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Thread: Best machine under $1200

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    Cool Best machine under $1200

    Hi everyone, although this is my first post, i have been spending a large amount of time on here over the last 2 weeks reading threads, reviews, etc. trying to understand what machine i should buy.

    I'm in the process of deciding what machine i should purchase for my wife's birthday.

    For the last 5 years she has been using the nespresso pod system, although she also has an aeropress for travel/camping.

    The machine would be capable of making 3-5 coffees per day (which shouldn't be as issue in this price bracket) although may need to make more when people are over.

    The machine would also need to be VERY user friendly as she isn't the best when it comes to following strict procedures.

    My budget is roughly $1000 +- $300 if critical.

    Research would suggest that i should be looking in the direction of a Lelit PL042TEMD for an "all-in-one" solution or a Lelit PL041TEMD which im assuming is roughly the same unit as the PL042 without the grinder?

    As its a present, i dont really want to purchase anything 2nd hand as someone is selling a ISOMAC Zaffiro Duo a what seams to be a good price.

    Is it worth stretching my budget to a new ISOMAC Zaffiro Duo (i think roughly $1500) or will this be overkill for my initial requirements/skill set?

    I know there is bound to be a comment regarding a quality grinder, but i have access to local fresh ground coffee so I can add a quality grinder at any stage down the track as this upgrade will far exceed her current quality.

    Have i missed any machines? Are there any machines in this price bracket that are more user-friendly?

    Any help or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Welcome to CS jymorgan!

    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post
    I know there is bound to be a comment regarding a quality grinder, but i have access to local fresh ground coffee so I can add a quality grinder at any stage down the track as this upgrade will far exceed her current quality.
    No, you can't add a grinder later. No matter how great the quality of the beans and roast are you will have bad if not downright horrible coffee if the coffee is ground where you buy it. For espresso the coffee beans must be fresh ground at home right before being brewed. The setting on the grinder will need to be changed as the beans age. Depending on the environment and the beans this may have to be done as often as several times a day. There is no way you can get a consistently good, let alone great, cup of espresso using beans that were ground at the point of purchase. This is the physical reality and ignoring it will leave you frustrated and deeply disappointed with any machine you buy.

    No matter how good an espresso machine you have if you do not have quality beans being freshly ground just prior to being brewed using a grinder that is capable of doing a good espresso grind you won't get good espresso. Period.


    Java "Don't ignore the grinder!" phile
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    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post
    Have i missed any machines? Are there any machines in this price bracket that are more user-friendly?
    Have you considered the Breville Dual Boiler? When on sale at Good Guys or Harvey Norman, I think you can get the DB and smart grinder bundle for around $1.3k.

    As Javaphile said, if you're after a quality coffee at home, there is no way to achieve that when buying pre-ground coffee. In general, coffee in whole bean state kept well in the bag they usually come in (with one way valve) will stay relatively fresh for about a month. Once ground, you've exponentially increased the surface area exposed to the elements, and you should be able to start tasting the difference from about 120 seconds after it is ground.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    What type of coffee do you and your wife drink? A non hx single boiler may frustrate you if you only drink flat whites or lattes.

    Agree with needing a grinder or you are wasting your time and money on making good coffee

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    Gday jyMorgan

    Great to hear you are looking to move away from pods, there is something greatly satisfying about a good espresso shot.

    Like others have said the grinder cannot be ignored it is essential in the purchase. I have used the lelit machines and they are great! My advice is look at the buying guides and contact the site sponsors

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Welcome to CS jymorgan!



    No, you can't add a grinder later. No matter how great the quality of the beans and roast are you will have bad if not downright horrible coffee if the coffee is ground where you buy it. For espresso the coffee beans must be fresh ground at home right before being brewed. The setting on the grinder will need to be changed as the beans age. Depending on the environment and the beans this may have to be done as often as several times a day. There is no way you can get a consistently good, let alone great, cup of espresso using beans that were ground at the point of purchase. This is the physical reality and ignoring it will leave you frustrated and deeply disappointed with any machine you buy.

