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Thread: Espresso Machine vs Filter

  1. #1
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    Espresso Machine vs Filter

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Long time lurker about to make the jump to a new machine (had a Gaggia 15 years ago so not completely novice status) ....

    Chatting with the owner of my local coffee roaster in Nth Qld - he makes great beans and has a fantastic cafe - about buying one of the machines he sells - Vibiemme Domobar Junior FX for example - and he floors me by saying I should save my money and drink quality commercially made coffee when Im out and at home drink filtered coffee with a proper grind.

    His reasoning is that most people dont know how to use the home machines and keep them maintained etc, etc so they spend a lot of money getting very inconsistent brews. He also says that most home machines have very inadequate boilers and they are capable of one half decent cup of coffee every 5 minutes. Whereas a $60 Sunbeam filter will give a very consistent flavour with much less, cost and mess - you just dont get the oil extraction of an espresso machine.

    This conversation took a lot of wind out of my sails as I was looking to start with a Silvia and a decent grinder so budget is around $1,500 but I could stretch to the Domobar Junior (around $2,100) if he could convince me of its value.

    Is he on the mark or was he just hungover and I didnt notice the signs?

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by 0837362B3A323E315F0 link=1329448243/0#0 date=1329448243
    Long time lurker about to make the jump to a new machine (had a Gaggia 15 years ago so not completely novice status) ....

    Chatting with the owner of my local coffee roaster in Nth Qld - he makes great beans and has a fantastic cafe - about buying one of the machines he sells - Vibiemme Domobar Junior FX for example - and he floors me by saying I should save my money and drink quality commercially made coffee when Im out and at home drink filtered coffee with a proper grind.

    His reasoning is that most people dont know how to use the home machines and keep them maintained etc, etc so they spend a lot of money getting very inconsistent brews. He also says that most home machines have very inadequate boilers and they are capable of one half decent cup of coffee every 5 minutes. Whereas a $60 Sunbeam filter will give a very consistent flavour with much less, cost and mess - you just dont get the oil extraction of an espresso machine.

    This conversation took a lot of wind out of my sails as I was looking to start with a Silvia and a decent grinder so budget is around $1,500 but I could stretch to the Domobar Junior (around $2,100) if he could convince me of its value.

    Is he on the mark or was he just hungover and I didnt notice the signs?
    Welcome to CS whiteman,

    Thousands here would disagree with him. Chances are that many of them produce better coffee than your cafe bloke does!

    Perhaps he just wants to ensure he continues to get your $$$. ::)

  3. #3
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by 18475F494249454C4C4F4F474B442A0 link=1329448243/1#1 date=1329448451
    Thousands here would disagree with him.
    Damn Right.

    Whiteman, I dont think that you should allow his comments to sway you away from getting a home espresso machine set up. Yes, there probably are people out there who have machines that arent being used to their potential but thats no reason for you to not purchase a decent home set up.

    My advice, buy a decent grinder & machine and enjoy the journey.

  4. #4
    Senior Member dski's Avatar
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by 625D5C415058545B350 link=1329448243/0#0 date=1329448243
    he floors me by saying I should save my money and drink quality commercially made coffee when Im out and at home drink filtered coffee with a proper grind.

    His reasoning is that most people dont know how to use the home machines and keep them maintained etc, etc so they spend a lot of money getting very inconsistent brews.
    I would think that he has a point, with an emphasis on most people.

    Most people is not all people, and certainly doesnt include most coffee snobbers - many people do do better at home than commercial quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by 625D5C415058545B350 link=1329448243/0#0 date=1329448243
    He also says that most home machines have very inadequate boilers and they are capable of one half decent cup of coffee every 5 minutes
    I have trouble drinking more than one every 5 minutes!

    I dont think the importance of a decent grinder can be over emphasised regardless of the brewing device. I do know lots of people that have an espresso machine, and still buy ground supermarket coffee by the kilo. :P

    Maybe he was just feeling a bit jaded...



  5. #5
    Senior Member Zaneus's Avatar
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    The fact that youre even posting here says a lot about how you approach coffee. the majority of people that your cafe guy talks to about coffee just want coffee. Some of them care enough to want good coffee and a VERY small fraction want to go through the effort of learning how to produce great coffee.

