annpeter26 Senior Member Joined: 6 May 2012 Posts: 4 Location: London Expertise: Just starting
Posted Sun May 6, 2012, 10:11am Subject: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
we are Peter and Ann, and we have just moved in together. We are wondering if u can help us choose a good Espresso Machine or Coffemaker Combo... we love to drink a coffee but we dont know how to make a good coffe :).
By combo machine, you do mean a espresso machine / drip brewer in one, right?
If there is anyone on this site using such a combo machine, they're here because they're trying to decide which real espresso machine to buy. Those combo brewers really are just gimmicky consumer toys and they are not worth serious consideration if good coffee is what you want.
Don't take this the wrong way. I way on your shoes 5 months ago as I struggled to decide between a $120 Delonghi and a $300 Breville. I'm glad I went with the cheaper because it turns out the neither one is very good. I knew NOTHING about espresso makers. I still know nothing, but at least I now know that I know nothing :).
Good luck on your quest - good coffee is definitely something worth striving for!
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 3,036 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue May 8, 2012, 3:16pm Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
When I said combo machines were bad at espresso it was not me being a coffee snob. My first machine was a combo, Krups. I paid $20 for it used and it can't make espresso. Because of web research I found out there needs to be a foam on the top of the coffee called crema that makes espresso very different from strong coffee. And I went somewhere with really good espresso and tasted the difference for myself. The combo machine makes really strong coffee but it is not real espresso. I could steam milk with it. Because of the problems with that machine I started researching as you are now and ended up here.
Here is a video that shows a krups machine in the hands of someone that knows how to make espresso. This video is made by people are trying to sell the krups from their store and can't get it to make espresso with crema. One of the last things they say on the video is that this machine can't make espresso. (they call it stove top) I know you are thinking, this is not a combo machine, but this machine is the exact same technology of the espresso part of the combo machine krups makes. So, if this krups can't do it, adding a regular coffee pot off to the side will not improve the espresso any at all.
If you still don't believe me then I suggest you pick up a combo machine and try it for yourself after tasting some really good espresso. I would buy it used so you don't waste much money on it. $20 is about all I would waste on a combo machine. If you lived close I would gladly give you mine.
Combo machines of any kind are generally not great machines. They are moderately good at most of the functions but not great at any one of them. (stereos/cd player combos, printer/scanners/fax machines) Espresso needs a machine that is can do very precise things every time and a really good grinder. Like a $300 minimum grinder. That is more than most people want to spend on their machine and they don't even think about a grinder. I know I did not when I started.
I am not trying to discourage you, that is why I just gave you the links I did so you could see for yourself what your options are. And the first question you have to ask is "do I really want espresso or will just really good coffee do?"
If you want espresso you need a good grinder and a pump driven machine not a steam toy. All the combos I have seen are steam toys. If you want espresso we are taking about a dedicated machine and grinder just for espresso.
It is a deep rabbit hole if you decide you want espresso. As you are just starting out with a new apartment, I suggest a good grinder and a french press with great beans and save the espresso journey till you have a lot extra money burning a hole in your pocket.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
You will get better info on Amazon.com from the owner's reviews. Most of the people on this board got here after realizing (or always knowing) that the combo machines were just not capable of decent performance on either side (neither capable of making decent coffee nor espresso).
We can assist you in methods of making better coffee than the combo machines can. That's very easy. For espresso it's a bit more difficult and more expensive. And messier. And takes up more room which, being in London, I will assume that you have limited kitchen counter space.
What's the budget? What's the space which can be dedicated?
So, what's it going to be, mate?
"It's a floor Polish!" "NO! It's a dessert topping!" "WAIT! You're both right!"
Posted Wed May 9, 2012, 5:18am Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
I've been drinking drip coffee for over 50 years and two weeks ago I got an espresso machine. Now I am drinking the best coffee (Americano's) I have ever tasted. No comparison. I have no plans of ever going back to drip coffee. Just my opinion. Good luck.
Please don't take offense coffeenoobie, but that link from Youtube to Seattle Coffee Gear's demo of a Krups steam espresso machine makes a poor argument. You paid $20 for a used steamer that never was designed to make true espresso. Krups makes pump machines as well and Youtube shows many shots made in these things.
Here is what I used two years ago - a $6 Krups 964 pump machine - that can make that shot in the photo with a little effort using the technique I found from this guy's video:
Because of web research I found out there needs to be a foam on the top of the coffee called crema that makes espresso very different from strong coffee. And I went somewhere with really good espresso and tasted the difference for myself. The combo machine makes really strong coffee but it is not real espresso.
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