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Help for a first timer?
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Phrasemonger
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Feb 2013
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 8:55am
Subject: Help for a first timer?
 

Hey guys! New to the forums, and to the world of espresso machines (although I've been purchasing and enjoying espresso from great coffee shops for some time now).

I've recently decided that I'm ready to purchase my first machine/grinder, but I'm finding myself overwhelmed by the number of options out there. I've spent a couple days looking through these forums, but every time I think I've made a decision I start to doubt myself haha. I'm hoping one of you might be able to give me some guidance (I'll answer the standard questions). Looking for guidance on both the espresso machine and grinder, if possible!

1) What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?

I love straight espresso shots, and I figure that'll be what this machine is used for the most (along with the occasional latte).

2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at at one time?

At most two, frequently one. I live with a roommate, who will likely use this machine on occasion, but it'll mostly be just myself.

3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?

20ish? I imagine 2-3 a day is probably the use this guy will see.

4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?

Definitely going to need a pourover machine with its own reservoir. I don't really have an issue frequently refilling it though.

5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?

I'm moving shortly, so I'm not entirely sure. If we can keep things standard, let's do that - makes it easier for me.

6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

I'm looking to spend about $700 for my set-up, but that's an "ish" number. I'm figuring I'm willing to spend about $500 on the machine, and $200 on the grinder. That total budget can definitely be divided differently though. If I could do the whole thing for $700-800 including tax, I'm a happy camper.

Additional bit of info is I'm located in Toronto, Ontario, so know that everything is a bit pricier and a bit harder to find here than it seems to be in the states. I'd also love to buy it from a store, and not an online purchase, if possible (although I realize finding this gear is on me, not you lovely folks). I'm also looking for new stuff - although it might be worthwhile for me to sit and wait for great used deals, I'm kinda keen to get this set up ASAP.
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AntWilliams90
Senior Member
AntWilliams90
Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario Home
Roaster: Dieckmann Rostmeister
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:04am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

First thing I'd say, and something you will likely hear from many others, is don't skimp on the grinder!! I would recommend swapping those numbers around - spend equal, or more, on the grinder than the espresso machine.
This is especially important if you are drinking espresso, as you need the consistency in grind!!

I would point you to this article

I have the Baratza/Mahlkonig Vario
It is ideal! However it is a little more than you were initially hoping to spend on a grinder.
If you don't want to go with the Vario, then there are plenty of cheaper options; the KEY is to get a Burr grinder
Another favourite is the Rancilio Rocky - but I think another key point is to look for doserless options, so maybe a Baratza Preciso?

I have the Gaggia Classic - a very popular and reliable machine, and it comes in way under your budget!
It works really well, and delivers pretty consistent shots once you learn to use it (i.e. temperature surf!) However a PID mod would not cost too much and would sort that out a treat!
Also, invest in a nice tamper!! The plastic ones that come with the Gaggia Classic are useless!
Oh, and buy a normal filter basket to replace the nasty 'perfect crema' device one that now comes with the Gaggia as standard!!

So seriously, what I would say is out of a max. $800 budget try aiming for $400 on a grinder and $400 on a machine? An amazing machine is pointless without a good grind!

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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Phrasemonger
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Feb 2013
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:15am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

Hey! Thanks so much for your reply!

I actually was looking into the Gaggia Classic, as it seems perfect. The only problem is it that for the prices I can seem to find it locally ($550), it takes up a large chunk of my budget. Are there any grinders out there for about $250 that could work as a pretty solid combination with the Gaggia Classic? Or would I be that much better off spending most of my budget on the grinder (and in that case, what cheaper options would I have for the espresso machine itself)?

I could probably stomach the price for a Rocky grinder and a Gaggia Classic. Together at a local shop ( http://www.greenbeanery.ca/bean/catalog/gaggia-c-35_578.html and Click Here (www.greenbeanery.ca) ) I'd be looking at $900ish before tax. Would definitely hurt the budget a bit, but I guess I'd rather get something that'll last then absolute garbage.

