Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Ok, so Im a newb!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Ok, so Im a newb!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys,

    Wow! This is a great site that I had no idea of until 2 days ago!

    Anyway, Ive been doing some reading up on what should be my next machine, but between me having no coffee because my terrible Krups XP4020 broke, and the mass of info here, I have a headache. Problem is, I need a new machine FAST! No coffee!

    I dont really want to spend more than $400ish, already have a grinder, would prefer as little aluminium in the workings as possible, and would like something that I could monitor pressure with if possible (and if necessary). For the record I pretty much exclusively drink Di Bella Felici and love short macs. (Though my wife may like the ability to make a cappuccino very occasionally.)

    On reading these pages, it seems the Breville Ikon is good bang for the buck, but is there anything else out there that will gain me better coffee for a little more money? (edit - just continuing to browse - theres the DeLonghi 1385 and the Sunbeam EM5600 & 5900) ???

    I throw myself at your mercy as to what is a better option in this price range or thereabouts if there is a sale.

    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,103

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Welcome Yojimbo.

    Firstly what type of grinder do you own? *That’s a vital question.

    I would recommend Nemox Felice for $579. *It’s in a completely different league to the Ikon or anything else in your price range.

    http://(no free plug here)/nemox-fenice-espresso-machine-p-126.html?osCsid=0b3f04cfc7383e38a05ebb6e50ae0c8d

  3. #3
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,103

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    $400 will restrict you to whats referred to on here as appliance category machines.
    These come with pressurised baskets, mostly thermoblocks for heating and a limited lifespan.

    I use an Ikon with the matching BarAroma grinder on a semi-regular basis when I visit the in-laws. *It can make reasonable coffee although I do find it frustrating to use compared to my machines.

    My machines are a Sunbeam EM6910 with EM0480 grinder (paid $600 second hand, virtually new) and a Quaha Napoletana II (paid $350 for a 5 year old machine). *The later machine is essentially the same as the Nemox Felice but has a built-in grinder.

    I find it more difficult to get consistently good coffee on the Ikon and even its best would not be as good at the other 2 machines. Im sure the grinder quality also has something to do with the end result.

    The ‘feel’ of the Ikon is certainly cheaper and it’s not difficult to appreciate the extra dollars the other machines cost. *The milk texturing is not as good as the Sunbeam. The Quaha is the best of the 3.

    Many people would consider the Rancilio Silvia as the most affordable ‘decent’ espresso machine made from commercial quality components. *There are many owners (past and present) of the Silvia on this site and the consensus seems to be that they are rock solid and will last many many years given they are well maintained. The 2008 model can be purchased from CoffeeParts (see sponsors list left of screen) for $689 which I believe is an excellent price.

    Otherwise you have the Nemox Felice for $579 or the Nemox Dell Opera for ~$800 which includes a built-in grinder.

    You can also go second-hand like I did. I have bought 3 machines from other Coffee Snob members so far.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Rothbury, NSW
    Posts
    1,104

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Have a look here

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1245729659


  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Ok, these other machines sound great but just arent in the budget. Whats the best of the $400ish domestic machines given my needs?

    Id prefer not to go second hand as I am claiming it as a business expense and for the investment write-off, it needs to be new. I can only go higher to a $500-$550 machine but only if I can get it on special for closer to the $400 mark.

    Is there nothing cheaper but good for the $$$ other than the ones listed above?

    (I have a basic Krups grinder btw, which I can upgrade later for a better quality one.)

  6. #6
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,103

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    OK, its good that youve made your limits clear so you get the right advice.

    The Ikon is pretty good overall. Some may argue that you can get equally good results with the Sunbeam Ristretto which is only $120. Most machines in this price range have thermoblocks but these 2 are boiler machines.

    Its a shame youre in a rush, I bought the Ikon/grinder package for my father-in-law last Xmas. From memory only paid ~$270 for both.

    Most other machines in your price range are pretty similar thermoblock machines. Breville in particular have 5 models <$270 which I suspect have similar internals, but cant say that with certainty.

    The Sunbeam 4800C is a very reliable machine, I have one tucked away in a cupboard somewhere thats seen lots of use. My brother has used his for 7 years now and it gets nearly daily use.

