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looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
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sn_85
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 134
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Andreja Premium
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:02pm
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

yiplong Said:

It's totally ridiculous to suggest something that's like triple his budget when he clearly stated his budget to be $600.  Although he indicated he's willing to spend more, I feel anyone's budget deserves a degree of respect, especially when the said budget is somewhat adequate for what he wants to achieve.  

You cannot pull shots and steam milk all day on a SBDU, but I doubt that's what the OP wants to do anyway.  SBDU doesn't mean "quite a bit of waiting between drinks".  A decent SBDU like the Silvia can pull a few shots and steam milk for couple drinks with no problem.  The only wait is between steaming and brewing.  On the Silvia this is no more than 20 seconds, on machines like the CC1 this will be about 2 seconds.

Posted April 17, 2012 link

So what's your recommendation then?  It's ironic that you jump on others for suggesting the OP to increase their budget yet the two machines (Silvia and CC1) you use as examples already cost more than $600.  I don't have personal experience with either the Silvia or CC1 but of all the videos I've seen the wait times between brew and steam is not 20 and 2 seconds respectively.  The Silvia is closer to 1 minute and the CC1 wait time is around 25 seconds.  From what I've seen it takes people about 4.5 minutes to do a milk drink on a Silvia, 3.5 - 4 mins on a CC1, and 2.5 on an HX or DB.  That's grind, tamp, brew, steam, clean up all included.  

You also have to realize that most beginners don't know how much they need to spend to get what they want and how much things actually cost.  Most probably believe that a Breville at Williams Sonoma is "as good as it gets" when they start looking so they say they have a $500 budget (remember the OP was initially intersted in the Breville Express).  The problem with these "recommend me a machine" threads is that most beginners don't know what they want exactly and they don't know the different types of machines (SBDU, HX, DB, etc) out there.  Without understanding the pro's and con's of each machine and whether or not it offers what they are looking for then putting a number on a budget is a trivial matter.  I can go tell someone to buy me a car that runs a 10s 1/4 mile but if my budget is only $20,000 then obviously it's not going to give me many options - it's doable but not ideal.  

So rather than just saying I have $600 bucks and that's it, I'd suggest that the OP do some research over the next few months or so and see what really out there.  That way they can come up with a number for a their budget that makes sense for them.  If it ends up that they still think $600 is what they can afford then great, there are a few ways you can get there (I've already recommended one of the Gaggia's and the Preciso).  But at the very least they should do some homework before throwing out a hard number.
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frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 578
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:51pm
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

sn_85 Said:

So what's your recommendation then?  It's ironic that you jump on others for suggesting the OP to increase their budget yet the two machines (Silvia and CC1) you use as examples already cost more than $600.  I don't have personal experience with either the Silvia or CC1 but of all the videos I've seen the wait times between brew and steam is not 20 and 2 seconds respectively.  The Silvia is closer to 1 minute and the CC1 wait time is around 25 seconds.  From what I've seen it takes people about 4.5 minutes to do a milk drink on a Silvia, 3.5 - 4 mins on a CC1, and 2.5 on an HX or DB.  That's grind, tamp, brew, steam, clean up all included.  

You also have to realize that most beginners don't know how much they need to spend to get what they want and how much things actually cost.  Most probably believe that a Breville at Williams Sonoma is "as good as it gets" when they start looking so they say they have a $500 budget (remember the OP was initially intersted in the Breville Express).  The problem with these "recommend me a machine" threads is that most beginners don't know what they want exactly and they don't know the different types of machines (SBDU, HX, DB, etc) out there.  Without understanding the pro's and con's of each machine and whether or not it offers what they are looking for then putting a number on a budget is a trivial matter.  I can go tell someone to buy me a car that runs a 10s 1/4 mile but if my budget is only $20,000 then obviously it's not going to give me many options - it's doable but not ideal.  