Any thoughts on Breville products? The Bay seems to be having a sale on them, and the prices seem pretty good. Something like the Duo Temp, or even the Infuser, would give me a bit more room to play on the grinder. Click Here (www.thebay.com)


Thanks so much for the help guys!
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DaninMaryland
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jan 2013
Posts: 79
Location: US
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2 Silvia
Grinder: Vario-W
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:25am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

Dont waste your money on the Rocky grinder.

Go to 1st line and get the Lelit PL041 and Lelit PL53 grinder.  you can buy them as a package for $599 free shipping.  i think that is a great starter package.
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DaninMaryland
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jan 2013
Posts: 79
Location: US
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2 Silvia
Grinder: Vario-W
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:29am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

DaninMaryland Said:

Dont waste your money on the Rocky grinder.

Go to 1st line and get the Lelit PL041 and Lelit PL53 grinder.  you can buy them as a package for $599 free shipping.  i think that is a great starter package.

Posted February 27, 2013 link

Or option if you are willing to go used equipment (the way to go i think) is to get a used  Vario ($360) on ebay and spend the remaining $340-440 on a used machine.  you can easily get a used Silvia for that amount.
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Phrasemonger
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Feb 2013
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:33am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

I'd probably shy away from used, just because I don't know enough to make informed decisions on used products. Also, kinda want to get this set up ASAP, so I'd rather opt for a set up that I can easily grab.

Can't do 1st line because I'm in Toronto, Canada. However, I did find the Lelit products here: Click Here (www.idrinkcoffee.com)

The Lelit machine/grinder combo seems right in my price range. Anyone else willing to chime in? Would this be a good option considering my budget/needs?

P.S. Thanks for the info Dan!
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jcorde
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2013
Posts: 34
Location: Puerto Rico
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Hario mini
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:39am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

I think that a good cmbination for you could be a Gaggia Classic / Rancilio Silvia ( you can find it second hand gaggia for about 250, or a Silvia for about 400+/-)  and a Baratza Vario or Compak k3 or Mazzer mini / Super Jolly.
Those grinder are in the 400 gap ( the baratza and compak brand new, the mazzer second hand)
Those second hand grinders are workhorses! they are going to last too many years! If you buy second hand you should change the burs and thats it.
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Skylar
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Apr 2004
Posts: 137
Location: New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: lelit espresso
Grinder: lelit grinder
Vac Pot: B. D. Electric
Drip: chemex
Roaster: wok roast and popper, heat...
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:51am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

A quick word re lelit. I have the US version of the lelit espresso. It differs in the switches. The I drink coffee site offers the pl43 and 53 grinders. The pl53 has an infinetly adjustable grind which is much preferred to achieve the appropriate setting for the brewing of espresso. It is more expensive and without doubt, worth the greater cost.


Skylar
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Phrasemonger
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Feb 2013
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

Hey Skylar!

Thanks for the heads up regarding the grinder! I'm thinking I'm set on the Lelit PL41EM V2 espresso machine (seems perfect in price, reviews, and functionality), so now it's just a matter of picking the grinder.

On the I love coffee site, it seems I can get the Baratza Virtuoso Preciso or the Lelit PL53 grinders for essentially the same price. Anyone have any thoughts on what would be a better choice?
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DaninMaryland
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jan 2013
Posts: 79
Location: US
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2 Silvia
Grinder: Vario-W
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: Help for a first timer?
 

Phrasemonger Said:

Hey Skylar!

Thanks for the heads up regarding the grinder! I'm thinking I'm set on the Lelit PL41EM V2 espresso machine (seems perfect in price, reviews, and functionality), so now it's just a matter of picking the grinder.

On the I love coffee site, it seems I can get the Baratza Virtuoso Preciso or the Lelit PL53 grinders for essentially the same price. Anyone have any thoughts on what would be a better choice?

Posted February 27, 2013 link

PL53 over the Viruoso hands down.  Virtouso doesnt have enough adjustment.
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