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Thread: Start-up Kit for a Kiwi...

  1. #1
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    Start-up Kit for a Kiwi...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by greenman link=1226044383/0#4 date=1226050034
    Welcome to CS ahmadnz, youve come to the right place for helpful information on all things coffee, but beware this site is very addictive and will make you want to spend lots of $$$$$ on shiny new equipment!!!
    Um yeah...Ive already learned this!! ;D

    I previously looked on CoffeeGeek briefly to pick up some general "tips" about espresso which Ive used as best as possible on my humble Breville Cafe Roma for the past 4 years, but its time to move on.

    So I came back to the internet to look for advice about buying a second hand Sunbeam EM69xx (see the $500-1000 forum).

    One thing led to another: first I was put off buying a second hand Sunbeam, then I thought Id use my entire budget on a grinder in the mean time before upgrading the machine, and now Im considering buying a Silvia with a Mazzer in order to get a discount for both :p

    What a week it has been! :D

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Well next week it will be a Doserless Robur and a GS/3 * *;D


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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Yeah haha ;D

    But in all honesty, I couldnt see myself spend any more than around $2000 on equipment "ever".

    I know they are famous last words, but if you knew the kind of person I am, even $2000 is far more than I ever imagined spending.

    Ive settled for that figure based on some reading here which suggests to me that if I spent somewhere in that region, I would be unlikely to strongly desire any further upgrade (equipment replacement is a different story, but something I presume I would be less likely to require if buying "right" in this price range).

    Give that my long term goal/solution would be a (roughly) $2000 setup, I have come to the conclusion that a Mazzer Mini should be part of it, plus perhaps a Silvia.

    Anyone care to comment on my chances of "never needing an upgrade" with this setup? :D

    Sorry if Im not articulating myself well. This search has become obsessive and my thoughts are muddled :p

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    You can get a magic set up for $2k. Can I suggest you look at good second hand gear if you never want to upgrade again - otherwise $2k will get you the Mazzer and the Silvia new which in itself would be a nice combo...but no guarantee of no upgraditis! Watch on this site for bargains that come up because second hand good brands that have been looked after will last and last.


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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Unfortunately I am in New Zealand and the second hand market here consists of Breville, Breville Professional series, Sunbeam, Sunbeam Cafe series, and Krups.

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    just another thought - what is your cleaning routine like with your machine?

    Do you back flush with detergent / cafetto regularly?
    Ever taken the shower screen off to clean behind it?
    What about the pressurised baskets, ever tried to clean those (soak in boiling water with cafetto) etc?

    These things will negatively impact on the taste you are getting almost as much as poor quality beans.

    I am somewhat embarrassed by the state of my old Melitta machine I have at the shop. I took the screen off of that after (not willing to disclose the length of time) and it was disguisting, I am amazed that coffee even made it through the head there was that much gunge and shite built up.

    Sen

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Haha.

    I dont know what cafetto means.

    I dont know how to backflush a Cafe Roma or if it is possible even.

    I have never soaked my baskets.

    I really need a "101" if Im going to seriously buy the Silvia plus MM so that I dont destroy it with my use and abuse!!

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Those are some of the basic things you should do to keep your gear in tip top condition and so that old coffee oils & soot dont distort the taste of your espresso.

    I dont know if your cafe roma will allow you to backflush or not, but certainly take off the shower screen and at the minimum, give it a scrub, also clean the part where the screen came off, as it is more than likely that it will be petty crusty too.

    Have a look on google or trademe for espresso machine cleaner (normally called caffetto (spelling)) and use this to soak your PF baskets and if your machine can do it, for back flushing.

    If you get a better / top range machine, then the back flushing on a regular basis would be an absolute minumum requirement, but a good coffee machine vendor will guide you as to what suits the machine

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahmadnz link=1226044383/0#2 date=1226047518

    You know, Im still not entirely convinced that my Cafe Roma can make a *significantly* better coffee using a Rocky/Mazzer grinder with fresh beans.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1225710268/34#34

    Read through the whole thread first. It details a guy who was grinding beans that were supposedly fresh and then using them immediately and getting real frustrated at the poor results. He finally found the solution when he got real fresh beans. His situation is similar to yours, except he at least was starting with whole beans and then grinding them whereas youre using supermarket pre-ground which will always be way staler than grinding and then immediately using (all other things being equal). If it made that much of a difference to him I cant comprehend what a difference it might make to you.

    Greg

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Hey thanks Greg.

    Look if Im really going to be spending up to $2000 on coffee equipment, then I think the retailer should not mind me bringing my Cafe Roma to their store and setting it up there and asking them to grind me some beans on the spot.

