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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Really confused...  
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,156
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 12:11pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I also liked the "big gulp" milk coffee drinks when I started 10 months ago.  Guess what?  I could still tell a good shot from a bad shot and I don't have a good sense of smell so I think I am handicapped slightly.  And now I use 3oz of milk in my espresso and very little sugar.  I am hoping to get off the sugar totally in the next 10 months or less.   I don't worry about the 3oz of milk but I would like to get off the extra sugar.

I am willing to bet that your palate will advance faster than you think.  I know mine did and that was a surprise to me.  While I researched my purchase, I read all boards are littered with low end starter machines threads that say, "I finally figured out my machine and I want a machine that I don't have to temp surf on what do I upgrade to?"  Search around and you will see them.  

So, I thought, well for my $500 budget, I can get a new machine that I will want to upgrade because it is harder to control or I can get a used but more stable machine that will be easier to learn on so I will be less frustrated and not have buyers remorse.  I knew I might have to fix a few things like when you get a used car but I was ok with that.  I was not ok with spending $500 and having any regrets.

Me being frustrated with my purchase because my kitchen appliance was not giving me consistent results was a huge selling factor with me.  I like working in the kitchen and I get frustrated with cheap kitchen gear.  I have nice kitchen tools and take cooking very seriously.  Since I could not upgrade my budget, I went with the most bang for my buck.  I decided on a used low end, low volume commercial HX machine.

I am not telling you have to get what I got, I am telling you not to buy something you will regret.  If you don't mind buying a new starter machine and taking the chance you will outgrow it, then good.  But if you think you will stick with this hobby get the best grinder and machine you can afford, even if it is used.  I was happier that I did.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

+1

I went straight for an Oscar new paired with a Vario for less the $1500 with all accesories  for my start up, 3 years later I am still with the same gear and have battled off upgradist many times since I am very happy with my results. I often entertain 10-40 people and the only limitation to consistency and speed with my setup is me, this will not be the case for and SBDU machine. That being said a coffee friend in MI that I visit often wants a machine for one and the occasional visitor, I really think the CC1 is going to make him happy paired with a Vario-W, just waiting for the CG review board commission of slackerness to complete their posted revies (that is a subject for another thread that already exists).

So think about your usage now but also think down the road about usage, spend your money wisely.
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 715
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 12:38pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I also liked the "big gulp" milk coffee drinks when I started 10 months ago.  Guess what?  I could still tell a good shot from a bad shot and I don't have a good sense of smell so I think .

Posted October 6, 2012 link

Ahhh... you need to give me a little credit. I too can tell the difference between a big gulp powdered cappuccino from 7-Eleven as compared to McDonalds or Starbucks...even though most people don't consider Starbucks or McDonalds to be that great . I actually prefer McDonalds espresso over Starbucks myself... in fact, when they have that push button machine of theirs cranked up and dialed in correctly, I like it a lot. The problem with McDonalds is that there is no consistency.

Right now I am making my espresso drinks with coffee that was ground last week using an ENA 4 and if I was to be honest, I would rather drink the McDonalds..
EDIT: The line above should have said roasted last week instead of ground last week... sorry. I grind just before I make coffee.

Back in the late 90's and early 2000's I used to make espresso drinks at home with a cheap espresso maker  (a little over $200 back then if I remember correctly) and a cheap grinder and thought it was wonderful at the time... but never compared my barista skills to anyone else, so the vivid memory I have of how great the espresso was would probably fade if I could go back in time and sample some of my own work from the old days.

Still in a holding pattern but I almost ordered a Vario W this morning just so I could make some progress.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,454
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 1:13pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

DeanOK Said:

Well it has been almost a week since I started this thread. I have read and shopped and looked and scratched my head and I am pretty sure I know less than when I started.

I started out thinking I would spend 1500 bucks total for grinder and a espresso machine, ended up taking my budget (temporarily at least) up to $2300 or $2400 and then tonight, I told myself, I just want something that will make a decent cup of coffee... so I went back down to the 600/700 range for a espresso machine and 350.00 for a grinder.

One thing that drives me to $1800.00 machines is just how cool I think they would look in my kitchen. I put so much milk and flavoring in my coffee, I doubt I would ever know if t was made on a $600.00 machine or a $2000 machine by taste. I do like the machines that will let me steam whenever I want though, something I will miss out on with most of the low end machines.

One thing I have learned for sure is that there is far more espresso machine manufacturers than I ever knew existed. Way too many as matter of fact.

I saw that  Rancilio Silvia V3  reconditioned are $499 and I am pretty sure that is as good or better the the old Delonghi machine I used to have that made perfectly good coffee by my taste buds. Right now, I am having trouble thinking a $1500 or $1800 machine will do much for me other than to make my kitchen look cool. I know if I was more a a true espresso person, I might be able to tell the difference (or at least convince myself I could), but the truth is, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference.  

