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Thread: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

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    Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey Guys and Girls!

    Ive been reading this site for a while now trying to take in all I can. Still learning about things now.

    My gf sent me to become an accredited barista at The Sydney Coffee School as a gift a week back and it was soo much fun making my own coffee. I love my coffee but buy pre ground and have a plunger. Pulling a shot and frothing the milk was really satisfying, although my latte art was an epic FAIL. haha

    Im thinking about buying a machine and grinder this weekend and I think I want the silvia/rocky/tray combo from Jetblack Coffee as it seems to last and be really reliable from the what i have read. The only problem is Im really the only one that drinks espresso type drinks (short black, macchiato (sp?) etc) where as my gf and family all drink milk based drinks and i sometimes have extended family over which i will probably be made to make coffee for.

    Will the silvia be able to cope with making many milk based coffees? Ive heard its better to have a HX (only found out was that was today :) ) or a double boiler. How long do i have to wait to steam another pitcher of say, 600ml? Is there another type of machine that would be better suited to my needs for about the same price? (total of 1500 for espresso & grinder machines)

    Thanks in advance for all your help. :)

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    If you can stretch a bit Id recommend getting the K3 touch. The silvia is perfectly capable of making 2 drinks at a time (total less than 600mL of milk) over that and it can become a bit of a chore.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    yeah the "bit of a chore" is what im worried about. Cause I can see myself making more than two sometimes.. like perhaps every weekend. I had a laugh

    is there something else in the price range that is better suited?

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Hi Nemesis, I had a Silvia and it produced great espresso but I upgraded to an HX for the ability to do several milk drinks in succession, Silvia stuggles when more than 2-4 milk drinks are required.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Is there any HXs that are good around the same price as a silvia? Most of my coffee will be milk based.

    If not, how much further do i have to stretch my budget?

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    seems like double boiler and HX machines are REALLY expensive and out of my price range at more than 1500 bucks. I really wanted a espresso machine $1000 or less. ($1500 all up with a grinder).

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Just bought a Lelit Combi from Talk Coffee using the August special offer (have a look at their sponsor link to the left). Not sure how youll go with back-to-back milk drinks as I drink plain espresso and havent pushed this aspect on the Lelit yet but Im sure someone else can provide some first-hand feedback for you as there are plenty of Lelit lovers hanging around.

    FYI as a newby (like myself) Lelit Combi, Nemox Dell Opera, Mokita Combi are essentially all the same machine with a different badge (Imat Combi also I think) so you can look for feedback on any of these and it will all be relevant to Lelit.

    Speaking for myself, Im really happy with the machine and at $800 (for the special offer period) it allows plenty of breathing space within your $1K limit so you can grab a nice tamper if you want, or a knock box for your grinds, loads of beans to play with, etc.

    Theres also a non-sponsor site I found in my search which has an informative component comparison with some pics for different machines (e.g. Lelit, Silvia, Brevilles, Sunbeams, etc.) - do a google search on "domestic espresso machine evaluation" and you should find it OK. There is also a guide on how to make 6 cappuccinos in one go and, as it happens, the demo machine looks to me as though its a Lelit equivalent!

    Damien.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Thanks for the info. :)

    Just a question, ive read that you have to wait for ages and that its a chore etc etc.. but how long do you actually have to wait?

    5 minutes? 10 minutes? more? less?

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by 37323E3A363D303F322138530 link=1250859783/6#6 date=1250920489
    Just bought a Lelit Combi from Talk Coffee using the August special offer (have a look at their sponsor link to the left). Not sure how youll go with back-to-back milk drinks as I drink plain espresso and havent pushed this aspect on the Lelit yet but Im sure someone else can provide some first-hand feedback for you as there are plenty of Lelit lovers hanging around.

    FYI as a newby (like myself) Lelit Combi, Nemox Dell Opera, Mokita Combi are essentially all the same machine with a different badge (Imat Combi also I think) so you can look for feedback on any of these and it will all be relevant to Lelit.

    Speaking for myself, Im really happy with the machine and at $800 (for the special offer period) it allows plenty of breathing space within your $1K limit so you can grab a nice tamper if you want, or a knock box for your grinds, loads of beans to play with, etc.

    Theres also a non-sponsor site I found in my search which has an informative component comparison with some pics for different machines (e.g. Lelit, Silvia, Brevilles, Sunbeams, etc.) - do a google search on "domestic espresso machine evaluation" and you should find it OK. There is also a guide on how to make 6 cappuccinos in one go and, as it happens, the demo machine looks to me as though its a Lelit equivalent!

    Damien.
    CC has some great articles and a good write up on a number of units..

