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Decent Espresso Machines for $300
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EspressoRick
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Pasadena
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 5:52pm
Subject: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

I'm looking for an espresso machine for a friend. Her budget is around $300. Any recommendations?
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
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 Wed Nov 23, 2011, 6:14pm
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

Not really . . . unless a good deal comes her way on a used machine.  

Are you familiar with "The Four M's of Espresso"?
-- the Macinazione is the correct grinding of the coffee (in other words, the grinder and its settings);
-- the Miscela is the coffee blend (or beans themselves);
-- the Macchina is the espresso machine itself; and,
-- the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista (i.e.: the user).  
When each factor of the four M's is precisely controlled, the espresso beverage that is produced is the ultimate coffee experience.  Long story short:  the barista will improve over time, but even the world's best machine will produce nothing but $#!+ without a great grinder!  

Even buying used, $300 is simply not enough to get a decent machine and grinder.  One need not spend thousands, but one has to spend more than $300.

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


Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Pasadena
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 6:33pm
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

I agree with everything you said, Jason. Personally, I own an Alex Duetto II machine and a Lelit stepless grinder. My friend can only afford $300.

Let me rephrase the question: What's the least bad machine that one can buy for about $300.  ;^)
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Jsolanzo
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 40
Location: SLO
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Mypressi Twist?
Grinder: Hario Mini Mill, Mazzer...
Drip: Chemex 3 Cup, Aeropress,...
Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 7:58pm
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

Maybe a modded EC155 with a capresso infinity? That's $90+$70. My rommate has an EC155, it's meh. The only time I get espresso is when I go to the coffee shop (Barefoot Coffee ftw!). I'm still new to good coffee so take my advise with a grain of salt. If I was her, I'd get a used preciso for $230 and then buy a CCD or something. Then save money for a silvia later on. From what others have been telling me, when new to good coffee, get a good grinder first, then go from there.
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iowaboy
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Posts: 93
Location: Ankeny, IA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia New Baby; Vev & GB...
Grinder: Preciso, Solis Maestro+
Drip: Melitta Pourover, Krups,...
Roaster: Behmor, FR8+
Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 8:43pm
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

As o.p. indicated the $300 budget is for an espresso machine, I would suggest the Gaggia New Baby. Paired with a decent grinder, good coffee can be made.
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coffeespades1250
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 3
Location: Orange County, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco Aroma
Grinder: Capresso Infinity
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 10:15pm
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

I have a Saeco Aroma and Capresso Infinity and can make pretty good espresso for the money. Definitely better than any cafe I have been to.

Refurbished Saeco Aroma from SeattleCoffeeGear

Capresso Infinity

This will make decent espresso without any tamping, and it won't be nearly as picky about the grind.  If she decides that it isn't good enough, she can try depressurizing the portafilter. After depressurizing it will require tamping so she should invest in a good 53mm metal tamper which will fit snugly in the filter basket.

Depending on your friend's experience with espresso, the pressurized portafilter might be good enough.
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pchoden
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Posts: 74
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Silvano
Grinder: Baratza Vario-W
Vac Pot: Bodum Chambord
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Gene Cafe
Posted Thu Nov 24, 2011, 5:38am
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

Assuming the $300 budget is for the machine only, I would second the idea of a lower end Gaggia. The New Baby can make a decent shot when paired with a good grinder. I used one for some years and was reasonably happy until it was time to upgrade. However the New Baby is closer to $400 from dealers (though $329 at Amazon). If $300 is a firm ceiling, maybe the Gaggia Evolution? Just a thought ...

 
Coffee is the common man's gold, and like gold it
brings to every man the feeling of luxury and nobility. - Sheik Abd al-Qadir
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MARIOBARBA
Senior Member
MARIOBARBA
Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 126
Location: MONTREAL CANADA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Ascaso DUO Prof TRONIC
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Nov 24, 2011, 6:35am
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

Ascaso basic? 299$ in Canada, 279$ in US.  ABS body but brass innards.  No 3 way valve though.  Seems like good value to me.
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MARIOBARBA
Senior Member
MARIOBARBA
Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 126
Location: MONTREAL CANADA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Ascaso DUO Prof TRONIC
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Nov 24, 2011, 6:38am
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

If she is willing to stretch her budget the Lelit PL041 and Ascaso Dream are not that far off.
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johnboddie
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 213
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Nov 24, 2011, 7:13am
Subject: Re: Decent Espresso Machines for $300
 

How about a setup that delivers decent espresso for under $150?

At my house on the shore, I'm using a Hamilton Beach espresso machine (about $70 from Wal-Mart) which you can find reviewed here at CoffeeGeek, coupled with a Turkish hand grinder. You can find a good new hand grinder at Orphan Espresso for about $75 (the Japanese units sound good).

The espresso I make at the shore is not quite as good as what I get from the Electra Mcal/Rossi combination at home, but it's significantly better than what I can get in most coffee shops.

If your friend is looking to make a couple of espressos a day, she might want to consider this option.
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