So rather than just saying I have $600 bucks and that's it, I'd suggest that the OP do some research over the next few months or so and see what really out there.  That way they can come up with a number for a their budget that makes sense for them.  If it ends up that they still think $600 is what they can afford then great, there are a few ways you can get there (I've already recommended one of the Gaggia's and the Preciso).  But at the very least they should do some homework before throwing out a hard number.

Posted April 17, 2012 link

^ +1

great points.
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ocarolina
Senior Member
ocarolina
Joined: 30 Apr 2007
Posts: 59
Location: chicago suburbs
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio silvia 3
Grinder: baratza preciso
Drip: french press - no drip
Roaster: behmor / iroast2
Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012, 3:27am
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

I don't have personal experience with either the Silvia or CC1 but of all the videos I've seen the wait times between brew and steam is not 20 and 2 seconds respectively.  The Silvia is closer to 1 minute and the CC1 wait time is around 25 seconds.  From what I've seen it takes people about 4.5 minutes to do a milk drink on a Silvia, 3.5 - 4 mins on a CC1, and 2.5 on an HX or DB.  That's grind, tamp, brew, steam, clean up all included.  

I DO have a Silvia V. 3, and I make milk drinks every day.  I can pull a shot, and there is really no waiting for the milk.  I get perfect steam/foam/froth for my husband's drink.  This machine is quick to recover, and it does not take that long to make one drink.  Plus, I can then make my drink after cleaning the wand, which takes 20-30 seconds - no problems.

Personally, I think that people have a budget based on their available finances, not based on just throwing out a number for the hell of it. I am a full time student, relying on my husband's income, so a budget for what I bought was absolutely necessary - not because I wanted to just make up a number.  And honestly, for my budget, I am drinking great espresso - without having to plumb water lines and drill holes in my counter.  When I get a job, and my Silvia has gotten old, I may consider an upgrade.  You buy a house based on your budget, and over the years as you accumulate equity, you upgrade to better houses - that is the same principle for my coffee...

I completely get the fact that most coffeegeek veterans would never recommend any unit under $600 -  but not everyone is at the levels of espresso making as seasoned veterans.   I was just saying that people new to home espresso can gradually upgrade their setups as time and money allow.  They do not need to start at the beginning with the highest priced equipment to get a decent drink.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,468
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012, 6:15am
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

yiplong Said:

It's totally ridiculous to suggest something that's like triple his budget when he clearly stated his budget to be $600.  Although he indicated he's willing to spend more, I feel anyone's budget deserves a degree of respect, especially when the said budget is somewhat adequate for what he wants to achieve.  

You cannot pull shots and steam milk all day on a SBDU, but I doubt that's what the OP wants to do anyway.  SBDU doesn't mean "quite a bit of waiting between drinks".  A decent SBDU like the Silvia can pull a few shots and steam milk for couple drinks with no problem.  The only wait is between steaming and brewing.  On the Silvia this is no more than 20 seconds, on machines like the CC1 this will be about 2 seconds.

Posted April 17, 2012 link

Interesting. I am getting dressed down by a new member who has so little respect for the board that he (she?) has dumbttt for an email address and uses Bubble Gum as a name with NO other personal info. Are we supposed to take you seriously when you clearly are starting your membership here with NO honest info?

I offered both advice that the OP will eventually want to go with HX due to the stated goals AND I gave the OP an EXCELLENT choice of equipment IN their stated budget. In part I said:

calblacksmith Said:

Hi, welcome.
At your budget you can get some GREAT espresso, abet with a little more work on your part. Budget equipment need not be poor performers but you WILL need to do more on your part, a lot of what you get when you pay more is ease of use, better consistency and more features.

Posted April 17, 2012 link

calblacksmith Said:

A Vario http://www.baratza.com/ at about $450 and a MyPressi twist, at $149 for the twist Click Here (www.youtube.com)  with a hand process for milk will give you THE best bang for your buck..... however, it will not look like an espresso machine on your counter, because, it isn't!

