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Thread: Recommendation for new guy

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    Recommendation for new guy

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

    I have just found this site today, and have been researching what to buy as an entry level machine/grinder. My wife and I usually drink cappuccinos although she is Turkish and can enjoy a nice espresso so I have decided to buy an ES800/BCG800 setup based upon a lot of talk on these forums. Iím not keen on buying second hand ES800 but the grinder I will search for second hand so im hoping to get all this for under $400.

    Would this be the right buy on a small budget for the coffee we drink?

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    IMHO that depends on your experience and how far you want to push the envelope.

    If you want to make great espressos I would go for something a little better with a boiler, perhaps a Silvia. You would have a bit of time between extracting and steaming as the boiler heats / cools (compared to a higher end machine, but probably not much worse compared to a thermoblock).

    In my opinion the lower-end thermoblocks are easy to get wrong. It depends on your perspective (what youre used to drinking) and what youre willing to put into it - fresh roasted beans? Having said that I had a BES 820 for 2 years and was satisfied for quite some time... until upgraditis!

    hope that helps!

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Hi, that does help. I am not too sure about thermoblocks and boilers etc, I will need to look up what they are used for but i will say that the espressoís will be very infrequent. Mostly this will be used for latte type stuff so I am guessing the thermoblocks are ok for this?

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 5C757D6C7B7B190 link=1320295461/2#2 date=1320302350
    Hi, that does help. I am not too sure about thermoblocks and boilers etc, I will need to look up what they are used for but i will say that the espressoís will be very infrequent. Mostly this will be used for latte type stuff so I am guessing the thermoblocks are ok for this?
    Hi eldubb. I use a sunbeam em3600. Which is also an entry level thermoblock machine. I can make quite nice lattes and cappuccinos on it. If youre after latte art, im not sure about the breville, but my sunbeam has quite a wet steam which isnt the best for the microfoam you need for latte art. But you can sure get a nice milk-based coffee out of one!

    Definitely put freshly roasted and groud coffee throught it. I couldnt believe the difference between the changes supermarket pre-ground -> supermarket beans -> di bella freshly roasted beans. And last night i ordered some green beans to roast at home.

    David

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    I would agree with iaindb

    You should be looking for a boiler machine if possible these also make better second hand buys. These include the Breville Ikon, Gaggia Classic and the Silva (probably pushing budget)

    I was running my Gaggia Classic every day for well over 10 years and it has never skipped a beat and with care can pull a great shot and steam good microfoam.

    The notion that its only for lattes so the espresso doesnt matter is misguided.

    If you put rubbish coffee in the bottom of a latte you get a rubbish latte.

    Have you never had a lovely looking coffee with the perfect roseta that still tastes crap from a cafe and thought why? It is because the barista is concentrating on the milk an forgetting the foundation is espresso.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    thanks guys but im having trouble locating a new breville ikon, or a gaggia classic...how much are they and anyone know which shops sell them? Must be new.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    if my understanding is right, the ikon is no longer made anymore but you can pick up a second hand one on ebay or local classifieds if you look around

    in regards to classic - its still being made. not sure if any of the sponsors stock it though?

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Cosmorex (Canberra) has the Classic - cheap package deal with the grinder

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 6D444C5D4A4A280 link=1320295461/5#5 date=1320373284
    anyone know which shops sell them?
    Your location? if youre looking in department/appliance stores youll probably only find thermoblocks and rubbish expensive super-autos. Check CS sponsor locations.

    I trust youve noticed the hardware for sale section of this site?? real bargains to be had there, particularly at the cheaper end

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 260F07160101630 link=1320295461/5#5 date=1320373284
    Must be new.
    So you need NEW machine, NEW grinder, all under $400?

    Sorry to put it bluntly and no offence meant, but I think you need to do more research because it will be rare to fit your requirements if its even possible.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 6E6B6E6F676A020 link=1320295461/9#9 date=1320396468
    Quote Originally Posted by 260F07160101630 link=1320295461/5#5 date=1320373284
    Must be new.
    So you need NEW machine, NEW grinder, all under $400?

