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Thread: Budget Machine Questions...

  1. #1
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    Budget Machine Questions...

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

    Newbie here and I love the site, although I must say I probably wont be taking it anywhere near as seriously as some members obviously do. Im only a home user (at work we have a Gaggia Synchrony!) and at present am being serviced by a humble little Sunbeam Club Cappucino 100, which works quite well for a cheapie I figure.

    Anyway, my question to those of you who may know of it, is about an Ariete 315 Esmerelda.
    I have the opportunity to pick up one of these machines second hand from a friend, however, know nothing of the brand or model.
    Could someone with some real experience with this machine please advise?
    It is an 8 year old machine but is in good condition and fully functioning as far as Im aware.
    Are there any negative reports or idiosyncrasies that I might need be aware of?
    Should I go for it or avoid?

    I know the final decision is mine but any advice from you fine and learned folk would be super.
    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    After doing some more research I have noticed that the general consensus here about Krups is not that positive.

    I was also looking at a Krups XP4020 but am not sure now after reading some of the threads here.

    Consider or avoid?

    Is everyone just going to tell me to get a Gaggia Classic? :D

    How about a DeLonghi, Ariete or Bialette?


    Cheers,
    Expresso

  3. #3
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Expresso,

    Hi and welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

    First question - where are you located? Two of the machines you mention are virtually unknown here in Australia - Ariete or Bialette - even searching on the web didnt give much information on these two.

    DeLonghi and Krups are in a similar classification in my books - avoid at all cost!!!

    As a general observation - someone who makes a range of appliances tends not to make great coffee machines..... Sometimes they are some other manufacturers and are re-badged (and may therefore be good) but generally they are chinese made, materials arent that good, quality control is abysmal, and even the design is poor (although the appearance might be quite good)...

    I realise you are probably trying to save money.... and if in Australia have a look at the Breville Ikon..... good innovative design.... and capable of good coffee.


  4. #4
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Thanks JavaB,

    Im in Sydney and have only just recently been researching machines. I asked a well-travelled fellow coffee loving colleague about machines and those were the 2 names thrown at me besides Gaggia and the usual suspects.

    I had not heard of them either, which is why I thought someone here might know a bit about them.

    The rule of thumb, according to my friend, was to try to buy Italian.
    I was also under the impression that a good second-hand higher quality Italian model might be better than buying a new Breville or Sunbeam.

    Would you tend to agree or not?

    I totally agree with your general observation about product specialisation. That general rule applies to virtually every product, for instance the best amplifiers are made by amplifier specialists, the best speakers are made by speaker specialists, etc. Those who make speakers, kettles and steam mops tend not to make any of their products very well, or are mediocre at best.

    Although as you rightly also mentioned, re-branding can sometime get you hidden gems, as long as you know the original source.

    Anyway, more research for me. Love the public holiday! Time for another cup!
    Thanks for the help mate.

    Cheers,
    Expresso

  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Your budget will dictate what you end up buying.
    As you are in Sydney I reccomend you go and talk to Renzo or Ofra at DiBartoli in Bondi Junction.
    Theres a link on the top left of the page under "Site Sponsors".

  6. #6
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Expresso link=1181460518/0#3 date=1181476502

    The rule of thumb, according to my friend, was to try to buy Italian.
    I was also under the impression that a good second-hand higher quality Italian model might be better than buying a new Breville or Sunbeam.

    Would you tend to agree or not?
    Espresso,

    Yep, in general terms Id agree with that (guess Id have to seeing I own an 18 year old Italian made 2 group ;))

    Most Italian machines are actually made in Italy (although some are being made in Spain now).... and so the build quality, QA etc is higher. And most Italian manufacturers only make coffee machines so to stay in business they have to be pretty good at it - and it IS the home of espresso.

    Gaggia are pretty good, and many here have them. Not quite in the same league as a Silvia.... but pretty close. Although I initially expected both Krups and DeLonghi to be pretty good... the units Ive checked out from both manufacturers have been disappointing - very disappointing.

    The little Ikon does look the best of the bunch in the economy stakes at the moment - Id still put the Gaggia ahead - but not by much (mainly the commercial size PF and baskets on the Gaggia are the advantage).

    About the best I can suggest is do lots of research, ask questions here ..... and if looking at a Silvia level machine... check out the site sponsors.

    Good luck with your journey.

  7. #7
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Hey JavaB, are you defiantly not calling him by his real screen name which is "Expresso"?? :O Thats a bit snobbish! :P

    Expresso, what budget do you have to work with? Have you factored in the cost of a grinder - or are you planning on using pre-ground?

  8. #8
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Hmm... budget... well before I came here it was around the $200 mark for a machine only.
    Now, after spending most of my Sunday researching here, I think I may have to reassess and extend my budget. :o
    Im thinking $500 should be enough to get a decent amateur home machine, and certainly a step up from the simple baby machine I currently use.

    Im also not averse to buying second hand, provided its in good condition.

    I had not really entertained the thought of grinding but the more I read the more Im becoming convinced its the way to go.... eventually.
    For the time being Ill use pre-ground (Im know Im a barbarian), but I know that eventually I will be exploring the art of grinding.

    I just have to get the right machine first.

    I appreciate all the help guys!

