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(WTB) Beginners espresso and grinder package

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  • (WTB) Beginners espresso and grinder package

    Firstly i want to thank everyone on this site. Sponsors and members, thank you for allowing me to join and for providing such a great resource for all coffee snobs around the globe.

    The advice provided by everyone has really helped me learn a lot about machines. I really had no idea the complexity in making a great cup of coffee.

    My story is probably very similar to most on here. Like a lot of people, I love coffee and struggle to find a good cup these days without overpaying for a hipster-approved, vegan friendly soy latte in a run down establishment you need a password to enter. Or whatever the cool kids are doing these days. Not that there is anything wrong with that if thats what you like.

    When this whole quarantine thing hit, I realised now is a good time to invest in a some gear to make my own espresso at home. So i asked Barista Google for machine reviews and the common results I kept getting were from members of "Coffee Snobs". I really liked what I was reading but started to worry as my original idea of a $100 el cheapo is not going to cut it.

    Ive owned a pod machine for a number of years, I was convinced in store it was the bees knees. But within a few weeks I was underwhelmed by the taste and range of pods. So it sat in the shed for a very long time. I pulled it out about two months ago. Cleaned it up and yep still underwhelmed. So started my research and I found you guys.

    I realised very quickly from your expertise there seems to be an order of importance:

    1. Fresh Beans
    2. Best grinder you can afford
    3. Best espresso machine you can afford
    4. Consistency (actually this might need to be number 1?)

    I had a lot of research to do so I decided to get a hand grinder straight away so I can at least get some fresh coffee beans and use my french press and still experience reasonable coffee while trying to find out what I should get. I found the Alternative Brewing website and made contact with Justin and Peter (who were amazing to deal with). They helped me out with a one-off package deal for an Aeropress plus a Delter press, stainless steel reusable mesh filter plus the Rhino hand grinder for an amazing price. Thanks guys.

    Fresh Beans, freshly ground. Wow! Lifted my coffee game already.

    So now I am at the stage I have been researching as much as i can on this forum and i am at the realisation that my dream combo right now is the Oscar 2 and Macap M2M. Ive used the quote form on this forum and sought advice from the sponsors, however my budget is struggling with dropping close to $2000 on my first espresso grinder package.

    So knowing that my dream combo is not obtainable yet, I have decided to purchase an appliance combo as my first intro into real coffee from home. I like to look after my stuff so I hope to get a few years out my selection before I purchase a real machine once ive decided if home coffee is worth it for me.

    So again, like many others before me I am looking at the following combos:

    a) Sunbeam EM7000 for around $649 and comes with a bonus EM0480 grinder (current Sunbeam redemption offer)
    b) Breville BES840 for around $600 and pair it with the BCG820 for hopefully $200
    c) Breville BEP920 espresso/grinder combo for around $1400

    Yes ive looked into Miss Silvia and Lelit options, I just dont think i am ready for a single boiler yet. I really prefer the sounds of a Thermoblock/Heat Exchanger/Double Boiler setup for milky coffees. Grinder, I would prefer doserless. I am also open to good condition, second hand for both machines.

    I know being appliances they arent renowned for their quality and longevity. I guess my hope is that it gently guides me into a deeper appreciation for coffee and machines and gets me making my own coffee at home with a minimum amount of fuss. And then in a few years I will be ready to appreciate the true beauty of my Oscar and Macap or equivalent dream combo of mine.

    My ideal budget would be maximum $1400, ideally $1200 or less. I will be making both black and milk based drinks. up to five per day.

    Am I going down the right path? Is there a better beginners combo you could recommend while maintaining my preferences and budget?

    Thanks in advance everyone. I really appreciate the sacrifices you make everyday by drinking all the coffee you can, so you can bring us the reviews and advice we need to make sound choices.

    Cheers,
    2Dads

  • #2
    Hey mate, having recently gone through this process to find a suitable beginner espresso set up for the guys in my work office, I'd reccommend checking out the Lelit Combi (PL042TEMD).
    This machine has an inbuilt grinder which performs well; we've had no issues with inconsistency, static or clumping. I can (and do) single dose, retention appears to be on average around 0.2g per 18.5g dose.
    It is very user friendly; I've been able to train a dozen guys who had never pulled a shot in their lives to produce good quality, consistent espresso.
    Steam pressure is great and it gets from espresso mode to steam mode within a minute or two.
    I don't think you'll find a much better option at the same price point. I have personally owned a Silvia/Rocky combo and have endured various appliance type machines in offices over the years and would rate the Lelit head and shoulders above any of those.
    Site sponsor Jetblack Espresso provided a great service on ours, highly recommend getting in touch with them.

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    • #3
      Agree with MxD...

      The Lelit Combi would be a terrific setup and well within your budget.

      Mal.