    No matter how good an espresso machine you have if you do not have quality beans being freshly ground just prior to being brewed using a grinder that is capable of doing a good espresso grind you won't get good espresso. Period.


    Java "Don't ignore the grinder!" phile

    Are you suggesting that all pre-ground coffee for espresso is garbage?

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    There's a barely used Lelit Dual boiler on the site for sale. I know you want new, but this may be worth a look.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...al-boiler.html
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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Are you suggesting that all pre-ground coffee for espresso is garbage?
    What was unclear in my statement?


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    Any suggestions regarding my "ease of use" question?
    Are any of the machines I mentioned easier to use for a novice than others?
    Im assuming a more expensive machine doesn't always mean easier to use?
    I want to purchase something that will produce good results but will still be fairly easy to her to use - will a PID model assist with this?
    Last edited by jymorgan; 19th August 2016 at 06:15 AM.
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post
    Any suggestions regarding my "ease of use" question?
    Are any of the machines I mentioned easier to use for a novice than others?
    Im assuming a more expensive machine doesn't always mean easier to use?
    I want to purchase something that will produce good results but will still be fairly easy to her to use - will a PID model assist with this?
    Unless you specifically want a European machine or don't like the look of Breville stuff I'd seriously consider the Breville BES920 & Smart Grinder package. The downside is that it probably won't last 10 years with your level of daily use, which I'd call moderate. But it has the ability to set a whole heap of variables to your tastes such as preinfusion time and brew temp, but it's also easy to use in that once you have your settings dialed in your wife will be able to just push the double shot button on the grinder and the corresponding button on the machine for a double shot espresso.

    If polished stainless, Italian made and decades of use are more important I'd put the Lelit at the top of the list. It's also fairly user friendly, just in a different sort of way.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    The Breville package is currently on sale at The Good Guys for $1299 and Bing Lee for $1399. Harvey Norman is $1699 but I'm sure they'd price match if they're easier to get to for you.
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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post
    Any suggestions regarding my "ease of use" question?
    Are any of the machines I mentioned easier to use for a novice than others?
    Im assuming a more expensive machine doesn't always mean easier to use?
    I want to purchase something that will produce good results but will still be fairly easy to her to use - will a PID model assist with this?
    If by "ease of use" you mean pop, some coffee beans in the machine, push a button to make a coffee, you are talking about an automatic. You might be able to source one within your budget but
    a) they tend not to make great coffee. With some machines, you can tweak the settings.
    b) they tend to break down easily because of the greater number of moving parts.
    c) the better quality auto machines cost $3K or more.

    For espresso machines like the Lelt or Breville, your wife will have to learn how to dose, distribute and tamp the coffee then heat the milk properly. If that's not her, then she may be better sticking to the capsule machine. No, a PID will not make it easier. It just regulates the water temp of the boiler.
    Can you take her to a shop that sells a range of equipment to get a demo and see if she would be keen to give espresso machines a try? Or would you be happy to become the home barista if your wife balks at the idea? You need to factor in a grinder with your purchase as pre-ground coffee loses it's freshness quickly.
    Another option would be to buy the Behmor Brazen (~$250) plus a new grinder. That will be well within your budget, less fuss to use and can make up to a litre of coffee at a time. Don't skimp on the grinder. The Breville Smart grinder at a minimum.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Please don't buy a Breville . These are throw away appliances.
    Buy a Lelit, Rancilio or Gaggia for quality, working life and re-sale value.
    He wants ease of use though Paul. All the machines you mentioned are simple, but probably take a bit more attention and have a slightly bigger learning curve. While I agree with your sentiment it might not be the best option in this situation. And as much as the appliance brands are built to fail at a certain point there's plenty of people that have had 10 good years from their Sunbeam EM6910 machines.
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    Sorry, "ease of use" doesn't mean automatic.

    I understand that there will be a learning curve involved, i just thought some machines might be slightly more user friendly than others, which doesnt sound like it is the case.

    Would the Lelit Combi suit my/her requirements as it has an included grinder. I understand the disadvantage if/when wanting to upgrade in the future, given that any future upgrade will require a purchase of a new grinder.

