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Thread: Around 500$ budget cant decide on machine, first time home brewer, please advise ?

  1. #1
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    Question Around 500$ budget cant decide on machine, first time home brewer, please advise ?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight

    Please suggest, I will be home brewing for the first time
    I drink my coffee with milk, a self confessed novice

    Option One - Gaggia Classic + a basic hand Grinder

    Option two - Breville Smart Grinder Pro + (An espresso machine around 250$)

    Option Three - Macap M2M + Aeropress

    I am open to suggestions, if you think there is a better combination out there !

  2. #2
    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    This might be a different sort of suggestion, however If you say your budget is $500 or there abouts i suggest you wait another couple of months until you have saved another $500 and try to get yourself something like a Rancilio silvia and a breville smart grinder or if you can stretch it out a M2M. I only say this from personal experience over the years. I look at the machine I have now and wished Id saved the money first up.

    If you didn't want to go down this road any of the options above might work or try looking for something that is second hand around your budget.

    Cheers,

    Chris
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    Welcome to CS!

    Agree wholeheartedly with coffeechris!

    I can tell you there comes a time when you think "good grief, why am I drinking average coffees".

    Have a look over our Sponsors' sites as well. So many goodies to look at!

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    Before recommending anything else... do you drink (coffee) like George Thorogood.... ie alone? Or do you want a solution more versatile?
    Re: option 1 - It's all in the grind - a hand grinder is an option but espresso machines will not tolerate anything too basic. The Gaggia's ok.
    Re: option 2 - Any new 'espresso' machine retailing for $250 might produce a coffee-like drink but it will be ... generally rubbish in terms of espresso.
    Re: option 3 - Does it matter if your milk is not nicely 'stretched' like cafes do? This option certainly works as a two step process for the long term - ie step 1 with step 2 being enough funds for a decent machine.
    Last edited by WantRancilio10; 24th November 2015 at 10:21 AM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    I reckon option 3 is like agreeing with Chris, but getting half of what you want sooner.. Cause it's not like the aero press would be a wasted purchase after a machine comes along. Great for trips away.
    Get your M2M, so you have a base of a great grinder, and then continue saving toward a Rancilio Silvia.

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    An older but in good condition smart grinder and EM6910 will cost around $200 each and produce coffee better than many cafes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFreddofrog View Post
    An older but in good condition smart grinder and EM6910 will cost around $200 each and produce coffee better than many cafes.


    PU6910 Espresso Bar includes EM6910 Espresso Machine & EM0440 Grinder are avaialble on myer as a combo for 600. Is it a good option ?

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    Thanks coffeechris, I am definitely considering your advice...

    I appreciate the senior members taking time to answer the queries

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    Quote Originally Posted by MochaSam View Post
    EM6910 Espresso Machine & EM0440 Grinder
    Many snobs began with a 6910 & 440/480/490. Many snobs still have them and are happy enough. They don't retain value so can be picked up very cheaply on the used market (the 0480/490 are better than the 440, if you had the choice).
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  10. #10
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    The coffee unit is the same. but the grinder is not as good as a smart grinder imho. FYI I paid $70 for my (used) smart grinder, perfect condition. There is one currently on gumtree for $190 in perth. It's been on there for months. Obviously over priced. If you're in Perth, offer max $100 and go from there.

    The 440 or 480 I've see reasonable regularly on gumtree for well under $100. I think there is one there now for $60 so it would probably go for $40 if it hasn't already.

    FYI i recently sold a 6910 to someone on coffeesnobs for $200, worked perfectly. I also bought one for my father for only $50. Didn't look as nice but still works as it should. He's currently using my Hario hand grinder and building lots of muscle in the process.

    Btw, as you can tell, I rarely buy stuff new. I hate paying for depreciation, but if you want it right now, want security of warranties etc then new is still a viable option.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFreddofrog View Post
    The coffee unit is the same. but the grinder is not as good as a smart grinder imho. FYI I paid $70 for my (used) smart grinder, perfect condition. There is one currently on gumtree for $190 in perth. It's been on there for months. Obviously over priced. If you're in Perth, offer max $100 and go from there.

    The 440 or 480 I've see reasonable regularly on gumtree for well under $100. I think there is one there now for $60 so it would probably go for $40 if it hasn't already.

    FYI i recently sold a 6910 to someone on coffeesnobs for $200, worked perfectly. I also bought one for my father for only $50. Didn't look as nice but still works as it should. He's currently using my Hario hand grinder and building lots of muscle in the process.