    Sorry to put it bluntly and no offence meant, but I think you need to do more research because it will be rare to fit your requirements if its even possible.
    It is possible... But you would need to be looking at any entry level machine. For example, the Breville BES250 retails for $199.95 (which looks quite similar to the Sunbeam EM3600 at $159. And maybe a Sunbeam EM0480 grinder for $199 also. So that comes in at $398.95... Very upper limits of your budget, for an entry level machine.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    if you shop around, you can find deals here and there for the higher level machines, Ive seen the BCG800 being sold for $250 delivered, Can also find a simple Espresso machine for around 150-200 also, That might be just over the $400 budget, but the Smartgrinder is probably the more important of the two

    Id also look into getting some unpressurised baskets to go with the cheapie espresso machine, the pressurised ones are useless

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E2337252A2B2C25033604233627420 link=1320295461/11#11 date=1320414536
    if you shop around, you can find deals here and there for the higher level machines, Ive seen the BCG800 being sold for $250 delivered, Can also find a simple Espresso machine for around 150-200 also, That might be just over the $400 budget, but the Smartgrinder is probably the more important of the two

    Id also look into getting some unpressurised baskets to go with the cheapie espresso machine, the pressurised ones are useless
    E61 Espresso Company currently has the Smart Grinder for $240 with free delivery.

    http://www.e61.com.au/breville-smart-grinder/

    Edit: It kinda makes me wish Id looked around a little more before I bought my sunbeam 480...

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Hi David,

    I am pretty certain Matts no longer selling the Smart Grinder as he referred someone to us last week (Thanks Matt ;)).

    Chris

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 44717C7B4F537F76767575100 link=1320295461/13#13 date=1320435875
    Hi David,

    I am pretty certain Matts no longer selling the Smart Grinder as he referred someone to us last week (Thanks Matt ;)).

    Chris
    Well thats weird. Its still featured quite heavily on the website. I know they state that they dont sell the breville dual boiler. Anyway, that aside. Im sure eldubb would be able to find a similar grinder for similarly good value.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Guys, only the coffee machine needs to be new, the smart grinder i am planning to try and hunt down as second hand. So really, $400 is not impossible - i just need a little help to track them down. Ive checked the CSer sale section here and everything seems to be SOLD quick, dont think i will find a second hand smart grinder but ill keep looking.

    As for the Gaggia Classic, someone mentioned cosmorex but i couldnt see the deal involving the gaggia? Unless it goes by another name. Still looking...

    OR, one of you could just say "just get the ES800 thermoblock". Good guys sell em for $300

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    the Cosmorex web page is pretty limited - theres a lot more in store. The classic was on sale (as a package) in-store a month ago. The gaggia MDF grinder was effectively free - but the package was still a little beyond your budget.

    You could send them (Attilio) an email/call Monday.

    If, however, the SmartGrinder comes first, thats a fair enough decision...

    The pressure for going second hand stems from two issues... access to superior machines and that a second-hand machine, in good condition, will probably last longer than a new appliance.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Hey eldubb, I have the exact combination youre looking at, I picked the the 800ES for $100 on Gumtree. it was in very good condtion and needed a descale.* The BCG800 I picked up from a fellow CSer for $170.* I then sold my EM0480 grinder for $90 but have kept the EM2300 Single boiler unit as a backup.*

    Ive found the unit needs around 15 to 20 minutes to warm up with the PF locked in place, I purge water through the PF, dry it and then grind directly into the PF.

    Once dialled in with the Breville single wall basket (double shot) and using fresh beans, ground on demand, the results are quite good.* After 6 weeks, Im still getting used to texturing milk, some days my results are good, some days, less so....* It has far better steam pressure than the old Sunbeam and is quite dry but in my experience, you have to let it purge for 10 or more seconds.


