Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Questions and Answers
Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
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 > Q and A > Noob from the...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
l9nux
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Sussex, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 7:04am
Subject: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

Hi coffee experts,

I have no intentions of becoming a pro barista in this life, but I would like a decent coffee machine at home to make latte and cappuccinos. I buy ground coffee from a local coffee shop, so I don't necessarily need a bean to cup machine. Now I've outgrown my first cheap espresso machine (which takes forever to make a large latte), I'm a bit lost to which brand(s) to look for. Here are my requirements:

1) Budget up to 400, but would prefer to spend half that!
2) I hate mess, and my machines portafilter is always wet and sprays everywhere when I take it off.
3) Needs a good milk steamer that can handle a large latte or two.
4) Want a gauge to see the pressure.

I've been to a local coffee shop but the cheapest machine in their is over 800. I think they deal with local businesses more that home users such as myself. Any advice on machines and what to look for would be great.

I have Googled, and searched the forums and was getting a bit lost with all the choices out there. Any help narrowing down these choices would be a great help!

Ray
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
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
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 7:20am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

No, the local seller is about right with the price of the machine when taking into account what you want it to do.
Next, you can NOT use pre ground coffee anyplace near an espresso machine and expect more than swill to come out.

You NEED a good grinder MORE than a great espresso machine, a grinder DESIGNED TO GRIND FOR ESPRESSO, not a whirley blade thing or a $35 "burr" consumer grinder. For a grinder that is able to grind for espresso and that has a motor and is not hand crank, expect to spend FROM $350 and up, way up from there.

In your price range, expect what you have now. To make multiple large milk drinks in a reasonable time, you need to spend the money. For equipment that will do what you are asking, grinder and machine, USED EQUIPMENT expect about $1K.

Please read our FAQ on how to buy an espresso machine, it will answer questions you don't even know to ask right now.
http://coffeegeek.com/guides

 
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
l9nux
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Sussex, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 7:32am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

Thanks for the quick reply. Bare in mind that I spent 70 on my first machine (very cheap!), but I have been using the local coffee seller to grind my coffee for me and they obviously do it with a very good grinder. I totally agree that the grinder is important, but why do I need one if I can go two minutes up the road and they grind the beans for me?

I have found that there doesn't seem to be enough pressure in my machine if the coffee is too fine, so it takes a long time but I get a really nice coffee. If I buy pre-ground coffee from the supermarket, then I find it's not fine enough and pours through too quickly... then I get left with the slush. You get what you pay for I know, but...  I would have thought spending 400 on a new machine would be better than my 70 machine, otherwise why don't I just go to the coffee shop round the corner and buy coffee from there?

I've read the FAQ, but get the feeling this forum is for the elite coffee enthusiast, not for someone like me that makes a couple of lattes a day?     I'm sure I'm not alone as a coffee lover that can't justify 800 + on a machine that they will use 4-5 times a week?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:13am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

Ray?  First of all, welcome to CG . . .

l9nux Said:

I totally agree that the grinder is important, but why do I need one if I can go two minutes up the road and they grind the beans for me?

Posted January 23, 2013 link

So, in other words, you don't agree that a grinder is important . . .

Babbie's Rule of Fifteens:
-- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months, or they go stale.
-- Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale.
-- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.

Your choice, BUT there is no way to make "great" -- let alone "excellent" or "outstanding," or even just "very good" -- espresso from pre-ground coffee.

l9nux Said:

You get what you pay for I know, but...  I would have thought spending 400 on a new machine would be better than my 70 machine, otherwise why don't I just go to the coffee shop round the corner and buy coffee from there?

Posted January 23, 2013 link

Well, perhaps you should.  But you are making a very common mistake:  you are presuming the machine -- because of its higher price tag -- is the most important thing.  Guess what?  It doesn't matter how much you pay for your automobile; without petrol, it's not going very far.  

The Four M's of Espresso:
1) the Macinazione is the grinder, and with it, the correct grinding of the coffee beans;
2) the Miscela is the coffee beans/blend itself;
3) the Macchina is the espresso machine; and
4) the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  

All four are important.  Nothing is more important than the grinder.

l9nux Said:

I've read the FAQ, but get the feeling this forum is for the elite coffee enthusiast, not for someone like me that makes a couple of lattes a day?     I'm sure I'm not alone as a coffee lover that can't justify 800 + on a machine that they will use 4-5 times a week?

Posted January 23, 2013 link

Ray, this site is what you make of it.  There are people here with all levels of experience, all kinds of needs -- and what you take from this site is up to you.

This is a site for people who have never owned an espresso machine before, and for consumers who've owned espresso machines and roasted their own beans at home for years.  And there are whole parts of this site that deal with coffee other than espresso, too.  I have owned an espresso machine in my home since the mid-1970s, but I still consider myself nothing more than an "experienced amateur" who has a great deal more to learn -- and quite frankly, there is a good deal of stuff I don't want to learn, a bunch of stuff on this site that I don't care about.  We each take from this site what we can use, and we leave the rest.

