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Thread: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

  1. #1
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    Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Greetings friends.

    The reality of the matter is that my old Breville 800ES has decided that it doesnt want to make coffee anymore. It has demonstrated this by not producing either steam or coffee when these functions have been requested of it.

    I am a man who enjoys a coffee in a most legitimate sense therefore I am of the opinion that a new espresso machine is something which I ought to consider making purchase of. I am experiencing some consternation however, due to the fact that while my 800ES was perfectly adequate for its heavy student based workload over 4 years of working ownership, it never really produced a magnificent extraction.

    I would therefore like to take a perceivable step up with my next machine purchase and I honestly dont know what to do as there seems to be a bit of a price leap (ie. apx. 500 whole Australian dollars) between the middle of the road Brevilles and anything claiming to be superior and I simply cant justify the extra expenditure. I therefore would like to enlist your assistance in this matter to determine whether there are any machines about, which would be superior to the 800ES without the 700-1000 buck price hike.

    Im not interested in automation. Ive always worked with manual machines and I would prefer something without bells or whistles. I dont want to fork out for more buttons or extra spouts or grinders or flashy gauges. I need a simple machine that can extract better than the homestyle brevilles. I spoke to the gentleman at the Breville outlet today who said he would have a reconditioned BES820 for me next week if I wanted it for $270. I did a bit of reading though and it doesnt seem like the BES820 actually does a better coffee than the 800ES.

    I can replace my 800 if I need for $179 with a reconditioned model. I would prefer to get something better but I need some decent leads to justify spending more. I would just like to know if anyone knows of anything they could recommend or has any leads on where something superior could be found for a good price in Melbourne. Second hand or reconditioned is fine as I have no issues with this kind of situation.

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Welcome IPYF,
    How much are you prepared to spend? I cant work it out from the post.
    Do you already own a decent grinder? Many people (me included) will suggest spending as much as you can on a good grinder, and, if necessary using a low tech extraction method (moka pot / aeropress) if you are primarily concerned with flavour.
    If you have a decent grinder, maybe a second hand Silvia would do the trick for you at <$500. With fresh beans, a decent grinder and the right technique the Silvia will definitely outdo your old machine.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Honestly I think 500 is my absolute ceiling. This is why Id prefer to go reconditioned or 2nd hand. I just cant justify stacking hundreds of dollars into an espresso machine when I could replace the one I had which worked adequately for $179.

    I already have a good grinder so having another would be no asset to me.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    The conundrum you face isnt unique. Many people want to experience a vastly superior coffee at budget prices. The thing is, machines that produce vastly superior coffee cost $1,000 more because that level of engineering costs money. I wonder on what grounds you cant justify paying the price for a machine that will deliver the goods? Are you prepared to settle for inferior coffee? If so just replace your old machine with a new one.

    Sometimes we do need to accept that diamonds cannot be had for the price of a cubic zirconia. Like Barry said, what is your actual budget? And are you a milk drink consumer? This will make a difference to the kind of machine recommended.

    Ok so Ive just seen $500 is your budget. You say you have a good grinder, which grinder exactly? Some machines require a certain standard of grind to work properly. A grinder that worked with your Breville my not be up to standard with a
    Silvia or Gaggia. Certaily a La Pavoni europic will be very fussy.

    Honestly your best bet may be to hang out on the bay and look for a cast-off Lelit. They usually go for around $400-$500 and some if them have a grinder combo. It will be vastly superior to a $180 breville. I dont mean to be rude, but it wont take much to outdo those machines.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    I have a couple of grinders. The one that came with my Breville is here and I dont often use it because it doesnt seem to produce a strong cup, even on its finest setting Im not getting a lot of flavour. I have a hand spice grinder which I use most of the time so its just a matter of getting the courseness right. Ive had more success with that than the electronic one. Of course it depends on the beans but Im not somebody who expects something to happen by themselves, I like to experiment with different beans and grinds all the time just to see what happens. I just got to the point with the 800ES that I thought "Well. Thats as good an extraction as this machine can do" which is my driving motivator for getting a better machine.

    Sadly that doesnt change the fact that Im a poor person and I cant afford to spend a months rent on a higher end machine. At the same time though, if I replace this machine I want it to be something of an investment. I have a theory with coffee machines that you get a year per $100 spent. So far its proven to be true and based on this I dont really feel that getting a reconditioned breville, which might last 3 years if Im lucky, is money well spent.

