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Thread: Best machine and grinder

  1. #1
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    Best machine and grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, what would you recommend for a machine and grinder with a budget of $1500 or less? Iíve been looking at the BEP920BSS as it seems to be liked and popular. Are there any better options out there? Iíve done a workshop and done a little research but Iím far from a barista obviously. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    What sort of coffees and how many will typically be made on the machine? What's your location? Are you going to want the grinder to do anything else other than espresso?

    The BES920 machine is hard to beat at this price range, especially if you get it on sale for $700-$800. The BCG820 will let the machine down, however. Something like a Macap M2 or Company K3 series grinders will do well. Depending on the price you can get the machine for, a Mahlkoenig Vario will be a big jump up from an M2 or K3, for low-mid $700s.
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    I like lattes and flat whites. Won’t really be doing short blacks etc. Probably 1-2 a day maybe little more on weekends. I’m located western Sydney. What’s the let down of the BCG820? Conversely what’s the benefit of the M2 or K3?

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    The BCG820 has a few great features, it's almost stepless but has numbers you can return to the same setting, it makes almost no mess at all, it has timed dosing, the hopper closes off really well so you can pull it out without losing a single bean 99.9% of the time, it's relatively small.

    What it lacks is consistency, both in particle size and the amount of coffee you get out in the same time. The time differences can be overcome by weighing your dose every time but the particle distribution issues aren't so easily solved. Having the ground coffee be all different sizes makes extracting each particle to the same level impossible. So what you end up with in the cup is always a mix of underextracted, well extracted, and overextracted coffee. This is the case to a certain degree with every grinder, however with the BCG820 it's borderline not worth it. It's about the lowest quality grinder that is ok. But it will really hold the machine back from its potential. The inconsistency of the grinder will make learning a much foggier process.

    The M2M and K3 Push step the consistency up a good notch to a point where I'm happy recommending them. These ones don't have a timer built in, they work by you pressing a button to grind and letting go to stop. They both have stepless grind adjustment which is great for fine tuning. The M2M V2 has micrometric adjustment which makes it much easier to make small adjustments (but also slower to make large adjustments).

    The M2D (+V2) and K3 Touch are the same thing but with a timer built in.

    P.S. I'm in West Hoxton and have a BES920, BCG820, and Eureka Atom if you want to have a play hands on before buying. Shoot me a PM if you're interested.
    Last edited by level3ninja; 4th March 2019 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Autocucumber
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    Hmmm a decent amount to think about there. I was really after a grinder that would dispense the correct dose so that I would have to time or weigh the grind. Thanks for the great response.

  6. #6
    Grinhill
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    I used to own a bcg820 - my coffee was always ordinary. I now have a Eureka Mignon grinder - it's awesome! It has an adjustable timer, cost just under $600. Good luck!
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  7. #7
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    I have been using a BCG820 for 4 years and thought it was great Until I upgraded , I bought a 2nd hand Mythos and the difference is very very noticeable.
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    Thanks everyone. I’ve now started looking at non-department store options from JetBlack Espresso and Di Bartoli. It seem you can get a decent machine and grinder for $1500-$1600. Notably a Compak K3 Touch grinder and either a Rancilio Silvia or a Lelit PL41TEMD. Would these be a better option? I’m assuming when compared to the Breville, they are better quality and more reliable/robust but aren’t a double boiler. Would that be correct?

    Also has anyone dealt with Jetblack or Di Bartoli? I’m looking for feedback on both/either.

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    I dealt with both and have nothing negative to report.
    I can see your focus is 100% on the grinder and the espresso machine. Have you already sorted out the no.1 variable imho for a good espresso? I went through a painful and long process before realising that the actual coffee beans - and how they are roasted - make the biggest difference.
    If you can, which mostly means if you live in a house, rosting your own coffee is what will have the strongest effect in the cup. This is unless you have a very reliable coffe shop and you will never get sick of drinking the same coffee.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philr32 View Post
    Also has anyone dealt with Jetblack or Di Bartoli? I’m looking for feedback on both/either.
    Both of these establishments are run by highly reputable people who have served the membership of CoffeeSnobs for many, many years. Highly recommended...

