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Really confused now....and other stuff
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Really confused...  
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 720
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Fri Sep 28, 2012, 8:50pm
Subject: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

I just joined this site a few days ago and I have read literally hundreds of posts about the pros and cons of every machine and grinder..... and now I am totally confused.

In the mid 90's I bought a DeLonghi machine and a DeLonghi burr grinder. I enjoyed many lattes and mocha drinks and was happy... didn't even have Internet in those days so I enjoyed my naive bliss and drank my coffee with great enjoyment. Due to an issue with my weight, I put the machine away several years ago and when I took it out last year to fire it up, it had issues, so I chunked it and bought a new super auto. Don't think the brand of the SA is important because, evidently, most SA's have a poor reputation among the community. A possible exception may be taken if I consider one particular brand at $2500.00.

Now I don't know what I want to do. I now have a less expensive super auto and thought it would be the answer to my desire for convenience and good coffee..... but not so fast. Even though I don't consider myself a coffee connoisseur, I don't feel like I have the little extra I noticed from the coffee I made with my old DeLhoghi... a product that many consider consumer grade at most.

I really do not want to put $3000.00 worth of equipment on my kitchen cabinet, even though I guess I could spend that much if I could ever justify it in my mind (not sure I can). I really do not want a manual machine and a knock box either (kinda messy).

So, I am thinking I need to moderate my views a bit. First, looks like I need to except that fact that I am going to have coffee grounds to clean up. Secondly, I am probably going to have to go outside my comfort range on price.

My criteria right now is listed below:
  1. I would like to stay under $1500-1800  for a grinder and espresso machine (this may be low when you read the rest of this list)
  2. I would like a machine that can be repaired so I don't have to chunk it like my old one (it didn't have much wrong with it, but couldn't find the parts).
  3. I would like a small as possible footprint. Don't have a big kitchen and do not want to take up a lot of counter space.
  4. Would like to have a grinder that can dose out by weight (if possible).
  5. I would like to be able to order repair parts and fix the machine myself in the event it was to break. I used to do commercial restaurant service and fixing an espresso machine really wouldn't be much if an issue for me if I have access to the parts.
  6. I like the chrome look of the lever machines in the 2K price range... not sure I can find a less expensive machine with this kind of look. Just think it would look nice in the kitchen. I don't necessarily want a lever machine... just like the look.
  7. I don't care about all of the fancy frother and steaming attachments. I had an automatic frother for my old machine and I never used it. Seems to me that cleaning all the extra components is more trouble than just steaming my milk with a wand.
  8. I would prefer to buy new, but might be persuaded if I found the right deal to buy used.

Even though a lot of people would find the budget I am working with here limiting, I feel like a kid in a candy store. There is at least a hundred combinations I could come up with that would match up with this list (at least on the espresso maker side). I also realize I am asking a question that has already been asked a million times here... but there is something therapeutic about voicing your mind and asking people to ease your apprehension... so I apologise for my need to obtain espresso therapy in such a blatantly selfish fashion. I know that search is supposed to be my friend, but my search  friend is not really helping.
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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:52am
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

DeanOK Said:

Even though a lot of people would find the budget I am working with here limiting....

Posted September 28, 2012 link

Actually that is quite a healthy budget.  Could probably get in under $1500 with good set up, but most people ususally spend at least 15% more than they intend to when they set their budget......

Read this how to get started on how to buy an espresso machine.  Then provide details about typical consumption, types of drinks, 15 vs 20 amp circuit.  Likely you'll want a HX machine (heat exchanger) or one of the thermoblock SBDU (single boiler dual use) for cheaper alternative.

So many options, but baratza vario w doses by weight, has smallest footprint in this price range, and best value, so that would be recommendation #1.
Bezzera has cheaper chromed looks that you like, but their lever will cost you 2k.  You can get one of the cheaper levers that I'll refrain from commenting on (no experience with them) but likely you aren't looking for a lever if you are just starting out.  The learning curve here is pretty steep.

Take your time. Read. Ask questions. And the online dealers that sponsor this site are very helpful and could answer many of the same questions and make good recommendations.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

Easy to get confused. I was just 10 months ago. I agree Vario W for grinding.  I love mine.  

I also love my machine and it fits what you want except the shiny part. It is a tank and as long as they make the parts it will work forever and I can fix it.  You can find mine new with a new vario w for your price range. Or get used as I did and get the whole thing for about a 1k.  That is if you can get over the shiny thing.  But there are cons to shiny, harder to clean, can burn you, melt bread bags on it.

Good luck,

 
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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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 720
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:04am
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

I might do this in steps. I could order the grinder first and use the bypass on my superauto I am using now and see how much difference that makes. I still have my old DeLonghi burr grinder but I am not sure I it is worth taking the time to disassemble and clean it. It has a lot of hours on it and I noticed when I looked it over a few days ago that the bean hopper is cracked. I don't remember what I paid for it back in the mid 90's but I am thinking it was in the $59 to $79 range, so I assume its not that great of a grinder.
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 720
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 2:27pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

I have made a decision on the grinder... Baratza Vario-W

First espresso machine on the short list is going to be the Breville BES900XL. I will spend a little more time adding a few more to the short list and then I will narrow it down in time to tell Santa.
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zedex
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 129
Location: B.C Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz v2
Grinder: vario
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 3:47pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

DeanOK Said:

I have made a decision on the grinder... Baratza Vario-W

First espresso machine on the short list is going to be the Breville BES900XL. I will spend a little more time adding a few more to the short list and then I will narrow it down in time to tell Santa.

