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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Newbie seeking...  
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Tellis
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Mar 2013
Posts: 10
Location: Honolulu
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 5:49pm
Subject: Newbie seeking advice
 

Just signed up and will take a lengthy look through prior forum discussions and site reviews. Still, I'll be buying my first machine in the next couple of days. Have tried to educate myself but its almost a case of too much information. I have zero experience, but love espresso and am generally a quick learner.  I was hoping to be in the $400-$500 range, but can easily elevate that if needed. Was thinking of the Lelit 041 or perhaps a Gaggia or Saeco; with a Breville from Amazon being a last option (Amazon ships free to Hawaii; always a concern when buying online). I'll pay what's needed for a quality machine. I'd like something that I won't outgrow anytime soon. Thank you in advance for any help directed my way. Again, I'll pour through the site later this evening.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,922
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 6:08pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

Tellis Said:

Just signed up and will take a lengthy look through prior forum discussions and site reviews. Still, I'll be buying my first machine in the next couple of days. Have tried to educate myself but its almost a case of too much information. I have zero experience, but love espresso and am generally a quick learner.  I was hoping to be in the $400-$500 range, but can easily elevate that if needed. Was thinking of the Lelit 041 or perhaps a Gaggia or Saeco; with a Breville from Amazon being a last option (Amazon ships free to Hawaii; always a concern when buying online). I'll pay what's needed for a quality machine. I'd like something that I won't outgrow anytime soon. Thank you in advance for any help directed my way. Again, I'll pour through the site later this evening.

Posted March 3, 2013 link

Welcome to CG!
If you read for a while, you will soon see that the FIRSTn purchase should be a proper GRINDER.
A $2000 machine will produce swill with a $100crappy grinder, whiule a $500 machine paired with a grinder liuke a baratza Preciso or Vario, Lelit, used Mazzer Suoer Jolly will produce wonderful coffee, with practice.
Please read the grinder reviews, and click here

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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MerleApAmber
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Nov 2012
Posts: 203
Location: Atlanta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900
Grinder: Baratza Preciso + Esatto
Vac Pot: Yuma
Drip: bah-humbug
Roaster: Hot Top 2K P
Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 7:14pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

Tony, don't let IMA's thumb typing throw you, as the Boss he's spot on regards priorities. However, that said you'll find it doesn't then make your machine choice any easier. Welcome to the party.
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 9:38pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

Dear Tony,

I took the infuser/grinder advice to extremes, 10:1 to be exact.  I am using a $1400 coffee grinder with a $140 espresso machine.  This is really just a slight mismatch.  Overall, the quality is very good.  The variability in performance inherent in a low-end machine paired with the variability in performance of a low-end home barista (me) would be unacceptable to a seasoned coffee professional but it keeps me engaged in the process in order to keep the results laudable.  This combo produces mostly very good cups, a few fair cups, very few 'sink shots' and an occasional excellent cup.  When the same machine was paired with a $200 grinder the result was equally divided between fair, good and very good with the same occurrence of bad and excellent outliers.
I would rather outgrow my espresso machine than outgrow my grinder.

Buckley
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,922
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 9:53pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

MerleApAmber Said:

Tony, don't let IMA's thumb typing throw you, as the Boss he's spot on regards priorities. However, that said you'll find it doesn't then make your machine choice any easier. Welcome to the party.

Posted March 3, 2013 link

ahahaha.
All thumbbbbbbbbbs for sure.
Doesn't help that the $8 Costco 1.5 power computer glasses are great at 3 feet, but the keyboard type pad is a blur. (Double cataract surgery)

I'd also tell our OP to peruse our BST forum for a possible deal on some gear. MOST of these posters are solid people, with only a few screw-ups, usually those with 10 previous posting that say nothing. You can get some excellent deals on well cared for gear.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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Tellis
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Mar 2013
Posts: 10
Location: Honolulu
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 9:55pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

Ok.  Just now home from yoga, sipping a highly hopped beer. preparing to peruse the forum and reviews.  I'm old enough to know that it's wasteful to not spend enough initially, realize the error in a short time, then have to dump the unsatisfactory equipment and buy what you really needed (wanted?) down the road.  I'll try to make an independent decision after researching further but would welcome the opinionated advice of any of you veteran caffeine junkies (meant as a compliment).  Go ahead; name names...ideally a suited grinder/machine pair that does not require a second mortgage on my home.  I'll be here...

Again, thank you.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,467
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 Sun Mar 3, 2013, 10:07pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

It's not a question of "naming names" . . . no one size fits all.  Let's start with the standard questions, and a couple of reminders . . .

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?

And the Reminders . . .

The Four M's of Espresso:
1) the Macinazione is the grinder, and with it, the correct grinding of the coffee beans;
2) the Miscela is the coffee beans/blend itself;
3) the Macchina is the espresso machine; and
4) the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  

All four are important.  Nothing is more important than the grinder.

/ / / / /

Babbie's Rule* of Fifteens:
-- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months, or they go stale.
-- Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale.
-- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.

Your choice.

Cheers,
Jason

* OK, so there are very few hard-and-fast "rules" -- more like "rules-of-thumb."

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


Joined: 3 Mar 2013
Posts: 10
Location: Honolulu
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 11:01pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

Hola Jason,

Answers interspersed within your OP

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

It's not a question of "naming names" . . . no one size fits all.  Let's start with the standard questions, and a couple of reminders . . .

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.)

Double/Triple espressos or Cappucinos

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.)

One in the morning; one in the afternoon.  (Re: the morning cup, time is of the essence.  A quick start/finish time would be invaluable)  It'll be only myself consuming, as I live alone and do not think it a good idea to get my young Rottweiler hooked on caffeine.  Her marrow bone addiction is bad enough...

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.)

Per the above, 15-20 (occasional guests)

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

I don't think I'll be plumbing it directly.  Yes to the reservoir.

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

20 amp!

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

So I guess my original $400-500 is out the window?  I'll spend what's needed. but don't want to get too crazy with it.

And the Reminders . . .

The Four M's of Espresso:
1) the Macinazione is the grinder, and with it, the correct grinding of the coffee beans;
2) the Miscela is the coffee beans/blend itself;
3) the Macchina is the espresso machine; and
4) the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  

All four are important.  Nothing is more important than the grinder.

I did not know the grinder was so critical...

/ / / / /

Babbie's Rule* of Fifteens:
-- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months, or they go stale.
-- Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale.
-- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.

Your choice.

Cheers,
Jason

Thank you for your assistance.

Tellis

* OK, so there are very few hard-and-fast "rules" -- more like "rules-of-thumb."

Posted March 3, 2013 link

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Tellis
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Mar 2013
Posts: 10
Location: Honolulu
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Mar 3, 2013, 11:51pm
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

Last post this evening...

My guess is that I'll get hammered on shipping by anyone other than Amazon. They have the Gaggia Classic at < $400 (also the Silvia @ $629).  Which leaves me with $$$ to spend on a quality grinder. I'll sleep on it...
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,454
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Mar 4, 2013, 5:49am
Subject: Re: Newbie seeking advice
 

Gaggia is a way better deal than the Silvia, both are sbdu machines and perform basically the same but the Silvia is overpriced for a dated machine (you can mod the Gaggia steam wand to the Silvias too). Without a PID read up on temp surfing for either machine. Don't know what you want to spend in addition to the machine but the Baratza Vario is a killer grinder for the $. Preciso is cheaper but I wish I went for the Vario and its larger flat burrs.
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