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    $1k combo - my first and last chance

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all.

    I'm new to the game, currently playing around with a Saeco Via Venezia and a Delonghi KG59 grinder which I took from my folks to experiment with. The Saeco is on it's last legs it seems, it was left unused for a looong time so it wasn't in the best condition to begin with (rust and leaks) and the grinder is next to useless. So I was hoping you could help me find a new combo.

    I call it my first and last chance because I've finally convinced the wife that we need a new machine and grinder. We come from a Nespresso background which I grew out of and she wants to buy another Nespresso machine so it's been tough convincing her that I need about $1k to buy a new espresso machine + grinder + a few accessories so unfortunately $1k is the absolute limit, there is no such chance of squeezing out another 100 bux to get the next level up. The budget has actually risen from $300 (Nespresso) in small steps all the way up to $1k which is why there's no room to move, I simply cannot afford to spend any more!

    And this is going to have to last me at least 2-3 years before I can replace one of them, either the machine or the grinder. I'm thinking from my research on this site, that I get a good grinder now that can last me a while and that it's the espresso machine that I should replace down the track. This also means that I don't want to buy second hand gear cos if it breaks shortly after I purchase it, I'll probably be drinking instant coffee for the rest of my life! At least new gear will have a 12 month warranty. I simply cannot afford the risk of buying second hand.

    So to the details, I drink mostly flat whites. I will be making 1 coffee every day, sometimes 2 but at certain times when we have people over, I could be making up 4-8 at a time. Probably cappucinos and lattes. I hope you can help me.

    Thanks in advance.

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    k3p and whatever 58mm single boiler machine you can get out of the change?

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    id push it to a pre-loved mazzer mini and whatever 58mm single boiler. just bought a silvia pid and mini combo for that price. mini should be circa 450-550? leaves you with 550-450 =)

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    and if anything breaks on pokerstar's second hand gear he'll be back drinking Nespresso ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    k3p and whatever 58mm single boiler machine you can get out of the change?
    Any suggestions on the single boilers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
    and if anything breaks on pokerstar's second hand gear he'll be back drinking Nespresso ...
    Yep exactly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pokerstar View Post
    Any suggestions on the single boilers?
    There are plenty of CSers meeting your requirements with a Lelit or Silvia - comparo here .

    charlie
    Last edited by JetBlack_Espresso; 29th April 2014 at 11:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
    There are plenty of CSers meeting your requirements with a Lelit or Silvia - comparo here .

    charlie
    Thanks, I actually read that thread last night. The problem is a Lelit or Silvia would eat up a significant amount of my budget, only leaving $250 for a grinder leaving me in Smart Grinder territory. Is that the way you would go?

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    The Lelit Combi puts you under budget. Micrometric conical burr grinder included

    charlie
    Last edited by JetBlack_Espresso; 29th April 2014 at 11:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
    The Lelit Combi puts you under budget. Micrometric conical burr grinder included

    charlie
    Thanks I'll do some research!

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    I was going to suggest a sunbeam em6910 and em0480 with extended 5 years warranty, coming well under budget. But yeah - the combi sounds good! Other options would be combining a Rancilio Silvia with Breville smart grinder, or a Gaggia with a better grinder i.e. Compak K3. Although the warranty won't be as long, these machines will last far longer than the sunbeam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burr View Post
    I was going to suggest a sunbeam em6910 and em0480 with extended 5 years warranty, coming well under budget. But yeah - the combi sounds good! Other options would be combining a Rancilio Silvia with Breville smart grinder, or a Gaggia with a better grinder i.e. Compak K3. Although the warranty won't be as long, these machines will last far longer than the sunbeam.
    Thanks. I do like the idea of a separate machine and grinder so I can upgrade the machine a few years down the track.

    Thoughts on say the Gaggia vs BES840 vs the Sunbeam? Would love a Silvia but I think it would leave me skimping on the grinder. Dual boiler would be nice, the Sunbeam.

