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Thread: New to coffee machines and have a $200 budget range

  1. #1
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    New to coffee machines and have a $200 budget range

    Hey guys,


    I am totally new to buying coffee machines and am just looking for some recommendation. I have a total budget of $200 and just have some questions to ask:


    Firstly would it be better to buy a separate grinder, or an automatic machine with built-in grinder? What are the pros and cons of each?


    I don't have a lot to spend at the moment (due to tough financial times), so I'm hoping to spend as little as possible while having as high quality of coffee as I can get. So which of these two options is better for my situation?


    Secondly, are there any recommendations for a machine within my price range? Preferably being on sale during the Christmas holidays.


    Thank you so much for your help, looking forward for any advice and sincerely appreciate your responses!

  2. #2
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Aeropress and appliance grinder, or get reeeeaaaallly lucky on the used market
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  3. #3
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    You'll have to think outside the box. The Salvos or Savers often have a Sunbeam or Breville machine. If you're patient, I think you might find something, leaving ~ $150 for a grinder. Then you could go a new hand grinder with that money. Porlex/ Hario are about $60 - $70.
    Cant think of a step up from those at that $150 mark, though.
    im being hypothetical here of course, but the idea i think is to max out on quality of grinder, and get a working machine (don't get a Bar Italia. They're total crap) or device like aeropress as mentioned above.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    I don't know how cheap the Sunbeam burr grinders get in the sales, but that would be a good thing for you. Also to your question about integrated machines: I don't think you would find one for your money that you could trust. So I'd definitely be going seperate.

  5. #5
    Member GunBarista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeeidherer View Post
    Hey guys,


    I am totally new to buying coffee machines and am just looking for some recommendation. I have a total budget of $200
    What kind of coffee drinker are you?


    If you’re a black coffee drinker then you’re in luck. $200 is plenty for an excellent drip coffee setup.


    With $200, you can get:
    V60 pour over + filters
    Hario hand grinder
    Digital scales
    Hario Buono gooseneck kettle


    .. for example.


    Get yourself some speciality beans and start your coffee journey right!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member BalthazarG's Avatar
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    Hi there coffeeidherer,

    Also to your question about integrated machines: I don't think you would find one for your money that you could trust
    He's right, and the reason integrated units are untrustworthy is this: if one section/compartment of the unit (be it the grinder or the machine) breaks down, the other becomes completely inoperable. Which means the whole contraption will then need repairing, or even replacing (depending on the repair costs).

    If you’re a black coffee drinker then you’re in luck. $200 is plenty for an excellent drip coffee setup.
    I'll second this.

    When it comes to machines and grinders, the grinder is the most important consideration (something which has been repeated ad nauseam on this forum). Unfortunately, acquiring a decent grinder will require shooting well above and beyond your budget, however GunBarista's great recommendations should tide you over until you can afford a better setup.

    Bottom Line: you're still in the game!
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  7. #7
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    Hey guys, thank you so much for all your responses, really appreciate this!

    Just found out about the Aeropress and French press method haha, sorry but I should’ve been clearer with my initial post. I’m hoping to get an automated coffee maker, since I’m mainly using it for breakfast for work each morning, so the less time it takes the better.

    Although I just found out there also exists a special coffee maker called “single-serve brewer”, basically the pod ones. Because I’m just making a single cup each morning, would this be more suitable for my current situation?

    I understand the cost of capsules is high, and I’m planning to put my own coffee ground inside the reusable filter to make my own pods. How’s the quality of the coffee made this way? Such as using this one here:

    https://www.amazon.com/Keurig-K55-Si...2%3A1248915011

    By the way for the automated coffee makers, how is this one here which seems really popular on Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-DCC...2%3A1248915011

    And how does it compare to the Bonavita BV1900TS which seems to be another popular product?

    Thank you all for these warm-hearted responses, it definitely is amazing the coffee community, can’t wait to get started with my first brew haha.

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Welcome mate...

    Rather than the Bonavita unit, I would suggest the Behmor Brazen Plus as a much better brewer and capable of producing excellent quality brews day-in, day-out...
    Brazen Plus – Behmor

    Unsure of your location but if at all possible, try to get into one of our Site Sponsors' premises and test one out for yourself. You won't be sorry...

    Mal.
    P.S.
    You will need a decent grinder though, such as those mentioned above...
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    If ease and speed are more important than taste then any pod machine will fit the bill. There's always plenty on Gumtree for $10-15. And the sheer variety of pods you can buy is staggering so you're bound to find something you like, especially if you drink lattes etc.

  10. #10
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalthazarG View Post
    Hi there coffeeidherer,



    He's right, and the reason integrated units are untrustworthy is this: if one section/compartment of the unit (be it the grinder or the machine) breaks down, the other becomes completely inoperable. Which means the whole contraption will then need repairing, or even replacing (depending on the repair costs).
    !
    I'll refute this. If your grinder breaks down your espresso machine isn't much use. I had a Rancilio Lucy for many years and it never broke down so again no issue.

