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Thread: Machine for a novice

  1. #1
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    Machine for a novice

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi everyone

    I have been using a second hand EM6910 with the matching burr grinder.

    The machine is currently in the shop. It was leaking from the group head as soon as there was any resistance (coffee vs. an empty group head). It was also leaking mainly from the back of the head. From reading posts on here it seems as if it may be heading to the cafe in the sky (have told the shop to replace the seals and see if that fixes it, I couldnt get the shower screen to budge and Im not really the type to pull things apart and manage to get them back together so didnt want to damage it further). Plus water has been leaking from underneath the unit.

    My main issue is that I have no idea what Im doing. I get the basics, fresh beans, 7gms of coffee, a good tamp, let the machine warm up first 25-30 seconds for extraction etc etc. But in all honesty my coffees have been nowhere near as good as what even a poor cafe produces (bugger all crema, steaming took a week and microfoam hard to achieve). Id imagine it was more down to me than the machine.

    Since Im impatient Ive decided that the machine has died (if it hasnt and is working once out of the shop will probably look to unload it on Ebay anyway).

    My eye has been taken by the deal offered by Talk Coffee http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163933911/14#14


    * GEE Espresso machine
    * Compak K3T grinder- short hopper grind on demand 2010 version
    * 58mm Espresso gear tamper
    * Compact designs knock tube
    * 600ml Rattleware latte art jug
    * Compact designs pro tamp mat

    Im just wondering if Im likely to kill this machine in a hurry as well as general things that must be done not to damage it. I know to not use tap water, I also know about back flushing. Im a bit confused about descaling. Some people say to never run the stuff through the steam wand (at least on the em6910 but figure since this is also a thermoblock machine the same may apply) whilst others say its necessary.

    I guess my main concern is whether once you move beyond the Harvey Norman type machines if the units produce better quality coffee but need an expert at the helm to keep them from carking or if they can cope with the occasional overdose/too hard a tamp?

    Id really love to do a course but I live 3 1/2 hours out of Melbourne and whilst I do know a few baristas they are self-taught and generally know less of the basics than I do (ex Gloria Jeans workers/waiters). I watch the videos on youtube but for the Sunbeam at least it didnt really seem to help too much.

    My max spend is around $1500. I mainly drink lattes/flat whites (yes giggle at me). Im wondering if the Gee and Compak is the ticket? I was also looking at the Compak doser grinder but I think thats because I like the lack of mess and all in one-ness. But the excess coffee grinds would go stale quickly yeah? But on the flip side can you just dump the excess rather than having a pipe filled with stale grind from a doserless? Or does the same thing happen still?

    Basically Im totally lost and need help. I really dont want to wander into a store and be taken for a ride, come back on here and hate myself for it.

  2. #2
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    Re: Machine for a novice

    Hi and welcome!

    Im only new here too, but have found everyone very helpful and friendly. And i dont think anyone will giggle at you for drinking lattes and flat whites, theres a whole section on latte art and milk frothing!

    Have you seen this topic: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1279089567

    personally, if my budget was slightly bigger, then i would definitely get one of these! instead, Im going for a Lelit Combi, as i need to keep it below $1000.

    Im sure that talk coffee would be happy to help you with any questions regarding cleaning etc of your machine.

    I think in general, if you go with one of the site sponsors here you are not going to be taken for a ride as they seem to be very good at after sale support and general advice.

    You definitely seem to be on the right track by doing your research etc. and Im sure your technique will improve with practice. I dont think this (or any) machine needs an expert at the helm, just someone who is willing to learn and take good care of it!

    All the best,

    Sarah

  3. #3
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    Re: Machine for a novice

    I recommend you talk to Chris at Talk Coffee.

    But youll have to wait a few days as hes currently up here in Sydney for the Aromafest tomorrow.

  4. #4
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    Re: Machine for a novice

    I have chatted with Chris, well briefly exchanged emails. I really dont want to waste his time until Im sure my finances are in place and am sure I want to go down, have a look and pick one up. I would hate for him to waste time helping me and me not to purchase straight away.

    My eye has been caught by the Nuova Simonelli Oscar. Its automatic which I can live with at the moment, god knows I currently need all the help I can get. I figure in the long run it could be to its and my detriment though. The other appealing thing is that its a HX machine.

    I really like the Gee, but it isnt particularly pretty. Plus most people seem weary of thermoblocks for steaming which is making me reconsider since I never drink black coffee (well I do out of a french press).

    Im just trying to tick as many boxes as possible. At the same time I dont want to end up spending $2000 on a machine just because its slightly better or prettier or has an e61 group head (not that I even know what that is :P).

    At the same time Im aware of the whole better to be at the bottom of the top than top of the bottom maxim which has got me considering the Oscar.

    But since the Gee has an electronic thermostat I wont need to temp surf, plus because of the thermoblock it can steam and draw at the same time (not that I can ;D) which sort of makes it fairly similar to a HX machine. I guess the main issue is if it produces enough steam. I hate waiting 3 minutes to get the milk up to temp on the em6910.

  5. #5
    TC
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    Re: Machine for a novice

    Quote Originally Posted by 32160C0E011A630 link=1279968343/3#3 date=1280146518
    I have chatted with Chris, well briefly exchanged emails. I really dont want to waste his time until Im sure my finances are in place and am sure I want to go down, have a look and pick one up. I would hate for him to waste time helping me and me not to purchase straight away.

    My eye has been caught by the Nuova Simonelli Oscar. Its automatic which I can live with at the moment, god knows I currently need all the help I can get. I figure in the long run it could be to its and my detriment though. The other appealing thing is that its a HX machine.

    I really like the Gee, but it isnt particularly pretty. Plus most people seem weary of thermoblocks for steaming which is making me reconsider since I never drink black coffee (well I do out of a french press).

    Im just trying to tick as many boxes as possible. At the same time I dont want to end up spending $2000 on a machine just because its slightly better or prettier or has an e61 group head (not that I even know what that is :P).

    At the same time Im aware of the whole better to be at the bottom of the top than top of the bottom maxim which has got me considering the Oscar.

    But since the Gee has an electronic thermostat I wont need to temp surf, plus because of the thermoblock it can steam and draw at the same time (not that I can ;D) which sort of makes it fairly similar to a HX machine. I guess the main issue is if it produces enough steam. I hate waiting 3 minutes to get the milk up to temp on the em6910.
    Easy answer Quom,

    Come and have a look for yoursef and come to your own opinion. Its the best way and its what I do.. ;)

    If the GEE isnt right and and you dont like the Oscar, my advice is to wait and save. Dont rush and then upgrade in a blink and waste your dough....

    Chris



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