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Thread: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

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    $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey guys!
    This is my first post on these forums, and I am a complete coffee noob so please excuse me if I ask/state the "obvious" at times :P

    My birthday is coming up shortly and Im looking at buying a good coffee machine and grinder. Now I have read quite a few posts and guides on how to buy a coffee machine, the importance of the grinder over the machine and so on and forth. All this information is good and I sure will help me make sure I spend my money evenly, but when it comes to buying the RIGHT MODEL for the given BUDGET of $300, *I dont know whats good and whats bad.

    So far I have made my way through catalogs and Internet websites trying to find the perfect coffee machine. Every machine has its rave reviews and its bad experiences, so this makes it a bit difficult for me to pin-point a good "all-rounder" coffee machine.

    To cut the story short, It would be awesome if I could a bit of input from you guys about particular models and brands of coffee machines that would cater for my MODEST BUDGET.

    Thanks for you help guys!:)

  2. #2
    A_M
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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    An EM0480 or EM0450 grinder and a Plunger or Other manual / press type coffee maker...

    From there as you gain more experience; you can get a better machine and the grinder will still last you for a little while.

    PS. See a sponsor in ya area for some hands on and a face to face...

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Ive heard positive responses about the Bellman stovetops, especially for the budget conscious. In fact a thread just started here.

    The Bellman and others are at Di Bartoli.

    I think youd be disappointed with a cheap espresso machine in this price range, given youll need a good grinder first. Plus, you can take the Bellman on holidays / camping!

    The EM0450 is (RRP) $150 and the cheaper Bellman is $120 while the one with the pressure gauge is $165. The gauge might help you find your feet a bit faster.

    HTH!

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Hey thanks for the fast replies!:)
    I have looked at the models you have specified jaindb, and they get some good reviews!:D There are also a fair few coffee machines in catalogs for $150 by breville and krups. Ill try and get the specific model names when I find it. What are your thoughts on a coffee machine like that? This may sound a bit noobish, but surely a stationary coffee machine is better than a stop top in an all-rounder kind of way?...
    Please feel free to blast me away if that is a noobish comment :P

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    I suggest that you wait until your next birthday
    Putting away a few dollars every day (untouched) for a good machine & grinder

    Just to clarify what I mean, my answer is based on the definition of a coffee machine & a coffee making appliance

    For the time being get
    1] A plunger or
    2] An Ibrik for Greek/Turkish coffee

    KK




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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7943525E42464B5D2A0 link=1283346395/3#3 date=1283392158
    ...There are also a fair few coffee machines in catalogs for $150 by breville and krups. Ill try and get the specific model names when I find it. What are your thoughts on a coffee machine like that? This may sound a bit noobish, but surely a stationary coffee machine is better than a stop top in an all-rounder kind of way?...
    Please feel free to blast me away if that is a noobish comment :P
    Every question is worth asking, but IMHO these machines just cant handle the pressure and temperature required for a good brew.

    Secondly, listen to KK - they are "lowest bidder" appliances, not machines, and that opens up all sorts of problems with consistency, warranty, quality, etc.

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Righteo.
    Well Im not a coffee guru, so the quality of the coffee most probably would be wasted on me with an amazing machine and grinder. But thanks for the comments kk and jaindb:) I will be definately looking into it.

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    you dont have to be a guru (nor am I) and an amazing machine would last a lifetime and make great coffee, sure, but I dont have one, and I still make pretty good coffee with my equipment.

    The advice here is simply: you will be disappointed by a cheap appliance. Maybe not straight away, but certainly eventually.

    When I first joined CS and asked for advice I used to think coffee machines were like computers. I spend 10h a day on various computers, hence theyre fast, expensive, and flash, with lots of accessories. Im also spoiled with a very expensive colour laser at work.

    I used to have a hard time advising friends on purchases because I couldnt imagine anyone buying a cheap computer. Until I realised people were satisfied with them, because they fit the purpose, so I adjusted my thinking to understand that a cheap computer might be slow (to me) and lacking in the features that I use, but it still worked. You can still print, view web pages, write email, etc.

    So back to CS, I didnt accept advice that said I needed a better quality machine / grinder than I wanted to spend, because I thought the pros were the same as I used to be. I was WRONG :D A cheap coffee machine is not like a budget computer that still works. Liken a cheap coffee machine to a computer that takes you to wik.org when you ask for wikipedia.org, because its close enough. Or a printer that prints red instead of green, because you can still see it so whats the problem? Or a monitor where the resolution changes from 640x480 to 1280x1024 over the first half an hour of use every day.

    Of course you cant (I hope) buy PCs like this but I hope you get the point. Im disappointed in my machine already, especially since I could have got such a better setup with the same initial outlay.

    Anyway thats a bit of a rant to get you sleepy ;) Nothing personal, I hope you understand what Im trying to say, and good luck choosing, buying, and drinking :)

    Iain.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Iain Ive had a computer for over 30 years and what I usually tell people is to buy a little better than they think theyll need.
    I think the same could be applied to coffee machines and grinders.
    Trust the experts... spend that little bit more to avoid disappointment.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Take it from AM and TG, * For your budget of 250-300$, the em 480 or if you can find any existing stocks of 450,s *team it with a plunger or if you can manage it, a Aeropress (got mine for 59bucks). You might have some change left over for some coffee beans, and we would strongly suggest buy those from a good coffee roaster which might entail a bit of searching around. Take a look on the left side for the sponsors, you cant go wrong. Andy has some good brown beans in Beanbay.

