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Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

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  • Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

    Hi,

    I’m desperate for a recommendation on a manual coffee machine around the $400 - $500 mark for a Xmas present (in 4 weeks!!).

    Retailers tell me the Breville 800ES is good, but reviews online refer to a Gaggia machine (the ‘classic’ model I think??) as good. Not sure if Breville is good for coffee machines, I think of them more for toasters?! (could just be my ignorance)

    Basically I have no idea, so would love any advice. The person Im giving the machine to already has a good grinder (bought from Axil), so it’s just the machine I’m after. Not interested in a Nespresso with pods either.

    Coffee frequency would be 1-2 a day, so just regular use. I imagine the machines with stainless steel parts are better??

    Any advice would be hugely appreciated!!


  • #2
    Re: Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

    My pick is the Gaggia Classic, however, Ive not owned or used the Breville.

    Budgeting for a good grinder too?

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    • #3
      Re: Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

      From the OP I believe the giftee has a grinder already (bought from Axil)

      Gaggia Classic all the way.

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      • #4
        Re: Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

        +1 for the Gaggia

        Alternatively have you considered a voucher from one of our many fine sponsors (listed on the left of page)? I know giving someone a voucher isnt as exiting but if theyre as passionate about coffee as you think, they can use it towards something better.

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        • #5
          Re: Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

          only downside to the Gaggia that I can see, is that they tend to use the same Panerello steam-arm as the Saeco Via Venezia...

          Though this apparently is fixable with a mod

          Other option could be to go with a secondhand Silvia or Sunbeam EM6910. Both are good machines for the price range.

          Breville machines are actually quite competent (same as the sunbeam). Especially for the mid-range machines.

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          • #6
            Re: Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

            As its going to be a gift, for another person, a used machine is pretty much out of the question, right...

            You can pick up a Sunbeam EM6910 for that price range if you haggle or find the right deal.

            Indeed, the gaggia steam wand needs to be swapped out for it to become midly useful. Site sponsor DiBartoli offers a kit and its very simple (unscrew old, screw on new)

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            • #7
              Re: Desperate for recommendation - manual espresso machine ($400-$500 budget)

              I bought a brand new La Cimbali Domus (RRP $800+) as a Xmas gift. Its now unlikely to be gifted (long story) and is still unused. If I let it go (Ill decide within a week), Id be happy with anything $400+ and Id throw in a kg bag of beans.

              It needs no introduction as they have been around for a very long time but are now imported in very low volumes so most newbies are not familiar with them. La Cimbali is not an appliance brand but a specialist manufacturer of commercial machines for cafes. This machine was imported by Coffex Melbourne.

              Its similarly durable to the class leader for $700-$800 machines, the Rancilio Silvia. The Domus has a much bigger boiler (heaps of steam power) but Silvia is ahead in most other areas. Neither are particularly beautiful, the Cimbali looks a little 90s. Both more than capable of making great coffee. The threads below provide further info/comparison.

              http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1239941863
              http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1209904105 (includes picture)

              Most people here will tell you the results from machines less than $500 retail are likely to disappoint. The gaggia classic RRP is much more than $500 but can be found for $500. The boiler size of the gaggia classic is tiny compared with the Domus but the gaggia is recognised as being a reasonable entry point into quality espresso.

              PM me if interested in the Domus.

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