colocoffee Senior Member Joined: 20 Dec 2013 Posts: 3 Location: Toronto, canada Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 3:11pm Subject: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
Hello everybody, i need help. Newbies here! We are a coffee lovers family of 4, 2 love espressos and 2 love capuccino and latte. We all love vietnamese coffee the hot and cold versions, but on that we are experts to make it. However, We are looking to get a espresso maker machine but have no clue where to start. :S We are always in a rush and most of the time take our coffe with us on the road....we have been reading machine reviews on the web but actually we dont know what to do cause all we did was just getting more confused. I copied these basic questions from a conversation in another window, though it was useful.... Budget:$200 - $350 Do you own a grinder: yes What are your needs: Multiple consecutive shots(2-4/d), milk based drinks(at least one daily), daily use at least every single morning, small space, easy, quick and no messy process. what is your experience:just as a drinker! :) None as baristas! :( Where are you located:Toronto, Canada (scarborough) In mind options: Breville Duo temp, De longhi Pump espresso with autofroth.... dont wanna go to the pods ones..... we want to take advantage of christmas deals so id really appreciate your help guys.....
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 5:04pm Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
4 drinks at a time, and two needing steamed milk, and in a hurry, and $350 tops? Assuming that everyone wants doubles. Sounds like a formula for frustration. The machines in the range would have a time keeping up temperature wise and there is a delay going from pulling shots to steaming because the boiler has to heat up, then the time to cool down after steaming to make more espresso. Even if you pull 4 shots, and then let them sit while waiting for the steam to come to temperature, it is going to take some time. If a friend came to me with that scenario (and not knowing any more than you have just outlined in your post) I would tell them to find a different method of brewing other than espresso.
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 8:14pm Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
When you say you own a grinder, what is the make and model of the grinder you own? Unless you made an exceptionally prescient purchase, the odds that it's a grinder that is capable of grinding for espresso are pretty slim. I suspect that you're going to have to radically change your plan, your budget, or both.
As Randy said, what you're asking for doesn't map to your current budget, and you would quickly be climbing a wall of frustration.
colocoffee Senior Member Joined: 20 Dec 2013 Posts: 3 Location: Toronto, canada Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 3:24pm Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
thanks for answering so quick guys. Definitely as i said before we have no idea how this process is done since it will be our first time, however i dont wanna give up on the idea of an espresso machine and maybe more details would help to get more advices. This is the thing: we do not all brew it at the same time, theres 3 shifts (as a way to say) with one hour of difference between one and the other, the first one in the morning with milk-1 cup, the second: 2 espresso shots, the third and last one with milk again-1 cup....Now, since we cannot change our budget, what would be the best option for us to invest having in mind this dynamic.... BTW the grinder is a Cuisinart Supreme Grind with 18 different level....:S what can i say, i guess its not the most expensive one but it works fine for us.... On the worst case scenario if we have to "upgrade" our budget which i think would be the last thing we would do, how much are we talking about????
SStones Senior Member Joined: 24 Nov 2012 Posts: 506 Location: Canada Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket... Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best Vac Pot: No :( Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 4:15pm Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
You won't get anything that you'll want to keep, in that price range, so buy whatever is cheapest. Use it with your grinder until you decide that you need better and need to upgrade. At that point, get a better grinder first and find the limitations of the disposable espresso machine. When you need to replace the espresso machine, consider at least $500 for a better disposable, like a Mokita, or $1000 for a Single Boiler Dual Purpose machine with a decent boiler... Or $2000+ for an espresso machine. I know I sound like an asshole for answering honestly, but saying you want an espresso machine for $300 is like saying "Help me, Guys. I want a car to commute 1 hour each way every day, and I want it to be a good car. My budget is $2000." Sorry. Get a little disposable, whatever you find locally. Experiment with it. If you really get into it you can always buy better. Like owning your bike before you get your drivers' license.