    I'm assuming the combined model would save on counter space?

    Or, am i better off buying a separate grinder and espresso machine from the start, given that the machine will have to be cheaper to accommodate the grinder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Are you suggesting that all pre-ground coffee for espresso is garbage?
    No. But unless you can use it shortly after being ground (some would say within minutes) it will quickly oxidise and lose flavour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post
    Sorry, "ease of use" doesn't mean automatic.

    I understand that there will be a learning curve involved, i just thought some machines might be slightly more user friendly than others, which doesnt sound like it is the case.

    Would the Lelit Combi suit my/her requirements as it has an included grinder. I understand the disadvantage if/when wanting to upgrade in the future, given that any future upgrade will require a purchase of a new grinder.

    I'm assuming the combined model would save on counter space?

    Or, am i better off buying a separate grinder and espresso machine from the start, given that the machine will have to be cheaper to accommodate the grinder?
    Some machines definitely are easier to use when trying to achieve consistent results. Some single boilers without a PID may require "temperature surfing" to produce the best shot.
    Some HX machine may require a cooling flush.

    I don't have a HX machine, I have a PIDed single boiler. While I can get good results with it there is still some inconsistency, particularly when pulling multiple shots, some with milk and some without.
    One of the main reasons, I believe, is due to the relatively small boiler (250ml) which would be very similar to the one in the Lelits (somebody please correct me if I am wrong).
    I would argue that any new HX is likely to be more consistent, and they all have a much larger boiler.

    I should probably add that my inconsistent results are only really noticeable when drinking espresso. With any milk based drinks the inconsistencies are pretty well masked.
    If you drink mainly milk based drinks a HX or double boiler will make your life easier than any single boiler.

    The Lelit Combi will definitely have a smaller footprint than separate machine and grinder, and if this is critical, is just about your only option.

    I haven't used one but a NS Oscar 1 may be in your price range and many people seem happy with it.
    Although you want to buy new, there is really not much risk in purchasing a second hand grinder, particularly if you do so through this forum and can inspect/test it before purchase.
    Apart from possibly requiring new burrs not too much is likely to go wrong.
    Last edited by saeco_user; 19th August 2016 at 09:53 AM. Reason: added extra info

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post
    Sorry, "ease of use" doesn't mean automatic.

    I understand that there will be a learning curve involved, i just thought some machines might be slightly more user friendly than others, which doesnt sound like it is the case.

    Would the Lelit Combi suit my/her requirements as it has an included grinder. I understand the disadvantage if/when wanting to upgrade in the future, given that any future upgrade will require a purchase of a new grinder.

    I'm assuming the combined model would save on counter space?

    Or, am i better off buying a separate grinder and espresso machine from the start, given that the machine will have to be cheaper to accommodate the grinder?
    If you haven't already done so then watch this YouTube clip of the guys from Jetblack using the Lelit Combi. https://youtu.be/zMPQAVNXqvg It's a good clip to show how it works. It took over a minute to steam the milk, but it was a huge jug of milk as they were steaming enough for two lattes in one go. Most people drink double shot coffees these days so rather than splitting the shot like in this clip I would imagine you'd be extracting it straight into one cup then steaming a smaller amount of milk just for that one drink. Obviously it takes a bit longer overall to make two coffees, but I would imagine it'd only take 25-30sec to steam the milk for a single drink. It's a nice looking machine that performs well and I think you'd be quite happy with it.
    A couple of caveats with a combi machine: obviously you've already read about the downside of having the two units combined when it comes to onselling and also if one of them breaks down. In my mind this is worst case scenario stuff. If it doesn't break down and you like it you'll hopefully be keeping it for many years. The other however is that I highly recommend you don't keep beans in the grinder hopper. The reason is that they are exposed to high temperatures from the coffee machine when it's hot which would spoil them quickly. So if you go for this machine then just put enough coffee in the hopper each time you use the machine for the drink(s) you're going to make.
    Good luck with you search.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    .........if you do not have quality beans being freshly ground just prior to being brewed .....you won't get good espresso. Period.
    Hey Java "Don't ignore the grinder!" phile

    I'm sure the OP would benefit from understanding WHY this occurs.

