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Best machine $250 range
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 8:07am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

Markarian Said:

What everyone on this forum is saying, is that you need to spend nearly or over $1000 to get a good setup.

Posted October 9, 2012 link

BULL$#|+ !!!

You don't need to spend $1,000, or anywhere near that much money!  But you do need to spend something, and even with all used equipment -- extraordinary deals and/or garage sale finds aside -- $250 isn't enough.  

Considering only new equipment for a moment, the minimum I feel comfortable in recommending is a Gaggia Classic (on sale now @ $349), paired with a Baratza Preciso grinder (@ $299), though if that's too much of a stretch, one could, if need be, get by with a Gaggia MDF (on sale now @ $249) -- but, despite the fact I used one of these for 25 years, it isn't as good as the Preciso.  So, with free shipping and no sales tax, the OP is looking at spending $598-$648 . . . yes, it's closer to $1,000 than her original budget of $250, but you still have a long way to go to get to $1K.

Buying used or refurbished equipment could save even more money -- for example, there is a REFURBISHED Gaggia Classic on sale right now for $309 . . .

 
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GVDub
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 9:06am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

The only reason I would give for avoiding the used market is that, as somebody who doesn't yet know what is out there and which machine is which, without a "native guide", it can be all to easy to pick up something that either needs more work than a beginner is comfortable with, or have some intractable problems. If, on the other hand, you can find somebody to give some guidance (not just internet advice, but a physical body you can drag along to check out stuff with you), you can snag a machine that will last you many years and a grinder to match at far less than a kilobuck, combined.
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gibson00
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:18am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

Wondering if cost savings are a bit exaggerated?  Not implying that he/she shouldn't go buy a machine, etc.  But for someone on a budget, it's worth keeping in mind that beans, etc are not free.
Based on what I've seen posted on online, people tend to get approx. 25 double shots per pound of beans.  If you pay $13 per pound (just a guess), that's about 52 cents, plus a few cents electricity, cost of cream, sugar, milk for lattes, etc.
Probably 60 - 70 cents per drink?  Not a lot, but you can't assume they will be saving the full amount they currently spend at Starbucks..

Now I suppose if we consider the extra wear and tear on the footwear to get to Starbucks, extrapolated over a year, etc...  ;)
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:35am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

I agree buying a used machine can be tricky for a novice but I believe the refurbished machine I suggested fits her budget at $200 and the $40 hand grinder would do for the rest or the refurbished Baratza if she saved more.  But her budget does give her espresso with a hand grinder. (sorry I did not think of that myself) Her original budget did not have money for a grinder in it at all.  That is a mistake that is often made when starting out.  The shiny machine gets all the attention and they forget or do not know they need a grinder.

My outfit cost 1k when I was done but I know I would not have been happy for even one year with a starter machine that I had to learn to surf with.  I also own a nice DSLR, a nice kitchen aid mixer, a nice Cuisinart food processor.  These were pricey tools and some would call them toys.  But I use them a lot and would not be happy with tools not up to the task.  I am not going back to working in the kitchen before the mixer...  Now that we have spelled it out, it is up to her if and how she goes forward.

 
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:39am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

I would jump on that Denver deal even if I had to drive a few hours to get that.  That price that is hell of a start up set. (assuming he is giving you the grinder and tamper etc)

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:44am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

gibson00 Said:

Wondering if cost savings are a bit exaggerated?

Posted October 9, 2012 link

Some of us have sat down and done the math.  The more you upgrade the less the savings, but there is a savings for most people.  If you buy a Silvia / Preciso setup, it's paid off a lot sooner than if you buy a GS3 and a Robur, but even that setup will save you money in the long run (might take 6 or 7 years, but eventually....)

On top of the savings are the convenience of being able to make a drink better that almost anywhere you can buy one (depending in part where you live...but also related to being able to make it exactly the way you like it), and being able to make drinks anytime you want (unless you flake on buying coffee beans - or milk, if you're into that).

 
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:46am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

About the cost at 200 a month she is spending  over 6 dollars a day.  I am guessing that is 2 small drinks.  So if we say with beans, milk, sugar the cost of making the drink is a 1$ that leaves her 4+ dollars a day.  So, she could save upward of 120 a month by making her own.  That is $1440 a year she could put towards a set up.  That would get her great set up.

 
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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DeanOK
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:46am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

gibson00 Said:

Wondering if cost savings are a bit exaggerated?

Posted October 9, 2012 link

For myself, part of my justification included the price of gas for me to drive to the closest shop on my way to work. When I consider the trip over there and back, it was just short of 8 miles. My vehicle cost more than 25 cents a mile just for gas alone. So I have $2.00 in gas every morning to add on to the price of the coffee... so my $5.00 Starbucks drink is now $7.00. I figure it costs me about a $1.00 to 1.25 to make one at home... I am saving at least $28.75 per week and the time to make the coffee is no longer than the amount of time I sit in line at the drive by at Starbucks (burning gasoline while I wait). That alone will pay back a $1500.00 setup in a year... and if you like to drink more than one per day, you can just add that to the savings.  Remember, as bad as people talk about Starbucks, the machine they are using to make your espresso probably costs 30 or 40 times what you have budgeted is for your machine.

I would say the $250.00 budget is way low. I would try to talk you up to at least the $600-$700 range if you need a grinder too, and I would probably say $1200 would be better.  If you cant justify the $600-$700.00 budget, I would say you need to quit buying espresso on the way to work (yeah, I know it is political, but just how I feel).
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CMIN
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 11:07am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

About the cost at 200 a month she is spending  over 6 dollars a day.  I am guessing that is 2 small drinks.  So if we say with beans, milk, sugar the cost of making the drink is a 1$ that leaves her 4+ dollars a day.  So, she could save upward of 120 a month by making her own.  That is $1440 a year she could put towards a set up.  That would get her great set up.

Posted October 9, 2012 link

And never mind that your actually saving, but your drinking exponentially better coffee at the same time. Saving money would just be icing on the cake, I'd still be happy even if it costed quite more then going to Starbucks just to actually be able to drink good coffee. I usually make iced lattes, that with just good beans and milk embarrasses Starbucks, but when I want a straight shot I can do so and savor all the flavors. Ever had a Starbucks espresso shot straight? Pretty f'n gross, never again lol
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 11:11am
Subject: Re: Best machine $250 range
 

CMIN Said:

And never mind that your actually saving, but your drinking exponentially better coffee at the same time. Saving money would just be icing on the cake, I'd still be happy even if it costed quite more then going to Starbucks just to actually be able to drink good coffee. I usually make iced lattes, that with just good beans and milk embarrasses Starbucks, but when I want a straight shot I can do so and savor all the flavors. Ever had a Starbucks espresso shot straight? Pretty f'n gross, never again lol

Posted October 9, 2012 link

AMEN to that!  I've always said, "I'd rather pay for good food, than eat bad free food!"  Not quite the same here, but I think it's along those lines.

 
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