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Thread: Which espresso machine to buy???

  1. #1

    Which espresso machine to buy???

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im a NEWBIE to all of this.
    I am just starting out with the coffee thing and would like to know of what type of machine (espresso/cappucino) to buy ??? I have had a look at gaggia evolution...krups
    I just dont know what the difference is and which one is the best. I only want to spend around $250 for one..and have been looking on ebay....Any ideas would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    French Bean you are right. I thought that the Gaggia Classic would be the last machine I would buy until it breaks down.

    That was until I saw the La Scalas, Isomacs ...

    Oh yes, one more thing you will need with an Espresso machine, that is a good grinder, some people spend as much on the grinder as on the machine.

    So please research that as well

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    Coffeesnobs ... bear with me as I rant a bit about my coffee history.

    My first encounter with coffee was at university, needed that caffein to stay up craming for the exams. No-doz pills gave me too much at one hit :)

    As I frequented cafes, and with the limited amount of money I had, I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, a short black. From there I got hooked on espressos! Not only were they cheap, they tasted fantastic.

    I then moved on the the stove-top espresso maker, but kept on wondering why I could not get that coffee nectar that cafes were serving. After reading and researching, I realised that the Moka pot, was not generating enuf pressure.

    Well due to the limited funds of my study life, I never considered a Pump machine. Until I started working ... first machine I bought was a La Pavoni Cappucino. The demo at the shop convinced me this was the machine to get.

    I was happy with it for a while, until I research further about crema. I realised espresso without crema is drain water! I experimented with different pre-grounded coffee, until I realised, its the grind that was affecting my shots.

    I then purchased a grinder ... a whirly blade!! I soon learnt the error of my ways ... I moved on to a burr grinder ... that worked for the La Pavoni as it had a pressurized (?) portafilter.

    I was happy with that setup for 2 years ... then I read about how people were using the non-pressurised portafilter to get better coffee. Now I wanted that ... so I bought a Gaggia Classic, and sold off my La Pavoni.

    The Gaggia classic then proceeded to highlight the weakness of my grinder, it just could not grind fine enuf, I was pounding and pounding with the plastic tamper to get a slower pour rate ... to no availe.

    Then comes the purchase of the Cunill Grinder to the rescue.

    This was the path of upgrades which I walked. If only I had bought the right grinder in the first place!! The kgs of coffee I would have saved, my taste buds, the crapy grinders I bought!!

    Hope my experience helps and pardon the length of this rant.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    Basically the best option is to try your very best to buy a decent machine right from the word go. Ok it might cost you a fair bit more than what you planned, however the rewards are going to be there in the future.
    Put aside all of the sales hype and concentrate on what is most important, some things I think are important are SS Boiler/Brass or Copper Boiler, Servicable pump, basic electronics good pressure at the head say 9-13bar and spare parts availability. A barrista once told me that the machine is only 15% of the quality of the cupping, the rest is the beans and the barrista.
    My esspresso machine is about 10 years old but its a commercial machine and does its job extremely well and I can still buy spare parts for it, those that I cant can be swapped for another newer model.
    Grinders............. So many to choose from, Me I have a Cunil like Toms but I plan to upgrade to a Mazzer in the not so distant future as these are the Rolls Royces, with that said I know for a fact that CoffeeSnobs has access to the Rancillio Rocky Grinder which also receives many good reparts as well.... Stay away from Blade grinders and look for a conical grinder....why.... Better grind better end product...

    YouR body is the best you will ever have so anything that prepares food for you body should be the best you can get.

    Just buy wisely and think of the future, ie future proof yourself


  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    This helped me decide...

    A useful link has lots of reviews of coffee equipment by customers that actually own and use the machines.

  6. #6

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    We started with a Sunbeam Cafe Crema. This was a great first machine, but the plastic seal in above the shower screen wore 10 months of use, only a $2 part so we bought a few for when it happened again, apart from that it did well, made good coffees for its price range, but it didnt make the espresso hot enough for our liking. So we took it back thinking it may be faulty. We didnt realise that was the temp they were delibrately set at, we were very new to it all.

    So we decided to get a Krups instead, we were extremely dissapointed at the outset. It was light and didnt have a decent cup warmer, it frothed too much and getting a decent milk texture was more challanging. We made a coffee and it tasted as good as the Sunbeam. But we made another and the pressure put a hold through the filter basket - we took it back the same day and exchanged it for another Sunbeam.

    Then on the Sunbeam the Plastic part that held the group head then cracked and water and coffee were flowing over so we needed to get it repaired.. - still under warranty so it didnt matter. We then decided to upgrade as we knew after 18months that it wasnt going to be a fad so we then thought about spending a larger amount of money.

    We did our reseach and settled on the Rancilio Silvia after reading a lot of reviews. We have been really happy with it. We gave out Sunbeam to my Sister and she had to replace the Plastic part that help the group again soon after we gave it to her, but it was only $15 and Rich put it in for them, they are happy.

    I went around there the other day and had a coffee and it does taste different to what we are now used to - being the Silvia- but its like Instant you dont know what you are missing until you have a better coffee then you just cant go back!

    My sister and her husband are very happy with the Sunbeam theres a Beville machine under $200 that was getting an excellent write up for its class. Sometimes its just not possible to spend a lot on a machine, especially when you are twisting someone elses arm to spend their money ;) and you have to start somewhere. If I was starting out I would go for the Breville (under $200) or perhaps a Sunbeam (under $300) again, even though we had fiddly little problems with the parts, it was nothing major (there was a new one in box on ebay for $100 recently) but if I could spend more I would go for the Silvia again, the steam difference is just incredible, and next step up for us would be a commercial machine, but we cant quite justify that.

    As for a grinder - again depends on your budget, most start out with the Solis 166 for around $160. We started with a Russell Hobbs Burr grinder for $45 from the Good Guys. It did us a year, and ground well, we then we went to the Solis 166 and that was good, but had a lot of static. We now have a Rancilio Rocky Doserless which is great. We are content now and wont be upgrading for a long time.

    Rae :)

  7. #7

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    Hi There,

    I would go for the Classic over the Evolution. And after my experience with the Krups I wouldnt even look at another one. We asked a lot of questions and read reviews on they have very useful information and were great in answering our questions.

    Hope that helps.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    Just a quick note on the ebay gaggia machines...the RRPs listed on ebay seem to be too high. Checked today and they have the Gaggia Baby RRP as $599 which is much more than they cost in the dept stores.
    When I was buying a machine about a year ago I started with budget of $300. I ended up buying a Rancilio Silvia (blew the budget!) and have never looked back. If it is at all possible I highly recommend the Silvia..they are fantastic (when used in conjunction with good coffee ,ie not supermarket stuff).
    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    Ok here I come from left of field.....

    If you are on a small budget you will find it hard to beat the small sunbeam. I cant remembver the model name but i thinks its the "ristretto". Sells for anywhere unfder a hunderd dollars and last I heard one of the dept (or "discount" yeah right) stores was elling them for around $69.00.

    Recently I was on a panel of judges that looked at 10 "appliance" brand name machines in the under $1000.00 price bracket. The model mentioned above was by far the cheapest and a surprisingly good performer, particularly in view of the price.

    Match it up with a reasonable low end grinder...that will cost you more than the machine.

    The ONLY good low end grinders are:
    EMIDE (german made), just under $100.00 but depending on where you buy, OR, go straight up to around $150.00 for one of the solis grinders.

    Anything else at those levels (and certainly in the under $100.00 sector) is crap, do not touch, not suitable.

    You do not need to spend $2500.00 worth of your time reading internet reviews to get this kind of info, just ask here and get it in a couple of minutes. At this price and for the equipment mentioned, you cant go wrong, and once you have developed the taste and upgradeitis has taken hold, you can afford to put the above setup in the garage or take it to work, and buy a whole new set of upgraded gear for the home.

    At that point, ask again here for info on good upgrade (from the point of view of what you are upgrading from...) equipment.


  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    Go cheap. Domestic coffee machines seem to be like exercise bikes, treadmills and Gym membership. For the majority they are a waste of money.

    See if you can keep up with making coffee at home or it just dies off. If you keep it up, go something with a lot, lot, lot more quality.

    I have a Faema E98 compact. Few grand. Well worth it. Not saying go this cause there is a lot on the market. I will have this machine in 25 to 30 years time. Still working on a Mazzer grinder but wife almost shot after I bought this.

    If you are serious just spend the money (Maybe it isnt there). It is not much to pay for what everyday of your life. You can have garbage or you can have a nice life.

    My final point do a lot of research.

    Sorry I havent come up withthe options you were looking for.


  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    This helped us decide as to wether we would spend the money or not!

    Do we smoke.................NO
    Do we get Drunk............NO
    Do we do Ilicit Drugs......NO
    Do we go out heaps.......NO
    Do we enjoy good things.......................YES
    Can the outlay justify the futre good......YES
    What will the friends and neighbors say... Who cares
    Can we access good beans.... Thanks to CS yes we can
    Ahhhh Bugger it do we deserve it...........Well of Course... ;D

    Can we afford it?.............. Phone a friend, 50/50 Ask the adience.. :-[.. ;D

    Basically with all joking aside the final question was to us....... Do we enjoy our coffee enough to justify the outlay.... the final answer is YES...... anyway if you want it then half thre decision is made isnt it. :-)

    We have an open house policy and there is nothing like the enjoyment of making a great cuppa for yourself and friends and the enjoyment they get from this as well..... and Coffees been a great excuse to get together for years.....

    well thats my slant on it


  12. #12

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    The Cunil grinder has issues with static *and therefore the amount of mess that can be left after grinding coffee...but this is related to how much coffee is ground in any particular sitting, and whether you as an individual will be upset by this or not. Some individuals are, some arent. Otherwise the Cunil is a very good little semi commercial grinder and criticism cannot be levelled at it from the point of view of the actual grind quality.
    F_C, My Cunill Tranquilo/unico Splendor, doser, *has a small vertical arm that clears the any static adhered coffee from the sides of the chamber as one doses. The doser overall sweeps extremely clean.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: Which espresso machine to buy???

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    whoa, diggin up some old ones eh cremakid, good to see youre happy with your grinder!

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