Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
New to Espresso
Donate to Coffee Kids
Coffee Kids works with farming communities around the world, improving lives. Donate today.
www.coffeekids.org
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > New to Espresso  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
asou
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Nov 2012
Posts: 7
Location: PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Nov 12, 2012, 5:01pm
Subject: New to Espresso
 

Hey!

Well, I just joined coffee geek and this is my first post. For a little more than a year now I've been addicted to coffee and have been running to Starbucks 5-6 times a week. Many people say their coffee sucks and it's better off if you get an espresso machine yourself. So, I would spend around $5 of coffee every time I visit and that would add up to $1,200-$1,440 a year! I figure I'd be saving a lot of money if I get a machine for myself. I've been reading and watching many videos.

Since I'm a full time student, I can't spend a huge amount of cash at once. I've decided to go on beginner espresso machines made by Gaggia. The point of this post is to ask which one I should get, I do have a few in mind.

  • Gaggia Dose
  • Gaggia Evolution
  • Gaggia Classic
    w/ Gaggia MDF Burr Grinder

Or should I just get a super-automatic, Gaggia Unica, however it isn't really popular and I haven't found a nice site with reviews for the product. What do you think I should get? I hope this post wasn't too lengthy... thanks in advance!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
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 Mon Nov 12, 2012, 5:22pm
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

This has been covered many many many times.  These were just the first 3 threads I googled across and a good how to buy article. Please read the following links then ask your questions.


"How to Buy an Espresso Machine"
"First machine - 300-400$"
"For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?"
"Decent Espresso Machines for $300"

 
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
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
MikeReilly
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 307
Location: Vancouver Island
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cimbali Junior Gaggia...
Grinder: Pharos CC45 Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Behmor, I-Roast 2, Popper
Posted Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:06pm
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

I'd go with the cheaper of the Gaggia machines and splurge on a Baratza Vario or an Orphan Espresso Pharos grinder.  You'll get much better results with a better grinder.  There's some learning to do when you use the Gaggias (temperature surf) but they are ok.  You have to spend too much, imho, to get a 3 way valve machine.  I'd just go low end on the machine itself and maybe upgrade to an HX or DB machine in a few years when you can afford to.

Edit: one thing that is worth while if you can afford it is a machine with an adjustable OPV so you can adjust your brew pressure.  There's a Gaggia group on google groups that has a lot of info.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
asou
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Nov 2012
Posts: 7
Location: PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:57pm
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

This has been covered many many many times.  These were just the first 3 threads I googled across and a good how to buy article. Please read the following links then ask your questions.


"How to Buy an Espresso Machine"
"First machine - 300-400$"
"For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?"
"Decent Espresso Machines for $300"

Posted November 12, 2012 link

Thanks a lot for those links! Most of the info from there was what I basically already knew, but they gave me a clearer insight on the grinders.

MikeReilly Said:

I'd go with the cheaper of the Gaggia machines and splurge on a Baratza Vario or an Orphan Espresso Pharos grinder.  You'll get much better results with a better grinder.  There's some learning to do when you use the Gaggias (temperature surf) but they are ok.  You have to spend too much, imho, to get a 3 way valve machine.  I'd just go low end on the machine itself and maybe upgrade to an HX or DB machine in a few years when you can afford to.

Edit: one thing that is worth while if you can afford it is a machine with an adjustable OPV so you can adjust your brew pressure.  There's a Gaggia group on google groups that has a lot of info.

Posted November 12, 2012 link

I was actually planning on doing that. I'm likely going to get the Gaggia Pure and Rancilio Rocky Doserless. However, do you have any recommendations on entry-level brands for the machines? Maybe the Saeco Aroma... but the portafilter's pressurized. Hmmm
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 2:44am
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

IMHO, consider saving your pennies a bit. Look to see what vendors are close to you.

A Gaggia Classic is a decent machine from what I've read in the reviews of it. The Rocky grinder is a decent grinder, but there are stepless grinders out there for that price which are designed for espresso.
I owned a Rocky myself and while it is a great grinder, being confined to steps and having to updose or downdose to get the desired shot times is a pain in the rear, not to mention dosing affects flavor.

Read the reviews on this site and see what people have to say about the machines you are considering, both grinder and espresso machine.

I don't recommend buying "Entry Level" new, because for those few extra dollars you can get something with a bit more features. Like a unpressurized portafilter and a 3-way valve to make it easy to knock out pucks.