    A direct link can be found via these key words "some insight into exactly what goes on inside the most common brands of domestic espresso machines"

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by 517A527A4C764C1F0 link=1250859783/7#7 date=1250921555
    Thanks for the info. :)

    Just a question, ive read that you have to wait for ages and that its a chore etc etc.. but how long do you actually have to wait?

    5 minutes? 10 minutes? more? less?
    Hi NeMiSiS,

    You should be able to do a boiler refill and back to steam temperature on a Silvia in about 3 minutes or less (my best guess without actually timing it).

    Getting a bigger double basket and good grinder (eg K3 Touch) will ensure you get two decent sized shots out of every "pull" so that you dont have to extract twice for two shots (the standard silvia basket is on the small side).

    The HX will be faster, but only you can say whether the extra speed is worth the extra $$$

    Happy to do the speed demo for you. We can pull out the stop watch and get a time for that changeover! :)

    charlie

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Hi NeMeSiS,
    Silvia is a great machine for the price and can cope with making multiple milk based coffees. However, the problem is the amount of time this will take, especially if you want to serve all the drinks up in a short time.
    It would seem from the scenario that you outlined, that you should be aiming for a HX or double boiler machine. Unfortunately, these are up at the pointy end in the $2K+ bracket. Maybe you should wait a bit until you can afford this sort of outlay. Silvia is great for multiple espresso, long blacks etc. but not for multiple milk based drinks in short order. This is a characteristic of most single boiler machines.
    All the best with your quest.

    Cheers,
    Alan

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Welcome NeMeSiS.... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    One option that might suit you, is to purchase a Nemox Fenice (just the machine, no grinder) shown here.... http://coffeemachine.com.au/nemox-fe...a9b75cbfa20647 and the best separate grinder you can afford to go with that. At least this way, if you decide down the track that you do need a machine that can deliver higher performance in the milk drink stakes, you will already have the grinder and only need to upgrade the machine. This will save some money for you, should an upgrade be inevitable... :)

    All the best,
    Mal.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Thanks for all the replies guys! :)

    I think im going to go to Jetblack espresso tomorrow and have a look. Long way to trek but I think itll be worth it.

    I think Ill settle on the Silvia and K3 Touch but maybe.. just MAYBE, i can stretch my budget thinly so that i could get an Expobar Leva or something. hehe

    When i did my barista course we were constantly pulling shots and texturing milk in quick succession but I dont think waiting 3 minutes between 2 cups of coffee is much of a pain. Ill just make my guests socialise more.. or they can donate some money to the "If you want quicker coffee, give me money for a HX" foundation. haha

    Thanks for all your help. :) Ill post up what i find and decide on tomorrow morning.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!


    Im surprised nobody has mentioned the Sunbeam EM6910 :o

    I used a Silvia for over five years and it was a pain when I needed more than two cappas :(

    When it came up for a major repair (PID) I went for the Sunbeam and was greatly impressed with its performance and shot quality. It can steam and pull a shot at the same time - no waiting for multiple milk drinks.

    I matched it with a K3 from Jetblack and I think Charlie thought I was mad "upgrading" from Silvia to Sunbeam ;)

    I can only say I made the right choice and she who must be obeyed agrees ;D

    There a lot of satisfied SB users on CS.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Some experts will correct me if Im wrong (as I say, Im an espresso fan) but I think a practical tip is to texture as much milk as your machine will allow in one go for multiple milkies. So if you needed to make, for example, 4 caps in one go, you could aim to pull your 4 shots and then texture enough milk for the 4 caps in one hit, which I think a Silvia, Lelit or similar machine will handle OK. I dont think youd necessarily need to be waiting 3 minutes between cups, even with the smaller machines.

    Just need to make sure your milk jug is big enough to allow the pre-textured milk plus the foam.

    Damien.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!


    Firstly, Silvia will handle enough milk for two shots at one time before running out of puff ;)

    Secondly, the foamed milk would lose its texture while you pulled another shot.

    One of the secrets to making a great coffee is to use everything as quickly as possible - the ground coffee - the poured coffee as well as the steamed milk.

    They all deteriorate if they stand too long.



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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    So i went to Jetblack at 9am this morning. as soon as they opened. I had a laugh

    I spoke to Gus.. or Angus? i didnt catch it properly. He was really good. Answered all my questions and gave me recommendations of what to get and demoed the models that i was interested in. I never once felt pressured to buy this or not to buy that etc.

    I ended up with a 09 silvia, K3 touch, 1L & 400mL pitcher, thermometer, synesso double basket and spring, Pullman Cobalt barista tamper, knock box, blind filter cleaner and other things i cant remember.

    They didnt have any K3 touch grinders in stock so im going back next week to get it. (An)gus was kind enough to grind 250grams of coffee for me so i could start straight away.

