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Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!!

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  • Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!!

    Hello to you all.

    Im new to all this game and I have an old Russell Hobbs dual use coffee maker. Last year I didnt even know how to froth milk or what the "cappucino" function on the machine was. Now I want to get a better machine and make some decent coffee at home.

    Heres the thing. Im totally confused. A couple of days ago I was going to get a Breville ES800 but then I found this site and it changed my mind. Now I dont have a clue what to buy. Most appear to like the Rancilio Silvia but Im on a budget and am trying to keep below $500 - bear in mind Im new to brewing, etc. Someone has offered me a used Saeco Via Venitia for $200 and Im really tempted. What do you think would be a good machine for me? Is it worth holding out for a Silvia or should I go for the Via Venitia and wait a couple of years until I know what Im doing before spending the bigger bucks on a semi commercial machine? :-/

    I also wanted to ask about grinding. I live in Brisbane and usually just go to the Merlo place in the Valley and get a kilo of espresso beans grounded up for me. From what I read the way to go is to get the beans and buy a separate grinder - but then which one? Help!

    Any advice gratefull received.


  • #2
    Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!!

    Hi Fiery and welcome,

    Your best bet is to buy a grinder first and enjoy fresh roasted beans in a plunger until you save up some coin to be able to get a machine that will suit your needs. If you get a grinder it will suit your needs later on when you splurge on an espresso machine.

    Whilst ever you buy preground coffee you will never get adequate results unfortunately. Sorry no way around that problem. I have no information on teh Saeco so cant help you there but someone else maybe able to give you advice on that soon. If it was good then you could spend the rest of your money on an Iberital Challenge grinder, which is pretty well the entry level espresso grinder.

    Hope that gives you some help anyway.



    • #3
      Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!!

      Fierysport - get a grinder - there was a Gaggia MDF going cheap on here the other day. then you can either save up for the Silvia - or if you need to go cheaper get a Gaggia Classic as they are pretty equal to the sylvia.


      • #4
        Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!

        Hi fierysport,

        4 years ago, when I was in a similar position to you, I heard many get a grinder comments and dismissed them because I wanted and espresso machine NOT a grinder! I then went and bought a Gaggia Carezza - probably the best budget machine out there at the time and got it for around the low $200s.

        Anyway, 4 years later, the Gaggia has served me well in terms of functionality, but poorly in terms of coffee. I didnt know what I was missing out on until I got my first grinder (about a month ago) and I dont know how to describe just how much better freshly roasted (by this I mean a few days post-roast from my local roaster) and freshly ground beans are!

        I bought my Iberital Challenge stepless grinder from Di Bartoli - pretty much a one-coffee type grinder (if you dont quite get what I mean, check out my review: I also mention the Sunbeam EM0480 grinder and Rancilio Rocky Grinder in the review for some initial comparisons.

        So what do I suggest? 4 years ago, I should have just bought the grinder, using my plunger or stovetop to brew, and in the meantime saving up for the Rancilio Silvia (the other direct competitor is the Sunbeam 6910-theres a thousand posts comparing these two machines in the mid-range machine forum area). Firstly, getting the Silvia will hopefully curtail upgraditis for some time and secondly, the Silvia benefits over the Gaggia Classic in that it does not have an aluminium boiler (which if they are anything like my old Carezza will go in 3-4 years tops? - someone will correct me here if Im mistaken) - for me, I intend to keep the Rancilio for a very long time!

        All up, I spent about $1100 on grinder and machine. I feel this is right for me, considering my enjoyment of coffee and the enjoyment it brings to others in my family and to my friends. I guess you have to decide what is right for you!

        Hope this helps somewhat...

        p.s. welcome to CS! Im pretty new here myself - I think I joined about 6 weeks ago!


        • #5
          Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!!

          Hi All,

          Ive approached Shauno about the grinder for sale - that should get me started.

          Since Ive done some OT this month I may have some left over for a half decent pre-loved machine. If you know of anyone who has one for sale please let me know.

          Kind regards,

          Rob. (Fiery)

          P.S. Thanks for 2c worth so far!!


          • #6
            Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!

            fierysport, we have a for sale section here at Coffeesnobs. You would be well advised to check it out as there are always good preloved machines going through there.

            Welcome BTW!


            • #7
              Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!

              If you buy the Gaggia MDF, youll be doing very well. That leaves you $300 yeh? You could pick up a 2nd hand Gaggia Classic for around that much.. or... a factory second - they can be found on that auction site... A mate of mine picked up a virtually new Classic for $379... which is unreal value...

              The Classic and MDF combo will produce fantastic coffee - when done correctly of course....

              My only issue I have with the Gaggias is there Boiler size and theyre aluminium.. but it should serve you really well for a few years at least...

              And Coffeechasers comments on Preground coffeee are spot on...


              • #8
                Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!!

                Well the decision has been made. On your advice I have bought not just one but TWO grinders! Ive decided to have one for work and one for home so get the best of both worlds.

                Ive also decided to go for a Saeco Via Venitia - its their entry level espresso machine and its going for a good price. The bloke thats selling it is upgrading to a commercial machine. I know its not a Rancilio Silvia but hey, I can learn with this machine and after a while it may inspire me to go for the commercial grade ones.

                The other thing is it will keep the missus on my side, especially when she has quality flat whites.

                Its all good. Fiery.


                • #9
                  Re: Hello Snobs!  Newbie here wanting advice!!

                  The grinder will make a big difference because youll be able to use fresh beans.

                  I recently roasted some beans for one of the girls at work.
                  She has a blade grinder and a cheap espresso machine.
                  Despite the less than optimum equipment, she is raving about the improvement.
                  Youll do even better with both fresh coffee and a good grinder.

                  Welcome from me too.