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Thread: Best compact coffee machine <$400

  1. #1
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    Best compact coffee machine <$400

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

    Just wanting to get your recommendations please on the best compact coffee machine available under $400 approx. It is to fit a small bench space but even though its small Id like to avoid compromising on quality if possible.

    Thanks,
    Virginia.


  2. #2
    Senior Member dr.a.j.pickering's Avatar
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Second hand or new?

  3. #3
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Hi,

    New, thanks.

  4. #4
    Caffeine Junky
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Hi Ginny. I think youll find the reason there has not been much response to your post is because there realistically isnt anything a coffee snob would recommend for under $400.

    The cheapest machine Ive recommended to friends is the Lelit PL041 which is around $650.

    I have not used it but the Saeco Via Venezia is generally considered a good buy. You should be able to get one for ~$400 and its quite a compact machine.

    Any good coffee snob will also tell you that if you want to get serious about your coffee you will need to get yourself a coffee grinder.* Once ground, coffee should be used within a couple of minutes.* The cheapest acceptable grinder is the Sunbeam EM0450.*

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Do you have a grinder or are you expecting the machine to have one?

  6. #6
    Senior Member dr.a.j.pickering's Avatar
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    If you look on that auction site you will see some machines used by CSs available second hand.

    e.g. the Gaggia Classic comes up a lot and not much goes wrong with them that cant be fixed at home fairly cheaply.

    The grinder point is much more important than you think. You will not get true espresso with out half decent bur grinder and you are talking $200 before anything is useable and less likely to find a suitable second hand one cheap

    But I would say try and find the money good coffee at home is worth it

  7. #7
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    all I can suggest is avoid pressurized baskets

  8. #8
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Ill second the Saeco V V. as good reliable machine in around the $400 mark and the breville smart grinder is probably the best low cost grinder but will still cost around $250, if that is to much have a look at the Sunbeam EMO450 grinder

  9. #9
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Yeah, tough ask at $400.* Im quite happy with my Breville Ikon with unpressurised baskets and the Sunbeam 0450.* I got mine from Breville clearance outlet as a second, but with warranty, for around $250 from memory,* Dont think theyll have these anymore though, but they come up pretty cheap second hand on ebay... I know you said new, but good value if you can pick one up with little use sub $100 second hand.

  10. #10
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    You should be able to get the EM5900 EM0450 combo for under $400. Ive been happy with it. Others will say that Sunbeam thermoblock machines are crap and to buy this or that instead, which is fine, but also keep in mind that Breville is a site sponsor and most other site sponsors only stock the more expensive semi professional boiler types, not the "home appliance" Sunbeam (or Breville) types. My next machine (years from now) will probably be one of those types mentioned above, but this is the sub $500 section after all. I make excellent coffee with mine, dont really expect it to last that long beyond the warranty but who knows.

    Couple of other things Id recommend are: click mat, digital scales, unpressurised baskets (not sure if you can still get those excellent Breville ones) and a good tamper (JetBlack and Di Bartoli sell good ones for 51/52mm baskets). These things will really take so much of the guess work and trial and error out of getting consistently good espresso.

    Good luck.

  11. #11
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Long time stalker, first time poster.

    Ive used a Saeco V.V. for about two years now, and, since my budget is pretty much like yours, I think it was a great decision. So much so that I just bought a second hand one from eBay ($120) to use at work.

    Ive just paired it with a Breville Smart Grinder (thanks Dennis @ cuppacoffee), $250, which has improved my coffee over the old consumer grinder I had, but which I need to spend some time playing with to get the grind, tamp, etc., right.

    You can pick up a new V.V. online for between $350-$450.

  12. #12
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F7A69707D7A77611B0 link=1309860009/9#9 date=1311304101
    You should be able to get the EM5900 EM0450 combo for under $400. Ive been happy with it. Others will say that Sunbeam thermoblock machines are crap and to buy this or that instead, which is fine, but also keep in mind that Breville is a site sponsor and most other site sponsors only stock the more expensive semi professional boiler types, not the "home appliance" Sunbeam (or Breville) types. My next machine (years from now) will probably be one of those types mentioned above, but this is the sub $500 section after all. I make excellent coffee with mine, dont really expect it to last that long beyond the warranty but who knows.

    Couple of other things Id recommend are: click mat, digital scales, unpressurised baskets (not sure if you can still get those excellent Breville ones) and a good tamper (JetBlack and Di Bartoli sell good ones for 51/52mm baskets). These things will really take so much of the guess work and trial and error out of getting consistently good espresso.

    Good luck.

    Hi Darkfalz (and apologies to mods if resurrecting old threads is verboten but i searched and this is what i found).

    I have the same combo - EM5900 & EM0450. Am really enjoying coffee at home after years of moka pots and the ubiquitous french press.

    A few questions relating to your post and will demonstrate my noob status.... click mat and digi scales? Why?

    Also, am using the basket that came with the machine. As i bought it second hand i didnt realise until i got it home that i was missing the smaller single serve basket.

    Whilst i love the espressos i am producing using freshly roasted beans (bought) and freshly ground by me I am a little disturbed by the pressurised basket. I always preheat the group handle (gh? a list of acronyms and abbreviations would help this noob but i cant seem to find one) before use and flush it sans coffee after use but I suspect that there is still likley to be some build up. Being a DIY/techno -tard the idea of pulling it apart scares me but my desire to make the best coffee i can will override that eventually. Can i simply unscrew it, clean it and then put it back together? Where would i buy a non pressurised basket to replace it?

    How often should i be cleaning the machine and is this as simple as running a descaling solution through it? I use filtered water (rainwater for most of the year but occasionally Adelaide mains).

    Overall I am happy with my entry into the world of coffee snobbery and am like a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge on this site to help me make better coffee.

    I will admit having a quick peak at mini coffee roasters so I suspect i am a lost cause...

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Cheers
    DrSmurto

  13. #13
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Best compact coffee machine <$400

    The "Pay it Forward" thread has info about the unpressurising mods I do to Breville and Sunbeam baskets. All it costs is postage to me from you.

    Greg



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