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Newbie needs advice for husband's xmas present (be gentle)! $400 - $800?

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  • Newbie needs advice for husband's xmas present (be gentle)! $400 - $800?

    Hey everyone,
    Apologies in advance if this is the wrong place to post this....

    I like coffee but know next to nothing about making it but am looking for some advice about what kind of machine to get my husband for xmas.

    At first I was looking at the Breville Dual Boiler, but I am wondering if there's anything less ($$$) than that that would also be recommended by any of you? (after a bit of thought, maybe the DB is too much to spend anyway).

    We have a Breville Milk Cafe (which he loves) and a Breville Smart Grinder (which he ALSO loves) and since he's kind of now fallen in love with Breville, I was looking at getting him the Infuser, but the reviews seem patchy, even though it seems to be new-ish? I am really getting myself confused with looking at review sites, so I thought I'd just ask here - upfront. I see no point in going for the Barista Experience because he already has a very good grinder. I'm not 100% set on Breville or anything, but he's really pleased with what we have purchased so far and if anyone is anal about using the same brands, it's probably him


    At the moment he's using a stovetop coffee maker, but it's time consuming and keeps getting blocked (and he's had it for way too long anyway). If it's of any help, he makes espressos and lattes.

    I haven't (really) even begun to look at other brands, simply due to confusion on my part.

    So, in a nutshell, looking to spend $400-800 (would consider going a little over) and grinder isn't all that important.
    He's way more of a coffee snob than I am (but knows nothing about machines as yet).

    Any advice is absolutely appreciated.

    EDIT:
    I did search and browse the other posts on here before posting, but as I said.... got myself more confused! Haha. So if you mention a machine please don't abbreviate it's name because I may have no clue what youre talking about!

  • #2
    Smack bang in the middle of the scale, You really have a number of choices here, There's machines like the Breville Infuser, The Sunbeam EM6910/EM7000, the Rancilio Silvia, and a couple of other models, Any one of those will suit most people, it all depends on your budget, The look you want to maintain in the kitchen, and how much of a learning curve you wish to undertake

    For matching with the rest of your equipment, the Breville Infuser does match the top of the heap, but if the price is a little steep/you're worried about the reviews, You could go for the older model (the BES820) or the lower-range BES800. Both of which are solid and reliable machines (if you can find the BES820, it'd be reasonably cheaper, as it would be on the last legs of run-out) though they do miss out on the Infuser's temperature controller and thermocoil style heating element, which when it comes down to the line, is not really that big a deal for most folks

    the EM6910 is pretty much a rock solid unit, Though it's another one at the end of it's life-span, I'd say that you can get a good deal on one, The EM7000 Replaces it, and is just as good, While they're not Breville, this does not mean that they're terrible machines, in fact, quite the opposite, Sunbeam are just as good as the Breville Models

    The silvia is the stand-alone here, It's a commercial style system, Shrunk down to fit in the home. it has it's foibles, like any machine, but it's solid and well built, There's still first generation silvias around going strong from way back in the mid 90s. Of course, This does have the drawback that it does look like it come from the eighties/nineties, not nearly as stylish as some of it's competitors, but well, People buy these not because they're Good looking, but because they're Good Machines

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LaughingAtFate View Post
      Smack bang in the middle of the scale, You really have a number of choices here, There's machines like the Breville Infuser, The Sunbeam EM6910/EM7000, the Rancilio Silvia, and a couple of other models, Any one of those will suit most people, it all depends on your budget, The look you want to maintain in the kitchen, and how much of a learning curve you wish to undertake

      For matching with the rest of your equipment, the Breville Infuser does match the top of the heap, but if the price is a little steep/you're worried about the reviews, You could go for the older model (the BES820) or the lower-range BES800. Both of which are solid and reliable machines (if you can find the BES820, it'd be reasonably cheaper, as it would be on the last legs of run-out) though they do miss out on the Infuser's temperature controller and thermocoil style heating element, which when it comes down to the line, is not really that big a deal for most folks

      the EM6910 is pretty much a rock solid unit, Though it's another one at the end of it's life-span, I'd say that you can get a good deal on one, The EM7000 Replaces it, and is just as good, While they're not Breville, this does not mean that they're terrible machines, in fact, quite the opposite, Sunbeam are just as good as the Breville Models

