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Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestions wanted

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  • Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestions wanted

    Hi all.

    Im looking to get a coffee machine and grinder for a total of $800-$1000. I have a bit of experience working coffee machines, but not a huge amount. Im keen to learn, and have been doing a fair bit of reading in the past few days (but am obviously still just starting out).

    I live in Melbourne, and am keen to get suggestions on recommendations for a both of the above bits of equipment, what works well together, and where the best places in Melbourne to get them from would be. I would be keen to test the machine out (in store or at home) before shelling out that much.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.


  • #2
    Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

    Im in Canada so i cant necessarily vouch for prices being the same in Aus...

    But i can suggest some combos i am very familiar with and read detailed review of:

    Rancilio Silvia & R. Rocky grinder or Mazzer Mini grinder

    Gaggia Classic or Gaggia Baby & G. MDF Grinder or Mazzer Mini grinder

    Solis Crema SL90 & either of the above grinders

    Isomac Venus Espresso Machine & either of the above grinders

    I have a gaggia classic with a PID, cut portafilter, adjusted bar pressure & modified
    steam wand....The grinder i have is a Rancilio Rocky. (see machine pic)

    At your price range its tough to think of anything that can match these combos but
    im sure some people have ideas.

    The benefit of these names Rancilio and Gaggia is the support and ease of parts and
    help that is available online and at the stores. The following is massive and machines
    are proven workhorses which produce results at a lower cost.

    The ECM Botticelli is another good espresso machine similar in performance to a Rancilio Silvia but possibly slightly out of your price range. I think you may be able to pair it with a decent grinder
    at slightly above 1000.

    I would try and stay away from lever type machines for now. They require alot of skill.

    Any way you cut it....these are all good perfomers in there own way.

    You will get good results with any of the above within your price range.


    posting modified by mod team to meet site posting policy


    • #3
      Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

      Hi Kerryn,

      In your price bracket, Id suggest:
      [*]Rancilio Silvia and Iberital Challenge with RRP of approx $1100. This is a true boiler machine and a good entry level espresso only grinder. Its hard to break a Silvia..
      [*]Sunbeam EM6910 and an Iberital or Rancilio Rocky at Circa $1000/$1100. The Sunbeam is a thermoblock machine (read appliance) but will give you a good result....You can replace it with a real machine when it breaks :P

      Good luck in your search!



      • #4
        Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

        I have a Gaggia Classic and MDF Grinder set up and that comes to about the $900 mark.

        I get very very good coffee from this machine and it is easy to use once you get a bit of practice (like anything). Some people have issues with the boiler on this machine (aluminium/brass) but i it is maintained properly you will not have any problems at all.

        One bit iof advice that I have is to ensure you have very good quality beans from a good roaster that are fresh. The gaggia does not like supermarket pre ground coffee at all.

        Also get yourself a decent tamper as this will help you get better results.

        I have read a couple of people say they get sour shots from their sunbeams, I dont know why this may be but it is an issue you may have to think about.


        • #5
          Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

          If you are really patient, you might see a very well loved secondhand machine like the Silvia and a grinder come up for sale on the forum. (No I am not selling mine! :P) Youll always get them for a good price and if youre lucky, like I was, your machine will have been treated with such love and care from a CSr that youll think you will have bought brand new!!


          • #6
            Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

            Thanks for the thoughts so far. It is greatly appreciated.

            Most of my reading of similar threads, and the advice here seem to be pointing towards:

            a) Rancilio Silvia (but already this creates a minor price squeeze when a decent grinder is added on)
            b) Gaggia Classic

            As far as grinders go it seems to be:

            a) Rancilio Rocky (a bit pricy again)
            b) Iberital Challenge
            c) Gaggia MDF

            Are there any other decent options I have missed (remembering the $800-$1000 price guide)?

            How does the Ibertal challenge compair as a grinder? I have not found as much info on it.

            Also, I have heard there are issues with the steam wand on the Gaggia Classic. How would one modify this (where does one get the parts, price etc), and how hard is it (Im moderately cluey at this type of thing)?

