Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Beginner looking for suggestions
Great Espresso at Home
Curated selection of the best machines from La Spaziale, Izzo, Quick Mill, La Marzocco & more.
www.clivecoffee.com
 
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 > Beginner looking...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Author Messages
splur
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 4:07pm
Subject: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

I know, I'm sure one of these pop up every day, I've read a couple already.  I debated whether to hijack an existing one or make my own, I went with making my own thread for input (sorry).  I've recently discovered the world of espressos and espresso-based drinks; although I have been drinking them for ages at Starbucks without thinking about how they actually make it.  Before you suggest I spend thousands of dollars; my espresso pallet is as defined as the next average person.  I need to stop my expensive habit of going to Starbucks every day.

What I've already learned so far:
- Grinder is key, machine is almost secondary to it.
- $500 dollars simply isn't enough for a good espresso (too bad)
- Boiler over thermoblock (proper temperature believability and stability)
- Manual over fully automatic (more cons towards a fully automatic)

Unfortunately, every review for any grinder or espresso machine I've read have had both amazing reviews and the worst reviews possible.  This goes for anything from the 60$ Mr. Coffee espresso maker to the 700$ Rancilio Silvia.  The reviews range even more for grinders.

What I care about:
- Not having to replace the damn thing within a year of purchase, if I'm paying more money, I want it to last.
- Not requiring modification, like all those DIY make your cheap burr grinder better guides.
- Ease; I don't mind a manual espresso maker, but I don't want to be cleaning it weekly or having to worry about stuff like that.

My budget: ~$500-600

Usage:
Most likely at the moment 100% espresso which I may frequently dilute to make an Americano separately.  However, I will most likely delve into creating some other drinks with the espresso, so the milk frother would be important.

My considerations
The machine:
Gaggia Classic ($389, aluminum boiler concerns me, but seems solid otherwise)
Gaggia New Baby ($299, cheaper made?)
Breville BRE800ESXL ($295)
Le'Lit PL041 ($429) - added

The grinder:
Gaggia MDF ($249)
Baratza Preciso ($239 refurb)
LeLit PL53 ($269)
Rancilio Rocky ($339, way overbudget, would require a cheaper espresso machine)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 4:44pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

I guess you don't realize but all coffee machines have to be cleaned.  I back flush daily and soak the screens weekly.  

The only grinder that I would recommend off your list is Baratza Preciso ($239 refurb).  Gaggia classic would be the only single boiler I would get off your list but you will have to learn the temp surf.

 
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
splur
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 5:13pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I guess you don't realize but all coffee machines have to be cleaned.  I back flush daily and soak the screens weekly.  

The only grinder that I would recommend off your list is Baratza Preciso ($239 refurb).  Gaggia classic would be the only single boiler I would get off your list but you will have to learn the temp surf.

Posted December 27, 2012 link

I'm okay with that kind of cleaning, I was more talking about dismantling and doing a thorough clean.  Do you clean your grinders regularly even if you don't switch beans?

I'm considering shelling out a bit more on either the grinder or machine, maybe a Baratza Vario.  I'm assuming by previous advice, shelling out on a grinder would be more beneficial than the machine, but in the case between a Preciso and Vario, is it worth it for a beginner or is it a waste? (like someone buying a 1000$ video card to play tetris on the computer)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,036
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 5:23pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

From that list, the Classic!  Not the Baby.

http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaBabyClassandTwinBaby.html

All of the SBDU machines will benefit from a PID for temperature control.  If in not necessary to start, and you may learn more without it initially.  It is a great upgrade.

Preciso refurb as noted.  Vario refurb if you want to splurge.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,030
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 27, 2012, 5:33pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

The preciso is a good little grinder but if you can stretch to the vario you would be good for quite a long time.

You  should look at good used machines to get the most you can and try to get out of the SBDU class machine temp surfing as fast as possible.

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


Joined: 27 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 5:57pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

calblacksmith Said:

The preciso is a good little grinder but if you can stretch to the vario you would be good for quite a long time.

You  should look at good used machines to get the most you can and try to get out of the SBDU class machine temp surfing as fast as possible.

Posted December 27, 2012 link

Yeah, I'm really considering the Vario even if it bumps me up in the 700$ range.  If it lasts and makes good espresso grind then I'm willing to invest.  I wish I could convince myself to just shell out on a proper machine that didn't require temperature surfing, but that would push me into the 1000$ range!

