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Thread: $1000 machine for office use

  1. #1
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    $1000 machine for office use

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello one and all!

    First of all - my apologies in advance if I am breaking any sort of posting protocols. I'm still new, and am sure I will learn the weird and wonderful coffee forum ways quite quickly.

    The main reason for my post is this - I am co-ordinating a small office coffee drinking club. Our numbers fluctuate between 8 and 15 people, most of whom are primarily interested in getting a decent espresso several times a day, for (naturally) a minimal price. We are looking to replace our existing coffee machine with something....better (read - primarily more reliable, improvement in quality would be awesome). To give you an idea of the benchmark - we are currently running with a Saeco Minuto (yes, you read that right) with Vittoria Espresso beans. People seem sufficiently happy with it, however the machine itself is struggling (after a bit over a year), necessitating a replacement. And yes, I clean it quite regularly (circa every second day).

    My question is this (though I might be asking for a unicorn) - what are your suggestions for a reasonable coffee machine (or in case of a semi-auto, a machine and grinder combo) which MAY be suitable for our use, around the $1000 mark. The poison of choice is espresso - it doesn't need to steam milk well (or at all in fact), it should have prospects for a reasonable life without dying, needs to grind (or price should include a grinder), and should (ideally) be able to churn out a beverage in under about 30 seconds (to cope with the demand of 8-15 people in the zombie state requiring their morning shot).

    I look forward to your advice

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    To get the ball rolling, my uneducated advice would be that you need a hefty domestic machine to knock out up to 15 coffees at once/ in quick succession ... Well , it might be hard for a sub $1k, and that's without a grinder.

    remember it takes about 30 seconds just for the shot to be pulled, so if time is of the essence in that way then ... Super auto? $2k.

    I think I'm right , but someone else might be able to give you an idea of what it might take to realistically fill your need.
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    Welcome John....

    Maybe something like this is a possibility, but you will still require a decent grinder...
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...c-project.html

    Mal.

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    Thanks for the replies guys

    @Dimal - the Bezzera definitely looks like it could take the sort of abus.... I mean love, that it would likely see. Unfortunately, 10 people covering a ~$2500 machine would equate to around 250 each, which is not something anyone here will spend on something that remains in the office.

    I was originally looking at the Breville 870, but it appears they are not sufficiently reliable to protect me from lynching which would happen as a result of early failure. I was also potentially considering a Silvia with a K3 Push, however the need for temp surfing might make it....challenging for some of our team.

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    I was tasked by the boss to find a new office coffee machine here.

    Purchased a Breville BES920 inc smart grinder from HN:

    Breville BES920 Dual Boiler Coffee Machine - Coffee Machines - Coffee & Beverage - Kitchen Appliances | Harvey Norman Australia

    Knew a friend of a friend at HN; we paid $1250 - close to your 1k mark.

    All very happy so far.

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    Hi JohnF, make coffee hardware for sale as your favorite link (if you haven't already done so) there are good bargains on well loved coffee gears popping up on coffeesnobs site every now and then

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    Expobar Office used machines appear from time to time here and on fleabay (with grinder combos can be had for around $1000). Don't skimp on the grinder.

    Well looked after machines (rather than appliances eg saeco) can last forever (or are at least readily repairable) so don't be afraid of second hand. As always buyer beware tho. Too bad if the boss says (for tax purposes) it must be new - tell him we said $1000 for a new machine and grinder in a busy office environment is not likely to produce good results in the cup.

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    You probably should consider a pod machine (not appliance, once again) as well. While I'll never own one for a range of reasons, the better ones (eg expobar, spinel) can do quite okay in the cup even by 'snobs standards, would backend your costs (ie no grinder purchase) and provide speed in the office.

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    Thanks for the insight - the Breville 920 is looking decidedly interesting, especially if I can get it for below the ~1500 price it usually goes for. Also, based on other reviews I have seen, I don't think anyone has been complaining of unreliability/breakages just yet (though it is still relatively new).

    @WantRancilio - Cheers, I'll keep an eye out for second hand machines. Although it seems all the good ones get snapped up pretty quickly . As for pods - those are decidedly out. Currently we work in an arrangement where everyone pays a lump sum each month, and drinks as much as the jitters allow. Pods would get a bit pricey.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    You probably should consider a pod machine (not appliance, once again) as well. While I'll never own one for a range of reasons, the better ones (eg expobar, spinel) can do quite okay in the cup even by 'snobs standards, would backend your costs (ie no grinder purchase) and provide speed in the office.
    Oh? I can't recall any snob ever saying commercial pods came anywhere close to producing what using fresh ground coffee in a single walled basket in a decent machine could.


