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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Newbie from...  
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Marsh
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Aug 2013
Posts: 7
Location: The Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Aug 3, 2013, 1:17pm
Subject: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Hi Guys (and girls),

Sorry to bother you but I really neef some help.
My coffee machine (just a normal dripping machine) broke down recently and I thought it now was a good time to replace it with a decent coffee maker. After a week of researching, comparing aso I still have no clue... Hopefully you can help me further?!

Just first something 'bout me to make it a bit more personal:
I am Marsh, a Dutch guy of 33 years old, married and father to a beautiful daughter of 1,5y old.
On daily notice I work as a salesmanager/New Business Manager in advertising/media and make long days.
Unfortunately in the office we have a terrible machine so I drink it for the cafeïne but it's a joke.
That is why I would like a decent machine at home.

To kick it off, the answers to your questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.) in the morning a decent coffee (anericano is it called) or a cappuccino, in weekends anything from Cappuccino to Latté, espresso, double, ristretto or flat white ;-)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.) per time max 2 in weekends, for greater parties I will buy a dripping machine cheap from the electronics department.
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.) about 15
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir? Reservoir
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit? Europe, so thats 20 I guess? I dunno
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder? 500 about, not including the grinder.
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? Used is ok, but prefer new
8)  Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these. Not yet but will get those by bday in short notice

Can you guys help? I was looking for a full automatic as I also Like different kinds of coffee including the daily 'normal' and in the mornings don't have much time but now I don't know anymore.
Can you help?

Thanks!
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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 Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:30am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Lots to say...hopefully, I won't forget to include any of it...though I'd like to keep it short for you.

Welcome to CG!

Americanos are espresso shots diluted with hot water to make the drink more like drip...probably closer to highly filtered strong press pot. All of the other drinks you mentioned are also espresso-based.

Pretty much every prep method is going to take some time. With your budget, you won't be able to get a prosumer espresso machine, but if you could, you'd be able to make an americano in about 5 minutes with it -assuming you had it on a timer to preheat before you get up in the am. Your budget puts you into SBDU territory, and for an americano, you would still be close to 5minutes. However, the milk drinks (cappuccino, latte, etc) will take you at least 10 minutes because you have to get the boiler to the proper temp between espresso and frothing (or vice versa). It doesn't sound like that would be a problem for you.

By "full automatic" I'm guessing you mean super automatic. They're very expensive...especially if you want them to make decent drinks (and yes, I meant decent, not good). You will do far better by not getting one of those.

The power supply question is really for North America. Are you on 110v or 220v? It'll become important when you start looking at brands and models of machines.

So what is your grinder budget? The grinder is very, very important. It will allow you to use fresh beans and have the grounds fresh when you're ready to brew. Without a grinder you're pretty much limiting your drink quality from the beginning. If money is really tight, you may want to look into manual grinders (hand powered). In fact, you'll be able to make better coffee with fresh beans and a grinder using preps such as a press pot, Aeropress, hand press, MyPressi twist, etc than you can with a great espresso machine and preground beans.

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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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 Mon Aug 5, 2013, 1:56am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Marsh Said:

now was a good time to replace it with a decent coffee maker.

Posted August 3, 2013 link

Well, "Decent" means "Prosumer" to me. I don't really want to recommend something I wouldn't buy myself. I'm fussy that way. :-)

Marsh Said:

per time max 2 in weekends, about 15 (Per week)

Posted August 3, 2013 link

This volume is good enough for a semi-automatic single boiler dual use machine.

Marsh Said:

500 about, not including the grinder.

Posted August 3, 2013 link

It's a little tight but it's workable. If you can budget a total of $1000 USD for everything, (~$600 for machine, ~$300 for grinder, $100 for accessories) that gives you a lot of
options to run with. A grinder goes with a machine like a dryer does a washer. They're typically paired up together because of the necessity of grinding your coffee fresh.

Marsh Said:

Used is ok, but prefer new

Posted August 3, 2013 link

As an FYI, you can potentially halve your total spending budget if you buy used. For example, you can pick up a used grinder for around ~$150 and a machine for ~$350...
Not including accessories....

Marsh Said:

I was looking for a full automatic

Posted August 3, 2013 link

If you really mean "Super Automatic" like what emrad said, be prepared to spend at least $1500-$2000 on a decent one but don't expect anything more than "drinkable" coffee.
Buying a used Super-Automatic is akin to buying used toilet paper, (IMO) you really do not want one unless you are sure it has been factory refurbished by a professional.

The lifespan of a typical super-auto, at least from what I've read on this forum is around 3-5 years. Considering the stiff investment you need to make, you can get much better
coffee from a semi-automatic SBDU machine at a fraction of the price and with nearly 4x the longevity.

Marsh Said:

don't have much time but now I don't know anymore.

Posted August 3, 2013 link

Well, the main disadvantage to an SBDU machine is that you have to wait for it to come up to steam temperature. This takes roughly 3 minutes. Unfortunately, you are going to have
to consider buying a used Heat Exchanging machine if you want to bypass this limitation, but still stay somewhere around your budget. (ie. Nuova Simonelli Oscar)

The most popular "Starter" SBDU machines that people start out with here are the Gaggia Classic and the Rancilio Silvia. There is a lot of positive reviews about both machines here
and a lot of forum members started out with these machines, so there is a wealth of knowledge about them. You can couple one of these machines with a new Baratza Precisio or a
used Compak K3 touch or even a Lelit grinder. Never hurts to check back with us if you find something!

