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Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
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Dapuma
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2013
Posts: 36
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 12, 2013, 9:16pm
Subject: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

Yes that is not the pinnacle of coffee but that is where I started out and a trip out to San Fran to Blue Bottle and also discovering Cartel Coffee in the local Phoenix area and I now know what good coffee tastes like, so I want to be able to make it at home, or at least come close

I have done the reseach and it sounds like the bare minimum I need to do for a grinder is going to be:  Baratza Encore, and perhaps the Virtuoso - but likely for this to be a baby step the Encore but I am open to some other suggestions

I do all the drink making and am fairly skilled at mixology (cocktails) so I enjoy making beverages, we mainly drink Latte's and my wife loves Mocha's -  so it will be mainly espresso pulls, steamed or frothed milk etc

I am thinking that maybe i should be buying a steaming wand seperatly or can an upgrade on the machine do it all?  I am not sure what kind of upgrade I need to make in regards to the machine, the steamer sucks badly on the EC-155 but it makes a decent espresso for what it is and the limited tools I have

I know upgrading the grinder alone will be a revelation, how much do I need to invest into a machine to get better espresso and what kind of wand (if at all) should I be looking at for a steaming wand if I am mainly doing lattes? (I do love espresso straight - if I can make them good enough, the ec-155 isnt quite there ;p)

thanks for the advice
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
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 Wed Feb 13, 2013, 6:27am
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

You're better off with a hand grinder, like the Hario Skerton until you can afford something like the Baratza Preciso. I had the Virtuoso and it did not grind consistently enough to make decent espresso. Though I have heard the Gaggia MDF is a decent grinder, and retails for about $199. The Preciso will give you room to grow for when you upgrade your machine. The EC-155 is a very limited machine, but it can be outfitted with a nonpressurized portafilter if it's modified.
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toyman
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 45
Location: PA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever Plus,...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Cuisinart
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 9:43am
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

Dapuma Said:

Yes that is not the pinnacle of coffee but that is where I started out and a trip out to San Fran to Blue Bottle and also discovering Cartel Coffee in the local Phoenix area and I now know what good coffee tastes like, so I want to be able to make it at home, or at least come close

I have done the reseach and it sounds like the bare minimum I need to do for a grinder is going to be:  Baratza Encore, and perhaps the Virtuoso - but likely for this to be a baby step the Encore but I am open to some other suggestions

I do all the drink making and am fairly skilled at mixology (cocktails) so I enjoy making beverages, we mainly drink Latte's and my wife loves Mocha's -  so it will be mainly espresso pulls, steamed or frothed milk etc

I am thinking that maybe i should be buying a steaming wand seperatly or can an upgrade on the machine do it all?  I am not sure what kind of upgrade I need to make in regards to the machine, the steamer sucks badly on the EC-155 but it makes a decent espresso for what it is and the limited tools I have

I know upgrading the grinder alone will be a revelation, how much do I need to invest into a machine to get better espresso and what kind of wand (if at all) should I be looking at for a steaming wand if I am mainly doing lattes? (I do love espresso straight - if I can make them good enough, the ec-155 isnt quite there ;p)

thanks for the advice

Posted February 12, 2013 link

That's exactly where I was in October of last year, blade grinder and EC-155.  I was happy with it until I had some good espresso.  I bit the bullet and bought a package that included a Gaggia Classic and Baratza Preciso.  I can't remember the exact price, but $600+ for the pair.  5 months later, I couldn't be happier.

Oh, and if you want to save for the espresso machine, get the grinder, a french presse or a cone pour over for a few dollars and enjoy them with some good beans.  There are a few mod's you can do to the EC155 also to 'get you by'.
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Dapuma
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2013
Posts: 36
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:26am
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

My mechanical skills are limited (that is putting it kindly) however I do not have a set budget per se, other than the Mrs. has to approve it

A $300 grinder will be a tough sell so I am not sure she will go for that and a machine at the same time, but my understanding is that the grinder will improve greatly what the EC-155 can put out even unmodified?

