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Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Newcomer wanting...  
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randomguy
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Location: South Africa
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 3:29am
Subject: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

Hello everyone :)

I'm a new comer and very happy to be part of the forum. There really is a forum for pretty much everything these days and it's a fantastic way to learn.

I've spent the last few days reading as a guest, getting a feel for the forum and the kind of info I need and I decided to register... And bug everyone ;)

Basically, I am looking for a machine that's going to help me make cappuccinos as good as I can get from the comfort of my office. In answer to the 8 questions in the sticky:

1) What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?: Cappuccino 99.9% of the time.
2) How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time?: Max 2.
3) How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?: I'd say 30-40 a week.
4) Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir?: The machine definitely needs its own reservoir.
5) Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?: My guess would be standard 15-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?: Between (equivelant) of $200 and $300 and I think I'm going to go against popular opinion and skip the grinder for now. I'll go for pre-ground coffee initially and then advance later.
7) Are you willing to buy used or do you need new equipment? Do you or family member have the skills to repair used equipment?: I am happy to buy used / well loved equipment. However I am from South Africa so shipping will usually be an issue (doesn't mean I cannot use Amazon / eBay though) and no, no family members who can repair the equipment.
8) Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these: I do not have the essential accessories, again I will accumulate them over time. I have no doubt I'll be spending most of the rest of my life tinkering and upgrading so they'll come.

So there you have it guys. I need a machine between $200 and $300 that will make a really great cappuccino. I'd prefer something with a frother wand to keep it "all in 1" but if I am better off with a separate device to froth, that's an option.

I was initially looking at a Delonghi machine, but after looking at some reviews, I think I may have a go at importing a Gaggia Espresso machine. However, I have read that the cappuccinos from these guys are of questionable quality. So please, any recommendations welcome.

I also totally understand that there's much to learn and read to be able to pull a great espresso and I am looking forward to getting started.

Thanks in advance to anyone who answers :)
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 455
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 4:03am
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

The plastic bodied, cheapest pump machines will all be pretty much the same thing, internally. It is a fairly crowded market of disposable machines, most won't have three way valves. Most will have pressurized porta-filters to make it easier to look at the espresso they produce with aging pre-ground. None are going to be the machine you love for the rest of your life, but you get what you pay for. Example of a made in China pump machine They will all have frothers with some sort of pannarello to make it easy to prep your milk for the cappuccinos.  Enough milk froth makes it easy to get away with a sub-standard shot.
Again, it's not going to be the machine that you never part with. It will just make it possible to feed your cappuccino cravings in the office without costing much and without taking up much space.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,753
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 5:02am
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

Since you can't afford a grinder and will be using preground you can remove the term great from your cappuccino, and replace it with drinkable. I can't tell you how many people have come here after ignoring the grinder first advice and eventually getting something we've recommended saying something like gee, you guys were right it's amazing what a difference the grinder makes. Having said that, I understand you may not be able to appropriate the money to get a good setup.

If you end up with the Gaggia, there are some simple mods you can do to improve its frothing performance, such as changing the wand to a Silvia one...which is not only easy, but pretty cheap.

Good luck in your quest!

.

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


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Location: South Africa
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 6:52am
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

Hi guys.

Thanks very much for the replies thus far.

So it seems I might be on the wrong track here then.

Would you then recommend I spend slightly less on a machine (and perhaps go for a Delonghi as I initially considered) and then buy a starter grinder like the Dualit? So basically $200 for the machine and $100 for the grinder? Is that better than $300 on a machine with no grinder?

Thanks again!
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biochemgawd
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 82
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: BDB
Grinder: Vario
Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 8:59am
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

Don't get discouraged yet. For your budget, you can get a basic Gaggia espresso machine or something equivalent that is available in SA.

While you save for a grinder, you can get a Hario Mini-Slim hand grinder and use freshly roasted beans. (http://www.coffeehit.co.uk/hario-mini-mill-slim) I found one in the UK, so may be available there. Helps keep your forearms toned while at work - and only takes about a minute to grind enough for a shot. It grinds fine enough for espresso, but you'll eventually find that you'll want something more adjustable.

Using freshly roasted beans and grinding per shot will make a HUGE difference compared to preground coffee.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
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 22, 2013, 9:00am
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

Go ahead with a Gaggia, they're good starter machines. You don't have to skip the grinder. I would recommend the Hario Skerton hand grinder. It takes a little extra effort for each cup, but can grind for espresso and I used it for months before I got my Vario.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,753
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 1:24pm
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

yeah, another vote for the Skerton.  and agree, don't get discouraged.  I didn't mean for my initial post to discourage you.  Just wanted you to realize that you're best off giving the grinder very high importance.
:)

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,012
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 1:40pm
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

Delonghi EC155

Hario Skerton Or Capresso grinder if you don't wanna grind by hand.  

It makes drinkable cappuccinos and with fresh ground coffee will improve the taste over pre-ground coffee.  Should leave you with a few bucks to buy a good frothing pitcher and cleaning accessories.

By the way I have made delicious coffee with this machine. :)
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
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 22, 2013, 4:32pm
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

A gentle addendum to Burner's post, the Capresso Infinity is NOT suitable for espresso, as its steps are too wide and imprecise. The Hario Skerton can be had for less than $40 in many cases. Go ahead and try to find a used Saeco machine if you can't secure a Gaggia. They're good workhorses and some (like the SIN006/Vapore/Barista) are built extremely well.
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LowThudd
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 63
Location: Van Nuys
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Espresso, Mukka,...
Grinder: Grindmaster 625(RR45)
Roaster: Salton Popcorn popper
Posted Tue Jul 23, 2013, 12:06pm
Subject: Re: Newcomer wanting a great cappuccino maker (also hi everyone)
 

Just to throw in my noobie 2 cents worth, I recently got a commercial Rossi RR45 for $120 on eBay. The thing is massive, but it grinds better than any store grinder I have ever used. Most store ground coffee is not perfect for espresso. But a commercial espresso grinder will work very well. Click Here (www.ebay.com) Like I said though, it is huge. I use mine with no hopper, just the cone hopper adapter. I can only recomend AGAINST a EC100 I bought to replace a 20 year old Krups. I am thinking of going to Gaggia as well.

As a side note, while not a traditional Cappuccino, I have a Bialetti Mukka which makes a FANTASTIC cappa like coffee, all in one pot. IMHO it is comparable if not better than any Cappuccino I have gotten from A$$bucks. Mostly due to fresh roasted and ground beans. Just a thought if you want something to try on the cheap.
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