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Espresso machine suggestions?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Espresso machine...  
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Lylarose
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Kc
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 12, 2013, 10:24pm
Subject: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

I will confess that I do not drink coffee or espresso, but I love my husband and I want to purchase a quality machine for him. I would like to buy the machine locally (KC), not too pricey (less than $150), durable. What are your suggestions?
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,991
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 Wed Feb 13, 2013, 1:17am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

You'll need an espresso machine and a grinder, the later being more important than the machine. Have you read the article on How to Buy an Espresso Machine yet? It'll give you a lot of usefull information.

In order to give you good advice, we'll need some answers first:
  • How many cups per session and per day will your husband probably brew?
  • What kind of coffee drinks does he prefer? Straight espresso or espresso based milk drinks (like cappuccino or latte)?
  • Does your budget include the grinder?

For (less than) $150 it's very hard, if not impossible to get a decent set-up.

 
***
"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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Lylarose
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Kc
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 5:31am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

We have a grinder. Lets say 3 cups per day and milk based but also likes espresso. I will read the article.
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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, 5:57am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

Well look what we have here:

http://kansascity.craigslist.org/app/3544256864.html

I don't know this machine very well, but it's got a 12oz brass boiler, a three way solenoid, and comes with a relatively okay--if not temperamental--grinder. This setup isn't ideal, but for $200 it's like an answer to a prayer. I would highly recommend pursuing this for the price they're offering. If both items work, I think your husband will have something to work with. Best of luck!

What kind of grinder do you have? If it's got turning blades, it's not a grinder--it's a chopper. Espresso requires extreme grind precision, and often the grinder will cost more than the machine itself.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,991
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 Wed Feb 13, 2013, 6:59am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

Lylarose Said:

We have a grinder.

Posted February 13, 2013 link

What grinder do you have? Not every model is capable of grinding fine enough for espresso.

 
***
"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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johnboddie
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013, 7:15am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

At your price point, the best thing to do is to find out where he currently gets the espresso he likes and then find out if they will grind the beans and sell the ground espresso to you. Forget the grinder for now. You will need a good espresso grind and the local coffee shop can probably do this better than you can.

Look through the consumer reviews here at CoffeeGeek. Most of the machines lie outside your budget. One that you might consider is the Hamilton Beach, which sells for about $70. I purchased one for a home we were fixing up and, while not as good as my regular machine, it produces a decent cup of espresso. If your husband likes lattes or cappuccino, none of the low-end machines is very good at steaming milk, so you may need to extend your budget.

JB
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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, 11:30am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

NobbyR Said:

For (less than) $150 it's very hard, if not impossible to get a decent set-up.

Posted February 13, 2013 link

I'd echo this.  The sub-$150 machines aren't known for their durability either.  I went though one of these each year (drinking terrible espresso) until I purchased a proper espresso machine.  He could probably make do with one of these machines but a good grinder is a must -- as always -- and should be considered first.

johnboddie Said:

At your price point, the best thing to do is to find out where he currently gets the espresso he likes and then find out if they will grind the beans and sell the ground espresso to you.

Posted February 13, 2013 link

I wouldn't recommend this.  Ground beans go stale almost immediately.  The shop can't dial it in for your machine either.
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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, 11:51am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

I would probably jump on the craigslist deal if it is new and works for a year then you got your moneys worth.  Other than that I would do a really nice espro french press and a good grinder from baratza or hand grinder and in a year use your tax refund to get a good set up if he is till interested.

 
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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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
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 Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:53am
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

There is no way to get even semi OK espresso with pre ground coffee

Nearly everything new under $300 is good only for use as a wedding present, that never will be used and then will be sold at a yard sale NEW IN BOX for $25.

The how to buy an espresso machine FAQ will answer much more in depth.

 
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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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, 1:46pm
Subject: Re: Espresso machine suggestions?
 

Please don't be discouraged by all these responses. We're just being honest and want your husband to not be put off of home espresso by a mediocre machine. The reason people pay $5 for milk drinks at a good cafe cafe is because the machine costs as much as a car and the skill involved in preparing the coffee and milk foam involve hours and hours of practice.

That being said, most of us have machines that retail at over a thousand dollars and grinders that cost at least half as much as that, if not more. That is NOT necessary for good espresso, but it gives an idea of the kind of cost involved throughout the range. As we've said, there is a minimum cost. It's like asking "I really need a solid daily driver that will get me from point A to point B, but I've only got $500 to spend." There are options at $150, but not for brand new equipment.

Take a look at this one:

http://kansascity.craigslist.org/app/3514909933.html

It's stylish and on the higher end of Saeco's machines, which are great entry level starters. What's more is you can pop the plastic part out of the portafilter assembly and make it a real portafilter. Even better, you can use the handsome bottomless portafilters made for the Gaggia machines if he ever wants to upgrade. Combine this machine with a Hario Skerton hand grinder ($40) and a tamper ($20) and you have a very respectable entry level setup. It will take practice and skill on your husband's part, but it will produce good espresso, so long as your beans are fresh and the machine is in good order. Hope this helps!
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