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Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Our First...  
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,278
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 May 9, 2012, 7:59am
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

Dear Peter and Ann,

First of all, welcome to CG.  The problem you are facing at the moment is that a) this is a site dedicated to making great coffee, and b) combination machines like you are looking at simply don't.  (Make great coffee, that is.)

annpeter26 Said:

coz money is not a problem...

Posted May 9, 2012 link

Unless you're Prince Phillip, Peter, money is always a problem.

annpeter26 Said:

i was thinking something like this:  seetop5.com -- (its the last one).  What do u think? too expensive?

Posted May 9, 2012 link

Personally, regardless of price, I wouldn't buy ANY of them.

Think for a moment:  would you rather have a pre-packaged Cheddar from Tesco, or a real Cheddar from Neal's Yard?  Tea from a paper bag filled with Ty-Phoo "dust," or something made from real tea leaves from a real tea merchant?  A can of cheap American lager, or a hand-pulled pint of Bitter using a real beer engine from a small, independent craft brewer?  Well, combination machines are the "instant coffee" of the realm, and you're seeking advice from people who rejected instant coffee long ago.

annpeter26 Said:

If not combo, which espresso machine than?

Posted May 9, 2012 link

Peter . . . Ann . . . I would urge both of you to do more research.  Start here, with these links:

-- Types of Espresso Machines
-- the aforementioned How to Buy an Espresso Machine
-- The Home-Barista's Guide to Espresso
-- and check out the website www.espressomyespresso.com

As far as "which espresso machine" is concerned, let's start with the standard questions, shall we?

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

The more specific information we get from you, the more specific our answers can be . . .

But, in the meantime, buying a decent grinder -- such as a Mahlkönig Vario HOME (sold in North America as the Baratza Vario) -- and a Clever Coffee Dripper (only £12.50, by the way) is a great place to start if you're interested in brewed coffee.  And this grinder will work perfectly well for both espresso and pour-over, as well as French press.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed May 9, 2012, 9:40am
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

Eric,

I know a cheap pump can make real espresso.  I said steam toys can't and all the combos I saw were steam. Show me a pump driven combo machine and I will retract my statement. My combo is just like the one in the video just with a coffee pot off to the side.  The video shows the limitation of what I owned- that she asked about. She did not ask about stand alone machine.  I was trying to get her to see she needed a stand alone machine if she really wants espresso.

My phone takes good photos but when covering an event I use a real camera. It gives me more control than my combo machine (i.e. phone).

Edit:
I see at the bottom that you said yours was a combo pump.  Then I amend my statement, if you can find a pump driven machine in a combo you can get real espresso.  I did a lot of shopping 6 months ago for a machine and I did not ever see a pump driven combo- only steam.  Even the number one choice on her link was steam driven. If the person making that list picked that as the number 1 good espresso machine I would not trust the rest of the list.

The super auto at the bottom of the list should give you something more like espresso than the number 1 spot holder.  However, most people here do not consider them good espresso makers because of the lack of control.  And the ones I have tested (never owned) the espresso was not anywhere near what I could get in good coffee shops.  I have not tasted a super auto since I started making my own.

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

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed May 9, 2012, 10:43am
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

joatmon Said:

Ann and Peter,

Get a decent grinder and a Clever Coffee Dripper.  You will  now have the tools to make great brew style coffee.  Now, if you get the hang of this and are still together after six months, come back and ask about an espresso machine.

Best wishes,

joat

Posted May 9, 2012 link

That would be horrible.  A split up down the road and costly custody battle over who gets the espresso maker!

Ann and Peter,
 Take the advice on a good grinder (vario is great) and french press and/or pour over. This will be good thing to own even if you get into espresso later.   Then start saving for a good espresso maker.  Until then hunt in the thrift stores for the pump driven combo or used gaggia.  You might get lucky and find one of the old pump krups Eric was talking about, I believe they were more common in EU.  After you play with the used one for a while you might want to spend the big bucks on a new one.  Or you might decide it is too much trouble to bother with.  I see used home machines on craigslist all the time and they say, still in the box, hardly used or never used.  I think people mostly don't realize how much more they have to do for espresso than dump grounds, add water and push a button.

I am sorry you felt I was not answering your question. I hope you have a better idea why I answered you the way I did.  And you really did wander into a a site that is not really set up to cover Combo machines and super autos.

 
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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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,287
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Wed May 9, 2012, 11:22am
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

I will up the stakes and say get the best grinder you can. Look for a steplesss grinder with a reputation of working for espresso. Pair it with the new, large-size Espro Press. In terms of coffee quality, it beats the poop out of a "traditional" French press. Then work from there.

 
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annpeter26
Senior Member


Joined: 6 May 2012
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 21, 2012, 7:25am
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

now we are trying some new Espresso Machine but still dont know which one to buy and that will be best for our money.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,278
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 Mon May 21, 2012, 8:45am
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

annpeter26 Said:

now we are trying some new Espresso Machine but still dont know which one to buy and that will be best for our money.

Posted May 21, 2012 link

Nor will you . . .

1)  There is no "one size fits all," no single "best" machine -- let alone "best for our money."

2) If you want useful suggestions of specific machines, I would urge you to answer the previously asked questions.  The more specific you are, the more specific our answers and suggestions can be.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon May 21, 2012, 12:29pm
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

Also, is space an issue?  Then we can start talking about what to suggest.  The superauto you were thinking about is 2.5k  So that is a great starter budget.

 
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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yiplong
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Posts: 80
Location: EU
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 21, 2012, 1:03pm
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

Well some people just want decent coffee/espresso without having to tinker endlessly with the countless ground settings on a stepless grinder.  I am not sure if the OP wants to spend his time adjusting grind setting, playing with shot time, shot volume, brew pressure and countless other variables and factors.  Assuming this is NOT what the OP wants to do, I'd suggest getting a Nespresso for your espresso needs and get whatever decent drip machine, french press or Areopress for coffee.  A grinder will still be necessary for the drip/FP, but something in the range of $100-200 should do.

A typical CG setup is not for everyone.  It depends on the person's priorities and needs.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,278
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 Mon May 21, 2012, 5:16pm
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

yiplong Said:

Well some people just want decent coffee/espresso without having to tinker endlessly with the countless ground settings on a stepless grinder.

Posted May 21, 2012 link

Yes.  So?

yiplong Said:

I am not sure if the OP wants to spend his time adjusting grind setting, playing with shot time, shot volume, brew pressure and countless other variables and factors.

Posted May 21, 2012 link

And who said that this was absolutely essential, mandatory, to the process or you might as well forget it?

yiplong Said:

I'd suggest getting a Nespresso for your espresso needs . . .

Posted May 21, 2012 link

Yuck!

yiplong Said:

A typical CG setup is not for everyone.  It depends on the person's priorities and needs.

Posted May 21, 2012 link

Of course it depends upon the individual's "priorities and needs," but the OP is on CoffeeGeek, as opposed to NespressoGeek or AeropressGeek or InstantCoffeeGeek . . .

NO ONE has ever said someone has to spend thousands of dollars (or, in this case, pounds) on equipment.  No one has ever said you have to play with shot time, shot volume, temperatures, pressure, home roasting, etc., etc., etc., and many people here do not!  What is essential to being a coffee geek is the desire to produce great coffee -- be it espresso or drip or press or siphon or . . . or . . . or . . . -- and to do so at home.

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


Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Posts: 80
Location: EU
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 8:09am
Subject: Re: Our First Espresso Machine or Coffeemaker Combo...
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Yuck!

Posted May 21, 2012 link

Nothing impresses upon me your superior taste in coffee more than such a four letter word.
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