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Best espresso machine on the market???
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Best espresso...  
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Belinda
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2012, 10:27am
Subject: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

Okay, so I sold my house which had a built-in Bosch machine (not bad). Used it every morning to fix my vanilla quad latte. I want to buy a high quality machine and also a cheaper decent machine for the office. Looking on Whole Lotta Latte at all the choices and getting overwhelmed. Gaggie, Pasquini, Saeco, Rocket, Jura...Help! I've also had a Rancilli which was a great machine.
Usage: Everyday, but typically not more than once a day. I do entertain on occasion.
Features desired: grinder (I buy beans), steamer, good sized reservoir, ease of cleaning and use, stainless steel components, ...
Drink: Latte, so need a good steamer
Budget: Home, $1000-2000, quality is most important; office, $200-350 or lower, but still want a good cup
Thank you!
Belinda
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:13am
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

Dear Belinda,

It appears that your budget is allowing you a great degree of choice in the matter and it sounds like the choice is getting overwhelming.

Since you are considering buying two machines, my best advice is to locate the commercial espresso machine maintenance shops in your area, talk to them, find out what brands they service, or with what brands they are familiar and what they recommend.  Your two machines are going to need annual maintenance, at least, and you may not want to have to ship them off or wait for days with one of them out of service if problems arise.  If you supply your office with real coffee and do not go the 'pods' route, you are going to need two espresso grinders and the shops may be able to get you a discount on buying two.

For convenience, may I suggest that your espresso units be 'plumbed in' to water supply and drainage lines in your kitchen and at work.  This will save a good deal of housekeeping.  They do not have to be 220 v, but I have an uninformed bias that 220v units heat up faster than 120v machines.

Gook Luck,

B
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jwoodyu
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jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 857
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:46am
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

Chris has two good machines in his buyers remorse section. I would go with the Duetto but the Rocket he has is a nice machine also. I added the bit about the rocket before someone yells at me about a DB snob :0)

 
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,391
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 22, 2012, 1:07pm
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

First of all, Belinda, welcome to CG.

Normally, I'd ask the

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

Posted December 12, 2011 link

Now you've answered some of them, but not others.  Bear with me:  there is NO SUCH THING as a single "best" machine.  It all depends upon YOU, upon your needs, your usage patterns, and your aesthetics.  Answers to these questions can help to narrow down the choices, but even once they're narrowed, there will be no single best, but rather a handful of "bests" from which to choose.

re: 6) -- does the $200-$350 office budget include a grinder?  If so, your office budget isn't big enough . . . it's not to say you need to spend thousands -- you don't!  But you do need to spend something, and $500 or so is minimum for new equipment.  Look at the Gaggia Classic (list $499, reg. $449, on sale $349), and pair it with a Baratza Preciso ($299).  OR, look at this deal on the Le'Lit PL041 espresso machine and PL53 grinder (reg. $698; on sale $599).

In terms of your home machine, the same question applies (as do all of the others).  Answer these, and you'll get a host of recommendations.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,245
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Thu Nov 22, 2012, 1:16pm
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

Mod note: Thread moved from Coffee: Machines and Brewing Methods to Espresso: Espresso Machines.

 
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Belinda
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Joined: 22 Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 8:05am
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

Thanks for the comments.
I wasn't clear enough: First, the "office" machine is just for me - I'm not supplying the office with coffee. In fact, I probably won't even use this machine on a daily basis. So, I don't think I need a $500 machine. A pod user might be fine. Secondly, I could plumb the machine I buy for my home but I don't think that is necessary. Like I said in my initial diatribe, I typically make one large latte in the a.m. and that's it for the day. I just want that latte to be excellent and therefore, I want to have a quality machine. :)
Does this help with your recommendations? I hope so! Once again I appreciate your feedback and hope you all had a good Tday yesterday.
Belinda
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Belinda
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Joined: 22 Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 8:12am
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

