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wisdom of starting at the pointy end?

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  • wisdom of starting at the pointy end?

    Greetings all, By way of intro, I'm a complete coffee novice presently enjoying (tolerating?) an Instant each morning before work or a plunger when camping, but I do like a good flat white. The only espresso machine I've had a go at was my sisters' Breville that I clumsily tried when we visited her in China recently, and that's what sparked my interest because she makes a pretty good coffee with her Breville.

    I've researched a bit the last few weeks and am now thinking of buying a quality machine and grinder straight up because if I do this, I don't want to be replacing it or upgrading a few years down the track. We live in a small inland Qld town a long way from purveyors of coffee machines and consumables. However we do drive to Brisbane once or twice a year so would prefer to buy there; firstly, so I can have a look in store, and secondly, I could take a machine back to Brisbane myself if/when necessary rather than packing it off to Sydney or wherever.

    So my short list is:
    • Bezzera Domus Galatea, or Rocket Giotto (I prefer milk based coffee)
    • Macap M4D doserless grinder or equivalent
    • Basic accessories to get started: tamper, milk jug, machine cleaning stuff, etc
    • and... coffee beans!


    My priorities are:
    • machine reliability and longevity, given my location
    • Potential to produce a good coffee once I learn the skills. i.e., I don't want the machine to be a limiting factor. A forgiving machine might be handy though.
    • aesthetics: given how big they are they have to look good (I like the styling of the Galatea)
    • Budget: these are right at the top of my budget. I know there's cheaper out there but I'd prefer to get good equipment in the first place, to be future-proof.


    We have rain water that we use for tea and I would use rainwater in a coffee machine, Our town water supply is hot artesian bore water.

    I will be the only coffee drinker as my wife drinks tea, but we do get visitors and occasionally entertain. On a very rare occasion she'll order a decaf cappuccino when we're in the city or on holidays, so I might be called upon to make a decaf for her; or she'll make her own if she gets the hang of it. She also likes a proper chai latte sometimes (but not the syrup based ones).

    Are the machines I'm considering a bit too advanced for a novice to start out with? Will it be much faffing around to sometimes change from normal coffee for me, to making an occasional decaf for my wife, and back again?

  • #2
    Welcome DT11. Sounds like a pretty fair plan to me. You'll probably find using the kit that you have suggested will be easier to use than many cheaper options. But it sounds like it really is worth getting a bit of basic training at (or around) the time you make the purchase.

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    • #3
      Good machine choice. You will need a supply of beans freshly roasted or green and beanbay can provide both.
      Get a lesson when you get your machine and most sponsors will provide this.
      All set, enjoy

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      • #4
        Agree re fresh bean supply (roast your own!!) and some basic training but no dramas about starting off with a higher spec machine and grinder, intact it should make it easier for you.

        I loved the Galatea, great styling (subjective) and build quality. There are many others in the price range so your choice in machine and grinders is quite vast with many capable options.

        Cheers

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        • #5
          Evening DT11, the Bezzera Domus Galatea is an excellent option and would suit your requirements well, produces great espresso, reasonably priced (change out of $3000) easy to use and very reliable.

          The machine is easily mastered by of novice, of average IQ.

          And of course a bonus for you is the fact that the Australian importers are based in QLD,
          Barazi Bezzera Coffee Machines

          1300 550 927

          199 Logan Road
          Woolloongabba, QLD, 4102 Australia



          Also check out the Bezzera Magica, basically a plainer Galatea and a bit cheaper.

          The Macap M4D is reputed to be an excellent grinder.

          Good luck with your quest.

          Yes, I've owned a Bezzera Domus Galatea for 7 trouble free years.

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          • #6
            Hi DT11,

            Plus 1 from me for the Galetea. The Bezzera importer is in Brisbane so you would have absolutely no problem with service and back up.
            We import and distribute the Macap range of grinders, so feel free to contact us for info and pricing.

            Link below to our Galatea and macap package on offer

            http://m.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?sid=...&isRefine=true

            Cheers
            Antony

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            • #7
              Something else to consider is you really have no experience with the amount of effort involved in using and maintaining high end machines. They are orders of magnitude harder than a teaspoon of Blend 43.

              I'd suggest getting something low - mid range and try it out. That way you can get a feel for whats actually involved. And in a years time, if it wasn't a passing fad and you're discovering you want better quality coffee only then start looking at high end gear.

