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Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
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wtmcgowin
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jul 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Mobile, AL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 7:52am
Subject: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

Hello all:

I have been a lurker here for a while, and decided to jump in. I was hoping to get the group's input. Here is my dilemma:

My wife and I are coffee lovers. I have had multiple drip pots, moka pots,  french press pots, a cheap espresso machine, a pod machine (yuck) roasted my own beans in a popcorn roaster, etc. etc. However, after recently returning from 2 weeks in Italy I have concluded that a good cappuccino is the closest thing to coffee nirvana that exists. Unfortunately I cannot find a decent one anywhere near my house. So I have decided to buy a good espresso machine for the home. I will spend up to $1,600-1,700 for the total package (and maybe up to $2,000 if it makes sense). The question is what I should look at.

Now, based on the facts above and what I have read I think a good double boiler semi automatic machine and a good grinder would get me there. However, here's my rub. My wife adores coffee as well, and combined we have 2 teenagers who also love cappiccino (and latte), and will want to use the machine while I am at work. I have a feeling the kids may be a bit intimidated by a semi automatic and I don't think their tastes will be as discerning. So a super automatic would likely fit them. However when I make cappuccino/espresso for me, I want more control over the process than a superautomatic will allow (I think). So I think I have two questions:

  1. am I overstating how difficult and messy a semiautomatic can be for my teenagers to use?
  2. if I get a superautomatic, could I take sufficient control over the process to do what I want?

Now, I know superautomatics aren't favorites here, and so I expect some dissing of them. I also know people may think I am spending needless money by getting one. However it's worth it if a semiautomatic will be daunting for a casual user.

Thanks in advance.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 9:01am
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

William,
Welcome to the board.
You are right about our lower view of SA machines. This is because of several things. They have both grinder and machine in one case so if you have issues with one thing you need to replace both. Next they do not have the adjustability of semi or auro machines and stand alone grinders and third they are more trouble prone than seperates.

Teaching teens to use a semi auto machine should not be an issue if they want to learn, they take to tech very quickly.

As to machine desine. Quality machines be they SBDU, HX or DB. Will all turn out excellent espresso when used properly.

For several drinks at a time a SBDU is not a great choice. Either a HX or DB will serve you better.

One is not better than the other, they are two waus to make great drinks.

A ; allows you to slightly adjust temps between shots while a PID controled DB let's you not. Think about temps. Both work well it is just what you want from the machine.

All 3 can make great shots multiple milk drinks are moew efficently made on a HX. Or DB.

Of course any of them require a good grinder

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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DanoM
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Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 307
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
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Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 10:13am
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

I think a semi-automatic or even automatic (not super automatic) would work out fine for wife and teens with the following caveats:
  1.  Everyone needs to have the same tamp:  Get an Espro calibrated tamper and all your family will be tamping to the same pressure.
  2.  You dial in the grind in the morning.  That gives everyone a base set point to start with, and if they learn enough they might vary the grind during the day without much trouble.
  3.  They don't mind working a bit for their coffee experience.  There are people that don't mind the details required for good espresso, and there are other people that would rather not be bothered with the details and just want coffee.

Unfortunately I don't know super-autos enough to give a recommendation one way or the other.

Best of luck!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,014
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 11:39am
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

I have a video somewhere of 5 year olds pulling coffee at Clive's.  The kids will be masters in no time and maybe they will pick up a skill that will get them spending money in college.

 
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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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
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 Mon Jul 1, 2013, 12:29pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

Another thing you can consider is that if your teens aren't as discerning about taste, they can still use ESE pods in a nicer machine with an adapter, though we should all be setting better examples for the younger generation ;)

Your budget sounds like the Cuadra+Vario+Accessories variety, though there are a couple really nice HXs at 1st line between $1000-1300 that would work as well.
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wtmcgowin
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Joined: 1 Jul 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Mobile, AL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 1:02pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

These are all great, thoughtful responses. Thanks!
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takeshi
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takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
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Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 1:05pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

wtmcgowin Said:

if I get a superautomatic, could I take sufficient control over the process to do what I want?

Posted July 1, 2013 link

Not if you're after coffee nirvana.  If you want push button convenience then a superauto fits the bill.

wtmcgowin Said:

am I overstating how difficult and messy a semiautomatic can be for my teenagers to use?

Posted July 1, 2013 link

Probably but teenagers aren't all identical.  You know yours better than any of us would.
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CoffeeRon
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CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 733
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I have a video somewhere of 5 year olds pulling coffee at Clive's.  The kids will be masters in no time and maybe they will pick up a skill that will get them spending money in college.

Posted July 1, 2013 link

Was this the one you were referring to?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnmmEZ-hMa4
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wtmcgowin
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jul 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Mobile, AL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 6:10pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

I want to look at the Cuadra, but its a good looking machine! Looks don't make good coffee, of course.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,014
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Jul 1, 2013, 7:36pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions for an espresso machine for multiple users
 

yes thanks that was the link. Yes a cuadra is a good machine for the money.

 
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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