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Thread: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

  1. #1
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    Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi There

    After trying and failing with semi auto machines, I am feeling the need to take the plunge into Manual machines.

    I have a budget of around $1500 but that is for everything, machine, grinder etc as I have nothing.

    Can you please recommend me which machines I should start looking at? I have no experience using them or maintaining them so any info you can give me would be fantastic.

    I am coming from a Jura J5!! Looking forward to a fabulous cup of coffee ;)

  2. #2
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Hi WACoffee, and welcome.

    What type of coffee do you drink (black/ with milk) and how many do you make at a time and per day?

    By "manual", do you mean a machine where you grind the coffee into a portafilter and then lift a lever or push a button to get espresso? Theyre often called semi autos whereas a Jura J5 which grinds and extracts at the push of a button is a super auto.

  3. #3
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Hi

    Thanks for the response Jitterbug.

    I drink lattes so it will mostly be milky coffees. About 4 per day however all my friends/relatives want one when they come over so on weekends it will be more. Beautiful milk is important to me as well as a nice strong shot.

    I want to do it all myself, grind etc.

    I am looking at the Nuova Simonelli Oscar as I believe it is great for milk and easy to use.

    I am in WA and hope to be able to see one in the flesh before I purchase one from the East ;) Unless of course I get a deal over here from a CS sponsor - not sure that any WA sponsors sell them though???

    Happy to be guided any which way!! Is there much in the way of maintenance with the full on manual machines?

  4. #4
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Well clearly I dont mean full on manual machine!!

    Am learning alot so excuse my ignorance!!

    Im after a semi automatic!!

    Thanks :)

  5. #5
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Have you looked at this one?

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1310265562

    Awesome machine - I have one myself that I purchased used off of these boards (for more money). Great looking and everything you need to make amazing coffee.

    Its on the other side of the country, but your savings would pay for the courier...

  6. #6
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Thanks for the link fattyboombatty!! That machine looks scary haha!!

    Ive been doing some more research and it must be the styling of the nuova simonelli that really appeals to me because I love the musica also!!

    Any advice on why I should get the Oscar instead of the musica as I am now thinking of stretching the budget to the musica.

    Also, has anyone done any of the one day training courses in Perth? Im thinking Ill need to do one!

    Thanks for any input advice. As you can tell I am a true novice :)

  7. #7
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    I would be considering one of these
    http://sorrentinacoffee.myshopify.com/products/ponte-vecchio-lusso-2-dual-group-lever-espresso-machine-classic-design
    thread for them here http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1265525881

    which fills your budget so you may need to go an extra $250 for a smart grinder. (check with Jack at Sorrentina if the grinder is suitable)

    $1500 also puts you in the market for the new Breville dual boiler.

  8. #8
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Thanks for that link Trentski, that machine looks great.

    I am going to have a look at a couple over here and I am heading to Melbourne in August so will try and make some time to visit site sponsors.

    Im very confused as to which machine and also type to go with. I am concerned about how much maintenance I will be able to do myself etc. Descaling an HX machine :-?

    I know the shot will be worth it though. I just want something easy to use (I like buttons) easy to maintain and that makes a great coffee. I think as a novice, the less I have to do the better (a machine with a built in grinder perhaps) - I just dont know!!!

    I think I will start by making some phone calls...... Thanks for your help and sorry for the confusing start to my post - got my semis and my supers mixed up!!

    It is alot of money to part with for something I have never used before so I really appreciate the expert guidance you guys give here!!

  9. #9
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    hows the search going WAcoffee?* $1500 is just on the limit of the "extreme" end, so you might have missed some recommendations that are just below.* Ive been going through this with some friends with the same budget, so let me give you a few examples from my limited experience!

    You may not be interested in going this low, but for historys sake, the Sunbeam 6800 twin thermoblock with sunbeam EM0480 grinder was up until recenly the best "appliance" based coffee machine.* Perhaps slightly noisy and sometimes in need of regular service, but nonetheless can make a coffee that would beat your Jura in the right hands ;)* They can be had for around $700 for the pair.

