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Thread: Please help me get started - $500 budget

  1. #1
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    Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Howdy snobs!

    Just came in to a bit of dough and have wanted my own machine for some time. I started researching on Whirlpool and I was very quickly pointed to this site - I have been reading at work all day for the last couple of days ;) The amount of information available here is phenomenal...and a bit overwhelming.

    In the spirit of the Whirlpool "build my computer system" threads - I was hoping the experts here would build me an entry level coffee system - grinder, machine, tamper, baskets, etc.

    The parameters: $500 budget - located in NE Melbourne - willing to do a bit of driving but dont want to have to drive 2 hours to snag something - of course postage then comes in to the picture. I have a daily strong flat white - maybe two on the weekends, and my wife would do the same.

    What do you reckon? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Hi there and welcome

    $500 - with all due respects, that is on the light side, but short of auctioning your kids on Ebay you might not be able to avoid that.

    My vote would be a Sunbeam 0480 grinder and a Breville Cafe Roma (you can cut the extra bottom out of the basket to render it unpressurised and therefore better.) It comes with a scoop/tamper which is not great but better than nothing.

    Those two machines should be around $370.

    On the other hand, if you save up for a while you should be able to pick up a Sunbeam combo (480 + EM 6910) on special for around $700.

    Good luck

    L

  3. #3
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    As a great introduction we bagan with the Breville Cafe Roma and still works after nearly 6 years........awesome beginner machine and a good step up from instant.........:)

    Especially since they have dropped in price over the past few years.......we bought ours for around $220 and that was 6 years ago.....I swa them at BigW for $169 last week..........incredible.......

  4. #4
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 5E525B5B585851484E493D0 link=1265861003/1#1 date=1265862279
    with all due respects, that is on the light side
    At least he is on the same side as Luke!

    You might be able to pick up a second hand Sunbeamer EM6910 and an EM0480 grinder for "around" that amount if you look around.

  5. #5
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Thanks for the info all - I really appreciate it.

    Has anyone every tried getting one of these at the SB factory outlet?

    Cheers

  6. #6
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    In that price range, Id be recommending something with a guarantee.

    Greg

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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Hi All - thanks again for your help

    After spending days cruising the site and reading till my head hurt - this is what I came up with

    Rocky grinder - $430
    Breville Ikon - $220 at the outlet store

    So - above and beyond the budget, but not too bad. Everything I read here said to spend as much as I could on a grinder so thats what I did. Reckon the machine is a throwaway to help me get some chops. Have some vouchers at red balloon so I reckon Ill look in to one of their barista courses as well.

    And it begins! :D

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Congratulations fbb.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Thats not a bad combo at all and so long as you use high quality, freshly roasted beans Im sure you will be very happy with the outcome.... 8-)

    The journey begins ;)

    Mal.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    The Rocky is a decent grinder off the shelf and some fairly simple (and totally reversible) mods can improve it to good with about an hours work.

    The Ikon will do well with the Rocky--good combo.

    Greg

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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    had some very nice coffees this morning

    wish I could drink 6 of these things a day

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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Another month on this site and you will be!


  12. #12
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Hey tbh how Id the Rocky and Ikon coming along?? How r ur coffees??

    Now that u have have a massive 5-6 weeks of snobbery and good coffee @ ur place (ps where is our invite ;D) may we now continue to coffee exploration experience and rocommend some green beans from BeanBay<<<<< and a popcorn machine (if u dont have one try Cash converters for $10) and ur coffee will increase in quality significantly. ;D

    I feel some more $$ well spent coming on ;) ;) its easy and makes even better coffee!

  13. #13
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    My Breville Ikon died this morning after about 3 years of light use (usually two coffees each morning) so I was in the market for a new espresso machine.
    As I subscribe to Choice online I checked them out first. They tested and rated 19 machines in January this year ranging from $170 to $1295.
    Their top rating went to the Sunbeam Cafe Latte EM5600 priced at $329. I went down to my local Good Guys and purchased the machine for $279 with a little bit of bargaining.
    The machine is easy to use and easy to clean. The only thing I wasnt too happy with were the pressurised baskets but the Krups non pressurised basket I purchased for the Breville Ikon fit the portafilter perfectly.
    So far I am very happy with its simplicity of operation and the coffee flavour. I have probably made a half dozen coffees today and am feeling the effects of caffeine overdose *;)

    Edit: I am using a Sunbeam EMO480 conical burr grinder which cost between $200 and $220. I havent had any problems with it.