Posted April 17, 2012 link


this is something you do NOT do. When I went to school, $450 + $149 was $599, which is UNDER the stated budget of $600

I DO own a Silvia and I DO know it's short comings, (I probably know it much better than you do "full Silvia rebuild and minor mod with pics." ) I DO know how seriously limited it is, I DO know the time it takes to make milk drinks and I DO know what a PITA it is to use for milk drinks, even with PID control, which mine IS equipped with. http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/559841  I also have much higher quality equipment so I AM qualified to give an opinion on equipment, even on starter class machines like the Silvia, how about you?

ocarolina Said:

Thank you for the breath of fresh (not hot ) air that you offer.  I am sincerely getting tired of reading posts about how everyone needs a HX machine, and that all others basically stink unless you drop a few thousand dollars.  YOU CAN get decent espresso at his price range with a good grinder. I (and my husband) drink milk drinks EVERY DAY, and never tire while making my drinks with my machine.  My SIlvia is great and I have had NO PROBLEM making back to back drinks with steamed or frothed milk.    

LISTEN to what people are asking and offer assistance based on their needs and budgets.  That is all they want.
 
NOT TRUE - I have a Preciso (was $249 in the package from wholelattelove.com) and a silvia, and it makes awesome drinks - but still above your price range.  You can get a preciso grinder, and you can compromise on the espresso maker - for what you want to spend.  

Don't listen to all the people that tell you that you cannot get a decent espresso within your budget - grinder is the key.

Posted April 17, 2012 link



It is clear that you did NOT read my post, and only skimmed it as I DO stay in the OPs budget AND I give qualified advice on where this is likely to go. If all you know is starter gear such as a Silvia, then you really do NOT know a larger picture.

Now I am not saying Silvia is a BAD machine, not at all, for a LOT of people, it is ALL they will ever need. If your interest is in straight espresso, with a good grinder, Silvia is able to turn out quality shots with the best of them. When you start adding steamed milk to the picture though there are other options that may fit better.

In starter equipment which is SBDU land, Silvia is over priced for what you get (It wasn't always that way, for a LONG time, it was one of if not the BEST machine in this class. The market moves on and things change and in TODAYS market, there may be better choices ) THEN when you consider that for a small bump in budget (from a PID, V3 Silvia (a need addition to the machine to even make it workable in a reasonable way), new)you can get 10 times the quality and ease of use in a HX class machine OR for a LOT less money you can buy a SBDU (if you just MUST have a SBDU, other choices could be better than a SBDU for less money)  just as good as Silvia, to not at least mention this information would be doing a disservice to the OP.

I also advise a BETTER grinder than you do and I stay in budget (which you don't) with good gear that will turn out GREAT coffee, which leaves me with scratching my head in wonder when you tell the OP to NOT listen to me and you offer the admonishment for us to listen to the OP and their budget, something that you DO NOT DO!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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sn_85
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 134
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Andreja Premium
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012, 11:30am
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

ocarolina Said:

I DO have a Silvia V. 3, and I make milk drinks every day.  I can pull a shot, and there is really no waiting for the milk.  I get perfect steam/foam/froth for my husband's drink.  This machine is quick to recover, and it does not take that long to make one drink.  Plus, I can then make my drink after cleaning the wand, which takes 20-30 seconds - no problems.

Personally, I think that people have a budget based on their available finances, not based on just throwing out a number for the hell of it. I am a full time student, relying on my husband's income, so a budget for what I bought was absolutely necessary - not because I wanted to just make up a number.  And honestly, for my budget, I am drinking great espresso - without having to plumb water lines and drill holes in my counter.  When I get a job, and my Silvia has gotten old, I may consider an upgrade.  You buy a house based on your budget, and over the years as you accumulate equity, you upgrade to better houses - that is the same principle for my coffee...

I completely get the fact that most coffeegeek veterans would never recommend any unit under $600 -  but not everyone is at the levels of espresso making as seasoned veterans.   I was just saying that people new to home espresso can gradually upgrade their setups as time and money allow.  They do not need to start at the beginning with the highest priced equipment to get a decent drink.

