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  • Critque my equipment shortlist

    I’d like some feedback on the below options I am considering. I’ve done enough research to know that I need to stop!


    My requirements:

    • This is my first machine ( I can’t count the capsule machine), so something that is newbie friendly but will not disappoint as experience improves
    • Make cafe grade coffee! 2 coffees a day, almost always long blacks but I wouldn’t rule out the occasional need to steam milk
    • Decent quality equipment that can last up to 10 years without creating the urge upgrade too soon
    • Well supported and serviceable
    • And lastly, the grinder and machine won't be purchased at the same time, so the grinder must be able to grind for an aeropress



    All this with a budget of $2,000 (machine and seperate grinder, budget can push to $2,500 at a stretch.

    So, having read many posts on this forum, and understanding that the grinder is the most crucial component, what are your opinions on the below?

    1. Sette 270wi & Lelit PL41TEMD - ~$1,600
    2. Mahlkonig Vario & Lelit PL41TEMD - ~$1,700
    3. Sette 270wi & ECM Classika - ~$2700
    4. Mahlkonig Vario & ECM Classika - $3,000 


    I’m leaning towards option 2, (even though the ECM looks so nice), how much of a difference is there between a Lelit P14TEMD and ECM Classika, and is the additional $1,000 noticeable and justified?

  • #2
    Niche Zero
    Profitec Pro 500

    Budgets are made to be broken [emoji2957]


    If not, and it needs to be new: Lelit Victoria or NS Oscar (HX)

    Best option is 2nd hand, could get a decent grinder and HX machine for $2500...

    Comment


    • #3
      No need for a Hx if you're only steaming milk occasionally. rodeoclown what's your location? Seeing them in the flesh and having a play with them yourself is a good idea before laying out this much cash. Nothing wrong with second hand either.

      Comment


      • #4
        I’m Sydney based. I am planning to drop into one of the site sponsors very soon but wanted a personal short list before going in

        Comment


        • #5
          4. Mahlkonig Vario & ECM Classika - $3,000
          Or
          2. Mahlkonig Vario & Lelit PL41TEMD - ~$1,700

          Yes, the ECM Classica looks nice!

          Comment


          • #6
            Spend you money on a great grinder and see what’s left for the shiny box. I had a Nuova Simonelli Oscar 2, Rocket Mozzafiato R and a DiBartoli Lumina (ECM Mechenika) the more expensive machine as nicer to use and look nicer but aren’t twice as good.
            A great grinder will make sure your off the a good start of producing the maximum the beans can give you.
            hope that makes sense.
            If I had $2.5k to spend, Niche zero and second hand HX (I mainly make 1-4 milk based drinks ina go) with the $1.2-1.3k remaining

            if you like the Niche grinder there is one for sale
            https://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-ha...o-grinder.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Spend most of your money on a good machine so you will not want to upgrade it for quite a few years.
              Buy a second hand grinder, there are plenty about , with some great bargains to be had. You will upgrade your grinder in the future, and there will be plenty of new models out that are more efficient and user friendly than current ones. Trick is, you have to have quite a bit of experience under your belt to get your coffee making technique perfect. Once that happens you can work out the type of grinder that suits you.
              Some people prefer to single dose straight into the grinder, rather than having a hopper full of beans. There are many reasons for this ( I do this as I have 3-4 SO's to choose from at any time, and am constantly coming up with different blends and ratios) and each person develops their own work routine. Your technique will also change as your experience and confidence grows.
              Spending $1000 on a grinder at this stage of your journey is not recommended as you may end up hating it and selling it.
              Some people grind into the basket while others grind into a cup, weigh, WDT and then tip into the basket and tamp.
              I have had the same grinder for 7 years and the only reason for my upcoming upgrade is that there is finally a grinder that suits my household and will make the process simpler for everyone. New grinders now offer advantages such as grinding by weight (not time), minimal grind retention and minimal mess.
              Do not get sucked into the Conical vs flat burr discussion......................

              Comment


              • #8
                Love your thinking B_L...

                Mal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  if you’re getting the grinder first, the niche will be excellent. haven’t tried it for coarser settings like pour over but i’ve read that it’s great. it will work great for aeropress. hell it’ll probably hold you over long enough that you’ll end up waiting longer to save for a machine.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rodeoclown View Post
                    I’m leaning towards option 2, (even though the ECM looks so nice), how much of a difference is there between a Lelit P14TEMD and ECM Classika, and is the additional $1,000 noticeable and justified?
                    With the requirements you've listed, option 3 seems like a really good fit for you. ECM build quality is amongst the best and you probably won't be upgrading anytime soon if you end up buying it. All comes down to budget I suppose.

                    Niche Zero is very popular at the moment due to it's next to no grind retention and ease of single dosing if that's what you're after. Here's some more user reviews that provide additional observations -

                    https://coffeeforums.co.uk/topic/436...-zero-grinder/

                    There is a number of reviews here on CS for the Baratza Sette 270Wi including this one -

                    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/...tte-270wi.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CafeLotta View Post
                      Niche Zero is very popular at the moment due to it's next to no grind retention and ease of single dosing if that's what you're after. Here's some more user reviews that provide additional observations -
                      Indeed it is...sure makes decision making difficult. Spend the money on a Nice Zero now and wait a while to save for a machine, or buy a great machine and a second hand grinder. Decisions, decisions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you want to test run a Niche I'm in West Hoxton. I'm aware of one other Sydney based CSer with a Niche, he lives a bit closer to the city.

                        I also have a Eureka Atom on the bench (currently for sale) that you're welcome to try as well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bosco_Lever View Post
                          Spend most of your money on a good machine so you will not want to upgrade it for quite a few years.
                          Buy a second hand grinder, there are plenty about , with some great bargains to be had. You will upgrade your grinder in the future, and there will be plenty of new models out that are more efficient and user friendly than current ones. Trick is, you have to have quite a bit of experience under your belt to get your coffee making technique perfect. Once that happens you can work out the type of grinder that suits you.
                          Some people prefer to single dose straight into the grinder, rather than having a hopper full of beans. There are many reasons for this ( I do this as I have 3-4 SO's to choose from at any time, and am constantly coming up with different blends and ratios) and each person develops their own work routine. Your technique will also change as your experience and confidence grows.
                          Spending $1000 on a grinder at this stage of your journey is not recommended as you may end up hating it and selling it.
                          Some people grind into the basket while others grind into a cup, weigh, WDT and then tip into the basket and tamp.
                          I have had the same grinder for 7 years and the only reason for my upcoming upgrade is that there is finally a grinder that suits my household and will make the process simpler for everyone. New grinders now offer advantages such as grinding by weight (not time), minimal grind retention and minimal mess.
                          Do not get sucked into the Conical vs flat burr discussion......................
                          G'day Bosco_Lever

                          I could not disagree more. The grinder is way important as it is earlier in the coffee making chain. A poor grinder means the resulting cuppa is not able to be saved regardless of machine tech. Also, Machines like the Slayer and the Decent are rapidly changing the whole thinking behind espresso machines, so this is a good time to hold off until that type of toy, er, I mean machine, gets more competition and gets cheaper. IMO, grinders have pretty well bottomed out in terms of quality and value.

                          Yep, I am biased - I have three Mahlkonig Varios. One has the $40 steel burrs option, which will make the best aeropress (modified stirrer plunger / Rommelsbacher et al) / worst espresso. The other two have (very) long lasting ceramic burrs for Turkish espresso use - and the oldest one has now done well over 300Kg with no discernible wear on anything, burrs included.

                          The "Do not get sucked into the Conical vs flat burr discussion" is an attempt to avoid the observable fact that all conicals have a "twin peak" particle spread with too many fines to do a "VST espresso" (i.e. finer grind / higher flow rate / higher extraction ratio) without going bitter too early. That is why good flat burr grinders with low retention and even particle spread like the Vario / EK43 (and its ancestors, which I know from the mid '80's) produce more clarity and higher extraction ratios than any conical. Ditto Ditting augers.

                          Machines - dime a dozen IMO, and even the so called "long lasting" espresso machines needs servicing and spares far too often in most environments. As a previous manual lever owner (Electra "eagle") and also many other machines including a Miss S and a GS3 my machine take is pretty simple. Today I would suggest the OP either buys a low end "true espresso machine", an Olympia Cremina (best manual lever I know of, and I spent 18 months with a friend's one once) or get a Decent DE1 and have the kind of control that no other current machine can deliver. My DE1Pro has not had any issue in the last 6 months (i.e. too early for any long term reliability comment) but it keeps itself cleaner than any other past machine and is also unique in that my rainwater still tastes the same whether it has gone through the DE1 or not.

                          Message for the OP: Try comparing "in and out" water with a good original source and you will be amazed how much boiler taint is out there. Every future cuppa will start with that taint... (shudder).

                          Just my 2 cents worth.

                          Enjoy your preferred style of cuppa - that is the critical factor.

                          TampIt

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TampIt View Post
                            That is why good flat burr grinders with low retention and even particle spread like the Vario / EK43 (and its ancestors, which I know from the mid '80's) produce more clarity and higher extraction ratios than any conical.
                            Have you had anything to do with the Eureka Mignon Specialita? Seems to get a good rap as a very low retention flat burr grinder (1 gram or less).

                            https://www.eureka.co.it/en/catalogo...aneo/1/20.aspx

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_eWwZbEhrI
                            Last edited by CafeLotta; 19 July 2019, 09:46 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TampIt View Post
                              G'day Bosco_Lever

                              I could not disagree more. The grinder is way important as it is earlier in the coffee making chain. A poor grinder means the resulting cuppa is not able to be saved regardless of machine tech. Also, Machines like the Slayer and the Decent are rapidly changing the whole thinking behind espresso machines, so this is a good time to hold off until that type of toy, er, I mean machine, gets more competition and gets cheaper. IMO, grinders have pretty well bottomed out in terms of quality and value.

                              Yep, I am biased - I have three Mahlkonig Varios. One has the $40 steel burrs option, which will make the best aeropress (modified stirrer plunger / Rommelsbacher et al) / worst espresso. The other two have (very) long lasting ceramic burrs for Turkish espresso use - and the oldest one has now done well over 300Kg with no discernible wear on anything, burrs included.

                              The "Do not get sucked into the Conical vs flat burr discussion" is an attempt to avoid the observable fact that all conicals have a "twin peak" particle spread with too many fines to do a "VST espresso" (i.e. finer grind / higher flow rate / higher extraction ratio) without going bitter too early. That is why good flat burr grinders with low retention and even particle spread like the Vario / EK43 (and its ancestors, which I know from the mid '80's) produce more clarity and higher extraction ratios than any conical. Ditto Ditting augers.

                              Machines - dime a dozen IMO, and even the so called "long lasting" espresso machines needs servicing and spares far too often in most environments. As a previous manual lever owner (Electra "eagle") and also many other machines including a Miss S and a GS3 my machine take is pretty simple. Today I would suggest the OP either buys a low end "true espresso machine", an Olympia Cremina (best manual lever I know of, and I spent 18 months with a friend's one once) or get a Decent DE1 and have the kind of control that no other current machine can deliver. My DE1Pro has not had any issue in the last 6 months (i.e. too early for any long term reliability comment) but it keeps itself cleaner than any other past machine and is also unique in that my rainwater still tastes the same whether it has gone through the DE1 or not.

                              Message for the OP: Try comparing "in and out" water with a good original source and you will be amazed how much boiler taint is out there. Every future cuppa will start with that taint... (shudder).

                              Just my 2 cents worth.

                              Enjoy your preferred style of cuppa - that is the critical factor.

                              TampIt
                              Thank you for your opinion, you are entitled to it in the same way that everyone else is entitled to theirs.
                              I disagree with your opinion. I do not discourage you from making it in any shape or form, as rigorous debate usually prompts a wealth of advice.
                              Your post is reminiscent of the majority of what you post on this forum. The same old referral to the same old Vario grinders, and the same old machines. You like light roasted coffee from a particular source and you use single baskets to make a shot etc, etc, etc. The only new thing is your current love with the DE machine. There is nothing wrong with this view or your opinion, and some will agree as their taste is similar to yours. Everyone is different and that is what makes the world so interesting.
                              How about we qualify what the OP is seeking? It is their first machine, they are new to coffee and as yet relatively inexperienced in using a machine, grinder and the whole routine to make coffee. Your opinions tend to be skewed to your preferences, but what you like is not necessarily what the majority of people like. Also, what you recommend may only suit a minority. Hence it is always good to consider as many opinions and options as possible
                              The OP drinks long blacks. They do not state any other preference. Do they prefer light, fruity highly acidic coffees or a balanced well rounded espresso? What are the preferences of coffee that their partner (if they currently have one) has? The requirement to steam milk shows that one type of coffee will not always be the goal. Light roasted coffees do not make pleasant milk based drinks.
                              Why complicate and confuse the matter by quoting completely unrealistic pieces of equipment? Slayer? GS3? Decent? Electra Eagle? The OP wants the same thing that most people in their position seek. A reliable machine that will last a while, and be fun to start their coffee journey on. Easy to maintain and use. $2k is a realistic budget.

                              As to grinders.
                              You brought up the conical vs flat, I said to stay away from it. Here is my take on the debate.
                              Buy a grinder that is easy to use and clean. Try and get one with minimal grind retention. I don't care how good a grinder is supposed to be, if it has high grinds retention it will pose a huge problem to a novice user. The same goes for a dirty grinder. Regular cleaning (removal of top burr and a thorough clean of every nook and cranny) is essential.
                              Grinders have not changed much until recently, they were either designed for low use (home) or cafe use (light, med, heavy). Grinders such as the Kony and Robur have solid reputations in high traffic areas, and naturally became the holy grail for home users. Personally I find them unsuitable for my home use, regardless of any proven or perceived improvement in the cup. I have 3 other members in my household who use my equipment, so ease of use is paramount. I know they would hate to use a large conical.
                              I (and many others that I know of) started off with a Gino Rossi grinder, (purchased second hand in the $250-400) bracket. Great value long lasting cafe grinder. If you cannot make a decent espresso with this grinder, then you need retraining. There is an abundance of second hand grinders on the market, so a top notch grinder to learn on for a small outlay is easily achieved. Once technique is honed and your own personal idiosyncrasies worked out, you can then upgrade to a grinder more suitable to your workflow. Your original one can be kept for filter/pourover duties.

                              Tampit, your comment on grinders having bottomed is something I strongly disagree with. Recently we have had a huge improvement in grinder quality. Starting from hand held units to large conicals, the improvements keep coming. The HG, Versalab, Monolith, Niche and Etzmax to name a few, represent many new advances in this arena. Better built and smaller grinders for the home user and light cafe are experiencing a surge in popularity, and their are many on the drawing board still to come.
                              Have a look at the Etzmax grinder as an example. Small footprint, grind by weight, almost zero retention, non messy and best of all, quick and easy to clean. An absolute dream piece of equipment. A large price tag, but it will not be long before others copy the concept.

                              Simplicity is the key to being able to make good espresso. A good machine and grinder is the start. Grinders grind coffee. Parts are easy to change, hence why so many old units are still in use. The satisfaction of using a nice machine at the start of your journey will contribute to your enjoyment of the experience, hence my advice. The grinder will be upgraded sooner or later, speak to many on this forum and they will concur. Therefore, try to minimize the impact by buying a 2nd hand unit at the beginning.
                              Last edited by Bosco_Lever; 19 July 2019, 12:26 PM.

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