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Thread: Should I travel this worn path or not?

  1. #1
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    Should I travel this worn path or not?

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

    I have a problem and would like some guidance in my espresso journey from the gurus.

    For the first 30 odd years of my life all coffee was to me was a nice and pleasant aroma that was produced from a terrible tasting black liquid. Then 1 year ago my tastebuds conspired against me and decided that they, and hence I, were going to enjoying drinking this stuff, not just smelling it.
    So one year on from that fateful day, I have travelled the instant coffee road (only briefly though) and progressed to the vac packed stuff from the supermarket and finally to what I hope is freshly ground beans from a coffee house brewed with either a press pot or moka pot. I have also in the last week had my first taste of espresso (machiatto style) and found the first one bitter and sour ( flash backs to my first thirty years) so had to go somewhere different and this one was what I imagined it to taste like..... NICE!!!!!.
    Well I better get to my questions before everyone stops reading (if you have got this far that is).
    I really would like to try this home espresso stuff in all its glory and to jump the buy something cheap now and then only to want that upgrade a short way down the track path. The gear I had in mind was the much talked about Silvia and Rocky combo but I dont know if this would be out of my league with the little experience I have. I just dont want to go and buy a cheap department store machine and then in a months time realise that I want something better.
    I love sitting down and nutting this sort of stuff out and the learning curve doesnt phase me (I love getting new toys just for this reason). I really would like to get it right the first time :).

    Well thats probably long enough for my first post so I will leave it in the good hands of all you CSers and any advice would be greatly appreciated and much welcomed.

    Cheers

    Rosey










  2. #2
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Rosey,

    I am all in favour of skipping the plastic, cheaper, entry level machines and going for a decent combo first up.
    Heres where it gets tricky. How far in do you jump?
    I personally went through 4 plastic machines and 4 grinders before arriving at the Silvia/Rocky I currently have.
    Whilst I am happy with my gear now... the HX does beckon (albeit a very faint call at present).
    The one thing that will serve you well no matter what machine you get, is a good grinder. A Rocky, Lux or one of the others in the same class or better is an absolute MUST.
    As for the machine, well you will see here that a number of different machines are owned by various members. I only have experience with the Silvia, and it serves me very well.
    A lot is currently being written about the latest Sunbeam on the market. It is pretty new and many people are waiting for Alan Frew (coffeeco) to review this machine fully. I daresay if his words are favourable, the Sunbean unit will be well worth considering.
    Beyond that, I suppose the big question is "What types of coffees will you want to make at home?" If milk isnt really your thing, then this might also influence your choice .

    Dont be afraid to post follow up questions and perhaps even consider purchasing through one of the site sponsors. They are all very knowledgeable people and very firendly.

    Hope that helps.

    Brett.

  3. #3
    joe
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    I agree with fatboy. If you dont mind spending a bit more, avoid the cheapies. My first machine was a Baby Gaggia and it lasted me 11 years of daily use. *I teamed it with a Gaggia MDF grinder (which I still use). Used well, IMHO it produced excellent espresso - but as already has been said, dont overlook the grinder.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Hi Rosey,

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs by the way [smiley=thumbsup.gif].

    What the other guys have already said is great advice and I support it. I guess like with everything, what you end up buying should be based on a series of Q&As so as to make sure you get the best hardware for the purpose you have in mind.

    Some of the questions you need to ask yourself are:
    • How much am I prepared to spend on the hardware in setting myself up?
    • Am I prepared for the learning curve involved to learn the skills required to produce consistently high quality espressos/lattes/cappuccinos, etc?
    • How many coffees per day will I be making?
    • Of those coffees, how many will be espressos and how many will be milk based coffees?
    • Is it likely that I will be making a considerable number of milk based drinks from time to time?

    These are just some of the questions that you will need to answer as honestly as you can before anyone can say that the Silvia/Rocky combo is the best choice of hardware for you. It may be that a small, high quality Heat eXchanger (HX) machine would suit you better. Its a bit hard to know really and it would probably be really worth your while to talk to one or more of the CoffeeSnobs site Sponsors in order to narrow down what the most ideal machine combo will be. You will be happier in the end by having hardware that suits your needs as closely as possible. It may well be that the Silvia/Rocky combo is the perfect setup for your needs, but it may also be some other combination of hardware too.

    Go ahead, contact our site Sponsors and Im sure they will do their best to help you get the most appropriate hardware [smiley=laugh.gif]. All the best, and

    Cheerio,
    Mal.

  5. #5
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Welcome aboard, Rosey
    Like everyone else before me, I agree with the advice given so far. Can I just add: is your interest primarily milk-based drinks or espressos? An espresso is quite naked and so any short-comings cant be camouflaged. You need a good machine and good technique for that.

    But if you just want to make the milky drinks, the milk will do much to disguise inadequate coffee. The main concern there is to get a machine capable of producing adequate steam. I see little point in spending $1500 -$2500 for the latter purpose.

    Something like a Silvia-Rocky combination will cost you over $1000, and of course, the combo makes excellent espressos and steamed milk drinks.

