calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 8,270 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 Tue Dec 24, 2013, 10:39am Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
I know $350 sounds like a lot of money, and honestly it is but this hobby is an expensive one.
While the grinder you have will work for drip coffee, it is not able to grind for espresso. Hand grinders can be had under $100 but for a grinder with a motor, your entire budget is the STARTING point for espresso grinders NEW.
Any machine that uses a steam boiler for pressure and not a pump is only going to cause you pain. The pressure is too low and the water is too hot but you can steam OK for a small amount of milk on one.
In espresso, the GRINDER is king, At the starting equipment level, the grinder should cost as much or more than the machine so if so if you plan to spend $350 on a machine (a bare bones starter level of a quality machine) then look to $350 for the grinder too.
When the total budget is $350, it can be done but some of the "frills" of even basic equipment need to be given up.
Shopping in our used equipment section, you will be able to stay in budget if you take your time, likely we will have some members "upgrading" over the Christmas holidays.
Something like a Krupps or DeLongie machine in the sub $200 range from the local department store, can work and to that you will need to add a grinder. As mentioned, a hand grinder can fit in the total budget so you can still do it for that price. Machines in this price range need a lot of TLC to get temps correct as the thermostats have a very wide zone of regulation so you will need to learn Temp Surfing (look it up) and make sure you keep the boiler full of water too, exposing the heater elements out of the water will burn them up, there is no auto fill for the boiler in this price range. Actually it is not hard to keep the machine working just fine as far as the full boiler is concerned, just follow the directions.
You will not get a 3 way valve in this price range and most likely the Porta Filter will be a pressurized unit, not an open basket like it should be. The makers use pressurized porta filters in this range of machine because the owners of them will not have espresso able grinders and at least they will get something that LOOKS like espresso but it is not really.
The My pressi is a way to go but it is better suited to one at a time drinks. It uses pressure cartridges so they will become an expense to deal with.
It is not hard to get "better than Starbucks" results, even with the minimal equipment above as that is a pretty low bar to shoot for. If you can be happy with that, then you will likely be happy with the lower end starter equipment. We tend to, well, go over the top when "normal" people look in from the outside. A lot of us here have burrs (the part of the grinder that grinds the beans, not the motor, case etc) in our grinders that are worth more than your entire budget so coming from that perspective, the lower budget is a road block.
Don't give up, it can be done! LOL!
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!
colocoffee Senior Member Joined: 20 Dec 2013 Posts: 3 Location: Toronto, canada Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013, 1:40pm Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
Wow thanks so much guys! These ones are real good advices, we are going on the mission this week So I will let u know what we decided at the end and how the final winner is doing it work! Thanks a lot again!
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