So currently gaggia classic and baratza vario ($388 + $360)

Comments on a Le'Lit PL041?  Worth the extra 50$ over the gaggia classic?

Would anyone be able to suggest a machine w/ grinder alternative in the same price range?  Or is that frowned upon?  I mean the idea of having the grinder built in would be awesome to save space and increase convenience, but all the reviews I've read on the lower end machine/grinder combos (mostly retail) are that the grinders don't even grind fine enough (why in the world would they build in a grinder that wasn't sufficient?)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
CoffeeRon
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 758
Location: Eatonville, Wa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 7:36pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

It may help to look at it like this- if you go with the Preciso, then when the time comes that you start looking for an HX machine you will most likely be looking to upgrade the grinder as well. with the Vario it would not be an issue.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
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 27, 2012, 9:01pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

splur Said:

- Manual over fully automatic (more cons towards a fully automatic)

Posted December 27, 2012 link

Close, but no cigar.  

"Manual" is a machine with NO PUMP.  A "full automatic" differs from a semi-automatic ONLY in that the water flow shuts off by itself after a pre-programmed volume of water has been dispensed through the group head.  

Look here, and read carefully.

splur Said:

My considerations
The machine:
Gaggia Classic ($389, aluminum boiler concerns me, but seems solid otherwise)
Gaggia New Baby ($299, cheaper made?)
Breville BRE800ESXL ($295)

Le'Lit PL041 ($429) - added

Posted December 27, 2012 link

OK, two down, and either of the remaining ones will be fine.

splur Said:

The grinder:
Gaggia MDF ($249)
Baratza Preciso ($239 refurb)
LeLit PL53 ($269)
Rancilio Rocky ($339, way overbudget, would require a cheaper espresso machine)

Posted December 27, 2012 link

Again, either one . . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
splur
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Dec 27, 2012, 9:11pm
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

(

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Close, but no cigar.  

"Manual" is a machine with NO PUMP.  A "full automatic" differs from a semi-automatic ONLY in that the water flow shuts off by itself after a pre-programmed volume of water has been dispensed through the group head.  

Look here, and read carefully.

Posted December 27, 2012 link

Aha!  I mispoke, semi-automatic over super-automatic, although this does clarify the categories of machines a lot.

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

OK, two down, and either of the remaining ones will be fine.
Again, either one . . . .

Posted December 27, 2012 link

So this deal at 1st-line (Click Here (www.1st-line.com)) has the PL041QE + PL53 for $599?

Should I choose that over the gaggia classic and baratza vario for $748 (amazon/WLL + baratza refurb)?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
revolver1978
Senior Member
revolver1978
Joined: 11 Dec 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky Doserless
Vac Pot: --
Drip: --
Roaster: --
Posted Fri Dec 28, 2012, 6:10am
Subject: Re: Beginner looking for suggestions
 

I was in your same quandry not too long ago. I ended up spending a little more (and admittedly taking a bit of a risk) with a Crossland CC1. I like it, but it is out of your price range. In making the decision, I did pick up a used Gaggia Classic and test-drive both. (I figured I could always return the CC1 or resell the Classic.)

The Classic is a charming little machine. The build / appearance is a little dated - the cover isn't firmly attached to the inner components, such that there is a little flex. Its hard to describe - the Classic feels sturdy and solid, it just has flex in the case. The Breville I was replacing had no flex to the parts, but did not feel as substantial.

The Classic Case, with it's open reveals, does allow for any moisture that may build up inside it to air-dry. The cup warmer does a good job (the Crossland Cup warmer is a joke.) It's got some annoyances - the steam knob is perfectly smooth, which can be hard to work with damp hands. It also has a stock panarello, which may or may not be to your liking. The boiler heats up very quickly, but I run some water through the portafilter to heat it up.

The best part is they are plentiful supply as refurbs or used. When/if you tire of it you can probably unload the Classic and lose almost nothing.

As far as grinders go, I picked up a used Rocky doserless for under $250. I had no grinder before, so to me the improvement has been night and day. I wouldn't kick it out of the running if you can get a good deal on one, but I probably wouldn't buy it new when there are other grinders just a good or better for the same money.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Beginner looking...  
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.
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repair - Parts - Sales
Factory Authorized &
Trained Technician
www.espressocare.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. (0.480914115906)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+