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  • Help... Budget=$1500

    Fairly new to CS, looking at buying a brand new baby! The mrs has givin me a limit of 1500 but would prefer to try for the 1000 mark.

    A lot of ppl And places a hav been hav recommended the Silvia or the lelit combi. I currently also own a sunbeam Em0480 grinder.

    Any oppinions?

  • #2
    Re: Help... Budget=$1500

    Hello there, welcome to CS. Youll find lots of friendly and helpful coffee-lovers here (provided you dont ever talk about instant)

    Basically you have lots of options for your price range:

    1. Get a better (even secondhand) grinder, sell the Sunbeam (they sell quite well on CS) - could cost you anything from $300 upwards - how long is a piece of string...

    2. Keep your Sunbeam and just get a Silvia - cost about $800+

    3. Sell your grinder and get a Lelit - cost about $900 all up.

    I love my Silvia and Rocky - its great for beginners venturing into the world of coffeesnobbery.

    Bear in mind that you have to factor in extras when budgeting - milk jug, tamper (cos whatever machine you buy will come with a crappy plastic tamper, tamping mat, cleaner to keep your machine in shape, and so on. A decent tamper will be your most expensive, non-machine purchase.

    Also factor in the 5kg or so of beans youre going to waste practicising :P

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Help... Budget=$1500

      Welcome to Coffee Snobs azza.

      Spend the 1500.

      If you dont now you will later, so better to have fewer regrets and waste less money in the long run.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Help... Budget=$1500

        Gotta lean towards the Silvia, as I also have one. Ive got a Mazzer too which is really nice, and you can probably get both for $1500 (or close enough). Its a really nice combo and will last for ages. However, you will no doubt want to get other stuff such as a nice tamper (pullman for me) and a naked portafilter (thanks jetblack espresso), and a jug and a brush and some bodum glasses and....

        you get the idea. If you want to cover everything, for that budget you might want to sell your grinder and get a silvia/rocky combo for about $1200, and Im sure youll be able to get the other stuff youd want with the leftovers.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Help... Budget=$1500

          Id suggest look for a pre-loved Vibiemme Domobar Piccolo or similar and spend as much as you can on a grinder- perhaps do up an ex. cafe one? A number of VBM machines have been sold here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?board=Sale

          The e-61 single boiler machines are brilliant when calibrated. Spend up!

          2mcm

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Help... Budget=$1500

            Ill drink to that.
            Do whatever it takes to get an e-61 machine and good grinder on the bench. Thats what you will end up doing eventually anyway.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Help... Budget=$1500

              Im actually in the same boat as the thread starter.

              Well, i actually dont have a decent grinder at all, so i need to factor buying one of those in as well.

              At the moment ive got a very basic and entry level Breville machine that retails for about $450 (dont stone me, lads, please) but were looking to upgrade.

              Ive probably got about $1500 to spend (although i could stretch it to $2k) if necessary) on the machine and a grinder.

              I assume the big name fully automatic machines are a no go zone? Their ease of use is appealing but theres obviously a reason most here tend to use semi-auto machines.

              My coffee knowledge is improving daily (ive even managed to get a good latte out of my current machine) but im still not at a level yet to have a wildly intricate machine.

              Any suggestions (both for machines/accessories and retailers) would be greatly appreciated.
              Im in Melbourne, BTW.

              Thanks lads

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                make and offer and buy this........
                http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1260751275

                not quite e61 but pretty good



                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                  Ok so an update to this thread....

                  Today I went for a look at jetblack espresso to check out the Silvia. Anyway an hour later I walked out with a brand new toy, blind filter, cleaner and a brush.
                  Well done to the young girl working she knew her stuff and was really helpful.
                  So I bring it home and fire it up, hoping to use some beans that I brought home from costa rica 2 weeks ago and found that even on the finest grind settings it was blondeing and coming out a hundred mile an hour. After playing with dose and jamming the porta filter as much as I could, I decided to try the beans that the girl at the shop threw in to practice on.
                  I tried at the finest setting only to discover I was choking miss Silvia. Thats wen I got excited! Anyway long story short I managed to get a relatively steady poor on these beans at around 5 to 6 on my 0480 grinder.

                  Just wondering if any1 has the same combo is this roughly wat u use?

