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Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Best Machine for...  
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adamstivala
Senior Member
adamstivala
Joined: 5 Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Location: miami, fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013, 9:55am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Here are some more details I have left out:

I live in St. Martin (east of Puerto Rico) and go to a school of about 600 students. Although it is a hot tourist destination in the Carribean, there aren't too many mainland influences.

There is no Starbucks, and there are maybe 3-4 Burger Kings/KFC/McDonalds on the island.

It is a medical school, so caffeine is worth it's weight in gold here, and I believe people just get tired of drinking red bulls constantly. the average student age is probably 23 - so there is little to no experience with anything except Starbucks as far as coffee goes.

I am charging very low costs for things, practically AT cost - $1 for a shot of Starbucks ground espresso, $2 for a latte with Organic milk, $1 for a Cuban Coffee (which gives 4 tiny shots).

Yes I could increase the prices a bit but I wanted to test the waters. There is a coffee/sandwich shop close to campus which serves Illy, but they are super slow and open regular business hours.

I really like that Oscar HX machine however.

If one you would want to retire and open a small shop here on campus you would seriously make a ton of cash - and you can throw a stone from the school to the beach! :)
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CharityV
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CharityV
Joined: 8 Jul 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Rocky DL
Roaster: SC/TO
Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013, 11:38am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

You make a tempting offer, but sadly the husband and I are nowhere near retirement age.

In that situation, if you could squeeze together the cash for a starter set up (Oscar + a good grinder. Some retailers even offer package deals), you could easily make your money back many times over. Heck, if they are that deprived of good coffee, and you show up offering the real thing (freshly roasted, freshly ground, etc), you may well end up wanting/needing to invest in a true commercial machine down the road, to keep up with the demand. I know the number of people *I* could sell coffee to just because they have tasted what I make at home versus most coffee shops is pretty significant, and that is here in the pacific northwest, where you can hit a coffee stand/shop if you throw a stone.

Speaking as someone who recently upgraded to an HX machine...it is amazing. I could do exactly what you are wanting to do with it, if I had the same opportunity. You can brew espresso and steam milk at the same time, it steams milk quickly and well, shots are rich and full of crema. BUT that is with freshly roasted beans, and a good grinder.

Now here is the tough part - no, your grinder does not grind consistently enough. The burrs inside it are plastic, not ceramic or metal, and that's just for starters. Inconsistent grind leads to bitter, unpalatable coffee. Dump enough sugar into it via flavors or chocolate, and you can maybe make it drinkable for the un-knowledgeable masses, but you really want great tasting espresso if you want people (customers) to flock to you.

A good grinder isgoing to cost $300, minimum, unless you find a good used deal.

Also, on the coffee you are using - I would recommend buying directly from a roaster and having it shipped. There is one here locally that sells in 5 pound minimums, and a friend and I buy 5 pounds each month and split it, because it really good coffee, and for a cheaper price than it could be had in the grocery store. It could save you money AND allow you to offer a really quality product.
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adamstivala
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adamstivala
Joined: 5 Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Location: miami, fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

CharityV Said:

In that situation, if you could squeeze together the cash for a starter set up (Oscar + a good grinder. Some retailers even offer package deals), you could easily make your money back many times over. Heck, if they are that deprived of good coffee, and you show up offering the real thing (freshly roasted, freshly ground, etc), you may well end up wanting/needing to invest in a true commercial machine down the road, to keep up with the demand. I know the number of people *I* could sell coffee to just because they have tasted what I make at home versus most coffee shops is pretty significant, and that is here in the pacific northwest, where you can hit a coffee stand/shop if you throw a stone.

Posted April 7, 2013 link

yes, this is EXACTLY what i'm talking about! the problem is I am only here until December 2013 and then I go on clinical rotations, so my window is tiny. There is a new building going up at the school also, and I believe they will have some kind of tiny cafe but it is questionable in there but it won't be til 2014; and on top of that, it will probably be some crap automatic machine dispensing.  

The people I have made the espressos and lattes for were amazed at the quality, but it's because they've had nothing to compare it to - they're all kids!!!!

Thanks for the input!
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adamstivala
Senior Member
adamstivala
Joined: 5 Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Location: miami, fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013, 12:13pm
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Thank you everyone for all the input so far, it has been invaluable.

I think I'm leaning towards the Oscar and maybe the pods. Pods would save me money on a better grinder right now and also hasten clean up. Any preference on pods with that machine?

Thank you!

the name of my school is American University of the Caribbean in case anyone is interested. It is one of the top Caribbean medical schools, and we are currently undergoing a $50M expansion.

http://www.aucmed.edu/
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,172
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 Sun Apr 7, 2013, 4:54pm
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Having been through med school myself, my advice to you is get something that'll make you happy, let your friends worry about their own coffee and spend the "extra time" studying. Your USMLE score matters more than you might think when match day comes around.

What specialty are you leaning towards?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 989
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013, 8:49am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

(nm)
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