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Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Whats a decent...  
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wide_palate
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Sep 2012
Posts: 6
Location: IN
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 6:42am
Subject: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

I like the roast used in espresso & I had maybe 7 espressos in my life lol.I always wanted to get a machine for awhile but the ones I seen are insane on the price($800+).After looking further into espresso machines,I noticed quite a few are within my budget.
Semi automatics are best if I can't afford one that costs a house payment i'm guessing.I don't want something real fancy with looks.Just one that will do what its supposed to,make good espresso.I hear bar rating isn't everything,many vary while brewing.
I don't care much for the milk frother,will rarely use it.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
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 Tue Sep 4, 2012, 6:53am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

Well, welcome.

The grinder is much more important than the espresso machine and you don't talk about a grinder at all.
Espresso is a method of making coffee, it is not a roast or a grind. Most of us here would consider what passes for "espresso roast" to be burnt and totally lacking in flavor of the bean and tasting very strongly of charcoal rather than espresso.

Please read the FAQ on how to buy an espresso machine, then read it again, there is lots of information there to absorb.

http://coffeegeek.com/guides/howtobuyanespressomachine

Some of the info is a little dated as things change all the time in this hobby but the foundation is solid.

for your budget, in short, a good grinder and a Moka pot is about the best you can 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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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 7:31am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

To add to what Wayne says above, with a $200 top budget, you're restricted to a used hand grinder and a machine that is unlikely to produce anything consistent, unless you're extraordinarily fortunate in a used find.

Bear in mind that, unless you're using high-quaility beans, freshly roasted and ground just before you make your espresso shot, you won't even have the capacity to get a "good" espresso shot. So beans come first.

Next is the grinder - without a grinder that's capable of consistent grind at a fine enough size, you'll also fail to get that "good" shot.

Third is your ability to recognize what coffees are good and properly roasted, then take the evenly and finely ground coffee and prepare the shot - proper dosing, distribution in the portafilter basket, and tamping. Without doing that consistently from shot to shot you might occasionally get a good shot, but you'd be hard pressed to do it multiple times in a row.

Last - dead last - is the machine. It is, after all, just a glorified hot water kettle with a pump on it. The important things are that it's temperature stable, both in that it can hit the same temperature over and over, and that it stays within proper temperature range without a lot of wrangling on your part, and that it can deliver pressure properly and evenly. I've had great shots pulled on many different types of espresso machine that meet those basic guidelines, from inexpensive consumer pump machines to top-of-the-line, cutting-edge professional ones. Yes, a good machine makes it easier to get good espresso, but it's those first three items that are most important. Beans, grinder and the skills of the barista.

As always, YMMV, and I'm sure somebody will be along shortly to tell you just how mistaken I am.
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frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 581
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 7:36am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

agreeing with all that is was said and adding that in that price range, a used Saeco Barista/Aroma/Via Venezia or something similar with something like a hario skerton hand grinder MIGHT get you ok results.  You might need to stick to the pressurized portafilter in that case as the grinder will probably not get you where you need when using unpressurized.
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wide_palate
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Sep 2012
Posts: 6
Location: IN
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 7:55am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

Well with grinder...add a extra 100.Here is what i'm looking at,$292.08 shipped .
Click Here (buanacoffee.com)
Click Here (buanacoffee.com)
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 7:58am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

If that were my budget, I would get a Nespresso. Easy, fast, and decent.
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frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 581
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 7:59am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

wide_palate Said:

Well with grinder...add a extra 100.Here is what i'm looking at,$292.08 shipped .
Click Here (buanacoffee.com)
Click Here (buanacoffee.com)

Posted September 4, 2012 link

buana coffee is likely a scam site.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/members/offtopic/582596
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,023
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 8:09am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

scanfield Said:

... Nespresso. Easy, fast, and decent.

Posted September 4, 2012 link

Easy? Sure thing. Fast? Yes, it is. Decent? Now, that's highly debatable, because Nespresso is not really espresso for several reasons, no matter what advertising tries to suggest. {Sorry, Mr Clooney!} It's only an approximation. The dose is wrong (only 5 g of coffee per capsule), the volume is wrong (40 ml for a single shot), it lacks body (having a more or less watery consistency), it's pre-ground (i.e. most probably stale), and I suspect the crema is only a fake (some kind of built-in pressurization device).

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 8:11am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

But, Seattle Coffee Gear has refurbed Aromas right now for just under that price, and they're legit.

Personally, I've owned enough Saeco products over the years to avoid them unless part of your plan is to toss it in the trash and upgrade withing two years. Just personal experience and not saying that's a universal truth.
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wide_palate
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Sep 2012
Posts: 6
Location: IN
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Sep 4, 2012, 8:33am
Subject: Re: Whats a decent espresso for a novice in the $100-$200 range?
 

Thanks everyone.Guess I might as well just stick to drip at home till I get a larger budget.$200+ for a good grinder,$300+ for a "halfway decent" machine,$16 per lb beans.Seems like it really is cheaper & much quicker overall to just go buy a shot.I like coffee but I don't hold my pinky up that high
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