    Also, after having a better look at the Ikon it hasnt died, just needed the shower head cleaned and is fine...oh well I will take that to work.

  14. #14
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    There are some serious doubts about the value of the Choices review on coffee machines which have been clearly voiced numerous times on this site.

    If youre happy with your purchase then thats all that really matters. I think 3 years out of a Breville or Sunbeam isnt bad going, I hope you get at least that much out of this one.

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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 3C3D37243A3F25560 link=1265861003/13#13 date=1269753544
    I think 3 years out of a Breville or Sunbeam isnt bad going, I hope you get at least that much out of this one. *
    It turned out the *Breville is OK, just a dirty shower head. However, I will keep the Sunbeam as the coffee was good.
    I will take the Ikon to work as we dont have a coffee machine there and I dont drink instant so I miss my coffee at work.

    As far as Choice reviews on coffee machines, I have no idea but the price was good and nothing wrong with the coffee it produces. A nice crema and rich flavour. David and Matthew Gee are from Barista Basics Coffee Academy in Sydney and they rated the machines. I have no idea how well respected they are in the coffee community.
    However, for an entry level machine I think you could do far worse.
    My first machine, Baby Gaggia, I had no end of problems and eventually sold it. The Ikon was fine with a non pressurised basket and so is the Sunbeam. Remember, these are entry level machines that dont require the expertise of a barista but will make a decent coffee for those with limited finances. :)

  16. #16
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 262F2222372D2F3A4E0 link=1265861003/14#14 date=1269757382
    David and Matthew Gee are from Barista Basics Coffee Academy in Sydney and they rated the machines. I have no idea how well respected they are in the coffee community.
    not very well?

  17. #17
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 6C6568687D676570040 link=1265861003/14#14 date=1269757382
    ....they rated the machines. I have no idea how well respected they are in the coffee community.
    .....and given that the if you buy the most poorly rated Choice machine, youre probably on the money..... ::)

  18. #18
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E474A4A5F454752260 link=1265861003/14#14 date=1269757382
    It turned out the *Breville is OK, just a dirty shower head.
    Glad to hear it is ok. *If it was so dirty it stopped working you probably need to pay more attention to cleaning and maintenance on the machine. *Many of us here would spend more time cleaning our machines than we do using them.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 272E2323362C2E3B4F0 link=1265861003/14#14 date=1269757382
    David and Matthew Gee are from Barista Basics Coffee Academy in Sydney and they rated the machines. I have no idea how well respected they are in the coffee community.
    I cant give a definitive answer on that--but their video on the Choice site had me in stitches!

    Greg

  20. #20
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Now I know I am no coffee snob and my knowledge pales into insignificance with a true coffee snob, but for the money I think the Sunbeam makes a decent coffee (much better than the Ikon) .

    By the way I take my coffee with milk, so that will colour the judgment too. True coffee connoisseurs prefer to compare shots for quality rather than a milky coffee.
    For the comment about not cleaning the machine properly, absolutely right. I should have done it regularly which I didnt do.

    Anyway, I was merely trying to offer an opinion on a relatively low cost machine when the budget doesnt stretch to more expensive espresso machines.

    The good news for me is that I finally managed to add some texture to the milk with the wand (something I have consistently failed to do, I just finish up with hot milk). Yay for that :D

  21. #21
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Hi hallycat and welcome. Are you able to get a 30ml in 25 - 30 second extraction out of the breville and the sunbeam grinder? *If youre achieving that, and using beans roasted fresh in the last week from a local roaster (NOT supermarket stuff that is 3 months old or worse), and letting the machine heat up for at least 45 mins prior to extraction, then youre doing three things the right way. Good luck and happy easter

  22. #22
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    Well... "bean" happy with my Ikon/Rocky combo but I reckon its time to move to the next level.

    Put in an offer on the Diadema Unico Splendor in the hardware section - heres hoping... If it works out, the Ikon will go on the board.

  23. #23
    Rbn
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    Re: Please help me get started - $500 budget

    I had 2 Cafe Latte EM 5600, machines, but the LCD display and computer chip failed on both of them.

    They made good enough coffee for me/us.
    I ended up with the Cafe Crema 4800C, and a Breville BCG 450/A.

    They both seem to do a good enough (not perfect) job for me.

    I think my issues are mostly "operator issues" which I will detail else where.

    I also bought another cheaper grinder (flat blades-not good) and Breville (Bar vista-I think) expresso machine for my campervan. Maybe not such a good choice, but they still make good enough coffee.

    We havent got to site snob status yet!! ;D



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