    In terms of responses though I think I might have to go the direct swap option, or even not having anything at all. Im astounded to find that in the midrange (500-1000) its mostly a case of added features rather than added quality. You would think one of the major companies would do away with the auto-dosing features, onboard computers and the extra hot water spouts just to produce a competative manual machine for enthusiasts with no frills. I hate frills.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    In terms if your last comment, thats only true of domestic appliance machines. Those companies are in the business of making an appealing kitchen appliance not making good coffee. Under $500 you do have some options in the simple engineering vintage category. Vintage machines can produce excellent coffee unfortunately because if this they tend to be sought after and that drives the price up. Vintage machines also have a longevity that doesnt exist in appliances made today. Some machine from the 1940s and 50s are still in use today with only minor repairs.

    For your money you can get a used Gaggia Classic (quite easily) for about $200. You do not need to worry about the age of these machines so much as long as they were looked after. They have no electronic gadgetry and are a simple yet well built machine. Mine is 10yrs old and will last many years more. They are a full stainless body with quality components. They are plentiful on the secondhand market and because of that are relatively cheap for what they are. They can also steam milk but will be frustrating unless you replace the steam wand with the Silvia one for an extra $50.* Parts are easy to get and inexpensive. You can repair them for longer life and are much better value for money than a low end Breville. Mine produces a nice shot with loads of crema.

    A used Silvia is on a par with the Gaggia but will set you back more because there are fewer of them and they are more popular. But you can still get one with your budget.

    If you want a lever machine a pre-2000 build La Pavoni europic is an option. The older ones were better built, its simple and repairable but its a 2 shot wonder before you have to switch it off and let it cool down. You can expect to pay $400 for an old one but the shots it produces can be excellent and rival a much more expensive pump machine.

    Which brings us back to your Grinder you still havent told us what model your hand grinder is. Hand mills are fine but not created equal and not all of them are capable of producing a consistent enough grind for the Gaggia, Silvia or Pavoni. The better your machine the less tolerant it will be of an inconsistent grind, and if you are wanting a great shot the grinder is more important than the machine. Handmills that have been known to work well are the Kym, Dienes and Zassenhaus. They have conical burs and can grind espresso although they even vary between years and models. I use a Kyocera handmill with my Gaggia just fine and it costs $70.

    The reason why we keep coming back to the grinder is because we want to save you the frustration of getting a good coffee machine but not being able to get the promised performance from it. There are a lot of posts here and elsewhere of people with good machines stating they cant get decent coffee from them. Thats beause their grinder is failing them.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Hi IPYF and welcome to Coffeesnobs.
    Youre probably starting to wonder "why does a sub$500 machine section even exist on this forum?" The answer is simple. A good coffee is as much about bean, grind and technique as much as the extraction equipment used.

    Many people here make a great coffee on appliance level machines. It can be done. Some people here report they struggle to make a good coffee on much more expensive machines too. This forum is full and qestions and answers on how to improve your coffee experence from machines from ALL price brackets.

    You have a strict budget of $500. Stick to it.
    I guess you have the BCG450 coffee and spice grinder. Check out the threads on modifying it to produce a finer grind. Search on this site is top left of screen.

    Settle for an reconditioned Breville or Sunbeam and change the pressurized/dual wall baskets for unpressurized single wall. The double walled ones produce a false crema. They can be purchased from various places or one member even offers conversion as a nearly free service.

    Id go for a machine that produced coffee+hot water+steam so you can produce all types of coffee drink styles.

    Find a source of fresh roasted beans. Not supermarket ones. And maybe start roasting your own in a popper once you sort out your new machine - but thats a different story.

    Read up on extraction volume/time relationship. It may improve your technique. A trap many fall for is thinking overextraction makes more coffee. A fixed amount of coffee can only produce a fixed amount of espresso. If you want a longer/larger volume of fluid then add hot water and/or milk. Apologies if you know this already.

    Search the site for other peoples experiences with cheaper Sunbeams and Brevilles, modding the BCG450, pressurized/unpressurized baskets and extraction/dose/time/volume.

    Heres one for instance.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1293682938

    You should be able to stick to your budget and get an acceptable coffee. Others with higher disposable incomes may think differently but theyre not making the decisions.