    I could give it a crack but given you have a few more thousand posts than I do I suspect you know more on the topic

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    I'll add to this maybe going and doing a barista course. Made a massive difference to the way I make coffee, definitely worth the $200ish outlay
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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    What was unclear in my statement?


    Java "Clear as a bell" phile
    Beanbay sells pre-ground coffee for espresso
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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Rather than taking this thread off-topic I'll keep this brief.

    Just as beans undergo chemical and physical changes during the roasting process they also undergo chemical and physical changes after roasting. (If they didn't they would never stale which would mean the beans would taste the same a thousand years after they were roasted as they did when they were removed from the roaster.) The most obvious changes are the out-gassing of CO2, oxidation, and absorption of moisture. These changes require that the grind fineness be adjusted so as to maintain the optimum extraction pressure and time.

    For more information on the hows' and whys' of roasted bean storage see the Roasted Bean Forum or use the Search/Advanced Search function located on the upper-right of every page.


    Java "Now back to the threads' topic" phile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Beanbay sells pre-ground coffee for espresso
    With the caveat:
    For quality, CoffeeSnobs strongly recommend buying as whole bean.
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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Beanbay sells pre-ground coffee for espresso
    So what?

    Stop trying to put words in peoples mouths that they never said. Your constant trolling is getting really old.


    Java "Read my post exactly and explicitly as typed!" phile
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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    So what?

    Stop trying to put words in peoples mouths that they never said. Your constant trolling is getting really old.


    Java "Read my post exactly and explicitly as typed!" phile
    My point was that I have absolute faith in Andy only ever selling quality products and that if he offers pre-ground coffee as a option then one may safely assume that his pre-ground coffee is as good as pre-ground coffee can be and that it should be possible to brew a drinkable cuppa from it. Sure... there can be no question that freshly ground, freshly roasted coffee is the absolute ideal and that it should yield far superior coffee to anything pre-ground but the fact remains that many coffee enthusiasts out there simply cannot afford both a fine machine and a fine grinder and have to make the best of an imperfect situation. As such, seeking out the finest pre-ground coffee may be the best option available. Lastly, going back quite a few years now but there was a stage in my life when I had to make do with a Sunbeam and decent quality pre-ground coffee and I was able to crank out drinkable coffee more often than not... at least it was better than the stuff available at most of my local cafes. In any event... no trolling here... was simply presenting the other side of the coin for those with limited budgets.
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    Agreed Bruce,

    I'd be amongst the first to suggest that the OP purchase a grinder and put a hold on the machine if required...

    I acknowledge that people come to this forum with different levels of geek/OCD and that whilst for some perfection is a bare minimum, others are just looking for the next step after Nescafe. I'm thankful that this forum brings some of those people to me.

    My bag grinder is the least utilised piece of equipment in our warehouse. If you in directing someone to a source of high quality ground coffee or if a roaster such as myself or Andy by using a bag grinder to provide ground coffee to a customer makes for a troll, then I too am a troll.

    Where's my bridge?

    Chris
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agreed Bruce,

    I'd be amongst the first to suggest that the OP purchase a grinder and put a hold on the machine if required...

    I acknowledge that people come to this forum with different levels of geek/OCD and that whilst for some perfection is a bare minimum, others are just looking for the next step after Nescafe. I'm thankful that this forum brings some of those people to me.

    My bag grinder is the least utilised piece of equipment in our warehouse. If you in directing someone to a source of high quality ground coffee or if a roaster such as myself or Andy by using a bag grinder to provide ground coffee to a customer makes for a troll, then I too am a troll.

    Where's my bridge?

    Chris
    Wait....what? Your suggesting i buy a grinder and not a machine until my budget can accommodate both?

