qualin Senior Member Joined: 30 Jun 2012 Posts: 662 Location: Calgary, AB Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3 Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A Vac Pot: Looking to buy Drip: Manual Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 1:28am Subject: Re: New Guy FINALLY bought something
At first when I started out, I thought about chintzing out and trying to save money, thinking that I could brew espresso based drinks at home with something like a Breville Cafe Roma and using my Hamilton Beach blade grinder. I asked for advice on this forum, read the guides and I read review after review after review. That changed my mind really quick.
I eventually came to the realization that if I didn't want something which would break down or fall apart after a few months (Or a few short years) of ownership, I'd have to spend more than $200. Considerably more. So, I started saving my pennies. I'd rather buy something more expensive than just burn my money on something I knew I wouldn't be happy with.
What I did was check Kijiji, the Buy/Sell area here, Ebay, etc, etc. in the hopes that maybe I could find something used which was in decent shape... and I eventually did, but it took a while. The forum members here have been patient with me. I've started modestly and I eventually plan on getting the machine I originally wanted, but it'll take time.
So, while I'm far from being an expert (Look at the number of my posts) I'll certainly say this.. The cheaper the equipment you buy, the more frustrated you are going to get with it and the worse results you'll get with it.
Here, why don't you start doing what I did... Go to the boutique coffee shops in your area, preferably while the place is quiet and the baristas look bored. They'll talk to you. Try different drinks. Try a Latte, a Capuccino, a Macchiato, a single shot espresso, etc. Ask yourself if this is the kind of drink you want to make yourself at home.
What motivated me was the absolutely delicious Cappuccinos which I was ordering in San Francisco. I kept asking myself why I couldn't make myself something like that at home..
Now, you can take two approaches to this. You can make the effort to learn about coffee and how to prepare it, or you can just do the absolute minimum to get a cup of joe. You have all of the right equipment to start making drip coffee, so perhaps you can appreciate a good cup of drip coffee from freshly ground beans. Grinding what you need, using the right filter and dosage. Rather than continuing to buy the pre-ground stuff at the supermarket.
Otherwise, if you are the second type of person, a Single cup machine is what you are looking for.
There are single cup espresso machines you can buy, like a Tassimo or a Nespresso, but they're a compromise. They're nearly idiot proof and extremely easy to use. However, by using them, you won't learn much, but you'll get a passable cup of coffee from them. A friend of mine makes Cafe Latte's, Cappuccinos and espressos from his all the time. It's good enough for him, but not good enough for me. It's passable if I just want something hot to drink though.
Good luck and save your pennies!
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 7:06am Subject: Re: New Guy FINALLY bought something
While my responses here could read as curt bordering on insulting, it is only because I have been there. Those who have read through my "coffee Beowolf" (website) know how I started out. My original thinking ran parallel to the OPS here. I started thinking that the $45 Cuisinart grinder we already owned would be more than a sufficient mate to a $125 espresso machine I was looking at online. I asked, listened, and was educated by the forum responses until my first order for coffee gear was (just short of 12 years ago), for about $800 (Silvia, Rocky, and Hearthware roaster).
Being an active HB member and poster, for me, I think the frustration comes when reading posts from members like the one which started this thread is that the quality of the coffee to be made takes a back seat to other priorities. $300 for a grinder AND a machine (which is a combo machine) and a scale? For espresso?? New!? The experienced members know that is $300 invested into mediocrity on a good day. a very good day. The rest of the time the product produced is set to a very low standard (How many times have we read, "...better than I got at Starbucks."?).
In terms of espresso, we know that the total invested by the OP wouldn't (or would barely) buy a reasonable (or even a starter) espresso grinder. For the money spent, a $175 refurb Virtuoso or better, $239 for a refurb Preciso directly from Baratza, and an Espro press would likely make the best coffee the OP ever had (if the outfit was fed decent beans). So for around $250-315 a better grinder and superior coffee could have been had. BETTER COFFEE! Isn't that the priority?
Buy what you want and drink what you want, and if that makes you happy, fine. But if the best possible coffee is not the priority at any given price point, why bother us? Many see our time wasted carefully answering questions and then having our recommendations ignored.
Jack came home with the beans, but in this case, they aren't magic... just beans.
misticms Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 5 Location: St. Louis USA (formerly CA) Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: New One Soon!! Grinder: New One Soon!! Vac Pot: not needed Drip: no sure Roaster: not on your life
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 6:29pm Subject: Re: New Guy FINALLY bought something
I've been a lurker for the past 10 months; and signed up in June,..............but this one got to me.............read on.
Ok you guys, we've all gotta start somewhere.................even tho I have been "into espresso" since the late 90's, I still have a very dated entry-level machine (gonna buy a new one in January). Sometimes it takes a while to get the feel of espresso (we all stared where this person is at right now) - and not many of us are located in an area where we can get our "training wheels" worked off, but this person obviously needs our guidance, not our scorn. Remember, our locale has a lot to do with our expertise and knowledge, and some of us have other priorities in our life that sometimes puts our espresso knowledge and perfection on the back burner. Ya can't blame the person for trying!!!
Anyways, Coffeehealth, keep on truckin'......we're here for ya!!
Posted Sat Nov 3, 2012, 9:35pm Subject: Re: New Guy FINALLY bought something
I can't comment on your espresso machine choice, but I would recommend searching for some locally roasted espresso beans. 8 O'clock may be nice for drip coffee and if it is good enough for you, thats all that really matters. I try to purchase freshly and locally roasted beans when possible and there is a distinct difference in the quality. If you don't mind shipping some beans, I would try Intelligenista's Black Cat Espresso. That coffee is excellent.
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