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Thread: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

  1. #1
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    Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey everyone, im looking to get the best bang for my buck with a grinder/machine in the 500$ market. Ive been wading through all the reviews on grinders and it seems the Breville BCG800 comes out as a clear winner for mostly poor students such as myself. Which leaves me around 300 for a machine.

    However, what I cant decide, is what machine i can get to complement her. Im only looking for one to keep for the next 3-4 years until i have enough disposable income to drop on a Ranchilo Silvia or the like.

    I would really like a via venezia, but cant quite convince myself to drop the 400 needed to pick one up. Does anyone know of a half decent machine in the 300$ ballpark that wont make me regret forgoing eating for the next month to purchase a nicer one?

    Any thoughts/replies would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, as a complete aside, my only query on the BCG is if there was any difference between the BCG800 and the BCG800XL. Thought it might be the hopper size but cant seem to find out where i can figure that one out.

    Thanks for your time guys, and hope your having a great week.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dski's Avatar
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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A3C33333C3F3838022E33323F5D0 link=1329259131/0#0 date=1329259131
    Does anyone know of a half decent machine in the 300$ ballpark that wont make me regret forgoing eating for the next month to purchase a nicer one?
    I got good pours from my Breville 800ES, which can be seen around for about $350 now. Youll just need to sort out a non pressurised basket.

    Would you also consider non-espresso options?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A3C33333C3F3838022E33323F5D0 link=1329259131/0#0 date=1329259131
    any difference between the BCG800 and the BCG800XL
    I believe the XL is just a US suffix to the model number.

    I reckon you made the right decision in getting a decent grinder first up.* :)

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Thanks for the input.

    As for espresso, really cant live with a non-espresso option. I make a couple of macchiatos in the morning and having to move back to a purcolator would have to be accompanied by a high level of anti-depressants.

    That breville does look lovely, and seems to review just about as well, just trying to fit it in the budget hurts.

    Ideally, id like to find someone holding a gaggia classic or the like in the 300 dollar range that hasnt been too abused, but they get snapped up here (for obvious reasons) and i hate the feel of picking something up off ebay with no warranty.

    Thanks for the input on the BCG as well, couldnt for the life of me figure that one out.

    Baskets and others are no problem, as i have birthdays and christmass to expand with a naked portafilter and half-ways decent tamper etc, its just the machine itself id like to get out of the way at this point.

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Update - Checked out the 800ES and found one that comes with a BCG450 Grinder for 320$ total. Found an article also through CS "coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1204007644" that seems like a way to mod it to a half-ways decent machine.

    Do you guys think this would be a nice compromise from moving down from the BCG800 grinder but with enough money to buy a better machine than i would be able too? (aka 800ES with 450BCG with enough money for maybe a decent portafilter and a VST basket at the same time)

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    Senior Member dski's Avatar
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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E585757585B5C5C664A57565B390 link=1329259131/3#3 date=1329261461
    Update - Checked out the 800ES and found one that comes with a BCG450 Grinder for 320$ total.
    Seems like a good price even if you chuck out / sell on the BCG450 and upgrade?

    I cannot comment on the BCG450 first hand. I did use a EM0480 - I think that one too is pretty good for the price.

    The 800ES is certainly not the only option, I just found that it provided pretty good "bang for the buck".

    I read somewhere, probably here, this approximate quote: "An espresso machine is but an accessory to a good quality grinder"

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Id recommend either the mid-range Sunbeam/Breville machines, Theyre both decent hitters, and are easilly modded to create better coffee then a lot of more expensive models around (Ive got a modded EM3600 myself (single-wall:w, For the money I paid, Ive got a damn fine machine that brews a pretty good coffee)

    Id say, go for either the sunny EM4820 or the Breville BES800, if you shop around, its likely you could find a pretty good deal. and for well under your price-range

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Started off with a handmedown Breville Cafe Roma about a year ago and borrowed a BCG450 for a couple of months whilst I got the hang of this espresso thing.
    I quickly realised the BCG450 just didnt grind fine enough but as it was not mine I couldnt modify it.
    I called up Brevilles 2nds shop and as the BCG800 had just been released I had to wait a few weeks until one was available....I beleive they now sell them for $169 and mine was indestinguishable from new.
    The next step was to get Greg Wormald to modify the baskets, another huge leap in coffee quality(see his post in Pay it Forward).
    The Cafe Roma finally died(lasted 4 yrs from new with 2 owners) and I looked at upgrading to a Gaggia Classic or Rancilio or Lelit.
    Ended up with a Breville 800ES and it does what I want without having to temperature surf and worry about empty boilers if some-one else in the family uses it.
    Once again it came from the 2nds shop in Sydney and shows no sign of previous use plus has 12mths warranty.
    I also got them to throw in a set of their single wall filters all for about $175 inc postage to Adelaide.
    Interestingly I get better coffee out of Gregs modified baskets than the BSWF100 filters, I suspect they have way to many holes for the 800ES to cope with but will try them again later this week now I have a decent 51mm tamper.
    Saeco also have a 2nds shop with Via V for $349 and Gaggia $449....Google is your friend.

    Valvster

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Ive got a Gaggia Evolution, still going strong after around 7 years of service, paired with a Sunbeam EM0450. Bought the Gaggia when I was just starting uni. Had no problems with it, and when upgrade-itis hits, you can do a few small things like a naked portafilter and silvia steam wand.

