rogermorse Senior Member Joined: 4 Apr 2012 Posts: 11 Location: Switzerland Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Apr 4, 2012, 1:58pm Subject: Italian wants espresso
Hello! I gave a look at this forum and I hope I am in the right place. In the last year I wanted a good espresso maker....but there are too many out there and I can't really afford a 600$ machine. I am 100% italian and I know a bit about coffee, I know how I want my espresso, I know how I like the beans, how I like to grind them (I don't roast), how I like the espresso to come out, how much cream and what colour. I also know, unfortunately, that espresso doesn't exist in Switzerland but in some few places and very expensive.
At home, with an old 40 euros espresso maker (is that the right word?) from DeLonghi that my mother gave me, I am able anyway to get an espresso which is 100 times better than the crap they serve in 99% of the "bars" here in Switzerland (which costs at least 4 swiss francs, by the way, against 1 euro in Italy or less).
Getting nice fresh beans from a shop I know and grinding them gives me a pretty good espresso.
I would like to change machine (sorry if machine is not the right word) with a better one, one that keeps the pressure throughout the extraction, already after a couple espressi the pressure is not enough and i have to wait, if I have people home is impossible to brew more than 2 espressi....and also the coffee doesn't come out too hot and could be more creamy.
Now, without going to spend hundreds of euros....is there some entry level machine, better than crappy machines, that could give me nice results? I was looking online and I found an "amici francis X3" used for 130 swiss francs. I have read the review on this website and looked pretty positive.
The thing is, many machines may look well made, nice material, nice filters and handles, on paper nice values and so on...but then they work as they work, you never know....like wine, you can't know what it tastes like unless you open it and drink it. And also with used machines, I wouldn't know what to check in the photos they post in the auctions...
By a moka everything is more simple...in a real espresso maker there are lots of hidden things that you can't see or foresee, so I have to trust some of you and accept your suggestions on some models....then I'll try to find those models.
Oh and by the way I am not interested in milk, cappuccino, automatic machines, pods or capsules....I only use coffee beans, grind them and get coffee out of them....don't need to have a good foam with the milk or anything....just coffee (espresso).
thank you, if you want to help! i'll keep reading the forum
In the US it is hard to get a good machine for under 1k. That is why I bought used espresso machine. But you also must have a good grinder.
I have no idea what the cost of things are in EU. But if you are Italian I would think that the espresso makers would be cheaper on a visit home to Italy and then just take it back to Switzerland. There are tons of really nice ones out there made in Italy that we have to pay shipping and import fees on. So a machine that would cost me 2-3k might cost you very little by comparison and you might have a lot of good used/refurbished ones to pick from directly from the factory. You can go into shops and look at them as well. Also consider what you can get parts for where you live.
I had a small budget so I got a not very pretty used espresso maker with a lot of power and a good grinder. Hardware alone was right about 1k USD. But I have no idea what kind of deal you could get where you are. I would look at the high rated ones on this site and see what you can get a deal on.
You didn't mention what sort of grinder you're using. If you're getting your coffee pre-ground, then that's your biggest problem. Pre-ground coffee goes stale 15 minutes after being ground. Furthermore, if you're not getting fresh roasted coffee, that's another problem. Coffee goes stale 15 days after roast date. So you HAVE to first find a local roaster that you can get fresh roasted coffee from, as in roasted the DAY you buy it.
When you find your roaster, next you need a quality grinder. Baratza Vario or Preciso, Mazzer/Rio Super Jolly, Nuova Simonelli MDX or MDA, Macap (any Macap will do), or even a Rancilio Rocky, though the Rocky tends to be hit or miss when finding a quality one that'll grind fine enough. I'd go with either Vario, Preciso, Super Jolly, or MDX. All of these can be found relatively cheap on ebay. But relatively cheap is $300-600 for these grinders used. But grinder is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you need in your espresso venture.
As for machine, most people will recommend a used HX machine. It's the only kind that'll do back to back espressos without losing temperature or pressure.
Honestly, if you don't have a good budget for buying espresso equipment, you're not going to get the quality you're looking for, or the performance you need. Making back to back espressos requires heavy duty equipment that can handle all that work.
Well I was afraid I would have gotten answers like these....which don't get me wrong are very detailed and full but not the solution I was looking for :)
You are enthusiast...same as me in other fields, whoever asks me about a bike I wouldn't recommend any bike under 1000 euros or so, same with computers or phones I mean everything we love, automatically we recommend quality things that will cost more than any other person would spend.