Forgot one thing, where is the Buyer's Remorse section? Thanks again!
B
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,111
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:11am
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

First, plumbing in is a matter of convenience.  It just gets old dumping water into the reservoir and carrying a full drip tray to the kitchen sink (which if you don't do before it's too full includes wiping trails of dirty coffee water off your floor)

Second, the buyer's remorse section is one the CCS website (Chris' Coffee Service).  here's a link http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/buyersremorse

Third, for work there are lots of options.  You can make strong coffee in an Aeropress (about $25), you can try to find a MyPressi Twist (they're out of business, but still highly recommended for quick single shots and available from places that haven't sold out yet), you can get a stovetop burner and use a Moka pot, get a Nespresso, get a SBDU machine like the Gaggia Baby, etc.  In most of those cases, you'll need a grinder, and for single doses in the office, a hand grinder is something to consider.  The Nespresso frother is decent quality and rings in at about $100 (I think).  It is sold separately as well, which is really nice.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:35am
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

I second the idea of aeropress or something small like that for the office with a hand grinder.  You can lock it in a drawer.

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

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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,391
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 Nov 23, 2012, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: Best espresso machine on the market???
 

Belinda, with respect, you still didn't answer my specific questions, BUT let me try to address some of comments.  Please take everything I say (and what everyone else says, too) with whatever grains of salt seem appropriate.  We each have our own experiences and biases that we bring to the table.  One of our biggest problems as a group, is that we are very serious about our coffee, its freshness, its quality.  As a result, many of the responses you have, and will, receive are of the how-to-build-a-watch type, rather than simply telling you the time.  Please bear with us.

First let's talk about the office.  

Belinda Said:

I wasn't clear enough: First, the "office" machine is just for me - I'm not supplying the office with coffee. In fact, I probably won't even use this machine on a daily basis. So, I don't think I need a $500 machine. A pod user might be fine.

Posted November 23, 2012 link


If you use the built-in search feature on this site, you'll quickly discover that pod machines are not held in high regard.  That said, a) they are convenient, and if you are making a vanilla-flavored drink, a pod should be just fine.  If, on the other hand, you actually want to make a quality espresso or, for lack of a better term, "regular" (coffee flavored) latte, a pod machine will prove disappointing, to say the least.  

If you are sticking with pods/capsules, however, you may wish to look at this machine, or something similar -- this, perhaps.

Next, let's talk about home:

Belinda Said:

I could plumb the machine I buy for my home but I don't think that is necessary. Like I said in my initial diatribe, I typically make one large latte in the a.m. and that's it for the day. I just want that latte to be excellent and therefore, I want to have a quality machine. :)

Posted November 23, 2012 link

Hmmmm . . . if you are in the market for a machine

Belinda Said:

to fix my vanilla quad latte

Posted November 22, 2012 link

I'm not sure how "serious" you want to get.  Be that as it may, if all you are making is ONE drink a day, then all you need is an SBDU machine, as opposed to an HX or DB machine.  If these terms don't make sense to you (yet), I'd recommend taking a few minutes to read "Types of Espresso Machines".  An SBDU is perfect for making one drink at a time, and there is no reason to spend $1,000-2,000.  If, on the other hand, you make more than one, or do any sort of entertaining, an SBDU can be a pain in the a$$, and you might want to look at something more substantial.

I can't answer that choice:  it's up to you.

For what you are making currently (one vanilla quad latte in the morning, period), I'd take a look at this Le'Lit Package on sale, or maybe an Ascaso Arc, and you can pair it with an Ascaso Grinder; maybe a Rancilio Silvia v3, if you're interested in resale value.

Are you familiar with the "4 M's of Espresso," or for that matter "Babbie's Rule of 15's"?  If not, take 30 seconds to read this.

You want a grinder that will handle more than you need.  If the budget is there, I'd look at the Baratza Vario.  If you want to go for something less, I'd look at the Baratza Preciso

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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