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Thread: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

  1. #1
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    Beginner looking for an espresso machine

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

    You guys have probably heard this all too much, but I am after an espresso machine, my budget is around $500.

    Im just looking for a decent cup of coffee for home, (I mainly drink lattes) I am absoulutely sick of instant coffee.

    I have been reading through the forum all day trying to find one thats right for me, but my mind keeps changing.

    I have a few models in mind at the moment, these are:

    -Breville 800es
    -Sunbeam EM6910
    -PU5900 - I was leaning towards this one as it came with a grinder
    -Saeco Via Vanezia
    -Lelit pl51

    I understand that a grinder is required to achieve a goodespresso, thats why I was leaning towards the PU5900, but then reading reviews on the EM5900 sort of detered me from it.

    Note that I am willing to use supermarket pre-ground coffee for the time being if I were to reach my $500 budget from just the espresso machine. I will purchase a grinder later on.

    Any advise would be much appreciated. I think I am getting a headache from all this research thats taking me around in circles. Time for a cup of coffee i think. *:)

    Cheers,

    Jeremy

    EDIT: I guess the main thing I am after right now is a machine that will last me a good few years and can make a decent cuppa.

  2. #2
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 6331306F66010 link=1294290386/0#0 date=1294290386
    You guys have probably heard this all too much, but I am after an espresso machine, my budget is around $500.
    Yes it gets asked a lot and the advice is usually the same...spend the money on a good grinder and buy the machine later on, rather than vice versa. *


    Quote Originally Posted by 6331306F66010 link=1294290386/0#0 date=1294290386
    Note that I am willing to use supermarket pre-ground coffee for the time being
    Blasphemy! *You may as well keep drinking instant. *

    The keys to a good coffee, whether it be espresso, plunger or otherwise are freshly roasted and good quality coffee beans (between 4 days and 2 weeks) that are ground just before use with a good quality grinder.

    However if you really really really want an espresso machine now you could always get the PU5900 and buy a unpressurised basket for it. You should be able to get a decent coffee that way.

  3. #3
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Breville 800es - you could do better...
    Sunbeam EM6910 - this is better!
    PU5900 - dont know
    Saeco Via Vanezia - Im hesitant about this one...
    Lelit pl51 - perhaps a step up from the sunbeam

    Note that I am willing to use supermarket pre-ground coffee for the time being if I were to reach my $500 budget from just the espresso machine.
    Supermarket beans would be marginally better... however theyll still taste bitter and stale! Theres not much price difference in a 250g bag from a real roaster, especially if you can find one within driving distance.

    I will purchase a grinder later on.
    I would do it the other way around. With a good grinder and good plunger you can make better coffee than an expensive machine with bad grinder and stale beans. Also, coming from instant, you may be more used to more water & less milk. A latte / capp is only 30 - 60mL coffee topped up with milk. Many instant converts tend to pour 1-200 mL water through one puck...

    You could buy an excellent grinder now and a plunger. If you do go for the plunger, get a good quality one with a fine mesh, ie. from a sponsor not from woollies :) I love a plunger coffee with fresh beans - its my coffee of choice for camping / holidays.

    Any advise would be much appreciated. I think I am getting a headache from all this research thats taking me around in circles. Time for a cup of coffee i think.
    Take your time to research - a few extra days now will give you a few extra years of satisfaction!

    EDIT: I guess the main thing I am after right now is a machine that will last me a good few years and can make a decent cuppa.
    Apart from the "extended" warranties, the Breville, Sunbeam, and Saeco varieties wont be guaranteed for a few good years. It is cheaper in the long run to save up for a machine that will last 10 years or more rather than buy a cheapo every year or two.

    HTH :)

  4. #4
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    I have the PU5900. See if you can get it for under $400. Get the unpressurised Breville basket mentioned in this forum (lie to them and tell them you have an 800ES).

    Pre-ground coffee is a waste of time. Itll taste not so good even 1 day after opening the package, and tends to be too dry/coarse (you can use the pressurised basket to try to compensate, but youll still get a sour 10-15 second extraction at best which will look "ok" because of the fake crema but taste like crap. Supermarket beans are okay (I like Woolworths Select) but when you get some fresh roasted stuff from a good seller, youll really taste what people are talking about. So much more depth of flavour and you wont need to douse it with so milk and sugar.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Thanks for your advice guys.

