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Thread: Advice before making a purchase

  1. #1
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    Advice before making a purchase

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im looking at buying an espresso maker for my partners upcoming birthday, and want to make sure Im buying something decent before I blow all that money :) Im not looking at spending more than about $350-$400. All we have at the moment is a basic Breville dripolater style coffee maker, so Im looking for something a bit classier / higher quality. Ive been considering something along the lines of a Sunbeam EM3800 along with an EM0480 grinder. Will this make a decent grade of coffee for the kind of money Im looking to spend? If not, what would be a better idea? (Just for the record, Im not interested in just buying a fancy grinder and a plunger, the whole idea here is to produce espresso to make lattes etc)

    I notice theres a lot of talk here about pressurised baskets and different kinds of filters etc. To be honest Im being completely overwhelmed by the kind of details people go into in all the threads here. If I do get this machine, would I be better off changing the basket / filter to improve the quality of coffee it produces? Are these simple changes a non-expert could make easily?

    Thanks for any help you could offer.

  2. #2
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Welcome and don be too put off by all the techno-babble that happens in here, some of it sounds tough, but it isnt really.

    For that sort of budget, you could look at something like the EM0480 grinder from sunbeam (the generally accepted bottom "starting point" for espresso grinders) and a Breville Es400 Ikon with either Krups / Breville non pressurised baskets. I use the Ikon at work (still waiting on the unpressurised baskets) and it produces a fairly good coffee but its real strength is the steamer, its a powerful little sucker. You can usually pick these up as factory 2nds (box damaged etc) from outlet stores for circa $ 130 - 150. Add $ 200(ish) for the grinder and you are well under budget. I dont have any experience with the small sunbeam, others here may be able to comment on its abilities.

    The pressurised baskets are intended to create "crema" using pretty much any coffee, but with fresh beans and freshly ground coffee, these "crema enhancing" baskets generally detract from the quality of the coffee, not add to it so as part of CS GAP (Coffee Snobs Generally Accepted Practice) we almost always strongly recommend their immediate removal and replacement. It is not a tricky / technical excercise, simply swap one stainless steel filter for another (the same as you would goind from a single to a double filter).

    There are likely heaps of recommendations within your budget so take time to read through all the pros and cons of each before dipping your toe in....

    Sen

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    To save some budget the 0450 at $150 is about $50 less than the 0480 and the grinding burrs are the same.
    Essentially the difference is the 0480 has a metal body and one extra power switch position.

  4. #4
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Hi Zedar and welcome

    If you have been reading previous equipment advice then you may not get the answers you were looking for.

    I think the best thing you could do with your money, given your budget, is to buy a grinder for around $300 and spend $10 or so on a bag of freshly roasted beans and see what difference it makes to your dripolator brew.

    If you arent sure, go along to a roastery and get them to grind some for you to try. This is assuming you are currently buying supermarket pre-ground coffee of indeterminate age.

    Having said that, some are buying Breville Cafe Roma or Ikon for < $200 which would provide adequate results. Not sure how good the Sunbeam 3800 is either.

  5. #5
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    For my current coffee I am buying bags of beans from my local cafe and grinding them in a basic bean grinder (just one of those glorified blender things that say "coffee and spice grinder"). My local factory outlet seems to have the Ikon for about $200, so this is looking to be a good option if the machine comes recommended. As stated above, buying just a grinder isnt a preferred option.

  6. #6
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Looks like the Ikon and a Sunbeam 0450 or 0480 is in the budget then.

  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D617C676D6C7B6E666D090 link=1233531398/5#5 date=1233555332
    Looks like the Ikon and a Sunbeam 0450 or 0480 is in the budget then.
    Welcome Zedar.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Id support that combo.... My son has the same and he enjoys excellent coffee when freshly roasted, high quality beans are used and ground only on demand. As has been mentioned above, the acquisition of non-pressurised basket(s) will help you get the best out of the bean and is to be highly recommended. Fellow CSrs with Ikons have bought them from as low as $5-6.00 each and up to about $12.00, so wont break the bank.

    All the best mate and if youre after some truly great coffee, give some of our Site Sponsors a go or some of Andys very own medal winning blends from BrownBay above left. You wont be sorry.... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    After looking around a bit on ebay, I noticed a Gaggia Espresso Pure going for a very good price, does anyone know if this machine is as good as it looks? The plastic casing is a downside, but feature-wise it sounds very appealing.

  9. #9
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Ive had my Gaggia Pure for about 12 months now and I absolutely love it. This was a starting point for me and I did a fair bit of research before purchase. The real benefit with this machine is that it TEACHES you to make a good coffee and get better with each brew. Although it makes a bit of a mess when learning early on, I really dont make a mess now. And I believe that Gaggia (Italian) was the first person to make an ESPRESSO MACHINE! And as anyone will tell you on this website its all about 3 things - the machine (manual gives best results) you buy, the coffee you use (I cant go past MAHALIA coffee from ROBE...S.A) and your grinder. Please dont buy pre-ground - it ruins the coffee unless you use all of it within a couple of days.... Hope this is a help.

  10. #10
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Hey guys (first post)

    I just got an espresso pure about a month ago, and am quite disappointed. I cant seem to get a good crema. Ive experimented with grind size, etc... but thats not the worst... it doesnt froth properly. It seems like the pressure I had when I first got it has dissipated, after only 6-7 goes..

    I got it cheap on ebay and am thinking of loading it off if I cant get it right..

  11. #11
    A_M
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by 5C777170777D1E0 link=1233531398/9#9 date=1235792341
    espresso pure
    Same story for many people that come here... You need to do some reading and research, before casting the unit aside.

    1: How fresh R your beans ?
    2: Where did you get them from ?
    3: What grinder are you using ?
    4: What type of PF are you using - Single or double floor ?

    With some understanding, even the $50 specials can produce good coffee... 8-)

    The higher up the chain you go.... Does not mean that you can just press a button and get GREAT coffee. :o I would suggest I have had more crap coffees from expensive equipment, than from many of the cheep units I have had a coffee from.

    The raw product (coffee beans) and method of grinding and tamping all play an important part. An expensive Unit just allows you to do some extra things and should mean that any number of other variables can be reduced. However at the end of the day, there are still many variables that YOU have to manage.. ;) If you want good coffee.

    If your after easy, dirt cheep and consistency... Then go instant... ::) Aldi have a good cheep brand... Then you only have to manage the Water quality, Water temp and the Milk..

    If your after easy, cheep and consistency; go a Plunger or Aeropress... See the sponsors to teh left <-------

  12. #12
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Okay I ended up getting the Breville Ikon for $150 from a factory outlet, and were very happy with it. Slowly mastering the art of making espresso :) Next thing now is to get one of those non-pressurised baskets to improve my coffee experience.

  13. #13
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    Re: Advice before making a purchase

    Regarding the non-pressurized basket.

    I just rang breville wholesale in Botany, asked for part number ESP4/51, gave my credit card details, and it arrived two days later. Price $9.15 plus $10.00 postage and handling. Fits perfectly, completely different coffee. Well worth the effort. It does require a little playing with the grind though to get what you are after. Good luck.



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