If you consider buying a machine with a pressurized portafilter, you can use pretty much any coffee grinder with it... At a sacrifice of taste.

Like Mike said, a better grinder will produce a better shot. Of course, this doesn't apply when using pressurized portafilters. It certainly does with unpressurized ones.

You can buy a used grinder of fairly high quality for fairly cheap if you know where to look. There isn't that much that can go wrong with a grinder, short of the motor being toast or the burrs being worn out.
If you can swing that and you don't mind replacing the burrs on the grinder (About $50) and cleaning it out, you can start there and put more budget into your machine instead.

I'd say that it is better to buy a machine new than take your chances and buy one used, unless it was pampered by someone knowledgeable here on the forums.

In all honesty though, if I were in your shoes, I'd consider starting out with an Electric Bialetti Moka Express or Mukka Express Moka pot. (The latter if you like the flexibility of making cappuccinos) These make very strong coffee,
but not espresso. They'll work with any grinder out there and you can use them anywhere. Put aside the $5 you are spending and save your pennies. Once you've saved up about roughly $1000, you can pretty much set yourself
up a complete espresso station without making any serious compromises which could affect the taste of your drink.

BTW, That $1000 includes grinder, machine and all of the accessories you'd want to include to make yourself lattes, cappuccinos and other drinks. When I'm talking about accessories, I'm talking about
a knockbox, a precision scale for dosing, a 12 oz and a 20 oz steaming pitcher, a steaming thermometer, a grouphead brush, cleaning cloths, a tamper and a tamping stand so you don't damage the counter.

Good luck!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
back to top
 View Profile Contact via ICQ Contact via MSN Messenger Link to this post
NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,052
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 5:02am
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

We haven't covered the basic questions yet:

  • What kind of drinks do you prefer? Espresso or espresso based milk drinks like cappuccino or latte?
  • How many drinks will you be probably making? Per session? Per day?
  • What's your budget and does that include the grinder?

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
toyman
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 50
Location: PA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever Plus,...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Cuisinart
Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 7:10am
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

I'm new to the forum also, but after a good bit of research, I decided on a Gaggia Classic and Baratza Preciso.  The package was right around $600 and has been fantastic.  From what I've read, part of this journey is developing your palate.  I took that to mean that, as a newby, you don't even know what good espresso or coffee tastes like!  Well, to some extent, I agree.  The espresso I've had at Starbucks, which I assumed was good, really wasn't.  Some of the espresso bars I've gone to, post research, have been better, and now I feel I know why.  Some are still, just ok, and I have a lot more to drink to know what's what.  Anyway, from one newby to another, I feel a good entry level machine is a great place to not only develop your skills, which are more necessary than I believed, but also your palate.  There's so many variables that it can get frustrating or overwhelming.  I will say that, without the research, I would still be using my Delhongi EC155 and pulling multiple shots from one dose.  (and content, by the way)  Anyway, save some money on the initial machine(s), get yourself a nice tamper and lots of beans to try.  You'll be dumping a few down the drain as you progress thru the journey.  Take this all for what its worth, an opinion, and good luck.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
asou
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Nov 2012
Posts: 7
Location: PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 7:38pm
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

@squalin
No vendors near me, more than 2 hours away is the closest, lol! I live in a small city.

I would like an unpressurized portafilter. For my first, it's going to be around the $150-$200 for the machine and $350 at the most for the grinder. You said I would be able to find high quality grinders for fairly cheap. What brands/models are you referring to? As of right now, I'm thinking bout the Rocky, Breville Smart Grinder, and possibly the Vario if I can find a refurbished one at a decent price. So my budget for the two machines would be $500-$550. I would spend a little more if I find a good deal though. Then when I have saved up enough, I'll get a nice DB.

Should I just wait and save up a lump sum and get the DB and a nice grinder or start off now with an "entry-level" machine and a nice grinder... decisions, decisions. Thanks.

@NobbyR
  • I prefer 50/50 on Espresso and Espresso based milk drinks. Whatever I'm in the mood in :D
  • 1-2 drinks per session, about 2 times a day.
  • For right now I'm thinking $500-$550 for the two. But I'm thinking of just waiting to save up for a nice lump sum for a good DB and a nice grinder instead of "entry-level" first and wait till I get a better machine.
    Thanks.

