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Suggest an upgrade from a Breville Cafe Roma

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  • Suggest an upgrade from a Breville Cafe Roma

    Forgive me if this has been answered, but I cannot for the life of me find any sort of sticky thread or rundown on general consensus of what the best espresso machines are in the sub $500 bracket.

    My wife and I currently have a Breville Cafe Roma at home, which I use with Vittoria Oro pre-ground coffee (I can hear the groans and sighs from here!) and as for the coffees I get from this, I'm really quite happy with them, they're better than a lot of coffee shops, and give me my daily doses of caffeine nicely. Also, anyone I make them for comments on how good they are.

    But we, my wife in particular, is annoyed at how long it takes to make a coffee with it, particularly how long it takes to steam milk, such that if we have half a dozen people over you'll be spending a really long time at the machine making coffees. With this in mind she said we should combine our gifts to each other this year for our birthdays and treat ourselves to a new coffee machine setup, which still means it has to come in within the 'Entry Level' sub $500 price point.

    Her main wish is that it's faster to make coffees.

    My wish would be an increase in coffee quality without it taking me longer than it currently does to make said coffee. And I certainly don't want to end up with worse coffee than I do now.

    So, CoffeeSnobs, how can I get myself a setup that'll make great coffee quickly? Oh, and I want it to last. The Breville we have now at home has been going strong for almost 10 years now... I'd rather a new one not die in a few years. Should we get all in one with a grinder built in? A machine and separate grinder? Continue with the packets of coffee but improve the machine a lot?

    I've looked around a lot and see a lot of machine names, but they all seem to have their good and bad points, and I don't know enough to prioritise those points.

    If there's already a post which covers this, my apologies, I couldn't find it!

  • #2
    Gaggia Classic + a Breville Smart grinder. .. (Shop around)
    You wont make good coffee with pre ground packet coffee.


    • #3
      Well, you're pretty lucky getting 10 years from your current setup! I feel your pain. Until recently, I has a Sunbeam 4800C machine, and while I could make really good coffee with it, it does take forever. I remember once making around 7 lattes and spending around 40 minutes away from everyone to do so. When I finally finished, the first person asked for a refill!

      Anyway, you'll be lucky to get a machine and grinder that will last 10 years for under $500.

      Incidentally, there are plenty of threads on this, but you've got to do a lot of reading through them all. There can be no universal list because everyone has their own opinion.

      My answer (won't last 10 years), is a good second hand Sunbeam 6910 (can be had for between $200 and $300) and a brand new breville Smart Grinder BCG800 (approx $200). You'll happily make half a dozen lattes quite quickly.




      • #4
        Thanks for the replies guys.

        I had read that Gaggia machines suffer from quick corrosion internally due to using two different types of metal and so creating a reaction, but I don't know how much truth there is to that.

        The Sunbeam does look like a machine that you could do a lot with at the same time!

        It seems that everyone loves the breville smart grinder though.


        • #5
          Ah Well, IF you are prepared to consider pre loved equipment ( I would )... then it would have to be a Silvia.
          $350 ish.. should get you a nice one.
          They will stand up to long term use better than any Sunville, and parts are available for repairs too if needed.


          • #6
            I am definitely fine with pre-loved, I have a 2nd Cafe Roma at work that I bought from eBay for $21 that handles my coffee needs there (has saved me buckets on store bought coffees).

            The Silvias definitely seem harder to come by than the Sunbeams, just by a quick eBay search.


            • #7
              A Sunbeam 6910 sounds like what you want, as has been suggested. Any single boiler machine like a Silvia or Gaggia Classic will take the same time or even slower than your current machine to make coffee. Certainly with the Silvia, changing the boiler temperature from coffee to steam and back is much slower than on something like a Sunbeam EM3600 (which is about the same as a Cafe Roma I believe)- and its the time taken to change temperatures that slows things down a lot. Point being, if *speed* matters to you, then a single boiler machine is probably not going to suit you, and a used 6910 (twin thermoblock) is going to be your cheapest shot at something that can do coffee and milk at the same time, without going into dual boiler territory.


              • #8
                Remember to budget ~$200 for a decent grinder... Sunbeam 480 (minimum) preferably the Breville Smart Grinder. You'll probably get better coffee with a grinder + single walled filters + your current machine than a Silvia or 6910 with no grinder (silvia especially)... I agree that your best bet is a 6910, but you may have to look around for a second hand one of them also...

                Alternatively, buy a grinder now, stick with your current machine, and save up a bit more coin for a nicer/newer machine. You'll get the improved coffee now, and the speed later...

                Good luck!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by spoco2 View Post
                  The Silvias definitely seem harder to come by than the Sunbeams, .
                  There is a good reason why that is the case.


                  • #10
                    Thanks all for the replies. Being that speed is the biggest requirement for this upgrade from my wife then it'd seem that the Sunbeam would be the go in this price bracket... I'll have to spend some time on eBay now.

                    Also, the Breville Smart Grinder looks like a great, and very convenient piece of kit, so I'll have a look for one of those too.

                    Thank you all for your coffee expertise