    Went home and primed the boiler and made sure all the lines were good etc. Then i pulled my first shot. Not the best.. very thin and was VERY sour.

    How do i know what is going wrong when its too bitter or sour?

    I need alot more practice frothing the milk as i was used to frothing milk on a 3 hole tip Sam Marco commercial machine.. Might go the water and detergent route to practice. :)

    Ive used up most of the ground coffee i started with and made a few lattes and caps and they tasted alright.

    Still not really happy with my espressos but not sure what im doing right or wrong..

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Again, Ill let the experts correct me if needed, but could be due to freshness of the ground coffee. One thing I learned quickly from this site is that your ground coffee goes stale very quickly.

    I know its tough when you dont have your grinder yet but I think the fact that your ground coffee was probably well past its best by the time you got home may be a factor.

    I think Ive read somewhere here that it goes stale within minutes of being ground. Until you get your grinder youre stuck between a rock and a hard place on this aspect.

    Damien.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!


    The general rule on coffee staying fresh is:

    Green beans - 3 years
    Roasted beans - 3 weeks
    Ground beans - 3 minutes

    So grind and drink as fast as you can :D

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by 597E787F720B0 link=1250859783/13#13 date=1250978752

    I matched it with a K3 from Jetblack *and I think Charlie thought I was mad "upgrading" from Silvia to Sunbeam *;)
    I didnt think you were mad Rusty ::)

    I just assumed youd bumped your head or something ;D

    Glad to hear youre happy with the new combo. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by 456E466E5862580B0 link=1250859783/16#16 date=1251016267
    I spoke to Gus.. or Angus? i didnt catch it properly. He was really good.
    Its Angus if you want to be formal, and Gus for short. Gus has been with us now for over a year and always goes the extra mile.

    When your K3 arrives, it will definitely help with shot quality.

    charlie




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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by 587766507E73717951737477120 link=1250859783/19#19 date=1251068836
    I didnt think you were mad Rusty
    I just assumed youd bumped your head or something

    Glad to hear youre happy with the new combo.
    Maybe Im over caffeinated *;)

    The K3 performs as well as you said it would, it just took me a little time to get acquainted.

    Say hi to Deb for me *:)

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Congrats Nemesis (DA Darth here). Good choice, Im sure the Silvia & K3 will provide you with great coffee for years to come.

    P.S. Jealous of the Pullman. :P

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by 654E664E7842782B0 link=1250859783/16#16 date=1251016267
    How do i know what is going wrong when its too bitter or sour?
    Sourness generally means that the machine hadnt warmed up properly... 15-20 minutes is the minimum. I wouldnt get too worried about shot quality until you have your grinder though ;)

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Yeah I turned the machine on for an hour this morning before I made my shots and it was sour or bitter. Just tasted like weak, off grounds as it would. With milk it tasted better than some bought coffee ive tasted. I wonder what the hell those places are doing to get such a crap coffee.

    So far very impressed with the machine just gotta practice my milk frothing cause it sucks.

    Thanks steve for the advice u gave me. It helped alot. Just cant wait or my grinder so I can start perfecting my shots. Im on my way to espresso heaven. :)

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Im in a similar boat to you. New Silvia and learning to pull shots.

    Fresh beans has made a big difference to the bitter flavour and also getting (learning) the grind which varies between beans. Bit hit and miss to begin with.

    Achieving the right flow for the 20ml rule still eludes me despite everything I do :-[. Just runs too fast.

    However, I can say from my few weeks experience that leaving the machine to warm up for a good half hour makes a big difference. Flushing water through the coffee shot button doesnt quite have the same impact.

    Happy cupping

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    I cant wait to get my grinder and start fiddling around with it. Testing really course to really fine and tasting it.. I wanna know why a coffee tastes like it does.. over extraction.. under extraction etc..

    I am getting about 60ml in 25-27 seconds with the synesso double basket. which is good i think.. the pre ground is perfect. I am giving it a light tamp (dont really know how many kilos though) That is with 2 level scoops with the silvia spoon thing.

    If its coming out too quickly then maybe your grind is too coarse.. just a suggestion from what ive read so far.

    Youre right though.. i tried the whole cheating miss silvia thing and although good, it doesnt taste the same when the machine has heated up properly.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Noticed that you took delivery of the synesso basket. Many seem to have them and I wonder whether that might help my shots.
    Yes, I am playing around with the grind again now that I have freshly roasted beans and grinding them prior to cupping.

    Did you try the double basket with the Silvia machine? If so, what is the advantage you think from the ridgeless? synesso basket. Interested to hear your thoughts if you have a spare moment. :)

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Yeah i have tried it and i believe its better. Steve was the one that recommended it to me and Gus recommended it again.

