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Thread: What to buy (sub$500) ???

  1. #1
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    What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    We already have a really good grinder but have always made our coffee using the traditional Italian machinetta. I am looking to by my husband a coffee machine for fathers day and not sure what to buy. I would appreciate your suggestions on what to buy and also where to get the best deal.

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Welcome to Coffee Snobs ligato.

    A budget would be a good start before we could recommend a machine.
    What grinder do you have?

    And as for where to get the best deal...look at the sponsors links on the left side of the page.
    Theyll look after you.

  3. #3
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Hi there,

    I am hoping to spend under $500. My grinder is an Isomac Granmacinino and is probably 5 years old but still doing well.

    Many thanks

  4. #4
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    I hate to tell you this but you really will not get a great machine for under $500.

    The next best thing I can recommend - and the cheapest, is a Gaggia classic. These can be anywhere from $600+. depending on where you go.

    However - if you want a really good bargain and dont mind preloved go for this as it is a steal
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1187351627

    If I had the money spare I would go for it myself.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Hi ligato and welcome.

    I agree with lucinda that for undner $500 you wont get a great machine - it will be ok, and do for up to a couple of years before a bout of upgraditis may set in.

    If you can s - t - r - e - t - c - h your budget to $600 and happy to buy something 2nd hand, though very near new, then this is the one I would recommend....

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1187916361/1#1

    This machine should last a long, long time with a little care, is well below market value, and most importantly, has the potential to make great coffee!

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  6. #6
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    You could get a second hand EM6910 for that sort of dosh, which is a nice machine - please feel free to search and read the threads on them on here. And welcome.

    Cheers

  7. #7
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    I agree that the Sunbeam EM6910 would be a good choice (I have one), and has been around long enough now that you can find some good deals (in the mid to high $500s if youre lucky). I would only buy second hand if you can get an exceptional deal. Dont be tempted by the EM6900 - its a bit of a dog.

    I dont know of any other machines sub-$500 which come even close to the EM6910. Some are not bad - eg the Breville Ikon (more disclosure - I have one at work), but it is no match for the Sunbeam, eg milk frothing takes twice as long, though it does produce a nice espresso.

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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Faced with the same question some time back when i was just starting this coffee thing, I was tossing between a few Breville models, namely, the Ikon, Cafe Roma, ES800... Ended up eliminating the thermoblock machines in favour of boiler.. Long story short, I ended up with a Gaggia carezza.
    In hindsight, I think it was a very good choice starting out because paired with a decent grinder, it pulled decent shots and steaming milk for 1 is pretty good (managed to spill out some milk on myself in a 300ml jug). The main reasons why it was a good starter machine is because it came with unpressurised baskets and in 58mm which means when you get a good tamper for it and decide to upgrade the machine later, you can pretty much use the same tamper.
    Dont know where youd get a Carezza anymore these days apart from 2nd hand ones...

  9. #9
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    So the Ikon BES400 with non-pressure baskets (yes it comes with pressure baskets), an immersed thermocouple in a 200cc stainless boiler set at 92degC should be a pretty good machine no?

    I am still adjusting to its steamer. The initial stretching phase of the milk is a little rough at this point, but I end up getting the milk spinning nicely in the jug and a very fine texture. I removed the silly outer sheath from the steaming wand BTW - whats with that!!??

    I managed to deal the salesman down from $400 sticker to $288.

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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    "I managed to deal the salesman down from $400 sticker to $288."

    Was this for just the Ikon, or did it include the grinder? If it was just for the Ikon, they were pulling a swifty, as the Breville RRP is $355.

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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Yeah, the sticker said $399, it was on the machine. I think this *was* the RRP but you are right, the RRP has dropped.

    I still got it for $288, so better than a poke in the eye.

    And no, that did not include the grinder - if thats what it can charitably be called....all $30 bucks worth......

  12. #12
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    No, when Breville do the package deal on the BES400, the grinder is the conical burr model (BCG450) which has a RRP of $169.95, so its actually a very good deal.

    I have this combo at work, and it works extremely well. Time will tell just how long the grinder lasts (it doesnt have the extended motor warranty of the Sunbeam), but it does get a flogging and hasnt complained yet.

  13. #13
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Buy the Silvia for $600 as listed above, its a brilliant machine!!!