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    I have had the sunbeam (dual thermoblock) and gaggia, and personally prefer the sunbeam. For my morning latte it was better since it reaches a stable temp much faster and you don't need to wait for steam. That said, the shot quality was comparable on both, the gaggia supposedly benefiting from the overpressure valve (OPV). The main catch is the longetivity. I have been lucky, buying a second hand sunbeam which has been going strong for another few years (now 4-5 yrs old), but this is not always the case. Simple measures like backflushing, descaling and not overdosing prevent problems but the electronics are still prone to failure. The Gaggia I bought however, is close to 10 years will probably go for another 5 before any issues emerge. The 5 year extended warranty on the sunbeam is cheap but it would still be frustrating sending it in for repairs.

    It looks like you've read enough here to understand the importance of the grinder, and I agree its probably a better approach to invest in it and upgrade the machine later.

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    I've had the Sunbeam and upgraded to a Dual Boiler Lelit. far, far far far far better machine

    but for your situation I'd recommend one of the Lelit SB machines (used one if it pops up would be even better) or a Silvia and keep your eye out for a good used Grinder.
    I scored a Rocky w doser for next to nothing and it's a fantastic grinder.

    There's probably even a Silvia and Rocky package kicking around the sale section

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    Quote Originally Posted by pokerstar View Post
    Thanks. I do like the idea of a separate machine and grinder so I can upgrade the machine a few years down the track.

    Thoughts on say the Gaggia vs BES840 vs the Sunbeam? Would love a Silvia but I think it would leave me skimping on the grinder. Dual boiler would be nice, the Sunbeam.
    Interesting to note that despite being out for a decent amount of time I couldn't find any reports of issues with the bes840.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
    and if anything breaks on pokerstar's second hand gear he'll be back drinking Nespresso ...
    good point... if you do go down that route for the machine make sure you know where to look for serial numbers and get em to pull the thing apart and look at the insides. or bring someone experienced with you. id still say a 2nd hand mazzer isnt going to be breaking anytime soon......

    sunbeam looks high up on that list considering everything... ive had one for about 2 years and it was already 3 years old when i got it. it gets the job done but is not without its drawbacks. my 3way valve got blocked up and wasnt easy to fix. still was able to make good coffee - just needed to pull the cup away after killing the shot, and had to give it time for the group head pressure to settle down before removing the pf.
    the breville smart grinder is a great little soldier. easy to use and havent really heard of many breaking in the years it's been on sale for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timdimdom View Post
    good point... if you do go down that route for the machine make sure you know where to look for serial numbers and get em to pull the thing apart and look at the insides. or bring someone experienced with you. id still say a 2nd hand mazzer isnt going to be breaking anytime soon......

    sunbeam looks high up on that list considering everything... and the breville smart grinder is a great little soldier. easy to use and havent really heard of many breaking in the years it's been on sale for.
    I don't really know enough about machines to be pulling them apart to inspect them and check for serial numbers, and also can't afford the risk of a breakdown which is why id prefer to buy new. In fact I'm certain that I won't be buying second hand.

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    It sounds like you will have upgraditis anyway,

    For the budget and wanting new, Just buy the Lelit Combi from Jetblack,
    Then when you're ready to upgrade further, trade it in.

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    Hmmm even tho the combi should work great I'm not sure if its the best option if you are considering updrading in a few years. Also consider that while it is built better + stepless, the lelit grinder uses the same burr set as the em0480. There are simply too many options within this price range, but I would aim to buy one item to keep for the next upgrade. It will be easier to justify coughing up $500 on selling and upgrading your machine or grinder in a few years than $1000 to do both at once.

    The MAIN factor however is the quality of coffee, and care taken in preparing it. Although my recent upgrade to an E61 HX improved my coffee, it mainly improved the enjoyment I get while making it. If you are passionate about your coffee and want to save some dough, consider taking up roasting at home. With only a $50 investment in breadmaker/heatgun you will be receiving returns within a few months!

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    why not k3p and gaggia classic? I saw one on ebay that went for 499 new, posted.

    k3 has plenty of upgrade room. gaggia classic has all the right checkboxes(*) for a machine, other than steam pressure and maybe temp stability.

