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Best machine if I dont need milk?

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  • Best machine if I dont need milk?

    Hi there, similar to the most recent post initiator in this area, I too have only recently found this forum and am very glad to have done so!
    Im definitely a novice in all matters, and have blundered my way through 3-4 $150-$200 machines in the last 5 years or so. After my most recent demise (I cant even remember what it was but it was only $77 on special so that gives you a clue....) I was persuaded by the hardly normal lady to buy a Krups (and yes I realise from my reading on this site that the name should be spelled differently!) XP52 which came with a bonus burr grinder and milk frothing jug. We luddites (in coffee terms) were all happy until the filter head became irretrievably blocked and damaged, probably due to lack of regular descaling. I now know thats important!
    So, sorry to ramble on, and I hope its not offensive to those with real taste to say that we are very happy with the milk frothing jug, and just need to get another filter head (which doesnt look likely), or another machine. I have read lots of threads about the best entry level machines, many of which extoll the virtues of dual thermoblocks in order to improve the milk (I think - someone will correct me if I am wrong, Im sure). My question is, if I am really only looking to obtain a decent (in my lowly terms) espresso and not worried about frothing milk with the machine, what would be my best buy in the low end of the market? Is the Presso a good option?
    Im really sorry if my question seems so basic as to offend the connoisseurs, and Id be very grateful for any tips or pointers as to useful threads to read. I hope to do better one day!

  • #2
    Re: Best machine if I dont need milk?

    Welcome troglodyte.

    I, like you, need only an espresso machine. For milk drinks I use a microwave.

    After my Krups machine refused to seal properly for hi-pressure shots, I thought Id try a Presso.

    • Its mechanically simple.
    • Theres no electrics.
    • Its reasonably easy to clean.
    • It can produce a fairly good shot.

    • If you want HOT espresso, you have to work pretty hard. See CptCavemans procedure near the end of "Living with Presso"
    • If you want anything more than a ristretto, you need to work the handles twice to get the volume (IME) and I believe this upsets the puck and creates channeling
    • You can only get 3-4 bar pressure and limited control over the temperature, so, in the end, youll never get a consistent ultimate espresso

    I am persevering with my presso in the next-generation pneu-presso form.



    • #3
      Re: Best machine if I dont need milk?

      You could consider the Portaspresso Rossa

      It is around $400 though, plus postage and I would recommend getting the stand too, which is about $70. This may be more than your budget, but it is capable of producing excellent espresso and is portable too. Very easy to maintain and should last a very long time.



      • #4
        Re: Best machine if I dont need milk?

        2nd hand silvia or lelit/nemox single boiler machine would be my pick


        • #5
          Re: Best machine if I dont need milk?

          Moka Pot, aeropress, or "atomic"?

          Either/or makes a pretty decent caffine based drink, certainly one close enough to espresso for most peoples tastebuds

          Failing that, Yeah, a secondhand single-boiler machine or a secondhand La Pavoni lever


          • #6
            Re: Best machine if I dont need milk?

            Thanks for the words of advice. Ive read lots on here, and so was thrilled to pick up a barely used and well cared for Saeco Via Venezia for $80 locally. Already our coffee tastes much better, and Ive now ordered some beans through this site and am looking forward to trying those. Ill keep reading and keep learning!


            • #7
              Re: Best machine if I dont need milk?

              Depending what beans you have been using, getting good quality, freshly roasted beans and a decent grinder could up the quality no end compared to what you have been used to.

              If you dont have milk with your coffee (at least not textured milk), I second the recommendations of the moka pot, and the aeropress.  Both relatively low cost options - I use the Aeropress at work, and am still learning the ropes, but Im really liking it. I know you mentioned youve picked up the VV, but those two in particular might be worth a shot down the track for something different!

              Id definitely recommend you consider upgrading your grinder.  Ive probably gone through a similar journey over the past couple of years, in fact I was looking at the VV or the Ikon when I bought, and just happened to snap up one of the last Ikons when Breville were clearing them out at a great price.

              I found going from a blade grinder to fresh beans and the Sunbeam EM0450 made a world of difference (the Sunbeam, from what I understand would be ahead of the Krups even though it too is a burr grinder). Then the step up to the Breville Smart Grinder gave a noticeable jump in quality again. With a decent grinder, and those fresh, quality beans youve ordered, you wont know yourself!