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First machine - recommendations?

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  • First machine - recommendations?

    Im just a newbie, though Ive been reading around a bit trying to work out what to do!!
    I know this has been discussed a bit lately, but a quick question - I am looking for a machine, as I am sick of drinking crap coffee or a stale brew, but dont have a machine at home. Was given a department store brand as a wedding gift but it died very quickly - a cheapie (and bad coffee).
    Am I best off buying a good grinder and using my plunger til I can afford a Silvia or equivalent, or should I buy a grinder and a cheaper machine first?
    Thanks heaps, sorry to bother you!!

  • #2
    Re: First machine - recommendations?

    Welcome starcaits,

    I think you will find that most here would recommend the best grinder you can possibly afford. I have just purchased one which retails for nearly $2000 :-[.

    Give the grinder some great, really fresh beans (try CS brown ) and you will never look back.

    Also, keep your eye on the hardware for sale section- bargains do come up...

    Enjoy the ride...



    • #3
      Re: First machine - recommendations?

      Welcome aboard starcaits!

      Well done for asking these questions FIRST! Its not very pleasant having to nicely tell someone they just wasted $300-$500 on an unsuitable machine!

      To answer your question, wed generally recommend getting a good grinder upfront that will see you through a machine or two. If good coffee is your aim (and I take it from your presence on this forum thats the case! ) then the grinder is fundamentally important. The more you can spend on that (within reason) the better as youre buying consistency which is the biggest factor to control. Certain machines up to about $1000 fit well into a home market, but if youre on a budget then aim to spend at least $300-$400 on your grinder and line up something like an Iberital Challenge, Ascaso or Rancilio Rocky (check the Info on Grinders area for more details and suggestions on whats available). Then if you dont have spare funds, use your plunger and enjoy plunger coffee unlike youve ever tasted before, and once youve got the funds for an espresso machine youll have a grinder thats up to it, rather than having to sell off your $100 grinder for $5 and start again.

      The plunger + good grinder will also be a good opportunity to try out different bean varieties and start trying to identify the different flavours without the extra variables of espresso, so when you do move into espresso youll be able to see what different flavours are extracted by the espresso process.

      Welcome again and good luck!


      • #4
        Re: First machine - recommendations?

        Thanks heaps to both of you for your thoughts and welcome!!
        2mcm - Yeah I am getting the theme of the better the grinder, the better the end result . Will be keeping my eye on the sale section - thanks for the heads up!! Its all a bit overwhelming being so new to all this, but I really do love a great cup of coffee so I think it will all be worth it in the end!

        Greg - i think that getting the grinder first then saving for a good midrange machine is probably the better idea too, so I can play with working out bean varieties and things before working out machines! From what Ive read Im pretty keen not to just buy a cheap machine then have to replace it in a short period of time, so I suspect this might be a better way to do it.

        Thanks again!


        • #5
          Re: First machine - recommendations?

          welcome star! coming from a person who has been thru 2-3 machines under $550 , and now on my 3rd machine right on $600... looking back i would never go a cheap machine to start with. i would start @ a $600+ machine. But as said above the grinder should be priority. and looking back at the 1 grinder i have been thru (on second now), i would go straight to a $650~ grinder also. i think budget a beginnier package @ $1500 total solution (machine, grinder, tamp etc) and youll be happy for years.