  14. #14
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    IF you dont want to froth milk, go the Presso and save heaps,

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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    so ligato, what did you end up getting? As you have probably noticed we here are quite passionate about every aspect of coffee making, and have our likes and dislikes...... personally I dont have much time for brevilles, krupps, gaggias, delonghis or sunbeams, its a pity the silvia mentioned above is gone it would definitely have put a smile on your face although I must say if you are still looking I would have to say that your isomac grinder really does deserve an isomac espresso machine, they rock.... anyway my 2 cents worth..... Ray.

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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Newbie to site. So far I have been on my own finding out the worst of the sub $500 market. I first purchased a Krups :-X(yes dirty word here) 4050 with a "free" grinder. This machine, with the grinder didnt do too badly for the first 3 weeks and produced mixed coffee results, but not to bad a coffee. Yes consistent and as quoted else where mostly bad, but sometimes good. After the first 3 weeks all ok until the drip tray started to stick >:( and then got totally stuck to the point where you could not remove it, unless you really forced it. A phone call to the ever helpful Krups customer service line later and was told "Oh no never heard of that before" return it for a replacement. So back we go, duly replaced and the second machine after about 6 weeks, the drip tray started to stick again. Grr!! Enough of this, Krups customer service line again "No, never heard of that before!!" Back for replacement again and then changed over to a Sunbeam EM5800. Same price, seemed a good machine. 6 weeks on has gone back for refund. Started to leak all over the bench top and the drip tray was rusting due to the crapping plating used on the faux stainless! :-? So back to square one now investigating a replacement unit, while using a stove top coffee thingo.

  17. #17
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Maybe, considering what youve gone through so far, you might want to consider spending a few dollars more.

  18. #18
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    If you want a decent espresso you will probably need to save your pennies and get a decent machine and grinder, eg: Sunbeam 6910, Silvia, Gaggia Classic etc.......I know they cost a lot more but if you are serious about good coffee you will more than likely buy a sub-$500 machine and soon after upgrade to the next level.
    Perhaps a second hand quality machine?

  19. #19
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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Hiya

    Ive had a Breville 800 for the last couple of months (wedding gift), and for a budget of around $400, Id recommend it if, and thats a big IF(so big its in capitals), you are prepared to:

    a) get a krups de-pressurised filter immediately, model no:0907163. The shots from the original pressurised filters are bitter even if you spend ages getting the grind dialed in. Id read this on a forum and found it to be true - I couldnt beleive the difference after swapping to the krups - huge difference to taste, extraction speed and colour of creama. Saying that, the bitterness with the pressurised filter iss much less noticable with the shots, not milky drinks, so bear that in mind if thats all you drink. I got mine from Bravo Coffee MAchine service centre is St Peters, Sydney for $13. (not to be confused with their shop in Enmore a couple of blocks away).

    b) throw away the supplied plastic doser/tamper and get a new one.

    c) throw away the attached steam enhancer. They are absolutely useless.

    As for all the talk about Thermoblocks, Id ask what your intended purpose is for the machine. If its to make a couple of drinks per day, fine. Run a shot through the empty basket to bring us to temp and learn to dose properly. If you do this, the machine is absolutely fine. Using fresh coffee, pref ground immediately is the most important thing really.

    If I didnt get this as a gift, Id have probably bought a baby gaggia or gaggia classic for approx the $500 mark. My brother has a classic and to tell you the truth, I find they produce similar shots (after the Breville has the krups replacement). The main reason Id go with them is all the mucking about sorting out the points above. Again, if youre buying, or more likely if you have one already and are a bit miffed at its quality, it can be sorted out!

    Finally, I hope this is not a silly question, but has anyone ever performed blindfold taste testing on similary priced machines where one is thermoblock and the other is not? Is it really that bigger a difference? Honest Question!





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    Re: What to buy (sub$500) ???

    Quote Originally Posted by greenman link=1188083851/15#17 date=1199269089
    If you want a decent espresso you will probably need to save your pennies and get a decent machine and grinder, eg: Sunbeam 6910, Silvia, Gaggia Classic etc.......I know they cost a lot more but if you are serious about good coffee you will more than likely buy a sub-$500 machine and soon after upgrade to the next level.
    Perhaps a second hand quality machine?
    Ive said it before and Ill happily say it again: If youre only after espresso, my opinion is that it is very difficult to beat the Presso for bang for buck.

    Its a lot more fiddly and hands-on, which makes it harder to produce consistency but this in turn means that you can produce quite tremendous coffee as long youre prepared to dedicate a little more time towards perfecting the art. I spent the Christmas break fiddling with a Bezzera Galatea (w/ Bezzera stepped grinder) and Im not all that sad to be returning to my faithful Presso/Sunbeam EM0480 combo at work.

    Josh D



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