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Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

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  • Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

    Hi All, this is my first post here. Im a coffee addict (minimum double shot) and unfortunately I have been spoiled as my wife is a chef, I have had free access to commercial machines and grinders.

    About 12 months ago we purchased a eurolab grinder/espresso all in one. I used it for about a month, then it got forgotten about as I couldnt make a decent cup of coffee. Does anyone have any experience with this machine? Is the grinder actually any good?

    We have just moved house, and I have cleaned it all up and have been churning out some "pleasant" rather than "good" coffee. Now I need to know what I can do to make it better. I cannot afford a decent grinder, let alone a machine.

    My first real question regards the group. Under the PF, there is a rubber/plastic seal type device, which I assume is to increase the pressure in the PF, as it has a single small hole in it for the coffee to come out. Would it make a difference taking this out? After a shot has been pulled, the puck is very wet. It can usually be tipped out, without any tapping. A shot of coffee is only taking about 15 seconds, yet the shot comes out with a reasonable crema considering Ive been using supermarket vacuum packed beans. Its hard to find good beans in Tasmania, without paying stupid "boutique" prices. I used to buy beans off my wifes employer (commercial beans), but with two young kids shes not working ATM.

    My second question is regarding the steamer. I have taken off the plastic knob thing, which seems to be some kind of expander device. I have been steaming the milk directly from the wand. There isnt a thread on the end of the wand, the plastic knob thing just slips over the wand. Is there anything I could do here to increase the potential for microfoam?

    Cheers, Dean

  • #2
    Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

    Have you got a photo?
    Firstly the bad news - those eurolab machines are not very good machines and you will not get a great result from them. I suspect your pf is one of those crema enhancer systems. Others on here will tell you how to deal with it as I have no experience of them.

    The other alternative is to use a french press (plunger). Instructions for great results using one of these can be found here.

    The beans/coffee you are buying are stale and just plain rubbish. Boutique roasters are expensive, though I think you may be able to buy beans at a reasonable (though still not cheap) price from one of the site sponsors or, when Andy has it set up, Coffeesnobs Brown.

    As for a grinder, if you cannot afford a decent electric burr grinder at present, try getting a good hand grinder. Once ground, the coffee is stale within 3 minutes, there is nothing you can really do about that except to grind yourself. Baccarat makes a pretty good hand grinder for about $30-$40.

    Another suggestion is to start roasting your own using a cheap popcorn popper. It is very easy and there are a few posts which explain how here on coffeesnobs. Buying greens and roasting your own reduces yur cost buy approx 2/3s

    Thats the best suggestion I can make for your situation. I hope it helps.


    • #3
      Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

      Welcome to Coffee Snobs Dean.

      I dont know if many here would have any experience with that machine.
      I dont recall reading about it.

      My personal opinion about that place is that they sell cheap junk (my DVD recorder for one [/rant]).

      Some of the things you describe sound familiar though.
      The plastic thing is probably there to "ensure the coffee doesnt cool during the extraction" for those that dont heat PFs properly.

      The "crema" is probably fake.
      If you look into the filter basket you will see lots of holes.
      Turn it over, do you only see one hole coming out?
      If yes, then you have pressurised baskets. Designed to make a false crema from stale supermarket beans.

      You gets what you pay for (mostly) when buying coffee beans.
      Try the sponsor links on the left and give their coffee a go.
      Im sure you can do better than "boutique" prices.
      Coffee Snobs itself will also soon be selling roasted beans.

      Personally i think its false economy to buy cheaper beans if you dont get the great (not good) coffee you seek.

      The steamer - I think youve done the right thing. Ive read about plenty of people doing the same thing to machines with similar setups. They all say its better without the plastic thing. Then its just a matter of practise, practise, practise.

      EDIT: You beat me Cindy.

      I forgot about the grinder.
      The cheapest good espresso grinder is about $300+.
      They get better (and more expensive) from there.
      Therfore the grinder in your Eurolab really cant cut it (pun intended).


      • #4
        Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

        *snap* TG


        • #5
          Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

          Hi Tas_Dean and welcome to CoffeeSnobs....

          A deal "too good to be true" generally is - and this is no exception..... You have paid a fraction of the price for the Combo that most pay for a reasonable grinder.

          I havent used one myself but I suspect the grinder is more like a coffee crusher than a real burr grinder.... it wont produce the fine grind required for espresso nor will the grind be uniform. That is why the machine has a pressurised portafilter. They can handle coarser grinds and less uniform ones as well. You would get better coffee if you removed it - but not with the built in grinder. You could buy preground.... but as that is stale before you get home.... also a problem.

          As lucinda suggested above- a hand grinder would allow you to buy fresh beans (and they arent cheap unfortunately) and take out that disk to get better coffee - but it will never be brilliant.