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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Thanks for that info, Bill. something to think about.What if i could get the Sunbeam em6910 second hand? and how much would you guys pay for one?

    Or how much would you pay for a Breville Ikon BES400 second hand nowadays?

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 5E777F6E79791B0 link=1320295461/18#18 date=1320562925
    What if i could get the Sunbeam em6910 second hand? and how much would you guys pay for one?
    under $400 after 12+ months use

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    So why is EM6910 more expensive than a Ikon BES400?

    Is the twin thermoblock better to have than a single boiler?

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Why is a EM6910 more expensive then a BES400?

    The short answer? "Because"* ;)

    A longer answer would be; Double Thermoblock (or a boiler/thermoblock combo, or a heat exchange, or a multiple boiler) machines allow you to maintain a pour temp that is independent from the temperatures required for steam (you want approximately 90-95 degrees for a pour, steam requires over 100 degrees). Single boilers have to cycle between one or the other, and often have variations while maintaining temperature of over 10 degrees either side of the sweet spot Cheaper machines tend to be built out of lightweight materials, because copper/stainless steel costs money. The more weight in the machines internals, the less temperature swing it tends to have (especially in the group head)

    Refined short answer; Temperature Stability costs money.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Thanks for the info, L@F. I think for my purposes then a BES400 will do a good enough job at this stage. No need to spend more for a machine that will only be used on weekends.

    So if i picked up a BES400 for $60, thats good i take it. Once i get it, is there someone in brisbane i can take it to that can check it all out and make sure it works properly? Also i hear about de-scaling, is that something i can do properly myself or again can i take it to someone in Brisbane?

    thanks

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 517870617676140 link=1320295461/22#22 date=1320626454
    So if i picked up a BES400 for $60, thats good i take it. Once i get it, is there someone in brisbane i can take it to that can check it all out and make sure it works properly? Also i hear about de-scaling, is that something i can do properly myself or again can i take it to someone in Brisbane?

    thanks
    Okay, Im gonna suggest something thats a little contrary to what you might be expecting, but Id suggest looking at buying a mid-range sunbeam or breville thermoblock, yes, it has different heating characteristics to a boiler, but you get that warranty that you just cannot get for a 2+ year old secondhand machine for not that much more money (case in point, I bought my em3600 for a little over $100 from a non-sponsor online retailer) For what its worth, a secondhand BES400 could have been thrashed to hell and back, but look bonza on the outside, you could buy it, only to discover youve wasted your money on something thats suitable to only be thrown out

    Seriously, for the price, you can do far far better! Dont let those who say "boiler is best" steer you into a trap that is fraught with Peril. The BES400 was a good machine when it was on sale, but that was 2+ years ago! If youre going to go for a secondhand boiler, Id suggest going for something with a bit more metal in it then the Ikon. (I believe it has a similar setup to the Sunbeam EM2300, in that its an aluminium boiler, Someone would probably correct me if Im wrong) like a Silvia or Giagga Classic... Both of which are outside your price-range even as a secondhand machine

    Looking around Online, I can find a new EM4820 and a new BCG800 for under your original $400 price limit, Im sure that you could do the same.

    As for Descaling, its easy with tanked machines, Less so for plumbed in models, but those are well outside what youre looking at

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    L@F, youre killing me :) So what is wrong with my original thought of the 800ES/BCG800 combo? I havent seen much talk of the EM4820 so im not as keen to buy it, but that 800ES gets a good wrap for what it is, and i can get it with warranty...

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Just to confuse you further I will be selling my just-serviced BES820 and unopened BCG450 soon. Youd want to modify the 450 as I did to the dead one to grind finer. Not a bad combo, but would be served better by a smart grinder (as with any grinder upgrade!)