    Thereotically, hypothetically a combination machine has drawbacks if one component fails, in reality it is not much different to having your grinder or espresso machine fails.

    Although I don't think you will get a quality espresso machine of any type for $200. Brazen would be my pick

  11. #11
    Senior Member BalthazarG's Avatar
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    If your grinder breaks down your espresso machine isn't much use.
    But that's exactly what I was saying, Trentski. Are you both refuting and supporting my Ph.D. thesis at the same time?

  12. #12
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalthazarG View Post
    But that's exactly what I was saying, Trentski. Are you both refuting and supporting my Ph.D. thesis at the same time?
    Not at all, if you have a separate grinder and espresso machine, and your grinder breaks, your espresso machine is useless. Some people state that in these circumstances you can just use pre-ground coffee, but quite clearly they are wrong.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BalthazarG's Avatar
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    Not at all, if you have a separate grinder and espresso machine, and your grinder breaks, your espresso machine is useless.
    True! I should have mentioned that.

    Bottom line: if you're grinder breaks down - regardless of whether it's integrated with the machine or otherwise - you've basically got no coffee (and who wants instant anyway?).

    The issue of the machine breaking down is another story...

    *If your machine breaks down (and it's an integrated unit), the grinder attached to it can't be used;
    *On the other hand, if your machine breaks down, and it's separate from the grinder, then at least you can use the grinder to make a nice French press, Chemex, etc.

    Moral of the story? Stay the hell away from integrated units (unless, of course, it's a question of convenience and budget). But even then - stay the hell away from them.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Mine never broke down and the WAF was higher than having a separate grinder, I did upgrade to an e61 machine which necessitated a separate grinder but that kitchen has more room.

    Nothing wrong with a combi machine, you just need to know the limitations but that is true for any machine.
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  15. #15
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    When I suggested seperate machines in my post, I was thinking about reliability/ value for money. I don't think I've seen an integrated machine for sale for under about $1k (not that I've looked much.)
    I'd wonder about the quality of / wear in a $200 integrated machine.

    I happened to also think of the useless broken down grinder aspect, but I take your point Trentski.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member BalthazarG's Avatar
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    If, at the end of the day, you're on a really tight no-compromises budget, and are prepared to accept the risks of an integrated machine, then the Breville Barista Express can easily be sourced for a sale price between $500 and $600 (ie. half that of the Dual Boiler).

    I still wouldn't, but it's an option nonetheless. Hell, that might be more than enough for someone who just wants a fairly decent cup of coffee in the morning.

  17. #17
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Personally, I think you're exaggerating any perceived shortcomings of a Combi unit such as the Lelit Combi (PL042EMI).
    Both the grinder and the espresso components of the machine are extremely reliable and the concept that a grinder failure renders the whole box and dice useless is a major furphy and has very little credibility or foundation in fact.

    If there is a very slight criticism, it is with the situation where coffee is allowed to sit in the grinder bean hopper for extended periods with the espresso machine turned on. The heat so generated and dissipated will migrate its way into the grinder section of the Combi and heat the beans up and speed up their deterioration. Moral of the story is, to only load the hopper with the beans required for immediate use and then grind out at the completion of a session - Simple...

    The major benefit of the Combi machine is that of space saving where available benchtop space is at a premium. In that role, it is very hard to beat...

    Mal.
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  18. #18
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    If automated and pods are what you want, I've seen the nespresso delonghi latissima machine on gumtree/ebay for $200 or less.

    The Sunbeam caffe bellissimo can be bought for around the same price and takes beans or ground coffee.

    Based on prices for Adelaide.

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    My coffee machine broke down recently. The grinder is fine. I started off using plunger coffee but it wasn't really satisfying. Then I remembered the Aeropress I bought a few years ago (for traveling).

    I found that making coffee with the Aeropress takes no longer than using the machine - or not so you'd notice. (I can't time it.) It certainly would use a lot less electricity, and is easy to clean up afterwards.

    I like milk coffee. Luckily I found a glass milk frother in the cupboard. It's like a coffee plunger but with finer mesh. So all I do is put a bit of milk in the glass part of the frother and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds, while I grind and make the coffee with the Aeropress. Then froth the milk and add it to the coffee.

    Voila - there's a lovely latte - or pretty close. I've got to say it's the next best thing to machine made espresso - and better than what you'll often get down the street. The coffee flavour bursts out of the cup.

    All that is to say, I agree with those who suggest buying a good grinder first. Add an Aeropress or similar and you should be very happy with the result.
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  20. #20
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    agreed. a short black from an aeropress will destroy a pod shot. did a comparison a couple of days ago. the pod shot was watery and was a bit roasty which turned into screw-your-face-up bitterness. the aeropress shot with freshly ground coffee in comparison was full of fruity flavour, balanced, and even sweet (aldi's cheapest, mind you ). i've made heaps of milk-based coffees and long blacks for all the guests over the holiday period, and they all love the aeropress.