    (*) OPV, 3-way, 58mm. In that order, I think these are the key factors for an espresso machine in this particular price range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burr View Post
    Hmmm even tho the combi should work great I'm not sure if its the best option if you are considering updrading in a few years. Also consider that while it is built better + stepless, the lelit grinder uses the same burr set as the em0480. There are simply too many options within this price range, but I would aim to buy one item to keep for the next upgrade. It will be easier to justify coughing up $500 on selling and upgrading your machine or grinder in a few years than $1000 to do both at once.

    The MAIN factor however is the quality of coffee, and care taken in preparing it. Although my recent upgrade to an E61 HX improved my coffee, it mainly improved the enjoyment I get while making it. If you are passionate about your coffee and want to save some dough, consider taking up roasting at home. With only a $50 investment in breadmaker/heatgun you will be receiving returns within a few months!
    Yes this is my view as well regarding separate machines and grinder.
    And thanks for the suggestion, roasting beans is something I may have to look into one day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    why not k3p and gaggia classic? I saw one on ebay that went for 499 new, posted.

    k3 has plenty of upgrade room. gaggia classic has all the right checkboxes(*) for a machine, other than steam pressure and maybe temp stability.

    (*) OPV, 3-way, 58mm. In that order, I think these are the key factors for an espresso machine in this particular price range.
    Thanks, they are the exact types of machines I was looking at.
    Any comments regarding K3P/T compared to a Macap M2M and Rancilio Rocky?
    Is there anything in the same price range as the Gaggia that I should consider?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pokerstar View Post
    Thanks, they are the exact types of machines I was looking at.
    Any comments regarding K3P/T compared to a Macap M2M and Rancilio Rocky?
    Is there anything in the same price range as the Gaggia that I should consider?
    I own both a K3T and Macap M2M. The Macap loses nothing at all 'in the cup' and for some beans (particularly Africans) I actually prefer it. Now, my M2M is newer than the K3 so it's possible that the burrs are in slightly better nick but I've recently pulled the K3 apart for cleaning and didn't look too bad at all. The M2M looks like the K3's little brother, and seems to be of less heavy duty construction (but certainly not an 'appliance'). The M2M is also stepped, which may or may not be what you want. If you care about grind retention (which I don't) it is similar across the two grinders. Despite the smaller burrs in the M2M, I can't notice a difference in the 'speed' of the grinders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    I own both a K3T and Macap M2M. The Macap loses nothing at all 'in the cup' and for some beans (particularly Africans) I actually prefer it. Now, my M2M is newer than the K3 so it's possible that the burrs are in slightly better nick but I've recently pulled the K3 apart for cleaning and didn't look too bad at all. The M2M looks like the K3's little brother, and seems to be of less heavy duty construction (but certainly not an 'appliance'). The M2M is also stepped, which may or may not be what you want. If you care about grind retention (which I don't) it is similar across the two grinders. Despite the smaller burrs in the M2M, I can't notice a difference in the 'speed' of the grinders.
    That's awesome, thanks. Right now I'm leaning towards the k3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    why not k3p and gaggia classic? I saw one on ebay that went for 499 new, posted.

    k3 has plenty of upgrade room. gaggia classic has all the right checkboxes(*) for a machine, other than steam pressure and maybe temp stability.

    (*) OPV, 3-way, 58mm. In that order, I think these are the key factors for an espresso machine in this particular price range.
    Off the top of your head do you know what other machines in that price range tick those boxes?

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    Also is something like the Gaggia Classic capable of making 6-8 flat whites in a row, even if there's some time in between to let things cool down or heat up? As long as they can be made in a ~20min window doing 2 at a time.

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    Forget it. Without an aggressively tuned PID you'll want five minutes between shots.

    With one, I think it was taking me six minutes to do two flat whites.