  9. #9
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Actually, if you are after better coffee, you will be better off in the long run by getting a good grinder first.
    Youll be able to grind fresh coffee for a plunger and when you buy a machine you can then have fresh coffee from it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    hmmm...a lot of people will say...get a good grinder first and any crappy machine will do (which is certainly true). You can you your awesome grinder for say french press then save your pennies again to buy a machine...Furthermore, seeing as you already have a cheapie machine, youd be able to get much better coffee out of it now using freshly roasted and ground to order coffee using a good grinder (as opposed to pre-ground).

    However, if youre totally convinced you need a better machine, then I guess pre-ground is the go...whatever decision you end up making, well always make sure you get the best out of whatever set up you have.

    For $500 you certainly can get a more than capable machine! For $500 you can also get a kickass grinder that will knock that little Sunbeams socks off making much better coffee than ever before.

    [edit] damn you Thundergod, you beat me to it[/edit]

  11. #11
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Mmmmm Sorry Expresso...didnt mean to misspell your username :-[ but that "slang" spelling of espresso really grates..... (and a few here use it to describe a great coffee!!!)

    Yep, a good grinder will make the world of difference - to any machine.

    Fresh beans and a good grinder will give you pretty good coffee from almost any machine but preground coffee and the most expensive machine will give you pretty poor coffee.... its just stale and horrible within minutes of grinding - so what you get from the supermarket is really coffee in name only. The fine flavour has long since evaporated and been oxidised..... and thats the case no matter how it has been stored.

    So maybe even think of a grinder and your existing machine - you might be really amazed what it can produce. :o

  12. #12
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    OK guys, Im convinced now!
    (Im also embarrased to admit I actually have a Breville CG2B, which is a grinder in name only I realise)

    It would appear that conical burr grinders are the way to go.
    The Sunbeam EM0480 is quite a popular choice here.
    Is this significantly better than say a Breville BCG450 or DeLonghi KG100, which are comparable in price and function on paper I think?

    Any other suggestions out there?

    I know I really want a Rancillio Rocky but Im nowhere near that level yet!
    I guess its off to read the grinder section threads now...

  13. #13
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    ok...most people on the boards will say the Sunbeam conical burrs are not good enough for espresso. The steps are too large for espresso....but, given a limited budget I would say the Sunbeam does a good job given some barista skills to compensate for the large adjustment steps.

    Iberital Challenge is a stepless grinder that you should have a serious think about.

  14. #14
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wushoes link=1181460518/0#12 date=1181491542
    Iberital Challenge is a stepless grinder that you should have a serious think about.
    Fair enough, cheers.

    Where would I find one of these Iberital Challenge grinders for a look and how much can I expect to pay?

  15. #15
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Best to ask a site sponsor! $300 or less ballpark, dont quote me ;)

    see: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1110157172

  16. #16
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Thanks Wushoes, Ill check out the sponsors who do Iberital.

    Is the Gaggia MM any good?
    How about a Brasilia FMST?
    (Ive got NFI, so thanks guys).

  17. #17
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Expresso link=1181460518/0#11 date=1181490890
    It would appear that conical burr grinders are the way to go.
    The Sunbeam EM0480 is quite a popular choice here.
    Is this significantly better than say a Breville BCG450 or DeLonghi KG100, which are comparable in price and function on paper I think?

    Any other suggestions out there?

    I know I really want a Rancillio Rocky but Im nowhere near that level yet!
    Flat, conical - it doesnt matter. The implementation is the important thing.

    The burrs in the Ibertital are identical to those in the EM480C and EM450 but the adjustment is infinite intead of being stepped. The advantage of infinite adjustment is that IF your dose is ABSOULUTELY consistent, then you can dial in the shot time to the second - most of us arent that good and the timer switch on the doserless version of the Iberital is definitely not controllable enough to ensure this. With the stepeed grinders (pretty much all of them inc Macaps, Rancilio Rocky/MDF), you will always find yourself "in between" steps at times so you just learn to adjust the dose to compensate - again this requires being consistent with dose so you know if you are adding a bit more or less than usual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Expresso link=1181460518/15#15 date=1181492373
    Is the Gaggia MM any good?
    No, its a POS. There is almost nothing good about it.

  18. #18
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Hey Expresso,

    The Napoletana in the Coffee Hardware for Sale is a very good entry level machine and built in grinder.

    Most CSers here are quite positive about them.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1181549840


    Obviously, purchasing anything used/outside warranty incurs a lower "comfort factor".
    Especially if you are new to the game.

    If comfort with your purchasing is an important driver for you, then [as others wisely suggested] Site Sponsors are the best bet.

  19. #19
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    Thanks for your comments and advise guys, I really appreciate it.
    I feel that in the few days Ive been reading here Ive learnt more about coffee, grinders and machines that I thought possible!
    All this accumulated knowledge and experience being passed down to newbies like me is invaluable.

    On to hardware, well Im not opposed to buying second hand off evilBay, and can cope with the risk and potential loss as I dont outlay more than I am willing to write off.
    I accept it as part of learning a hobby.
    Having said that, I try to avoid crap, and so far this forum has been great in helping me avoid potential lemons.

    Anyway, you can never do too much research so Im still at it.

    Im thinking a Sunbeam EM0480 is the way to go - perhaps the Iberital Challenge if I decide to stretch it out by another hundred or so....

  20. #20
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Budget Machine Questions...

    ....my friend you know how to post!



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