    Java "Pods? Pass!" phile
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    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    You probably should consider a pod machine (not appliance, once again) as well. While I'll never own one for a range of reasons, the better ones (eg expobar, spinel) can do quite okay in the cup even by 'snobs standards, would backend your costs (ie no grinder purchase) and provide speed in the office.
    Don't know what snobs you've been hanging around with, but I'd make them hand back their credentials if they're giving pass marks to pods!
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    My instinctive reaction to pods is indeed the same but I'm no expert in pods... and the office environment is a specialised area and I'm sure some 'snobs have said the gap isn't necessarily enormous and have advocated them in office environments in a number of posts. Don't make me dig them out

    I also note that some mobile coffee vans now use them.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    I sell these so expect some bias but in an office environment you could do really well with a Brazen.
    CoffeeSnobs - BeanBay - Other Stuff - Behmor Brazen Plus - Coffee Brewer

    It will produce 1.2 liters in under 10 minutes.
    Has an inbuilt timer so you could dose it up before going home and have coffee ready when you walk in.
    Super easy to clean.
    Small footprint, low power usage.
    You can use whatever fresh coffee you like.
    Milk coffee drinkers enjoy it too with a splash of milk in the long black.

    Buy a grinder and a Brazen and you won't look back.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    I sell these so expect some bias but in an office environment you could do really well with a Brazen.
    CoffeeSnobs - BeanBay - Other Stuff - Behmor Brazen Plus - Coffee Brewer

    It will produce 1.2 liters in under 10 minutes.
    Has an inbuilt timer so you could dose it up before going home and have coffee ready when you walk in.
    Super easy to clean.
    Small footprint, low power usage.
    You can use whatever fresh coffee you like.
    Milk coffee drinkers enjoy it too with a splash of milk in the long black.

    Buy a grinder and a Brazen and you won't look back.
    Agreed Andy. The Brazen produces hands down THE BEST filter coffee I have ever experienced- by a country mile. It's perfect for an office (and my warehouse...and another on my bench at home ).

    Chris
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Out of interest, what grinder have you chaps paired with the Brazen? My K3 lives in my office at the moment, but I don't find it the greatest for the Aeropress (prefer my cheap Porlex mini).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Thanks for the replies guys

    @Dimal - the Bezzera definitely looks like it could take the sort of abus.... I mean love, that it would likely see. Unfortunately, 10 people covering a ~$2500 machine would equate to around 250 each, which is not something anyone here will spend on something that remains in the office.
    Wasn't suggesting a brand new machine as such, rather, I was putting the view that a well looked after used machine of decent quality would be able to stand up to the workload and abuse - So long as someone took the time to educate the users on how to use it and care for it properly. A decent grinder also needs to figure into the office coffee setup too, as mentioned above....

    Andy's suggestion above is a top idea though; with high quality fresh coffee beans and the requisite decent grinder, it's a difficult combo to beat in an office environment...

    Mal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agreed Andy. The Brazen produces hands down THE BEST filter coffee I have ever experienced- by a country mile. It's perfect for an office (and my warehouse...and another on my bench at home ).

    Chris
    (sorry for hijacking the thread JohnF)

    Today in the Snobbery the espresso machine wasn't turned on (La Marzocco GS3) but the Brazen was. Similar happens at home too.


    what grinder have you chaps paired with the Brazen?
    In the Snobbery I use the (commercial sized, weight of a toddler) Mahlkonig deli grinder, at home I use a Mazzer Volcano... both are serious overkill but that's what I have on the bench.

    I expect the K3 would suit it well or even a Rocky.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    My instinctive reaction to pods is indeed the same but I'm no expert in pods... and the office environment is a specialised area and I'm sure some 'snobs have said the gap isn't necessarily enormous and have advocated them in office environments in a number of posts. Don't make me dig them out

    I also note that some mobile coffee vans now use them.
    Feel free to search for a snob on here stating that pods make good let alone great espresso. The best I can recall seeing is that with lots of sugar and milk they make a drinkable cup that is better than instant. Most statements about them are along the lines of Fatboy's comments.

    looking at at getting into the swanky coffee scene (currently on pods and am sick of terrible coffee and contributing to landfill in a big way, plus, being ripped off)
    If you don't want to avoid pod machines from an environmental standpoint, then consider the financial. A pod contains around 5g of ground coffee, with prices ranging from 40c to 80c per pod. This gives you a per kilo cost of coffee at around $80-160/kg, for stale sub standard coffee. I say stick with freshly roasted coffee, ground on demand - the prize for which is coffee worth drinking, and you do some good for the environment and save a hell of a lot of money.
    I've got a Nespresso Lattissima Pro with plenty of pods but very rarely use it. Whilst I don't think the coffee is horrible, I do find it watery, lacks character and body. Also, the milk is not very creamy and too airy/foamy for my liking.
    Made in response to the above statement:
    To me, that is the definition of horrible coffee
    There are many many more such comments on here.

