Mid range machine for first timer!
Hello Everyone, I am just starting down the road of buying my first machine. I have never made my own coffee as I have never had a good one from a home machine (mainly pods) and have preferred to pay for a good latte out. However on a recent holiday I was made a good coffee at someone's home on a sunbeam dual boiler. It has converted me and I am now looking for some advice on what machine might be right for me. From the reading I have done so far I think that a dual boiler is the go. I think the breville sounds like a good option but is a little more than I was hoping to pay I would ideally like to keep it under $1000. Can anyone give me some other good recommendations?
My advice- forgo coffee at home for a little longer and save for the Breville. It's way better than any of the other appliance offer.
Enjoy the ride.
Do you know what the difference is between the 900 and the 920 Breville? That 900 seams to be coming on sale for around 1100 which seems like a good price.
Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee
The machine is important, but be aware that for a satisfyingly good cup you need to have good quality fresh roasted beans, a good grinder, and most importantly,..a good technique to bring it all together correctly.
So dont expect any machine to magically produce that perfect drink by itself.
...Also, consider that each time you drink a coffee at home , rather than at the cafe,..you save ~ $3 + !..so how many coffees before that extra cost of the Breville is recovered ?
Sunbeam don’t make a dual boiler but a double thermoblock, which is a lump of metal containing an electrical element that heats the water passing through. While they can produce good coffee, on the whole it is not as good as that produced by a boiler machine.
I use a Breville Dual Boiler machine and a Breville Smart Grinder. I have not used any Sunbeams. I upgraded from a Breville thermoblock machine and noticed the improvement.
Another great option would be a Rancilio Silvia/Compak Grinder type package. I've had some amazing coffees out of these little machines, and as a simple machine with few electronic gismo's there is very little to go wrong longer term. Using a fully manual machine would also teach you great technique right from the get-go
You should be able to get a package around your budget?
BTW you didn't mention if you have a grinder? This is a 'must have' with any machine…
Just my 2 cents
Since I buy 2-3 latte's a day at now $3.80 a pop I would be saving money with in 6 mths and with three boys under 7 I need that coffee in the morning, just might take me a little longer to get it. I don't have a grinder but was planning to get one when I get the machine. I have been told that the right grind might chance with machines so thought it best to wait. As for coffee beans I am not planning to buy from the supermarket, even though I am in regional vic we are starting to be able to buy good coffee beans around without needing to buy on line. I have a line on a organic place in town that sells and instructs on use of their beans, so planning to check them out vs the local tafe that does a espresso short course.
i have looked a little at the silvas but the ones I looked at you had to wait for cooling before doing the milk? Also haven't found them in town yet so might have to go to melb to buy and if I can I would like to buy local.
My advice is to aim for one of the bulletproof Manual Italian machines with a PID if you can.
Originally Posted by Ekp
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I've had the dual thermoblock Sunbeam
and now have a dual boiler Lelit PL60T
this was mentioned in another thread recently
have a look at how simple a top quality single boiler machine can be
while the dual boiler is ideal for absolute speed, the single boiler used properly gives a great result.
2 latte's, in under 3 minutes,
the real advantage of the dual boiler is being able to keep banging out shots while you're still steaming
Last edited by Robbks; 9th April 2014 at 02:39 PM.
Looking at it another way...
Originally Posted by Ekp
...3 cups a day made at home would save you ~ $10 day.. or = $60 + week
Every month you dont have that machine you are wasting $250 !!
In 6 months you will have spent enough to pay off that machine and grinder !
Even if you dont have the cash now, you could look for an "interest free" or "Pay later" deal that most of the big retailers offer ( HN or GG are best !)
blend52 is quite right.
My Sunbeam EM6910 has made about 6000 cups, work that out.
And it is a dual thermobloc system, as far as I am concerned it is just great.
And now for the arrogant snobish comment!
I seldom buy a coffee when we are out, why, they are often nothing like what I make and what I like.
Originally Posted by Barry_Duncan
Just a quick tech note: the SB6910 ($600 ish) has large stainless thermoblocks. The Breville thermoblock is less than 25% the physical size, probably even less than that in capacity and is much lower thermal mass (aluminium?) in a Cafe Roma ($150 ish) at least. No contest in terms of coffee shot ability, 6910 can do top shots, the Breville cannot. Considering the price difference, not a surprise. Also, the Cafe Roma uses dual floor baskets and I have only ever seen one lonesome aftermarket single floor basket (prototype?) in that size...
I currently have 2 6910's for home and a 2 group commercial dual boiler La Pavoni P/TRE which is now a spare. The La Pav has to be plumbed in and needs a 15 amp point to fed the power in. For less than 8 "milk & coffee people", a single 6910 is able to keep up easily. More than that, the La Pav rules. There is virtually no difference in the coffee produced, as either method works well enough to do a "shot and steam milk" at the same time to a (very) high standard. Well under a minute each "6910 latte / cappo" vs about 40 seconds for the La Pav (using both groups flat out). The "S" in CS about thermoblocks vs boilers must be based in the toy thermoblocks found in the really cheap makers, as the 6910 or 7000 thermoblocks are comparatively massive and give a very stable triple shot.
