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Thread: Upgrading from Expressi pod machine

  1. #1
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    Upgrading from Expressi pod machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey guys I have been using an Aldi Expressi machine for about a year now to do mine and my wife's cappuccino's. Although they have been quite good they just don't compare to the coffee I get from my local cafe and I am looking to upgrade to something a bit better. My budget is around $500 and I honestly have no idea where to start with equipment/beans etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Maybe even a better Pod machine? I currently use two pods per cup. Need something that would be quite easy for a beginner.

  2. #2
    Coffee Nut fg1972's Avatar
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    Hi Joshaldo,
    You're on the right track to making better coffee by getting away from the pod machine.
    You can probably pick up an entry level Breville or Sunbeam machine and grinder with that budget. If you could stretch the budget a little, the Rancillio Silvia and suitable grinder is a popular choice.

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    Thanks heaps for the reply :-). Which is generally better out of the Breville and Sunbeam? Would I need a grinder on top of these machines? What would you suggest?

  4. #4
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Something like this:
    https://www.breville.com.au/the-barista-expresstm.html

    It has a $800rrp but you might be able to haggle it close to your $500 budget.

    A machine like that and some fresh coffee and I doubt you ever look back!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    The BES870 Barista Express is currently $649 at Harvey Norman and can be found cheaper on t'net.

    It makes great lattes and cappuccinos.

  6. #6
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Or you could get the sunbeam 6910 with grinder for $500 which seems to be a usual sale/haggle price.

    Alternatively if you are willing to go used a lelit/nemox machine or combi or silvia, which often come up here for sale with a grinder for around your budget.

    Any of these and previous suggestions will give you great results with fresh beans and good technique.

    Cheers

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    If you can get something with a full size group handle and a boiler second-hand and a good grinder you will be well on the way.

    I got a Gagia baby for $50.

    It seems many people think grinding coffee and disposing of the puck is too messy (my wife is one of them)

    Most manual machines with some skill/attention to detail will make coffee better than a pod machine if you have good (fresh) coffee.

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    Ok well I was pretty set on the Breville BES870 from Harvey Norma for 649$ especially with their interest free promo, but unfortunately they have pretty much sold out everywhere. Are there any alternatives for that price with grinder built in? How would the top of the line nespresso compare to this? Thanks for any help.

  9. #9
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    IMO a semi decent setup with good technique and freshly roasted and ground beans will taste far superior to any capsule.

    You might be better off with the sunbeam 6910 and grinder. Leaving you with an easier potential upgrade path. Not sure on the 870 but the SB has a full size group. Price should be cheaper too.

    Cheers
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  10. #10
    Junior Member vanessak's Avatar
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    Hi there, thanks for the OP and replies.

    I'm in the same position, looking for a beginner's set up around $500. The only experiences I've had are the Aldi capsule machines and frothers, which produce airy tasteless cappuccinos and lattes. It was nice at first, when I didn't appreciate a nice coffee, but it's just not worth the effort/cleaning now. Which says something.
    I've also made maybe a dozen lattes/cappuccinos on an industrial machine in a car dealership during a temp job. No idea what brand or model the machine was but it had a grinder next to it that I pulled a lever twice to release the grain into the group head, which I then pressed under the tamper. I have no idea if I'm using the right terms here so bare with me. The machine it self was programmed for single or double shots and a manual button. I did learn to froth the milk in the jug, and was able to get a really nice latte, although sometimes they resembled cappuccinos. It was fun and I'd like to learn how to make them at home. I've read several threads on here and on product review and choice. I'm more confused than when I started. I cannot afford a pricey set up, and am not interested in upgrading parts initially. Not until I'm confident I know what I'm doing, doing it correctly, and only if I'm not satisfied with the result.

    I appreciate a nice latte and won't drink a crappy one, but I'm not a connoisseur and don't know a thing about beans, grinds and barely anything about equipment other than the fact I need a grinder unless I want supermarket grinds.

    So thank you for the responses, I've got somewhere to start. While I am just starting out, I'd want a reliable machine that needs little or no calibration or adjusting if that makes sense? I'm scared of the many reviews citing necessary repairs and servicing. So any suggestions for an easy to learn, non complicated, and reliable machine within a beginner's budget would be very appreciated.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Hey Vanessa,

    Welcome to Coffeesnobs!

    Whilst the depth of knowledge here on the forum can be quite daunting, I think you'll find that it will also help you greatly on whatever coffee journey you choose to take.

    Generally, with a forum such as CS, you'll find that people come to find out how to fix a problem, so hence why there are many threads with such discussions. Mostly, machines are pretty reliable and give great service, it is just that people here have a desire to improve on what they have and that might mean upgrading or calibrating their set ups.

