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The Age Old Question, If It Were...
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > The Age Old...  
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strawberrykoi
Senior Member
strawberrykoi
Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 43
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3,...
Grinder: baratza vario, Hario...
Drip: chemex
Roaster: whirly pop
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 9:46pm
Subject: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

I'm falling deep... in an intense downward spiral of becoming more and more obsessed with the art of espresso making and the expense that goes with. Regrettably, like most people, my budget simply cannot handle my addiction and thus - I am faced with a horrible dilemma of choosing a CHEAP espresso machine or none at all.

I shall be graduating from an aeropress and moka pot to whatever the choice will be - which still produces a darn good cup of (espresso like) coffee, so the taste and quality is very important to me if I'll be leaving those two behind. I really don't mind buying a machine that takes practice and skill. The challenge intrigues me - but I DO want to have the *potential* to pull a good shot comparable to a more expensive machine (Yes - I know, I'm asking for too much...)

I'm thinking about getting a semi automatic? I have patience, and I WANT to learn, so if it will be a more difficult journey than a super automatic... than so be it. I thought about possible saving longer and looking into a manual machine (such as the La Pavoni)  But there are times it seems unnecessary... perhaps?

So now I am considering such machines as this,
Silvia Version 3
DeLonghi EC155
Gaggia 14101
Rancilio Silvia
Mypressi Twist

They all seem to get good reviews... or decent? Sometimes it's hard to "read". I am not looking for a machine that produces very much at a time (as I am the only coffee drinker in our house), which seems to be the drawback in some of their reviews...

I have a good grinder already, which I know is key. Now, for a good espresso maker... I hope. I have a budget of $600 or so... eep, I know that might be asking for "it" >_<
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jwark
Senior Member
jwark
Joined: 29 Dec 2012
Posts: 42
Location: TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Le'Lit PL041TQE
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 9:59pm
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

You can make good espresso with a cheaper machine but you need three other things. A good grinder, fresh roasted beans, and a decent tamper.

to get a grinder and decent machine, $600.00 will only cut if you buy used. However, you can get a new lelit with a PID for $599.00 or a silvia rancilio for $639 (with no PID) and you can make good shots with either. I'm sure there are more that others can recommend but after heavy research trying to get something at $500.00 I ended up forking out a grand for the lelit PL041TQE with a lelit grinder, a bottomless portafilter, and a good tamper.

I've seen people selling a decent grinder and a sylvia used many times. However, I rarely see anyone wanting to sell their lelit. That may just be because there's a lot less of them out there, though.  I've also seen some very nice machines on craiglist used too like an expobar for $800.00 that retails for almost 2 grand. If you look there you can find something usually but I didn't want to risk buying used with no warranty. I know a lot of people here have had very positive experiences buying used, though.

 
“It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.”  - Jack Handy
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sn_85
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 134
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Andreja Premium
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:19pm
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

I know you say you have a good grinder but out of curiosity what kind of grinder do you have?  I will be easier to make a recommendation knowing what kind of gear you have.
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strawberrykoi
Senior Member
strawberrykoi
Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 43
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3,...
Grinder: baratza vario, Hario...
Drip: chemex
Roaster: whirly pop
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:41pm
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

Thank you! If the lelit is a better choice, I might be able to make that happen. It's coming up as only about $200 more than I mentioned. I would be happy to search secondhand, but mainly I need a particular machine to search for as a goal in mind :)
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jwark
Senior Member
jwark
Joined: 29 Dec 2012
Posts: 42
Location: TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Le'Lit PL041TQE
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:14pm
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

I thought you said your budget was $600.00 so I'm not understanding what you mean that it's $200.00 more than you mentioned. The lelit PL041TQE sells for 599.99 at 1st-line.com. I saw another site selling it for $549.00 before too.

I don't know if it's better but everyone says it's on par with the Sylvia. To get a Sylvia with a PID is going to be probably around $800.00. That's why I went with a lelit. There are you tube videos of people making shots with Lelits and with Sylvias if you want to go look. They basically both make great shots. I would stay away from delonghi and I have no experience with gaggia.