      The silvia is the stand-alone here, It's a commercial style system, Shrunk down to fit in the home. it has it's foibles, like any machine, but it's solid and well built, There's still first generation silvias around going strong from way back in the mid 90s. Of course, This does have the drawback that it does look like it come from the eighties/nineties, not nearly as stylish as some of it's competitors, but well, People buy these not because they're Good looking, but because they're Good Machines


      Thank you so much LaughingAtFate, that's absolutely excellent advice and I appreciate the feedback and tips.
      I honestly didn't even know there WERE older models, so I appreciate that advice too, I'll have a look around and see what I can find.

      RE: the Rancilio Silvia - is it the 2010 v3 one you're talking about? (I just did a quick google search).
      I am keen to get something good, and this certainly has my interest as well.

      Thanks again

      Comment


      • #4
        Howdy, another newbie with a similar question to emilybee, although I'm not purchasing for my husband.

        Ive had a succession of Saeco automatic machines but I think I want to go manual.
        Budget around $1000. I have a grinder somewhere probably win the ice cream maker, pop corn machine, electric knife sharpener, rice cooker and waffle maker.

        My question would relate more to retailers. Where is the best place to go in Melbourne to look at machines?

        Thanks

        Spectre

        Apolgoes emilybee if I've high jacked your thread.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by emilybee123 View Post
          We have a Breville Milk Cafe (which he loves) and a Breville Smart Grinder (which he ALSO loves) and since he's kind of now fallen in love with Breville, I was looking at getting him the Infuser, but the reviews seem patchy, even though it seems to be new-ish?
          The online reviews of the BES840 "Infuser" need to be taken with a grain of salt. Some of the ones I have seen seem to be from people who haven't learnt to use the machine correctly or to its fullest potential. The other main comment people make is to do with the auto-purge after steaming. Some complain about this function when they want to steam more than one jug in succession. I'm sure you could work around this easily and for all the other good features it offers shouldn't be enough to dismiss this machine. As you already have a Smart Grinder, the 2 would pair up really well. Learn to use the unpressurised baskets that also come with the Breville Infuser as well as fresh roasted beans and for the price, I think its really good value.

          They currently are available from reputable retailers at around $430. It would be a good idea to get an extended warranty as well just for peace of mind.

          If you regularly need to make more than 2 coffees at a time then something like the Sunbeam EM6910 with twin thermoblocks at under $600 or its replacement the EM7000 at a bit over $800 might suit.

          If you want to look at Single boiler machines then the Rancilio Silvia V3 at around $700 new plus the cost of a decent tamper. I wouldn't recommend 2nd hand as there seems to be a common issue of people having damaged heating elements by not priming the boilers every time the machine is switched on as a safeguard. If the boiler isn't filled/primed before steaming and then totally emptied while steaming damage to the heating element can occurr. This doesn't happen with the themoblock/thermocoil machines like the Breville Infuser or the Sunbeam machines. They constantly pump water through when they are steaming as long as there is water in the reservoir.

          All depends what you need and want. Learning to use any of these machines correctly will produce very good coffee. The thing with boiler machines like the Rancilio Silvia is you need to always make sure the boiler is full when you turn it on and that you don't totally empty the boiler when steaming and then leave the steam switch on. To get someone to replace a burnt out element in a Silvia can be between $230-$300.

          Forgot to mention earlier that which ever machine you buy be sure it gets a regular descale with something like Triple Action descaler.
          Last edited by CafeLotta; 4 December 2012, 07:47 PM.

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          • #6
            Hey emilybee, please let me know what you end up buying and where. My problem with DJs, Myer etc is the quality of advice (if you can find any staff) can be a bit hit and miss.

