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entry level espresso machine
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Senior Member


Joined: 21 Oct 2010
Posts: 3
Location: ottawa
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:44am
Subject: entry level espresso machine
 

I want to get my "new to espresso" nephew a used, under $100 espresso maker.  I see  Gran Gaggia, Krups, Breville, Delonghi brands - can anyone please comment on which of those brands makes a reasonable entry level espresso maker?  Thanks
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,031
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:16am
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

Real espresso makers are boilers under pressure and not cheap like a drip coffee machine.  You also need a grinder to make espresso.  You can get a hand grinder from Amazon for 40 (Hario MSS-1B Hand Grinder Mini Mill Slim)and a used starbucks barista (rebranded saeco aroma) for 60 to 100 on craigslist.  There are often needing work but you can get lucky and find one that never got used.

 
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
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 Tue Feb 5, 2013, 1:43pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

Why does everyone recommend the Hario Mini over the Skerton, I'm just curious?

Also, you can find a used Saeco/Starbucks machine which is definitely a real espresso machine, though comes with a pressurized portafilter. You can usually find them for $70 or less, which puts it right into your budget. You can upgrade later to a non-pressurized portafilter and a nice tamper when your budget expands a little. I used several of these machines and they're quite capable with practice.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Expertise: I live coffee

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Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 3:52pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

I think the Mini/Slim is slightly cheaper, and of course it has a smaller profile. I'm pretty sure that most reviews comparing the two (Slim v Skerton) rate them about equal inre grind quality though.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,381
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 4:03pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

emradguy Said:

I think the Mini/Slim is slightly cheaper, and of course it has a smaller profile. I'm pretty sure that most reviews comparing the two (Slim v Skerton) rate them about equal inre grind quality though.

Posted February 5, 2013 link

And it's sealed, no beans/chaff popping out while grinding.
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tinytot2
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Joined: 31 Dec 2012
Posts: 113
Location: Wisconsin
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Vario W
Drip: Breville YouBrew
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 5:04pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

I have a Starbucks Barista and it has served me well, though the upgrade bug has hit me.

It's a nice little entry level machine that you can easily ramp up a bit by getting an unpressurized portafilter.
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biochemgawd
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Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 85
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: BDB
Grinder: Vario
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 5:44pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

I just bought a used Gaggia baby ($99) and a hario mini slim grinder ($38) for traveling and it is making exceptional espresso (and lattes). Freshly roasted beans are crucial!
John
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DaninMaryland
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Joined: 3 Jan 2013
Posts: 79
Location: US
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2 Silvia
Grinder: Vario-W
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 3:01pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

biochemgawd Said:

I just bought a used Gaggia baby ($99) and a hario mini slim grinder ($38) for traveling and it is making exceptional espresso (and lattes). Freshly roasted beans are crucial!
John

Posted February 5, 2013 link

your post reminded me of a question i had a bit ago and forgot to ask.  I read a lot about people buying a seperate machine for "travel".  are you telling me you pack up and bring an espresso machine on trips?  if so, are we talking bringing a machine along for a quick 2 day trip?  1 week trip to the  beach, etc??

that seems excessive, whcih sounds about right for the forum, lol.

i read about someone buying a used silvia for travel.  please help me understand, i hope i am missing something?
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biochemgawd
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Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 85
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: BDB
Grinder: Vario
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 3:16pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

Hi Dan,

You haven't missed anything, it's all about perspective. You are currently at the beginning of your espresso journey.

I am on my 11th espresso machine, and have previously owned several steam toys, then a Francis X3, Silvia, Lelit with PID and now a Breville DB. I started with Starbucks and grocery store beans and now use only Blue Bottle, Intelligencia, and others that are freshly roasted.

At each stage of my journey (even with the $18 steam toys!), I was happy because I thought I was making the best espresso/lattes ever. But as I learned and tasted better coffee I upped my game. Now, I make the best espresso/lattes ever! ;-)

The downside of this is that I can no longer drink most of the nasty "espresso" offered by the vast majority of coffee shops. So, spending $150 on a travel espresso setup makes perfect sense. I bring it along whenever I am going to be away for more than a few days and there are no excellent coffee houses nearby. Definitely for a 1 week trip to the beach!

The good news (that I just realized) is that you can make very good espresso for $150 if you have the right technique and beans.

John
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Iluvdabean
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Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,271
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
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Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:03pm
Subject: Re: entry level espresso machine
 

Correction:

Rancillio Silvia isnt a steam toy!

biochemgawd Said:

Hi Dan,

You haven't missed anything, it's all about perspective. You are currently at the beginning of your espresso journey.

I am on my 11th espresso machine, and have previously owned several steam toys, Francis X3, Silvia, Lelit with PID and now a Breville DB. I started with Starbucks and grocery store beans and now use only Blue Bottle, Intelligencia, and others that are freshly roasted.

At each stage of my journey (even with the $18 steam toys!), I was happy because I thought I was making the best espresso/lattes ever. But as I learned and tasted better coffee I upped my game. Now, I make the best espresso/lattes ever! ;-)

The downside of this is that I can no longer drink most of the nasty "espresso" offered by the vast majority of coffee shops. So, spending $150 on a travel espresso setup makes perfect sense. I bring it along whenever I am going to be away for more than a few days and there are no excellent coffee houses nearby. Definitely for a 1 week trip to the beach!

The good news (that I just realized) is that you can make very good espresso for $150 if you have the right technique and beans.

John

Posted February 6, 2013 link

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