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Thread: Poor newbie

  1. #1
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    Poor newbie

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    First up, thank you so much for this brilliant site. Its been an amazing resource since I discovered it the other day and its helped me narrow down my search for my first coffee machine.
    After reading all the posts, and given my budget, I decided that getting a Breville Ikon BES400 and a Sunbeam EM0480 grinder was the answer. hmmm, well that was until I mentioned this to my partner and he looked slightly alarmed at the idea of spending the best part of $450 we dont have on these items.
    I think I will probably win this argument as my need for good coffee is equal to his need for a quiet life, but I wanted to ask this: given that most of you say that getting a decent grinder (and I know the Sunbeam is a very basic one) is often more important than the coffee machine; could I get away with buying an even cheaper espresso maker than the Breville?
    I know that its not exactly expensive compared to some on the market, but its a lot for us to spend. Having said that I dont want to replace it in a year and I am in need of a really, really, consistantly good, strong cup of coffee.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Poor newbie

    Hmm.. it really depends on what YOU want from the machine.

    Will you be using beans you know are fresh?
    What is your preferred coffee? IE: Espresso or milk based?
    Will you look at upgrading in the future(beyond 1 year), or would this be it?

    However, it mostly comes down to that dreaded disease - upgrade-itis!

    Yes, a good grinder is very important, but it has to be realistic for your current set of circumstances.

    Most of us try to get people to invest in the grinder early, because we have all done the multiple upgrade of both machine and grinder and rue the money we could have saved along the way.

    If I could have afforded a Rocky/Compaq/Mazzer etc. right away, and I was aware of the importance, I would have grabbed one. However, when I began this coffee lark, even $100 seemed pricey for a grinder. Plus, I wasnt exactly earning what I am now, so it not only seemed pricey, it was a stretch at the time.

    Whilst the EM0480 is a good grinder for the price, it has not been around long enough to really know its predicted lifespan. With some of the more expensive ones, they have a bit more history behind them.

    So, short answer is yes you could go more money on the grinder, less on the machine, but will you be happy? It depends on your expectations.

    Hope that wasnt too much rambling.

  3. #3
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    Re: Poor newbie

    The honest answer is NO.

    You would be better off spending $300 on an Iberital challenge or Gaggia MDF and getting a plunger and using this with fresh roasted beans from a specialty roaster (site sponsors are good).

    Than save up for a Gaggia classic (about $550 - $600), which is basically the cheapest decent basic espresso machine you can get.

    Or you could save a bit longer for a Rancilio Sylvia ( approx $750).

    That is the cheapest way to come up with your coffee needs that I can come up with.

  4. #4
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    Re: Poor newbie

    My answer is YES!!

    Get the Sunbeam Ristretto for ~$80 + EM450 for ~$160 and you will get very good espresso if you take care with *your shots (same as for any dual purpose boiler machine without PID).

    It may also be worth spending $30 at Jaycar for a digital multimeter with thermocouple so you can calibrate the Ristrettos heat cycle to know when to best pull your shots + $30 for a SS 53mm tamper.

  5. #5
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    Re: Poor newbie

    If a Sunbeam Ristretto is $80, I may just buy one for kicks to see if can actually get a decent brew out of it using my Mini grinder....do they use pressurised baskets? I assume I can just get regular 53mm baskets and shove them in...unless the portafilter is pressurised itself...

  6. #6
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    Re: Poor newbie

    The baskets are pressurised but there are Krups and Saeco non-pressurised baskes that can be substituted (since those have pressurised PFs) or you can get out the dremel/angle grinder and attack the std baskets.

  7. #7
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    Re: Poor newbie

    Thanks so much for all your advice.
    To be honest Im completely confused about what to get. Now Im thinking I should go for a mid-range second hand machine from ebay or somewhere - like the Gaggias Lucinda suggested. Theres a Gaggia classic which is 2 years old available at the moment in my price range.
    Would that be a mistake? Someone said on a previous post that anything over 2 years old is probably not going to be brilliant....

    Oh dear, I need a nice flat white.....

  8. #8
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    Re: Poor newbie

    Hi ejbab,

    Take heart in the fact that you are not alone at the moment. Ive been reading and thinking about a grinder - and then a new machine - for about 6 weeks and I gotta tell you my head hurts from all the information it has taken in :)

    Good luck in your quest.

  9. #9
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    Re: Poor newbie

    A Gaggia Classic in good condition is definitely a good choice but you need to be able to verify that it is OK. The boiler can be easily replaced bu that eats up the savings made on the 2nd hander.
    They are a good step up from the Sunbeam/Brevile bolier/single thermoblock machines.

    I ve had very good baristas tell me that theyd have no issues paying in a cafe for some of the shots Ive made on mine.

  10. #10
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    Re: Poor newbie

    The Classic is an excellent entry level machine and I have been told by a lot of people that they get better coffee at my house than in a cafe. Possibly the home roasted beans.

    From time to time they come up for sale here on the site.

    I dont know about the two year thing. I have had mine three years and it is still in very good condition - mostly because I look after it.

    It will do you well until you do the major upgrade to a bezzera or Giotto or something like that.



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