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Thread: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

  1. #1
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    2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi there,

    newbie here* :) Ive been scouring the forum for the last few days, and instead of becoming more confident, i seem to be getting more confused as to what my next step in espresso machines should be. There are 2 scenarios, actually, first one is a machine for myself, and the other for friends, so lets start with that

    scenario A
    friends like a good coffee, are sitting on a sunbeam $250 machine which they dont find suitable for their needs. Which are - decent espresso, and easy (?) cappucino-making. they are not "ritualist", so tamping, grinding, backflushing, etc. will most likely be lost on them...budget unknown, probably about 4 coffees (2 espresso, 2 capp) a day. I was thinking the Sunbeam 6910 might hit the sweet spot, especially after reading Greg Pullman review (I liked the part "idiot-proof"...), but I am somewhat concerned about their reliability. Is there anything else that springs to mind? The Breville 800 (Frescia?) series doesnt seem to be as interesting as the Sunbeam. Ill be their technical support, so the less maintenance the better* :P

    scenario B

    I would like to step up from my Krups (dont know model, but am quite sure its got pressurized baskets etc). We need 2 latte/flat whites in the morning, and possibly another 2 in the afternoon. Normally I go to Padre/East Brunswick Project for my arvo hit - its just nicer. So, mostly milk-based with the occasional espresso thrown in. While I love tinkering and perfecting, I also am rather impatient in the morning, so reasonably quick to start (or able to put on timer) would be a plus. Now, I have looked around and was quite set on something like the LELIT Combi to save bench space. Then I got concerned about the steaming of the milk (the Krups doesnt deliver and part of the point of upgrading is the ability to froth milk). Then the GEE seemed like a good match... Then I saw someone mentioning the VBM Piccolo, and I thought - oh gorgeous, that sounds good. Then I saw the Isomac Zaffiro for sale in the for sale section and thought even better - its a steal...and so on - you get the picture. So my budget has stretched from 600 to 1200 dollars and I really have no idea where to go with this. A friend of mine has a Gaggia classic, and I really do not like the coffee this makes - I prefer my Krups coffee over his (there could well be many a reason for this), but the Padre one is of course better* :)

    So, lets try summing up priorities:

    1. ability to froth 2 lattes in a row in the morning without waiting forever
    2. convenience (I know I should be grinding my beans every time, but it has to be able to deal with beans ground by my fav coffee roaster around the corner)
    3. reliable and should work without me having to do lots of modding (i.e. PID) or excessive maintenance every time I use it

    While I love my coffee, I am sure my palate is much more forgiving than most of yours, so I am hoping for an equally forgiving machine* ;)

    Any help or suggestion is much appreciated!

    cheer kb

    p.s. sorry for the long post, I seem to be a bit wordy...

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Budget for machine #2? Your coffee will actually be better using a machine with pressurised baskets if you arent grinding your own beans... That is what pressurised baskets are for.

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Budget is tricky - when I get excited, budget stretches...when I am more realistic it probably hovers around the $700 mark. THe bigger problem is probably going to be bench space and partner appreciation factor. I am not so sure that Ill get away with a separate grinder...which essentially means a used Lelit combi or stretching the budget for a new one. hmm. :-/

    Or save for a little while longer :D

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Quote Originally Posted by 273C20303237362132530 link=1300261864/2#2 date=1300274540

    Or save for a little while longer*
    have you considered getting a grinder right now and then saving up for a better machine (even asking for $$ as gifts his year to put towards it)

    i have a buddy i suplly fresh beans to and he just uses them in a grinder and a moka pot.
    really nice coffee.... get one of those plastic frothers if you need to.

    then save up your pennys and be ready to strike when the right deal appears for a HX machine...

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Quote Originally Posted by 474B424F4F462A0 link=1300261864/3#3 date=1300274968
    have you considered getting a grinder right now
    ah well, yes, I was just beginning to think i could do that and experiment with a non-pressurized basket ( assuming there is one for the Krups). I do have a hand-grinder, but it drives me crazy in the mornings and I dont notice any difference at all. I would think its just me* ::) if I didnt notice such huge differences in other peoples/cafes coffee.

    thanks for the tips

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    As you already aware equipment makes a big difference...

    if you seriously enjoy great coffee make the investment in quality machines and grinders and fresh beans . Quality items outlast and out perform cheap equipment.