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 416860716666040 link=1320295461/24#24 date=1320641544
    L@F, youre killing me :) So what is wrong with my original thought of the 800ES/BCG800 combo? I havent seen much talk of the EM4820 so im not as keen to buy it, but that 800ES gets a good wrap for what it is, and i can get it with warranty...
    Theres not much talk about the Sunbeam EM4820 for a couple of reasons, Notably, Were snobs, We dont like to admit (sometimes) that we have low-end machinery. That, and its usually put in the "starter machine" category.
    The second reason is that its only just been released this last month, but were still all making Goo-Goo eyes at the BES900* ;D

    The only issue that I see with your 800ES/BCG800 combo, is that you wanted a New 800ES. RRP for that machine is approximately $450. Im sure you could find one for less then that, but its unlikely that it would be substantially less, and Im not entirely sure that it has a brass portafilter (which enables temp stability, theres that concept again) The Sunbeam machine Im suggesting does, Apart from that, they both have the same abilities as each other, Except that ones got a big ol S on the front, the other has a B (and a few minor differences, but really, theyre minor)

    Most of the Breville and Sunbeam Machines tend to be clustered around the $200 mark, then theres a big jump up past the $400. (really, its truthful, between $250 and $450 there is ONE sunbeam machine, the em5600, which I really cant see the point to, given it appears to just be an em4800 with an lcd clock) The best value $200 machine currently seems to be the EM4820. given its brass portafilter, hot-water tap facility, etc. Thats why I suggested it.

    Wall of text aside, iaindbs suggestion sounds like a good one.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    If you can get an 800ES cheap, with warranty and find a BCG800, I reckon itd be a good combo for weekend use.* I use mine every day to make 2 flat whites and on weekends, 4 to 6.* This combo was my recent cheap upgrade (previous combo was Sunbeam EM2300 and EM0480).

    Descaling, well, I use a Citric acid solution that I make up with powdered citric acid and warm water, I think 2 tablespoons per litre.* There are a few videos on YouTube.* I went to a health food shop to buy the citric acid.

    I have used a friends 6910 and I was really impressed (this was coming from the little 2300 and before I got the 800ES).* I found it easy to use, the steam dry and powerful and I did extract and texture at the same time which I found great.* If you can find one for the same price as an 800ES, Id grab the 6910 every time.* There were no bargain 6910s around my area at the time and still arent.

    I think there is a BES400 on "That Auction Site" right now.* For me, going from a single boiler to a thermoblock took some adjustment but I reckon Im getting better.* I think the BES400 may have better temperature control than the EM2300 so in theory, youll get more consistent espresso.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    alright, thanks for all the help guys. Ill let yous know what i get, as i am sure i will be asking then what extras to buy. eg i keep hearing i should replace the basket from 800ES with a krups etc..

    PS. Are you SURE i shouldnt get this BES400 for $60?!! That is cheap, and it could be working perfectly. We agree the BES400 is better than the 800ES so...

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    I have a Krups like basket and bought the single wall set from Breville (single and double shot, I only use double).* I have tried both baskets and initially preferred the Krups but had trouble getting consistent espresso (beautiful dry pucks though).* I have changed recently to the Breville and once dialled in, am getting some good tasting espresso as a base for flat whites.

    This is a journey, I think most CSers here will tell you to the bare minimum is to use fresh beans, ground on demand, single wall double shot baskets and make sure your machine is warmed up.* Enjoy the journey, I feel like Ive only started.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    ok. well im going to think outside the box now, because this is a gift i am going to get someone else to get the grinder as a present.

    So that leaves me with $400 or less (no more) cash to buy the machine! So i will look into the gaggia or rancilio, right?

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    So this is Xmas! Well done.

    Yep, second hand of course - A 3-4 year old Silvia or Lelit, first choice. A near new Gaggia or Sunbeam 6910 second choice. A good condition, pre-loved Gaggia might only set you back $200 - you could bid on one in Brisbane now...