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      • #4
        There's a second hand Oscar in good condition (not mine) for sale at a very good price on this site.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by saeco_user View Post
          There's a second hand Oscar in good condition (not mine) for sale at a very good price on this site.
          Is that the red one in Melbourne? I must say I was intrigued by that one. Sounds great. Red is not my first choice, but it does tick a lot of boxes and is well priced. I might contact the seller to see if postage is a possibility. Thanks Saeco_user
          Last edited by 2Dads; 2 April 2020, 04:10 PM. Reason: adding a thank you as I forgot my manners.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MxD View Post
            Hey mate, having recently gone through this process to find a suitable beginner espresso set up for the guys in my work office, I'd reccommend checking out the Lelit Combi (PL042TEMD).
            This machine has an inbuilt grinder which performs well; we've had no issues with inconsistency, static or clumping. I can (and do) single dose, retention appears to be on average around 0.2g per 18.5g dose.
            It is very user friendly; I've been able to train a dozen guys who had never pulled a shot in their lives to produce good quality, consistent espresso.
            Steam pressure is great and it gets from espresso mode to steam mode within a minute or two.
            I don't think you'll find a much better option at the same price point. I have personally owned a Silvia/Rocky combo and have endured various appliance type machines in offices over the years and would rate the Lelit head and shoulders above any of those.
            Site sponsor Jetblack Espresso provided a great service on ours, highly recommend getting in touch with them.
            Thanks MxD, I will definitely look at the combi. I must say I had disregarded anything with a built in grinder but the Lelit seems to be an exception with the correct use anyway.

            Comment


            • #8
              Alright guys, I have an update!

              Tahnk you everyone for your input, it was greatly appreciated.

              Not really my first choice. But after my first 6 or so coffees, i am extremely happy with my decision.

              I really was leaning towards the Sunbeam or Breville appliances for their ease of use and no (minimal) risk of boiler damage, however a deal came up that I couldnt refuse.

              A local Canberra guy, who also also happened to be in the neighbouring suburb, was selling a Rancilio V3 Silvia packaged with a doserless Rocky for a price that was even better than the Sunbeam EM7000 alone (selling due to upgradeitis). He also offered a social distance compliant demo and threw in some Rancilio cups. Apart from some minor surface rust on the lower right side of the drip tray and some chrome paint peeling from around the group head shroud, both machines appear to be mechanically A1 from a beginners point of view. I have opened them both up for an inspection and clean following Seattle Coffee Gear videos for guidance.

              The seller seems very knowledgable having used the package since new (2012), done a few barista courses and even roasts his own beans. Im hoping to catch up with him after all the madness has died down to learn a few tricks from him.

              I also got the contact details of a local home roaster less than five minutes away from home so I am looking forward to buying some new beans once I have used up all the LSRs I have.

              After heaps more research and getting familiar with my two machines, I will be "gronking" Ms Silvia to give me a bit more accuracy and consistency. For now though, I am happy to be making coffees that are as good as the local servos and aspire to be making even better coffee with the continuing guidance and assistance of Coffee Snobs.

              So again a massive thank you to everyone. But for now, its time for me to go make a coffee and research/decide on a Tamper and tamp mat.

              Cheers,
              2Dads.

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              • #9
                Well done 2Dads, many years of great coffee await you...

                Mal.

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                • #10
                  Hey 2Dads,

                  How is your machine going a month on? I'm interested in a similar purchase within a similar budget and would love to hear how you'd faired.

                  Cheers,

                  Jesse

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                  • #11
                    Hi Jesse, JCusworth

                    Thank you for your interest.

                    Since purchasing the package, I have since kitted it out with a few essential accessories. Tamper, precision basket, milk jugs (I think milk jugs are underrated. The correct size milk jug will improve your milk stretching abilities to no end), digital scales, dosing cup, cleaning gear and a nice coffee trolley to contain it all. So far about another $300 in accessories for what I think are the essentials (noting I selected a Tamper I loved where I could have got a Tamper that would work well and i would have saved a lot). So unless you already have the accessories, it might be worth taking this into account. The plastic tamper you get with Ms Silvia can kind of do the job. A 58mm weighted Tamper though, will make your life a whole lot easier. Although well made and a beautiful item, my jury is still out with the precision basket.

                    As for Ms Silvia and Mr Rocky. Amazing! These two machines, as you know are my first foray into proper coffee machines since owning a capsule machine. Both machines are easier, but yet also harder, to produce a good coffee than the capsule machine. Let me explain:

                    Harder: A lot more steps involved to make a coffee. More things to go wrong. More care is required to not run the boiler dry. More mess to clean up. More heating up time.

                    Easier: I am just now realising there is nothing easier about these machines and I really should have thought about what I was going to say. LOL.

                    But you know what, easier is not always better. I look forward to getting out of bed to power her up. I love the fact that I have not once produced a latte that tasted worse than most places in Canberra (I really only drink lattes which helps). I am a long way from producing a "god shot" of espresso. But that doesnt interest me, yet. And it certainly doesnt stop me from trying or enjoying what i drink. I do taste each espresso shot to see what it is like, but i still only drink lattes with an occasional americano.

                    Would I recommend?

                    100% yes. Both these machines even in the hands of an overwhelmed novice (myself) still produce coffee that is better (for my coffee flavour preference anyway) than 90% of the coffee I have purchased locally. I couldnt imagine how good the coffee would be in the hands of someone experienced!

                    I also really love the process of making my coffee. I love going through the effort. I love the strong and bitter flavour sweetened with well stretched milk. This combo does what i want. My needs and tastes may change in the future, but for now I am content.

                    Thanks again Jesse. If you, or any other members in the same boat, would like any other info or insight feel free to hit me up. More than happy to help if/when I can.

                    Cheers,
                    2Dads.






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