$140 - :o what a bargain!
For my first post, I just thought Id offer my thumbs up on this combo for an entry-level home setup. Im no coffee snob (yet) but I know a good coffee when Im out and about.. so forgive me if Im using any of the terminology wrong.
I like a bit of a tinker with my new toys, so after some research, I decided on this combo (no, I cant afford a silvia/rocky!). Basically, I wanted to see how good a setup I could make for under $300 and I feel that Ive succeeded better than I expected!
The Machine (800ES)
I bought the BES800 as heavily discounted floor stock at BigW ($140) only to get it home and find it didnt work! :( I went back to BigW and they said they could only offer me a refund. I rang breville and they said theyd be happy to repair it under warranty.
I took it over to their repair centre in Penrith and a week later I picked it up, good as new.
Grabbed some fresh beans from Mecca and was moderately dissatisfied with the result (as you can imagine). The shot poured in about 4 seconds, it was watery, bitter and feral. The steam wand (once you remove the froth enhancer) was quite good and was happy with how easily I could get quality frothed milk.
After some research on this forum I decided to grab the unpressurised baskets from Breville. From what I gathered, the Breville unpressurised basket (ESP4/51 i think) was a much better fit than the Krups basket and I can honestly say this is true. I fits just as tightly as the original baskets, though the group handle is now (thankfully) a bit looser in the machine.
Apparently though you can forget about a custom Pullman tamper to fit (based on other posts).. oh well, Itd cost more than my coffee machine anyway! *;)
I went over the the Breville/Kambrook outlet in Redfern (google it) and the staff were so helpful. They knew exactly what I wanted, so I grabbed the 1-2 cup basket for $6 and a BCG450 grinder while I was there for $79 (RRP $180). Bargain. I told them about this forum and they had no idea they got such a good wrap here. No, Im in no way affiliated with them, just really happy with their prices and service!
I knew from reading here that unmodified the grinder is not up to the task of the single wall baskets and after the first go, I can definitely agree. At the finest setting (turkish) it was pretty awful.
I read about the grind modification for the BCG450 and can honestly say it was FAR easier than I thought it would be. Took about 10 minutes and it was worth every second.
I took the grinder up about another 2cm from its previous final position. After a good hard tamping it gave me a nice slow pour that tasted fantastic.
Ive bought some great tasting fresh beans from Mecca, Campos & Fresh (Leura) and I havent bought a coffee at a cafe since I had a laugh.
Im sure upgraditis will hit in about 6months, but in the mean time, Im extremely happy with the setup and am enjoying the process of learning how to get the most out of it.
If youre considering a cheap entry level solution, I give two thumbs up to this setup!
Total cost: $140 + $79 = $219.. bargain!
If you cant find the machine that cheap, they have them at the factory outlet for $249 which is about 50% less than youd pay in Myer or any of the major stores. Same goes for the rest of the machines in the Breville lineup, approximately 50% of retail.
Looking forward to many more good coffees and many more posts on this fantastic forum which has been such an amazing resource.
$140 - :o what a bargain!