    Btw, as you can tell, I rarely buy stuff new. I hate paying for depreciation, but if you want it right now, want security of warranties etc then new is still a viable option.
    Thanks MrFreddofrog, I have been looking for a new unit for the peace of mind of a warranty.
    I don't mind going for a 2nd that is still covered. I will start going through gumtree.

    Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by MochaSam View Post
    Thanks MrFreddofrog, I have been looking for a new unit for the peace of mind of a warranty.
    I don't mind going for a 2nd that is still covered. I will start going through gumtree.

    Thanks again
    We also have a For Sale section on this forum. Good bargains turn up there.

    Make sure you approach a gumtree deal as a Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware. Ask as many questions you can imagine. Make sure (if possible) you get a chance to see and try a coffee made from a machine being sold. Be careful of retail shops offering "deals". Sometimes their goods are grey imports, and quality of after sales service little to none.
    Run any purchase you might consider past the forum. Users are a wealth of knowledge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenBeanGenii View Post
    We also have a For Sale section on this forum. Good bargains turn up there.

    Make sure you approach a gumtree deal as a Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware. Ask as many questions you can imagine. Make sure (if possible) you get a chance to see and try a coffee made from a machine being sold. Be careful of retail shops offering "deals". Sometimes their goods are grey imports, and quality of after sales service little to none.
    Run any purchase you might consider past the forum. Users are a wealth of knowledge.
    This is true. There are lots of dodgy sellers on gumtree. I'm yet to buy off CS so can't say much about that avenue.
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  14. #14
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    Welcome "MochaSam"....

    As you will see posted by many CSers, especially the ones who have been around for a while, that you should aim to buy the best grinder you can afford because it is down to this single piece of hardware when used with freshly roasted high quality beans, that you will realise the best that the bean has to offer.

    Given that statement, I would support your third option too as the AeroPress is no slouch when it comes to being able to produce excellent quality results in the cup. At least with owning a very decent grinder in the form of the Macap, down the road there is less to think about when deciding what to do when selecting a decent espresso machine to match it up with. I probably use my AeroPress about 40% of the time making coffee, as it just offers a different (but excellent) perspective to always using the espresso machine...

    Worth a long, careful consideration in my view...

    Mal.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Great points re getting a decent grinder. Worthwhile long term investment.

    A grinder you could safely buy used for something like a k3, built to last and not much to go wrong , especially if the history is credible. That would eat up around half your budget. As would a brand new breville smart grinder (often on sale for 200) which although not as solid as something like a k3, gives great performance for the $, and you can keep if for filter coffees when/if you upgrade to a traditional grinder.

    With the rest of the budget the aero press is awesome as recommended already. You could get a second hand 6910 or nemox/lelit style machine if your lucky which would give you the espresso option.

    Keep an eye out in the for sale section. I'm sure you will find great gear in your budget, assuming you don't need it now.

    Also have a read through this site, there is lots of great info that you will find handy.

    Cheers

  16. #16
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    Push your budget a little to get a Silvia. Anything less will disappoint

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly404 View Post
    Push your budget a little to get a Silvia. Anything less will disappoint
    I'd be recommending an equivalent Lelit machine; much better bang for buck...

    Mal.

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    I would look at option 2, only because you are new to brewing coffee. I mean once you get into it, who knows, you might find it too much of a hassle (gasp i know i know).

    Alternatively, you could look at the best grinder you can buy (option 3) and maybe a second hand machine instead of the aeropress?
    I'm still using my breville ikon even though I changed grinders three times.
    That being said, buy from people reputable (e.g. here) - I just spent half a day helping out my friend who was given a BES800 full of muck, and they didn't know what was wrong with it (it didn't even extract liquid, let along a coffee drink). Do the research and legwork, and inspect the machine, and you'll get what you put into it.

  19. #19
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    Based on the budget (which I understand BUT as other have said spending a lil more might ACTUALLY SAVE YOU IN THE LONG RUN) you have I'd post up a WTB ad in the listing here and see what comes your way. CSers generally treat their gear very well (certainly a lot better than the average Joe Bloggs) and alas are often beset by a nasty ailment known as Upgradeitis. So that is how to best maximise a $500 budget.

    When the offers come in - research them on here (generally using search is best as it'd be an obscure bit of gear that wasn't very well chronicled in these parts) and see how you go.