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    I think your better off with a sunbeam dual thermo lock machine for your money to be honest. Would suit the milk coffee drinker more. 6910 or 7000.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pokerstar View Post
    Thanks, they are the exact types of machines I was looking at.
    Any comments regarding K3P/T compared to a Macap M2M and Rancilio Rocky?
    Is there anything in the same price range as the Gaggia that I should consider?
    I've got a K3 Push, and I don't have any complaints about it, its a solid machine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukemc View Post
    I think your better off with a sunbeam dual thermo lock machine for your money to be honest. Would suit the milk coffee drinker more. 6910 or 7000.
    That's the idea that popped into my head last night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Forget it. Without an aggressively tuned PID you'll want five minutes between shots.

    With one, I think it was taking me six minutes to do two flat whites.
    Ok. Thanks for the feedback

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey View Post
    I've got a K3 Push, and I don't have any complaints about it, its a solid machine.
    Thanks, I'm nearly certain that's the grinder I'll go with.

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    I'd buy the em7000 pack as cheaply as possible. On sell the grinder that comes with it to recoup whatever moneys you can then buy a better grinder with what's left over

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    $1k combo - my first and last chance

    Just out of interest (for further down the track) what is the European equivalent of say a em7000 or breville db? European made and able to make coffees for a large crowd in quick succession as well as great single cups.

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    Lelit PL60T? Small boiler on it and twice the price, though. Be better off looking at an HX I reckon.

    I don't know if there are any high-performance appliance-brand espresso machines made in Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Lelit PL60T? Small boiler on it and twice the price, though. Be better off looking at an HX I reckon.

    I don't know if there are any high-performance appliance-brand espresso machines made in Europe.
    Ok thanks. Yep that's kinda what I meant in that it doesn't have to be a dual boiler or thermablock but a level above the Silvias. So HX is the next step up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Lelit PL60T? Small boiler on it and twice the price, though. Be better off looking at an HX I reckon.
    I don't know if there are any high-performance appliance-brand espresso machines made in Europe.
    I can smash non-stop latte's on my Lelit PL60T.
    here's my procedure with a warmed up machine

    -turn on grinder (has a doser)
    -purge steam wand
    -pour milk for 2 lattes in jug
    -dose and tamp, secure
    -start the shot, sit glasses in place
    -stretch milk
    -sit jug down while steaming and whirlpool running
    -turn off grinder (it now has enough for at least another double)
    -stop shot, remove glasses
    -bang/ wipe out PF, replace in group to keep it warm
    -stop milk
    -pour first two drinks
    -repeat
    . by the time the shot is prepped in the PF, the boiler has recycled and ready to go at full temp.

    With my process you can basically pump out 2 latte's every minute non-stop.

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    Lelit PL60T, nice. Crikey this is an expensive hobby

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    Not really, when you think of it this way
    200 working days in the year, and you buy 2 large Latte's a day @ ~$4.50 each
    $9 a day is $1800 for the year. (double that if you have wife/ partner that does the same)
    that's how I justified a $1500 Machine and grinder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbks View Post
    Not really, when you think of it this way
    200 working days in the year, and you buy 2 large Latte's a day @ ~$4.50 each
    $9 a day is $1800 for the year. (double that if you have wife/ partner that does the same)
    that's how I justified a $1500 Machine and grinder.
    I only buy one coffee a day but that's the same track I went down to get the "ok" for what I'll be buying in this thread

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    PL60T seems to be an odd choice compared to say QuickMill QM67, but to each their own.

    I can't answer the question about lattes on the Gaggia; I've never owned one. On a Silvia, it's doable but not fun. (You can steam a double jug of milk, then pour a double shot, then repeat, within 5 minutes with careful attention to gronking. Steam, hit the brew button _while the steam button is on_ to prime the boiler, turn off the steam button when it hits about 95 degrees, pour shots, hit steam button to bring it back up to steaming temperature. The smaller, aluminium boiler on the Gaggia might work against it in this scenario.)