Good luck!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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Marsh
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Aug 2013
Posts: 7
Location: The Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Aug 5, 2013, 3:27am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Emrad and Qualin, Thanks for Your good quality responses.
And Qualin, I would prefer a perfect coffeemaker instead of a decent one but ey, still something like a budget To keep in mind! :-)
For Your consideration: this is the piece of crap I am now tossing away Click Here (www.bol.com)

The main problem for me is not the time in the evening I want or can spend on it, it's the mornings when I usually drink 'normal coffee' from THE machine above and lots of time even take it away in my car when I bring my daughter to the daycare. That's why I wanted a superautomatic which can make cappuccino and normal coffee. What does SBDU stands for?

I was now orientating on machines like
Ascaso Dream Or Gaggia Classic for the option of not using it for the above mentioned use.
Siemens TK58001 Gaggia Brera or Saeco synthia for what I call superautomatic. This is probably What you call "trash"? ;-)

If I save I can stand a budget of 1000 over time, no probs.
Used is okay but with something like coffee it sounds 'dirty' to me. Is that strange? I would not buy à second hand matrass either....

And in Holland we are all on 230v, so all machines should do okay I guess?
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PeterWWbeagle
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 70
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Anita,CMA...
Grinder: Super Jolly, Mini, Macap
Vac Pot: Aeropress
Posted Mon Aug 5, 2013, 6:11am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

yes, EU is all 230.  the amperage of the outlets will change in the typical EU modern home, but kitchen electrical outlets should be more than enough.  the simple way to look at is that because the eu is 230/240 and the us is 115/120, you get twice power to your outlets  in eu and uk.  

 the real  problem is NA.   modern homes have 120v. 20 amp in the kitchen, but many older homes have only 15 amp kitchen. outlets.   many good prosumer machines will use near 15 amps in 120v, so then using a big grinder will pop the breaker.  and if a Us machine need 20 amps, it requires a different plug. power in the us for anything big is an issue/concern.  not so in the EU.

sorry, I could go one and one.   the 120/240 question here is just to deal with those poor North Americans that only have 120 v. 15 amps in their kitchen.  

most of the world is 220-240.  you will not have an issue getting machines.
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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 Mon Aug 5, 2013, 9:48am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Marsh Said:

it's the mornings when I usually drink 'normal coffee' from THE machine above

Posted August 5, 2013 link

With my own double boiler, I can make a milk drink in about 4 minutes. When I had a SBDU, it took me 10 minutes to do the same thing. I'd be
just as fast with a heat exchanging machine as I would be with a double boiler machine if I had purchased one.

For the capacity you are talking about, you don't need anything more than an SBDU unless you want to spend a lot of cash.

Marsh Said:

That's why I wanted a superautomatic which can make cappuccino and normal coffee.

Posted August 5, 2013 link

Superautomatics only really have one thing going for them and that is convenience. Push a button, get coffee. That's pretty much it. As a result of
doing all of this "hard" work, you are rewarded with subpar coffee. On the upside, there's nothing to learn. I wouldn't recommend a Superauto to anyone
because the longevity of one of these devices is short and they are quite expensive.

Marsh Said:

What does SBDU stands for?

Posted August 5, 2013 link

Single Boiler Dual Use. Think of a machine with one single boiler but with two thermostats, one of which can be switched in to bring the boiler to steam mode.
It's a compromise to keep the cost of the machine down so someone can make milk-based drinks with it. I can pull a straight shot in an SBDU really quick, it's
just steaming the milk that starts being a bit time consuming. (ie. Waiting 3 minutes for the boiler to heat up.)

The Gaggia Classic and the Rancilio Silvia are two of the best known SBDU machines on this forum and have been around for many many years. One forum member
got close to 20 years worth of use out of his Silvia before he decided to upgrade, that's pretty remarkable.

Marsh Said:

Used is okay but with something like coffee it sounds 'dirty' to me. Is that strange?

Posted August 5, 2013 link

Well, with a Semi-Auto, there isn't that much to clean. You backflush using espresso machine detergent, purging out old coffee, then you backflush again with water.
(ie. Using Cafiza) .. For the grinder, you can sweep it out of old coffee grind and then use cleaning beans, like Grindz, then grind new coffee in it.

If the machine has been cared for and looked after, it's not a big problem at all. With Superautos, you can put cleaning tablets in them, but IMO, due to the very nature
of how a superauto works, they never get as clean as a semi-automatic.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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Marsh
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Aug 2013
Posts: 7
Location: The Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Aug 5, 2013, 11:09am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Okay, Thanks for the explanation. A few questions still:
If I wanted a 'normal' coffee in the morning, like a mug, what would the procedure be with a SDBU? Just getting a shot of espresso and getting my cooker going and pour hot water in the mug?!
Or is there a machine were you can adjust the amount of water?
I read somewhere that a thermoblock is better?
If I would want a double boiler semi-auto machine what would be the budget-quality choices in your opinion?
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Aug 5, 2013, 11:12am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Because of what you have said here, I would get a french press or a moka machine.   I don't think you are quite ready for espresso.

 
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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Marsh
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Aug 2013
Posts: 7
Location: The Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Aug 5, 2013, 11:22am
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

Hahaha noobie, i already have both the moka and a Press ;-)

On topic: the Ascaso Steel Duo is the best budget buy for a dual boiler i guess?
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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 Mon Aug 5, 2013, 1:22pm
Subject: Re: Newbie from Europe - help needed! ;-)
 

If you choose a SBDU machine your morning routine for making a daily americano would likely resemble the following:

Get out of bed, stumble to kitchen and flip on machine. (30 seconds)
Go get ready to leave, work on getting your daughter ready. (An hour?)
About 30-45 after turning the machine on, pull your double shot espresso, clean off the group, then draw hot water from the boiler to fill your cup. (5 minutes)
Turn your machine off, leave the house for your day (1/2 second)
After work, before going to bed, fill the reservoir on your machine, flip it on and run water through the wand to make sure the boiler is full. Flip it off and go to sleep (2 minutes)

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