Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
Support Coffee Kids
Coffee Kids is a non profit charity working with farming communities around the world. Donate today!
www.coffeekids.org
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > First post -...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
EM1
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 14
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Apr 30, 2014, 3:15pm
Subject: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

Hello all, I don't have an espresso machine or a grinder.  I have never used one. My wife and I purchase caps and lattes almost daily.  I don't want a starter machine that I will desire to sell in one year.  I have researched quite a bit and would like a dual boiler.  1st choice would be a vetrano 2b with a mazzer mini.  However, I'm about 6 months from having the money for that.  

Choice number 2 would be a breville dual boiler and a kitchenaid burr grinder with the mazzer burr retrofit.  Or, a used mazzer and enjoy my French press for awhile.

Choice number 3 is a used rancillo epoca E1 for a good price, really good.  It's bigger than I want, but I figure I could play with it for a while and sell it if it doesn't work.  Couldn't find much for details on this machine.  Seems set up for commercial use with auto presets and such.  Although that might be good for my wife.  Can you still use it to learn hands on though?  Is it way overkill for 3-4 milk drinks a day and 8-12 when we have friends over.  Reliabilty?  Known issues?

If I've missed a post on this by all means please forward me the link. Much thanks!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
EM1
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 14
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Apr 30, 2014, 3:44pm
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

Oh yeah, and the house I'm in now has 20 amp, but we may move an that could change..
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,397
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Apr 30, 2014, 4:10pm
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

You've obviously done a lot of research; your post and your choices cover a lot of ground.  

The most difficult question you pose, and one which is integral to the others is whether you should wait and save to afford a "better" setup or buy a "lesser" one now.  That's a lifestyle question and one that's beyond the scope of an enthusiasts' forum like this one.  

The best buying advice I can give you in terms of buying a setup which you won't want to upgrade in the near future is to buy the best grinder you can afford that will fit within your space. If you have to make compromises based on budget, build your setup around the grinder and not around the machine.  

The Mini is a good grinder.  It's better than adequate, but is not a very good grinder, and is far from excellent.  Any of the machines on your menu can back up a much better grinder.  More to the point, you get a much bigger improvement in the cup out of every dollar you spend by getting a better grinder than you do for any dollar you spend on a better machine.  

Case very much in point:  You'll get a much better shot for $2400 with a BDB and an $1100 Titan flat like a Ceado E37s, Compak K8, or Mazzer Major; or for $2800 with the BDB and a Titan conical like the Compak K10 PB, than from the $3200 combination of a Vetrano 2B and a Mini.    

The BDB is one of the few best bang for the buck deals in espresso.  The Vetrano is better laid out, offers a little more working room, steams better, looks "richer," feels "richer," and is truly a great deal better built.  But it's not as high-featured (losing to the BDB in the important areas of pre-infusion and temperature agility), and is no easier to use.    

It won't make "better" espresso either.  But hold on for some perspective.  That's kind of misleading.  Once you've reached a certain level of machine competence "better" is far more a function of grinder and barista skills than machine quality.  The most a machine can offer you is production capacity, steam power, recovery time, and ease of use.  

The knock on the BDB 920XL, such as it is, is build quality.  But hold on for some perspective.  The BDB is built on a plastic frame on a Chinese assembly line.  It's not heirloom quality in the same way a high-end prosumer is.  On the other hand, the preceding model, the 900XL, had a very good record for reliability; Breville support was (and is) incredibly good; and the non-proprietary components like pump and valves are the same components sourced from the same bins used by the European manufacturers.

Don't get me wrong, though.  The Vetrano 2B is one of the best E-61, double-boilers on the market, good value for its high money, and a serious chunk of polished stainless presence on your counter.

Epocas are not "prosumer," but true commercial machines.  On the one hand, they're well built with comfortable width and ergonomics for rapid production.  On the other hand, they're low featured, not particularly user friendly, and too tall to fit under standard kitchen cabinets.  There are several models of Epoca.  Whether or not any of them would be a good choice depends not only which would fit your needs best; but also on whether you'd suffer from the lack features like pre-infusion.  

Even though I use a different single group, true commercial HX, and love it, it's quite a bit more home friendly than the Epoca.  While I believe that several true commercial HXs are the least money you can spend for the best machines, not every true commercial is in that select group. Unless the particular Epoca in question fits your situation (including your skills levels), AND you can get it for a great price, I can't recommend any machine which you'll find to be more PITA than fun.  

If you've really limited the other machine choices to BDB and Vetrano 2B, I think you'd do much better with the BDB and any one of a number of really good grinders than with the Vetrano 2B and a Mini.    

Ask lots of questions.  

Hope this helps,
Rich
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
EM1
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 14
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Apr 30, 2014, 4:20pm
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

Wow! That was a fantastic reply!!  Thanks so much.  I don't like the BDB in terms of aesthetics or heritage, but it does seem to check all the other boxes.  

Ok, so grinders, I can get a SM-90 for under $200.  Would that work?  My wife hates the size.  Is there anything epic that isn't huge?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,397
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Apr 30, 2014, 4:57pm
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

The SM 90 is the functional equivalent of the Mini.  You might as well get a Vario and trade some build quality for user convenience; in the cup characteristics will be about the same.