    BUT....I would try and scrape together a lil more coin, perhaps closer to $1000, so that you get something 2nd hand that works really well and will last really well. There's an expression,"The poor man always pays twice." So IMHO just something to be aware of as a lil more $$$ will likely give you a lot more benefit. :-)

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    You wont get much for 500. You would do well to look at a second hand compak k3 circa $250 and i would look at a second hand silvia say 400. Both great machines but will be above your 500 budget. On the other side you will be purchasing machines that will last a long time yet even second hand. Silvias are also easy to repair and replace stuff.

  21. #21
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    I love how all these people just write off $500 as being 'not enough'. Oh how quickly we forget. Yep, absolutely, if you could I'd suggest spending more too. That's not much help if you don't have any more than $500. If you want to start your journey now then there's absolutely no reason you can't. As someone who has always been on a tight budget I'd say $500 is plenty to get you started.
    When I bought my first home espresso machine my budget was about $200 including grinder. I bought a Gaggia Classic for $150, and had to spend $80 on it straight away for a professional descale. A few months later I upgraded the steam wand. Then I got over 4 years of daily service from it before it died. I ended up reconditioning and selling it earlier this year for good money.
    I've now got a small heat exchanger machine at home which is just awesome, but I've also got a Sunbeam EM4820 at work with a Sunbeam EM0440 grinder. For what it is the Sunbeam is fantastic so I wouldn't hesitate in buying a higher level one such as the EM6910. And the Sunbeam grinders 0440/50/80/90 are all the same on the inside, the higher level ones just look nicer, have more features and a wider range of adjustment. None of which really matters.
    With all that in mind I'd suggest these options within your budget:
    1. The Sunbeam package you mentioned (haggle them down a bit if you can or get some extras thrown in).
    2. A much better, but 2nd hand grinder such as Compak K3 and whatever espresso machine you can afford with the left over $$ (Sunbeam EM6910 or Gaggia Classic).
    3. The best grinder you can afford and an Aeropress, then save up for a better machine some time in the next year or two.

    Whatever you decide to go with make sure you do plenty of reading on this forum (and others) to find out how to get the most out of your machine. Little things make a difference - like throwing out the 'crema disk' that's in the EM6910 portafilter, and making sure you don't ever use double walked filter baskets.
    Finally, be prepared to want to upgrade in the future. Whatever you get for your $500 could keep you happy for years, but it's unlikely to keep you happy (or last) forever. But hey, that's what it's all about. You could triple your budget to buy a brand new Rancillio machine/grinder package and you'll still want to upgrade at some stage in the future.
    All the best, make sure you let us know how you go.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Oh and by the way my current HX machine still only cost me $440. So there's great machines out there for decent prices, you just had to be patient and wait for them to come along.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    I went shopping for a Jeep with a budget of $500, this was all I could find, caveat emptor.

    jeep.jpg

    Seriously though, some of us have the knack of ferreting out a pre loved bargain, others are destined to pay full retail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Oh and by the way my current HX machine still only cost me $440. So there's great machines out there for decent prices, you just had to be patient and wait for them to come along.
    I bought my brand new in box BES920 for $600. Unwanted wedding present. But great deals don't come often and you have to bargain hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFreddofrog View Post
    I bought my brand new in box BES920 for $600. Unwanted wedding present. But great deals don't come often and you have to bargain hard.
    thats an absolute steal. I bought my 900 for just over $500 with 3 month warranty and looked almost next to brand new

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    Quote Originally Posted by Libertyrx1 View Post
    thats an absolute steal. I bought my 900 for just over $500 with 3 month warranty and looked almost next to brand new
    Gotta be happy with that too, $500 for a almost new 900 is pretty sweet

  27. #27
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MochaSam View Post

    Please suggest, I will be home brewing for the first time
    I drink my coffee with milk, a self confessed novice

    Option One - Gaggia Classic + a basic hand Grinder

    Option two - Breville Smart Grinder Pro + (An espresso machine around 250$)

    Option Three - Macap M2M + Aeropress

    I am open to suggestions, if you think there is a better combination out there !
    If you haven't bought anything yet I noticed the PU6910 bundle is available on eBay for about $500-550 from a couple of different vendors. Also a 2nd hand EM6910 has just popped up on the CS sales page in Whittlesea. Buying off a forum member may give you the chance to try before you buy and you might get some tips on operation while you're there.



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