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Thread: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need Help)

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    Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need Help)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey all
    I am looking to buy a coffee machine when i have acquired a job in town maybe at KFC.
    When i earn enough money i would like to buy a coffee machine and possibly a grinder, just something cheap so i can make my own coffee and if i can, share it with my friends if they are game to try, offcourse they cant use the machine and i wouldnt let them touch it either ;D. I would like suggestions on what a good starter machine and grinder are, nothing extravagant just something cheap but has been trusted to make a nice coffee in the past! ;)
    Thanks Guys! (i dont what i would do without your help :D)

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Gday HCK, I dont think I will have the answer for you, but maybe help clarify for those who do.

    What is your maximum total budget for the machine & grinder? Are you thinking an espresso machine? What are your usage habits likely to be - ie. how often will you be using it, and to make coffees for how many people?

    Will help those in the know narrow down your options.


    Cheers..................Sean

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Thanks Scooter for bringing that up.
    Like i said i just want something cheap, and maybe my max cost would be $800.
    I am just interested in making coffee for myself and for maybe 4 or 5 others, and for how much use? Mainly in the mornings.

    Thanks again Scooter! ;)

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Personally, I would spend most, if not all of the $800 on a grinder.
    You will then not need to upgrade the grinder in the future, unless you want to go into super grinder territory.

    It might sound silly to some, but I think you are far better off getting at least one component that wont need to be replaced a few times during your journey.

    Many of us started on small, appliance type units and grinders. Over the years, I myself have been through about 4 grinders and machines before I got to:
    Silvia/Rocky (cost over $1000 but re-sale value was $700+)
    and now
    Expobar Minore II/Macap M5 (Cost over $2500, but worth it IMO)

    If you start with a good grinder like a Mazzer, Macap, Compak etc. then you can get the best out of whatever machine or apparatus you use it with. It isnt always going to be true the other way around.

    Anyway, just my opinion.

    Brett.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy link=1210759813/0#3 date=1210822864
    Personally, I would spend most, if not all of the $800 on a grinder.
    You will then not need to upgrade the grinder in the future, unless you want to go into super grinder territory.......

    If you start with a good grinder like a Mazzer, Macap, Compak etc. then you can get the best out of whatever machine or apparatus you use it with. It isnt always going to be true the other way around.
    Bretts got the right idea. Many of us started out with basic grinders and in the long run these caused struggles and made a lot of marginal coffee that could have been avoided. if you think of the espresso machine as an accessory to th grinder, you will have a good start at figuring out the investment to make at this time.

    Any good espresso grinder will work sufficiently for just about any method of coffee brewing until you get an espresso machine to go with it. We can get into some pretty deep discussions on particle size distribution, but lets not.

    personally, I really like my Mazzer because of the way they designed the adjustment mechanism that separates the upper burr carrier from the adjustment screw. But there are lots of really great "middle priced" grinders in the (more or less) 600 to 1000 range (USD prices here in the states, anyway).

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Yep, same here HCK..... 8-)

    You could buy yourself the last grinder youll ever need to buy with an $800 budget and then make yourself some awesome coffee with a Plunger, Moka Pot, or even pour-over while you save up for a half decent espresso machine. Combined with some quality CS coffee, freshly roasted and ground immediately before brewing, youll be enjoying some truly excellent brews young man....

    Mal.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Ah yes the good old Mazzer. I used a commercial one before and they are a fantastic machine.

    Mal.
    You really think so? I have never tried this method and i have often thought that plunging was a dead breed but i will take your word for it since you are all more experienced then me!

    The machine i have decided to buy first up is a Mazzer mini will be a great start. my friends are telling me that they will force me to use it ;D.


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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Just found this article on the SZ01.
    Its a very ugly machine and you may not want to check it out, its of Segafredo design and make and is for home and office.
    Type it in on google.



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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Would be very wary of entering a contract like that, would lock you into their coffee, good or bad, and you will end up paying a couple of grand over 2 years.


    Moving back a couple of steps, a decent grinder with an Aeropress could be a good combo.