    Buying a good grinder and say, a V60 or an aeropress is a really cheap way of getting amazing coffee and requires less effort and overall knowledge to get there. Espresso is difficult and way more expensive.

    If you are into it however its a very rewarding journey and worth every penny and every hour of your time. Plus theres nothing stopping you from getting the VBM and a filter brewer as well. Its what a lot of people on this forum do and it helps you learn about how different brew methods affect the taste of coffee, which is another fun journey in itself.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    Welcome Whiteman (that sounds like a line from the Lone Ranger),
    At the time I purchased my Compak k3-t grinder and Diadema HX machine (comparable to the VBM you refer to) I had a similar grounding in coffee making to yourself. The good people at Cosmorex ran me through the operation / standard maintenance schedule for the machines. Other than the first pour on a new bag of beans, I havent pulled a disappointing shot. Sure, Im not 100% consistent, but I sort of enjoy stumbling into new knowledge about the effects of subtle changes in dosing /tamping on the taste of the coffee produced. The regular maintenance is not technically difficult or onerous.
    You could always buy the grinder first, and see how much of a difference that makes to coffee made with a low-tech (low-cost) method like a Moka pot. Then make a call on the machine.
    Are you sure your cafe mate doesnt have an identical twin brother who doesnt like him very much?
    Cheers
    BOSW

  7. #7
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    Thanks all for the encouraging replies.

    This guy does know his stuff and he does do training sessions for the local coffee snobs. I guess hes a little disappointed in some of his students. I live 60km north of a decent coffee shop so hence my efforts to get back to the grind. Thanks to this site Ive heard the message about getting a quality grinder "loud and clear"! The Silvia espresso machine is still on my shopping list but I may spend more if I get urge - buying real soon.

  8. #8
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    One thing I have found since stumbling onto coffeesnobs is that there are many ways to produce a beverage from the humble coffee bean. All of them called coffee, and all of them having unique characteristics of their own, appealing to different tastes.

    While growing up, coffee to me was either dark Malaysian kopi wok roasted with margarine, drunk in our family sock filtered, black, ice cold and extremely sweet. Moving to Australia, I missed that wonderful brew and only had instant, which seemed weak and tasteless in comparison. Then, as I grew up, we moved onto espresso based drinks, which primarily produced a stronger brew with a fuller body and a greater range of flavors on the palate.

    Since wandering into the world of coffeesnobs, I have had the chance to try cod drip filtered and coffee from the aeropress. All fantastic coffees (specially when freshly roasted beans are used), and all with their individual characteristics.

    When I first started, I lashed out on a lavish albeit second hand machine , a vibiemme domobar and a compak grinder. Problem was, even with training, I only produced an average coffee. There was a huge learning curve ahead. And even now, I will admit, my technique needs polish.

    However, while I can probably get a better coffee outside, the set up has given me a few advantages a basic filter has not.
    1) it has provided a challenge for me to perfect skills I never would have even considered trying, as well as the ability to try different beans, freshly ground and extracted.
    2) afforded me the satisfaction of drinking my own self extracted coffee and learn and critically critique my efforts
    3) provided me with coffee which occasionally been better than what I get at some coffee stores. While cafes with well trained baristas can produce some amazing coffees, like Veneziano and campos in brissie, other paces are more hit and miss with their coffee efforts, sometimes due to inadequate.y trained baristas or stale beans.

    However, on saying that, I recently purchased an aeropress for travel and have to admit, it does beat the instants the hotels provide, or drip filters provided in the US hotels. Is it coffee? Yes. Is it espresso? Contrary to the advertising, no. Bit it does produce a nice strong brew with a fuller body. In fact, I am starting to use the machine even at home at night when the kid are asleep and I am not allowed to use the coffee set up die to the noise created. The combination of a Hario mini hand grinder and aeropress producing quite an acceptable cup.

    In the future, I would love to get my hands on a cold drip set up, but I suspect the wife may have some reservations due to the ever increasing bench space I am occupying.

    End of the day, there are ways to reduce a cup of coffee. None of them are wrong. Each has its own following, even instant coffee. Decide on your needs and requirements and then base your decision to buy on that. The sunbeam filter may not be a bad choice as long as you are aware of the end result and dont mind the coffee produced.

  9. #9
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    Re: Espresso Machine vs Filter

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    If youre into espresso then filter just doesnt cut it.



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