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Thread: Budget machine for a friend

  1. #1
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    Budget machine for a friend

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi snobs :)

    I have been asked to find a decent espesso machine under $200. I know, I know, decent is usually $500+ (certainly learned that from my readings here at CS). My friend is a beginner, usually drinks from a plunger, and just wants to dip her toe in the espresso world. Shes on a very very tight budget, and I doubt would ever want to sep up to a real espresso machine.

    I have so far got the Sunbeam Cafe Crema and Brevelle Cafe Roma on my list. I have the Sunbeam and it serves me fine as a beginner - I assume it will someone else too as it comes with the DVD on how to use the machine/make drinks/froth milk. The Brevelle - Ive also read is a good starting block...have never used it, and the brevelle I bought a few years back (Cafe Italia???) was a heap of JUNK!!!.

    Anyway, Im leaning towards telling her to get the Sunbeam. If anyone has any thoughts or any other recommendations Id love to hear your reasoning.

    Im also going to recommend that my friend get a hand grinder. There is no way she can afford an electronic one that will do the job so this seems like the best solution. Whats the best price I could get for a good one online?

    Charlotte.

  2. #2
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    2nd hand on e-bay is probably the way to go!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Nope, she wants a brand new budget machine. Doesnt like coffee enough to warrant getting anything better.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Quote Originally Posted by drovers-sunrise link=1193256915/0#2 date=1193265395
    Nope, she wants a brand new budget machine. Doesnt like coffee enough to warrant getting anything better.
    I reckon shes wasting her time. If she doesnt like coffee that much, perhaps she could buy a nice dinner out?

    The cheapest machine thats even worth considering is the Breville Ikon....If she wants cheaper than that Id be suggesting a good entry level grinder, fresh coffee and a plunger....

    Id love a brand new budget Ferrari for $5K too, but thats about as likely... ;D

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    There are plenty of people in this forum (including myself) that make a nice coffees on a cheap machine (with mods). I know that you can make even nicer coffees on the more pricey machines, but thats not what shes looking for. She wants to upgrade from her plunger onto a very low end espresso machine. She will be sharing it with her sister, and between them theyd only really drink 4 cups a day.

    I know the thermoblock machines arent ideal, but plenty of domestic users have them... and at this stage its all she wants.

    Is there anyone on the forum with a low end machine that could share their thoughts?

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    How about a Sunbeam Ristretto (EM2300) and Sunbeam EM0450 grinder.

    I have been using an EM2300 at work with Krupps unpressurised baskets and its not too bad, especially considering it only cost $69.

    Pair it up with the EM0450, which is essentially a stripped down plastic EM0480, and Krupps baskets, and you have yourself a budget espresso setup for around $250.


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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Id agree with knaff, not sure how much a Breville Ikon is but maybe look at that one too. We all agree you can get better results from more expensive machines, but if thats their budget and theyre set on a cheap new espresso machine logic aside, then thats what you have to work with.

    With a grinder theyll get the best results possible at that price point, which, with proper use, would have to be classed as at least average, and well above what youd normally get from such a machine using pre-ground and pressurised baskets.

    Good luck!
    Greg

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Yep, I plan to get some non-pressurised baskets, and as I stated above Ive recommended a Turkish hand grinder.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Sorry D-S, missed the bit about the grinder. So long as the hand grinder is a good one then go for it; however be aware that a lot of the cheaper hand grinders up to $50ish tend to have a fair bit of wobble in the burrs so you end up with a very uneven grind. The Zassenhaus hand grinders are apparently excellent, but at $175 are more than the EM0450 which is normally under $140 I believe, so definitely give it some thought. If you spent $140 on the grinder and $60-$70 on the machine (presuming the EM2300 is that price, or check the price on the Ikon), youd get better results than $200 on a machine and using pre-ground.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Greg - the turkish grinders are very well made, as they are designed to grind very fine and cost around $60. I used mine for a long time before I got the MDF and it was equal to that.

    I use it for plunger coffee when we go away now and it does a great job of that too.


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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Quote Originally Posted by knaff link=1193256915/0#5 date=1193269251

    I have been using an EM2300 at work with Krupps unpressurised baskets and its not too bad, especially considering it only cost $69.
    The Sunbeam Ristretto is $99.95 RRP. It is not $69 unless you get a better deal then the RRP.


