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Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need help...  
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Candy
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2012
Posts: 6
Location: MIchigan
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Oct 12, 2012, 10:54am
Subject: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

Dear all,

I am brand new to the site and I have no expertise in finding a good machine, I started reading all kinds of reviews.  At the beginning I like Krups but there are plenty of bad reviews for a

KRUPS XP604050 Automatic Pump Espresso Machine with Thermoblock system and Coffee Maker Combination, Die Cast $399

that I am originally interested in....I am desparate as my husband's birthday is coming closer (he would have been the person I ask for advice as he is a coffee lover but I would be giving it away if I ask him!)

I am looking to spend about $350-$450
coffee maker & espresso maker combo
metallic look as my fridge is stainless steel

Really trying to look for something that last (if I am paying $350-$450) and if things should happen, it is not impossible to obtain replacement parts, good warranty and customer services.

If you have any advice to offer or if you have good experience with certain machines...anything...any advice is much much appreciated!!

A couple of fellow members already offered some advice, wanted to see if any of you can give your 2 cents:)


Candy
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
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 Fri Oct 12, 2012, 12:13pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

Hi

I saw your other post and the 2 replies you got.  I agree whole-heartedly with Jason's recommendation of not getting a combo machine.

It would help a lot, if you were to tell us what kind of coffee drinks your husband likes.

What kind of equipment does he have already?

Does he have a grinder?

Does he want to devote time to espresso?

Does he prefer drip coffee, or french press, or would he like a pour over system?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Candy
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2012
Posts: 6
Location: MIchigan
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Oct 12, 2012, 12:22pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

ok, it seems like I will need 2 machines, I can do that, I would appreciate recommendations.  

He drinks coffee daily, black.  He likes esspresso.  
We currently have cusinart $40 coffee maker.  
Hmm..we have a small thing the break up the coffee beans, not sure if it is consider as a grinder though (has a blade, move in quick circular motion....ok, I sound like an idiot, pardon me, I am just not very good with the whole coffee thing).
He likes all sorts of coffee, such as vietnam drip, egyptian coffee and those taste so bitter with a lot of herbs, the cup is tiny...

Thank you Thank you for your time!!!

Candy
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Oct 12, 2012, 12:36pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

Candy, glad you stopped by. I'm just curious, do you know what an Americano is? It's basically a shot of espresso that's been added to hot water to roughly give the consistency of normal drip coffee, but with much more flavor. The Italians supposedly used the term to poke fun at American GIs who couldn't take the strength of normal espresso during the war :)

Beware, most combo machines that have an "espresso" machine are really just auto steam Mokas. If it has a carafe on a stick, it's not making true espresso (rule of thumb). Everyone will tell you on here getting a decent grinder is crucial to drinking good coffee. I first thought it was a load of bull. Now I have a $600 grinder. You don't necessarily need to spend that much though, but my point is that the grinder is often more important than the machine. Think of it as the studio that makes the DVD you put in your DVD player. The player gets the job done, with varying degrees of quality here and there, but if the movie is awful, all the upscaling in the world won't save it.

My recommendation, if you can find one, is a used Saeco Estro Profi. It makes espresso with an easy-to-use pressurized portafilter, has a built in burr grinder, and dispenses hot water for tea and Americanos. I would also recommend taking a look at the Saeco Aroma, which is around $199 refurbished from Seattle Coffee Gear. Combine that with a Baratza Encore for $140 and you're right around where you need to be. Baratza is an excellent company with great customer service.

I think you'll find, as I did, that there are so many better ways to make coffee than drip. And many of them are much quicker and easier, too. If your husband likes to explore different forms of coffee, I would also recommend getting him an Aerobie Aeropress ($30) and a stainless steel Moka pot too.

Anyways, don't get intimidated right off the bat. It's a lot of information to process, and I'm a beginner, not an expert. But all I know is I love coffee.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,410
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 Fri Oct 12, 2012, 12:45pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

OK, thanks for the additional information, Candy.

Candy Said:

..we have a small thing the break up the coffee beans, not sure if it is consider as a grinder though (has a blade, move in quick circular motion....ok, I sound like an idiot, pardon me, I am just not very good with the whole coffee thing).

Posted October 12, 2012 link

No worries, Candy, but you're right:  it's not considered a grinder -- at least not a burr grinder.  It's a "blade grinder" or "whirly-blade thingy"!  ;^)  Think about it:  the blade spins VERY fast and"chops" the beans (like a knife on a cutting board); the sizes of the pieces are very uneven and thus, so is the taste from one batch to another.  You want NEED a burr grinder.

OK, problem:  budget.  One of the best and -- honest -- most affordable grinders that will make both coffee and espresso (which generally requires a dedicated "espresso-specific" grinder; the needs for espresso are indeed that much different) would be a Baratza Preciso, but it's $299.  You can pick up a refurbished one directly from Baratza for $239.  On the other hand, if you're willing to s-t-r-e-t-c-h this out over a couple of birthdays -- or perhaps a birthday and wedding anniversary? . . .

I would honestly suggest that you think about spacing this out.  You could, for example, get him the Bonavita Coffeemaker for $129.99; and then either the Baratza Preciso (which will, in turn,be suitable for espresso when you get him a present for your anniversary), or you could simply get a Baratza Encore -- fine for drip, but (sorry) all-but-useless for espresso -- for only $129.  Total cost:  $430 on the high side, down to $260 on the low side.