    This was written by Steve on another forum "Synesso baskets hold more coffee than the Rancilio basket, dont have a ridge for your grounds to get stuck in and are consistently round....sounds funny but a lot of other baskets arent always perfectly round and its not tapered. This means your tamper will fit better."

    And everything seems to be true. By it holding more, it seems to give a more fuller and better tasting espresso. My pullman tamper fits it perfectly.

    We tried the synesso with the standard spring but the basket fell out when we knocked it so youll need the better spring too. but thats only like 3-4 bucks anyway.

    Ive always believed that if you do something.. you should do it properly. Well as much as ur budget allows.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by 133810380E340E5D0 link=1250859783/27#27 date=1251112821
    Yeah i have tried it and i believe its better. Steve was the one that recommended it to me and Gus recommended it again.

    This was written by Steve on another forum "Synesso baskets hold more coffee than the Rancilio basket, dont have a ridge for your grounds to get stuck in and are consistently round....sounds funny but a lot of other baskets arent always perfectly round and its not tapered. This means your tamper will fit better."

    And everything seems to be true. By it holding more, it seems to give a more fuller and better tasting espresso. My pullman tamper fits it perfectly.

    We tried the synesso with the standard spring but the basket fell out when we knocked it so youll need the better spring too. but thats only like 3-4 bucks anyway.
    Thanks for that...think I need to squeeze a few more dollars out and invest in a synesso basket.....its a hobby like cycling, photography..its bottomless! *::) ;D

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    yay.. just got a call from jetblack saying that my grinder is in. picking it up tomorrow. cant wait!!!

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Nemesis how did ur new grinder go?? It will improve ur shots ten fold!! Until u get one u wont understand the difference. Next be improvement is fresh roasted beans- Ive been roasting a couple months and am amazed again the quality of shots from home roasted fresh to cafe "fresh roasted" even from reputable roasters.

    Enjoy the journey u are on the right track with ur new toys and things been discussed- now just practice and experiment a little.

    Remember its all about whats in the cup! ;)

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Hi Nemesis
    Hope you are enjoying your new setup.
    To put that grinder to good use get some fresh beans from Swell in the Crown St Mall. Best beans in the Gong ;D

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Hey guys.. sorry for not posting up but have been playing with the grinder all weekend. Set it up perfectly now.. its on setting 43 (jetblack had theirs on 35 but i understand they are all different)

    The coffee is perfect now.. not overly bitter or sour, extraction time and volume are perfect.. lots of crema too!

    Next stop is to get some fresh beans. Not overly keen on roasting myself at the moment. Where abouts is swell Chaddy?

    Oh.. and i walked into jetblack and Gus remembered me straight away. immediately stopped what he was doing and got my stuff for me. Service cant get any better and im one of those people that would travel hours (which i did) and pay a little but extra to get the extra service. Its what really counts.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    Swell is down the lane behind Redback records.
    Mike has 4 roasters going and does several different blends most of which you can pick up only a few days post roast. He will do 1 kilo lots by pre-order.
    He also does Barista courses which I highly recommend, Ive done 2 already with first my Breville then my Sunbeam and am considering doing another with my Diadema.
    Also makes good coffee ;)

  35. #35
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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    NeMeSiS, is it too forward to ask what you paid for the whole package (think you got some extra stuff to whats on the Jetblack website)? Ive been looking for ages and this is probably the set up Ill go for. Still a bit worried about the multiple milk-based coffees - how have you found the Silvia?

    Also (to anyone) if I havent had any training on using the machine, am I really going to struggle to get something decent out of it? I know Ill have to practice, but will I be able to get it right sooner rather than later? Dont want to be waiting for months for a good coffee!!

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    I paid what the website says.. but the service was awesome and i dont mind paying that little bit extra for service.

    I seem to be able to make 4 lattes easily but after that you really have to wait.. only max 5 mins though so no worries. It does tend to get tedious when you have to make like 10-15 or perhaps more milk based drinks.

    I get compliments from friends and family that my coffee is among the best they have tasted.. i dont think it is.. but its close. just gotta practice but youll get there sooner rather than later. :)

    hope that helped!

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    HI NeMeSiS, Did you get the Silvia with the PID kit attached?? I am also leaning towards Miss Silvia for my first machine but unable to walk into a store and have alook due to me being 1500Kms from Perth so reading through this forum helps.

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    Re: Noob here - I have a lot of reading to do!

    I did get the offer to get my Silvia PIDd but no i didnt get it as i had a money restraint. I figured it could be added later anyway.

    I say if you have the money to get a PID with ur silvia then to do it. Gets rid of a variable so can get better shots quicker. :)



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