    Otherwise, if you were dead keen to get a espresso machine, accept the shortcomings & accept that you will end up paying more to upgrade in the long run if the bug really bites, you could pair a Sunbeam 450 or 480 with a reasonable entry level machine & dip your toe into home roasting with a popper or bread machine.

    Freshly roasted & ground beans will transform any brewing method I reckon.

    Id also consider trying to score a cheap drip machine from somewhere for when you have guests around, it is a bugger making espresso based milk drinks for that number out of a singe boiler machine - speaking from a lot of experience here.


    Cheers......................Sean

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    I started with the Expobar Leva and Macap.
    I didnt like the idea of having to spend more money to upgrade later.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by HCK link=1210759813/0#6 date=1210844004
    Mal.
    You really think so? I have never tried this method and i have often thought that plunging was a dead breed but i will take your word for it since you are all more experienced then me!
    Absolutely HCK,

    The other guys have reiterated more or less the same thing but long before the hardware you use enters the equation, its all about the beans mate. Without high quality, freshly roasted beans and then, only ground immediately before you brew, the hardware you use to brew with doesnt really matter all that much, its all about flavour nuances when you get to discussions about hardware.

    Ask your Mum mate, she knows all about the importance of using great coffee to produce a great brew..... 8-)

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1210759813/0#10 date=1210859577
    Quote Originally Posted by HCK link=1210759813/0#6 date=1210844004
    AMal.
    You really think so? I have never tried this method and i have often thought that plunging was a dead breed but i will take your word for it since you are all more experienced then me!
    Absolutely HCK,

    The other guys have reiterated more or less the same thing but long before the hardware you use enters the equation, its all about the beans mate. Without high quality, freshly roasted beans and then, only ground immediately before you brew, the hardware you use to brew with doesnt really matter all that much, its all about flavour nuances when you get to discussions about hardware.

    Ask your Mum mate, she knows all about the importance of using great coffee to produce a great brew..... 8-)

    Cheers,
    Mal.
    Yeah i should ask her, but we havent used a plunger in a long time but we still have one of those drip machines. Do you think a coffee drip machine would still make a good coffee if you did a fresh grind? (instead of using the instant stuff)

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Yup

    Agree with the others,
    If you havent plunged with freshly ground coffee, you havent plunged.
    But I would suggest considering an aeropress over a plunger.
    I think the aeropress is more forgiving of grind quality, and produced a cleaner flavour in the cup, but I guess if you have a good grinder this is less of an issue.
    <-----Site sponsors: Cuppacoffee & Veneziano caffe & probably others

    But if you really want an espresso machine and grinder [and want a grinder that is reasonable] budget=$800, perhaps you could look at the breville IKON machine [which is a boiler machine and can be used with a non pressurised porta filter] and that would leave you with enough change for a $300+ grinder and possible an aeropress or plunger too.

    If you were an espresso only drinker the "Presso" would be a great choice as it would leave plenty $$$ to spend on the grinder.
    <----site sponsor: Presso

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    Starbucks/BMW Sirena

    Hey
    I wanted some information on Auto-tamping. The new Starbucks/BMW Sirena has been released and it has a feature for Auto-tamping. I also wanted to ask if this machine is worth buying, its only $400 and i have decided on a Mazzer Mini grinder.
    I have no idea if this machine has a circuit board but it does have a temperature gauge.
    Overall i think its a nice starter machine.



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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Yeah i have decided i will buy a Mazzer Mini first = $790.
    Then buy a Sirena = $400, so more then $800 ;)

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Have you been able to find out any of the technical specs of the Sirena?
    I had a quick browse on the web and it seems to be a US based machine connected to Saeco in some way.
    A few reviews on Amazon mention water in the PF after brewing which suggests pressurised baskets.
    Theres also the awful panerallo on the steam wand.

    Have you seen one in real life?
    Id want to know what size the PF was, can it take non pressurised baskets, what is the heating method (I assume thermoblock), drip tray size and a few other things.

    I think for $400, there are a couple of other players in the market that might be worth another look.