    So I'm buying my wife a grinder for her birthday? Not sure she will be that happy receiving something that she cannot use until i buy her a machine?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post
    Not sure she will be that happy receiving something that she cannot use until i buy her a machine?
    There are probably hundreds of different ways to make great coffee. Espresso is merely one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Buy a Lelit, Rancilio or Gaggia for quality, working life and re-sale value.
    In your budget, all the advice you need IMO (although I'd leave the Gaggia off).

    Otherwise you will buy an inferior product, only end up with a machine OR grinder or spend more than you have budgeted.
    These machines all have one boiler and you need to flick a switch and wait for the boiler to reach steam point to do your milk, which means waiting around a few minutes. The Lelit grinder may scream like a banshee, unless it's been quietened since I owned one many years ago??
    If you do not like this idea, then spend more money or go back to Sunbeam and Breville.
    Alternatively, the endless cycle of research and advice awaits (I am great at this and have spent heaps of time doing it - so nothing wrong with that either).

    Agree with the "do not use pre-ground coffee". If that's what you want then stick with pods.

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    ease of use is a hard question to answer as most of the extra features in machines mean they end up costing more. at your price point it would have to be a single boiler to fit a grinder in the budget somewhere unless you go down the smart duo path.

    I'd say its really up to you if you think an appliance that will probably only last 3-4 years is worth the much lower outlay at the start. amortising the cost over 3 or 4 years is easy with something like the BDB price point. even 1 coffee a day for 2 years at $4 minus bean cost lands you near the machine's cost.


    otherwise a small single boiler like the lelit or rancillio are your best bet. you could even try and snag a 2nd hand mazzer mini or k3 push for a grinder and land around 1200 but of course for a bday present 2nd hand isnt gonna look great. haha
    incidentally: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...der-black.html
    and dont forget accessories. :O
    a PID can always be added on later to the silvia too


    also! a grinder for a birthday present isnt the worst if you think about it. she already has an aeropress

    another option would be to get her a machine this year and a grinder next year hahaha. pre-ground for a year while she has more to be desired. or even a stand-in 2nd hand smart grinder until you get her a proper one.
    while everyone argues preground is not ideal, we all make our journeys at the pace our wallets set, my few months pulling preground shots, then blade-ground shots with a minore really taught me first hand how important the grinder was.......... you live and you learn

    hope this helps.
    Last edited by timdimdom; 20th August 2016 at 09:04 AM.

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    Grinder also factors into ease of use. I find grinding directly into the portafilter much easier than spooning out ground coffee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timdimdom View Post
    you could even try and snag a 2nd hand mazzer mini or k3 push for a grinder and land around 1200 but of course for a bday present 2nd hand isnt gonna look great.
    I have a 12 year old Mazzer Mini. Just replaced the burrs ($70). Works like new, or possibly better than new actually.
    Second hand grinder grinder like a Mazzer from a kind and careful owner would be a bargain.
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    This may be a dumb question, but OP are you sure she wants a coffee machine?

    You wouldn't be the first to get the WFT look afterwards.

    Just checking

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    Going to chip in here
    My first machine I spent 12 months using (good) pre-ground while living with the wife's parents waiting for our house to get built. As it was my first machine, I didn't know the difference (or any better). When I bought a grinder, I did notice the difference but the pre-ground was fine for the time I was using it.

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    If it was me in your situation, i'd likely buy a grinder a Behmor and some greens and learn to roast them for my wife to enjoy. Machine can come later IMO.

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    A lot of good info here but most are over your budget of $1100.00 with a grinder.
    Have a look at the Sunbeam EM7000 and the Sunbeam EM0700 grinder. I have both for quite a few years now and very happy with them. They are simple to use and it pulls great shots and the grinder is a big leap up on the EM480 I had.
    I upgraded to these from a Sunbeam 6910 and a EM 480.
    If you then get the bug then you can upgrade again to a Rocket type of machine at around $3400.00
    Good luck with ever you buy and enjoy your coffee. You should be able to package these of around $1100.00.