I hope that helps.  At least, a little.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
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 Fri Oct 12, 2012, 1:16pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

I would agree that spreading this out over time may be the best way to go.  Get a pretty good grinder now, Like the Preciso (as was suggested).  Get him an Aeropress (also suggested) to go along with it.  It's a great combo for use in the home, the office, or on the road (car travel I mean).  In the future, maybe get him a Gaggia Classic espresso machine.

If you want to save a little more on the grinder, you could alternatively get him a hand grinder.  It's a device that is operated manually, rather than electrically.  The OE Lido (www.orphanespresso.com) is one of the top of the line hand grinders, and it sells for about $165. It actually is a better quality grinder than the Baratza Preciso, but again, downside is having to power it with elbow grease.  There are some reviews out there, if you want to read more.  It's pretty easy to change the grind setting between espresso, press pot and drip, and it can even go as fine as turkish.  I have one and use it at the office and when I travel by car, along with my Aeropress.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Candy
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2012
Posts: 6
Location: MIchigan
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Oct 12, 2012, 1:20pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

thank you thank you everyone! for all the detail information and suggestions, it is much much appreciated!!

I plan on going all out this year, I think I will get him an esspresso maker and a decent grinder and a coffee maker as well (what a good wife, he is not getting anything for the next 10 years though).

I think I may go for Saeco Aroma and Baratza Preciso for the espresso machine and grinder (still browsing)

I looked into Bonavita Coffeemaker, no question it is a nice coffee maker but somehow I am not too fond of the look of the machine (which of course has nothing to do with how the coffee taste...sigh....woman)  Any other recommendations for coffee machines?

Not set in stones yet, if you would like to make more recommendations on espresso machine, grinder and coffee maker to help me out, your suggestions much appreciated!

You all have no idea how much better I feel now compare to this morning:)

candy
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 693
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Fri Oct 12, 2012, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

Candy Said:

I plan on going all out this year, candy

Posted October 12, 2012 link

I am new here too. If your husband really enjoys his coffee, don't get in a hurry and spend some time here reading about all of the machines and their pros and cons. Believe me, if you make a good choice he will know it and appreciate your effort. It's confusing at first, but if you just stay with it and read a lot eventually you will find clarity and be able to arrive at list of features and the price range you would like to spend.
Good luck!
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,388
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Oct 12, 2012, 1:48pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

Candy Said:

thank you thank you everyone! for all the detail information and suggestions, it is much much appreciated!!

I plan on going all out this year, I think I will get him an esspresso maker and a decent grinder and a coffee maker as well (what a good wife, he is not getting anything for the next 10 years though).

I think I may go for Saeco Aroma and Baratza Preciso for the espresso machine and grinder (still browsing)

I looked into Bonavita Coffeemaker, no question it is a nice coffee maker but somehow I am not too fond of the look of the machine (which of course has nothing to do with how the coffee taste...sigh....woman)  Any other recommendations for coffee machines?

Not set in stones yet, if you would like to make more recommendations on espresso machine, grinder and coffee maker to help me out, your suggestions much appreciated!

You all have no idea how much better I feel now compare to this morning:)

candy

Posted October 12, 2012 link

Preciso is excellent for the money, and if you upgrade down the line (more than likely) you'll have a grinder capable of grinding for espresso in a non-pressurized portafilter (most cheaper machines have a pressurized unit). The pressurized PFs help to negate not having a good machine or grinder but then your not really getting espresso, but if you go that route the cheaper Encore is fine for pressurized machines but useless for ones equipped with non-pressurized PFs.

If you want to splurge a bit more on the machine and grinder, you could always get a cheaper pour-over system for other coffee needs, which can still make an excellent cup like the Hario V60 or Chemex ect, or even something like the Aeropress mentioned before which is cheap but works awesome. I'd def get the Preciso b/c it's not only great for coarse needs, but way more than capable for true espresso grinding. Then look at some of the cheaper options like the Aeropress, and see if you could stretch or wait a bit to get a machine like the Gaggia Classic.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,853
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 Fri Oct 12, 2012, 2:23pm
Subject: Re: Need help picking an espresso and coffee maker combo machine
 

Candy,
Welcome, you have a great start on information here.
This hobby is like fine cooking, there will always be a more expensive thing to get or another shiny doo dad to buy.

If you want specifically machines to do the job the grinder is more important than the espresso machine, by a LOT, esp at the low dollar end of the scale. A good general use grinder such as the Vario or priciso will go a long way to getting the most from whatever coffee you buy. The referb is the way to go when trying to save as much money as possible and the maker stands behind them very solidly.

You can do this on a hundred or two but you will be doing a lot of work as the grinder will by hand cranked and you will not have a "machine" per se but more like a moka pot. There are a lot of people who love their moka pot and feel no need to move up from there. It is not espresso but it is fairly close to it. With the use of a battery powered hand whipper and a microwave oven to heat and froth the milk, you can get a pretty good NEAR latte or cap, better than the corner coffee shop who wears green aprons for sure.

The Aroma is at the lowest end of the scale but it will perform well though you will have a bit more fiddling to do when getting the most from that machine, it is among the lowest price machines that can REALLY do the job and will last you for a while with care and proper maintance.

I know this whole subject can be VERY confusing there is SO much to learn and a LOT of decisions to make.

If time is VERY short to his birthday, perhaps a nice box with a note explaining you are seriously researching an espresso setup for him and you want to make the right choice rather than have a machine in a box to open right away. I know I would be very receptive to that from my wife and it would be as much fun as receiving the  machine to participate in the decision.

I don't know what your relationship dynamics are so YMMV there.

Again, welcome to the board and take a deep breath, all the confusing terms will soon enough become more clear!

 
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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