    Another important thing to consider - who would fix/replace it in case of warranty issues? This can become a real issue if stuck with a setup that requires you to box it up and post it somewhere.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    ahh....how naiive we were when we were young :P ;)

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    Re: Starbucks/BMW Sirena

    HCK,

    Real autotamping does exist --- available on a swift grinder costing many times the price of this machine.... and on some super automatic machines (a good super auto will cost close to $2000)

    Im guessing here.... but Id say it means it has a pressurised basket (normally called crema enhancing) and you dont need to tamp to restrict the water flow.... a small hole in the outer basket does it for you.....

    If that is the case, they produce false crema..... and will never make a decent espresso (but are real easy to use.... and make a very mediocre coffee)....

    In this world you get what you pay for..... pay very little and you get...... ;)

    Id put the Silvia MILES ahead!!!!

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Sirena.......

    After a quick look at a very flashy site...

    Its all glitz and glamour..... but in a word... CRAP!!!!!

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: Starbucks/BMW Sirena

    It sure does look purty though ;)

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    I support what everyone above is saying.... There are way better machines for the money than the Sirena HCK and just because it supposedly has an Auto-Tamper (of unknown efficacy) doesnt mean it does everything else it needs to do, to a proper standard.

    The Breville Ikon is a great little machine to start off with. Yeah sure, it doesnt have any fancy association with BMW or other exotic manufacturer but then, what does BMW et al know about making great coffee? Beats me..... My eldest son has been using an Ikon for a few months now, with standard baskets not pressurised ones and only grinds just before he makes a brew. The espresso quality? Absolutely beautiful according to him and he knows what hes talking about because, guess who taught him ::) ;).

    Anyway mate, what ever you do, go with a machine that has a proven track record with support and service more or less on your doorstep. Besides, it wouldnt take you long to develop a consistent tamp, if thats something youre worried about, so long as you have a decent Tamper to use. Itd be a piece of cake for a young bloke like you 8-). Remember, its all about the coffee, not so much about the machinery....

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1210759813/15#20 date=1210920974
    it doesnt have any fancy association with BMW or other exotic manufacturer but then, what does BMW et al know about making great coffee?

    Mal,

    My next sports car will be made by Rancilio...... after all they make a great coffee machine.... so why not a car? ;) ;D ;D ;D ;D

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    If you take the time to read the user reports from coffeegeek all your questoins about this machine will be answered.

    In summary, it has a small Seaco boiler which apparently also feeds a thermoblock for steam. So it reaches steam temp within about 1 min, but the steam quality is a bit on the wet side. You also need to remove the panerello attachment to make microfoam, ala the Gaggia Classic, except this steam wand is ball jointed. The biggest selling point (IMO) is the commercial 58 mm brass portafilter. The pressure enhancing disc and plug can be removed and normal tamping applied with much better effect. There are other plusses and minuses as youd expect from a machine in this price range. However, paired with a good grinder, I expect itd make a decent first machine. But I wouldnt want to pay too much for it.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Personally Id hit up an IKON for something sub $400, save your money for the grinder etc.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Hi HCK,
    recently I upgraded from my Saeco Via Vanezia. It is sitting in the garage. It still works ok but needs a little service ( a new portafiller at least), but I dont think the cost would be excessive to get it up and running. I would be happy to PM you and discuss a reasonable exchange if you would be interested. If you are going for a top grinder, it may help get you through the next stage until the funds come through for a good espresso machine. Let me know,

    Cheers
    Crowie

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Sorry HCK,
    I should have asked where you are. I am in Melbourne.
    Crowie

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    Re: Starbucks/BMW Sirena

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1210759813/15#18 date=1210915014
    HCK,

    Real autotamping does exist --- available on a swift grinder costing many times the price of this machine.... and on some super automatic machines (a good super auto will cost close to $2000)

    Im guessing here.... but Id say it means it has a pressurised basket (normally called crema enhancing) and you dont need to tamp to restrict the water flow.... a small hole in the outer basket does it for you.....

    If that is the case, they produce false crema..... and will never make a decent espresso (but are real easy to use.... and make a very mediocre coffee)....