    I prefer it over Brevilles and Sunbeams as it has a 58mm grouphead, and there are parts available if it does break down.


  9. #9
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Hey wannabee_snob,
    I appreciate the student budget thing (did that for an extended period myself). Do you need the ability to steam milk?
    A while ago I bought a Compak k3-t grinder and a good HX machine (no, Im not suggesting buying an expensive machine) from Cosmorex.
    I take the k3 with me when I go down the coast, and make coffee with a Moka Pot as per advice in the non-machine specific thread on this site. I make vastly better coffee with this great grinder and a simple (and cheap) extraction method, than i did with my old Saeco automatic, and (to my taste) better than a few of my mates with $800 machines and dodgy grinders.
    I guess what Im saying is that if you think your disposable income might be boosted in say 18-24 months, you might consider chucking the money at a grinder and using a simpler means of turning water in coffee. Then grab a machie a bit later. Easier to say than do I know...

    Cheers
    BOSW

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Is secondhand an option?

    opens up as new 6910s, gaggia classic, or older silvias & lelits - thats where the value begins...

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Hi Wannebe Snob,

    Id keep my eye out for a second hand lelit combi or similar. They go for about 8-900 new but Ive seen them in good condition second hand in the 500s. You might be waiting around a while to find one though.

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Hey there guys, consulted the higher powers, (aka begged and pleaded with the gf) and got my budget up to 600.

    I am thinking of still going with the BCG800 grinder, but instead of going one new, going either the gaggia classic or a via venezia refurbished. Id be happy going for a used as well, just the idea of a warranty when i dont have as much experience to troubleshoot my own machine seems like a incentive.

    Whats everyones opinion of refurbished products in Australia, ive immigrated from Canada so really have no experience with the quality of the refurb here. Does that sound like decent bang for buck or a newb move in your guys opinion?

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    From the Saeco outlet shop FAQ:

    "Q. What is the difference between a coffee machine Rebuild and Repack?

    Repack is a machine that has a damaged carton or may be used for display purposes. Rebuild is a machine which has been used for demonstration purposes, ex display or has had a minor problem which has been repaired. In some cases there may be a superficial mark or scratch on the unit. All units are in working order, are in immaculate condition and are professionally cleaned."

    The Gaggias and V/Veneziaas are listed as "repack" and come with a warranty. Both my Breville 2nds purchases did not appear to have been used but there was a faint coffee odour from the grinder. A lot of grinders were returned just after their initial release as they did not grind fine enough but Breville has supplied a shim kit that overcomes that.
    I recall seeing BNIB (brand new in box) BCG800 grinders going for under $200 from an eastern states retailer I think mentioned on this forum....try a search.

    Valvster

  14. #14
    Senior Member dski's Avatar
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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Quote Originally Posted by 16000F0F000304043E120F0E03610 link=1329259131/11#11 date=1329435278
    Whats everyones opinion of refurbished products in Australia, ive immigrated from Canada so really have no experience with the quality of the refurb here.

    Canadian ehhh? That explains it.

    I have no idea about refurb quality here, but as an Australian I have a opinion nontheless ;) I imagine that quality would vary wildly, and it would depend on who was doing the work. All CS sponsors are likely to be highly dependable thats for sure.

    Just to throw another possibilty into the mix - I recently bought a second hand La Pavoni Europiccola. They can be got for under $400. They produce great shots, and look awesome, but will really only do one or two shots at a time. It works for me, but for many its a dealbreaker. Theres lots of info about it on the forum.

    I mention the La Pav it because it wasnt an option I had considered until recently, and now I love it.

    Good luck in your search!

  15. #15
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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    From the point of view of a machine tech, the Gaggia Classic is light years ahead of the Via Venezia.

    Just in terms of how it is put together - Proper 3-way solenoid valve, heavy chromed brass group head, commercial-size quality portafilter. The Via Venezia has none of the above.

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Exactly, which means you can get a quasi commercial style espresso from the Classic* but NOT from the Via Venezia. Both are very reliable and will last years and be repairable / serviceable for years longer than dept store brand names.

    If you want a Classic NEW in the box, not with some silly adjective like "reburb" or "repack" or whatever, CosmoreX Coffee has a few left for a very special price.....but it wont be anywhere near sub $350.00

    Seriously, have you considered a stove pot espresso machine and a hand grinder? I wouldnt waste my money on new machines at the sub $350.00 level.....for my money you either want real / quasi commercial style espresso and pay for it, or you bypass all the electrical appliances that arent going to cut it and go stove pot. The tens if not hundreds of millions that like well made stove pot espresso coffee cant be wrong.

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    Re: Help Please - Looking for sub 350$ machine that puts out

    Just chiming in on the whole 2nd hand thing. Go for it! If you buy new and you mod, you void your warranty right then and there anyway. I just purchased a 5yr old Gaggia Classic for less than $100 and its in great shape. I can now mod it to the max and make it into the best machine it can be. Even if I have to make a repair on it fairly soon (which I dont think I will) it will still be under your machine budget.

    Ive paired mine with a kyocera hand grinder, throw in the cleaning supplies and accessories and Ive set myself up for under $300 total!

    The gaggia is an easy machine to find on the used market and they are repairable without costing a fortune. Youll also get something really worthy and can pass it on when you upgrade.



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