    I don't know what sort of pump is in the EM7000, but I would stay away from machines without OPVs in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pokerstar View Post
    Ok thanks. Yep that's kinda what I meant in that it doesn't have to be a dual boiler or thermablock but a level above the Silvias. So HX is the next step up?
    All other things being equal (which is rarely the case), I'd argue that dual-boiler is a step aboxe HX. With an HX, you get brew water and instant steam from a single-boiler machine but may have to trade-off between high steam pressure and the ability to pull shots without flushing (is what I've read, no personal experience). With a dual-boiler, you have two separate boilers, each held at just the right temperature/pressure to do what you want it to do. The trade-off here is cost.

    Either a decent HX or DB will serve you well if you want to make lots of milk drinks. I have a high-end single-boiler (QuickMill Alexia) and while the shots are amazing and I can make great microfoam on it, having to wait a minute and a half for steam pressure (700ml boiler) is a PITA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    PL60T seems to be an odd choice compared to say QuickMill QM67, but to each their own.
    Didn't realise it existed

    It's 2k here (in the US) so I suspect it'd be at least 2600 in Oz?

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    Thanks for your input everyone. It's a tough one cos 99% of the time I'll be making one or two cups but when we have guests over I don't want to disappear for half an hour to make coffees.

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    If that (ability to efficiently put out half a dozen milk drinks) is a need, rather than just something you'd like to be able to do if possible, then I think you're going to have to pay for the functionality; Cheap, quick, great shots; choose two.

    The alternative would be to get a decent shot machine (SBDU) and use a stovetop steamer like the Bellman to supplement steam functionality when you're entertaining. I haven't used one so I can't say it will be efficient, but as far as getting extra capacity occasionally without paying for it, it could be an option to consider.

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    Yeah even though the gaggia is a great compact machine, it will slow you down if making a few coffees at a time. From memory the boiler is only 100 mL, compared to around 300 for the silvia.

    Heheh all things considered i would recommend the sunbeam path with K3 (with 5yr warranty!). It really is an easy machine to use. Sure it doesn't have an OPV, but it isn't necessarily that important, especially if you are making milk drinks.

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    I don't know much/anything about OPVs but I assume it's something that can't be fitted onto a machine after purchase? ie a mod?

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    without an OPV (or rotary pump, etc), you can't brew at the same pressure for a single as for a double.

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    Guys, no need to confuse the poor bloke with unnecessary gobbledegook.

    Pokerstar. The kit you're contemplating will produce very, very good coffee and in the right hands, a better brew than what you might be getting at random coffee shops.

    If Sunbeam still offer their introductory training course, it would be a great start to do it. If not, there are plenty of excellent online resources and an excellent support network here. Get some good fresh beans and you're on your way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pokerstar View Post
    Thanks for your input everyone. It's a tough one cos 99% of the time I'll be making one or two cups but when we have guests over I don't want to disappear for half an hour to make coffees.
    It's a bit "off the wall", but here is an idea that works for me. I know the explanation is a bit long-winded but a bit of preamble may help.

    I am a big fan of the Gaggia Classic and I have a couple of them. They are built like a tank and will go forever with a bit of maintenance and a very occasional repair.
    BUT they are a small machine with a tiny boiler. They are good for one or two cups and OK for three or four, but no more than that. There are work-arounds that help to offset the small boiler and weak steam but they can't make it work like a bigger machine.

    I am not going to spend a $K or more for the once or twice a year that I have several guests over. So on the rare occasions that I need to make more than four coffees, I revert to the French Press's that I used before I discovered home espresso.

    I have three, all bought cheaply from op-shops, and while they won't make espresso or a true cappuccino, they will make real coffee - much better than instant.
    I use two of them to make what I call faux-cappuccinos. I use one medium size press to make a batch of VERY strong black coffee, and a larger one to froth the milk.
    I combine about one third coffee with two thirds foamed milk. Long blacks are easy - just add hot water.

    This won't impress your guests if they are serious coffee snobs, but for most people the result is way better than instant, and as good as they would get in many cafe's.

    Doing this would allow you to buy a brand new Classic, a K3 Push, and still be inside budget, thus keeping the Minister of Finance happy.

    If you're interested, I could go into a bit more detail, but if not - it was a possible option and worth a mention.

    Cheers, deegee.
    Dragunov21 and smokey like this.



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