Is there anything epic that isn't huge?

Epic?  No.  The best in the cup, small footprint grinders I know about are the Baratza Forte (Vario with better build quality), and Mazzer Mini E (either A or B) with Super Jolly burrs.  Both are very close to equal to an SJ in the cup, and both are considerably smaller.

Both kinda split the border between good and very good.  I can't say that one is obviously better than the other; but haven't had much experience with either.  FWIW, the Forte is a good visual companion to the BDB and is incredibly user friendly -- a thing which cannot be said of any Mazzer.

Otherwise, the Mahlkonig K30 Vario ($1600), with a mini hopper is short enough to fit under kitchen cabinets; and it's an excellent grinder, but it is quite wide and something of a bear to maintain.

Rich
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 581
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Posted Wed Apr 30, 2014, 5:11pm
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Otherwise, the Mahlkonig K30 Vario... something of a bear to maintain.

Rich

Posted April 30, 2014 link

i dunno.  i wouldnt compare it to a bear ;) .  that's harsh.  

i do agree that some, like mazzer, are really simple to work on, but i wouldnt say a k30 is really THAT much more difficult.  If you have any mechanical inclination and pay attention to detail, i'd consider it pretty simple.  Not much harder than working on a bicycle and easier than most basic automotive work.

also, it may be wide but it's also a circular base.  Most other commercial grinders in its class have the same or more depth requirements than the k30.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
EM1
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 14
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu May 1, 2014, 6:10am
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

Ok so here is a list of some of the equipment I can for cheap:

1996 Wega Max M6.4 w/doser

An older rancillo grinder w/doser, has a big square bean container on top, probably a md50/st

A commercial bunn G3 coffee grinder

Rancillo epoca e1 espresso machine

I thought if there was even one good piece I could keep it and sell the rest.  Even if I didn't want it, is it worth anything on Kijiji?

Thanks everyone!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,397
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Thu May 1, 2014, 7:40am
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

1996 Wega Max M6.4 w/doser.

I Don't know it personally, but hear it's in the same "very good"* class as the Mazzer SJ.  

(*In my very personal grinder rating hierarchy, "very good" is better than "good," but not as good as "excellent," "Titan" or "uber-Titan.")

The grinder is the most important piece of equipment in the espresso chain.  As a rule of thumb you should buy the best grinder you can afford which will fit in your space. If I were buying a machine + grinder combination for myself, I wouldn't compromise on the grinder as a way of controlling the budget -- presuming I could compromise on the machine.  But this is about you.    

An older rancillo grinder w/doser, has a big square bean container on top, probably a md50/st

The MD50 is a very fast grinder.  Fast is good in a commercial setting, but it's a double edged sword in the home, because running the grinder to do adjustments means going through a lot of beans.  

Its "in the cup" qualities are in the same "SJ" class as nearly ever other ~64mm flat burr commercial grinder.  (The exception is the Mahlkonig K30, a massive overachiever).  The adjustment scheme is better than Mazzer's, but what isn't?

A commercial bunn G3 coffee grinder.

Huge.  Great for brew, especially with a swap to Ditting 903/904 series burrs (the hybrid is known as "Bunnzilla").  If you've got the space and you want a brew grinder, you cannot do better at any price than Bunnzilla.  

Rancillo epoca e1 espresso machine

Plumb in only.  The drip tray might require a direct connection to the drain as well, but I'm not sure.  Well built, true commercial.  Too tall to fit under kitchen cabinets.  Good ergonomics and size for rapid work flow, good recovery time, but not very user friendly.  If you've got the space for it, and the price is right it could be an excellent fit -- but without good barista skills it will eat you alive.    

Rich
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
EM1
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 14
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu May 1, 2014, 10:03am
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

Makes sense, thanks for saving me from myself.  If I could get all that stuff for around $1000.  Would it be a good deal in terms of reselling it or would it be a gamble?  I thought maybe I could make a couple bucks toward a decent grinder.  

If that seems like a waste of time would it be worth it to get the wega max for $100?  It is too big for my long term plans, but if it is a good machine otherwise I can sell it later while I look for something.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,949
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu May 1, 2014, 12:26pm
Subject: Re: First post - buying advice - and I read the sticky : )
 

If you are serious, save your money, buy better quality and be happy for a long time.
The disclaimer Rich makes on the BDB most likely is because I really do not think much of the build quality and to limit my warning posts, that is the standard disclaimer on the machine to avoid a novel on my part.

If you don't mind getting a little dirty and if you can change the spark plugs in your car, you most likely can work on an espresso machine. Commercial machines are built to be ABUSED 24/7, the BDB in similar situation likely would not make it a month but that is a guess on my part, two completely different animals.

Don't try to buy, flip and move up. While it is possible to get good deals, flipping machines is against the rules on the forum, it is there only for members who have traded up and  may have a piece of gear to pass on, it is not for flipping to make enough to buy what you want.

 
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!
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > First post -...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Donate to Coffee Kids
Coffee Kids works with farming communities around the world, improving lives. Donate today.
www.coffeekids.org
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.33759188652)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+