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What would you buy for $300?

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  • What would you buy for $300?

    My journey to espresso started several years ago when I contributed to buying an espresso machine for my to-be in-laws. We ended up spending about $300 and got a Kenwood Cremissimo machine, which seemed quite reasonable for what it was. With what I know now the thought somewhat horrifies me (though all things considered it still makes quite nice lattes), but Im not sure what else Id do if I had my time again with that sort of budget.

    What would you recommend?

  • #2
    Re: What would you buy for $300?

    Based on what I know of machines in this price range from my friends houses:

    A presso and a stovetop milk frother (or something else to froth milk with the leftover from the presso).

    Im trying to think about what I spent my first $300 on: different size plungers, different size mokapots, vacuum pot, black and decker Mr Cappucino (although it might have been a gift).

    Or you could just by a grinder.

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    • #3
      Re: What would you buy for $300?

      Buying an Iberital Challenge and grinding fresh coffee for a plunger Than you will have a grinder that will suit an Espresso machine when you are addicted to fresh coffee.
      Or maybe just buy the Presso? But you would still need a grinder.

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      • #4
        Re: What would you buy for $300?

        Go to the casino and put the $300 on red at the roulette wheel.
        If you win and double your money you can buy a Macap.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What would you buy for $300?

          Wasnt this an episode of Futurama?
          Everyone got a $300 rebate from the government and Fry spent it on 300 cups of coffee.
          http://www.geocities.com/zoidberg_fan/episodes/300_bigboys.html

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          • #6
            Re: What would you buy for $300?

            Originally posted by Coffeechaser link=1164776641/0#2 date=1164777515
            Buying an Iberital Challenge and grinding fresh coffee for a plunger Than you will have a grinder that will suit an Espresso machine when you are addicted to fresh coffee.
            Or maybe just buy the Presso? But you would still need a grinder.
            [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]

            ... however, I have to admit that I ended up with a perfectly functional La Peppina lever machine and a new seal kit for it for less than $150 ;D No steam, though.

            Cheers,

            Luca

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            • #7
              Re: What would you buy for $300?

              If you could pick up a bargain like that you could probably pair it up with a Sunbeam grinder. Would be hard to go past that for 300 dollars combined. But what are the chances of getting another La Peppina for that sort of money?
              I hope nobody falls over in shock that I, who has been on the Expobar and Iberital bandwagon, actually suggested the Sunbeam grinder
              When people who spend 300 dollars to get into Espresso at home for the first time may actually want something new though and may bypass the grinder and just go a 300 dollar espresso machine though.

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              • #8
                Re: What would you buy for $300?

                How about a vacpot and a grinder?

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                • #9
                  Re: What would you buy for $300?

                  Where would a vacpot sit on the food chain? compared to plunger, stove top, etc

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                  • #10
                    Re: What would you buy for $300?

                    In some peoples minds, vacpots are sometimes superior to the brew from a commercial espresso machine. I think they sit just below that. Very good for cupping, and interesting to watch too. Just have to be careful, as theyre highly breakable.

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                    • #11
                      Re: What would you buy for $300?

                      Originally posted by nunu link=1164776641/0#7 date=1164801690
                      How about a vacpot and a grinder?
                      Just what I was thinking to post <shakes fist at nunu> ;D

                      Im a fan of vacpot coffee, especially if one has access to single origin beans. Vacpot coffee is much smoother than plunger/french press, but I prefer espresso. Great for serving a larger group , beats making espresso drinks at dinner parteys and such.
                      If it is to be enjoyed solo, make sure to buy a smaller vac pot. The standard sized ones are rather large. Hario 3cup

                      Avoid the electric Bodum Santos, it requires dicking around and modifications (variac controller) to get it to brew in what I consider to be an optimum manner.

                      Like nunu said as well, glacc vac pots are fragile. My first (& only) one lasted less than 4 months, knocked slightly on the tap head when washing it and that was the end of that.

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                      • #12
                        Re: What would you buy for $300?

                        But what are the chances of getting another La Peppina for that sort of money?
                        Hows your German and Italian?

                        Where would a vacpot sit on the food chain? compared to plunger, stove top, etc
                        I think that vac brings out the same flavours as french press, but it brings them out a bit more clearly. However, vac is more expensive, has less body and requires a bit more skill (as it is much more sensitive to grind). Remember, too, that vac pots will usually give you similar temperature profiles, whereas french press can vary wildly.

                        Cheers,

                        Luca

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What would you buy for $300?

                          Another option would be an Aeropress with the balance spent on the best grinder it will buy. Thats if it all has to be new. Otherwise Id be looking at the used market.

                          If you have the ability to refurb a unit and dont mind the time involved you can get some incredible deals on used commercial equipment if youre patient and dig around. It took years to finally find the right deal for me but the wait was well worth it as I got a Cimbali M28 Basic 2-group, 2 Mazzer Super Jollys and a box of assorted cups, pitchers etc. for $250. 4 days and $100 in parts later and the Cimbali was virtually brand new and has now served me perfectly for years needing nothing but a yearly replacement of the grouphead seals.


                          Java "Doesnt mind rebuilding" phile
                          Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What would you buy for $300?

                            I can answer that one from my own experience Greg - Sunbeam Ristretto - big boiler for its type, not a thermoblock and actually good steam power - $80 or so. I combined it with a Solis 166, with a Delonghi re-badge and I did the tweak by taking it apart and getting another 4 finer settings or so from memory out of it - and it then ground well and truly fine enough for a good machine, and certainly even on setting 4 very good for the Ristretto. Only downside is that the Ristretto had perc basket set up - ie crema enhanced - but the crema IS impressive and your friends will think that your a barista. The coffee is more bitter than with a non-crema-enhanced basket but alas...

                            Wouldnt hesitate to reccomend that combo by the way. The solis was about $140 from memory, so well under your budget Greg.

                            m2tw

                            Cheers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What would you buy for $300?

                              Greg,

                              Although Id generally advise someone NOT to buy a Krups there is one model which Ive used and I found it was pretty damm good - and for the princely sum of about $160!!

                              It is/was their model 800 - which I think is now 880 vivo.

                              For that you get a stainless steel boiler, a milk enhancing frother (which actually worked to produce fine foam- and can be removed), a reasonably heavy group and it even looks quite reasonable. It does have crema enhancement... but not as drastic as some brands where the taste suffers badly as a result.

                              And amazingly it produced acceptable espresso. Recovery time between shots wasnt the fastest but other than that not too bad...

                              And good value for money!!!

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