Posted April 18, 2012 link

You missed my point on a few things

1) I never said people throw out a number on a budget for the hell of it and I didn't disregard it either.  I said that most beginners do not know how much espresso machines, grinders, accessories actually cost.  They also don't know the differences between an SBDU, HX or DB.  Without understanding the basic fundaments don't you think it's a little hard to put out a number on a budget?  What I recommended was for the OP to do some basic research first and then come up with a budget number.  I can sit here and recommend a machine and grinder for $600 all day long.  But what if that doesn't meet what the OP is wants, needs or expects?  That's the point in people asking what type of drinks, how many per day, etc etc.  It doesn't do any good if we recommend a setup for $600 that doesn't meet what the OP wants.  

2) If you read again, I recommended a machine, grinder, accessories that can be had for a total of $650 - $700.  What setup did you recommend for the OP because I didn't see you post one.  All you mentioned was some "espresso maker" and the Preciso.  To help the OP out you might want to be a little more specific than some "espresso maker".  You keep mentioning your experience with the Silvia.  The machine alone cost more than the OPs budget.  It seems you're more interested in defending the virtues of the Silvia rather than answering the OPs question.  There are better options than the Silvia that cost less like the Gaggia Classic or New baby and the Le'lit machine.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012, 12:22pm
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

I had the same issue as the original poster.  I wanted espresso with no real idea how much that would cost. I realized this krupps steam toy I had would steam milk but not give me anything like good espresso.  Also, like most, I was thinking of the machine cost only and not the grinder at all.

I came here, read a lot of posts that started "I have X machine and now I want to upgrade what should I get?" X machine was one I was considering buying.  This made me upgrade my budget 2 times before I bought.  I am really glad I missed a bunch of upgrade steps that would have made me very unhappy and added up to more money spent over all.   I wanted steam power and I got it and I think this machine will make me happy a really long time.  I ended up spending a lot more than I thought I would when this all started, but to stay within my budget I got used machine and only had to upgrade my grinder. (only had to do that because of a misunderstanding on my part at the time of purchase of the first grinder.)


This is how cheap upgrades can cost you more than you thought:
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/general/568403

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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Click Here (maps.google.com)

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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012, 12:40pm
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

Click Here (coffeegeek.com)

Cheaper ideas.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,737
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012, 1:43pm
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

Hey OP (acrobat)...how ya doin out there?  Despite the arguing, there's actually some good info in the last bunch of posts.

Do you have any other questions?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Acrobat
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Joined: 16 Apr 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Eugene
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Apr 19, 2012, 12:14am
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

Wow, there is a lot to consider. You all have presented some great info in this thread. I have come to the realization that I'm going to need to spend more than I was originally planning to spend. The real question is how much more.

From the research I've gathered from this site its opened our eyes to places like Starbucks, I know a large percentage of you think all their drinks are crap and they very well may be crap but my wife really likes them. I think its important to keep in mind that or expectations aren't as high as most of you, over time that might change but right now we would both be happy with drinks at the "Starbucks" level.  thanks again for all the good input.


Acrobat
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Apr 19, 2012, 12:41am
Subject: Re: looking to buy my first espresso/grinder, need some advice
 

The fact is your palate will change a lot faster than you think when you get a hold of a few good drinks.  I was amazed how fast my tune changed and I don't like plain coffee much less plain espresso.  I like wandering goat.  I have not been anywhere else in Eugene.  It is Oregon weird on the inside but the outside tables are nice if the weather is good.  They are very serious about the coffee and are some of the best baristas I have seen outside of Portland top rated coffee shops.  I think the beans were a good price also. (if I remember correctly)

http://www.wanderinggoat.com/

$10 a day habit = $3650 to spend on a good starter set up. (just saying)

Take your time, study, read and check craigslist.  People are doing spring cleaning now and I am seeing more good deals than I did when I was looking right before Christmas.  PNW is a good place to find used espresso equipment.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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