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Thread: I'm so confused, I need help please!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2014
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    I'm so confused, I need help please!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi, I'm new to the forum and after reading some threads I am more confused than ever.

    I am looking at buying a new coffee machine but realise that I need a good quality grinder as well. My budget for both machine and grinder is around the $500 mark, but could stretch a bit further if needed.

    I mainly make 2 flat whites a day.

    The coffee machines I am looking at are:
    Breville BES870
    Breville BES840
    Sunbeam EM3820

    The grinder I am thinking of is Sunbeam EM0490.

    After reading up here I realise the importance of a good grinder, the BES870 has an inbuilt grinder but I am not sure if its a good grinder.

    Also, a few people have suggested to others that they buy a second hand machine but I am concerned about buying a new machine. How can you tell if the machine is a good buy?

    I would really appreciate any help or advice.

    Thanks, Jenny

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Jenny,
    Welcome to this forum of coffee enjoyers,
    Your post requests some advice as to how and what equipment you need to start out with,well (in my case)I begun with a early Aldi espresso machine (at bargain price).
    Some may suggest that you rush out immediately and get the newest and best models of both espresso/grinder and away you go!
    I don't know your coffee background,perhaps you've already had dealings with espresso machines and are ready to leap into dear and fancy machines!
    Newest and best will make good coffee ,if good quality beans and techniques are followed (tamping/grind and shot quality are observed) however,even lesser known or cheap machines will produce a very pleasent outcome when using pre ground beans as well,presuming coffee is reasonably fresh.
    Look around amoung you family or friends and perhaps,borrow a machine first and have a play with it,read up or follow others that may have some background in the field,find some good pre ground and experiment with settings/tamping and shot durations.
    Eventually a reasonable grinder is important although not always essential in the begining of your journey.
    I still have the aldi machine ,tucked away in the caravan for trips away and another twenty seven assorted variations of coffee machines in my workshop,these move occasionally.
    My first grinder was a sunbeam too,I always believed everything else was vastly overpriced,I've discovered the second hand market is very good these days,I've gone a long way with grinders and yet it hasn't been a particularly expensive trip after all.
    I'm in the happy and contented situation to have a good choice of machines now,it's just great and I'm also proud to say I'm in the black with the little bit of buying /selling I've had.
    Sunbeam make some good appliances although most brands have troubles of sorts occasionally,that applies to expensive grinders as well too.
    If you have any drama's with your appliances ,there is always someone on forums like CS that would be happy to help,have helped me, (many times...thanks).
    Good travels on your coffee interest,
    Cheers,
    Mick

  3. #3
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Welcome Jenny...

    How do you currently make your 2 x Flat White cuppas each day? Or do you buy them from a local cafe?
    Just to give you an example of what might be possible, JetBlack Espresso (one of our esteemed Site Sponsors), has a much loved used Lelit Combi machine up for grabs on their website, listed here...

    Lelit machines are terrific value and one of the best starter high quality machines on the market. I know this is a little above your stated $500 budget, but if you could stretch that little bit further, this listing represents a great opportunity and as CoffeeSnobs member, you might even do a little bit better. Worth a look anyway...

    Mal.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamcoffee View Post
    Hi, I'm new to the forum and after reading some threads I am more confused than ever.

    I am looking at buying a new coffee machine but realise that I need a good quality grinder as well. My budget for both machine and grinder is around the $500 mark, but could stretch a bit further if needed.

    I mainly make 2 flat whites a day.

    The coffee machines I am looking at are:
    Breville BES870
    Breville BES840
    Sunbeam EM3820

    The grinder I am thinking of is Sunbeam EM0490.

    After reading up here I realise the importance of a good grinder, the BES870 has an inbuilt grinder but I am not sure if its a good grinder.

    Also, a few people have suggested to others that they buy a second hand machine but I am concerned about buying a new machine. How can you tell if the machine is a good buy?

    I would really appreciate any help or advice.

    Thanks, Jenny
    Hi Jenny

    A few stray thoughts:

    1) The grinder is probably more important than the machine. It is the old "garbage in / garbage out principle. If the grinder is not very good, the best machine in the world cannot do much to retrieve the situation. I would suggest trying the SB 480 (I used to have two of them) or the Breville Smartgrinder (a couple of friends get good results out of theirs). Browse these forums a little for more info, as I know the SB has a 450 model which was cheaper but unfortunately nowhere near as good in the cup. I presume there may be a "few alternative Brevilles" as they tend to match models with SB. I see the "real versions" of either of them around $150 to $180 on special if you are prepared to wait (mind you, with silly season imminent, they may be out there now).

    2) A true espresso machine must have single floor baskets. Most cheaper machines (i.e. the $150 Breville "Cafe Roma") have dual floor baskets, which only "sort of work" with preground supermarket coffee. I would suggest you may have to break your budget: it is hard to get a single basket type of machine for less than $500 (and that is probably on a special deal "extraordinaire"), not counting the grinder. Around $600 to 700 is probably more realistic.

    3) Down the track, there are a lot of advantages to have a machine that uses "standard 58mm commercial baskets". Virtually all coffee accessories are based around that (i.e. a decent tamper really only comes rarely in 52mm or commonly in 58mm). Highly desirable although not essential. FYI, 52mm is usually cheap dual floor gear, although there are also a number of other "weird & wacky" sizes out there.

    4) Recently a friend in NSW bought a Sunbeam 6910 (easily exceeds 2 & 3 above) as a bundle with a 480 grinder for $600. Checking out such bundles may land you suitable gear... worth having a good browse - especially at this time of year. Disclosure: until recently I had two 6910's: well maintained they are a good "workhorse" espresso machines, my older one is from early 2010 and still fine, the other one (also fine) I upgraded recently to a 7000: much easier to live with (less maintenance) but also dearer.

    5) If you drink a lot of lattes / cappuccinos (milk drinks), consider a machine that can froth the milk whilst pulling the espresso shot. Quite apart from the extra time taken to fiddle around doing them separately, either crema or milk microfoam will deteriorate rapidly if sitting around (and also cool down, which some find unacceptable). That is the main reason I bought a 6910 in the first place. FWIW, my standard is "milk meets espresso within 5 seconds" or it is a sink shot.

    Finally, buying secondhand coffee gear is not a good idea unless you know what you are looking for. I cannot be the only person who has seen a lot of really botched repair jobs which friends bought via gumtree or evilbay and asked me to fix (my answer is always "no" these days).

    Good luck with your journey.


    TampIt
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  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with the grinder in the Lelit Combi linked to above mate...

    A great intro package for anyone starting out IMHO.

    Mal.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Nothing wrong with the grinder in the Lelit Combi linked to above mate...

    A great intro package for anyone starting out IMHO.

    Mal.
    I agree Mal. For the record, I was writing my post to the OP when you posted yours, so they "crossed".

    Jenny: There is a world of difference between a s/h unit from a trusted source (Jetblack) than evilbay unknowns... Still over your budget, however if you are near Jetblack it would be worth a look!

    TampIt
    Dimal likes this.

  7. #7
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    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
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    As a ex em0480 user, it works perfect once its setup. The only trouble I had was it didn't grind fine enough, but problem solved once adding another hinge.



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