                  All round fairly good purchase. Machine seems to b running fine and with time I m hoping to get better.
                  In the mean time I m happy with the coffee Im making and will surely improve with time. Thanks for the help.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                    Originally posted by 352E2E35666D6462540 link=1261984032/8#8 date=1263183088
                    Ok so an update to this thread....

                    Today I went for a look at jetblack espresso to check out the Silvia. Anyway an hour later I walked out with a brand new toy, blind filter, cleaner and a brush.
                    Well done to the young girl working she knew her stuff and was really helpful.
                    So I bring it home and fire it up, hoping to use some beans that I brought home from costa rica 2 weeks ago and found that even on the finest grind settings it was blondeing and coming out a hundred mile an hour. After playing with dose and jamming the porta filter as much as I could, I decided to try the beans that the girl at the shop threw in to practice on.
                    I tried at the finest setting only to discover I was choking miss Silvia. Thats wen I got excited! Anyway long story short I managed to get a relatively steady poor on these beans at around 5 to 6 on my 0480 grinder.

                    Just wondering if any1 has the same combo is this roughly wat u use?

                    All round fairly good purchase. Machine seems to b running fine and with time I m hoping to get better.
                    In the mean time I m happy with the coffee Im making and will surely improve with time. Thanks for the help.
                    Welcome and great to see you got good attention from a sponsor...

                    As to the bit above... While we dont support Supermarket beans or those bought from many general franchises(GJ / StarBucks/ etc etc) ..

                    I can say this...

                    Green beans have a life out to about 3 Years

                    Roasted beans have a life out to about 3 Weeks ( some issues as to storage etc etc)

                    Ground beans have a life out to about 30 Sec

                    What you saw and experienced was STALE crappy beans...


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                      Originally posted by 424242080 link=1261984032/6#6 date=1263106363
                      Im actually in the same boat as the thread starter.

                      Well, i actually dont have a decent grinder at all, so i need to factor buying one of those in as well.

                      At the moment ive got a very basic and entry level Breville machine that retails for about $450 (dont stone me, lads, please) but were looking to upgrade.

                      Ive probably got about $1500 to spend (although i could stretch it to $2k) if necessary) on the machine and a grinder.

                      I assume the big name fully automatic machines are a no go zone? Their ease of use is appealing but theres obviously a reason most here tend to use semi-auto machines.

                      My coffee knowledge is improving daily (ive even managed to get a good latte out of my current machine) but im still not at a level yet to have a wildly intricate machine.

                      Any suggestions (both for machines/accessories and retailers) would be greatly appreciated.
                      Im in Melbourne, BTW.

                      Thanks lads
                      Tell us more about your coffee drinking habits so you can the best advice e.g. how many coffees per day, what types of coffees, do you entertain a lot, etc.

                      Expensive machines are not necessarily more intricate than what you already have, if anything, they can be easier to use. Any machine takes practice to get the most out of it.

                      I’d suggest you are yet to get the best out of your current machine. If you don’t have a grinder then I can only assume you are using pre-ground coffee. Buying yourself a decent grinder, using freshly roasted beans that are ground just before use is going to make the biggest difference to the end result.

                      Buy yourself as good a grinder as you can afford. At a minimum the Rancilio Rocky which you can get for ~$450. Get yourself an unpressurised double basket and a good tamper to fit. You will vastly improve the quality of your coffee with these purchases.

                      The biggest limiting factor with your machine (and pretty much any non-HX machine) is that it will be slow making more than 2 milk coffees at a time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                        Yeah I gathered that was the go wen I was getting ordinary pours.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                          Originally posted by 3C303934343D510 link=1261984032/7#7 date=1263109049
                          make and offer and buy this........
                          http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1260751275
                          Have noticed this one is up for grabs on evil bay now.
                          A shame a CS member hasnt picked it up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                            Originally posted by 2F2E2437292C36450 link=1261984032/10#10 date=1263185169
                            Tell us more about your coffee drinking habits so you can the best advice e.g. how many coffees per day, what types of coffees, do you entertain a lot, etc.
                            At this stage my coffee habits are basically limited to making lattes and the odd affogato.
                            Generally im making two or three coffees a day, sometimes stretching to 5-6 on the weekend.
                            If i were able to produce a better quality coffee i guess you could double those outputs (at least on the weekdays).

