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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Buying advice on...  
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Addiction89
Senior Member


Joined: 11 May 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Canada
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Sat May 11, 2013, 9:32pm
Subject: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

Hi all,

Quite new to the registration and have been viewing the forums. Anyways, I decided I would go ahead and ask a specific question as to what sort of espresso machine and grinder would be good for someone with barista expertise. I currently have been working at Blenz coffee in Vancouver, BC, Canada for about 3 months and I have learned the technique for using the semi-automatic machine that is at work, as well as the mazzer grinders (we have 2; one is decaf and the other is normal espresso). I am well aware of knowing how to use the majority of equipment as Blenz is different from Starbucks, whereby I have control over what goes into any drink.

I have been looking into the Mini-Mazzer as that's what my work uses and it's extremely good. As well I have been looking into the Rancilio Silvia v3. My budget is about ~1500. I plan to make about 5-8 drinks per day at home because my family members would appreciate awesome drinks such as a dark chocolate mocha (real dark chocolate blended with steaming milk with whipped cream on top... a Blenz favourite of course!) or even a matcha latte.

Thanks for any help as it is very much appreciated.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 665
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 12:09am
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

Addiction89 Said:

sort of espresso machine and grinder would be good for someone with barista expertise.

Posted May 11, 2013 link

This depends on the number of drinks you plan on making and the percentage of milk drinks you plan on making as well.

I think a SBDU (Single Boiler Dual Use) machine would probably drive a barista like yourself crazy, only because you have to wait for steam. It would be akin to
driving a Ferrari all day at work and then using a bicycle at home. While SBDU machines do work quite well, the only reason to consider them is due to budget.
You most likely will want to start out with a lower end Heat Exchanging Reservoir machine with a vibration pump, if only just for the convenience of being able to
steam and brew coffee at the same time.

Competitors in this segment are the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, the La Nuova Era Cuadra or the Bezzera BZ07P. The market is very open in the $1200-$1600 segment.

Addiction89 Said:

I have been looking into the Mini-Mazzer as that's what my work uses and it's extremely good.

Posted May 11, 2013 link

If you can afford a Mazzer grinder, go for it. However, I think you would be hard pressed to meet your budget on a mazzer and a low end HX machine, unless
buying used is an option. Would you be willing to compromise a little on the grinder and consider a Baratza Vario in order to help meet your budget?

Addiction89 Said:

As well I have been looking into the Rancilio Silvia v3.

Posted May 11, 2013 link

The Silvia is a great machine, but a little outdated and a little overpriced for what you get. I owned one and loved it, but I honestly wish that Rancilio had a
model with PID control so I wouldn't have to temperature surf. It was fairly fast to heat up for steam, about 3 minutes, but when making a lot of drinks, it
can be a little frustrating.

Addiction89 Said:

My budget is about ~1500.

Posted May 11, 2013 link

Is this budget flexible? If so, by how much?  

Addiction89 Said:

I plan to make about 5-8 drinks per day at home

Posted May 11, 2013 link

OK, would you be making these drinks over the course of a day or all in the morning? I found average per drink prep time with a SBDU was 10 minutes, from start
to finish and that includes temperature surfing and waiting for steam. With a HX or DB machine, I could probably make a drink in 4 minutes, start to finish.
(Yeah, I know I'd probably get eaten alive if I tried my hand at being a barista in an actual shop!)

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,047
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 7:57am
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

+1

You need a machine that will be able to steam and pull because of your job.   You would hate having to wait for steam and surf temps when you are used to a big workhorse machine.  You might find a used light commercial machine like Oscar (there are a few others) and stay on budget.  Mine came from a coffee shop that had used it for catering events. Mazzer is a good grinder so either get it or a vario w that will give you the weight you preset.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,450
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 8:47am
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

5-8 drinks a day, dude you'll want to slam your head against the wall using a Silvia for that lol. At the bare mininun I'd say the CC1 for basically the same price as you get full pid control for temp and seperate thermoblock for steaming (way faster making multiple milk drinks vs the silvia). But with your budget I'd look at sonething like the Cuadra and a Vario grinder, that would fit in your budget, killer grinder and great entry level h/x machine, and great looking as well. Or the Oscar if you don't mind its looks.
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Addiction89
Senior Member


Joined: 11 May 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Canada
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 3:13pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

Thanks for the replies, helps a lot really.

My budget is flexible and can go further if possible, maybe up to ~2500 I suppose. I'm actually not planning to buy the grinder for a while as I would prefer to make Matcha Lattes and Hot Chocolates with the steamer. However, in the future I am considering adding a grinder such as the Mazzer mini.

The espresso machine I had in mind would be something that is just like the one I use at work, meaning I can run single to double short/long shots as well as the steamer too. Seeing as the Silvia is outdated for about 3 years then that would make sense to me. I would prefer something that can run the steamer at the same time as the shots; to be honest, these 5 to 8... maybe 10 drinks per day will be spread out. I'm thinking 2 drinks in the morning and the rest spread throughout the day. I don't have a Blenz coffee nearby me (only Starbucks; not that I dislike Starbucks but I dislike automated and syrup based drinks) so it would be nice to bring Blenz home as I do enjoy the dark/white/milk mochas that we make (double short espresso + belgian chocolate chips + steaming milk = creamy delicious milk mocha... try it out you guys! Plus add some whipping cream with chocolate powder on top and it's amazingly creamy and good).

Essentially, I am looking for an espresso machine first that could go up to 2500... maybe even 3000. Of course, the more affordable the better as I am not loaded with money. I just want to bring my work home to be honest.

Thanks for everything.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,450
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 3:33pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

You'll need a grinder because can't pull espresso with preground. Coffee goes stale fast, within 15-20min, reason why even if ground finer than normal you get gushers/underextracted shot.

