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  • Best machine under $1200

    Hi everyone, although this is my first post, i have been spending a large amount of time on here over the last 2 weeks reading threads, reviews, etc. trying to understand what machine i should buy.

    I'm in the process of deciding what machine i should purchase for my wife's birthday.

    For the last 5 years she has been using the nespresso pod system, although she also has an aeropress for travel/camping.

    The machine would be capable of making 3-5 coffees per day (which shouldn't be as issue in this price bracket) although may need to make more when people are over.

    The machine would also need to be VERY user friendly as she isn't the best when it comes to following strict procedures.

    My budget is roughly $1000 +- $300 if critical.

    Research would suggest that i should be looking in the direction of a Lelit PL042TEMD for an "all-in-one" solution or a Lelit PL041TEMD which im assuming is roughly the same unit as the PL042 without the grinder?

    As its a present, i dont really want to purchase anything 2nd hand as someone is selling a ISOMAC Zaffiro Duo a what seams to be a good price.

    Is it worth stretching my budget to a new ISOMAC Zaffiro Duo (i think roughly $1500) or will this be overkill for my initial requirements/skill set?

    I know there is bound to be a comment regarding a quality grinder, but i have access to local fresh ground coffee so I can add a quality grinder at any stage down the track as this upgrade will far exceed her current quality.

    Have i missed any machines? Are there any machines in this price bracket that are more user-friendly?

    Any help or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Welcome to CS jymorgan!

    Originally posted by jymorgan View Post
    I know there is bound to be a comment regarding a quality grinder, but i have access to local fresh ground coffee so I can add a quality grinder at any stage down the track as this upgrade will far exceed her current quality.
    No, you can't add a grinder later. No matter how great the quality of the beans and roast are you will have bad if not downright horrible coffee if the coffee is ground where you buy it. For espresso the coffee beans must be fresh ground at home right before being brewed. The setting on the grinder will need to be changed as the beans age. Depending on the environment and the beans this may have to be done as often as several times a day. There is no way you can get a consistently good, let alone great, cup of espresso using beans that were ground at the point of purchase. This is the physical reality and ignoring it will leave you frustrated and deeply disappointed with any machine you buy.

    No matter how good an espresso machine you have if you do not have quality beans being freshly ground just prior to being brewed using a grinder that is capable of doing a good espresso grind you won't get good espresso. Period.


    Java "Don't ignore the grinder!" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jymorgan View Post
      Have i missed any machines? Are there any machines in this price bracket that are more user-friendly?
      Have you considered the Breville Dual Boiler? When on sale at Good Guys or Harvey Norman, I think you can get the DB and smart grinder bundle for around $1.3k.

      As Javaphile said, if you're after a quality coffee at home, there is no way to achieve that when buying pre-ground coffee. In general, coffee in whole bean state kept well in the bag they usually come in (with one way valve) will stay relatively fresh for about a month. Once ground, you've exponentially increased the surface area exposed to the elements, and you should be able to start tasting the difference from about 120 seconds after it is ground.

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      • #4
        What type of coffee do you and your wife drink? A non hx single boiler may frustrate you if you only drink flat whites or lattes.

        Agree with needing a grinder or you are wasting your time and money on making good coffee

        Comment


        • #5
          Gday jyMorgan

          Great to hear you are looking to move away from pods, there is something greatly satisfying about a good espresso shot.

          Like others have said the grinder cannot be ignored it is essential in the purchase. I have used the lelit machines and they are great! My advice is look at the buying guides and contact the site sponsors [emoji106]

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Javaphile View Post
            Welcome to CS jymorgan!



            No, you can't add a grinder later. No matter how great the quality of the beans and roast are you will have bad if not downright horrible coffee if the coffee is ground where you buy it. For espresso the coffee beans must be fresh ground at home right before being brewed. The setting on the grinder will need to be changed as the beans age. Depending on the environment and the beans this may have to be done as often as several times a day. There is no way you can get a consistently good, let alone great, cup of espresso using beans that were ground at the point of purchase. This is the physical reality and ignoring it will leave you frustrated and deeply disappointed with any machine you buy.

            No matter how good an espresso machine you have if you do not have quality beans being freshly ground just prior to being brewed using a grinder that is capable of doing a good espresso grind you won't get good espresso. Period.


            Java "Don't ignore the grinder!" phile

            Are you suggesting that all pre-ground coffee for espresso is garbage?