    All of these machines have pressurised baskets. If youre using fresh roasted beans and grinding them on demand then its worth spending another $15-20 for an unpressurised basket.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Thanks CJ.

    So theres nothing a bit more expensive than those machines that would be worth the extra investment? Even if its nudging up to $500 / $550 or so?

    If I can know some more models, I can call around, etc. and see where I can get a good deal.

    hmmm... Saeco Via Venezia for $399?

    Many thanks.

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,546

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Gday Yo.... :)

    I dont have any experience of the Saeco V-V so cant advise one way or the other with that one but there a number of members who do own one. With regard to the other small Boiler machines mentioned, they do a very acceptable job so long as you feed them high quality, freshly roasted beans and only ground immediately before pulling the shot.

    For this to work though, you need to grab a couple of normal (unpressurised) baskets to suit which ever machine you end up with and for Gods sake, throw that Krups impostor of a grinder in the bin where it belongs. Grab yourself one of the Sunbeam EMO grinders (the 450 or 480) as a minimum entry level and at least then you will have some hope of producing passable espresso. Id even go so far as to suggest that you give the espresso machine a big miss and opt instead for the best grinder you can buy within the range of your limited budget. Couple that with an AeroPress Brewer, great beans and you will love the end result... 8-)

    All the best mate,
    Mal.

  9. #9
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,103

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    As Mal pointed out, with any machine you get, you wont get the best out of it until you get a better grinder. The EM0450 is generally considered the acceptable entry level macine. I own the EM0480 which has the same internals, just a prettier body.

    I forgot about the VV. *180ml stainless steel boiler and 53mm pressurised baskets. *I dont have any experience with it but as Mal points out, many CS members own them and I cant say Ive heard too many bad things about them. Again youd be best off buying an unpressurised group handle. *Hopefully people who own/have owned them will give some feedback.

    Another machine I forgot is the Gaggia Classic. It has commerical size 58mm unpressurised baskets. Price is a bit above your budget although you could try shopping around. They have an aluminium boiler which is not the best material to use. *

    EDIT - I believe the VV requires a modification to the group handle to make unpressurised. Apparently its not difficult.

    Theres a heck of a lot of information on this site. *I feel sometimes people get a little tired of rehashing the same information over and over.

    Best thing to do is hit the search button above. *Make sure you change the setting cause the default is to search from the last week.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Thanks Mal and CJ.

    That explains it re the search! I was trying and trying and couldnt understand why it wasnt finding anything. Ill change the setting and trawl some more.

    HOWEVER, by your comments about unpressurised baskets, etc. I think thats all thats wrong with my Krups XP4020. Its seized up really badly and Im sick of cleaning the stupid little pinhole out. Ill find out which unpressurised basket will work in that machine and see where I can get a couple in Brisbane. (It is just the filter cup thing that clicks in, right?)

    If that helps, Ill then look at getting a better grinder as you suggest as a next step. Then at a later date I can upgrade to a decent machine in that higher price bracket. If I can make do for the time being, and get better coffee out of the situation, Id rather not compromise with my next machine.

  11. #11
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,103

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Sounds like a good way to go Jimbo. Yes the basket is the cup that clicks into the group handle.

    I assume you can buy a Krups unpressurised basket, in fact many people buy the Krups unpressurised basket for other brands, particularly Sunbeam. I’m sure Krups would have a service agent in Brisbane. I remember seeing a post where someone listed the service agents for the whole country. The best thing to do is find out the specific part number you’re after.

    Another question for you is what your cleaning regime is like. Do you descale your machine? You can also throw your baskets into the descaling solution.

    Back to grinders….
    As mentioned the minimum recommended grinder is an EM0450.
    There’s some grinders around the $300 mark such as the Ibertal Challenge or the Nemox Lux. There’s probably not a big advantage in stepping up to this level compared to the Sunbeam.

