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Thread: What to buy?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    What to buy?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Dont know if I qualify as a "newbie” but here it goes, I used to work "round Australia in hospitality, (front of house/back of house) Resorts, Hotels, Clubs of dubious intent,,,, ok it was a brothel, BUT I was working in the kitchen (promise!), and I always had access to a wondrous array of industry standard cappuccino espresso machines (sigh, ahh San Marco you where so good to me), and after waking up hung over , with yet another strange unknown female/male/whatever in my bed I decided to try something different, I JOINED THE MILITARY!!, ( the plan was for only a few years, it’s been ten!, (wondering what the point is to this ramble?, I’ll get to it, keep reading,). Now after 10 years working in the kitchen a conversation a few days ago made me decide, there was 2 of my brother cooks commenting on how wonderful instant coffee was ,,,,,,,,after I hacked them to death with a meat cleaver and putting their remains in a rather nice vindaloo I was making, (just kidding! , just kidding!, I would NEVER ruin a good curry!) , I have now decided to reward myself with the buying of a “real” machine and NOW I get to the point ( I told you I would didn’t ) what to buy, due to the fact I move around a lot it need to cover the following.
    Transportable, (Military remember).
    Built in tank, (we have bottled water out field when we go bush).
    Robust design (nicks and scratches are a fact of life in a working kitchen and my home).
    $1000 to $1500.
    Easy to strip down and clean (Cook remember).
    Durable (it will be home/field used but under cover with mains power or generators,).
    E61 group head preferred, I like em.
    Basic, solid, reliable .
    Reasonable steamer arm.

    What do my fellow newbie’s think?, any suggestions? I joined this site for the reviews and have discovered a treasure trove of info, so far I’ve narrowed it down to a model called RANCILLIO SILVIA, it looks the job and has a good rep for consistency, or should I get a refurbished older model, your opinions welcome.
    P.S. no insult to those who drink instant , (I do my self when desperate) but the history of Coffee is an obscure one to some.
    P.P.S. No insult to the more veteran members of this fine site, but us “newbies” are a scared terrified bunch, and getting their/our opinions flowing is a good thing, feel free to comment or make suggestions if you wish to as well.
    P.P.P.S. No,,,(sigh!) I didn’t kill them, but I will make them an Americano when I get my rig bought/set up.

  2. #2
    TC is offline
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Re: What to buy?

    Hello Richo and welcome...

    I have moved your post here as its an advice request rather than only an introduction.

    A search on the Silvia ^^^^^^^^^ (make sure you search more than just the last week) will reveal lots of information.

    Only one issue as far as I can see. You have said you want e-61. The Silvia is not an e-61 machine.

    Good luck


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: What to buy?

    A couple of other questions youll need to consider:

    * how many people is the machine catering for?
    * how many milk-based drinks will it need to make in one session?
    * when you say transportable - a 3 group machine is transportable if youve got a couple of people to lug it around and a decent vehicle, but are you talking about tucking it under your arm and striding off with it?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: What to buy?

    Hey Richo,

    Plenty of people here more qualified than I to give advice, but Ive been in the market for a machine somewhere in that range recently too.

    If youre looking for a machine and grinder, perhaps one of these two:

    -Rancilio Silvia plus a grinder, You could get a tough-as-nails Mazzer Mini grinder. Those combined would probably be slightly more than the top end of your budget. For fewer $$$ you could get a Rancilio Rocky grinder instead of the Mazzer. Not as good, but if your budget dictates......

    -Lelit PL042 is a combined espresso machine and grinder, similar to the Silvia and comparible to the rocky i believe. I think these come in at under $1000 and are great value.

    Im lead to believe that both these options are rugged and tough as nails. Theyre transportable. About the only thing on your list that they are not; is an E-61 machine. However the Silvia (not sure about the Lelit) uses a standard 58mm basket.

  5. #5
    Caffeine Junky
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: What to buy?

    As per Greg’s questions, what sort of coffees and how many will you be making at a time? My machine is currently out of action at home and I’ve been using my Aeropress which really does make a beautiful coffee. Am travelling interstate tomorrow for a couple of days so will be taking Aeropress and a small cheap grinder (Sunbeam EM0480). I also have a manual grinder when in areas without power.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: What to buy?

    Just be aware of the extra effort required for a Silvia. Takes some time to master and you have to remember to always fill the boiler after using the steam wand! You must be disciplined, but this probably goes hand in hand with the military! Nelo.

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