    Another worthy local option might be http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1320391205. Caffeine Junky gave a used Domus a positive review a couple of weeks back.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Are you in Sydney?
    Go to the Breville factory outlet.
    BES820 - $249
    BCG800 - $169 - Smart grinder
    =$420
    for factory seconds, but comes with full breville warranty. [s](2yr replacement on both, 5 year pump on espresso machine)[/s] 1 yr warranty only :(

    They also had some 800ES for ~$150 from memory

    EDIT: Add $10 for an unpressurised basket

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Im not in Sydney, im in Brisbane but they also have a Breville factory outlet here near me which i was going to check out. But as per my previous post, i can afford a second hand Gaggia or Rancilio now so i will be going for these. And if i cant get either of those for under $400, i will get an EM6910..

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Another option, just to really throw a cat among the pigeons

    Saeco Via Venezia, Its right on that $400 mark, its a boiler machine (like you wanted) its upgradable, and its got a pretty good worldwide Reputation

    Has the same Steam-arm as the Giaggia, 53mm portafilter (thats apparently pressurised, but can be easilly modded to non-pressurised)

    Well, okay, its a little above the $400 mark, but if you ask, Im pretty sure you can get a discount off the RRP. Especially New

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    But...ive just made a deal to buy a EM6910 for $300 which was bought in August 2011. not bad eh? Leaves me $100 to buy unpressurised baskets and other accessories

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 7E575F4E59593B0 link=1320295461/35#35 date=1320840107
    But...ive just made a deal to buy a EM6910 for $300 which was bought in August 2011. not bad eh? Leaves me $100 to buy unpressurised baskets and other accessories
    Not too bad at all

    I believe that the EM6910 comes with unpressurised baskets as stock. The only thing that you need for them is to remove the plastic pig in the bottom of the portafilter (which costs nothing), and get a decent Tamp (which can be pricey, but worth it)

    Hope this is the start of many happy Coffees for you!

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Im sure the 6910 comes with both single and dual wall baskets.* The tamper that comes with the 6910 is at least better than the crud plastic things that come with most of the cheaper domestic machines.

    For $300 I reckon you picked up a bargain!

    There are many pages on this forum devoted to this machine so if you run into problems, you know that help is not far away.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F767E6F78781A0 link=1320295461/35#35 date=1320840107
    EM6910
    good stuff! I used a friends once and on the first go I made the best shot Id ever made on my Breville.

    What grinder did you end up getting?

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    thanks guys! Feels good knowing ive got something decent. The grinder will be the breville smart grinder, so hopefully should be a good combo.

    Picking up the machine today! woo. thanks again for everyones help.

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Update: So i bought the second hand EM6910 which turned out to be one of the Gloria Jeans prize machines. So its got Glora Jamps etched into it, hopefully thats all there is thats different??

    Now before i wrap it up, is there someone in Brisbane i can take it to who can descale it for me, test it out etc? Anyone know?

  42. #42
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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    How much time do you have? Descaling is fairly straightforward for a thermoblock. Might save yourself some dollars you could put towards accessories?! Or perhaps a nearby snobber would accept a good-bean offering and do it for you? You never know ;)

    If you put the pressurised basket in, turn on and run some shots and steam, you should get a good idea of its state. (I say pressurised because if youre not putting coffee in this will provide some resistance similar to a puck)

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Ive got until xmas to get it all de-scaled etc. The problem is i have never used a coffee machine in my life, not even a fully automatic one :) I guess i will look into it, must be on the manual somewhere - its just that even if i run it and run some shots and steam, i have no idea if its good or bad (besides the glaringly obvious such as no steam, or no shot coming out, heh)

    Ill try and find someone i know who has a coffee machine to take a look at it i guess. thanks ian

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    Re: Recommendation for new guy

    Im not saying _dont_ take it in to get looked at, just ask for a price first and ask what they do.

    Any snobbers in Brisbane feel like helping Eldubb?

    Doing the glaringly obvious is a good start. Descaling is not much more than that, except you do it with descale solution in the tank instead of plain water.

    And were always here to answer questions ;)



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