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              • #8
                I jumped in the deep end with a high end machine (equivalent quality to the Rocket you list), but I also jumped in the deep end of this forum for as much info as possible, as well as working hard at my espresso. I think buying high end is a good idea personally, but as MrFF says, if this is not well founded enthusiasm, it could be a costly experiment...
                Much like you, I had a chance to play with a machine, a Silvia, and that kicked it all off.

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                • #9
                  Thanks to all for the warm welcome and encouraging replies. Yes I noticed the Bezzera people are in Brisbane and that’s certainly influenced my choice, plus I like the look of their machines.

                  MrFreddo, thanks for your suggestion re starting at the entry level, but I know myself well and am somewhat of a gadget freak. If I decide I like something I tend to blow dollars upgrading to better gear in quick succession. I’ve done it in my other pastimes trading up at great expense and thought I’d try & dodge that this time!


                  So, I take it that changing between caffeinated and decaf beans/brews is not going to be a major issue, particularly with the grinder? Or would there be a tedious process of dialling the grinder back in after each change?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DT11 View Post


                    So, I take it that changing between caffeinated and decaf beans/brews is not going to be a major issue, particularly with the grinder? Or would there be a tedious process of dialling the grinder back in after each change?
                    Certainly doable, will involve a small amount of pfaffing around, change beans (easier with non doser grinder) and perhaps a minor tweak of grind setting, you would work it all out quite quickly.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Yelta View Post
                      Certainly doable, will involve a small amount of pfaffing around, change beans (easier with non doser grinder) and perhaps a minor tweak of grind setting, you would work it all out quite quickly.
                      Righto, sounds good. From the write-ups and discussion I've seen, the M4D seems to be the go-to grinder so that's why its in my list. But the thought crossed my mind (& looks pretty doable now too with Casa Espresso's eBay listing referred to above), that for similar money I could get say two M2M grinders and allocate one for decaf? Not too keen on that idea though as it would start to clutter up the kitchen a bit and earn a few demerit points in Wife Approval Factor!

                      I've taken on board the sound advice that fresh beans are paramount, but I'm not concerned about that because there seems to be a number of mail order/online suppliers including Beanbay one can subscribe to for ongoing fresh supplies, which is pretty much how we get good wine, good tea, good books, etc, out here anyway & that keeps the local post office and couriers in business too.

                      Re training, I would very much try to do an introductory course if it can be booked it in around purchase time so I'll look into that. We're going overseas again for a short Christmas break transiting Brisbane so I'm at least going to have a brief look then if not actually make the purchase right then.

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                      • #12
                        One grinder to rule them all and in the espresso bind them... hopefully you can find one that easily switches up a few notches finer for your decaf and then back coarser again for your regular caffeine fix.

                        Get the good water in to your machine. Good for the machine and your taste buds :-)

                        Good luck!

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                        • #13
                          Domus Galatea although i am not a fan of its styling, at $25xx I think its is pretty good valve.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by symphonie View Post
                            Domus Galatea although i am not a fan of its styling, at $25xx I think its is pretty good valve.
                            It's looking good to me on a number of fronts too, including price. I do like the 4L tank and 2L boiler capacity even though I won't be making huge numbers of coffees at a time. But I probably will be making tea sometimes from the coffee machine's hot water tap. I assume the water will be boiling for that, or is it maintained at a lower temp for coffee?

                            The Rocket Giotto looks good too & I should get the opportunity to see one in action again soon. One of the family members we will be visiting in NZ is a coffee afficianado (I would have said "Snob" but don't know if he frequents here!) and I think he has a Giotto on his bench from which I've previously enjoyed some superb flat whites. He's fastidious in anything he does and has had his immaculate machine for a number of years so I'll quizz him when I'm there. Being the fiercely proud Kiwi he is, I think his machine is a Rocket Giotto, not ECM, which I think he would have bought after the Kiwis got involved in the Rocket company (i've only learnt all this wonderful trivia in the last few weeks of homework - isn't it great!).

                            For me the machine choice between these two will come down to personal preference and not much else because most here seem to agree they're on a par performance-wise.

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                            • #15
                              Mark me down as another kiwi with a Rocket Giotto. 🐑

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