I also see a less expensive machine it the Ascaso brand, but I don't find a lot of reviews good or bad about this product. Seems like it has some nice features in its price range. This is the only low end machine I could find that would let you steam and make espresso at the same time, but not sure that would be the right thing to do in this price range.

Posted October 5, 2012 link

Look at the Crossland CC1 in that range, already comes with a full featured PID control built in for accurate temps and other settings, and thermo block for endless steaming and fast recovery for a SBDU. The Silvia has no PID and you have to learn temp surfing on it which still isn't accurate and consistant, or add a PID to it. Silvia can actually make fairly poor shots with doing one of those two things as its temp swing can be all over the place, still need to do the same on the Gaggia Classic but its temp swings don't seem to be as crazy or finicky as the Silvia.

Either way, any of these setups will be much better then the crappy superauto. You won't have the fast push button convenience, but that extra little work gives an exponentially better cup.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,048
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 1:13pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

I meant big gulp sized drink, not a 7-11 drink. i.e. 10 oz of milk to 2 oz of coffee/espresso.

 
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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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,467
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 Sat Oct 6, 2012, 2:45pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

DeanOK Said:

Ahhh... you need to give me a little credit.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

As far as I know, we all do.

DeanOK Said:

I too can tell the difference between a big gulp powdered cappuccino from 7-Eleven as compared to McDonalds or Starbucks...even though most people don't consider Starbucks or McDonalds to be that great.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

Does anyone?  Certainly not here.

DeanOK Said:

I actually prefer McDonalds espresso over Starbucks myself... in fact, when they have that push button machine of theirs cranked up and dialed in correctly, I like it a lot. The problem with McDonalds is that there is no consistency.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

I don't know which is scarier:  that McDonald's makes espresso, or that you actually have had it enough times to form an opinion as to which one you prefer.  ;^)

OK, on to more serious stuff . . .

DeanOK Said:

Right now I am making my espresso drinks with coffee that was ground last week using an ENA 4 and if I was to be honest, I would rather drink the McDonalds.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

If the coffee was ground last week, I might even prefer McDonald's!  (Have you heard of Babbie's Rule of Fifteens?)

My first suggestion is to take Randy's post, and take it to heart.

Secondly, remember that, regardless of what equipment each of us may own now, we ALL started where you are now.

DeanOK Said:

Back in the late 90's and early 2000's I used to make espresso drinks at home with a cheap espresso maker  (a little over $200 back then if I remember correctly) and a cheap grinder and thought it was wonderful at the time... but never compared my barista skills to anyone else, so the vivid memory I have of how great the espresso was would probably fade if I could go back in time and sample some of my own work from the old days.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

I had a Gaggia Coffee for some 25 years and was quite happy . . . then again, ignorance is bliss:  I gave my old machine to my brother-in-law when I upgraded, and when I used his (my old) machine, I thought it sucked!  ;^)

DeanOK Said:

Still in a holding pattern but I almost ordered a Vario W this morning just so I could make some progress.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

That's a great choice for a grinder.  I have a "regular" Baratza Vario, and I love it.

Then there are "The Four M's of Espresso":
1) the Macinazione is the grinder, and with it, the correct grinding of the coffee beans;
2) the Miscela is the coffee beans/blend itself;
3) the Macchina is the espresso machine; and
4) the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  

All four are important.  Nothing is more important than the grinder.  So spend more on the grinder and less (proportionally) on the machine.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 715
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 2:50pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I meant big gulp sized drink, not a 7-11 drink. i.e. 10 oz of milk to 2 oz of coffee/espresso.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

mmmm.... I used to use either one or two (2 oz) shots in 4 ounces of milk with my old espresso maker. I cant remember if I used one or two shots for sure.

In my automatic, I use (right now, it changes) 3 oz of water and 16 grams of coffee for my espresso and 3 to 4 ounces of milk and it doesn't taste that strong to me.

Maybe if I had a $2,000 espresso machine I would add 10oz of milk to a shot too.. LOL

I have been experimenting with Starbucks mocha powder for mochas. Drink a lot of flavored lattes so I usually add 1 oz of flavoring to my lattes. Just walked in and it is cool outside so I am going to enjoy a pumpkin pie sauce latte shortly (one of my favs). I know I am making a lot of "real" coffee drinkers cringe.
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 715
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 3:07pm
Subject: Re: Really confused now....and other stuff
 

OOOPS.... i said several posts back that my coffee was ground last week. It should have said my coffee was roasted last week. I grind my beans just before I make my espresso. Sorry for the confusion.
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