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 4:50pm Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
You could try a Gaggia as a starter machine for espresso. Your grinder really won't do the trick for good consistent espresso (in fact I suspect it won't grind fine enough at all for espresso), but you *could* get a decent hand grinder (Pe-de, Zassenhaus, Kyocera) that would be serviceable for espresso, or you could get a brilliant hand grinder like the Pharos if your budget could manage it.
You can often find good deals on Gaggias on ebay or craigslist used. My first pump espresso machine was a Gaggia "Espresso" that I got on ebay for about $100.00. The downside to these single boiler dual use (SBDU) is that you must do all of your espresso pours before you steam your milk, plus there's a delay while the boiler heats up to steaming temperature once you flip the switch to be able to start steaming and finally, the temperature stability (even intra-shot) is not optimal at all. Still, you can pour some reasonably good espresso moderately regularly. If you are serious about wanting to make your own espresso and cappuccino daily, I recommend saving up some cash and getting a used HX machine and a good grinder (vario, mazzer mini or better in electric and a Pharos or HG1 for hand grinder). This latter option will cost over $1000.00, but if you use them for a few years, that turns out to be a very low cost per drink over that time and the improved drink quality and ease of use is more than worth it for most of us. Almost everyone that sticks with it upgrades eventually anyway.
And for lattes, a frothing wand makes the best microfoam required for latte art. Latte art, of course, does take some practice! It always looks easier than it actually is but mastering it really signifies your expertise as a barista. Check it out -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hby0HmVCno
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 3,051 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Dec 23, 2013, 7:09am Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
His plan is a good starter plan and has the added advantage of being your travel coffee set up if/when you upgrade. I really hate to tell people to buy something I know they will not keep. But that is what most people around here do. I went another way, I went for used low end HX. I knew I could be happy with it for a longer time than anything I could afford new. But even used I was in for about 1k with the grinder and accessories. So, you can see there is wisdom in getting a starter set up you can travel with.
And the scale is great, don't leave that off the list no matter what you do.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
Buckley Senior Member Joined: 25 Jan 2011 Posts: 423 Location: Internet Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Dec 23, 2013, 7:56am Subject: Re: Help! getting a espresso machine...No clue!
Let's cut colocoffee a little $lack for a tight budget. The plastic tamper that comes with the mypressi is fine - you will not notice the lack of an $80 Reg Barber tamper, but you may like the feel of a metal tamper, which can be found for about $40. I have no counter space for a knockbox, so the bottom of the sink serves just fine. Yes, a scale is helpful. The hario slim will work fine but it is manual and will give your arms their aerobic workout, especially for 2 shots and 2 caps. BTW, I would not recommend putting a drill onto it and motorizing it - you will destroy it. Take the $100 you shaved off of the basic setup and save up for a good espresso grinder. I wholeheartedly endorse using freshly ground premium beans and competent machines to make good coffe drinks, but, I have to admit that there are Vietnamese Bahn Mi shops that serve V coffees from liquid concentrate that are very tasty and very much to my liking (in that milieu). If the basic espresso setup does not come together for your family in time, there is always that temporizing plan while you save up for a machine.
Now I, too, am going to encourge you to spend even more money, to realize your coffee dreams: The important datum that has been glossed over is that your family is always in a rush. I would suggest using the liquid coffee/milk frother route and save up for a good semiautomatic of full automatic. You will still get above average shots and caps and the family dynamic will not have to revolve around Mom's or Dad's (or the young ones') barista skills. If I read you correctly, you do not want this to be a hobby, you want satisfying results and have come to a bunch of hobbyists for advice. There are likely one or more commercial coffee machine maintenance service shops in the Toronto area that deal with espresso machines. I am willing to bet that they have reconditioned autos and semi-autos that your family should consider saving up for. Then you will also have the comfort of knowing that there is a local expert who can fix your machine within a convenient drive. All espresso machines require some degree of maintenance and repair - even Mypressis.
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