    Quote Originally Posted by bogongtiger View Post
    All that is to say, I agree with those who suggest buying a good grinder first. Add an Aeropress or similar and you should be very happy with the result.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogongtiger View Post
    All that is to say, I agree with those who suggest buying a good grinder first. Add an Aeropress or similar and you should be very happy with the result.
    I question the necessity of needing a good (I'm reading expensive) grinder for use with an Aeropress or pourover coffee maker.
    I understand why a quality grinder is needed for espresso - to be able to grind fine enough for a 25-30 sec shot and consistently enough to avoid channelling.
    But the Aeropress requires a coarser grind anyway, and I doubt some non-uniformity in particle size is going to cause much difference.
    I can't taste the difference using the Aeropress with my relatively cheap Rhinowares hand grinder (which can't grind for espresso) and my commercial Iberital grinder (might not be close to top of the range but certainly better than the Rhinowares).

  22. #22
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I'd reckon that most of us who recommend a "good" grinder, would consider anything from a well known Hand Grinder, to a Breville and perhaps up to the Macap M2M or a Compak K3 as candidates for this. None of which I would call expensive, just good...

    Mal.
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  23. #23
    Member 3rutu5's Avatar
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    about 10 years ago my wife bought me a budget breville and it wasnt that good, but did the job, so i bought myself another stove top peculator. Ever considered a stove top? you can get a bialetti for about 50 bucks i think. I used mine daily for 12 years before getting my lever.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    I've been using my Aeropress (with OE Lido E-T grinder, but my old cheap Porlex mini did the job fine for Aeropress) exclusively for 5 of the last 7 months (I've been away from home). I love it. I tend to make a couple of faux-flat whites in the morning, at a grind setting not much coarser than that for espresso (water at about 90 degrees, 1 minute extraction), topped with milk warmed in a jug. In the late afternoon, I coarsen up the grind and go for a longer brew and have it black. It's not an espresso machine by any stretch of the imagination, but it makes great coffee of different styles, and the whole process (including cleaning) takes a matter of minutes.
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  25. #25
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    Is this thread still going?

    OP disappeared a week ago. Just saying....
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  26. #26
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFreddofrog View Post
    Is this thread still going? OP disappeared a week ago. Just saying....
    Well the OP said he would be going down the coffee capsule path so we've lost him. I guess with a $200 budget, he didn't have many other options. Speaking as a CSer, I agree a manual brewer and hand grinder would have been the way but too many people want to take the quickest and easiest possible path to caffeination, even if it's reaching for the jar of instant.

  27. #27
    Member GunBarista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Hi guys.
    For great coffee on a start-up budget I highly recommend a manual brewer.
    I set my Mum up with a pourover kit and a basic burr grinder and she uses this every day. No more pod machine for her
    There are heaps of great manual options from a basic pourover kit and hand grinder for $50.... all the way up to a Trinity ONE with a high end hand grinder.

    As much as I love my espressos, sometimes you just can't beat a nice clean cup of a well made pour over.

    ... matter of fact a 'slow brew' is my drink of choice in the afternoons. I'm always in my happy place when I'm weighing in a nice light-roasted single then grinding it by hand while waiting for the water to reach temp.
    It's a ritual of respect to the bean; the hard work from the farmers all the way to the roaster and you're responsible to carry that care forward into the end product - I think should be practiced or at least acknowledged if you're a true lover of coffee.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    a couple of faux-flat whites in the morning.
    whats a faux flat white mate?
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  29. #29
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andysydney2003 View Post
    whats a faux flat white mate?
    One that's not made on true espresso......so I don't upset the purists
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  30. #30
    Senior Member BalthazarG's Avatar
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    [......so I don't upset the purists [/QUOTE]

    They'll get upset anyway, Barry.

  31. #31
    Senior Member BalthazarG's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by andysydney2003 View Post
    whats a faux flat white mate?
    Good question!

    Real Flat White =

    1) Pull shot.
    2) Steam milk using proper steam wand ie. on a machine.
    3) Carefully pour milk on top of shot, being careful not to lose your microfoam all at once.
    4) Create latte art if it makes you feel better about yourself.
    4) Kick back and enjoy with a copy of the Fin Review.

    Faux Flat White =

    1) Incinerate some stale, pre-ground chimney soot in a Moka Pot.
    2) Heat glass of milk in microwave.
    3) Transfer milk to plastic container & shake the bejesus out of it, OR; transfer milk to whisk bowl & give it a quick-and-dirty wash'n'tumble with a juice blender or $4 IKEA milk frother.
    4) Dump the resulting slop on top of "shot".
    5) Bottoms up before screaming out the door to work.
    Last edited by BalthazarG; 7th January 2017 at 03:39 PM.
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