    I would say that the machines suggested here are worth a look if you're sticking to a budget. Learn how to use them well (and that includes everything from making the coffee, to keeping the machine clean) and you'll get years of happy use. The Sunbeam and Breville machines are pretty forgiving of beginners! Even I started out on a Sunbeam and now have an Elektra on my bench. (which is a 2 group commercial machine)

    The other bit of advice you'll find around here is fresh beans are a must. Stay away from supermarket varieties and find a roaster whose flavour of coffee you enjoy. I say support the smaller specialty roasters as the larger brand names like Merlo, Grinders etc are blending for a general taste which is fairly bland and just flavours milky coffees. Specialty roasters do the beans a big favour by roasting to bring out the beautiful flavours that can be found in the coffee bean and they are also a bit more reliable with their freshness of their coffee.

    I hope you find what you're looking for and keep asking questions!

    Good luck on your journey!
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    You can't go wrong with the Sunbeam EM6910 and Conical Burr Grinder. It's a great place to start. It seems a lot of CS members have began their home barista journey on this setup.
    Dual Boiler, 58mm group and if cleaned regularly and looked after, will easily last you 5 years.
    This will fit your $500 budget, if you shop around.
    A nice fresh bag of beans from your local Campos / Toby's / Sonoma or what ever is available and you will be well on your way to a delicious home cappuccino.

    Good Luck!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleRis View Post
    You can't go wrong with the Sunbeam EM6910 and Conical Burr Grinder. It's a great place to start. It seems a lot of CS members have began their home barista journey on this setup.
    Dual Boiler....
    No- dual thermoblock. There are big differences.

  14. #14
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    I ended up with the Breville 870 and love it.. Great machine with built in grinder.. Whole neighborhood has me making coffees now haha
    don_nairn and scoota_gal like this.

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    Hey guys for some reason hopefully you guys might be able to explain I can not seem to get consistent shots now. I will do a shot and it is perfectly in the middle between under and over extraction and then I will do another and it will be nearly on under extraction or over extraction. Any hints on what I should do to get some more consistency or does the machine sound faulty?

    I am also finding ground coffee left in my cup when I am finished. Please help....
    Last edited by Joshaldo; 1st May 2014 at 07:16 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshaldo View Post
    Hey guys for some reason hopefully you guys might be able to explain I can not seem to get consistent shots now. I will do a shot and it is perfectly in the middle between under and over extraction and then I will do another and it will be nearly on under extraction or over extraction. Any hints on what I should do to get some more consistency or does the machine sound faulty?

    I am also finding ground coffee left in my cup when I am finished. Please help....
    There a multitude of things that you could be doing here. First off cleanliness, clean the group head/potafilter every time you use it, make sure no excess grinds are left on the upper surface of the portafilter, this gets caught up on the group head rubber seal and causes the water to leak out under pressure.

    To get decent regular shots you need a decent and regular practice, every thing you do should be the same to get consistency. I use a set of scales to weight exactly what goes into my portafilter, every shot has the exact same weight. This prevents over dosing and cracking the puck, its a good practice to get into. Tamping, press the grinds down with the same pressure every time, there is a lot of info on this and its required practice for good shots.

    I could go on and on but if you look hard enough you will find the answers to your question. My first point of cleanliness is the most basic and one most people forget.

  17. #17
    Junior Member vanessak's Avatar
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    Thanks scoota_gal for your reply. My husband has just bought me the Breville BES870

    Now to read read read the instructions and related posts about it, and watch some videos. I don't have any beans yet but I'll hopefully get some on the weekend...that's a whole other issue. I have no idea how to find a local roaster. Better pop over to those threads now

    Excited and nervous! Mostly excited. I know it's going to take practice and patience to get a nice cup
    scoota_gal and Joshaldo like this.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Vanessa, if you also check out the good coffee where threads you might find which cafe's have fresh beans on sale too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoota_gal View Post
    Vanessa, if you also check out the good coffee where threads you might find which cafe's have fresh beans on sale too.
    Hey guys is it OK to use flavoured coffee beans in this grinder

  20. #20
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshaldo View Post
    Hey guys is it OK to use flavoured coffee beans in this grinder
    If you have to!

    Just give it a clean/brush out when done and you should be fine.

  21. #21
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    Good coffee well made should not need other flavouring.

    Barry

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    BES870 looks good except it's not a 58mm group

  23. #23
    Junior Member vanessak's Avatar
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    Just an update, I'm loving the BES870. I've tweaked the grind size and amounts, and am pulling consistent shots now. I did adjust the timing to go a little longer than the pre-programmed double shot. I've timed it to 35 seconds, with 10 seconds of pre infusion. I just posted another thread asking for advice about further fine tuning but overall I'm happy with the taste. I do need to practice my milk texturing and latte art. So far I'm mostly creating circle blobs with the occasional heart. Changing the milk and the jug size has helped, and I just need to keep practising. I'm hoping I'll get the invite to the free barista course soon.



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