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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Thanks for some excellent responses. Im more or less happy with my grinding situation. I"m trying to reduce owning things at the moment as I am habitating a very small space. Thats why something little like a Gaggia Classic would be ideal.

    Without straying too much from the topic, Ive had limited success with boutique beans. I used to get most of my beans from Jasper but I couldnt get a consistent cup for my buck. Theres a wee store in the Queen Vic where I got some Columbian dark for my percolator the other week. Theres also the Coffee Company down on Balaclava that Ive had some hit-and-miss interaction with. Im not going to get much more involved in my processes until I have a working machine again.

    Are the Sunbeam products mostly much-of-a-muchness with Breville?
    I could toddle over to their factory outlet, but I may not bother if its just going to be a case of swapping like for like.

    If I get the Breville again I will definitely get the single wall baskets. I never even looked into this to be honest, I just assumed that there was only the one type. Assumption truly is the mother of all f$ckups.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    SB vs Breville
    They essentially do they same job, they can be improved with a few changes, some need careful handling to give best results and some should be avoided. But the same can be said for most competitors at any given price point.

    A better make of espresso machine.
    You may need better ginding if you start down that pathway. Same may be true for single wall baskets.

    Used Gaggia classic . Many people jump for these. Most say you should change the steam wand for one from a Silvia. But depends if you want steamed milk. May not mattter. May even be done already.

    There are good used machines advertised here all the time. If youre in no hurry, sit it out and keep a constant watch for something in your budget. I originally suggested a reco breville because of your budget and run with your previous machine. I figured you wanted a replacement not upgrade. When my Breville was dying I took the leap to a new Silvia but Id been saving in expectation of an upgrade.

    Boutique beans. Im no fan of the expression mainly because if means different things to different people. But I guess you mean beans from a smaller roaster. Why not ask for recommendations in a new thread ? The standard suggestion of course is why not try Andys roased from BeanBay ? (Top left of screen) Maybe try a starter pack. I can recommend the Ethiopia Harrar Longberry.

    Keep posting. Well try not o confuse things for you.



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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Hello,

    In the <$500 site sponsor The Coffee Man have a secondhand Silvia that they posted about the other day (as this is my first post I am not allowed to post the link, but it is easy to find). As a Silvia owner it may not pair very nicely with a spice grinder though. There are many threads to look at regarding the pros and cons of this machine.

    I have used a friends 800ES with a conical burr grinder and definitely think the Silvia is capable of better results in the cup. It is also more expensive though. I think the Silvia does an excellent job, if you are prepared to put the effort in.

    My Silvia is paired with a Compak K3T, which you might like to look at in time. You will definitely notice the difference with a conical burr grinder. But you can build on your equipment over time. You dont have to have the latest and greatest equipment to be able to produce excellent coffee. If you are prepared to put the effort in and get to know your set up then you can get great results.

    Good luck with the decision you end up making.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    IPYF. just as a little encouragement to you........
    I was in a very similar situation, witha spice grinder , a dogey espresso machine, and little cash !.
    But patience, detrmination, and hours spent scouring the classified adds etc.... lo and behold,.. a nice shiney. little used, Rancillio Silvia, Rocky grinder, and various other goodies ( Tamper, mugs, cleaner, etc) all appeared for $400 !! :D
    .. So keep looking ! ;)

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    Senior Member Thirteen13's Avatar
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    I think being a student is no exception,
    I am a uni student and i have just invested $1700 in a BES900, a BCG800 and now a Behmor 1600.
    I look at it more as an investment. As i will end up buying this machine in the long run anyway so decided why not just buy it now.

    You can get the machine for easily $1200. Your better off saving/working few extra hours and getting exactly what you want rather than something that you dont want that you wish was more.

    Yes $1700 is a huge load of cash for a student, but it helps me when i study and even after i have finished uni i hope the machine iwll last me years to come.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Of course its up to you, but I would always make the attempt tp upgrade when buying a new machine. Every increment improves the coffee result which is what having a home machine is about.* ;)

    I initially only wanted to spend $500 on a home setup, I couldnt justify more than that on my morning cup. But once you start drinking good coffee suddenly the priorities change... ;D

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Well Ive not been truly dissatisfied with my coffee with the Breville machine. Its more a case of seeing whether I could do better inexpensively. I think Im going to toddle over to the Sunbeam factory outlet and see if theyve got any reconditioned models of their higher end machines as it seems that some of those ship with single wall baskets.