    In this world you get what you pay for..... pay very little and you get...... ;)

    Id put the Silvia MILES ahead!!!!

    hmmm Id actually like to see what this machine can do with normal baskets and paired to a commercial grinder. If the saeco via venezia can make okay espresso, I;m sure this cant be far behind.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1210759813/15#21 date=1210921352
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1210759813/15#20 date=1210920974
    it doesnt have any fancy association with BMW or other exotic manufacturer but then, what does BMW et al know about making great coffee?

    Mal,

    My next sports car will be made by Rancilio...... after all they make a great coffee machine.... so why not a car? ;) ;D ;D ;D ;D
    Im sure its to do with the design, pure aesthetics. I must admit, its a friggen sexy looking machine in black.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by Wushoes - David S link=1210759813/15#27 date=1210934354
    Im sure its to do with the design, pure aesthetics. I must admit, its a friggen sexy looking machine in black.

    I have to agree it looks good..... but being a function over form person.....

    If it makes great coffee.... thats what I want (and if it happens to look good or even great - thats a bonus!!)

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    I am a novice when it comes to making good coffee. Looking for a good reliable machine we will only do about 4 to 5 daily looking at the lower end of the market say up to $400 also will need to purchase a grinder. Have heard the Gaggia Classic is a good starting machine is this so.

    Hope for some replies

    regards

    webster

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    :)

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Talk about sexy looking but crap machines, you cant go past the Koala (ViceVersa) machine. The chrome one looks soooo sexy.

    These were at a commercial coffee store/restaurant Ive been visiting from time to time. The guy always tells me they make great espresso, but hey I keep reading reviews and sure most of these people reviewing the machine cant be wrong, can they? One of the reviewers ranks it was the worst espresso theyve ever tasted! Its a piece o junk!

  33. #33
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Get him to put his machine where his mouth is and make you one.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    fatboy,
    Yes you are right about how it is US based but i think they do shipping.
    I have had a look at the tech specs and it is just a basic machine with pressurized portafilla and die cast alloy steamer with 15 bar pump pressure.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Could someone provide a list of good starter machines or give me a definite machine i should buy ;D

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by HCK link=1210759813/30#34 date=1211192327
    Could someone provide a list of good starter machines or give me a definite machine i should buy ;D
    Need more information!!!

    What is the budget?
    Do you already have a grinder? If not, have you included that cost in your budget?
    What do you mainly drink? Espresso or milk based
    How many drinks do you want to make in a reasonably short time - just 2 or many?
    Is function or form more important?
    Do you have a problem with Aluminium boilers or thermoblocks?

    If you can answer those it will give us a starting point to offer some suggestions.

  37. #37
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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Sorry JavaB

    Ok, I want to be able to make anything, Espresso or milk based. I do not have a grinder but have been offered one for $600 (Mazzer Mini) so the machine $600 or less, so all up $1,700 ($100 leeway). the function is more important then the form although the form must be sleek and no plastic. I only want a machine that can make up to coffees at one time but do it well and produce a clean shot with a great crema.

    JavaB, your turn!
    What is the best when it comes to a boiler? Aluminium or Thermoblocks?
    ;)

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    There is a LeLit combo machine in Australia. Its under $800 and includes a built in grinder. The grinder uses the same burrset as the Lux, the smaller Ascaso grinder, and Isomac Granmaccino. The grinder does a respectable job. Sure its not quite on the level of a Mini Mazzer, but its going to produce a reliable grind quality for espresso.

    For the money this setup does a damn fine job. On of my friends owned one of these before he ugpraded to a LaScala butterfly. He tells me the difference was mostly in the ease of preparing the milk for cappuccinos/lattes as opposed to shot quality for straight espresso drinks. So a HX machine is going to make it a lot easier to texture milk while pulling shots when youre entertaining a lot of people. But if you dont need to do that, then this setup will make great espresso (and cappuccinos/lattes if youre prepared to wait 30-40 seconds for full steaming power).

    My friend says the shot quality was 98% of his LaScala butterfly. He told me there was practically no difference for milk drinks (aside from being able make a lot of milk drinks quickly on the LaScala).