                            I do what to broaden my horizons in terms of what drinks i make but my current machine pretty much limits what i can do so i stick to lattes.

                            Originally posted by 2F2E2437292C36450 link=1261984032/10#10 date=1263185169
                            Expensive machines are not necessarily more intricate than what you already have, if anything, they can be easier to use.  Any machine takes practice to get the most out of it.
                            Ive certainly noticed that with my current, very basic machine.
                            Ive finally reached the point where i can get a decent latte out of it, but thats it limit, i want to make a good latte and then be able to make good quality variations.

                            Originally posted by 2F2E2437292C36450 link=1261984032/10#10 date=1263185169
                            I’d suggest you are yet to get the best out of your current machine.  If you don’t have a grinder then I can only assume you are using pre-ground coffee.  Buying yourself a decent grinder, using freshly roasted beans that are ground just before use is going to make the biggest difference to the end result.  
                            I have a grinder, but its just a basic, $50 off the shelf one.
                            I am using decent quality beans and grinding them as needed however i cant get past the limitations of my machine (which is just an entry level, basic off the shelf $450 job) and create anything more than a decent latte.

                            Originally posted by 2F2E2437292C36450 link=1261984032/10#10 date=1263185169
                            Buy yourself as good a grinder as you can afford.  At a minimum the Rancilio Rocky which you can get for ~$450.  Get yourself an unpressurised double basket and a good tamper to fit.  You will vastly improve the quality of your coffee with these purchases.  
                            Thanks for the advice.
                            At this stage im still using the basic single and double baskets that came with the machine, along with the plastic tamper.
                            I do plan on upgrading those (well, i didnt realise id need to upgrade the baskets) but thought id be best to get a good quality machine first (along with a grinder), then work on all the tools that go with it.

                            Im willing to stretch to $2k for both a machine and a grinder, just dont know where to start (or even what order i should be buying things).
                            The Rocky looks like a good value and effective grinder, but depending on the cost of the espresso machine i buy, i may be able to stretch the budget and buy an even better grinder.

                            Originally posted by 2F2E2437292C36450 link=1261984032/10#10 date=1263185169
                            The biggest limiting factor with your machine (and pretty much any non-HX machine) is that it will be slow making more than 2 milk coffees at a time.
                            Excuse my gross ignorance, but what does HX actually mean?
                            Ive seen it mentioned quite a lot around here but ive not seen it explained.
                            What sort of quality improvements will i see going from a basic, $450 system to a more advanced, $1000-1500 unit? I understand itll take time to both understand the machine and develop my knowledge to an acceptable level, but im really hoping to not only be able to make better coffee, but more of it, and more varieties.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Help... Budget=$1500

                              A few points that come to mind:

                              1. Do a google search for pressurised versus unpressurised coffee baskets.  Youll then understand the importance of them.

                              2. The grinder you own is most likely a bean chopper.  I assume it has blades that results in a huge variation in particle size.  A quality burr grinder will give you a consistent particle size. If particle size is uneven, coffee will extract from particles at different rates, resulting in poor coffee.  I only ever use my chopper for spices when making a curry.

                              3.  It sounds like you have the potential to become a coffee snob like everyone else on here.  I personally think you could get much better quality coffee with the machine you already have given a good grinder, tamper and unpressurised basket.  Buy these, use them to make better coffee than you are now, then when you feel youre ready you can upgrade the machine.  By then you will want something really good and it will save you time/money upgrading twice.

                              HX stands for Heat Exchanger.  I wont try to explain the engineering behind one, but essentially it allows you to brew & steam at the same time.

                              What you own is most likely an aluminium thermoblock machine, like most consumer/entry level coffee machines.  The Silvia is a dual purpose single boiler machine.  With both these types you can either brew or steam, but only one function at a time, with lag time in going from one to the other.

                              A HX machine allows you to brew & steam at the same time, gives you buckets of steam for making lots of milk-based coffees and greater temperature control.  HX machines generally start from $2K.  In short for around $2.5K or a little more than your budget is now, you could get straight into this league.  

                              Many (most) people go from a sunbeam/breville to a single boiler like a Silvia and eventually to a HX machine.  You may want to consider bypassing the middle step.

                              Otherwise, I would recommend getting the Silvia/Rocky combo for around $1300.  Good resale value if you want to upgrade to a HX later.  

                              Comment

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