    I certainly like a good coffee but I cant justify spending big bucks. I had a rich friend in high school who bought a $8,000 mountain bike which, lo and behold, didnt make him an amazing bike rider. He sold it for $4000 and bought a new bike for $10,000. It didnt make him a good bike rider either. Though this is an odd analogy for a coffee forum I think it serves. A $2000 machine wont make a cup of coffee thats $1600 better, thats up to me the coffee maker. A better machine might help, and it might be better made and last longer but there are so many factors at play that it would be an horrifically expensive shot in the dark. I simply dont have that kind of disposable income.

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by 435A534C0A0 link=1332651068/13#13 date=1332898784
    I certainly like a good coffee but I cant justify spending big bucks. I had a rich friend in high school who bought a $8,000 mountain bike which, lo and behold, didnt make him an amazing bike rider. He sold it for $4000 and bought a new bike for $10,000. It didnt make him a good bike rider either. Though this is an odd analogy for a coffee forum I think it serves. A $2000 machine wont make a cup of coffee thats $1600 better, thats up to me the coffee maker. A better machine might help, and it might be better made and last longer but there are so many factors at play that it would be an horrifically expensive shot in the dark. I simply dont have that kind of disposable income.
    Nor can you drink champagne on beer wages. ;)

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    It would seem to me after reading the replys so far that you are set on achieving a better coffee than you currently are drinking, but are not prepared to spend any extra.

    there are 2 quotes i have come across in the past that i think a well worth considering here...

    Those that cant compete on quality, compete on price...

    and,

    It is better to spend a little more and get exactly what your after, than to spend a little less, and possibly end up with nothing at all...

    I do hope you reconsider your position, it may be the best coffee decision you ever make...

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Isnt this the important quote ?
    Quote Originally Posted by 465F56490F0 link=1332651068/2#2 date=1332656351
    Honestly I think 500 is my absolute ceiling.
    The OP posted in the sub$500 category not the upgraditis category and wants advice relevant to their circumstances. Opinions are valuable and pretty much what most of the forum revolves around but really the OP needs advice they can act on, not dream about.



  18. #18
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Id suggest that a hand spice grinder wont do for good coffee.
    Get a Hario or similar that is designed for coffee.
    If you dont have to steam milk, get a Presso.
    If you do have to steam milk, then replace your Breville or get a similar Sunbeam from one of their seconds shops.

    A better grinder will improve the coffee more significantly than a better machine--and cheaper too.

    Lastly, or maybe firstly, you will need fresh, high quality beans.

    Greg

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Ebay is loaded with Gaggia classics, SB 6910s, Silvias , Nemox, and such like reputable machines most go for well under your budget, often with decent grinders too.
    Be patient and shop carefully.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by 093C2B2919213C232F222A4E0 link=1332651068/17#17 date=1332907429
    Id suggest that a hand spice grinder wont do for good coffee.
    Get a Hario or similar that is designed for coffee.
    If you dont have to steam milk, get a Presso.
    If you do have to steam milk, then replace your Breville or get a similar Sunbeam from one of their seconds shops.
    A better grinder will improve the coffee more significantly than
    a better machine--and cheaper too.

    Lastly, or maybe firstly, you will need fresh, high quality beans.

    Greg
    +1 on the grinder. My Kyocera is a ceramic burr and works great for coffee. Cost is $70.

    Actually I dont think anyone is chastising the OP for his budget. Weve all been there, its just that sometimes from where you stand you wouldnt necessarily go that way again yourself. I know I would do differently if I had my time over. If I knew one month ago what I know now I would have saved myself $300 on a cheap machine and bought the better one straight up. I spent the money anyway even though that was the last thing I intended to do. :o

  21. #21
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Saying though that a $2000 wont make a $1600 better cup of coffee is very subjective.
    You also have to factor in, you wont be making 1 cup of coffee which will $1600 better.... Your making many hundreds to thousands of cups.
    Do you want to produce a coffee at a $400 level or one at a $2000 level ?
    Can you settle for something of that quality ? If so then get the $400.