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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Who pays RRP ?? *;D

    Kmart had them for $69, 2 weeks ago

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Kmart had them for $99 two weeks ago - almost got one.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    She ended up getting a Cafe Crema and will get a turkish grinder. Thanks everyone for your comments.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Even at $99, Id take one over any Breville/Sunbeam thermoblock (6910 excluded)

    Pros :

    Boiler
    Steam control knob
    "Krups" compatible
    1.5L water tank
    Small footprint
    Price

    Cons:

    Plastic construction
    Small driptray
    Steam capacity limited


  16. #16
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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Quote Originally Posted by knaff link=1193256915/0#14 date=1193298453
    Even at $99, Id take one over any Breville/Sunbeam thermoblock (6910 excluded)

    Pros :

    Boiler
    Steam control knob
    "Krups" compatible
    1.5L water tank
    Small footprint
    Price

    Cons:

    Plastic construction
    Small driptray
    Steam capacity limited
    The plastic was the thing that put her off. She wanted the stainless steel because it would be more sturdy.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    More looks Id say. Theyd all have a plastic chassis underneath, its just a matter of the skin. That being the case Id suspect shes more after something that looks fancy than the best available for the money.

    But hey, reason and logic aside, if shes using it and shes happy with it thats the main thing. The grinder will certainly help make the most of it.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Ah, the old form over function choice....

    Whilst a "good looking" piece of kit is really attractive in the kitchen (especially important in some peoples eyes)..... as Luca would say it should be "what is in the cup that counts"....

    After all we are talking coffee machines, not vases of flowers or paintings....

    So with coffee machines it should be function over form.... it is an appliance designed to carry out a function. This becomes increasingly important when cost is a significant factor.... would you rather the manufacturer spend the limited funds on something which looks pretty or something which helps make better coffee?

    Would you buy a car with metallic paint and leather trim because it looks good..... if it means they didnt have enough money left in the budget to fit brakes!! :o :o - I very much doubt it....

    So if you want a machine to make coffee go for function.... but if you want a piece of decoration which you want people to admire but wont really use ::).... just like the car with no brakes.... go for form!

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1193256915/15#17 date=1193313821
    So with coffee machines it should be function over form.... it is an appliance designed to carry out a function.
    I trust youre not referring to specialist espresso machines and grinders here JB :-? ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1193256915/15#18 date=1193314904
    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1193256915/15#17 date=1193313821
    So with coffee machines it should be function over form.... it is an appliance designed to carry out a function.
    I trust youre not referring to specialist espresso machines and grinders here JB :-? ;)

    Mal.

    Ehhh.... nope.... talking appliances.... those so called coffee making things sold by chain stores etc..... (well it is in a thread with "Budget machine" in the title)......

    But seeing you bought it up - lets face it, many serious coffee machines dont look as "pretty" (or should that be unobtrusive ::)) as some of the appliances (especially to she who rules the kitchen ;) ;D).... but they sure work a whole heap better - in fact no comparison on that front..

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Yeah, I dont know what possessed her to get the Crema, I guess the fact that she knew I owned it so could give her some tips. I only found coffee snobs after the fact Id went and got a machine, but if I had known about this place I would have probably reached for something a bit better :s. Anywy, the sunbeam will do, its going well.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Hope she enjoys the coffee :)

    You never know, it just may lead her to spend $1000s on a great setup down the track - but even if not shell soon be enjoying far better coffee than the average punter!

    One tip with the single thermoblock sunbeams (actually you probably already know this...) - always pour the espresso first, then steam the milk. If making multiple cups and you need to pour an espresso soon after steaming milk, run a good amount of water through the group head first to cool everything down.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Drover, I saw the Breville Ikon for $300 in the Good guys pamplet this week, compared to $460 at Myer!!

    $300 for the Ikon, is a great buy given all the great feedback 2mcm and others have said.

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    If only id known about this place when I was shopping for my machine!


    I like my sunbeam, I dont really know any better than it, but the Ikon looks really good from what people have said. And what a great price from the good guys!!!

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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Christop link=1193256915/15#22 date=1193364513
    Drover, I saw the Breville Ikon for $300 in the Good guys pamplet this week, compared to $460 at Myer!!

    $300 for the Ikon, is a great buy given all the great feedback 2mcm and others have said.
    Chris

    Does the Breville Ikon for $300 that you bought includes the Breville grinder. *I know there was a package deal a month ago from the Good Guys where the grinder and espresso machine were going for $279 package price. *A friends birthday is coming up and she said she wants to buy an espresso machine as she loves her double espresso. *I am thinking of getting this machine for her birthday present as a surprise. *Anyone knows which retailer in Perth has the best deal on this machine?

    Alternatively does anyone has any suggestion for a "good" espresso machine for under $300?

    Thanks
    Stephen

  26. #26
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    Re: Budget machine for a friend

    Hey Stephen, probably not the answer youre hoping for but if she drinks espresso, anything you can get for $300 would probably disappoint! Your best bet might be to get her a $300 grinder and leave the machine to her, or to team up with some other friends/relatives and get something more substantial.

    Having said that, the Ikon seems to have a reputation as a better cheap machine, and $279 with a grinder sounds like a great price!

    PS - just noticed this thread: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1178803379

    Would be well worth a read if youre considering the Ikon!



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