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    Still think the silvia/rocky combo is a great option in this price range. Bang on 1300 combined at one of the site sponsors pages I checked. Quality machines that are very capable and will last the test of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mentasm View Post
    Still think the silvia/rocky combo is a great option in this price range. Bang on 1300 combined at one of the site sponsors pages I checked. Quality machines that are very capable and will last the test of time.
    Have to agree with this one. OP's question is best machine & grinder under $1200....
    Keeping in mind this is a present for his wife, he isn't exactly going to buy her a grinder on its own. So scrap that idea. The best option IMO in the price range is a second hand machine / grinder. But again the gift thing. Scrap that.

    So a new machine, new grinder under $1200 ($1300 max) has to be the Silvia + Rocky, right? If you wanted to save $$ for now, you could get a cheaper grinder (maybe sunbeam or whatever).

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Rancilio domestic vs Lelit..... I gave this one a lot of thought. They're close but I like Lelit for the range of machine options and the champion grinder. That grinder is a little gem.
    A Rancilio package is a little cheaper though and meets the under $1200 budget.
    A few hundred extra $ will serve you well here but I guess that's the problem, there's always another option just a few hundred $ away
    I would say this is perfect. It is a good machine and grinder combo capable of doing great espresso and latte, as good as any machine of any price.

    I wonder though whether for some people this is too much fiddling. 99% of people just buy a grinder/machine combo with a rubber orifice in the bottom to simulate crema in the cup but in fact is rather underextracted and doesn't compare with a properly done espresso. They then buy ground coffee and then pretend the result is espresso. It isn't but some people are happy enough with the result. If you get a normal portafilter of course without such crema producer and use pre ground coffee then the result is usually even worse as there is no way to control the flow rate. It would be pure luck if it went through at the proper rate even with a good tamp.

    My Bezzera was out of action for some time. In that time I used my Rocky Grinder and a plunger to produce great long blacks. Good stuff, not espresso but excellent coffee nevertheless.

    I wonder if the OP should forget Espresso as he either needs a wife who doesn't mind fiddling with a Silvia or other machine to get good Espresso.

    He may be better just to buy a Rocky grinder or similar then drink nice plunger coffee and leave the Espresso for another time. You can buy some nice roasted beans.

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    Seriously A single boiler as a gift for wife? OP did say the machine would also need to be VERY user friendly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by symphonie View Post
    Seriously A single boiler as a gift for wife? OP did say the machine would also need to be VERY user friendly.
    I remember Fred Flintstone got in trouble once when he bought Wilma a bowling ball.

    She pretended to like it (Fred loved bowling whereas she didn't bowl) but her bewilderment turned to anger when she found Fred's initials etched on the bowling ball.

    Motto of the story, is of course, never etch your initials on a present for your wife that you intended for yourself.
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  41. #41
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    I thought that Fred took Wilma's cash stash and bought himself a bowling ball?

    Homer Simpson bought one for Marge as a 'present'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jymorgan View Post

    The machine would also need to be VERY user friendly as she isn't the best when it comes to following strict procedures.

    Is it worth stretching my budget to a new ISOMAC Zaffiro Duo (i think roughly $1500) or will this be overkill for my initial requirements/skill set?

    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    I remember Fred Flintstone got in trouble once when he bought Wilma a bowling ball.

    She pretended to like it (Fred loved bowling whereas she didn't bowl) but her bewilderment turned to anger when she found Fred's initials etched on the bowling ball.

    Motto of the story, is of course, never etch your initials on a present for your wife that you intended for yourself.
    So you spotted the contradiction too, wattgn!?!?

    Nevertheless, no matter who the machine is for, the best advice offered so far in this thread is by those recommending a Breville
    machine/Smartgrinder option.

    For the OP this is the most logical step that not only is in budget but will serve as a significant step up in the household coffee
    experience. It may also initiate a path to upgraditis but from a position of infinitely more and better experience and knowledge.

    It's also the first time I can remember a sponsor plead with someone not to make a logical choice that might best suit their circumstances, for me Coffeesnobs has always been a community where novices and newbies are given advice
    from sponsors; sometimes good, sometimes less than good, sometimes conflicting but never in a way that compromises integrity.
    Last edited by chokkidog; 1st September 2016 at 12:34 PM. Reason: lay out

  43. #43
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    Hallelujah!! Finally a few logical posts. It's like people don't even read the original post on threads sometimes, they just respond to the most recent post or continually reply based on their personal agenda.