    To say your mate spent XX on a bike didnt make him a better rider is not really an argument. Spending XX on something isnt a factor of how skilled someone will be.
    I could buy the best paint brush, easil, paint and artists painting beret and i would never be a famous painting artist.
    These things are simply tools, the bike or the coffee machine.
    How refined and how well the tool does the job is more a factor to consider.
    Would u expect a $5000 nail gun to make you better at building a house than a $5 hammer ? No of course not, however the expensive nail gun would do a better job than a $5 hammer.

    Your best option is keep your ear to the ground and hopefully one of these higher end machines your chasing will pop up. Unfortunately if you are limited on budget then you are stuck within your financial limits.

  22. #22
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Is it just me, or is this thread getting a tad silly?

    The OP has stated he wants to spend $500 max. Seems to me that the best case scenario is a pre-loved Silvia or analogue with a scrounge hand grinder or perhaps a Nemox/Lelit/Mokita etc combi. I cant see much use in suggesting something worth $2k. Id like a Ferrari for the weekend, but Im not prepared to pay for it either- so I cant have one.

    We need to be mindful that the bottom line is that you generally gets what you pays for.* ::)

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by 530C140209020E070704040C000F610 link=1332651068/21#21 date=1332914482
    Is it just me, or is this thread getting a tad silly?
    Just look at the amount of discussion and time spent going round in circles. Whats everyones time worth for a topic about getting a ferrari for the price of a daihatsu? (a thousand apologies of course to all the loving daihatsu owners watching this thread :D)

    Calling everyones bluff:
    Its possible I may have a used Silvia...never sold outside the company, used in house extensively for training etc. Marked, scratched, but operating exactly as it should.

    If it means anything, Silvia makes a "quasi commercial" cuppa when used properly.

    If its still down there, you could possibly have it for your stated maximum budget of $500.00, but note there is no guarantee.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B3E3D3D333A2D5F0 link=1332651068/16#16 date=1332906509
    Isnt this the important quote ?
    Quote Originally Posted by 465F56490F0 link=1332651068/2#2 date=1332656351
    Honestly I think 500 is my absolute ceiling.
    The OP posted in the sub$500 category not the upgraditis category and wants advice relevant to their circumstances. Opinions are valuable and pretty much what most of the forum revolves around but really the OP needs advice they can act on, not dream about.

    This.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3D333A313B6A6D5F0 link=1332651068/18#18 date=1332908701
    Ebay is loaded with* Gaggia classics, SB 6910s, Silvias , Nemox,* and such like reputable machines most go for well under your budget, often with* decent grinders too.
    Be patient and shop carefully.
    And this.

    Quote Originally Posted by 343A2D2D36315F0 link=1332651068/15#15 date=1332904556
    It would seem to me after reading the replys so far that you are set on achieving a better coffee than you currently are drinking, but are not prepared to spend any extra.

    But not this, sorry.
    If the right item came along Id be willing to spend $500 on a machine which is secondhand, reconditioned or a factory second, maybe something which originally retailed at 600-700 dollars. When I got the Breville 800 3.5yrs ago I was prepared to spend $350 for a brand new machine from the GdGuys. Today Im prepared to spend $500 for something better, with the awareness that Im likely going to have to go secondhand in order to get something of increased quality.

    Im not sure how this information comes across as the attitude of someone who is not really willing to spend any extra. Im not entirely sure why there are people here who have come to this thread in the <$500 section of the board with the intention of suggesting that I take a hammer to my piggybank. Thats something of an exercise in futility Im afraid, as have no intention of speculating on higher end machines.


    Ive already got some great leads, and you have my thanks for that. Many of these brands I wasnt even aware of prior to starting this thread so its great food for thought. Of course if anyone has anything theyre looking to sell Im open to that. Ive also got a Breville 800 here with a pump that only works sometimes at random which youre more than welcome to make me an offer for*.


    *I would more or less have to pay someone to take it wouldnt I?

  25. #25
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1108011E580 link=1332651068/23#23 date=1332918487
    But not this, sorry.
    If the right item came along Id be willing to spend $500 on a machine which is secondhand, reconditioned or a factory second, maybe something which originally retailed at 600-700 dollars. When I got the Breville 800 3.5yrs ago I was prepared to spend $350 for a brand new machine from the GdGuys. Today Im prepared to spend $500 for something better, with the awareness that Im likely going to have to go secondhand in order to get something of increased quality.