    Another consideration is the quantity of drinks in any given session. The Silvia will more than handle 2 cups of milk. But if you are pulling enough shots to feed the whole family, a heat exchanger machine will be more appropriate.

    Then again, if you care not for the subtlelties of taste or technique, a super-automatic, set and forget machine may be for you. It will grind, dose, pull the shot -- do everything but produce a great coffee.


  6. #6
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevthemilkman link=1122122566/0#0 date=1122122565
    in the last week had my first taste of espresso
    Ill play my familiar role of devils advocate here and note that you have only ever had one good espresso and it was in the last week. There is a fair difference between drinking plunger and espresso every day and you may want to take a more gentle trip into the world of home coffee.

    My suggestion would be to buy a good grinder initially as that will make your plunger experience more satisfying and drink a few more espressos in the meantime to decide if that is really want you want to have every day. A Rocky or similar is a very good grinder for any class of machine so there is no issue with that initial investment.

    Then try to catch up with someone who has a Silvia or better who would be willing to give you an extensive demo and a bit of a play. If you are still keen after that; welcome to Coffee Snobs! ;)



  7. #7
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Thanks for all the replies guys it has been most welcome.

    I suppose at the moment I really am only drinking milk based drinks because that is all I can produce at home. I have had a few more espressos in the last week and really enjoy them a lot and they are my poison when we head out for a coffee on the weekend.
    As for making heaps of shots in the one sitting there is only myself and my wife so for the bulk of the time it will be only be us two. So I dont think I need a machine that can produce heaps of shots one after the other.
    I have thought about purchasing the grinder first and coming to grips with that but thought it would be wasted on plunger and moka pot coffee.... would this be true.

    Anyway I will take all this info and future replies on board and continue to do research ( there is a lot of info out there on this coffee stuff ;D) and gain more info that will help me decide what I want to do.

    Cheers

    Rosey

  8. #8
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    I went from a chopper grinder to a low end burr grinder and couldnt believe the difference it made with the same beans in my Moka pot before subsequently upgrading to a Silvia. Gradual acquisitions also help with negotiating the expense with your SO (significant other). ;)

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Well I think I might go the gradual purchase track and get the grinder first and have fun with that and try my hand at home roasting as well and them when I am satisfied with this then grab the espresso machine.

    Now all I have to do is wait for the tax cheque to turn up!!!!!

    Cheers

    Rosey

  10. #10
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Look. Can I be blunt here. If you have the money, why waste precious time? Life is too short. Get all the toys you know you desire and need all at once. Otherwise, its a frustrating journey. You buy your good burr grinder, knowing full well its potential is wasted on that crappy el cheapo coffee machine. Or,you have the coffee machine with the potential to brew liquid gold, but its being held back by the crappy heliclopter that offers up unacceptable grinds.

    And all the while youre trying to kid yourself that things are fine and dandy and acceptable for the time being along lifes long road to discovery.

    For Gods sake, if you can afford it, and you need it, GET IT. Being half-arsed gets you nothing but frustration as you try to satisfy yourself of what is, while pondering what it might be.

  11. #11
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    I like your thinking Robusto ;D

    If I do go all out and get everything at once it just means I have to keep drinking vac packed coffee until christmas time as the boss says I have to wait till then if I buy both units at the same time. But I definitely understand your way of thinking and that I shouldnt try and kid myself that I will be happy with only half the complete package.


    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Kev,

    I would recommend waiting. I faced the same situation last year when I decided I should do it the right way once. Gave up my morning espresso from the local cafe for a good seven months and put the savings towards the Silvia and Rocky. Worth every minute of waiting, even when Id start drooling over the Silvia stories on this web site. You will get hang of it pretty easily and produce some great shots in short time. There is plenty of good advice here and on a few other websites. Plus, you wont have to answer the question of " why do you need ANOTHER coffee machine when you already have one!".

    Good luck...

    Cheers,

    Matt

  13. #13
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    Re: Should I travel this worn path or not?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    This is the way I went.

    Bought a Brasillia Lady at least ten years ago. Great machine would pull really nice shots. Steamer was pathetic. Kidded myself that I was doing the real coffee thing by continuing with steamer. Then got a frother from the supermarket, heated the milk in microwave. It made really good foam.

    I did a course for one day and it was the best money I spent in relation to my coffee world. You can get get a perfect score in you road rules test but it doent mean you can drive. This ended up in costing a lot of money. I did not want my trusty Brasillia anymore. I wanted to upgrade big. Which I did to a Faema E98. Fantastic.

    I am still learning about how to make the perfect espresso ten years down the track.

    I have never used the silivia or rocky but I sure cant ignore what is written on site after site about this combination. I t seems to be the combination a lot of home espresso makers are happy with.

    Its been said in the above posts. The grinder is extremely important. It is. To me the Mazzer Mini is King. If you got it a few hundred bucks more.

    Another thing I do is at my favorite coffee shop (Campos at Newtown) I watch what they do and ask questions. Because of their love of coffee they are just too willing to help.. With what I have learned over the last ten years I pour about about 70% in what I what consider the perfect coffee.

    I hope that helps.


    Dill



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