Posted September 29, 2012 link

The vario w is a good choice but myself would opt for the vario. I think the weigh option will be a pain in the long run. The breville so far sounds like a good machine(and it looks great) but keep in mind that since its only 1 year old the story is not out yet as to longevity. If you like "risk" then its the right machine for you. You also mention ability to be able to work on the machine yourself. I think the breville is non user servicable. Someone will chime in on that topic.
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Burd
Senior Member
Burd
Joined: 29 May 2012
Posts: 110
Location: Cape Coral, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia PID'd
Grinder: Nuova Simonelli MCF
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Cuisinart Grind & Brew...
Roaster: Behmor + i-Roast
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 5:19pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

zedex Said:

The vario w is a good choice but myself would opt for the vario. I think the weigh option will be a pain in the long run.

Posted September 29, 2012 link

Not so sure I agree with this.  I took the following from the Baratza page:

"The built-in precision load cell provides accurate weighing, while grinding, to within 0.1 grams. Three user-programmable buttons make for repeatable, one- touch grinding."

Sounds to me grinding couldn't get any easier.  Select your dose then push a button.  I wish I had this grinder.  Would make getting the dose the same each time.  One more variable to get rid of.
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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 Sat Sep 29, 2012, 6:05pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

zedex Said:

The vario w is a good choice but myself would opt for the vario. I think the weigh option will be a pain in the long run. The breville so far sounds like a good machine(and it looks great) but keep in mind that since its only 1 year old the story is not out yet as to longevity. If you like "risk" then its the right machine for you. You also mention ability to be able to work on the machine yourself. I think the breville is non user servicable. Someone will chime in on that topic.

Posted September 29, 2012 link

Why would a weight based grinder be a pain in the long run?  Seems to me like it makes things more convenient and efficient.  You still have the option of a manual grinding if you choose not to use weighing option for whatever reason.  If you're the type of person who likes to use the same beans over and over then I think a weight based grinder is beneficial and much more accurate than timed grinders.  

To the OP, a few things.  Every machine you buy is going to need a knock box.  A knock box is as much of an accessory as a tamper, you'll need one.  Basically after extracting the coffee the ground beans will be stuck to the portafilter basket.  The only way to get out the "puck" is to slam it on the a knock box.  It actually keeps things cleaner and not messy as you say.  

The Breville is a great (so far) machine in terms of price, performance, and featuers.  However, it goes against things in your criteria.  You won't be able to find parts for it and you won't be able to do general maintenance on it either.  If you want to get it fixed you'll have to take it to a certified Breville servicer.  Likewise if you want to descale the machine in 5 years you'll have to take it to a service center as well.  

As well machines in that price range don't feature any gimmicky fotehr device, they all have a traditional steam wand.  

For the machine I'd look at the Quickmill Silvano, Rocket Cellini Premium Plus v1, Bezzera BZ07, Bezzer BZ02, or Nuova Simonelli Oscar.  Those should generally keep you under budget.
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zedex
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 129
Location: B.C Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz v2
Grinder: vario
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 6:18pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

I am talking longevity. Load cells are sensitive. If the load cell stops working for whatever reason, then its a manual dose grinder. The vario is just basic timed dose so not much can go wrong. Still the same grind quality.
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 720
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2012, 6:37pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

sn_85 Said:

For the machine I'd look at the Quickmill Silvano, Rocket Cellini Premium Plus v1, Bezzera BZ07, Bezzer BZ02, or Nuova Simonelli Oscar.  Those should generally keep you under budget.

Posted September 29, 2012 link

I have already added the Bezzers to my short list. I don't think I am going to put the oscar on my short list because it looks almost like the old machine I chunked last year... kinda tired of that look. I have been telling everyone that my old machine was a  DeLhoghi, but to be honest, I am not sure. Seems like it was a different brand but for the life of me I can't remember. I remember the model was a rio, riva, reno, or something like that... but don't remember the brand. It was a very dark brown plastic with a narrow red trim close to the top. Maybe some kind soul can tell me what it was.

As for the knock box, I threw that in to explain one of the reasons I purchased a super automatic... trying to get way from some of the inevitable mess that goes with grinding coffee and cleaning portafilters.

If I was rich I probably would stay with the super autos and buy the QuickMill Monza even though I would probably always wonder if I couldn't get a better shot from a manual machine.

I must say that the week I have been reading this forum and chatting with different people I have made a big improvement in the product I am getting from my ENA 4. I went back to the Elemental Espresso 228 coffee and I have to say it pretty darn good for what I am trying to achieve... not sure anyone else would like it though. I have already determined that I don't like the darker roasts... so that probably automatically gets me thrown out of the espresso connoisseurs club.
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