Assuming she okays the grinder and a new espresso machine, what machines should I be looking at?  If I could get a couple ideas at the $700 or less price for the machine (assume total budget of $1k)

Should I be looking at a seperate heating element or will $300-$700 get a good machine with a good frother / steamer for milk?  From reading my understanding is that the machines in that price range cannot heat the espresso and the steaming element, so if I needed to fire out 4 drinks I would need to have a seperate steamer / frother ?  

We do entertain a fair amount so I would like to be able to crank out 4 epsresso's fairly quickly should the need arise?  Do I need to budget more for a machine based on those requirements?
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:40am
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

With your budget I ended up with a used Oscar and I might have consider a CC1 depending on your drinking habits.  You have not told us what drinks you like and how often you would use it.   I also got a Vario W and I have not looked back.  Thursday is refurbish day at Baratza.  I also recommend a french press and hand grinder till you afford a good starter machine.  I spent about 1k on my equipment and I think I have a really nice set up now.  I upgraded Oscar to Musica parts and I really feel like I have a great machine now.

 
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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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 935
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:19am
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

Dapuma Said:

Should I be looking at a seperate heating element or will $300-$700 get a good machine with a good frother / steamer for milk?  From reading my understanding is that the machines in that price range cannot heat the espresso and the steaming element, so if I needed to fire out 4 drinks I would need to have a seperate steamer / frother ?  

Posted February 13, 2013 link

It's not the price but the type of machine that dictates that.  The CC1 hits the upper end of the range you mention.  The CC1 can't brew and steam at the same time, if I recall correctly, but it switches much faster than a single boiler machine.  I thought that there was one or may two heat exchangers at the price point but the lowest I'm currently seeing is ~$1K.
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Dapuma
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2013
Posts: 36
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:05pm
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

The Rocky grinder for about $30 more has a lot better reviews on amazon...what is the big difference between the two

What is dose or doserless?  seems to be about $20 between the two

I like Latte's and straight espresso, and my wife likes Mocha's - would probably use it on the weekends and maybe once or twice during the week
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:15pm
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

Rocky has wide steps so the adjustments are not fine enough. If you get a good deal used I would buy it, other than that I don't recommend the Rocky.  It is hard to understand till you use it but there is almost always a time when a setting (step) is too fine and the next step down is too coarse.  Then you need to change dose and tamping to try to split the difference between the two.  So you want a grinder that is stepless or the steps are so fine that it is almost as good as stepless.

 
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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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,878
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

Dapuma Said:

My mechanical skills are limited (that is putting it kindly)

Posted February 13, 2013 link

Probably the most cost effective grinder is the Baratza Preciso from the Baratza.com refurb listing.  New offerings are listed Thursday am and last until sold.  Preciso refurb is $239 and about $10 - $15 shippng. The Rocky will likely need the "stepless mod."  You can read about Rocky mods or stepless and see what is needed to make it a good espresso grinder, and decide your skills.

You may have already read threads on EC155 here on CG, but here is one of the main ones.  

"DeLonghi EC155 (and EC152CD, EC310, etc.) Modification Guide & Ideas"

Steam wand upgrade is supposed to be easy, a wand switch.

Spend your money on the Preciso, or Vario, refurb and use you machine.  You can start reasearching espresso machines and make the best upgrade for you.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Dapuma
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2013
Posts: 36
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 7:20pm
Subject: Re: Newbie wanting to upgrade:  Have a DeLonghi EC-155 and spice grinder
 

The CC1 looks sharp, and some place online seems to have the Vario grinder and the CC1 1.5 for 999.99

From what i have seen online it seems like the cc1 sells for 600 and the vario grinder for 449 which seems like 50 bucks off

For my usage would i be better off getting a refurbed preciso?  I dont really understand the difference?

Also does the pressure from the steam wand of a machine make it better than using a manual steam wand that is not attached to a machine?

Thank you for answering my begginer questions, appreciate it

What other machines are in that CC1 price range - the CC1 looks sharp, which will help me sell it to the wife :)
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