    The only caveat is that it has 57mm portafilter/baskets which means that you need to find a 57mm tamper. Greg Pullman could help you out there, as he can make tampers to fit any basket! ;D

    Ben

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Yeah, as much as Automated machines are taking over i will not turn the the dark side ;D

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    If youre making primarily milk based drinks youd want to go boiler instead of thermoblocks for the extra stream power.

    The lavetta is a pretty decent E61 machine....

    I dont think ur able to go into HX/DB territory with that budget.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by HCK link=1210759813/30#36 date=1211272414
    JavaB, your turn!
    What is the best when it comes to a boiler? Aluminium or Thermoblocks?
    ;)
    Ok ;)

    It depends whether or not you believe Aluminium promotes alzhimers.... some people believe it does..... but in any case aluminium is more prone to corrosion damage and with your budget it doesnt need to be an issue....

    Machines with boilers provide more steam and drier steam.... better for texturing milk.

    The Mazzer is a great grinder (more important than the machine)...... so maybe look at an EM6910 (dual thermoblock..... it can texture milk and extract at the same time).... but lots of plastic....

    I really dont think you could go past a Silvia..... a great machine.... very reliable, only down side - you have to wait for the unit to heat up to texture milk after extracting..... but fantastic build quality - and all metal :)

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    JavaB,
    So the EM6910 is worth buying?

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    HCK,

    The 6910 is pretty amazing value for money..... there is no other machine which can texture milk and extract at the same time for less than $1000++.....

    The downside is that it is more of a domestic appliance compared to many other machines - like the Silvia. It certainly wont have the longevity of a Silvia and so wont hold its resale value.....

    But it can produce an excellent espresso (given good beans and grinder).... and it is quite unique in this price range...... the flexibility is provided by smart electronics..... and thats its weakness. Many users here are very happy with the machine..... but it remains to be seen how many will still be working in say 5 years.....

    To get any other machine which will allow you to texture at the same time as extract..... you are looking at the bottom end HX machines.... whilst a lot more expensive..... they are built to last.

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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Ok, thanks JavaB i will have a look around for the 6910.

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    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamind link=1210759813/30#37 date=1211273499
    There is a LeLit combo machine in Australia. Its under $800 and includes a built in grinder. The grinder uses the same burrset as the Lux, the smaller Ascaso grinder, and Isomac Granmaccino. The grinder does a respectable job. Sure its not quite on the level of a Mini Mazzer, but its going to produce a reliable grind quality for espresso.

    For the money this setup does a damn fine job. On of my friends owned one of these before he ugpraded to a LaScala butterfly. He tells me the difference was mostly in the ease of preparing the milk for cappuccinos/lattes as opposed to shot quality for straight espresso drinks. So a HX machine is going to make it a lot easier to texture milk while pulling shots when youre entertaining a lot of people. But if you dont need to do that, then this setup will make great espresso (and cappuccinos/lattes if youre prepared to wait 30-40 seconds for full steaming power).

    My friend says the shot quality was 98% of his LaScala butterfly. He told me there was practically no difference for milk drinks (aside from being able make a lot of milk drinks quickly on the LaScala).

    The only caveat is that it has 57mm portafilter/baskets which means that you need to find a 57mm tamper. Greg Pullman could help you out there, as he can make tampers to fit any basket! ;D

    Ben
    Good post, Ben.

    I have one of these and would totally recommend it as a good "starter" machine. It has a great compact, all-in-one footprint on the bench, only one power lead, I like the Lux grinder (although sometimes find it a bit slow) and good solid (similar to Silvia) brass single boiler system. Youre right about steaming ability- possibly a bit weak/slow, certainly for entertaining, but does good enough for a couple of cups.

    But good value for money (and HCK- not an "automated" machine). Recommended.

    Greg



  46. #46
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    10

    Re: Looking to buy a starter coffee machine(need H

    i dont know much but i bought a gaggia espresso pure at 350 normally going for 399.

    I am enjoying it with a sunbeam grinder so i think the grinder your getting is better so should have better results

    people are saying buy expensive and wait till you have the money, well my sunbeam was donorware, but it has been great to get some hands on time.

    make sure you get a full size handle machine, oh and the gaggia has a stainless steel boiler

    oh and it looks pretty sweet



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