Which espresso machine for my DIY Pharos inspired grinder?
I've been working on a DIY coffee grinder with my dad using Rossi 68mm conical burrs (as in the OE Pharos) - the design is somewhere between the Lido and some of the grinders on German DIY forums (i.e. both bearings above the burr).
So far alignment is such that I grind out (more like extrude) worms of very fine powder. I think it's more than ready for espresso.
I've started researching what machine to pair this with. I'm on a budget and enjoy DIY. I'm a trained scientist (physics PhD) so I tend to be drawn to things that I can experiment with.
A La Pavoni is an attractive option, although I'm concerned that my wife will have trouble using it. Whatever I choose I'm likely to monitor temperatures as I already have a PID that I use for sous vide cooking. I had my eye on the Oscar at ~1000 but if I can reach greater heights with a lever at ~700 it's hard for me to go passed that. Otherwise I was thinking of importing a Gaggia Classic.
I've been using an Aeropess + PeDe hand grinder for 3 years, mostly for milk drinks. At the moment I achieve a layer of microfoam by aerating milk and microwaving (sometimes with stabilizers like skim milk powder or carrageenan). I'll be making < 20 drinks per week and adding short blacks to the menu with the new machine.
What do you guys think? Is a La Pavoni a good choice for a scientist? Will I be able to teach my wife to operate it?