    Not long ago, Breville released their BES860 combo machine.* According to a (sponsor or experienced poster) review it makes a coffee equal to the Sunbeam.* It has a built in grinder and goes for around (I think) $800.

    After that Breville released their "smart grinder" or BCG 800.* Since then, this is the best grinder up to about $4-500 even though it only costs $250 and it would be my recommendation for just about any machine up to $1500.

    After these machines you go into the almost-semi-commercial bracket which is a bit of a fuzzy no-mans-land of not quite toaster quality, not quite commercial quality.* There are a number of good machines here all with their own features and looks: the Gee Esresso machine (great reviews) ~$900, the Lelits and Lelit combis (new PL41TEM just released with PID controller), and the Rancillio Silvia.* Each of these machines has a few quirks to get around such as cooling flushes, thermostats, priming, etc.* Youll make a good coffee pretty quickly, and if you take the time to learn your machines ins-n-outs youll make a great coffee!* Each of these would be great paired with the smart grinder.

    This year Breville released another bombshell - the BES900 dual boiler machine.* You just missed out on the machine+smart grinder combo for $1500, so you would be looking at about $1740 for the combo from a sponsor.* Talk Coffee and Cuppacoffee are probably offering "starter kits" which might include machine+grinder+essential extras (tamper, knock box, etc). By all accounts (from those who have actually used one, not including myself) they wipe the floor with any competition priced below $1500 - $2000.* They have done "extra" work to try and distinguish themselves from the toaster-maker preconception such as simulated 10 year lifecycle testing, individual calibration, and a 2 year warranty.

    Part of that competition would be the Oscar youre interested in.* You and I both just missed out on a second hand La Musica that went for a rediculous $900, but lets not cry over spilt milk :(* If the Oscar works as well as the La Musicas that Ive seen, then it would be a great machine, if you like the styling.

    After the Breville you would probably fall back to a single boiler "HX" (heat-exchanger) in the $2-$3k range, which is worth glancing into just to see what a few extra bucks might get you - italian styling, E61 groupheads, commercial innards, etc etc.* Dont discount the second-hand market as you can get one of these $2-$4k machines for $1-$3k second hand, and most snobs look after their equipment better than their own mothers ;)

    If you dont remember anything else from this post I would say these are the most important things: Firstly, get the best grinder you can, this makes a world of difference.* Secondly, keep coming back here and also ring the sponsors - theres a wealth of advice out there.

    And lastly: make sure you get something that youre not going to want to upgrade for a number of years.* Too many people try and save money now, only to wish they had saved up for something better in a few months!

    Hope that helps :)

    [edit: fixed typos so sponsor names link correctly]

  10. #10
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E585A767F7F7C7C190 link=1311140571/2#2 date=1311166568
    I drink lattes so it will mostly be milky coffees.* About 4 per day however all my friends/relatives want one when they come over so on weekends it will be more.* Beautiful milk is important to me as well as a nice strong shot.

    Based on this I dont recommend the Silvia, or Lelits. The single boiler can be frustrating when waiting for it to warm up from brew temperature to steam temp. You can make 4 lattes in a row but it will take longer than if you were using a Hx (heat exchanger) or dual boiler machine.

    The lever machine I linked above will allow you to steam and pull shots at the same time. It appears to be quite forgiving and maintenance is low. The new Breville will also allow the same but is more complicated and not on the market yet.
    The Gee will also allow you to steam almost straight after you have finished pulling a shot but it doesnt seem to have been a big seller for some reason, other than its ugly ;D (I edited that sentence after the correction by Chris below :) )

    If you are spending $1500+ on a machine it would be worth while considering spending a couple of hundred on a water filter that removes scale. Bombora is a good source of information and a forum sponsor.


    edited: to correct the Gee sentence, Thanks Chris

  11. #11
    TC
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    Re: Looking for my first Espresso Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B7D6A617B7C64660F0 link=1311140571/9#9 date=1311903135
    The Gee will also allow you to steam and pull shots at the same time
    Not possible Trent as its a single boiler + thermoblock design.

    You can however go pretty much from shot straight to steam



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