            Comment


            • #7
              As a recent Silvia buyer, I highly recommend them. Once you have your temp surfing proceedure down pat (not hard), its a great machine. Yeah, not gonna be as good as a dual boiler if you have to make more than 2 cups, but for a normal home use it is fantastic!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CafeLotta View Post
                The online reviews of the BES840 "Infuser" need to be taken with a grain of salt. Some of the ones I have seen seem to be from people who haven't learnt to use the machine correctly or to its fullest potential. The other main comment people make is to do with the auto-purge after steaming. Some complain about this function when they want to steam more than one jug in succession. I'm sure you could work around this easily and for all the other good features it offers shouldn't be enough to dismiss this machine. As you already have a Smart Grinder, the 2 would pair up really well. Learn to use the unpressurised baskets that also come with the Breville Infuser as well as fresh roasted beans and for the price, I think its really good value.
                YES! I definitely think more than a few grains of salt are required as some of the reviewers for the Infuser don't seem to know what they are doing at all.
                I looked at reviews on Amazon (slightly different serial #, but I am assuming that may be because of the Aus/US market. Amazon reviews are good ones)

                Most definitely would get an extended warranty too (usually would never, but figure this is probably good in this situation due to issues that may arise).

                Found it for $430+$49 (2 yr replacement warranty) from Applicances Direct Online (sorry, don't know if I can say shops names?).
                They have it for $438 in the red and black versions too.

                Have dealt with those guys twice before and service was outstanding! Price also excellent.

                Would consider getting from local retailer but would call first and quote them the online price+warranty (which I highly doubt they could match)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SPECTRE View Post
                  Hey emilybee, please let me know what you end up buying and where. My problem with DJs, Myer etc is the quality of advice (if you can find any staff) can be a bit hit and miss.
                  Yes, will probably buy this week but will let you know

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by emilybee123 View Post
                    I looked at reviews on Amazon (slightly different serial #, but I am assuming that may be because of the Aus/US market. Amazon reviews are good ones)
                    Don't know if you've seen this review on YouTube but seems to be pretty detailed - Crew Review: Breville BES840XL - YouTube

                    ....and a link to the Instruction Booklet in case you want to see it beforehand -

                    http://www.breville.com.au/media/med..._FA_LOWRES.pdf

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi emilybee123,

                      One thing I have noticed over the years is this; the longer the thread about a particular machine, the more issues, questions and difficulties
                      people have in using and getting the best out of the machine in question. It also, of course, reflects the popularity of some machines,
                      but if users didn't have issues then posts on forums would be about waxing lyrically of their virtues. Machines that give solid, reliable performance usually don't have long threads.
                      I have never owned a conservatively priced machine, so I won't pretend I'm qualified to give an opinion on any of them.

                      The advice I would offer is, don't make a purchase until you can make an informed choice and I would agree that reading endless reviews only becomes more confusing, as you are dealing with a whole lot of human variables; opinion, bias, defensiveness and the like. Most site sponsors can't compete with the chain and discount stores on the cheaper box branded equipment but if you talk to one or two of them via email or phone, you might be surprised at what you discover.

                      When you are in a groove with your daily coffee, having to send a machine away to an online retailer's service dept may take longer than you are happy with. I could only recommend buying a machine from someone who can back it up with informed advice and prompt, local service.

                      You haven't exhausted all of your options either and a chat to a sponsor could be revealing.

                      One thing is for certain, after sales support with coffee equipment is paramount.
                      I would recommend a chat with Chris @ Talk Coffee as your first port of call, whether you are in Melbourne or not.

                      Cheers.
                      Last edited by chokkidog; 9 December 2012, 12:26 PM.

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                      • #12
                        PM sent. Check messages emilybee123.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hello everyone, nothing worse than a question asked online and then that person disappearing into thin air and no-one knowing what happened

                          I had a baby a few weeks ago which put me out of action for a while but wanted to update you that I bought my husband the Breville Infuser (in the black sesame colour, sexy!) and it's fantastic! We have only been using it for a week or so, but my husband is so happy and is making some seriously good coffees. I will post a proper update soon once we've been using it for a bit longer but so far.... We are more than impressed!

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