 
“It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.”  - Jack Handy
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strawberrykoi
Senior Member
strawberrykoi
Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 43
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3,...
Grinder: baratza vario, Hario...
Drip: chemex
Roaster: whirly pop
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:20pm
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

Oh, ok - perfect! The one site I brought up said just over $800... it must have been a bad choice from my search engine! Thank you again :)
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jwark
Senior Member
jwark
Joined: 29 Dec 2012
Posts: 42
Location: TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Le'Lit PL041TQE
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:32pm
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

Good deal. Just remember it is an entry level machine, it's just a good one at that price point. The sylvia is entry level too. One negative thing people have pointed out about the lelit is it has a 57 mm portafilter which is not standard. So, if you plan to upgrade you can't use your portafilter from the lelit on another machine.

I personally feel the quality of shots I am getting out of mine is incredibly high. Maybe not as high as a $3,000 setup and definitely not as convenient since it's single boiler but, like I said, the shots are great and I can make great microfoam with it. With that said I am a novice and never had anything better than $200.00 crappy machine before I bought my lelit. You might want to wait until someone more experienced replies as they may have some better suggestions.

You can also buy one without the PID but I've found it's well worth the extra $150.00. Although a lot of people debate the usefulness of them. If you don't mind temperature surfing then no need to get a PID.

 
“It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.”  - Jack Handy
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
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 Fri Jan 4, 2013, 6:54am
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

I've seen used Oscars going for less than $400. Granted they always need a little love, but nothing major.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,356
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Fri Jan 4, 2013, 7:13am
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

Grinder, grinder, grinder. You state you already have a good grinder. What is it?

 
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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 Fri Jan 4, 2013, 8:42am
Subject: Re: The Age Old Question, If It Were...
 

strawberrykoi Said:

I'm falling deep... in an intense downward spiral of becoming more and more obsessed with the art of espresso making and the expense that goes with. Regrettably, like most people, my budget simply cannot handle my addiction and thus - I am faced with a horrible dilemma of choosing a CHEAP espresso machine or none at all.

Posted January 3, 2013 link

Not a horrible dilema.

strawberrykoi Said:

I shall be graduating from an aeropress and moka pot to whatever the choice will be - which still produces a darn good cup of (espresso like) coffee, so the taste and quality is very important to me if I'll be leaving those two behind. I really don't mind buying a machine that takes practice and skill. The challenge intrigues me - but I DO want to have the *potential* to pull a good shot comparable to a more expensive machine (Yes - I know, I'm asking for too much...)

Posted January 3, 2013 link

No, you're not.

strawberrykoi Said:

I'm thinking about getting a semi automatic?

Posted January 3, 2013 link

Well, what else would yo get?

strawberrykoi Said:

I have patience, and I WANT to learn, so if it will be a more difficult journey than a super automatic... than so be it.

Posted January 3, 2013 link

Making espresso is like learning to drive a car -- there are a lot of little steps that seem daunting when you're 15-1/2, and you think you'll never be able to do it!  The only think that keeps you going is that your parents can drive, and so you swallow your panic and get behind the wheel.  But guess what?  Now, you just jump in the car and drive!  Espresso is the same thing . . .

strawberrykoi Said:

I thought about possible saving longer and looking into a manual machine (such as the La Pavoni)  But there are times it seems unnecessary... perhaps?

Posted January 3, 2013 link

Manual, level machines pull different shots, and -- perhaps like a car with a manual transmission -- require more attention.  My first-ever espresso machine was a Pavoni Europicola, and it almost destroyed my love for espresso.  I have a manual lever now, too, but I rarely use it.  That said, lots of people here LOVE levers.  It's simply another method, and one of personal preference . . .

strawberrykoi Said:

So now I am considering such machines as this,
Silvia Version 3
DeLonghi EC155
Gaggia 14101 what is this in English?
Rancilio Silvia what -- versions 2???
Mypressi Twist

Posted January 3, 2013 link

strawberrykoi Said:

They all seem to get good reviews...

Posted January 3, 2013 link

No they don't.

strawberrykoi Said:

I have a good grinder already, which I know is key. Now, for a good espresso maker... I hope. I have a budget of $600 or so... eep, I know that might be asking for "it" >_<

Posted January 3, 2013 link

What do you have for a grinder?

Get a Le'Lit or a Gaggia Classic.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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