    Good things come to those who wait. If you decide you want to improve your coffee journey, ask around, read the forums and then set aside some money each week and if you stick to that, you might find that it,s very much achievable.

    A good machine and grinder costs. In the long run though, it will save you money from their reliability( if you look after them).
    * * * Like a good car, it costs you at the beginning, but it,ll look after you with lower servicing costs and strength of components.

    I know i,m rambling on a bit, also if you want more out of your coffee experience and to save even more money, you can roast your own. It,s good fun.

    In the future when you do get your dream machine, grinder and roaster, hang on to your old grinder, plunger or aeropress and reflect back on how a bunch of like minded coffeesnobbers helped you on your coffee journey.

    Gary :)




  11. #11
    brett230873
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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Quote Originally Posted by 515951565C5A380 link=1283346395/2#2 date=1283382939
    Ive heard positive responses about the Bellman stovetops, especially for the budget conscious. In fact a thread just started here.

    The Bellman and others are at Di Bartoli.

    I think youd be disappointed with a cheap espresso machine in this price range, given youll need a good grinder first.Plus, you can take the Bellman on holidays / camping!

    The EM0450 is (RRP) $150 and the cheaper Bellman is $120 while the one with the pressure gauge is $165.The gauge might help you find your feet a bit faster.

    HTH!
    Seconded! ;) Seen these used very effectively in my student days.

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    You can try pick up a cheap second hand Baby Gaggia from evil-bay. Not that any of us would recommend that.

    Nevertheless you will still need a decent grinder.

    I would suggest you do what the guys above suggested. If you enjoy espresso style coffee, then maybe an aeropress/presso/Bellman and a kyocera hand grinder to start with.

    I started with a Bellman myself - be it that I was useless with it.

    Good luck

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1E223F242E2F382D252E4A0 link=1283346395/8#8 date=1283401525
    Iain Ive had a computer for over 30 years and what I usually tell people is to buy a little better than they think theyll need.
    You shouldnt go round admittin things like that, people might guess your age :D ;) What was it, a TRS-80?

    I think the same could be applied to coffee machines and grinders.
    Trust the experts... spend that little bit more to avoid disappointment.
    Just to avoid any confusion, I agree with you :) However cheap computers may work whereas cheap coffee machines may not is all I took a long time to say :)

  14. #14
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Quote Originally Posted by 575F57505A5C3E0 link=1283346395/12#12 date=1283404658
    What was it, a TRS-80?
    Clone.

    Quote Originally Posted by 575F57505A5C3E0 link=1283346395/12#12 date=1283404658
    Just to avoid any confusion, I agree with you SmileyHowever cheap computers may work whereas cheap coffee machines may not is all I took a long time to say
    I took a long time to say I agreed with you.

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    I got a deal for $350. The 800ES Breville with the BarAroma coffee grinder. It looks good enough for me! :D I look forward to using it.

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Be warned Sixthlaw.
    The BarAroma grinder is not recommended.
    Thats why everyone above mentioned the Sunbeam 0450/0480.
    They are the minimum standard of the available cheap grinders.
    You probably wont get the best out of the 800ES Breville by using the BarAroma.
    Hopefully though youll be happy with the combination for a while until you decide you want better coffee and can afford better equipment.

    Quote Originally Posted by 152F3E322E2A2731460 link=1283346395/6#6 date=1283393308
    the quality of the coffee most probably would be wasted on me
    Dont sell yourself short.
    While you may not have an expert palate (I dont) you will still be able to taste what you dont like.

    Make sure you buy freshly roasted coffee to give yourself the best possible coffee you can from your new equipment.


    P.S. Did you say where you are located?

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    I agree, dont sell yourself short. I had no idea what a good coffee tasted like when I got my Breville. It came with 1kg free "premium" harris beans. Needless to say I never finished the packet. Thanks to our work getting a super auto at around the same time, I found a good roaster (Pioneer Coffee Roastery) who posted the beans to Darwin, and I could taste the difference.

    The 800ES and BCG450 arent a bad combo, but ditch the dual-wall baskets and grind on the finest grind "turkish" at all times. When you get a single wall basket youll have to modify the grinder to keep up - search here for the BarAroma mod. With fresh beans I bet youll notice the difference too :)

    happy drinking!

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Yeh I have already read how to mod the BarAroma, and will be doing that. Where can I purchase a single wall basket? and if so, what brand? (Krups has been recommended...?)

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    Hi, nice to see youre continuing the journey :)

    I got a krups from site sponser Pullman, I think it was this one - email them if youre unsure, theyre responsive. Also get them to measure it just in case you end up getting a custom tamper from them in the future :)

    The only issue is its a teensy bit loose, and 1/2 the time stays in the machine when I pull out the pf. To counter this I take the pf out on an angle. I think someone posted here about a different basket that didnt have this problem (cant remember).

    HTH :)

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    Re: $250 Budget. Best coffee machines/grinders for my birthday?

    I am using a 1-2 cup out of a breville bar Italia ( i think) and it does not slip out, best bet is to bring your handle with you and try it, if you are in Sydney you can try Ashfield Appliances, thats where i got mine so they should be able to help you out.

    I also want to try the Pavoni basket as it seems deeper and is also the same 51mm diameter, hopefully not too deep though, not sure if anyone here has tried these yet.



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