            Comment


            • #7
              There's a barely used Lelit Dual boiler on the site for sale. I know you want new, but this may be worth a look.

              http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...al-boiler.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vinitasse View Post
                Are you suggesting that all pre-ground coffee for espresso is garbage?
                What was unclear in my statement?


                Java "Clear as a bell" phile
                Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Any suggestions regarding my "ease of use" question?
                  Are any of the machines I mentioned easier to use for a novice than others?
                  Im assuming a more expensive machine doesn't always mean easier to use?
                  I want to purchase something that will produce good results but will still be fairly easy to her to use - will a PID model assist with this?
                  Last edited by jymorgan; 19 August 2016, 07:15 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jymorgan View Post
                    Any suggestions regarding my "ease of use" question?
                    Are any of the machines I mentioned easier to use for a novice than others?
                    Im assuming a more expensive machine doesn't always mean easier to use?
                    I want to purchase something that will produce good results but will still be fairly easy to her to use - will a PID model assist with this?
                    Unless you specifically want a European machine or don't like the look of Breville stuff I'd seriously consider the Breville BES920 & Smart Grinder package. The downside is that it probably won't last 10 years with your level of daily use, which I'd call moderate. But it has the ability to set a whole heap of variables to your tastes such as preinfusion time and brew temp, but it's also easy to use in that once you have your settings dialed in your wife will be able to just push the double shot button on the grinder and the corresponding button on the machine for a double shot espresso.

                    If polished stainless, Italian made and decades of use are more important I'd put the Lelit at the top of the list. It's also fairly user friendly, just in a different sort of way.

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                    • #11
                      The Breville package is currently on sale at The Good Guys for $1299 and Bing Lee for $1399. Harvey Norman is $1699 but I'm sure they'd price match if they're easier to get to for you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jymorgan View Post
                        Any suggestions regarding my "ease of use" question?
                        Are any of the machines I mentioned easier to use for a novice than others?
                        Im assuming a more expensive machine doesn't always mean easier to use?
                        I want to purchase something that will produce good results but will still be fairly easy to her to use - will a PID model assist with this?
                        If by "ease of use" you mean pop, some coffee beans in the machine, push a button to make a coffee, you are talking about an automatic. You might be able to source one within your budget but
                        a) they tend not to make great coffee. With some machines, you can tweak the settings.
                        b) they tend to break down easily because of the greater number of moving parts.
                        c) the better quality auto machines cost $3K or more.

                        For espresso machines like the Lelt or Breville, your wife will have to learn how to dose, distribute and tamp the coffee then heat the milk properly. If that's not her, then she may be better sticking to the capsule machine. No, a PID will not make it easier. It just regulates the water temp of the boiler.
                        Can you take her to a shop that sells a range of equipment to get a demo and see if she would be keen to give espresso machines a try? Or would you be happy to become the home barista if your wife balks at the idea? You need to factor in a grinder with your purchase as pre-ground coffee loses it's freshness quickly.
                        Another option would be to buy the Behmor Brazen (~$250) plus a new grinder. That will be well within your budget, less fuss to use and can make up to a litre of coffee at a time. Don't skimp on the grinder. The Breville Smart grinder at a minimum.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by K_Bean_Coffee
                          Please don't buy a Breville . These are throw away appliances.
                          Buy a Lelit, Rancilio or Gaggia for quality, working life and re-sale value.
                          He wants ease of use though Paul. All the machines you mentioned are simple, but probably take a bit more attention and have a slightly bigger learning curve. While I agree with your sentiment it might not be the best option in this situation. And as much as the appliance brands are built to fail at a certain point there's plenty of people that have had 10 good years from their Sunbeam EM6910 machines.

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                          • #14
                            Sorry, "ease of use" doesn't mean automatic.

                            I understand that there will be a learning curve involved, i just thought some machines might be slightly more user friendly than others, which doesnt sound like it is the case.

                            Would the Lelit Combi suit my/her requirements as it has an included grinder. I understand the disadvantage if/when wanting to upgrade in the future, given that any future upgrade will require a purchase of a new grinder.

                            I'm assuming the combined model would save on counter space?

                            Or, am i better off buying a separate grinder and espresso machine from the start, given that the machine will have to be cheaper to accommodate the grinder?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Vinitasse View Post
                              Are you suggesting that all pre-ground coffee for espresso is garbage?
                              No. But unless you can use it shortly after being ground (some would say within minutes) it will quickly oxidise and lose flavour.

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