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which machine to buy
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > which machine to...  
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,676
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 Dec 13, 2012, 7:45am
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

The grinder is FAR more important than the machine though the machine is what everyone wants to be the star of the show, it isn't.

Buy at least a Vario, do NOT skimp on the grinder, you will get MUCH better espresso with a Vario and your machine than splitting your money on a barely able to grind for espresso grinder and a machine that, for all real reasons, is the same as what you have now.

Buy the grinder, skip the machine "upgrade" (it isn't so much of a upgrade but a side step) then save your money for a better machine when the one you have does finally go belly up.

You asked for advice on how to improve your espresso, that is the best use of your money to reach that goal.

 
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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tdifraia
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM67
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bunn
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2012, 9:46am
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

Looking to purchase my first Espresso machine. I prefer milk based drinks, Lattes and cappuccinos, and an occasional strait shot. My wife and I have 2 cups in the AM and another cup after dinner. My total budget is around $600. The 2 automatic machines I have come to like from reviews are 1: Breville BES860XL and
2: DeLonghi ESAM3300. Both have adjustable grinders and pretty good abilities to steam milk.
My questions are 1: What set up would you guys recommend I get in my Budget Range?
                           2: Would I be better of buying a Semi Auto and Grinder or one of the Autos in which I will be making mostly milk based drinks.
Based on reviews I was going to get a Gaggia Classic and a Baratza Encore, but figured where im making milk based drinks in which the espresso is mixed with milk, I would benefit from the convenience of a built in grinder as well as the better milk steamers on the Autos. I have never pulled a shot in my life, but willing to learn if its going to make me better drinks. Thanks
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,015
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:12am
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

Combo machines are bad, they store beans over a heat source and they do not put a good grinder in the combo machine.  They are disposable machines that make mediocre coffee at best.  If you really want good coffee you want the best grinder you can afford because it is really that important.  And a year ago I had never pulled a shot.  This site and youtube videos taught me how.

"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"

Grinders:

Hand grinders are the cheapest:
Hario Coffee Hand Grinder
OE LIDO Manual Coffee Grinder
OE PHAROS Hand Coffee Grinder
Baratza:
Prescio
Vario(w)
Used commercial:
Super jolly etc.

 
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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tdifraia
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM67
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bunn
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:41am
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

Thats the kind of info I need. I did not know that about Autos. Perhaps Im better off with a Gaggia Classic and the best grinder I can afford. I can learn how to froth and steam my milk. Thx
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,015
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:22am
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

All single boilers (gaggia, ranchilio etc) take a while to steam multiple drinks.  It might get old making a couple of drinks every morning.  My machine used is a good buy and is a steaming dragon, NS Oscar used is round 500.  Not pretty but that is part of what makes it a bargain.  But the ability to steam and pull at the same time can't be over rated for people that like more than one milk drink. I had not pulled a shot before but I really wanted a robust machine and I knew I liked milk drinks so I skipped the singles and started with an HX.  I am not sorry for one minute I skipped the single boiler.  I never drink plain espresso shots so I am always steaming.

Other option is getting a good grinder with 500 and spending about 100 on a used starbucks espresso machine from craigslist.  Get your feet wet then upgrade to a nicer/new HX or double boiler after you are sure you want to do it.

 
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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tdifraia
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM67
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bunn
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2012, 2:08pm
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

My wife may shoot me if I tell her Im going to spend $500 on a coffee beans grinder, but if I survive the initial screaming Ill have a many great mornings of sippin my espresso drinks!!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,015
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2012, 2:35pm
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

It is counter intuitive to spend more on the grinder but it is more noticeable change to espresso in the cup.  The machine just delivers water a lot of the flavor is from the grinder.  

Cheapo machine can make good espresso with a good grinder but you can have a 3k espresso machine and not get good espresso if you are using a cheapo grinder.  It is that important.

 
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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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
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 Dec 13, 2012, 2:37pm
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

pbraido Said:

Yes I was looking at that grinder and I found one for 229$ which falls within my price range Thanks
pbraido

Posted December 13, 2012 link

Don't do it . . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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pbraido
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Dec 2006
Posts: 9
Location: Sault Ste MArie Ontario
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Dec 13, 2012, 8:49pm
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

No I think I will spend a little more and get the Vario after reading these posts.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,024
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 Fri Dec 14, 2012, 7:16am
Subject: Re: which machine to buy
 

tdifraia Said:

... Perhaps Im better off with a Gaggia Classic and the best grinder I can afford ...

Posted December 13, 2012 link

Perhaps you'll be even far better off with the espresso machine you use now and an even better grinder. You could still upgrade your machine later on.

 
***
"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)
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