Need fresh roasted coffee ground right before use.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,047
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 7:20pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

If you have that kinda money look at my dream machine:

http://londiniumespresso.com/products/londinium-i

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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BeerCan
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jun 2010
Posts: 37
Location: Tampa Florida
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 7:37pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

If you have that kinda money look at my dream machine:

http://londiniumespresso.com/products/londinium-i

Posted May 12, 2013 link

That is a very good looking machine.  Makes me wonder if I should be considering lever machines in my search.

Is the 110v 1400w version as quick to heat the water and as temp stable as the higher wattage versions.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 665
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 7:53pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

Addiction89 Said:

My budget is flexible and can go further if possible, maybe up to ~2500 I suppose.

Posted May 12, 2013 link

Well, why didn't you say so! :-)  That opens up the world to you!

I could offer a huge amount of options for you to use, but I also have to be realistic. Believe me, I've spent the last 30 minutes editing this down to something reasonable.

For your needs, any low to high end Heat Exchanging Vibration Pump Reservoir based machine would meet your needs. The typical price range for machines in
this market start out at roughly the $1100 mark and go all the way up to the $1600 mark, depending on the boiler capacity, type of group head and type.

The only reason to go past this point is if vibration pumps drive you crazy or if you want to plumb in. In some cases, if you find that you are exceeding the capabilities
of the machine, then obviously you need to upgrade to a machine with a larger boiler.

Now, the high end contenders for the high end Heat Exchanging Vibration Pump Reservoir based machine market are the Bezzera Magica E61 or the Quick Mill Anita.
I believe they run about $1500 and $1600 respectively. One of the things that makes these machines high end is that they have a proper E61 group, which tends to
carry a bit of a premium, but being a discriminating barista, you most likely would want one.

That leaves you roughly between $500 to $1000 for a grinder. There are a large number grinders in that market segment. Of which, I would personally recommend the
Mazzer Mini Electronic, which is actually $1100 and slightly outside of your budget, but it is doserless, has electronic timed dosing and has larger commercial grade burrs.

If this isn't an option due to budget, then buying a dosered Mazzer Mini will leave you some wiggle room. However, I personally find that using a dosered grinder in a
home environment is kind of overkill, unless you are banging off shot after shot. I personally prefer using a doserless grinder with a dosing funnel.
(Actually, I've never really even used a dosered grinder, so I really shouldn't even say anything about them!)

Addiction89 Said:

The espresso machine I had in mind would be something that is just like the one I use at work,

Posted May 12, 2013 link

Do you know what the machine you use at work is?

Addiction89 Said:

as I do enjoy the dark/white/milk mochas that we make

Posted May 12, 2013 link

I'd love it if you could teach us how to make them sometime via youtube or something. I can never get the chocolate chips to fully melt and always end up
with the bottom of the steaming pitcher looking like an unclean toilet at a gas station.

Addiction89 Said:

maybe even 3000.

Posted May 12, 2013 link

$3k is a very decent budget for both a grinder and machine. $3k for a machine itself is kind of nuts for the purposes you will be using it for. That's pretty much
the very high end of the prosumer segment. Since you mentioned you really aren't made out of money, there's no point in suggesting machines which would be
overkill for what you are using it for.

I should talk, I have an Izzo Alex Duetto 3 plumbed in directly in my kitchen. My wife thinks I'm completely nuts, but where the overkill comes in isn't in machine
capability, I could probably bang off shots all day to the entire neighborhood if I wanted, it's more about convenience and cost. I wanted to do it right the first time and
build myself a setup which was commercial grade and something which would last me for a very long time. The problem is, by doing this, I popped my budget massively.

So, realistically, the overkill is more in killing the bank account rather than having coffee making capability.

I know from your posts that right now you don't need plumb-in capability, so there's no point in spending more than $1600 on a machine. As soon as you say that
you do want it, then now your machine budget goes from $1600 to a minimum of $2000 and it goes up from there.

You should always consider buying the grinder at the same time as the machine because a lot of coffee equipment suppliers kind of consider them to go hand in
hand kind of like how a washing machine is always accompanied with a dryer. Or how a Dishwasher is always usually accompanied with a refrigerator or range.

After trimming this down considerably, I kind of figured the best approach would be to consider what I suggested above. If you decide you need more than that,
then you can consider upgrading from that. Usually, you can always get about 50 to 75 percent of your investment back when you sell your equipment to upgrade.

You can take my other suggestions to heart as well, depending on how seriously you take your coffee.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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russel
Senior Member
russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 456
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 8:37pm
Subject: Re: Buying advice on Grinder and Espresso machine
 

Addiction89 Said:

Essentially, I am looking for an espresso machine first that could go up to 2500... maybe even 3000. Of course, the more affordable the better as I am not loaded with money. I just want to bring my work home to be honest.

Posted May 12, 2013 link

If this is what you want to do...can you tell us the make and model of the machine you use at work?  If you can, you should look to stay as close to the configuration you have at work.  If Blendz uses an actual e61 HX, you should get an actual e61 HX.  If you use a regular HX group at work, look to get a light commercial machine with a similar group, maybe even by the same manufacturer.

If you are looking to develop your palate instead of your bar mechanics I would encourage you to look into prosumer DB machines with commercial groups and an easily adjustable PID...if your budget allows.  I'm not a fan of prosumer DBs for people looking to make a few enjoyable shots or milk drinks a day, but as a learning tool for professionals they can actually provide better temp control than an average 2 group commercial HX at a fraction of the cost.  You get fancier temp control but save money by not paying for the ability to handle a queue of 15 milk drinks.
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