Espresso machine and grinder for ~$1,500
I am looking to purchase my first home espresso machine and grinder and was hoping to get some advice from members as to what my best option would be at around the $1,500 price point. In terms of what is important to me/how it is used I would say the following:
- Ultimately it is all about producing the best tasting coffee bearing in mind my very limited barista skills
- It would only make 1-2 coffees a day
- It would be predominantly used to make either espressos, long blacks and cappuccinos (depending on who is using it)
- I would like something built to last - I had been considering an "appliance" machine but after reading the forums here I think I would prefer to spend a little more and get something that will last
- I would like something as low maintenance and simple as possible
- I tend not to have much time in the morning so I want something that can either heat up quickly / has some other functionality to prevent me sitting and waiting 30 minutes to be able to use the machine
I am hopeful that it is possible to get a quality machine AND grinder for $1,500. I would be open to second hand however, given my very limited knowledge I am not sure how I can ensure I buy a quality, well maintained and looked after machine.
Appreciate any help!
Given all your requirements except the last two I'd say go for something second hand, for $1500 we see good machine/grinder combos popping up every now and then (e.g. E61 HX). You don't have to be an expert to tell if a machine is in good nick, if you can see it produce a shot in person and can read up on the machine then you should be able to get a pretty good idea.
I would like something as low maintenance and simple as possible
This doesn't really fit that well with your other criteria, you want to make the "best tasting coffee", but you will have to put a bit of effort into learning how to do so. Once you become proficient it will seem simple, but if you have never used a "prosumer" machine before there is a bit of a learning curve, though it's not rocket science. As for low maintenance, a good E61 HX/DB machine requires little in the way of day to day maintenance (backflush regularly) but if you neglect this it becomes a bigger job in the future
I tend not to have much time in the morning so I want something that can either heat up quickly has some other functionality to prevent me sitting and waiting 30 minutes to be able to use the machine
You probably want a timer/smart switch (I've got a couple of xiaomi ones, you can get them for <$20 and they have all the features you need). Most good non-appliance machines require 20-30+ minutes of heating time.
Tend to agree with Agrajag’s message. I went from a Sunbeam 6910 to a 2nd hand Bezzera BZ02 and don’t regret it for a second. My next step is upgrading to an E61 machine.
I guess it depends on what your priorities are among the criteria you mentioned. If getting the best possible coffee your priority then make those small compromises in other areas and go for the 2nd hand E61. The main challenge there is finding one. They don’t come on the market as often as the appliance machines.
If you are after something new then maybe look at the Lelit range. No experience myself but they look to have some good alternatives to the appliance brands.
Thanks. I should have clarified - when I said simple I meant more in terms of functionality - i.e. does not have a bunch of additional features and functions that I wouldn't use but create additional parts to breakdown. It was more about maintenance and ongoing care than operation.
I have read some good things online about the Lelit Victoria. Any views on this from people who have used it?