@toyman
What part of PA do you live in? I kind of like that combo. Initially, that was what I thought at first. You're right, I don't know what good espresso tastes like! I thought Starbucks was pretty good IMO. There's 5 cafés in my city, so I'll go get a shot from each of them and compare. But I still won't know what's really good. Thanks.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:31pm
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

asou Said:

For my first, it's going to be around the $150-$200 for the machine and $350 at the most for the grinder.

Posted November 13, 2012 link

I think you would be hard pressed to find a machine that comes with an unpressurized portafilter for $150-$200. See if you can double or even triple your machine budget. Worst case scenario, see if you can
find a used machine of higher value. I don't usually recommend doing this because you don't know what you are getting and you don't know what to look for. However, if you buy something from this
forum, perhaps you can get a decent machine for a decent price which you know has been backflushed regularly, cleaned and serviced when needed instead of getting someones old clunker.

asou Said:

You said I would be able to find high quality grinders for fairly cheap. What brands/models are you referring to?

Posted November 13, 2012 link

Brands like Gaggia, Baratza, Lelit, Nuova Simonelli, Mazzer, Macap, Compak, Rancilio.. They're all fairly common in the industry. For your volume, a doserless grinder will work fine. If you have
any doubts on what to buy after seeing an ad in your local craigslist of Kijiji, make a post on the grinders forum and ask. Go down to your local coffee shop and unless they use a super-automatic,
make a note of which grinders they use. Also read up on doser vs doserless grinder and see what you would prefer. I personally recommend going doserless, but that's IMHO.

asou Said:

I'm thinking bout the Rocky, Breville Smart Grinder, and possibly the Vario if I can find a refurbished one at a decent price.

Posted November 13, 2012 link

The Breville Smart Grinder is a an entry level espresso-capable grinder, but if I had the choice, I'd pick the Vario over both of them, Rocky second when it comes to grind quality.

asou Said:

Should I just wait and save up a lump sum and get the DB and a nice grinder or start off now with an "entry-level" machine and a nice grinder...

Posted November 13, 2012 link

Last time I responded to this question, we inadvertently caused a discussion which completely freaked the OP out. :-)

IMHO, Get started with a good machine and grinder which will give you some decent rewards for your hard work. See if you like making your own espresso and get familiar with screwing up. :-)
Find out what works and what doesn't work. Get your feet in there with a $750 budget at the very minimum! Also keep in mind that you should also budget for all of the little accessories you'll need
if you want to make milk drinks, clean your machine, etc. Any espresso equipment place will be quite glad to sell that stuff to you. Things like shot glasses, steaming pitchers, a grouphead brush,
espresso machine detergent, grinder cleaner, decalcifier tablets, steaming thermometer, knockbox, tamper, tamping stand, shot timer, dosing scale, etc.

A used Baratza Vario is an excellent place to start, then something like a SBDU (Single Boiler Dual Use) machine with a non-pressurized portafilter is a good way to get into this hobby economically.

asou Said:

I prefer 50/50 on Espresso and Espresso based milk drinks. Whatever I'm in the mood in :D
1-2 drinks per session, about 2 times a day.

Posted November 13, 2012 link

A SBDU would be fine for your needs. The pain point when it comes to SBDU machines is switching from brewing to steaming. Since you won't be doing that all the time, it's not a big deal. The volume of drinks
you are looking at makes a SBDU machine a good match for your needs.

asou Said:

But I'm thinking of just waiting to save up for a nice lump sum for a good DB and a nice grinder instead of "entry-level" first and wait till I get a better machine.

Posted November 13, 2012 link

Well, IMHO a double boiler machine would be complete and total overkill for your needs. I personally noticed more of a change in my espresso when I went from the Rocky to the Mazzer instead of going from the
Rancilio Silvia to the Izzo Alex. IMHO, Stick with a middle of the line consumer grinder for now. If you spend too much time saving up for an expensive grinder and machine, you won't be able to have any decent
coffee at all!

Someone on this forum once said to me, "Buy Quality". At least that way when you go to sell your equipment to trade up, you can get some money back out of it to put towards your next machine when you upgrade.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
back to top
 View Profile Contact via ICQ Contact via MSN Messenger Link to this post
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 Wed Nov 14, 2012, 2:20am
Subject: Re: New to Espresso
 

Don't know how far you are from Philly, but you might want to check this bad boy out:

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/app/3308893568.html
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > New to Espresso  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Cafe Espresso Machines
Video reviews, nationwide installation, leasing options... Nuova Simonelli, Rancilio, La Marzocco.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.590674877167)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+