    Im not sure how this information comes across as the attitude of someone who is not really willing to spend any extra. Im not entirely sure why there are people here who have come to this thread in the <$500 section of the board with the intention of suggesting that I take a hammer to my piggybank. Thats something of an exercise in futility Im afraid, as have no intention of speculating on higher end machines.
    I agree, as you say you posted in the <$500 section and are then subjected to a barrage of, you only get what you pay for type posts and lectures on how you should spring for the extra and buy better. ::)
    Surely people must realise that most of us have budgetary limits that we are not prepared to go beyond. ;)

  26. #26
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    I guess people simply offer alternatives. Its merely advice the OP can buy whatever he likes, but to come on a forum and ask what he should do, then its only safe to assume people will offer a variety of options..... Even if some are above price X.

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    I dont understand people getting on the defensive here...

    The replys in this thread have given a huge range of options that might fall into the category of upgraditis (which for some reasons seems to be considered un-necessary expenditure in this instance) but also seem for the most part to be within the budget provided.

    It also contains alot of information that has been gathered from past experience about grinders that seems to be falling on deaf ears

    at the end of the day, to achieve a better quality of coffee, certain changes need to be made.

    Can these changes be made for under $500, i think so

    Is the coffee going to get better without making these changes???

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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    thats totally a personal choice though. Some people say Blend 43 is better than fresh. I am unsure who but there would be someone out there.

  29. #29
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Ahoy. Apologies for the brevity of this response. Posting from my eyePhone. I have acquired a Sunbeam 6910 for 250 dollars via the electronic bay. I dont think I have any business being upset with this deal. The twin thermoblok system and the single wall groups truly will improve results I think. Ill see how I go with my current grinders. Im looking forward to experimenting with my new machine.

    Thnks for all the help.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Thirteen13's Avatar
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    sounds like a really good deal, i think shall provide many a good cup and your well under your budget too. Win Win all around

  31. #31
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Im feeling an I told you so coming on based around the grinder conversations which have happened in this thread.

    I got the 6910 home tonight and Im struggling to pull off a decent extraction. I think this is only partially my fault as Ive only got the one basket for it. The guy who sold it to me only had the one which I think is the double shot, double wall basket. I had a few beans and things left over from the old machine which I thougt might be a good idea to experiment with. Obviously I dont want to be looking at the ceiling at 2am so Im having to chuck all these wasted shots down the sink.

    Ive got a few different types of beans. I tried using the finest setting on my Breville grinder with both bags of beans and I just kept getting really bitter charr. No success on that front.

    I had a bag of Grinders preground which I got from the supermarket for $3. Figuring that I had absolutely nothing to lose I put that through. Viola. No perceptable burn and a pretty reasonable crema for Safeway fare but it took a really long longblack style pour to produce it.

    Heres the question at the end of the longwinded post. Am I better off with single wall baskets for this machine? I think Id be better off at least having a single shot basket anyway because its usually just me here, but would I be better off trying to get a single wall double-shot as well?

    The extraction issue is obviously based around the innate courseness of the Breville grinder. I am the least handy person in the world so modding it is not really a thing. Ill just have to dig my hand grinder out of the shed and have a play.


  32. #32
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Hi IPYF,

    If youre still prepared to spend the remainder of your $500 budget, I think youd be well served looking at the Breville Smart Grinder, and order yourself the single wall baskets.

    I know some people have referred to mods that can be performed on the basic Breville grinder, buts its generally considered less than adequate for a machine with single wall baskets.

    Good luck!

  33. #33
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    I dont think anyone wants to say I told you so. Its just that once you start down a certain path then you are going to hit the same potholes as many before you. There always comes a point at which a piece if equipment will no longer serve your purpose. No-one here will advise you to spend money unnecesarily.

    So on that note. Yes dig out your handmill. The paradox of
    grinders is that often a handmill can outlass a powered grinder for the budget conscious. A great deal of the cost goes into the motor on powered machines so things like adjustability and grind quality suffer to make a budget power mill. My budget handmill works a treat for my lever espresso machine,
    there is no such thing as a power mill for $70 that can do
    that. If your handmill is vintage and has a conical burr you could be in luck.* ;)

    If you are not heres your options...

    Under $100 get a kyocera or hario handmill new, or source a suitable quality vintage one on the bay. Personally Id go for new, they are proven and work well and arent collectors items keeping the price reasonable.

    $300+ new Breville smart grinder or good used semi-commercial one.

