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Thread: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

  1. #1
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    Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    Ive been wondering around the web for a while doing some research for a shiny new coffee machine to enjoy/feed the fix/play with -- and ive run into this great site! Anyway, cutting to the chase...

    Im looking for a machine, grinder & other stuff i need to start up at home, but im currently on a budget (Im a poor(ish) uni student - so any money i can save is good). Im willing to splash up to around $1000 at the very most for a nice setup that will last for a good 5 years or so.

    These particular machines tickle my fancy...

    - Imat Mokita (the single boiler/grinder unit - currently on top of the pile)
    - Sunbeam EM6900 and the grinder that goes with it (unsure about the dual thermoblock system)
    - Gaggia Classic + the Sunbeam grinder (iffy about the aluminum boiler)
    - Rancilio Silvia + cheap grinder (because the Rocky costs a fair whack)

    Im just wondering what all you experienced baristas and coffee lovers think of these machines, or even other machines that would be a better buy at this price range. Sure, Id love a heat exchanger machine or something like that- but then Id be eating nothing but coffee grounds and drinking nothing but coffee for a while. Okay, maybe the latter isnt that bad.

    Thanks heaps for your advice in advance!

    Aaron

  2. #2
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Hi and welcome to Coffee Snobs. :)

    To get good coffee you need a decent grinder, so if you cant afford that then the Silvia might be a problem as it does need a good grinder to do it justice.... :(

    The cheap grinders just dont grind fine enough for the Silvia.

    The Sunbeam Id stay away from (they are having too many troubles at the moment)... :-[

    The Gaggia is a pretty good machine - but like you - I dont like the Aluminium boiler (dont like Aluminium in food preparing gear plus they corrode rapidly...) :(

    So that leaves the Mokita.... A pretty good combo. Has the disadvantage that you cant just upgrade the grinder or coffee machine (well you can but you then only have half the combo)...

    Makes pretty darn good coffee by all accounts.... :)

    Personally Id go the Silvia and check out the grinders which are a match for it.... That would be the best combo (even if you buy a second hand Silvia- and these are advertised here from time to time)... :)

  3. #3
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    If you can, Id spring for the Silvia and a better grinder than whatever "cheapo" you were contemplating. Talk to the sponsors here, youll get a good deal with the best service, and youll never look back. Silvia and a good grinder will last longer than 5 years !

  4. #4
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Hi there, Aaron.

    Im beginning to get a really really baaaad dejavu feeling going here.... :D :o


    So Ive posted this link....

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1156751297


    In the vague hope that my dejavu feeling might start to go away. ;D


  5. #5
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Thanks scoota gal - I saw that post too but i didnt want to steal his post from under him (since hes looking at a different price range and all)...lesser of two evils perhaps? hehe

    Anyway, looks like the silvias the way to go according to well...everyone. What grinder would I need to at the very least do justice to the silvia? i guess theres no point getting a $200 cheapie that ill upgrade in 6 months (I learnt that the hard way with guitar equipment...ugh)

    Thanks everyone for your replies - hopefully Ill make up my mind and joining you all in the pursuit of the godshot soon :)


  6. #6
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Apparently there will be a new sunbeam machine coming out soon. With all of the failures of the first lot, Id expect the next machine would HAVE to be considerably more reliable! Still, five years from anything with electronics in it might be a bit of an ask. At least with a silvia/gaggia/imat/solis if anything goes wrong, you just go and buy a replacement part or call up the guy that sold it to you and yell at them. You might be able to "that auction site" up a cheap single boiler machine, especially if its a lesser-known one like a brasilia or a faema ... but caveat emptor!!!

    The Iberital Challenge grinder is infinitely better than the sunbeam grinder. Perhaps this is partly due to its infinite adjustability ;P You could probably get that and a silvia and be on budget. But remember that youll also need to buy a tamper and some jugs.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  7. #7
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Hey there,

    Being one of the black sheeps of the coffeesnobs family who didnt go the Silvia route, Ill pull a few punches for the little guys...

    Imat Mokita / Napoletana (the grinder combo) are great value machines that will get you very good coffee -- I know because I own one!