    It's pretty simple really - a Silvia is a great machine and has frequently been the entry point to home espresso for coffee geeks. I've never owned one, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone that says they're super user friendly. A Lelit is possibly a bit more forgiving so possibly a better choice, but still lacks the 'set and forget' feature of something like a Breville BES920.
    Personally I don't like appliance machines. The planned obsolescence and poor build quality irks me, but I've owned a couple of little Sunbeams and have been able to get great coffee from them. In fact I bought a used EM4820 that I cleaned, serviced and slightly modified before giving to my brother and his fiancÚ with an EM0440 grinder as I knew it would suit them due to its ease of use. And guess what? They love it!! It won't last forever, but it's perfect for them now and when it dies they'll probably be comfortable moving to something a bit more 'proper'.
    So of all the options available I actually still agree with Barry that the Breville BES920 + Smart Grinder fits the OP's requirements the best. And as much as they can have issues there's also plenty of them out there that have been going well for 6 years or so with no problems. As with any espresso machine keeping it clean and treating it with care will go a long way.
    I'm looking forward to hearing what the OP decides to buy (if we haven't already scared him away forever).
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  44. #44
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    Dunno about all of this- but given the recent Flintstones references, I reckon Andy would make a pretty handy:
    grand_poobah.jpg
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    Grand Poobah of the local Water Buffalo Lodge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Dunno about all of this- but given the recent Flintstones references, I reckon Andy would make a pretty handy:
    grand_poobah.jpg
    l

    And starring as Barney Rubble - Talk Coffee?

    That Barney did have a fair yapper on him.....

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    I don't really understand all the 'silvia's are hard to use' schtick. A little basic understanding of the process and they are fine. My wife has little clue and she can still pull a reasonable espresso out of mine. Temp surfing may add 5% quality wise but it isn't essential. Fresh grinding your beans has a bigger effect on the end result. Sure you still need to dose and tamp correctly, but if you aren't going to bother to work that out why are you considering anything other than a automatic where you press a button and coffee comes out?

    I must admit I have not used a BES920 so can't compare, but something in my soul doesn't let me reccomend a breville over a proper espresso machine
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentasm View Post
    ... something in my soul doesn't let me reccomend a breville over a proper espresso machine
    I'll explain it to you.

    Breville (and most other consumer oriented brands) you can buy at thousands of retail outlets across the country.

    And you can return to same thousands of stores under warranty pretty much no questions asked up to 2 years later.

    Consumer brands etc are typically much easier to use both in terms of features, functionality, maintenance and interface than "specialist brands" that expect a high degree of underlying knowledge.

    Real coffee snobs put taste above everything else, for "normal" people it is just one other factor to consider, along with ease of use, customer support, availability, brand reputation....

    Doesn't mean a Breville or G3 is better or worse, just different machines addressing different needs.
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    The other factor worth pointing out is that brands such as the Silvia hold their value, a factor sometimes lost in discussions.

    It is important too for people new to espresso who may or may not change their minds as they go along.

    It is also worth pointing out equipment, good stuff, for sale second hand such as the Silvia or if he wants, a Breville. Some of the cheaper Breville units, sellers often give up selling them, as no one wants them. The BES920 though seems to be easy enough to sell second hand. He may pick up a bargain from the forum.

    His wife is using a pod machine at the moment. My stepdaughter uses one too. I don't say anything and I won't unless they ask me but pods are a fad and make marginally acceptable coffee, suitable for people who aren't too fussy or always have the drinks with milk.

    The consumer machines are OK but the long term cost of ownership isn't necessarily low either so you need to balance it all out according to your needs.

    I had the Silvia for a year or so and I have to say I enjoyed using it. It isn't hard to use but that is only the perception of someone who is technically minded.
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  50. #50
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    3 million households have coffee machines but currently there are less than 4,000 for sale on Gumtree across Au. (0.1%)

    Resale is important to some but not most.

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