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Thread: Advice for newbie *

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Advice for newbie *

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello,

    Iím a newbie here, found this forum by looking around on the web for coffee machines. *I can see why itís called coffee snobs ;D * Ė I thought I knew a lot about coffee, (and my friends call me a coffee snob) *but I really am a newbie compared to the members here. *Im glad I found this forum! *

    I thought Iíd decided what I was going to buy, was only Googling to compare prices, but now I am more confused. * :-/

    So, to tell you a bit about myself.

    My first machine was a Pavoni which was, I think, the only machine you could buy in Oz for home use, back in the 60s. *Long story, but my boss kept it at work and ended up giving it to me. *This was in Sydney, and when it needed servicing, no one knew how. *They made it worse and worse. *Eventually, (having spent a fortune) I decided that I needed to take it to Italy to get it fixed. *;D* My cousin took it, to see if he could fix it. *Never to be seen again. *I just recently found out how much they are worth! *:(

    I then bought a Baby Gaggia in early 70s. *I was the only person I knew with a machine at home back then, all my friends thought I was nuts to spend that much money to make coffee, but didnít mind drinking it. * ;) *

    Eventually, it got all corroded and was costing too much in repairs, so I decided to buy a new one. *A friend (with a special talent in haggling) came with me. *We ended up at Saeco and I got talked into an automatic machine. *(Estro Magic Delux) *What a stupid mistake! *:-[* *Anyway, that was about 9 years ago and have since spent a fortune on repairs. *I just spent another $190 and decided enough was enough.

    I thought I have decided on the Rancilio Sivial/Rocky combo, with the stand. *So far, the best price Ive found seems to be at my local coffee shop.

    However, while looking I have discovered the Lucy, which seems to be the same thing in a more compact package. *There is only $100 difference between the two. *Am I right about these two being the same machine? *Is there a reason that none of you seem to own a Lucy?

    Also, Iím a bit worried. *Is coffee making like riding a bike? *I havenít made a proper cup of coffee for 9 years. *Will I remember? *:)

    Mainly, my questions have to do with things Iíve read in this forum.
    • Would you agree that the Rancilio is a good choice? *I canít really afford to go much higher in price

    • Doser or Doserless? *My previous grinder was doserless, and I remember thinking that having a doser would make things easier. *But it seems to me that most people here have the doserless. *Any reason?

    • I am also confused about tamps. *I canít remember what tamp I used with my Gaggia, I gave it away, along with my coffee grinder. *(another mistake - every time the Saceco died, I had to go and buy ground coffee to use in my moka pot *>:() I was planning to buy a Pullman Tamp, but got confused about that too. *Stainless steel, or not? *Whats better - flat or convex base? *I know where to get the Pullman, but where else can one buy a good tamp?

    • Even if I buy the Rancilio Sivial/Rocky combo, with the stand, I wonít be using it as a knock box Ė it would be too messy to keep clean. *I also wonít be using my sink Ė I managed to completely ruin my previous sink by *badly denting it. *:( So, I suppose, I will be buying a knock box. *Are any better then others?

    • Will there be any other equipment I need, I havent thought of? *No, I wont be roasting my own beans! *;D
    *
    BTW, reading this forum, I am a bit confused by some of the equipment you own. *What,for instance, *would you use a heat gun or a "popper" for? * [smiley=lolk.gif]
    * [smiley=dankk2.gif]

    Cheers,

    Judy

  2. #2
    tim
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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    Quote Originally Posted by judyy Bednar link=1131384950/0#0 date=1131384950
    Hello,

    BTW, reading this forum, I am a bit confused by some of the equipment you own. What,for instance, would you use a heat gun or a "popper" for? [smiley=lolk.gif]
    [smiley=dankk2.gif]

    Cheers,

    Judy
    Ahhh Judy!
    Brewing your own espresso and grinding your own coffee at home is but the tip of the iceberg.
    Welcome to the world of home-roasting!
    (which is what people are talking about when they mention heat guns and poppers)
    You can purchase green coffee beans here at coffee snobs and roast them yourself at home using something as simple and inexpensive as a heat gun or popper. You will find that this siite is one of the largest home-roasting knowledgebases in the universe, its members enthusiasm bordering on psychosis ;D
    Once you freshly roast your own coffee at home you will NEVER go back.
    As far as you choice of Rocky/Silvia goes, I dont think you can put a foot wrong there and there are a large number of users of the Rocky/Silvia combo on this site that will back this up.
    Here you will also find plenty of technical advice about machines, grinders, coffee, roasting etc.
    So once again, welcome!

    Tim

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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    Welcome to the forum Judy :)

    For the price bracket, Rancilio is a very good choice. Theyre solidly built and will perform great for a very long time if you maintain them.

    If youre constantly making coffees for large groups of people, then a dosered grinder would be best. However, more cleaning is required for a dosered grinder, otherwise youre left with stale coffee grounds to taint your fresh stuff :( A doserless is the way to go, especially of you are not mass-producing coffees.

    As for the best price, does your local offer you excellent service after your purchase, or will you be hung out to dry? The site sponsors may not have the cheapest price, but they will back it up with excellent service, and answer every question about your machine that you could possibly think of. Maybe contacting one of them might be worth a go as well.

    As for a tamper, the best tamper is one that fits the portafilter the best. Theres a huge debate about flat or convex. If done properly, a flat tamp will produce a better cup, as the water will flow through the whole of the puck of coffee. Convex tamps tend to channel the water into the middle, and this often makes up for lack of technique. There are people who use stainless steel, some who use wood, plastic, or whatever. Its your personal preference on what material the tamper is made out of. I can vouch for the quality of the Pullman tampers. Theyre very well made, solid, and look nice too.

    Knock boxes are good to have. I think they are a bit overpriced for what you get, but if you cant make your own, what are you going to do? I built mine from a bit of pvc pipe with threads, and a pvc end cap. I scrounged up a roller from a dead laser printer for the knocker bar. A little bit of drilling, and I had a knocker tube that works very well for the price. Theres not really many features that stand out for a knocker tube. Non-slip bottom, padded edges, and bar are really the only things that matter, beside capacity of course. At home, youll be emptying it regularly anyway, so having one thats a metre tall is a bit of overkill.

    Youll also need a good set of brushes, one for the grinder and one for the coffee machine. Some chux towels, one for cleaning the group head, one for the steam wand, and one for wiping around the machine. A filter jug to filter your water so scaling doesnt build up as quickly. Some citric acid or coffee machine detergent (the former is usually cheaper) to flush out the system regularly. A decent sized milk jug (600mL is good).

    Home roasting is really simple, and you wil have the freshest coffee possible at your fingertips . Its not rocket science, but it does take a bit of knowledge. Home roasting is a very fulfilling hobby, as you get to taste what you make. Sort of like homebrewing, but no alcohol involved. It is a bit intimidating at first, but once youve done a couple roasts, youll feel much more confident. It teaches you a bit about the whole coffee, not just what comes out of the machine. If you like to make things, like knitting, or crafts, why not give it a go? The most economical form of home roaster is a popcorn popper. They cost as little as 20 dollars, and with another few bucks for a can of soup (chimney for popper), and a decent colander (for cooling the beans), you can be well on your way to enjoying the fruits of your labour.


    Hope this helps a bit,


    Enjoy your journey through the world of coffee...

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Judy,

    Im a bit biased, but I think the Silvia/Rocky combo is pretty good.
    I have the doser model Rocky, but was also considering the doserless. I think it just changes your coffee making routine slightly.

    As for the Lucy, I believe that it is essentially a Rocky/Silva is one machine but some people have mentioned the dislike for having the beans in a hopper close to a heat source. Many people on this site only load their grinder with enough beans for the coffee they are making at the time, so this might not be an issue for you at all. It also locks you into the grinder. Some members have a preference for other grinders and buying the combo may limit you in the future if you are happy with one component but would like to upgrade the other.

    Knockbox - I can HEARTILY recommend the Stainless Steel base designed for the Rocky/Silvia combo.

    I use the knockbox and the other side as a drawer for storing bits and pieces. I keep my extra filter baskets, brushes and thermometers in there. I also find it very useful whilst grinding. I have the kockbox on the grinder side. I open the drawer slightly whilst grinding and tamping and brush any excess directly into the drawer. I find it works really well for me. Its not hard to keep clean. I think it would be easier than the Sunbeam bang bang.

    As for a tamper - again, I am biased, but I love my Greg Pullman tamper and always recommend it to others. Its well made, works perfectly, looks good and sits atop my grinder on display the whole time.

    Hope that helps.

    Brett.

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    [
    Once you freshly roast your own coffee at home you will NEVER go back.

    Tim
    [/QUOTE]
    Which is the reason I dont want to start ;D

    Im am not particularly handy, so when I thought about roasting my own (a few years ago, for about 5 mintues :P) I was looking into machinery, etc. *All much too expensive. *Besides, back then I never even saw machines for sale here in Oz. *I will have to keep reading this Forum, and decide if I could have a go with the popper.

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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1131384950/0#2 date=1131407538
    As for the best price, does your local offer you excellent service after your purchase, or will you be hung out to dry? *The site sponsors may not have the cheapest price, but they will back it up with excellent service, and answer every question about your machine that you could possibly think of. *Maybe contacting one of them might be worth a go as well.

    .
    Well, I agree, which was the main reason I even considered the local shop. *I thought that, if I have a problem, I can go and talk to them. *So far, every machine I bought had to be serviced at the end of the world, so I had to keep driving miles to get to them. *Also, I have problems with my arms and am on the first floor, so have to keep looking for volunteers to cart it down the stairs and back again. *I intend to go the the shop (I only asked him for the price the other day, was in a hurry) and ask about their service. *They are only 5 minutes from my house, so I may convince them to make housecalls *;)

    I did look at the site sponsors, but none of them seem to be in Melbourne.

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1131384950/0#2 date=1131407538
    Youll also need a good set of brushes, one for the grinder and one for the coffee machine. *Some chux towels, one for cleaning the group head, one for the steam wand, and one for wiping around the machine. *A filter jug to filter your water so scaling doesnt build up as quickly. *Some citric acid or coffee machine detergent (the former is usually cheaper) to flush out the system regularly. *A decent sized milk jug (600mL is good).

    ...
    Can you recommend any particular brush? *I have always used pastry brushes, tooth brushes, what ever I could think of and always thought, there must be a brush made for the purpose. *Is there?

    I have filtered water. *I have just recently read about citric acid, made mental note to try next time. *The other stuff I already have

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy link=1131384950/0#3 date=1131415531
    Judy,


    As for the Lucy, I believe that it is essentially a Rocky/Silva is one machine but some people have mentioned the dislike for having the beans in a hopper close to a heat source. Many people on this site only load their grinder with enough beans for the coffee they are making at the time, so this might not be an issue for you at all. It also locks you into the grinder. Some members have a preference for other grinders and buying the combo may limit you in the future if you are happy with one component but would like to upgrade the other.

    Knockbox - I can HEARTILY recommend the Stainless Steel base designed for the Rocky/Silvia combo.

    I use the knockbox and the other side as a drawer for storing bits and pieces. I keep my extra filter baskets, brushes and thermometers in there. I also find it very useful whilst grinding. I have the kockbox on the grinder side. I open the drawer slightly whilst grinding and tamping and brush any excess directly into the drawer. I find it works really well for me. Its not hard to keep clean. I think it would be easier than the Sunbeam bang bang.


    Brett.
    Thank you for this. *I didnt think of being "locked in" by getting the Lucy. *I probably would have thought of it 5 minutes after buying it. *And of course if one part dies, they both have to go to the doctors *:(

    Also about the knock box. *I had a quick look in the shop, and I thought the drawer was wood. *Obviously mistaken :)

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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1131384950/0#2 date=1131407538
    If done properly, a flat tamp will produce a better cup, as the water will flow through the whole of the puck of coffee. Convex tamps tend to channel the water into the middle, and this often makes up for lack of technique.
    Ill bite! ;) Having tried both types on a regular basis, I much prefer a convex tamper as it is easier to get a level pack and the slightly higher sides can address channeling caused by the water sneaking down between the edge of the coffee and the basket (noticed this with my naked portafilter). There are now two types of convex tampers just to make things more confusing; American and European, with slightly different profiles. I dont think either flat or convex produces a discernable difference than the other if used properly.

    Cheers

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Thank you everyone for all the advice. *I can now start seriously looking. *

    I may look into home roasting, but definitely not for a while. *First, I *will have to re-learn how to make coffee with a proper machine :D

    Ive been using Lavazza, because the local coffee shop seems to burn their coffee half the time - and although they advertise that they roast daily, their coffee never looks very fresh. *With Lavazza, at least you can count on it being the same every time.

    BTW, you would be more in the know :)

    Ive put my Estro Magic Deluxe in the Trading Post (pay on sale ;D) *Been in for a week, only one person phoned. *They were going to come yesterday to look at it, still coming. *Have a feeling Ive asked too much. *($300) * Had no idea what would be a reasonable amount to ask for. *Can any of you give me an idea?

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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    I personally use a set of paint brushes I got from a craft shop. One is round, which I use for the machine/portafilter, and the other is flat, which I use for my grinder.

    Nothing spectacular, just something Ive adapted the use for.

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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Dont offer it as an ESTRO Magic Deluxe.....nobody knows what an Estro is.

    Offer it as a SAECO Magic Deluxe, because that is what it is...just that it is a little older than most.

    Cant give any idea what it might sell for...you just need to know what the replacement cost is for a new one, and go from there, taking into accoujt for use, wear & tear and age, and what others are going for, for similar condition & age. And ofcourse, it ultimately depends on what the individual ends up offering you.

    For the rest of it here goes:

    I personally prefer a separate silvia and rocky, to a Lucy. Its not about price, its about what suits you as an individual, and what fits / suits your kitchen. In my kitchen, Lucy is ugly, large and overly tall. Sorry, but I guess its personal - Would rather pay the extra for the separate items. I also find it difficut enough to deal with coffee grinds all over the benches but atleast theyre dry - with lucy they end up wet with whatever wet spillage Ive also got on the drip tray of the machine.

    Yas can all buy / use whatever tampers you like, but I prefer the gently rounded type and while I have my own personal tamper in plastic, during coffee classes I use one of our good polished aluminium types. Its great....I hate flat tampers.....its just me! *;)

    Knock box: I find the grindenstein is great for domestic use. Its small and therefore forces you to empty it often, thereby keeping it clean and not having lots of mouldy grinds on the bench. It is small enough to sit on the drip tray while the machine is not in use, saving you a little more space on the bench.

    Yup, you can buy fancy grinder & cleaning brushes but like others, I just use cheap "artists" brushes. *

    If you take a look below at the weblink to my site, you will find all the items I have mentioned above by just scrolling down the page that opens up.

    With regard to the coffee thing:
    I wouldnt go rushing into roasting your own just yet...you would end up introducing unwanted variables in the equation while you are trying to learn how to use a new coffee machine. One thing at a time..

    Not sure about your comments on the Lavazza VS your local coffee shop. Even if your coffee shop doesnt roast every day, Ill bet you my right arm its more fresh than the Lavazza, which is certainly guaranteed to be more than 8 weeks old ( because even if they roasted it and placed it straight on the ship, it would take 6 weeks to get here and add a couple of weeks for it to get through their system to you.

    And of course that aint gonna happen, so afraid the big L is probably atleast 4 months old or more. How does that stack up with coffee from the local that might only be a week since roasting? You could try talking to the shop owner and tell him what you like. Id be surprised if he didnt try and bend over backwards to help! I would *:)

    Using filtered water is good, but filtering doesnt remove calcium which is the substance that causes scaling. The calcium is in solution, and it comes out of solution to build up inside the boiler. This is why descaling powders / soultions are required...even if you use filtered water.

    And going back to equipment for just a sec, there is plenty of service available for the rancilio in Melbourne, irrespective of where it was purchased, and the equipment is robust and not expected under normal circumstances, to require any form of service any time soon.

    Goodluck with your equipment endeavours and if I can help in any way, just click on my links and get in touch.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1131384950/0#11 date=1131431421

    With regard to the coffee thing:
    Not sure about your comments on the Lavazza VS your local coffee shop. Even if your coffee shop doesnt roast every day, Ill bet you my right arm its more fresh than the Lavazza, which is certainly guaranteed to be more than 8 weeks old ( because even if they roasted it and placed it straight on the ship, it would take 6 weeks to get here and add a couple of weeks for it to get through their system to you.

    And of course that aint gonna happen, so afraid the big L is probably atleast 4 months old or more. How does that stack up with coffee from the local that might only be a week since roasting? You could try talking to the shop owner and tell him what you like. Id be surprised if he didnt try and bend over backwards to help! I would *:)

    Regardz,
    FC.
    Youre right (about its age) but the Lavazza is sealed airtight, and when I open the pack the beans certainly look fresh. *I do prefer fresh coffee and if I happen to be in Carlton, I always buy some. *The local used to belong to an old gentleman and the coffee was great, but hasnt been since he sold it. *My doctor uses www.coffeeco.com.au, reckons the coffees very good, gave me a brochure - it is VERY *expensive, I really cant afford to pay that much for coffee. *It gets home delivered, but so is my Lavazza *:)


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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    I can recommend Mocopan (in Preston) as a good place to buy Rocky and Silvia in Melbourne, I bought mine a week ago - from memory its $389 for Rocky and $659 for Silvia, cheaper than most places. I was unfortunate enough to get a bad portafilter, the chrome was flaking, but they replaced it no problem, actually with a heavier and more desirable commercial portafilter. Theyll also chuck in a bit of coffee, and maybe a frothing jug or some glasses.

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1131384950/0#11 date=1131431421
    Dont offer it as an ESTRO Magic Deluxe.....nobody knows what an Estro is.

    Offer it as a SAECO Magic Deluxe, because that is what it is...just that it is a little older than most.
    .
    Thank you for the idea. *I will change the ad.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1131384950/0#11 date=1131431421

    I personally prefer a separate silvia and rocky, to a Lucy. Its not about price, its about what suits you as an individual, and what fits / suits your kitchen. In my kitchen, Lucy is ugly, large and overly tall. Sorry, but I guess its personal - Would rather pay the extra for the separate items.

    .
    I have now definitely decided to go for the Silvia/rocky, but the prices I saw, the Lucy was actually more expensive, not the other way around *:)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1131384950/0#11 date=1131431421
    Knock box: I find the grindenstein is great for domestic use. Its small and therefore forces you to empty it often, thereby keeping it clean and not havin
    .
    That is the one Ive been looking at, but now I think Ill wait and see, the drawer of the Sivia stand may do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1131384950/0#11 date=1131431421
    With regard to the coffee thing:
    I wouldnt go rushing into roasting your own just yet...you would end up introducing unwanted variables in the equation while you are trying to learn how to use a new coffee machine. One thing at a time..
    .
    My thoughts exactly *;D

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1131384950/0#11 date=1131431421
    Using filtered water is good, but filtering doesnt remove calcium which is the substance that causes scaling. The calcium is in solution, and it comes out of solution to build up inside the boiler. This is why descaling powders / soultions are required...even if you use filtered water. *
    .
    Yes, I realise. *I have been using descalers with the Saeco as well, I just meant that I hadnt heard of Citric Acic before, always bought the expensive stuff from Saeco

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1131384950/0#11 date=1131431421
    And going back to equipment for just a sec, there is plenty of service available for the rancilio in Melbourne, irrespective of where it was purchased, and the equipment is robust and not expected under normal circumstances, to require any form of service any time soon.
    .
    I certainly hope you are right *:) *What I meant was, that if I have a problem (not necessarily mechanical) I want to be able to have someone handy I can run to for advice. *Sometimes things are hard to explain through emails. *When I bought the Saeco and was having problems (they were mechanical :() I had to cart it to the end of the world. *I was whingeing to the coffee shop guy (was still buying coffee from them, besides I still shop there, buying nuts etc) and he told me, had I bought it from him, he would come and pick it up from my house and send it to Saeco for me

    Thanks very much for all the good advice


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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy link=1131384950/0#12 date=1131434391
    Not sure about your comments on the Lavazza VS your local coffee shop. Even if your coffee shop doesnt roast every day, Ill bet you my right arm its more fresh than the Lavazza, which is certainly guaranteed to be more than 8 weeks old ( because even if they roasted it and placed it straight on the ship, it would take 6 weeks to get here and add a couple of weeks for it to get through their system to you.
    Which reminds me of some coffee beans I was looking at in Woolies (Safeway to Victorians, something else to Tasmanians).

    Out of interest, I picked up the Neil Perry (Rockpool) beans cos they were a bit expensive. *I looked at the use by date - and that was over 12 months earlier! * Fresh! *::)

    Ron

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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Judy,

    Why not give Alan Frew a go if you are in Melbourne. In case you dont know he can be found on the "Coffee For Connoisseurs" website. I am in Perth and bought my Silvia and Rocky from him. He will also sell you some fabulous coffees if you like as well. If you log onto his website( www.coffeeco.com.au) there are some very informative articles on home coffee machines which I would urge you to read

    If you go for the Silvia Rocky Combo it is extremely unlikely that you will have any problems. I have had mine for two years and the machines have operated perfectly.

    He may not be the cheapest in town but like our sponsor FC you will get after sales service second to none!

    Cheers and welcome

    Louis

  18. #18
    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by papalui link=1131384950/15#16 date=1131451279
    Judy,

    Why not give Alan Frew a go if you are in Melbourne. *In case you dont know he can be found on the "Coffee For Connoisseurs" website. *I am in Perth and bought my Silvia and Rocky from him. *He will also sell you some fabulous coffees if you like as well. *If you log onto his website( www.coffeeco.com.au) there are some very informative articles on home coffee machines which I would urge you to read
    He is the one I mentioned that my doctor buys coffee from. *Very expensive! *I dont doubt for a moment that the coffee is good, but I really cant *afford it.

    Quote Originally Posted by papalui link=1131384950/15#16 date=1131451279
    He may not be the cheapest in town but like our sponsor FC you will get after sales service second to none!
    I actually emailed him (I do subscribe to his newsletter, but havent actually bought anything from him) and asked him if I could go to see him to discuss what to get. (he is quite close to where I live) *He said no. *His price for the machines isnt that much more expensive than elsewhere, except for the freight of course. *He wont deliver it, nor can you pick it up. * He obviously got too busy, because he personally delivers coffee to his old customers (like my doctor *::)) but now it is Australia Post. *(Australia Post never delivers anything - they always pretend I wasnt home and stick a card in my box, so I have to go pick it up) *When my doctor gave me his brochure, he told me that he will deliver and was surprised when I told him that he doesnt. *So, I dont see how I could get after sales service from him? *OK, I know that if there was a problem with the machine, it would get sorted out, and possibly some of my queries could get sorted by e-mail or on the phone. *But what if I need a demonstration on how to do something, because I forgot? *It has been 9 years since I used a proper coffee machine *:(

    BTW, I need to point out that I dont think Alan Frew was rude or anything, he said that he doesnt have a proper shop and he is hardly ever there. *He did give some good advice. *A while back, Saeco offered me a trade-in and I wondered if I should get one of their manual machines, simply because of the trade-in (provided that it was a genuine trade-in) *Alan advised me to keep right away from them.

  19. #19
    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by p38arover link=1131384950/15#15 date=1131449649
    Which reminds me of some coffee beans I was looking at in Woolies (Safeway to Victorians, something else to Tasmanians).

    Out of interest, I picked up the Neil Perry (Rockpool) beans cos they were a bit expensive. *I looked at the use by date - and that was over 12 months earlier! * Fresh! *::)

    Ron
    Obviously, I wouldnt buy something like that. *Which reminds me, a friend of mine, who has recently graduated from instant *ground coffee, proudly told me that he just bought some Lavazza on sale. *The only thing wrong with it, he told me, was that it wasnt as hard as a brick *:o *Oh well, I suppose it would still taste better than instant *;D

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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Im not sure Id take FCs advice about steering clear of home roasting atm. I know that getting a new machine up to speed dosnt happen overnight, but Ive yet to hear a single person say that home roasted coffee (using any technique, HG, popper, BBQ, whatever) was not as good, if not better than brought coffee from most cafes!

    If you get a good single origin coffee its a wonderful thing home roasted. Using a popper is simple, and the satisfaction of making your own is unequalled. Id say - go for it, as soon as possible! Also, if you cant afford Alans coffee, you will take note that buying green beans from coffeesnobs is by FAR the cheapest coffee available. Read the rightups on the December polls and have a go.

    People seem to get a bit scared of new machines, and some get frustrated even? Its surprising considering that the journey to a good cup from home is great fun - tinkering, and pulling shots (even bad ones to start with!)... then working your way towards full headed crema masterpieces.... and thats not even thinking about frothing milk, or latte art!!!

    Love roasting my own, love brewing my own.

  21. #21
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCJ link=1131384950/15#19 date=1131584077
    If you get a good single origin coffee its a wonderful thing home roasted. *Using a popper is simple, and the satisfaction of making your own is unequalled. *Id say - go for it, as soon as possible! *Also, if you cant afford Alans coffee, you will take note that buying green beans from coffeesnobs is by FAR the cheapest coffee available. *Read the rightups on the December polls and have a go.
    Ive got to say that I was under the impression that roasting was complicated, requiring expensive equipment (wasnt even sure if that equipment was available here) *Also presumed that one would have to import the green coffee as well. *So, I never even considered it. *Now that you tell me that it isnt that complicated, I may give it a try. *I will havae to study the roasting section here, to find out, for instance which popper to buy. *I happened to be in Myers yesterday, and (for the first time in my life) I looked at poppers. *They arent expensive! *;D *However, they come in all different shapes, so I will have to find out which one is the best.

  22. #22
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Yes... the equipment is cheap - in the case of poppers and heatguns - VERY VERY cheap.

    Id just go to The Warehouse or Big W or something like that.

    Here is a great intro to start you off...
    http://www.ineedcoffee.com/99/04/homeroast/?page=1

    This is the simpelest roast you will find. Do this first off - and all you need to buy is the popper and the beans. Its best done outside as the chaff blows everywhere... but you can make a chaff catcher like others on this site have done too.

    After youve tried that, you may think the batch size is a bit small, so THEN its time to make your first modification (again - super simple) you can increase the roast size by buying a long tin can (get Golden Circle Apple Juice in a can - its massive and long, and is not lined with anything) - opening up both ends with a tin opener so its a chimney, then cutting a slit up half of one side and jamming it into the opening of the popcorn popper. Wa-La - your first mod.

    After the tin-can chimney is done youll be able to roast up to 125-150 grams at a time, with some experimentation!

    And after all.... experementation is the MAIN joy of coffee making after all!

  23. #23
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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    The Warehouse has inexpensive poppers, as does Good Guys. I went to get another one from GG the other day, but they had sold out of the Chief ones. I ended up getting a Kambrook one, which is identical, except for colour. It was about 8 bucks dearer however, which tells me that I should have bought another one when I had the chance, instead of waiting. Put another chimney in and fabricated another popperdom. I even had a thought about buying some brass flyscreen from Bunnings, and making one, but decided against it. The splatter screens require no cutting to size, and for 3 bucks at the local junk store, it really cant be beat.