    A bit over $400 will get you a Rancilio Rocky. This probably is a worthwhile investment. It’s the most recommended grinder out there, unless you’re going to spend $700-800 or more. The most common piece of advice given by the more experienced CS members, who really know their stuff, is to buy the best grinder you can afford. Something like a Rocky will give you many years of reliable service and you won’t need to upgrade as you upgrade your espresso machines. Note that I said you won’t need to, that doesn’t mean you won’t want to. There’s a common disease that afflicts CS members called upgraditis.

    There’s some good information about grinders on this thread:

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163235531

    At the end of the day if you buy that EM0450, an unpressurised double basket (most people don’t bother with the single) and give your machine a thorough descaling, you should be able to produce decent shots.

  12. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    My cleaning regime aint great! ;D

    Having said that the Krups has been problematic from the start. It has always kind of choked and clogged up if you tamp it slightly too hard, and the basket clogs up easily too.

    Currently searching the forum for suitable unpressurised baskets to fit as Krups and the local dealer wont give me a part number out of liability concerns! ::)

  13. #13
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,103

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Here you go Jimbo

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1201489139/0#0

    or

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1174477597/50#50

    Note that I am assuming this basket will be suitable for your machine but have no experience with the XP4020.

    Lastly if youre still using the plastic tamper that came with your machine, you may want to consider getting yourself a decent one. Its surprising the difference it can make.

  14. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Thanks CJ - Id found that, made some calls and just got back with a single shot one (they were out of the doubles). It fits, though not firmly. I also got a descaling kit and a Sunbeam EM0480 grinder.

    Ill let you know what sort of difference it all makes. And yes, the tamper is also on my list now!

  15. #15
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,103

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Thats great. Personally I think its worth the extra for 480, even if the differences are only cosmetic.

    Dont panic if you dont have instant success, it can take a while to get the right grind setting. In general its more difficult to get consistent shots with a single basket compared to a double.

    Many on here only ever use a double basket for the coffees. They put a cup under one spout and let the other half go to waste.

    I normally use my grinder between setting 14 & 16, although each EM0480 seems to be different.

  16. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Hmmm. Ive given it a run with a bunch of different grind settings, right the way up to 19, and the coffee is really bitter and terrible. I think maybe it is the machine after all.

    Could a thermostat or something go in it, making the water too hit and burning the coffee? Because it tastes exactly the same as when it turned "wrong" out of the blue 2 days ago.

  17. #17
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,286

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    We have a Breville Ikon at one office, and I took to the double basket with my Dremel and **carefully** cut off the bottom layer with the pinhole in it. It now makes pretty good coffee. You might try the same with the Krups double basket.

    I dont know your grinder but the Ikon is being fed by a Kyocera hand mill--$95 delivered by an (almost) sponsor (see thread in "Grinders").

    Greg

    ps--Ive been told the Ikon is discontinued.

  18. #18
    det
    det is offline
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    32

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Hi Yojimbo
    I have a Saeco Via Venezia and EM0480. With some coaching from CS members, using beans roasted by a local supplier, playing around with the grind and some work on my technique i.e tamping extraction times etc. there has been a massive improvement on the results I was getting. One of the site sponsors is advertising the VV for $449-link below. I am no expert and havent used many other machines but I can say the VV is reliable, solidly made (in Italy?) and has a stainless steel boiler. I did get a non pressurised group handle for it which I think also helped immensely.

    http://www.sibonis.com.au/Content_Common/pc-Saeco.seo

  19. #19
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8

    Re: Ok, so Im a newb!

    Greg - I did this today also. No luck, no matter how coarse the grind or light the tamp. But at least I got to give my Bosch a workout!

    Press1 - This is the way Im now thinking.



Similar Threads

  1. Lament of the Newb
    By djb3500 in forum Blending Room
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 25th April 2009, 06:16 PM
  2. SM0480 + Ristretto Questions from a Newb
    By rdamo in forum Brewing Equipment (non-machine specific)
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 19th May 2008, 08:12 AM
  3. Storing Green Beans (newb)
    By james74 in forum Home Roasting - Tips, Tricks, Ideas
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 17th July 2007, 01:13 PM
  4. coffee newb...
    By dassa in forum Brewing Equipment (non-machine specific)
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 20th April 2007, 07:07 PM
  5. Newb just got a machine.
    By muppet_man67 in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 17th November 2006, 09:37 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •