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Need you coffee guru's to give some opinions and ideas re purchase of coffee machine

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  • Need you coffee guru's to give some opinions and ideas re purchase of coffee machine

    Hello coffee guru's, go easy on me, I am new to this.

    I would like some opinions on the two models I have been thinking about purchasing and if there might be something of better quality you would recommend?

    I am looking at spending up to about $1300 au, the less the better

    I have been looking at the following,

    Breville Barista Touch Espresso Coffee Machine - Stainless Steel $1250,ish

    OR THE
    Breville The Dual Boiler Coffee Machine and the BCG820BSS Grinder $970 combined.

    We are milk based coffee drinkers, not sure if this makes any difference when purchasing a machine.

    I think the Dual boiler may be a better purchase, but like the smaller foot print of the Touch with grinder built in.

    Please give me your honest opinions and no problem if you are brutal in your advice, I haven't purchased yet,



  • #2
    There are a couple of links in BES920 owners topic suggesting Breville Dual Boiler and Breville Smart Grinder can be purchased for about $870-ish combined when purchased separately.

    Anyway, $711 for BES920 sounds like a good deal to me even if I consider BES920 is a bit unreliable.

    Smart Grinder... It might be Ok for the grinder under $200 but I am sure there are other options.

    I hope you are aware this is a proper machine and it requires proper beans.


    • #3
      Morning Bean84, welcome to Coffee Snobs.

      Cant help with advice re Breville machines, however, as Gerbi commented, quality fresh beans are a key component of good coffee, don't go down the supermarket path, the beans are invariably cheap and stale.

      A good starting point for purchase of roasted beans is right here on Coffee Snobs, have a look.


      • #4
        The Barista Touch Express is way overpriced to me. It is just a new version of the BES870 (which can be had for around $500 atm with EOFY deals) with a touch screen, for which you are paying a $500-$600 premium.

        The BES920 has a good following here and makes quality coffee when it is running nicely. The only downside is it a domestic appliance with a 5 year lifespan, the Breville stuff it is not uncommon to have failures within 5 years so having an extended warranty is almost essential on the BES920 as they are quite complex internally and not made from commercial components.

        The good thing about getting a separate grinder is having the option of upgrading the machine later and keeping the grinder. The BCG820 has much smaller grind increments allowing you to better dial in coffee beans than the built in grinder in the Barista Touch Express and BES870.

        If you think you might get into some serious coffee and want a machine that is going to last longer then for that money you could look at a Rancilio Silvia, Lelit P40 series and a quality entry level grinder like Compak K3, Macap M2D or Eureka Mignon). Another option is the Lelit Combi Anita which can be had around 1k and has a built in grinder but should last much longer than a Breville. They are all single boiler machines but would allow you to develop some more coffee skills than using a BES920.

        If you have a look online and checkout the Sponsors websites you can find some quality machines and packages for $1300 or cheaper.


        • #5
          Originally posted by BeanB4 View Post
          I would like some opinions on the two models I have been thinking about purchasing and if there might be something of better quality you would recommend?

          .............Please give me your honest opinions and no problem if you are brutal in your advice, I haven't purchased yet..
          Hi Greg. A difficult choice to make and a number of different ways to approach it. At the current EOFY special price of $711 for the BES920 Dual Boiler, (Sign-in on Evilbay to see price), it's hard to beat in your price range. Yes it doesn't have the durability of the Prosumer machines of twice the price but the functionality, especially with PID temp and pre-infusion control options, to me is far more valuable for a beginner. Being dual boiler you can Brew and Steam at the same time also. Also has 2 year warranty and a half decent tamper, unlike a lot of other machines.

          I'd equate it to buying a car then learning to drive. It's hard enough initially to balance grind adjustment, dosing, tamping and then brewing (using good quality fresh roasted beans of course) without having brew temp working against you if it isn't accurately controlled. This is where machines like the Rancilio Silvia lose out these days. Yeah you can learn to Temp Surf but why make things hard for yourself when starting out? Unless you understand the need to flush on some Hx (Heat Exchanger) machines to achieve correct brew temp, you might be fighting for temp accuracy and consistency as well.

          Use filtered water with the BES920 and a surge protector to protect electronics to get the best longevity out of it. The benefit of the accurate PID temp control (amongst a list of other features) at such a low price is it will likely make your early days in coffee easier and much more enjoyable in my opinion. I wish I had started out this way. Pair the BES920 with a good quality grinder in the $450-$550 range such as the Rancilio Rocky, Macap M2M or Compak K3 and you're well on your way. The quality of these grinders will see you through most machine upgrades if you choose to in future and have a good resale value too. If you're just trying the coffee thing out and not sure you'll be taking it further, then the BCG820BSS is bare minimum you'd want to go in terms of grind quality. I'd suggest going the better grinder though.

          I believe that not being able to easily control brew temp with accuracy and consistency on many machines is one of the main reasons people give up on brewing coffee at home. Those that persist have probably come to understand how to best control temp on their machines but I'm sure many others just give up. My opinion only but thinking back to the temp issues I've had in the past, it's the conclusion I've come to.

          Over the years we had a couple of Sunbeams, a Saeco Via Venezia, a Rancilio Silvia and now a VBM E61 Single Boiler. I would have been happy to get 5 years (or more) out of a Breville Dual Boiler first up before moving on to an E61 machine and doubt there would have been a huge difference in brew quality when I did.
          Last edited by CafeLotta; 13 June 2019, 07:38 PM. Reason: corrections


          • #6
            The Lelit 42TEMD (with PID) is around Breville Combi money so you could put that on your shortlist - fewer "features" but more metal .



            • #7
              Hi BeanB4, do you have any experience making coffee? What's your location? Is the water there hard or soft? Are you now likely to want to understand and control every detail or set and forget?


              • #8
                Think I may have muddied my waters a little with my question,

                gerbi: I was going to ask what you meant by "proper beans", I was wondering what other options there was? But I think Yelta may have cleared that up for me, who knew supermarket beans could be so different, (level3ninja, think some of your questions have just been answered, but I do like the sound of "cheap", haha).

                Yelta: Thanks for the heads up and link on quality beans, will look into this for sure.

                Roosterben: Thanks for the advice, will work my way through the machines you have recommended and do my homework. I have noticed the rather large following of the BES920 machine and wonder how bad it could be as a first machine? I get that it is an appliance and not a machine as one youtube video stated.

                CafeLotta: Some excellent information and advice there. Yes I had thought that if I get into brewing our own coffee at home, that when the cheap introductory machine finally dies, we can step up to a better machine with a little more understanding what we are doing and what meets our requirements. Get what your saying about the grinder, more homework for me.

                JetBlack_Espresso: Thanks for the link, had a quick look at the video at lunch today, will look into more and read some reviews. I know Italians are famous for making coffee machines and welders, but then there are Fiats and Ferrari's, so who knows what's good and what's not? Not me anyway!

                Thanks for all the great advice and links and I will do my homework and get my head (try) around it all.




                • #9
                  Hi level3ninja,

                  Yes have plenty of experience making coffee every morning, but opening a jar of Moccona or dropping a pod into the machine is not quite what you meant I know. So a big NO, I don't have any experience in making proper coffee. It interests me to read here all the subtle little adjustments to bean grinds and water temps and pressures and bean types, etc and how the final results can be so different. I realise I have much to learn and here I am!
                  Located in the Perth hills, our water comes from the Mundaring to Kalgoorlie pipeline, though we do have a rain water tank complete with roof dusk and washed down bird droppings. I guess from my experience of tap water in Gippsland, I would have to say our water is on the harder side, but nothing as bad as somewhere like Port Hedland hard, so maybe a 6 out of ten for hardness with 10 being hard.
                  I would prefer to understand the process, not sure if this requires controlling every detail, but I do like to know how things work and what the end result is if I change this or that. My character is a perfectionist (annoys many, but it works for me!) and I am methodical in EVERYTHING I do (again annoys many, but works for me), but who wouldn't want set and forget at 7am on a Sunday morning? Want my cake and eat it to? haha.

                  Good luck answering all that.




                  • #10
                    Charlie of JetBlack Espresso won't steer you wrong and is a longtime stalwart and supporter of CoffeeSnobs and CSers...



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BeanB4 View Post
                      Yes have plenty of experience making coffee every morning, but opening a jar of Moccona or dropping a pod into the machine is not quite what you meant I know. So a big NO, I don't have any experience in making proper coffee.

                      Don't be afraid of complexity (sort of) of the process.
                      In reality it is not that complex. You realised by now there are multiple variables. But they just give you a lot of opportunities to experiment in your chase of perfection.
                      I believe this might be one of rare cases where if you switch from capsules to "proper" machine with a little bit of extra effort you might get much better result.

                      Long long time ago I started with a fully automatic coffee machine. The one where you don't even need a capsule - it had built-in grinder. It was just a single button press to get espresso shot. Milk steaming was still manual though.
                      Few years later I got BES900. The initial reaction of other family members was... difficult... They expected much more complex process.
                      Pretty quickly they realised the difference between "button press" and "button press - tamp - button press" is minimal. But result is noticeably better. So they stopped questioning my decision.
                      I had to do grinder tweaking (aka "dialing in"). But using grinder with a timer made it easy for everyone to use.
                      Also... Since I was doing all maintenance... Periodic cleaning for fully automatic espresso machine was a real pain - switching to BES900 was an improvement.


                      • #12
                        BeanB4: Didn't mean to say that the BES920 is not a good machine and as a first machine it is an extremely capable machine. My thinking was that a simpler more manual machine with more commercial components would last longer. My first machine was a $79 Breville, made quite decent coffee (and once I found some pressurized baskets for it) along with a second hand $30 Breville grinder off eBay for a few years.

                        Upon reflection as well if you buy a mid-range semi-manual machine (like the ones I mentioned above Rancilio Silvia etc) and get seriously into coffee you will probably want to upgrade to a HX (heat exchanger) or dual boiler machine in a few years anyway like a Rocket/Profitec/.

                        There are some rippa deals around on EvilBay at the moment the BES920 can be had for $632 and the BCG820 for $160 with the 20% off deals. If you outgrow these if 2-3 years then you can probably get most of your money back selling them used and then step up to something more serious.


                        • #13
                          Thanks roosterben,

                          Yes hard to go past the current deals on the BES920 and 820 grinder. I am thinking as a first machine if I get 5 years out of it I will be ok with that.

                          Then if I have become a true coffeesnob, I will invest in something like the Rocket in the future once I know what I am doing.

                          Thanks for the info, very valuable.