    I spent a measley 31 dollars on the whole setup. Would have easily been 23, but the popper was out of stock.

  24. #24
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Hi Andy.

    re "...Im not sure Id take FCs advice about steering clear of home roasting..."


    For the record, the only reason for that is because it introduces another variable for someone to worry about while they are trying to learn how to use a new espresso machine. Better to learn one thing at a time I reckon.

    Otherwise, nothing wrong with roasting ones own...I do! ;)

    Regardz
    FC

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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    True, True FC. It does add something else, but I think its so worthwhile - and Im thinking a $30 investment for the hardware and $30 for your first batch of beans is pretty cheap.

    Dont know your timeline for the new machine Judy, would suggest getting into the freshly roasted coffee straight away - itll make the current setup youve got SING! And once you get the new machine youll have had a bit of practice under your belt.

    For me, the snell and taste of freshly roasted coffee was enough to shell out for a half decent espresso machine. It made the biggest difference, and was so simple to start doing.

  26. #26
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCJ link=1131384950/15#21 date=1131655308
    Here is a great intro to start you off...
    http://www.ineedcoffee.com/99/04/homeroast/?page=1
    Thank you for this - very informative. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCJ link=1131384950/15#21 date=1131655308
    This is the simpelest roast you will find. *Do this first off - and all you need to buy is the popper and the beans. *Its best done outside as the chaff blows everywhere... but you can make a chaff catcher like others on this site have done too.
    Which brings me to my next question. *I was reading about *Nunus "popperdom" but on this site it says:

    Now that everything is together, you should plug your "roaster" in and pour your beans in. You should immediately begin stirring the beans.
    As you are stirring, you will notice the beans turn from a green to a light brown and will continually darken. Also part of the bean called chaff will begin blowing off the bean.


    So, how do you do this with the chimney and the "popperdom" on?

    I was initially going to do this in the kitchen, under the exhaust. *But, I dont feel like chasing chaff all over the kitchen ;) *I have a feeling I would probably lose the "popperdom" half way through the roasting *;D *So, looks like it is extension cord to the balcony - bit difficult, no table out there *:(


  27. #27
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCJ link=1131384950/15#24 date=1131669085
    True, True FC. *It does add something else, but I think its so worthwhile - and Im thinking a $30 investment for the hardware and $30 for your first batch of beans is pretty cheap.

    Dont know your timeline for the new machine Judy, would suggest getting into the freshly roasted coffee straight away - itll make the current setup youve got SING! *And once you get the new machine youll have had a bit of practice under your belt.

    For me, the snell and taste of freshly roasted coffee was enough to shell out for a half decent espresso machine. *It made the biggest difference, and was so simple to start doing.
    Nothing will make my current setup sing *:( *I just had a new boiler put in it, and I dont know what they did to it, but the coffee hardly has any crema and leaves a sediment at the bottom of the glass. *When I took it to them, the grinder was set on 5, it came back on 1. *I put it back on 5, it got worse. *I phoned them, they said to put it back on one. *I could/should take it back, but cant be bothered any more. It is such a hassle to get it down the stairs and up again :P

    I can easily find a popper, but now have to figure out where to get some green beans to tide me over until the next poll *;D

  28. #28
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    I have to stop reading this Forum! *I have now found a thread about Imex CR100! *I am now thinking of buying one of those. (whats $110 between friends, when Im about to shell out nearly $1300 *:P)

    What tempts me is the fact that it seems to solve the chaff problem without having to do mods. *I am not the handiest person that ever lived ;), so was already imagining the mess Im going to get myself into. *I suppose smoke would still be a problem? *I wouldnt mind that so much, could try it under the exhaust, or take it out to the balcony if that didnt work. *What do you think?

    BTW, I went to the Vitali site, but cant find the link to the Imex CR100. *Do you just click on "contact"?

  29. #29
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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    Re: stirring the beans initially, you just shake the popper for the first minute, then let it go. Much easier, cleaner, and safer than when I first started.

    About the Imex, because of its noise level, its often difficult to hear the cracks. Im no expert on it, and Im sure others will chime in about their experiences with the Imex. It seems a good little package that you get for $110, but for that price you could use a heatgun/dogbowl to roast 500g batches, or have like 4 popper/popperdom setups to roast 600g in total. Mind you, poppers and heatguns are not purpose-built coffee roasters.

    I have to admit, it does take a bit of creativity to make a popperdom. Ive made two now, and although the shape is similar, they are quite different, one fits a bit better, while one has a bigger reservoir tip. You should also be mindful, as the ends of the screen will poke your fingers to no end...ouch!

