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Thread: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

  1. #1
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    Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi, i was wondering if it is possible to make an acceptable flat white for under AUD200.

    Ive been looking around and have come to the conclusion that grinding is out of the question for me, due to space constraints (i rent a room), time constraints (i typically drink in the morning before class), money constraints (im poor. a proper grinder costs AUD200+), and drinking patterns (i only take about 5 shots a week!).

    Originally i got a Cafe Ristretto, but it was leaky so i returned and got a Breville Bar Italia instead. I somewhat regret that decision. The Bar Italia cannot pull a proper shot as it is steam driven. The Cafe Ristretto was better.


    I am thinking of:

    1) Getting another Cafe Ristretto. (Hey, at 90 bucks, how bad could it be?)
    2) Using the non-pressurized basket from the Bar Italia.
    3) Getting a proper tamper.
    4) Using pre-ground coffee from the supermarket.
    5) Will the above combo produce decent coffee?

    6) If i used the pressurized basket, would it clog up eventually with supermarket coffee?


    I know the purists will cry blasphemy... but im sure the above combo would produce coffee way better than the best instant coffees.


    Questions:

    1) Would the bar italias non-pressurized basket fit the cafe ristretto?
    2) What size tamper would i need to get?
    3) Would the non-presurrized basket produce acceptable coffee with supermarket ground coffee (eg. the illy/lavazza tins)
    4) Should i get another more pricey model than the cafe ristretto? If its lifespan is low it may be more economically sound to get a more reliable model. Would the ristretto last a few hundred shots at least? My last unit was leaky from the start.. it had a faulty seal where the water container docked.


    I would consider splurging on a Rancilio Silvia / Via Venezia class espresso machine... as they last and my grandchildren may be able to use them.. but it probably would be overkill as i dont plan to grind any time soon. But then again... it does not use aluminium components and is probably healthier on the long run. What do you guys think?


    Other Question:
    1) Would a Silvia class espresso maker work properly with supermarket ground coffee?
    2) Would it produce a satisfactory espresso with say a pack of lavazza oro that was opened a week ago? Or does it demand freshly ground coffee beans?

  2. #2
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Hi there - welcome. There is lightyears in ability between the Ristretto and the Silvia BUT if your never going to buy proper locally roasted coffee (by that I mean roasted in Australia) and grind it yourself (or roast coffee yourself) then you might as well save a heap of dough and get another Ristretto and use the pressurised baskets with the supermarket coffee.

    Cheers

  3. #3
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    ozscott is correct,

    Without freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee you are better off with a "low end" coffee appliance.

    So if you cant afford the money or time (or in your case the room) to have a grinder.... you will have real difficulty in getting anything of value out of a machine without pressurised baskets...... and for the same reason - dont buy a non pressurised basket for what ever appliance you do buy.

    Non pressurised baskets require the correct size grind (and you cant get that from "one size fits all preground") and the coffee must be freshly ground and correctly tamped (and the preground is stale when packed... no need to wait a week!!!)

    Stay with the Ristretto!

  4. #4
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    What about an Aeropress???

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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    While the aeropress (we sell them) makes a great americano, I think where it excels is for black coffee drinkers, and as a travelling companion to avoid those nasties you find in hotels and camp sites.

    If you have the resources available, I think that one of the cheapest, and best, ways to make a decent flat white is to use the humble moka pot, then add some microwawed milk. If you use the search feature on the CS site, youll come across some great techniques using the moka that produce great results.

    If you choose that path, youll have spare funds to purchase freshly roasted coffee, either locally, or from one of the site sponsors. You might be surprised to find that coffee purchased this way is relatively inexpensive, can generally be delivered to your door, and ground for whatever means of coffee making you use. While not ideal to pre-grind, I can promise you it will be way better than anything you can find at the supermarket.

    All the best!


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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by cuppacoffee link=1209917610/0#4 date=1209946461
    If you have the resources available, I think that one of the cheapest, and best, ways to make a decent flat white is to use the humble moka pot, then add some microwawed milk. If you use the search feature on the CS site, youll come across some great techniques using the moka that produce great results.
    Good advice /thumbs up/, there was a recent thread on getting the best out of a moka pot that was an eye opener for me.

  7. #7
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by cuppacoffee link=1209917610/0#4 date=1209946461
    While the aeropress (we sell them) makes a great americano, I think where it excels is for black coffee drinkers, and as a travelling companion to avoid those nasties you find in hotels and camp sites.

    If you have the resources available, I think that one of the cheapest, and best, ways to make a decent flat white is to use the humble moka pot, then add some microwawed milk. If you use the search feature on the CS site, youll come across some great techniques using the moka that produce great results.

    If you choose that path, youll have spare funds to purchase freshly roasted coffee, either locally, or from one of the site sponsors. You might be surprised to find that coffee purchased this way is relatively inexpensive, can generally be delivered to your door, and ground for whatever means of coffee making you use. While not ideal to pre-grind, I can promise you it will be way better than anything you can find at the supermarket.

    All the best!
    I did consider a moka pot at first, but the problem is that i live in a dorm and the kitchen is quite a distance away. I am not allowed to have a hotplate or cooking utensils in the dorm.

    the aeropress is quite interesting... but cant make steamed milk. Asides from flat whites, i also enjoy the occasional hot chocolate with steamed milk.

  8. #8
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Yeah, Im sure you could be perfectly happy with pre-ground coffee in pressurised baskets using a Cafe Ristretto. Then you can do your hot chocolates, and yes, the coffee will taste much better than instant. In my (not very informed) opinion, milk coffees are more forgiving than straight espresso shots, so you should be fine.

    Of course the day you manage to get hold of a grinder and some nice fresh coffee will be a taste revelation! Something to look forward to I guess ...

    I guess if you want better build quality (Im betting the internals are pretty much identical though), I got my Cafe Crema (which feels pretty solid, with a nice heavy portafilter) for around $160 - $170 or so from the Good Guys, I forget exactly how much. It really does feel much sturdier than the Breville Cafe Roma I had a while back (the stainless model), and the Ristretto.

  9. #9
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Hi ezra,

    I just sent you a PM about my sunbeam cafe crema sitting in my cupboard.

    Much better machine compared to the same class brevilles due to the stainless steel PF...

    Gav

  10. #10
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Try a Saeco Gran Cream if you can get one.
    Good value , and i get good shorts out of it with Medaglia di Orro Espresso pre-ground from the supermarket.

  11. #11
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lozzo link=1209917610/0#9 date=1210242812
    Try a Saeco Gran Cream if you can get one.
    Good value , and i get good shorts out of it with Medaglia di Orro Espresso pre-ground from the supermarket.
    I havent tried supermarket pre-ground because rumours were it tasted like shorts.
    Youve now confirmed it.

  12. #12
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    Re: Newbie Needs Advice. Many Questions...

    I had a laugh.



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