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Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Another Newbie...  
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LaDavid
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Dec 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Victoria BC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Nov 14, 2012, 8:02pm
Subject: Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
 

Never made an espresso in my life.  Buy a few at coffee shops - even then a latte is mostly a weekend treat.  

So my story is that I retire in a few weeks, I love coffee, and will suddenly have time to make a drink or two or more in the morning.  The time is right to buy a espresso machine and decent grinder (my kitchenaid is okay for drip coffee but imagine it is lacking for good espresso).  

My budget is up to 3K for both pieces and any other accessories - cheaper would be good
As noted I have never done this so should be relatively easy to learn, I'm not overly technical but like nice gear
Machine should look good in my kitchen - no plumbing in option though
we like milk drinks, americanos are good too but always add milk
We won't do large volume - in fact might be mostly a 3 or 4 days per week activity
I might not like this barista stuff so little nervous about diving into the deep end - the talk can seem a little technical and technique well will be new stuff to learn.

So appreciate the help, advice.

David
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:16pm
Subject: Re: Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
 

I suggest you take a drive to Seattle and go to Seattle coffee gear and get some hands on.  I think you are not that far away.  I believe it will let you know before you invest if you like the process.  Nothing beats hands on and taste testing.

 
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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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012, 2:53am
Subject: Re: Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
 

You have a healthy budget, so really you have many, many options to get a superb set up.  For that budget and usage you can forget the SBDU machines and concentrate on HX or DB options. Many threads on machine/grinder recommendations: you have about 1,200-1,700 for the machine and up to 1k for the grinder plus ~$200-250 tamper/knockbox/cleaning supplies. There are many options in this budget.
Although we quibble/nit pick on here about options, often a dealer can be just as helpful....just cross-reference their advice here.  I'd echo noob's advice. Talk to a dealer and then double check with questions here before sealing the deal.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,842
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 Thu Nov 15, 2012, 7:36am
Subject: Re: Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
 

Like the others said, you have a nice purse to start with. As Jason says, you don't need to spend a fortune on equipment but you do need to spend something. You seem to have no issue in this department. Congrats on having the funds available to you.

If you are willing to jump into this at that price point, the learning curve will be shorter for you than if you were starting out on starter equipment SBDU machines and a basic grinder. The espresso in the end will not be BETTER but it will be EASIER and QUICKER to get there with less frustration and wasted shots.

Better gear lends to better consistency and that leads to better espresso as little things make a big difference in espresso.

With your price point, plumb in is a real option. I know you state no plumb in but you do not need to connect to the house, you can use a water bottle and a pump with a drain bottle so the gear can really go anyplace and the ease of use factor with plumb in goes WAY up VS pour over.

Other things that make this MUCH easier is volumetric dosing. This will give you a consistent (there is that word again) volume for each shot and this makes the dialing in of the grinder and dose much easier VS using shot glasses or a scale under your cup as you pull the shot. Volumetric is not mandatory for great shots but it goes a long way to that end with the ease of use.

If you can change the spark plugs, timing belt and oil in your car, you will have NO problem with working on an espresso machine, thus opening the door to great deals on used commercial equipment which pops up on a fairly consistent basis and it represents a great price value ratio, or it can with careful shopping.

Do not be very quick to come to a decision, you need to know a bit a bout what you are going to be getting into  here and the more you know, the better your choice will be to fit into your wants/needs.

 
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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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,405
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 Thu Nov 15, 2012, 8:44am
Subject: Re: Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
 

First of all, David, welcome to CG.

calblacksmith Said:

Like the others said, you have a nice purse to start with. As Jason says, you don't need to spend a fortune on equipment but you do need to spend something. You seem to have no issue in this department. Congrats on having the funds available to you.

Posted November 15, 2012 link

It is true.  I say that -- quite a lot actually, or so it seems.  ;^)

OK, so your (perceived) requirements/limitations are as follows:

LaDavid Said:

My budget is up to 3K for both pieces and any other accessories - cheaper would be good
As noted I have never done this so should be relatively easy to learn, I'm not overly technical but like nice gear
Machine should look good in my kitchen - no plumbing in option though
we like milk drinks, americanos are good too but always add milk
We won't do large volume - in fact might be mostly a 3 or 4 days per week activity
I might not like this barista stuff so little nervous about diving into the deep end - the talk can seem a little technical and technique well will be new stuff to learn.

Posted November 14, 2012 link

David, I know you're in Victoria, and while the idea of traveling to Seattle is understandable, it's not really necessary either.  Get over to Richmond, BC and Espressotec (12120 Vulcan Way, Richmond, BC  V6V 1J8; Phone: (604) 244-7989).  They aren't the only Canadian vendor by any means, but they are relatively close to you, relative to say idrinkcoffee, which is located just outside Toronto.  

Both are highly regarded vendors.  The advantage to buying in Canada, versus the US, is that your warranty remains intact (among other things).  NOTE: all links to specific machines and grinders below are to Canadian vendors; prices are in Canadian dollars.

calblacksmith Said:

If you are willing to jump into this at that price point, the learning curve will be shorter for you than if you were starting out on starter equipment SBDU machines and a basic grinder. The espresso in the end will not be BETTER but it will be EASIER and QUICKER to get there with less frustration and wasted shots.  Better gear lends to better consistency and that leads to better espresso as little things make a big difference in espresso.

Posted November 15, 2012 link

Quite true.  I would skip the SBDU category all together, and focus on HX or DB machines.  For you, I'd actually suggest looking at a DB with a PID.  (If these initials are confusing, or don't make sense to you, look to this post on the various Types of Espresso Machines.)  For example, you might want to look at the Rocket 58 or the Izzo Alex Duetto II.  

Now let me quickly add there is nothing wrong with getting an HX.  You would need to learn how to "temperature surf," something which -- honestly -- is more complicated to explain than it is to actually do (it's actually quite easy), but seems to frighten many people until they actually do it for themselves.  Getting an HX would be less expensive, and permit you to spend more on the grinder -- which is, in reality, more important anyway.  If you doubt that, take a look at The 4 M's of Espresso (and while you're at it, Babbie's Rule of 15's).

A rock-solid HX is a great machine, capable of lasting years.  Take a look at machines like the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus, the Rancilio Epoca S1, the Izzo Alex II, Quick Mill Andreja Premium, or the Bezzera BZ10.

For a grinder, you can always save some money by looking to eBay or Craigslist and look for a Mazzer Super Jolly used, and then buy a new set of burrs.  Mazzers are known for being "bulletproof."  (Of course, you can always buy a new one!)  Other options would include the Compak K6, Ceado E6, Mazzer Mini-E, etc., etc.  Also, many of us have the Baratza Vario.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:12am
Subject: Re: Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
 

I agree you should buy canadian but you need a show room with lots of choices.  I do not know of one near you except for seattle and that is why I recommended there.

 
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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LaDavid
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Dec 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Victoria BC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Nov 17, 2012, 7:16pm
Subject: Re: Another Newbie Espresso Machine(s) recommendation
 

Just want to say thanks for all the replies - will try and check out Espressotec and Seattle Coffee (have watched a bunch of their videos).  I think a good first step for me will be to take an Espresso 101 course - there is a local company offering these.  Get my hands dirty.  Will keep reading and watching the videos.
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