    Smoke isnt much of an issue if you roast outside, or in the garage. Also, chaff will go everywhere with even a light breeze. Ambient temperature will have an effect on your roast, even with the Imex, so be aware.

    Im not sure about Vitali, but I think if you contact them, and let them know youre a member of this site, theyll be happy to point you in the right direction.

  30. #30
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1131384950/15#28 date=1131753263

    I have to admit, it does take a bit of creativity to make a popperdom. *Ive made two now, and although the shape is similar, they are quite different, one fits a bit better, while one has a bigger reservoir tip. *You should also be mindful, as the ends of the screen will poke your fingers to no end...ouch!

    Smoke isnt much of an issue if you roast outside, or in the garage. *Also, chaff will go everywhere with even a light breeze. *Ambient temperature will have an effect on your roast, even with the Imex, so be aware.
    I suppose you are talking me into the Imex *:) *I am not very creative, dont have a garage, only a very windy balcony ;D

    All I need to know from someone that does own an Imex, would a kitchen exhaust be strong enough to cope with the smoke, or should I still do it outside? *Mind you, I suppose I would soon find out for myself, wouldnt I? :P

  31. #31
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    No dont try it inside, too much smoke.

    Mind you if you want to try it be my guest! :)

    Grant

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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Grants right - dont try it inside no matter what you buy! The balcony is the way to go. I have read that the smoke leaves a residue which can smell pretty bad.

    The balcony is the way to go - I wouldnt even bother with the chaff catcher - Id just buy a popper and the tin can - just roast it out on the balcony and brush any leftover chaff off the balcony once youre done. Its very light, most of it just catches whatever wind is about and floats away... remember that it will be blown into the air by the popper in the first place.

    Honestly, its not hard - if you can open a tin can, you can make a popper chimney!

    If youre looking for "tide me over green" then coffeecompany and coffee for connisours both sell it in 500g or 1kg increments at round $16 kg. Then once you get on poll youll get it for around $9 (including postage!) Its a total bargin... and the green will last in the cupboard for a year!

    Id recommend a Kenya AA, which is what I started with. Wonderful as a single origin.

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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    Kitchen shears work well for cutting the can too. Id be careful not having anything on top of the chimney though. Beans get a bit lively after 1st crack, and want to spill all over the place. You could simply put something over the top, just to keep the beans in, and blow all the chaff off tossing between colanders on that breezy balcony you have.

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    Re: Advice for newbie  

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy link=1131384950/0#12 date=1131434391
    I always buy some. The local used to belong to an old gentleman and the coffee was great, but hasnt been since he sold it. My doctor uses www.coffeeco.com.au, reckons the coffees very good, gave me a brochure - it is VERY expensive
    I dont think it is particularly more expensive than other roasters on a per kg basis and he is one of the best single origin roasters in Australia. Of course it is much cheaper to do home roasting.

    Cheers

  35. #35
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    Re: Advice for newbie *

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCJ link=1131384950/30#31 date=1131775103

    If youre looking for "tide me over green" then coffeecompany and coffee for connisours both sell it in 500g or 1kg increments at round $16 kg. *Then once you get on poll youll get it for around $9 (including postage!) Its a total bargin... and the green will last in the cupboard for a year!

    Id recommend a Kenya AA, which is what I started with. *Wonderful as a single origin.
    I just have to tell you a funny story. *I got a 100gr Kenya AA, then went in search of a popper. *All the ones around here were really expensive fancy ones. *Finally found a Minstral in Myers of all places! * ;D *Still have some roased coffee left (got a kilo with the machine + already had some) so I figured Im not going to roast any until I use up what I have. *But, looking at the green coffee, I had this "brilliant" idea. *I have a microwave popper, that I havent used for years. *It stands on legs, and the inside is in a V shape, with a big rounded hood for a lid, so that the corn can fly about while it is popping. *You basically had to stand there and wait for the popping to strart, then wait until it stopped. *Did a pretty good job. *So, I figured, the microwave popper does more or less what the electric popper does, why not give it a try with coffee? *:-[ :P ::)

    Well, all I can say it, Im glad I no longer have any kids in the house demanding popcorn *:D *I got completely melted and blackened. *Only put a handful of beans in, which is just as well! *Half stayed green, the other half burned. *Of course, there is no way of listening for cracks inside the microwave ;D *And the smoke! *I see what you mean about no way can you do it inside! *Did this about a week ago, the microwave still smells a bit *:(

    Clever, arent I? *[smiley=lolk.gif]

    PS. *Stand by for a flood of questions when I start roasting. *Going to be interesting! *Have to take an extension cord out there, which will mean I wont be able to completely shut the door *:( *I have purchased my "chimney" already, but havent drank the contents yet. *;)



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