    The good stuff gets rid of the bitter aftertaste of wasted money in your mouth...


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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3D313835353C500 link=1300261864/5#5 date=1300322014
    The good stuff gets rid of the bitter aftertaste of wasted money in your mouth...
    ha, nice one* :)

    More thinking, more solutions... and slowly coming around to the idea of a grinder and fresh beans -hallelujah- So, now thinking about the Breville grinder BCG800 plus...what?

    [s]I saw an Isomac Maverick in a shop today for $950, it looked very nice, but it hadnt figured on my radar as yet, must look into it.[/s] EDIT: doesnt look like much of an option...

    But am actually thinking Lelit or possibly a Silvia or Gee so as to at least not push past the $1000 mark. Will have to have a chat with one of the sponsors soon.



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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    So, I picked up a GEE demo and a Breville Smart Grinder from Chris today, and as a result am now slightly hyper-active... ;) CHris was helpful beyond the call of duty and I am very pleased with my purchase so far. Havent really got a nice espresso happening yet, which I mostly attribute to my utter cluelessness re the grind, but Ive manage steaming the milk better than ever before. I even had (more-or-less accidental) latte art happening on the first go...

    2 questions though:

    - regardless of what I do, the espresso starts out pitch black before it goes honey coloured and I dont remember seeing that anywhere before (youtube etc). What does that indicate? It also a few seconds before anything comes out, but this varied with the fineness of the grind.

    - when I just run water through the portafilter it shoots out straight left and right drenching fridge and stove instead of nicely pouring out of the spouts, is that normal?

    I think I might need to try decaf next... :o

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    TC
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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Quote Originally Posted by 617A66767471706774150 link=1300261864/7#7 date=1300513684
    - regardless of what I do, the espresso starts out pitch black before it goes honey coloured
    Well done toscadera, and in this case an evilbay bargain. My loss, your gain ;)

    I think you should have purchased some fresh coffee ;)

    Lastly, when rinsing the group, remove the portafilter. Your fridge will thank you for it ;D
    www.espressocompany.com.au/how-to.htm will assist you

    Cheers

    Chris

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0C393433071B373E3E3D3D580 link=1300261864/8#8 date=1300514987
    I think you should have purchased some fresh coffee
    mea culpa - stingy at the wrong time as we Germans say... ::) I should have known better, but have just bought some fresh beans, so on to day 2!

    Quote Originally Posted by 0C393433071B373E3E3D3D580 link=1300261864/8#8 date=1300514987
    Lastly, when rinsing the group, remove the portafilter. Your fridge will thank you for it*
    and so will my partner, shes not into early morning swearing :D i.e. me cursing the portafilter

    ok better get back to testing, I need me some coffee...thanks for your help Chris!

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Yay! success! with the fresh beans I am getting honey-coloured coffee pouring :) not quite right yet, but getting there

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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    The best shots do start out black, and only after several seconds of the pump running. Then comes dark brown, then the lighter honey colour. The light colour is your signal to stop.

    As far as your friends go, I can only suggest that you give them the address of a good café. Cheap machine, sloppy technique, and no maintenance spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for you. :D

    Greg


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    Re: 2 espresso machines for different use(r)s - which one...?

    Quote Originally Posted by 14213634043C213E323F37530 link=1300261864/11#11 date=1300587783
    The best shots do start out black, and only after several seconds of the pump running. Then comes dark brown, then the lighter honey colour. The light colour is your signal to stop.
    Ah, ok. Sadly these were definitely not the best shots :) but getting better!

    I was thinking the same about my friends, or maybe a super-automatic (Jura, etc) - not my cup of tea (excuse the pun), but it might suit their needs best and will probably provide adequate coffee for them. On the other hand...I get paid for their technical problems... ;D



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