'm unhappy with the machine itself, so much as I'm unhappy with the product I get from it.  So, I know the grinder upgrade should help there, but I'm trying to determine if I will get more bang for my buck by upgrading both or just the grinder.

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Let's put it this way:  both your machine and your grinder need upgrading (IMHO).  How soon can you do that?  Is it easier for you to upgrade in two stages -- grinder now; machine in the near future, say a year or two -- or is it easier for you to upgrade both now and, eventually, upgrade both again?  Only you can answer that.

Posted February 26, 2011 link

Agreed, and I plan to upgrade both at some point.  If I upgrade the grinder now, it's likely a year plus before I can look at dealing with the Breville.  I would prefer to get a grinder now that will last me a long time and doesn't need upgrading again in a few years.  That is partly why I wonder if a Vario is good enough to take me another 5+ years while I learn the art.  it sounds to me as though I should get the best grinder I can for my money right now, then start saving my pennies to replace the Breville as soon as possible (likely a couple years out).

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

More specific information from you will result in more specific, detailed recommendations for us.

Cheers,
Jason

Posted February 26, 2011 link

Thanks for the reply.  Appreciate the time people take to respond to these sorts of posts in such detail attempting to help those of us just getting into the game. :)

-- Mike
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,382
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Feb 26, 2011, 9:59am
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000
 

oswell Said:

the Breville is a Cafe Roma and the Krupps grinder is a CVX2, so it is a burr grinder.  And I am in Canada.

Posted February 26, 2011 link

OK, both need to go . . . eventually.

oswell Said:

So it's not that I'm unhappy with the machine itself, so much as I'm unhappy with the product I get from it.

Posted February 26, 2011 link

Let me respectfully suggest that, given it's a Breville, you may indeed be getting the best the machine has to offer . . .

oswell Said:

So, I know the grinder upgrade should help there, but I'm trying to determine if I will get more bang for my buck by upgrading both or just the grinder.

Posted February 26, 2011 link

Short answer:  yes.

Long answer:  even though the "Four M's of Espresso" are essentially equal, the grinder is more important than the machine.

oswell Said:

Agreed, and I plan to upgrade both at some point.  If I upgrade the grinder now, it's likely a year plus before I can look at dealing with the Breville.  I would prefer to get a grinder now that will last me a long time and doesn't need upgrading again in a few years.  That is partly why I wonder if a Vario is good enough to take me another 5+ years while I learn the art.  it sounds to me as though I should get the best grinder I can for my money right now, then start saving my pennies to replace the Breville as soon as possible (likely a couple years out).

Posted February 26, 2011 link

The Vario should certainly last 5+ years.  I love mine, and have had no problems with it whatsoever.  Some people, it should be noted, have had some problems with their Vario, but Baratza's customer service is second to none and I can only think of one person who ended up selling their Vario in favor of something else.

Think about your total budget, and remember that a low(er) level HX is almost always better than something like a Silvia or Gaggia Twin (IMHO, and I had a Gaggia for 25+ years.)

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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oswell
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2011
Posts: 6
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Feb 27, 2011, 11:48am
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

The Vario should certainly last 5+ years.  I love mine, and have had no problems with it whatsoever.  Some people, it should be noted, have had some problems with their Vario, but Baratza's customer service is second to none and I can only think of one person who ended up selling their Vario in favor of something else.

Think about your total budget, and remember that a low(er) level HX is almost always better than something like a Silvia or Gaggia Twin (IMHO, and I had a Gaggia for 25+ years.)

Posted February 26, 2011 link

So, basically this makes me think that I should buy a Vario and scrounge up enough money, as soon as possible, to get a low(er) level HX.
With that said, any suggestions out there on a low(er) level HX that won't break the bank?  My original budget was ~ $1000 for both items, so assume I"ll have to grow the budget somewhat, but suggestions are definitely welcome  Or, for that matter, and suggestions on what to definitely NOT look at? :)

thanks again for the help. :)  

-- Mike
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,382
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Feb 27, 2011, 1:08pm
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000
 

Here.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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oswell
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2011
Posts: 6
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Feb 28, 2011, 9:51pm
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000
 

Thanks Jason.  

I may be going about this backwards, but I will likely get the espresso machine first and grinder in a few months.  Easier to spend the cash I already have on the machine itself now than buy the grinder and have the excess money go to fixing the car before I can get the machine, then be unable to convince the wife to approve the purchase. :)

And again, appreciate the help.  

-- Mike
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daschlag
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 34
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Cuisinart programmable...
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 4:02am
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000 ... all on grinder or new machine / grin
 

For what it's worth, I suggest you use your budget on a great grinder, like the Vario, and whatever machine you can afford with the leftover. Take good care of it, and it will have good resale vale when/if you decide to upgrade.
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AlexD
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Feb 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Sterling Heights, MI
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 11:56am
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000 ...
 

Typically you would upgrade the grinder first, then upgrade the machine since the grinder is more important than the machine.  To each his own though.
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oswell
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2011
Posts: 6
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Tue Mar 1, 2011, 12:29pm
Subject: Re: Dilemma deciding how to spend $1000 ...
 

AlexD Said:

Typically you would upgrade the grinder first, then upgrade the machine since the grinder is more important than the machine.  To each his own though.

Posted March 1, 2011 link

Oh, I agree and normally would.  But, I happen to have a certain amount of money on hand that I can spend right now, and if I don't use it, it will likely get spent on other less important things like fixing the truck. :)  

And, in a few months it will be easier to justify spending $400 vs $1100+.

Either way, I need to replace both, and for me the least painful way financially is to do the machine first and the grinder second...

-- Mike
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