            A friend has two Saeco machines he is happy with. Any major issues with this brand?

            Are there any major issues with going second hand for goods of this type?

            Finally, a few people have mentioned the Gaggia baby twin. Any thought on this?

            Once again, thanks for the help. It is making this very difficult decision a bit easier


            • #7
              Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

              Hello Kerryn,

              welcome to CS.

              To answer in point form:

              The Challenge is a great grinder in your price bracket, probably the best in your price bracket, especially given the MDF is also a very good grinder but no point recommending at this point as there are none in the country. The new consignment does not land until sometime in the new year.

              Gaggia steam pipe, 2 scenarios:

              a) There are NO issues with the Gaggia Classic steam pipe if it is the old style "slip on" turbo frother with internal pipe. Simply REMOVE the plastic OUTER and use it that way (with the outer left off). Just because the inner is also a plastic pipe doesnt mean it doesnt do the job well.

              b) If on the other hand it has the other type of turbo pipe that doesnt have an inner then yes, its crappy.

              However, you dont need to go to the trouble of buying a silvia pipe and doing a "mechanical" modification to simply option (for a modest cost) the other type of turbo frother mentioned in a) above, slip off the outer & whalla in about 30 seconds youre good to go.

              Second hand.....if in good nik by all means, but no guarantee plus, I wouldnt buy a second hand machine with an aluminium boiler (Gaggia). Its the kind of thing you want to have owned from new and know youve cleaned and descaled at reguar intervals, yourself. Otherwsie, you dont know when its going to fail due to blockage from internal aluminium corrosion and you also cant see what youre drinking as a result!

              Gaggia Baby Twin, nice machine with BALL JOINTED steam arm. However the steam arm on this model does have the crappy turbo tube end mentioned in b) above. Just option the a) pipe, slip on, remove outer, and away you go.

              Hope this helps.

              There is more info in your PMs.



              • #8
                Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

                I agree with FC. The MDF grinder is very good as it is stepped which means that there is very little effort needed if you want to grind for plunger, stove top etc. I have found this handy when I have stuffed up a roast (a bit too dark) and have ground the oopsy for my partner to take to work for the plunger they use at work.

                I also use the plunger when we have a lot of people over to visit and I cannot be bothered firing up the machine.

                If you decide on the Classic/MDF combo and are willing to wait until the new year for your grinder, you can use a turkish hand grinder for the few weeks it will take to get here. I have found having a good hand grinder around is always useful.

                The other alternative is to buy preground coffee from a good roaster every week (see some of the site sponsors) and, even though it is not ideal, it is better than the supermarket stuff.


                • #9
                  Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

                  I have a Lelit combi that i bought from a company in melbourne a few months ago. It has the lux grinder (same as iberital) built in and also has the brass boiler and 3 way solenoid as well. It cost me about $770, and ontop of that i ordered a pullman tamper (as the factory one is useless) and i am making coffees at home that are better than a lot of cafe ones i buy at work. Its a good looking machine that is well built and does an excellent job. The best value i could find anywhere near my budget. Also, having the grinder built in saves bench space and makes it neater as well. Some argue a combo unit isnt ideal, but i have found nothing to complain about with the lelit. I strongly recommend you to consider one.


                  • #10
                    Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

                    Id second WDIs comments; I had the earlier version of this machine for four years and was very happy with it. Definitely worth a look. has my experiences. Google LeLit combi and see what you find as far as distributors...



                    • #11
                      Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

                      Thanks to everyone for your help

                      I landed up getting a Silvia and a Rocky from Chris at Talk Coffee, who was extremely helpful - right down to fixing me up with the equipment while he was shut post Xmas

                      It has been a steep learning curve, but in only a few days there are already little bits of magic consistently appearing out of the spout

                      Thanks again.


                      • #12
                        Re:  Machine+Grinder for $800-1000; suggestio

                        Good choice Kerryn, I got my Silvia in July and have had wonderful coffee since then.
                        Once you sort out the grind, tamp and brew temp you are on your way to coffee nirvana!!!!