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Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
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caffeyuu
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Location: LA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 1:02pm
Subject: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

Hi, I'm very new to the coffee scene. Just one month ago if you asked me what the difference between a latte and a cappuccino is I wouldn't have been able to tell you. But recently I started working at this restaurant that has me making some espresso drinks every so often, and that has gotten me a bit hyped on the wonders of espresso. So I've started thinking about buying a consumer espresso machine and a grinder for home, so I can enjoy lattes and such at home, instead of having to pay for making/drinking it at work. Would anybody be able to suggest a decent espresso machine and grinder for a complete starter? I would say my budget is $500 at most for both the machine and the grinder, though I'd like to keep the prices down as low as possible. I'd like the machine to be decent at steaming milk, so I can practice making latte art at home. Thanks!
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crazy4espresso
Senior Member
crazy4espresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 1:30pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

Hi, Welcome to CG.

Please read:

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/620441?Page=1
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caffeyuu
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Location: LA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 2:14pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

Yes, I read that before I posted. I see I forgot to answer some of the standard questions though:

I will primarily be making lattes, as I said, and practicing my latte art, and on average will be making not more than two or three drinks at any one time. I'd probably be making 4-10 drinks a week. I need a pour over machine with its own reservoir, and I have only a standard circuit available. As stated, my budget would be $500 for both the espresso machine and the grinder, but I'd like to keep the price as low as possible.
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MatP
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2013
Posts: 42
Location: Southern California
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Macap MXP
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 2:51pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

caffeyuu,

welcome to the forum, and congrats on discovering this addicting hobby.

A question I would like to ask: is your goal to make good coffee/drinks for you to enjoy at home, or just to practice your skills for the restaurant you work for?

Thx

MatP
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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 Wed Mar 13, 2013, 3:15pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

Welcome to CG. This is a tough one, because machines that give you good microfoam, consistently for steaming milk are expensive. It is possible to get a respectable setup for under $500 (Saeco Aroma, Naked Portafilter, and OE Lido grinder), but the steam will be a problem. On lower-end machines, the steam wand often ends in an attachment called a panarello, which is a device used to artificially introduce air into the milk without any control from the barista. Steaming milk and pouring latte are is HARD. It requires a lot of practice, dry steam (hard to get on a smaller machine), and a steady hand. My advice would be the OE Lido hand grinder and a Saeco/Starbucks Barista/Estro Vapore/Rio Vapore/Proteo (many names, one machine) with a naked portafilter from Seattle Coffee Gear. The machine isn't powerful, but has a versatile one-hole traditional steam wand which can be used to make microfoam if you learn how to read your thermostat correctly.
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CharityV
Senior Member
CharityV
Joined: 7 Jul 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Rocky DL
Roaster: SC/TO
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

Markarian Said:

My advice would be the OE Lido hand grinder and a Saeco/Starbucks Barista/Estro Vapore/Rio Vapore/Proteo (many names, one machine) with a naked portafilter from Seattle Coffee Gear. The machine isn't powerful, but has a versatile one-hole traditional steam wand which can be used to make microfoam if you learn how to read your thermostat correctly.

Posted March 13, 2013 link

+1

I used a Starbucks Barista for years happily. Just make sure you get a non-pressurized portafilter from Saeco for it ($20). And honestly, my advice would be to pick up one of these off of ebay for right around $100, leaving you $400(ish) for a grinder budget. Just make sure the seller describes it as working well, and I would get the least-used one you could, but the things are workhorses. A friend is still using my old Barista, and it's more than eight years old. Then get a Baratza Preciso or Vario. If you can swing something like the Vario, down the road when you're ready to upgrade that Barista, your grinder will still be good to go for whatever machine you're upgrading to. Baratza regularly offers refurbished versions of their grinders for slightly less than the normal retail price, and since I've purchased refurbs from them as gifts twice and both are great, I feel confident saying you'd be safe doing this.

Starbucks Barista - $100-130
Baratza Vario, refurb - $360
TOTAL:                 $460-490

Of course, then you'd still have your accessories to buy: the aforementioned portafilter for $20, milk frothing pitcher, cups and/or shot glasses, a decent tamper. This will probably run you around $60 all told.

The good news about practicing latte art with such a machine is that it is very difficult to achieve, and so if you do achieve it, the commercial machine you use at work should be a cinch! In the meantime, all of your "failed art" lattes at home will still taste amazing. :)
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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 Wed Mar 13, 2013, 5:34pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

The Non-pressurized portafilters for Saeco, from what I've seen at Seattle Coffee Gear are around $50-60, plus shipping. But they're really beautiful and put the stock ones to shame. A little Saeco with a naked portafilter is an enviable travel machine.
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CharityV
Senior Member
CharityV
Joined: 7 Jul 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Rocky DL
Roaster: SC/TO
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 8:57pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

Ooops. Well, I seem to remember $20 for one about eight years ago, but maybe it was more. In any case, even at $50 it is well worth the price.
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caffeyuu
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Location: LA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 9:32pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

A question I would like to ask: is your goal to make good coffee/drinks for you to enjoy at home, or just to practice your skills for the restaurant you work for?

It's mainly to make good drinks for myself and friends at home (but I suspect my skills at work would get better as well).
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,226
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Mar 14, 2013, 4:29am
Subject: Re: Newbie - suggestions on espresso machines and grinders?
 

caffeyuu Said:

It's mainly to make good drinks for myself and friends at home (but I suspect my skills at work would get better as well).

Posted March 13, 2013 link

No doubt!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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