    The reason I believe I would have to go down to the store with my machine is that it will probably take a bit of trial and error to get a coarse enough grind for this machine - right?

    I have a question about "crema" too.

    I saw comments in that thread Greg about the look of the crema being "just like the videos". But my Cafe Roma (I believe) has one of those "crema enhancers". So can you really tell JUST from the look?

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    They make it harder, those comments were in the context of real crema. Fake crema (as your baskets will give) tends to be lighter than real crema, more like a beige than a dark hazelnut colour. With fresh beans you will still see a difference to stale beans / preground, it just wont be comparable to real crema shots.

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    Re: What does bad espresso taste like?

    Greg Ive divided discussions between several threads in different areas so forgive me if this is the wrong thread for it.

    Do you have experience/knowledge of the Silvia and can you explain the concerns about the machine temperature to me in plain English?

    I got lost when they produced those temperature graphs!

    Im reluctant to consider the Sunbeam over the Silvia because (right or wrong), I have this impression in my mind that:

    The Sunbeam is an "appliance" that is not built to last a long time, and though my pump would be covered for 5 years, after that only luck will determine the lifespan.

    The Silvia is built upon commercial machine principles and should last theoretically longer than the Sunbeam. It might not be as fancy (although I kinda like the minimalistic design), and there are less things to go wrong.

    Please correct any misconceptions I have for my own good!!

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    Re: Start-up Kit for a Kiwi...

    I tend to have the same perception as you, however the 6910s are only just getting old enough now to start to show their faults, if they have them. TG has referred to a few hes had with the group gasket / group collar. Have you read through that Silvia review I linked to?

    The Silvia is so much more of a simpler system theres very little to go wrong - its simply switches, wires, thermostats and a heating element. All things you can easily test with a multimeter, and easily replace if theyre faulty. The 6910 by comparison has wiring, volume meters, flash ROM which means ICs, not that any of that is bad in itself as computers and cars are full of it, but add heat, and moisture and its a recipe for failure. When something does die you cant necessarily test it anywhere near as easily.

    As I think has been mentioned, a stock Silvia has thermostats which stop heating about 110C and start heating around 80C. That makes for a big deadband and the potential for temperature fluctuations, although the brass group takes a long time to react and tends to help smooth out the fluctuations. Nonetheless, this variation in temperature isnt ideal and is why people use temperature surfing techniques (where a brewing cycle is started x seconds after the thermostat turns on or off in the hope itll always be the right temperature) or add PID kits. Neither are necessary but both help.

    Hope that does too!

    Greg

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Start-up Kit for a Kiwi...

    ahmadnz, when I joined CS I had a Saeco Via Venezia with pressurised baskets and was using ground beans from the local shop and though my coffee was good, after reading many posts on machines and grinders I purchased a Sunbeam EM450 grinder, this added a whole new world to my coffee, after that I coverted to pf to non pressurised and things were good. I then bought some green beans and roasted them in a popcorn machine and presto freshly roasted beans.
    Striving for better espresso I then had the need to upgrade my machine.
    After much research and seeing what was available in my price range it came down to the Sunbeam 6910 or the Silvia. I read reams of reviews on Silvia and the side by side review of them both and I decided that Silvia would be the best long term option for me because of the build quality and many good reports from happy owners. The Sunbeam makes good espresso but how long they will last was the downside.
    Ive had Silvia for 18 months now and she is producing the goods for me. I have recently added PID to her and this has cut out the need for temp surfing. I upgraded to a Rocky grinder 6 months ago and between Rocky and Silvia life is good.
    The Mazzer Mini paired with Silvia would be a good combination and if you ever got the upgrade bug down the track Silvia has very good resale value.
    Good luck with your decision..........................gm

  15. #15
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    Re: Start-up Kit for a Kiwi...

    I was considering a Silvia myself originally for all the same reasons:
    Build quality, longevity etc.

    The 6910 I use at work is now 11 months old.
    Its up to its 3rd group seal and the collar is worn and Ill be putting it in for replacement under warranty very soon.

    To be fair, the Sunbeam probably makes up to 12 cups a day.
    But that machine has been a good test of things to come for other Sunbeam owners.

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    Re: Start-up Kit for a Kiwi...

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I keep thinking to myself that perhaps I can spend all my money on the MM and then "skimp" on the machine buy getting an EM6910 on special for $680 NZD (around $600 AUD).

    But I saw the machine again today "in the flesh". Every time my focus drifts from the reasonably nice aesthetics and user friendly design (eg. drip trays and water level indicator), to the electronic switches and the electrical boards that must lie behind them in an extreme temperature environment...

    I dont fully understand those PID kits but boy are they expensive!



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