I love coffee, sure, but I am also a student so spending 1000$ is out of the question. I will one day, when I will be able to afford it....in the meantime, my 'solution' was just replacing the little DeLonghi I have....I don't plan making 20 espresso in a sequence (maybe Harding got me wrong there), I seek only a better pressure, better lever, better filter....I mean the one I am using now is very cheaply made....and if this one (40 euros) already gives me much better results than a full automatic Jura (the ones they use here) of 2500 swiss francs....I wonder if I buy something a bit more expensive...that was more like a test, then of course I know that to have the right extraction you'll have to spend that much money, especially on the grinder....but I just can't and I wanted to find something 'nice', no trash, that could satisfy me.
About the coffee yes I have a conic grinder which gives me a fine enough powder without making it hot or anything. I know it wouldn't meet your standards but for the moment is good enough for me (and for the quality of the machine I use - plan to use). The shop regularly roasts beans so they're fresh. I am also a freshness freak about pretty much everything so I keep the beans well preserved and I grind them only when I need.
So is there really nothing "popular" that you would recommend to someone that wants to start with nice espresso? There is ALWAYS something, among the enthusiast (can be coffee or computers or cars or anything), that doesn't cost a lot and is recommended by everyone because of the price / quality with a very good result.
I'll keep reading and looking anyway, I am pretty sure also that if I ask you what you own, will be everything above 1000$ budget ^^
So this 'francis francis' brand is nothing? Only because i was seeing this 'X3' for 400 sfr, while used I found it for 130....so I thought it was a good occasion.
, My first guess is that you live in german spoken part of Switzerland. I've been there many times end coffee wise I would get pissed when traveling from Milano to Zurich. Somewhere after Airolo good espresso would mysteriously disappear , so Ticino is a great area to start your search .
Another thing that might be interesting for you at the moment is sky high Swiss Franc so ebay.it and ebay.de are good places to do your search.
I'm in Croatia at the moment and I've noticed that used commercial espresso stuff is super cheap in local adds and I bet it's the same situation in Italy and Ticino as well. The cheapest combo I can recommend is secod hand commercial grinder and gaggia classic which should be found for around 300CHF in a good shape. That's probably the cheapest good machine with 58mm brass portafilter and many users never get upgradeditis with it. Another solution is used commercial grade machine like Click Here (m.njuskalo.hr) for 100ish CHF if your living space permits which would be my personal choice ;-)
wow sasha that looks serious and massive but I guess I would have to move out with that thing in the kitchen :D And I wouldn't know how to get it...i don't understand a word in that website and I don't think that "thing" can be sent!!
I watched many extractions on youtube about
Gaggia 14101 Classic (is that the one you're saying?)
The price is very very different and this EC155 looks really too plastic....although the extraction looks actually good. I'll try and see if I can get a used gaggia.
I second the recommendation for the Classic. and 200 francs is an OK deal depending on the state of the machine. Gaggia's tend to last quite a while so unless the machine is already 10 years old it may be worth purchasing.
well I think I've decided for the gaggia classic. Is not really 'beautiful'....but all eye candy machines are really bad on the quality so I'll forget them. I'll check the prices of the new in Italy and see. I don't really like buying things used...I like to know how something has been kept, I always am very careful with things and try to preserve them very well.
Or is there any side effect in buying a coffee machine 'new' ? I guess it needs some time to get in motion...or will the first coffe be just as good as the 100th ? With mokas, the use of it makes it better for various reasons, what about an espresso machine?
I also noticed that there are different version of the gaggia...the portafilter are not the same, and there are some differences in the logo and the controls. Check the pictures. Anything to worry about? Sometimes (referring to other objects) some version (based on the year production or so) may be worse than others. Will with this gaggia classic be any difference? Or is every model the same since always? I don't want to incurr in some older model (or newer model) which has some defect I could be informed about in advance.
The visual differences (pannarello for the steam, controls and portafilter):
I just purchased a used Gaggia Classic last week and did a lot of research...
I should warn that the Gaggia can corrode quickly if not used with soft water. I advise only to buy a machine that was used with filtered or bottled water, if possible, especially in Europe. I'd be less cautious if the machine is only several months old, than if the machine was much older, of course. Many other espresso machines use brass or stainless steel boilers, they still have this problem, but it is much worse with the Gaggia's aluminum boiler and brass fittings.
You should also filter your water or use water from a bottle (without gas, of course) to prolong the life of the machine. Do NOT use distilled or reverse-osmosis water.
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