    Sure you could improve on the commercial pods by using a refillable one with fresh roasted and ground beans but that would remove their prime selling point, their convenience.


    Java "Search away!" phile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Out of interest, what grinder have you chaps paired with the Brazen? My K3 lives in my office at the moment, but I don't find it the greatest for the Aeropress (prefer my cheap Porlex mini).
    Macap M2M with mine at home. At work I use our Mahlkonig K501 bag grinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    Today in the Snobbery the espresso machine wasn't turned on (La Marzocco GS3) but the Brazen was.
    Snap! Happens frequently at the Man cave aka shed...
    Last edited by TC; 21st July 2015 at 05:52 PM. Reason: more info...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris and Andy. Sounds good (if needed I can swap my M2M and K3 around....but I probably just haven't given the k3 enough of a chance at work).

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    The Brazen is a sensible choice, leaving you a solid budget for a good flat burr grinder.

    You can churn out consistent / repeatable high quality filter coffee, everyone gets the same standard to sample and discuss.

    There is quite a selection of different single origin filter roasts varying in their development from roaster to roaster all around Australia to sample, which will keep things interesting.

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    Much like a child trying to justify the unjustifiable my last post contained too many 'and's as I dug my hole deeper.

    I can see like Bronwyn I will be serving a period of snobs probation. The code of conduct is quite clear "thou shall not plug bad or even mediocre coffee, ever"

    I guess one point I was making (read, still digging!) was that pods can make a more consistent result than a novice on good equipment and if people "seem sufficiently happy" with their saeco with possibly stale beans well... consistency may be more valued than quality... jehovah jehovah!

    I'm not going to make the mistake of saying pods can be passable again but I'll quote ccc2 from a few years back.

    Quote Originally Posted by ccc2 View Post

    Commercial espresso machines and grinders in most cases do not go well in an office environment, unless the people using them know what they are doing as BF stated - and its the time and mess that can put people off. White business shirts and coffee stains do not mix so well, either does the person rushing for a meeting and leaving mess in the sink (but that happens on all systems).

    Whilst I resisted ESE Pods for a very long time, Ive been to hell and back with numerous bean2cup systems over the last 4 years and reached the belief that the simplicity and reliability of PODs is one solution that can work reliably in offices.

    People have varying opinions about PODs - cost, freshness and flavour. Some ESE POD suppliers use seriously high-end coffee in the POD.

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    just for java 'search away' phile's benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bosco_Lever View Post

    For ease of use there are good quality commercial pod machines that use the ESE pods. You can buy very good quality coffee in these pods, and they work very well in an office environment. They are easy machines to use, and keep clean. I am not talking about the pod machines available in department stores. "Spinel" make very good units that will last a long time, and are common in many offices. Google them for more information. They are about $1200. They also come with a steam wand.
    I have tasted good coffee from these machines and it is a lot better than stale coffee, made on a HX machine. In an office, you may find a couple of people who are keen to use the machine suggested in the post above, but others will feel intimidated. You may also find no one willing to clean up, and the cleaners at the end of the day will certainly not do anything more than wipe and dust. Commercial pod machines are becoming very common and are a good step up from instant coffee and the domestic pod machine. Good quality super auto machines for offices are over $10k.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bosco_Lever View Post
    I know of at least one roaster in Melbourne who sends off freshly roasted coffee to be packed into the ESE pods. The quality of his product is very high, hence my description of the coffee packed into the pod. I buy his roasted coffee from time to time, and am very impressed with it. The company packing the pods has a quick turnaround time back to the roaster. They are then delivered quickly to many an office. The coffee can be around one week old, certainly less than your assumption of a few months. The imported pods may be several months old, but I was referring to a local product. Some offices have a very large turnover of these pods, and receive regular deliveries. I have tasted coffee from this system and it produces a reasonable brew. It was better than what many cafes serve. As with all coffee there are many variables, including stock control. As to the preservation of the quality of ground coffee, I will leave this to the roasters who specialise in the area of "office coffee" to comment. I have not researched in depth this area, nor do I want to. I have tasted the product, and was skeptical at first. Having been served far worse in professional establishments, I was pleasantly surprised.
    Attilio 'fresh coffee' aka the original snob liked the above.