    Just mention that you are a CS member and they will look after you...

    Mal/
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    What sort of coffees and how many will typically be made on the machine? What's your location? Are you going to want the grinder to do anything else other than espresso?

    The BES920 machine is hard to beat at this price range, especially if you get it on sale for $700-$800. The BCG820 will let the machine down, however. Something like a Macap M2 or Company K3 series grinders will do well. Depending on the price you can get the machine for, a Mahlkoenig Vario will be a big jump up from an M2 or K3, for low-mid $700s.
    Autocucumber on this one too! Company k3?
    Stupid smart phones.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by luxor74 View Post
    I dealt with both and have nothing negative to report.
    I can see your focus is 100% on the grinder and the espresso machine. Have you already sorted out the no.1 variable imho for a good espresso? I went through a painful and long process before realising that the actual coffee beans - and how they are roasted - make the biggest difference.
    If you can, which mostly means if you live in a house, rosting your own coffee is what will have the strongest effect in the cup. This is unless you have a very reliable coffe shop and you will never get sick of drinking the same coffee.
    You are correct, I havenít thought about the beans at all. I figured I would speak to Jetblack/Di Bartoli and also go to some local markets/shops and try some til I found what I liked. At this point Iím not looking to get into roasting my own beans. I might be keen to do it in the future.

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    Anyone have experience with the Rancilio Silvia vs the Lelit PL41TEMD? The Silvia seems quite popular although it seems to be missing the PID as standard that the lelit has.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philr32 View Post
    Anyone have experience with the Rancilio Silvia vs the Lelit PL41TEMD? The Silvia seems quite popular although it seems to be missing the PID as standard that the lelit has.
    Go the PL41TEMD over the Silvia every day of the week. They're fairly similar but the Silvia is missing a few things (like PID and run dry boiler protection) that make it outclassed by the PL41TEMD.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Go the PL41TEMD over the Silvia every day of the week. They're fairly similar but the Silvia is missing a few things (like PID and run dry boiler protection) that make it outclassed by the PL41TEMD.
    Do you know how their build quality & durability compare?

  16. #16
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    Pretty similar. The Silvia is probably a bit more durable, but not by enough to make it worthwhile.

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    For grinder, Baratza Sette 270 would be a great option for low retention, espresso only. Mahlkonig Vario is a better option if you want more variety in grind size. Eureka Mignon Specialita would also be a great choice if you're happy to spend a bit more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Go the PL41TEMD over the Silvia every day of the week. They're fairly similar but the Silvia is missing a few things (like PID and run dry boiler protection) that make it outclassed by the PL41TEMD.
    Can you explain "run dry boiler protection"? I have the Lelit, but am not aware of this, and a bit paranoid about others forgetting to prime the boiler....?

  19. #19
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    I can't find it just now I may have confused it with another Lelit model... Until further notice assume the PL41TEMD does not have dry boiler protection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    I can't find it just now I may have confused it with another Lelit model... Until further notice assume the PL41TEMD does not have dry boiler protection.
    Thanks Ninja - paranoia resumed
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  21. #21
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    I think I was thinking of the Lelit Victoria, which has auto refill which avoids the boiler running dry. The PL41TEMD had no such protection.

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    Does the PID pick up on low water level though?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpyy View Post
    Does the PID pick up on low water level though?
    No mate, the PID Controller is a temperature controller, not a be-all end-all controller of everything. The machine will have dedicated controllers for monitoring and controlling boiler water levels...

    Mal.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpyy View Post
    Does the PID pick up on low water level though?
    Sharpyy, That is what the big long cutout on the left hand side of the machine is for. You glance at it and see where the water level is at. Even works when the power is turned off

    Attachment 21647


  25. #25
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    Haha, just trying to fool proof myself for those 5am brews...

    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Sharpyy, That is what the big long cutout on the left hand side of the machine is for. You glance at it and see where the water level is at. Even works when the power is turned off

    Attachment 21647


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