  34. #34
    Senior Member Thirteen13's Avatar
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    have you got any single wall baskets ? The double walls are generally used for preground coffee.
    Maybe spend less than $30 to get a single wall basket as the cheapest option then see how that goes.

  35. #35
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Ive spoken to sunbeam Customer Service this arvo and theyve indicated a bloke I can buy the heads from in Richmond. Im going to give him a bell and see if he can send me them out. One thing at a time and well get there. From all reports the single walls are more appropriate regardless of what youre doing.


  36. #36
    Senior Member Thirteen13's Avatar
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Well im no expert, but ive had explained that Double walls are for pre-ground coffee to try create a fake crema, i dunno how true that is, but heat up the basket and portafilter, dry it out, put your grinds in, wet shower screen, lock in, have a heated cup and shoot.

    If your not making at least a drinkable coffee with even average beans then something is up.

  37. #37
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by 744849525445454E1113200 link=1332651068/35#35 date=1333521425
    Well im no expert, but ive had explained that Double walls are for pre-ground coffee to try create a fake crema, i dunno how true that is, but heat up the basket and portafilter, dry it out, put your grinds in, wet shower screen, lock in, have a heated cup and shoot.

    If your not making at least a drinkable coffee with even average beans then something is up.
    Yeah. The double walled fiters increase the pressure to create the false crema from stale beans. I recently gave a sunbeam machine to a relative who isnt a snob (yet). But he is the sort of person who doesnt want to take the time to learn the machine properly. So i left him with the double walled baskets, so that he can use his pre-ground stale coffee. But thats what makes him happy. :). The single walled baskets are great for fresh coffee. However, dont use them for stale coffee. For that matter, if you want good coffee, dont use stale coffee at all!!!

    Have fun!

  38. #38
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Yeah well Im going to get the other baskets in and then reassess. Im now getting nothing but stagnant, watery charr from whatever I put through the machine, regardless of whether I grind it or whether its preground. The pressure gauge is barely moving so Im concerned that theres not enough pressure for a good extraction which could indicate a problem with the machine or the seal. Im not going to jump the gun yet though. The double shot double wall basket might just be sh*t.

    If fiddling round with different baskets and grind styles doesnt work I might have to try and get the machine serviced to rule out any underlying issues.

  39. #39
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Why are you now suspecting the machine when yesterday you showed yourself it was a grinder issue ..??

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E171E01470 link=1332651068/30#30 date=1333447611
    ...... I tried using the finest setting on my Breville grinder with both bags of beans and I just kept getting really bitter charr. No success on that front.

    I had a bag of Grinders preground which I got from the supermarket for $3. Figuring that I had absolutely nothing to lose I put that through. Viola. No perceptable burn and a pretty reasonable crema for Safeway fare but it took a really long longblack style pour to produce it.

  40. #40
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Not looking at the specifics of this thread, just keeping a "loose eye" on it so maybe I am not on the right track but.....

    If you are using pre-ground as in from the supermarket, those packets are NOT ground for use with pump driven esp machines. They are ground for either filter/plunger or stove top espresso which are all TOO COARSE for your use.

    If you are using pre-ground as in bought from some kind of specialty outlet be it a roaster or otherwise, and THEY ground it for you as being suitable for a pump driven espresso machine, then as long as it has been done correctly it SHOULD be correct for your use. BUT....there is always the possibility they have not done it correctly. Take grinds back and explain, and ask them to check your grinds in THEIR esp machine. That will get to the bottom of your GRINDS and whether they are correctly ground or not.

    I have no idea what kind of grinder u have at home but if it is one of those $80.00 breveles throw it in the bin because it is absolutely 100% not suitable.

    And of course as you have apparently bought a used 6910 but dont yet know if it is operating properly, there is no point doing anything else until you get the grind sorted first which will tell you if the machine is working ok....at the moment.

    For heavens sake dont waste money on buying anything for your machine until you know if it working properly or not.......what if you have just wasted your money on the machine, but you are already busy spending more money buying "upgrade" filters for it?

    Lastly....be aware that when a machine isnt heating properly and is not reaching proper operating temperature, it will (your words) "...now getting nothing but stagnant, watery charr..." through not extracting the correct quantity of coffee oils out of the grinds properly.

    So....is the water coming from the group HOT, or it is nothing more than luke warm. If it cant manage any more than luke warm you have an equipment problem.