Let me make a cultural assumption, that -- admittedly -- may or may not fit you personally.  But I'm going to presume that -- regardless of what you do in your own home -- you know that loose (leaf) tea produces a finer cup (higher quality) of tea than tea bags; that tea bags will produce a better cup than powdered, "instant" tea.  You can choose to make a great cup of tea at home, but it will take longer to properly warm the pot and steep the tea than it will to pour boiling water over a tea bag, and take the mug back upstairs -- tea bag and all.  You know you can go to a tea shoppe or have "afternoon tea" at a fancy hotel, OR you can get a cup of tea at Wimpy's, but there's going to be a definite difference in the cup.

It's the same for coffee.

You can go round the corner and buy a latte from them on your way to work, or -- you can take some extra time, and put out a little more effort, and make better lattes than the store every time!

The choice is yours . . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
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
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

Thank you Jason.

Ray, there is NO way, anyone but you can grind for your machine at the moment you are making espresso. The grind needs to be adjusted for the way your machine is working at the moment, the moisture in the air, the age of the beans and more. Each factor affects the way you pull your shot and the quality that results in the cup.

How can someone, just two minutes away, grind for the way your machine will work when you get home two minutes later? Are you going to film the shot then go back to the shop, show them the video, have them adjust the grind, go home, pull the shot and film it, return to the shot, show it to them, have them adjust the grind again then return home, over and over again until you get good espresso? This is ASSUMING that you can return home and make your shot within the apx 15 minute window of time that the coffee has once ground.

Would it not be much simpler to just have your own grinder and make the adjustments next to your machine?

 
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
l9nux
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Sussex, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:26am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

Great info there, thank you. I do hope I've not been misunderstood though.

1) I totally agree that a coffee grinder is important.
- When I said I can go two minutes up the road, I meant I can walk for two minutes to a coffee machine and bean store (not cafe) and he will grind a small bag of roasted beans for me. He supplies most of the local cafes and restaurants here, but his machines are just too expensive for me. I keep my ground coffee in the fridge (please tell me if this is wrong), but I really enjoy the taste but I tend to use it within a week then I go buy more.

2) I do buy good beans, nice man grinds them for me... I just have a cheap machine which I would like to upgrade.

I work from home a lot, and just want a decent coffee. Seems like I've entered a whole new world here!!

Anyway, I found a Quick Mill Cassiopea semi for 440 and it has two heat exchangers. This seems to be exactly what I'm looking for, but being new to coffee machines I would appreciate any comments or experiences on this brand?

Thanks again

Ray
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
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
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:34am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

Please read my post above, I edited it while you answered and you may not have seen it.

 
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
calblacksmith
Moderator
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
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

The fridge is the WORST place to store coffee but then it is ground and stale anyway so what the heck. Ground coffee is stale in 15 minutes from the time you grind it.

Coffee is a food product, think of cutting an apple into very small  pieces, the ox in the air reacts with the fruit and it oxidizes and turns brown right? What is the time frame? about 15 minutes? The same thing happens to coffee but because it is brown to start with, you do not see it. Now take that apple cut into small pieces, let it go about a week, would you still eat it? Why not, you are drinking coffee that is in exactly the same condition?

 
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
calblacksmith
Moderator
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
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:48am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

In specific about that machine, it is a dual thermoblock machine. thermoblock machines are the lowest class of machine, the temp is highly unstable, it is a machine that places looks over function.

They use the term heat exchanger but in a way that is not used here to describe a much better class of machine which has a boiler kept at steam temp with a tube running through the hot water (the heat exchanger) which heats the water to brew with.

The CC1 is a small brew boiler with thermoblock steaming, a much better design that still allows you to both brew and steam at the same time.

I would not buy that machine but then again, I like good espresso made with fresh beans, freshly ground. YMMV.

 
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
l9nux
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Sussex, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 8:49am
Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
 

Firstly, this is great stuff. I'm still learning.  I just wish the coffee importer where I live told me just half of this, but I guess he's just trying to run a business too and won't complain at me buying ground coffee from them every week.

Ok, so I'm sold on the grinder. I will DEFINITELY buy one. My only concern now is what you said about adjusting the grinder for the way my machine is working at that moment and moisture in the air, etc. I can learn that... So my questions now are:

1) Any experience, comments on the Quick Mill Cassiopea?   It seems ideal as I can steam at the same time
2) Where do I start with adjusting a coffee grinder for air moisture and machine setup?   Sounds complicated.


Thanks.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Noob from the...  
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.
Learn @seattlecoffeegear
Learn all about coffee, watch videos, read how-to articles.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
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. (0.305136203766)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+