    I do note Bosco didnt respond to this thread however despite being logged in.

  24. #24
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WantRancilio10 View Post
    just for java 'search away' phile's benefit...

    ...Attilio 'fresh coffee' aka the original snob liked the above.
    When discussing ESE pods he has also stated:

    Its a compromise really. You either want good coffee, or you want convenience. You have to decide which.
    As has been stated on here many times when discussing pods/ESE pods they use a pressurized basket/crema enhancing device. In otherwords what they produce is not real crema/espresso. So again, while convenient and (Usually!) better than instant what pods produce is hardly a good espresso by snobs standards.


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    I think you're missing WantRancillo10's point Java.
    This (thread) is not about what is the better method.
    The OP is after advice for an obtaining a "decent espresso" office environment coffee within a certain budget.
    After all, they seemed "sufficiently happy running a Saeco Minuto!

    The top end pod/ESE machines offer that "compromise" of convenience AND practicability in an office kitchen.
    8-15 people seeking to churn out "decent espresso several times a day", to me, doesn't constitute a good quality single group HX or dual boiler machine considering their "benchmark" of Saeco and Vittoria.

    I agree the Brazen ("it doesn't need to steam milk well (or at all in fact)") suggestion is a far better option than pods, but perhaps they will have to experience the quality brew it offers to help sway them from their preferred espresso concept.

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    Wow - good to see the conversation well and truly underway. Definitely a bit of food for thought.

    I think Kevo hit the nail on the head though - the team would actually be happy with the Saeco Minuto (I'm not though, because it is becoming wasteful, will likely break pretty soon, and I swear the coffee is getting weaker over time). We have had the "pod conversation" before - it is well and truly dead. The economy of buying pods is what makes them an inhibitor, and when we had a vote on the matter, it was the last option on the list.

    I had a look at the Brazen - it definitely looks good, and would meet our requirements in terms of coffee production. As Kevo (once again) pointed out though - the team has a well ingrained espresso concept, from which it would be hard to sway them. I will try to swing it, but ultimately when we go to purchase, and I put the matter to a vote, I have a suspicion the Brazen will have a handicap right from the start just based on perceptions of drip coffee. I feel people prefer to see the coffee made fresh into their cup, rather than pour it from a jar (I know, a silly reason - but I'm sure everyone is aware how strongly these details can affect the satisfaction of the coffee drinker).

    In any case - keep the suggestions coming. In the meantime, I'll keep an eye out for any good second-hand deals. If we could get a well priced commercial/semi-commercial machine, it could go last a long time.

  27. #27
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevo View Post
    I think you're missing WantRancillo10's point Java.
    This (thread) is not about what is the better method.
    The OP is after advice for an obtaining a "decent espresso" office environment coffee within a certain budget.
    After all, they seemed "sufficiently happy running a Saeco Minuto!

    The top end pod/ESE machines offer that "compromise" of convenience AND practicability in an office kitchen.
    8-15 people seeking to churn out "decent espresso several times a day", to me, doesn't constitute a good quality single group HX or dual boiler machine considering their "benchmark" of Saeco and Vittoria.
    Hhhhmmm.....I'm missing the point? Did both you and WantRancillo10 miss post #9?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    @WantRancilio...As for pods - those are decidedly out. Currently we work in an arrangement where everyone pays a lump sum each month, and drinks as much as the jitters allow. Pods would get a bit pricey...

    Java "No pods!" phile
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    Exactly. He said he doesn't want pods AFTER I suggested them as an option. I'm not suggesting them now just providing context to my original post and to your demand that I find a snob on here stating that pods were capable of making passable espresso. All...

    [QUOTE=JohnF;560216] bit of food for thought.QUOTE]

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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    If you're in Melbourne, check Gumtree, there is a faema single group with a mazzer mini for a grand

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    Having read the above sporadically over a period of days...

    Lets try not to get distracted.

    The type of machine OP is currently using needs upgrading. This is because of the level of use, for which it is NOT intended. There is good reason why the OP feels he wants something more "reliable". One year in an office at that level of use is pretty good....time to upgrade OR atleast replace.

    The budget is not enough to actually "upgrade" (either the equipment or the character of the coffee in the cup). The OP seems happy enough with the coffee and the equipment...and has negated a number of alternatives given, leading him straight back to....

    ....the department store for another similar piece of equipment to the one already in use.

    Be prepared to budget to buy a new one every year.

