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What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > What setup would...  
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Deus
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 3:55pm
Subject: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

I plan on spending about $500 on a grinder and the rest on a machine. I really like the BES900XL. I have never owned an espresso machine and have been lingering for over a year reading.  I would pull about two shots a day and like both straight espresso and lattee. So if you had $1500-$1600 to spend, what would your setup be?
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,431
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 Mar 1, 2013, 4:43pm
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

Not enough information . . .

OK, let's take it from the top . . .

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

Your answers will affect the recommendations.  You probably need another $100-$200 or so . . . but attempting to keep it inline with your stated budget:

The grinder is easy:  Baratza Vario (available from a variety of vendors)

The machine is a little more difficult.  Options include (alphabetically):

Bezzera BZ07 Commercial Espresso Machine - semi-automatic, tank
La Nuova Era Cuadra
Nuova Simonelli Oscar

Now if you could spend the $1500-1600 on the machine alone . . ..

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Deus
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 5:07pm
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?
Espresso and,lattee and Cappuccino

2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time?
two at most. If I have company I might be making 4

3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?
Maybe 20 a week

4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
Reservoir but I could add direct line since one runs to my refrigerator which is right next to my station.

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

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 am liking the Baratza Vario and am fine paying $500. For a machine about 1100
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Markarian
Senior Member
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 Fri Mar 1, 2013, 6:31pm
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar fits your budget almost exactly. It's a Heat Exchange machine, which means the ability to steam a lot of milk drinks, simultaneously while brewing your shots. it has a huge boiler and can take an astonishing amount of abuse and keep running. I can also vouch for the Vario (I have the W). The Oscar/Vario combo is typical for those on a $1500 budget and is a good way to get into Espresso.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,431
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 Mar 1, 2013, 7:32pm
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

Deus Said:

I am liking the Baratza Vario and am fine paying $500. For a machine about 1100

Posted March 1, 2013 link

See the above suggestions . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Deus
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 9:31pm
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

What are the reasons this is a better machine that the Breville. By better I mean, what brings the "recommandation over" :)

It is also a bit higher that the breville. I was hoping to keep it under 1200
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Markarian
Senior Member
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 Sat Mar 2, 2013, 3:31am
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

The Breville Dual Boiler is a popular machine that has kind of a cult following, but it's still a home machine at heart. It's not rated for light commercial use, nor does it trace its lineage with or share parts with huge commercial machines that see a lot of cafe use. Another issue is that Breville's other machines are not known for being of particularly high quality, though the BDB has won some hearts and minds lately. Steam power is going to be a lot stronger on the Oscar for making milk drinks, and accessories a lot more readily available. A lot of people complain that you have to send the machine into Breville to descale it, but the truth is that descaling the Oscar (as you can see in our video) is no small undertaking either. In the end, if you make a lot of milk drinks and don't mind a blobby plastic workhorse that's a serious machine on your countertop, don't hesitate to grab the Oscar. If style is really important or you like the little features a lot, go with the Breville. They're both good machines, but the Oscar is definitely the more "pro-sumer" end of the spectrum.
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coffeestig
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 67
Location: Charlotte
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill QM67
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Electronic...
Drip: French Press
Posted Sat Mar 2, 2013, 6:48am
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

In regards to Breville...

over 6 years ago I bought a 150$ espresso machine and 69ish$ grinder; both Breville.  Both were "fancy" to my friends; even my affluent friends.  I was using starbucks coffee mostly and buying bulk so no way it was fresh.  I enjoyed the crap out of that machine; both the process of making it and drinking not to mention the social aspect of making for friends.  3 years ago I gave it to my friend.  He now averaged 6 drinks a day and mostly milk based drinks.  It's not convenient to use but he's happy and his family loves drinking drinks from it.  When we go over and he entertains we've been known to make 12 drinks out of it!  EVERYBODY raves about the latte's from it and loves it - comments on how its the best coffee they've ever had flow.  The machine is 6 years old now and I would wager has produced more shots than many on here since I know how often it gets used for entertaining - a lot.  Its held up like a champ; or the little train that could type of thing.

When I gave away my baby machine I upgraded to something that was like 500ish dollars. I had a live in GF/fiance' for 2 of those and averaged 4 double pulls a day between the two of us and more every time I have company - which is often.  No broilers, just a brick heating element.  Again, this machine is viewed as extravagance to my friends of all economic statuses.  I was using mostly pre ground Illy and decaf Lavazza on this machine.  It's held up great over the past 3 years and performed extremely well.  The shots it pulls with Illy are far better than anything I have had out in Charlotte where I live.  Yesterday I took possession of a QM67and WOW! the Breville will get handed down to the same friend and his baby machine to a guy we know thus our cycle.

People complain much louder on forums.  The BDB would be an awesome machine for the home and anyone that sees it will think of it as extravagance.  Almost nobody has the machines talked about here.  We all compare to a GS/3 (I'd personally love a Speedster) but few are fortunate enough to indulge.  The QM67 is viewed as "entry level" and the BDB lower than that but again, they are far superior to what most out there use and it sounds like the BDB would be a monumental upgrade for the OP and most posing the question of whether or not they should consider this machine.  There is no "need" to upgrade from a BDB... think of it in terms of your personal enjoyment and not how it compares to xyz out there.  You may be pulling better shots on an inferior machine than someone talking up something really high end on the internet.  We can only compare by being social in real life and not by teh interwebz.  Get what you want and share it often; that's the best way to maximize the enjoyment.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,431
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 Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:21am
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar is a prosumer HX machine, much more solidly built and dependable than the Breville, with a proven design and a large base of satisfied consumers.  

Breviile has a track-record of making "disposable" machines which break down relatively early, and a horrible reputation for customer service.  With the (relatively) recent introduction of their BDB, that appeared to have changed, and a small number of very excitable people have been singing the praises of this new model.  To be fair, Breville seems to have "stepped it up a notch," and this machine fills a niche and price point among consumer machines.  But:  a) you're still left with a consumer (not a "prosumer") machine, b) you're still left with a machine that you have to return to the manufacturer for service, and c) durability, along with customer service, remain suspect*.

I'd go with the Oscar . . .

Cheers,
Jason

* Recently, the #1 advocate on CG for the BDB suffered a catastrophic meltdown when his machine suffered a failure.  Fortunately for him, key people at Breville are on this forum and heard his cry -- they are replacing his machine, and once again he sings their praises to the heavens.  I, however, cannot help but wonder what would happen to the "average" owner if his/her machine suffered similar problems and didn't have this forum to throw a tantrum on . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Deus
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:22am
Subject: Re: What setup would you choose for $1500-$1600 budget
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Not enough information . . .

OK, let's take it from the top . . .

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

Your answers will affect the recommendations.  You probably need another $100-$200 or so . . . but attempting to keep it inline with your stated budget:

The grinder is easy:  Baratza Vario (available from a variety of vendors)

The machine is a little more difficult.  Options include (alphabetically):

Bezzera BZ07 Commercial Espresso Machine - semi-automatic, tank
La Nuova Era Cuadra
Nuova Simonelli Oscar

Now if you could spend the $1500-1600 on the machine alone . . ..

Posted March 1, 2013 link

If I did put the $1500 on the machine ???? Interested. I could always stretch if needed
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