    Its funny how conditioned people are to recommend the Silvia these days... Ive had many comments from coffeesnobs of surprise when they taste shots from my machine at how good they are.

    The Silvia is pretty much the closest you will get to a commercial machine before crossing into the $1k territory, and the advantage other than a slight quality of build improvement is that you will have a 58mm portafilter which will open you up to play with a few more commercial accessories if youre so inclined.

    If youre going to stretch your budget another couple of hundred dollars you are better off taking a barista course -- Youll notice an much more vast improvement in the cup spending that on training than you would between an Imat and a Silvia.

    my 0.02c

    Lachlan

  8. #8
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Thanks Lachlan, I was wondering if anyone would ever give a plug for the Imat machine :). Ive done my barista course (yay!) which means I dont mind splashing that little bit extra on the machine ("double yay!" says Mr. Visa).

    I think Ive decided on one of three routes (prices are guesstimates):

    a) Imat Mokita/Napoletana ~$750?
    b) Imat Junior II & Iberital Challenge ~$800
    c) Silvia & Iberital Challenge ~$1000

    Even though I cant seem to find much on the net about the Challenge, it seems like great value (conical AND stepless for under $300???)...unless one of you guys can tell me otherwise...
    Im guessing the separate grinder would be better than option A due to greater tweaking, better grind etc.

    Is the non-standard 57mm portafilter that much of an issue on the Imat machines? It the increase in quality (of both coffee and machine) between the Imat and Silvia worth the $200? IS LIFE REALLY WORTH LIVING?

    Okay, ignore that last bit.

    Aaron

  9. #9
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Aaron,

    If you are in Sydney, you can come and see us, we have the Rancilio Silvia and the Ibertal grinder operational so you can try that combo before taking any decision. Also, in few days, well have the image and specification of the Ibertal on our web site. You can visit: http://www.dibartoli.com.au/8.html


  10. #10
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Well..

    Im a little biased.. my theory is that if I am going to kick it up a notch I may as well go for an ECM Botticelli and just go "all out" :)

    I *think* (dont quote me) that the Challenge grinder uses the same parts as the Lux, which is what is included in the Napoletana, which is quite good.

    The other upside of seperate grinder and machine is that they can be upgraded/outmoded/sold/traded seperately -- also, I think the Imat Junior II isnt quite as good as the Monkita.

    The bottom line is that they are both great machines that can produce excellent coffee.

    The Silvia is undoubtedly better, but whether it is $200 better, is something youll probably have to decide for yourself.

    One of the top selling points of the Silvia is that you can easily get them repaired/parts and you can find advice for using them everywhere, so that might contribute to your decision.

    Also, the steam arm on the silvia is great, whereas the Mokita once you remove the autofrother thing on the end can be a little stumpy/short.

    Good luck with whatever you choose :)

    cheers
    Lachlan




  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Machine & Accessories up to $900-1000?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan link=1156754927/0#9 date=1156902314
    The other upside of seperate grinder and machine is that they can be upgraded/outmoded/sold/traded seperately -- also, I think the Imat Junior II isnt quite as good as the Mokita.
    These are actually the same machine.... the Junior II title is what the Mokita used to be called.... no other difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan link=1156754927/0#9 date=1156902314
    One of the top selling points of the Silvia is that you can easily get them repaired/parts and you can find advice for using them everywhere, so that might contribute to your decision.
    While this is true in some respects, if you blow a heater element in the Silvia, it means having to replace the entire boiler at significant cost ~$350....

    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan link=1156754927/0#9 date=1156902314
    Also, the steam arm on the silvia is great, whereas the Mokita once you remove the autofrother thing on the end can be a little stumpy/short.
    Yep, this is also true.... It is easily overcome though by making sure you use the right size frothing jug for the number of milk drinks you are preparing, i.e. 300ml jug for two, 450ml for three, etc. The largest jug I used with my Mokita was a 1.0 Litre jug, and while this is the largest that can be comfortable accommodated, I never had need to froth any more milk than this :o,

    Mal.



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