    Be prepared to budget to pay more per kilo for a "better" coffee.

    And as long as the brief remains to supply only black coffee.....Problem solved
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    On the contrary - I have been made aware of the Breville 920 (and further investigation suggests it is significantly more reliable than the 870), and have noted a possible alternative (the Brazen) which I can pitch to the team.

    All things considered though, it appears that espresso machines (and their associated quality etc.) do not really exist on a continuous price scale, seeing as you either spend $500, or $2000 with apparently not much in between. That knowledge alone can be quite useful - perhaps the answer is another Minuto after all.

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    Or there's the hardware 4 sale section. A good looking Giotto was on there this morning for about the $$$'s you are speaking of. Might be worth a look.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    On the contrary - I have been made aware of the Breville 920 (and further investigation suggests it is significantly more reliable than the 870)...

    All things considered though...l - perhaps the answer is another Minuto after all.
    In my view

    a) reliability has not much to do with it because
    b) in my view they are totally unsuitable office coffee machines for use by a varied group if people.

    Nothing to do with the *possible, theoretical* quality of the brew they could or might produce when used expertly by a single owner. But very much to do with what happens in office/group scenarios with any kind of manually operated coffee machine. And what makes these much worse in use is their small, home use size and (comparative) light weight. At least when starting from some kind of "semi commercial" ("prosumer") sized machine, an operator has half a chance because of the much bigger weight involved, during the operation of the machine. These machines are frustrating toys when used in group situations, and far easier for the group to deal with a cheap home use auto machine that is only called upon to make black coffee, is fed with good beans, and budgeted to be replaced once a year. If it lasts more than a year than you are all having a win so you could also budget to buy a ticket in the lottery at the same time .

    Not to go into the many other reasons why any manually operated (not just domestic size) machines are not good in group situations in offices.

    You are restricting yourself with the size of the budget, but in that price range, the above is my opinion.

    Hope that helps .

  34. #34
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    Hi John.

    Your brief = 1-2 group plumbed rotary pump HX machine with timed doserless grinder.

    Your budget = a coupla Brazens and a decent entry level small commercial grinder.

    Yearly cost to the business while 10 or 15 workers d!ck around with inadequate equipment or give up and go to the local cafe? Thousands

    10 workers. 2 coffees each/day 48 weeks at $1 contribution towards purchase price (of machinery) per coffee = $4800. That's a close to a realistic starting budget.

    We'd all like a whole heap of stuff which is beyond budget. Options are to save, use a finance option like Silverchef or go to plan B aka instant.

    Chris
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    Just my 2 cents, but.... Best workplace I ever worked at revolved around filter coffee. We had an (excellent) cafe just 2 doors down from us, and we just never went there on work time.

    You might be able to sell your co-workers (who seem to want to get the most out of a black coffee) that with filter, you can discover some excellent flavours that just are not going to come out in the best of espresso shots on a lower end machine. How much better will it be if you're all drinking literally the same brew, and being able to chat about/appreciate it together?

    That was the killer for me - we actually got to talk about the coffee we were drinking and enjoy our thinking out loud (and philosophising about other things) knowing that I didn't get the should-have-been-sink espresso shot and my colleague got a tasty one.

    Just my experience... I have never enjoyed work coffee more than in that job. Makes me want to go back.

    Otherwise, if it's just about getting my espresso coffee thanks and buggering off out of there - I'd be ditching the club and looking after myself with a french press

    If you reckon an espresso machine is gonna be abused (which these things can do), the likelihood of having espresso worth drinking will rapidly diminish. Why not have a decent buy in which will mitigate against that eventuality. Actually allow your co-workers to take some ownership that costs them something significant and give a crap about it's maintenance. They don't wanna drop $250 on access to a few espresso shots each day, I'd question if they're really gonna care about the equipment.. That's still only $1 per day each across 48 weeks to cover the machine. Much cheaper than $3 per shot at the local cafe.

    I'd go the Brazens, any day of the week.

  36. #36
    Caffeinated kopigeek's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
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    Melbourne
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    $1000 machine for office use

    Couple years ago we had 2x silvias side by side catering for an office of 20. We never made 20 coffees at once though.

    I think filter coffee is the way to go and spend the balance of funds on a decent grinder.
    Or jazz it up with siphon/vacuum brewers and pour overs and then you got yourself a specialty work coffee bar.

    I don't think for $1000 you're going to get much to cater to your requirements in terms of espresso unless you quadruple your budget (at least) and plumb a 2 group Unit in.
    Last edited by kopigeek; 23rd July 2015 at 06:12 PM.



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