Originally Posted by Ekp
Getting back to the OP, you already know a 6910+ can do great coffee. http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...w-machine.html has more than you will ever wish to know about working / living with one (mind you, he bought a dud or "well used" secondhand 480 / 6910 combo).
The SB 6910 often comes up as a special with a EM480 conical grinder for between $500 and $800. Well under budget, and the grinder can be upgraded later. Enough left over to buy some decent baskets and a better tamper. Alternatively, a SB 7000 is a step up in dollars ($800+) & shot grunt, however the auto milk frother is a PITA unless mediocrity is your goal. Occasionally it is also bundled with a SB grinder.
According to the two main Perth repairers (all makes of machines) the 7000 is also very reliable. Much as I like the single boiler Silvia (lived with one trouble free for 9 years), the same guys always have 4 or 5 recently deceased Silvias. Cause: run it out of water and exit the boiler at $400+ a pop (pun intended). Not really a beginner friendly machine. The 6910 and the alternative "low end" single or dual boiler (ie DB Brevilles) machines are a little less reliable than the 7000, however that may be partly age related.
Baskets: Personally I use VST baskets, others use Synesso or "HQ Precision" (which aren't, compared to a VST). Any of those will be a cheap upgrade and give a better coffee.
Tampers: be overwhelmed by the choice as a starter.
Hope this helps, enjoy your cuppa.
Dual boiler is OTT for first timer. My advice go with Rancilo Silvia/Rocky combo, you won't look back. I've had mine for 6 years and still love it.
Ps. Go for the doserless grinder. It's less messy.
For making lattes and cappuccinos you don't need to go any further than a Barista Express and have $350 change from your budget. Unless you think that you might get into drinking espresso. Seriously a DB is overkill, plus you need a great grinder.
since it's your first buy, have you considered something second hand? the sunbeam you were talking about at your friends place are all over gumtree for pretty cheap (150-400 for an em6910). that said, there is a reason they're all over gumtree - they do have setbacks. a quick read on the em6910 thread on CS will give you an idea of the problems most face, but also the results they are still able to produce.
This is mainly in case you try it out and figure making your own coffee might be too much of a hassle for you (there is a steep learning curve when you start out), you get to try something out without having to have put too much into it. if you decide you like making your own coffees you can always upgrade from there with more cash to work with. at the end of it all, you can quite easily amortise the cost of investing in a fancy machine (if you do decide you really enjoy making your own coffees) against the 3-4 latte purchases per day.
grinder-wise, i wouldnt personally reccommend the sunbeam em480, but it does get the job done (still have mine from 2 years ago for espresso, paired with a em6910. got both for ~200 dollars and both still work fine). something like a breville smart grinder will do a much better job.
just my 2 cents =)
And my two cents for you Ekp or anyone reading the thread.
Apart from saving the dollars from making coffee yourself, you also save on time and expenses on travelling.
Factor in the cost of the vehicle, registration, servicing, depreciation, insurance and fuel costs, making your own at home becomes quite appealing.
Do splash out every now and then at a good cafe for the going out adventure.
If you can, invest in a good barista course. Not sure what is available in regional Victoria, but at least give the TAFE course a go if nothing else there.
This will set you up to make great coffee and give you an understanding of how to adjust grinders and machine.
Not all coffee beans and environmental factors are the same, so knowing how to adjust makes the experience a pleasure rather than a headache.
I think the Breville DB and matching grinder will be suitable for you when starting out.
It is a forgiving machine, in both the espresso and steaming department, whereas the Silvia requires you to be precise, and with 3 kids lining up, the Silvia will drive you bonkers.
If you crave reliability which is improtant especially since you are in regional Victoria, something like the Isomac Tea should provide pride of ownership and reliability for many years with good care and it's worth the extra investment which will save you in the long run.
Well well EKP
I wonder what you are thinking now with all those suggestions.
A bit of a headache to sort it all out I reckon.
So all the best, and to add to it all,
I started with a Sunbeam EM4880c, and an Sunbeam blade grinder, EM0415.
I now have those in our campervan, they still make good coffee, but it is down to the operator.
And when I switch from house to campervan I have to remind myself things are different.
So what I am saying is this, if not sure on expense, then buy a bit downmarket from an EM6910, and EM480 grinder is not all bad.
Mostly it is down to you as the operator, and how much you want to read, experiment and learn.
I'm agree with timdimdom - second hand is a great way to start experimenting at little cost. My first machine was a second hand Gaggia Baby (single boiler) for just over $100 and I was getting some great results straight up.
I agree with others though that it was a half decent grinder that started getting me really good results (still coupled with the Gaggia Baby). I didn't have any trouble with the length of time between pulling the shot and steaming the milk with the single boiler.
If I had $1000 to spend I would get an EM6910 and a Vario Gen 2 grinder. I learned very quickly with the 6910 how to make good coffee and could even get presentable (as in better than a lot of cafés) with beans from Coles. And the Vario is apparently a significant step up in performance over the EM0480 grinder I have.
The grinder is probably more important than the machine and if you buy a good one now, it will still be good for an upgrade of the coffee machine. If you get good grinds almost any machine will produce a coffee worth drinking. If you don't, almost no machine will do so.