          A plunger and freshly ground coffee is another excellent option.... You may be able to adjust the built in grinder so that it is coarse enough for a plunger, get some decent fresh beans (or roast your own) and a plunger and you will get really good coffee....

          Sorry I cant be more positive..... but I hope this at least helps.


          • #6
            Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

            Thanks to all who have replied so far.

            No need for apologies, I know that I bought cheap sh.. ah, junk, but it was all I could afford at the time.

            I just had another play, where I took the pressuriser out of the pf, and the water (it certainly couldnt be called coffee) just poured through the puck.

            I have here somewhere (that being a very generous description, Im out in the shed today trying to sort it out so I can move AND find my tools), a decent hand grinder. Would I be correct in saying that I could grind a nice fine grind with that, remove the pressuriser from the pf and possibly make a reasonable coffee that way?

            Cheers, Dean


            • #7
              Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

              Originally posted by Tas_Dean link=1176779510/0#5 date=1176784560
              I just had another play, where I took the pressuriser out of the pf, and the water (it certainly couldnt be called coffee) just poured through the puck.

              I have here somewhere (that being a very generous description, Im out in the shed today trying to sort it out so I can move AND find my tools), a decent hand grinder. Would I be correct in saying that I could grind a nice fine grind with that, remove the pressuriser from the pf and possibly make a reasonable coffee that way?

              Cheers, Dean

              Yes if you can get a nice even fine grind (so the tamped grind restricts the water rather than that tiny hole) you should get a reasonable coffee. A decent hand grinder will do that for you. You can test the grind - it should be like grains of salt when you rub it round in the palm of your hand....... without a lot of coffee dust which you usually get from cheap grinders.

              You will also need to tamp the coffee into the basket (not important with a pressurised PF - but essential if you use it normally) with about 13.5 Kg pressure....

              Good luck!


              • #8
                Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder


                I had an elcheapo too [well seek] which has featured on some other posts here.

                I could not modify the pressurised PF, so I was stuck with this.
                I used to use a wall mounted grinder [an old Salter] and it was able to give me a 25-30 sec extraction, so I knew the hand-grinder was in the least for a pressurised PF.

                I started buying good roasted beans [try site sponsors, Veneziano and Coffee hit....they have some great coffees available via internet/mail order]

                And I was really happy....for a short while, until I tried the same beans via the suppliers cafe and I realised I was only getting about 10% of the flavour....but I certainly could pick up the character of the beans and it was better than many an average coffee Id previously bought.

                I modded the salter grinder to force the burrs closer together and the coffee improved, so I just kept grinding finer and finer getting better and better results until the PF eventually blew up spraying hot metal and coffee everywhere...... I guess the combination of the pressurised PF and the coffee in the puck was too much for cheap chinese diecasting.

                By this stage I knew I was hooked and had to get me something decent, so the $50 Bucks it cost me was a well spent lesson.

                But Alas, the Salter would not give me a fine enough grind for the Silvia [or any other true espresso machine] so I then needed a decent grinder......Im not really happy with the sunbeam though so eventually Ill jump to a rocky or maybe skip that step and go a mazzer or k3.....

                If you can go non-pressurised, buy great fresh beans and get a grinder that will give you the right extraction time then I think you will get a better result than what I outlined above [maybe 50-70 % of a "true" espresso shot] Yes! to your question.

                Ive read, the hand powered Zassenhaus grinders can grind fine enough for turkish and espresso, I think theyre arount the $100 mark, so this may be an option. Im planning to get my mits on one shortly, so if you want, I can let you know how it fairs with Silvia.
                [though its mainly for travel: fresh beans with with a french press]

                Ultimately though, it sounds like you are going to become one of us, and a friendly chat to one of the site sponsors will probably leave you with a great machine and grinder and a flappy wallett.
                But at least your wife [being a chef] will probably understand.


                • #9
                  Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

                  reubster dont forget the Macap.

                  As for hand grinders, Hazel bought one for $50 at House.
                  She uses it when travelling, though I think mostly for plunger.
                  Its acrylic and looks like a salt grinder on roids.
                  It has small conical burrs.


                  • #10
                    Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

                    TG, that would be the Baccarat - nice grinder and a good price, I know where they can be bought in Adelaide but not anywhere else.


                    • #11
                      Re: Cheap Eurolab espresso/grinder

                      Sunbeam make a conical burr grinder called a coffee mill with 30 settings, the group handle fits into it for immediate use will grind everything from course for a plunger to very fine for turkish (if you like black mud), works for me... Got mine for $175, but you need to shop around, all the domestic appliance joints sell them... of course there are the non domestic options with a bigger price tag as well... Hope this helps.