    I did some further research and found the Gaggia Classic - this seems to be quite a solid machine. Does anyone have any experiences with this machine? This site is currently selling it for $539, seems like a pretty good deal. What do you think?

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    I didnt realise that preground coffee was that bad, I do have a local coffee shop that I go to that make a decent coffee, maybe I can buy freshly ground coffee from them.

  6. #6
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E1C1D424B2C0 link=1294290386/4#4 date=1294308253
    maybe I can buy freshly ground coffee from them.
    No no no no no. "Fresh" means < 10 minutes since it has been ground, not an hour, not a day, certainly not a week. The whole point people are making in this thread is a machine does two things:

    1) Pushes hot water through coffee
    2) Steams milk

    Neither of those make nearly as much of a difference as the coffee itself, which stales very quickly when you grind it due to chemical reactions when it comes into contact with air, and gives off gases.

    It might be a better option for you to get something like this: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1292632868 second hand.

    Members here take care of their gear in general, and the higher end machines offer excellent value because parts are generally readily available for them.

  7. #7
    brett230873
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B64667C6570676671090 link=1294290386/5#5 date=1294310334
    Quote Originally Posted by 4E1C1D424B2C0 link=1294290386/4#4 date=1294308253
    maybe I can buy freshly ground coffee from them.
    No no no no no. "Fresh" means < 10 minutes since it has been ground, not an hour, not a day, certainly not a week. The whole point people are making in this thread is a machine does two things:

    1) Pushes hot water through coffee
    2) Steams milk

    Neither of those make nearly as much of a difference as the coffee itself, which stales very quickly when you grind it due to chemical reactions when it comes into contact with air, and gives off gases.

    It might be a better option for you to get something like this: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1292632868 second hand.

    Members here take care of their gear in general, and the higher end machines offer excellent value because parts are generally readily available for them.
    I second this advice! What a great machine the Neopolitana (sic?) is and for such a cheap price. This would solve all the problems for the OP... and possibly create fabulous new problems with a steep but wonderful learning curve. Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Spot on. :)

  9. #9
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 6C6360606D67747569686269060 link=1294290386/7#7 date=1294834986
    Spot on. :)
    Not so sure about that, there seems to have been interest in it, but seller not yet replied to PMs. Also depends where b01ng is located.
    As to the gaggia classic, mine will be 18 in April, so it is pretty solidly built.
    If you do go for the gaggia, one option is to consider a used one and get a grinder too. While there are risks buying used, these are very simple, reliable machines with plenty of parts and support.

  10. #10
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Ok with all this talk of grinding and using fresh coffee (which I totally agree with) - whats a good grinder to purchase?

  11. #11
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 250B04045B55620 link=1294290386/9#9 date=1295314326
    Ok with all this talk of grinding and using fresh coffee (which I totally agree with) - whats a good grinder to purchase?
    How much money and bench space do you have?

  12. #12
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 0A242B2B747A4D0 link=1294290386/9#9 date=1295314326
    whats a good grinder to purchase?
    A Mazzer Rober-e is pretty darn good if you have a spare $2.5K. Those lucky enough to own seem to think its worth every cent.

    As TG mentioned we really need more information with regards to budget, bench space and use i.e. what equipment will it be matched to?

    As a rule of thumb the Sunbeam EM0450 is the bare minimum for making espresso but the more you spend the better the result. IMO the $500-$800 range offers the best return for your money. Beyond that the law of diminishing returns comes into play. Again that is my opinion which is based on reading more than anything, I have no experience with large conical grinders and the like.

  13. #13
    TC
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 76777D6E70756F1C0 link=1294290386/11#11 date=1295318441
    A Mazzer Rober-e is pretty darn good if you have a spare $2.5K. Those lucky enough to own seem to think its worth every cent.
    :-? Ill have 10 at $2.5k thanks. $3.5k is more realistic ::)

  14. #14
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    and dont forget the new kid on the block - the $299 Breville smart grinder :)

    but again, it depends on your budget and what machine youre going to match it with. Although if you buy a better grinder now you wont have to upgrade it later...

  15. #15
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    Re: Beginner looking for an espresso machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 1025282F1B072B22222121440 link=1294290386/12#12 date=1295318910
    :-? Ill have 10 at $2.5k thanks. $3.5k is more realistic ::)
    Whoops. Funny thing is I got the price range from your website. Must learn to read! ::)



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