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Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Just starting....  
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Arkaon
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Oct 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Illinois
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Oct 1, 2012, 9:43pm
Subject: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Hello all,

I have recently decided I wanted to start making my own Cappuccino in the morning and have started doing the research into how to make it.

After finding plenty of tutorials online (before I found this website) I decided to seek out craigslist for a machine of my own. Well, I found someone willing to sell a Delonghi Fifteen Bar Pump Driven Espresso Maker - EC702 for $100 bucks. I am all set to pick it up from him tomorrow. (I committed to buying it before finding this site, and I don't want to change my mind on that unless it really isn't a good idea.)

However, I have noticed on this site that people are saying that a grinder can be almost as good as the system you are buying.

My question(s) then :

1) Should I buy this machine, or will it be a waste?

2) Is an $80 dollar grinder going to cut it?


Thank You and I plan on being around for quite some time.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,022
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Oct 1, 2012, 10:05pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Welcome to the forum.  Grinder is more critical than the machine.  That is a starter machine and whether or not it is a good idea depends on your budget.  I used the EC701 for several years and did not know better, before I found CG.

You can search DeLonghi and its various numbers on the forum and get an idea.

Your budget and expectations are big factors.

A good grinder is a Baratza Preciso refurb from Baratza.com for about $250 shipped.  I offer that to give you a ballpark about budget.  It will work well with a variety of machines.

Sorry to be fairly short, getting late for me and my espressos are wearing off :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Arkaon
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Oct 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Illinois
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Oct 1, 2012, 10:11pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

D4F,

Thanks for the reply. I live in a place where there are maybe 2 decent coffee shops in the area, but it costs me more in gas to drive to those places than it does for the cup. I have since decided to give home brewing a shot. :)

While I was on military leave in Italy during 2009 I acquired a taste for Cappuccino and am really wanting to try and recreate that experience.

My budget is around $300 at the moment. Because I don't even know if I will enjoy brewing my own I don't want to dive off the deep end just yet.

Which would mean I have around $200 for the Grinder.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Ark
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,022
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Oct 1, 2012, 10:30pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

The DeLonghi probably has a pressurized portafilter.  That will allow it to work with less precise grinders.  OTOH, you may want to depressurize the portafilter and get better quality espresso.  There are a couple lesser adjusting Baratzas that would work and other brands, but when you get addicted, then you have to upgrade the whole thing.

Not a lot of folks still logged in, so search will get you more info.

You will be able to get a grinder, but probably not a long term grinder for espresso.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:23am
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Everyone starts somewhere.  For my 100$ I would have probably looked for a used starbucks barista model but if the one you get is in good shape it should be ok for 6 months to a year.  By then you will know if you like doing it or not.  The really sad thing is the very low end machines are so much harder to get a good shot on that by the time you have that level of skill you are normally on a much more expensive machine.  The expensive  machines are much easier to learn on because they are more stable temp and pressure wise.  

I am sure  there are a lot of people out there that gave up thinking no one could get good espresso at home because of cheap starter machines needing so much skill to pull a good shot on.  

That being said a good barista can pull a good shot on a crappy machine with a good grinder.  You can have a 3k machine and a 80$ grinder and not be able to get a good shot.  The grinder is that important to the process.  So get your machine and put your money in a good grinder.  Used commercial grinders are huge and start about 350%  Super Jolly is a standard if you can get it.  I don't have the room so I got a home grinder.

I like my machine and grinder. My machine is used under $500 and it is a light commercial machine that many people use at home because it is 110 v.  It is so cheap because it is not as shiny and pretty as the stainless steel boys. But no burn surface in my small kitchen is an advantage.  And because it is a commercial machine I can leave it on 24/7.  You can't do that with home machines. My grinder is a Vario W.  The top home grinder right now and new it is 550$.

I started out where you are and decided that I wanted a machine I could grow on and with.  Not counting my 20$ CL Krupps steam toy, that can't make espresso at all.

Right now there is a thread talking about someone that up graded from a Gaggia (a common first machine) to a really nice refurbished old school machine.  He said he thought he was getting good coffee before, but the ease and the quality has gone up so much he is shocked.
"My first serious espresso machine"

 
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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Arkaon
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Oct 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Illinois
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:31am
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Hello CoffeeNoobie,

I appreciate the reply. Unfortunately I don't have that kind of $$ to spend on a Grinder at the moment. Do you have any suggestions for one under $100 to start with as well.

Thanks.

Edit: I couldn't find anything in "How To's" about what to look for in a grinder.

Would any of these work for someone just starting out? (Note: the website is not where I will be purchasing the items. Just attempting to get an idea)

Cuisinart - Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill 18-Cup Coffee Grinder
Capresso - Infinity Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
Mr. Coffee - Coffee Grinder

Thank You.
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Hi, the infinity can be made to work with some modification, but none of those will really do the job for use with an unpressurized portafilter.  They will work with a pressurized filter though.  You should probably be looking at a hand grinder if you really can't go above $200 (e.g. OE Lido?  anyone else have suggestions).  Or you could look secondhand - my Ascaso I-1 came off of the Buy, Sell, Trade forum here for less than $200, and is definitely capable.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,181
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:07pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

I've got an OE Lido.  It's a great hand grinder, but over your budget. as it'll cost you about $180 with shipping included.  Grinding by hand will get old if you have to do it every day.  Although, it's certainly doable and you'd get excellent results.  I wouldn't recommend it for a long term setup, unless you're really into that.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

I thought you had a 300$ budget?   So that left 200$ for a grinder. The first set up the grinder often costs more than the machine.

That is the problem when you start, sticker shock with the grinder, that and not realizing how important it is to the process.  I know I had no idea.  I thought my chopper coffee grinder (that I now chop spices and bread crumbs with) was good enough.  I wonder if I could make my own powdered sugar with that chopper.... I will have to test it out.

 
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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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 867
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 Oct 2, 2012, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

I haven't found grinding by hand to get old, and I've been doing it for 4-5 double shots a day for the past 5+ years. An espresso capable hand grinder can be found for under $100. Spend some time reading the "Hand Grinder Jive" thread over at Home Barista, and you'll get an idea of what to look for. Of course, Ebay being Ebay, you may have to go through a few auctions before you find exactly the one you want (or checking local thrift and antique shops).
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