    STOP......do one thing only at a time, and work out what is the problem. Suggest the first port of call (because it is easy), is to stick fingers under the flow of water from the group and see if you can pretty much burn yourself. If you can all is ok, and you can move back up to the first part of my response regarding sorting the correct grind.

    If you hve the correct grind and all is working properly, it doesnt matter a hoot whether you use double walled filters or not, it should work for you.

    Over to you.

  41. #41
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Well my primary need to buy the other baskets is because I dont want a double shot every single time. Unlike my old breville the Sunbeams double shot group is ACTUALLY a double shot. Its designed to make 2 real coffees at a time and Im only one guy. Stands to reason that I need the other baskets really. Its hardly a waste of money if I need it and its only going to set me back $30. I got the machine for 250 bucks so Im hardly in a position to whinge that it didnt come with all the accessories on the side of the box.

    Im going to get the heads next week and see if that solves the problem. Ill use the new heads with a variety of beans and grinds that Ive had success with in the past and see if the problem persists. If I simply cant make the machine extract properly through the new heads then Ill have it serviced to make sure that theres nothing wrong with it. Im not going out to buy a new grinder if theres something up with the machine. Thats silly. I could go out tonight and splurge on a Smart grinder and then find out that theres a problem with the seal.

    The thermoblocks seem to be working fine. The water is coming through nice and hot. The steam wand is dynamite, the best Ive ever had. Im just getting either no crema or light white crema at the end of the extraction and the coffees Ive made thusfar have been weak, devoid of body and smell lightly burnt.

    The reason Im a bit sus is that the little espresso gauge doesnt do anything regardless of how tight I pack the group.


  42. #42
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    let me put it this way: if your double shot double wall basket gives you watery extration, the single shot single wall one is 100% going to be worse.

    as many have suggested, a decent grinder will be your best bet to solve the problem

  43. #43
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by 051C150A4C0 link=1332651068/40#40 date=1333606465
    The reason Im a bit sus is that the little espresso gauge doesnt do anything regardless of how tight I pack the group.
    So... Does the guage work at all? it could just be broken and your expectation that its going to move is causing you to think that something else is wrong, when it could just be the grind not being fine enough, I notice you still havent told us what grinder it is you are using. Thats a key point that can enable us to give you the help you require.

    in short, Answer the questions and do each step one-at-a-time, Coffee grind has been called suspect, the cost of tightening up the grind is nil, so, yeah. :-/

  44. #44
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Just came across this thread.

    As an ex-6910 owner, Id ask if you received the rubber backflush seal with the machine? It should sit in a bracket inside the rear door.

    If so, put it in the basket and run a shot, the gauge should then tell you if your pump is generating pressure or not. While you are at it, you could run a backflush cycle, as there may be years worth of muck in the thermoblock as well.

    Likewise, if you have a double-walled basket (it has only a few holes in the underside, rather than a lot of holes, that should generate about the pressure you would expect with an adequate grind. Makes a guide to your target. It wasnt clear from your description, but if you have only a double-wall basket and are getting no pressure, then you have a problem, either with the pump or blockage in the system.

    Good luck

    Russell

  45. #45
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    Yeah, look I havent posted for a bit due to embarassment. I actually had a single wall basket in the group and my grinder is clearly not capable of producing an adequate grind for the single walls at all. I did the mod on my Breville grinder on the weekend and now its grinding finer but it seems its still not enough.

    I got the double wall baskets in and now Im getting more than adequate pressure. I am however experiencing some really ugly crema. The pressure dial is right on the money now for pressure but the crema is coming out foamy with big bubbles. I pride myself on my milk texturing so having a foamy extraction is really ruining the texture of the overall cup in a big way. Does anyone have any advice. Is this a dosing issue or a grind problem? Im not sure how to solve it. Ive tried adjusting my coffee drop height and that hasnt helped. Its doing it with both the single and double shot baskets. I initially assumed it might be a result of using a double wall basket but my old Breville never produced frothy coffee.

    Any suggestions?
    Apologies for being an actual pillock and not knowing what basket I initially had.

  46. #46
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Are you adequately prepared to assist me with my purchasing decision?

    I think the big bubbly and foamy crema is a direct result of using a double walled basket... To solve this problem you will need to fix the grind issue so that you can use the single walled baskets..



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