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  • Help required - first machine / grinder set up

    Hello,

    I'm a newbie here and I would like some help in purchasing a machine/grinder set up.
    Ive been "lurking" on this forum for a while and am starting to recognise the names on here!
    I have been "researching" my new coffee machine for months and it's time to make a purchase before Christmas.
    While I do like the shiny, modern stainless look I have to admit I do also like the retro box shape, for example the Bezzera BZ 99s. I have read they have a reputation for being bullet proof.
    Quality of finish is important i.e. no rough edges. New or second hand is fine.
    I'm the only coffee drinker in a house of five and my preference is espresso or long blacks. Three to four a day. I am willing and wanting to experiment with other types of drinks therefore I want the ability to steam milk.
    I have eliminated single boilers as a choice so it's either a HX or double boiler for me and I do understand the importance of a "decent" grinder.
    My budget is around $2500. $3000 at a stretch. This would include machine, grinder, quality tamper and all the barista accessories to get started. Quality cups are also needed. My local coffee shop uses Acme cups and I like the weight of them and the colour choices. Of course I am open to suggestions on other brands.
    I am also interested in opinions on a second hand 2011 Rocket Giotto Premium Plus (bought from a site sponsor) that is available online. I have read there are issues with a relay and the control board. For peace of mind, if purchased I would take it to a site sponsor for a check and service. This cost would also be factored into a possible purchase price.

    Thanks, Mark (CaffeinatedRunner)

  • #2
    Welcome
    With a budget of up to $3k, I would suggest a new machine + grinder + accessories combo with the satisfaction of a warranty. Try the Sponsor quote form [provided at the bottom of the page . Better still, go into a reputable seller of a range of machine and check them out. You won't go wrong with a new Bezzera but consider other options. There are risks buying second hand and you would want to check it over before purchase, not take it to someone later.
    I own a Giotto Premium Plus 2009 (ie version 1) and I did have to replace the control board earlier this year after 7 years of faultless service but it isn't a recognised problem. This may have been a requirement for older ECM Giotto models if i remember correctly.

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    • #3
      flynnaus,

      I appreciate your reply and common sense suggestions.
      I have just sent an abbreviated version of my post to the site sponsors and already have had a reply!
      Thanks again.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CaffeinatedRunner View Post
        flynnaus,

        I have just sent an abbreviated version of my post to the site sponsors and already have had a reply!
        Thanks again.
        Good move CR.

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        • #5
          If you drink mainly black then personally i think lever is the best way to go, only way to pressure profile for under $3000, which I think is important as you become more picky about your espresso.

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          • #6
            December Special Rocket Espresso Appartamento and Macap M2M grinder package | Talk Coffee hits the spot nicely

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            • #7
              And there is also this, and this...

              Mal.

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              • #8
                Seems like a lot of "in thread" shameless self promotion again Paul....
                Is becoming very tiresome again mate....

                Mal.

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                • #9
                  I reckon you'd be well served by any of the HX machines offered by any of the CS sponsors, even ***** :P but you'd be best served by a retailer who is local rather than someone a few bucks cheaper (but by all means grab a bargain if there's a good special or offer on a demo machine!). I would also suggest you go by intangible qualities rather than specific model recommendations here. e.g. if you like the look of the BZ99, get it! Or if your bench space requires the steaming wand to be on the right hand side of the machine, let that guide/limit your selection.

                  For that kind of money you could easily blow the budget on the coffee machine and then compromise on the grinder and accessories, so try to keep the machine cost down. I say this because the difference in the cup between a $2000 machine and a $3000 machine is marginal. At best. But the difference in taste between a $400 grinder and a $800 grinder is substantial IMO

                  Personally I wouldn't go a twin boiler, I have one and am very happy with it but the difference to the quality of my coffee is not something I can really notice. My BFC twin boiler, PID, rotary pump, <insert cool feature here> makes just a good a coffee as the VBM Junior I used to own if I'm just making espresso for myself. It's things like how the new machine looks, how the drip tray works, reduced pump noise, etc. that I like about my machine. The only quality difference I can perceive is the consistency of shots if I'm making 4++ coffees at once (which doesn't sound like it's part of your criteria and is still pretty marginal to be honest).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by K_Bean_Coffee
                    I would say that the difference between a $400 and $800 grinder is more about control and repeatability than taste. ....of course, with poor control you're going to get problems with extraction which will result in problems with "taste."
                    Yeah, that's my thoughts. I could work with a very entry level set up and make as good a coffee as my machine/titan grinder combo. But every now and then I'd mess it up, and it would taste rubbish. And I'm over faffing around with grind distribution, waiting for slow grinders, worrying about temperatures etc. And the OP should be able to get gear to do this on his budget.

                    So my motivation for spending more on equipment is on repeatability and consistency. I can walk up to my set up and not worry too much about the grind setting, not faff about with the distribution/tamp and make one coffee or ten, be they milky or black, without worrying about the machine.

                    And, back to the OPs question and budget... the link to the Rocket Apartmento + M2M special from Talk Coffee is what I had just seen so was in my mind when I wrote my post. It wouldn't be my personal choice. I would go for something like a BZ99 and M4D grinder for similar coin. It's a fast, reliable grinder and the machine is, more or less, as capable as any other in this price bracket.

                    But the Rocket/M2M is a good deal, with good quality machinery. You won't go wrong, it's far better than I had for many years and will be the envy of most people on this planet! You've got a great choice to make

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                    • #11
                      There are so many good machines around. I did have a Bezzera BZ40P and it was a magnificent machine. I bought it for $800 12 years ago when it was 8 years old and sold it this year for $500. I spent probably $500 on it in that time.

                      The secret to longevity is supply of spare parts not just the obvious build quality. I would for this reason go for an Italian company that has been around for quite some decades, at least.

                      I would also avoid complexity. The fewer parts and electronics in it the better.

                      I would plumb it in if you can. It is worth the effort and the rotary pump also has a nice sound and feel to it. If you plumb it in then you can share the benefit of clean water for your machine and drinking water. I have a sediment and carbon filter for the machine and drinking water then a t piece to the machine and an in line softening cartridge.

                      The grinder, well heaps of them. I can recommend the Rocky (I still have it) but bought the Macap M4D off Paul of * ****. Very nice. I would go by looks as well as function. I like chrome.

                      I ended up going for a Wega (good Italian brand been around a while) Mini Nova Classic which is an E61 machine with a rotary pump. Love it. Relatively inexpensive at $2400. I recommend buying, if new, from someone local that you trust and is good to deal with.

                      A good second hand machine or grinder can be a good idea too as these machines can last decades.

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                      • #12
                        Apologies for the delay in replying. Extra shifts at work have kept me from getting a chance to respond.
                        Thanks everyone for advice and contributions so far. It all helps.
                        I still haven't purchased anything but am a little closer....I think.
                        It would be nice to have a shiny setup at home before Christmas!
                        The site sponsors have been great - all have replied with emails, texts and phone calls.
                        For that kind of money you could easily blow the budget on the coffee machine and then compromise on the grinder and accessories, so try to keep the machine cost down. I say this because the difference in the cup between a $2000 machine and a $3000 machine is marginal. At best. But the difference in taste between a $400 grinder and a $800 grinder is substantial IMO
                        So with a budget of $3k for machine and grinder (I have a couple of hundred extra put aside for cleaner, tamper, jugs etc.), this would mean allowing $2000-2200 for machine and $800-1000 for a grinder.
                        Would there be an appreciable difference in the cup between a Quamar Q50P and Macap M4D?
                        Fire away with suggestions for my new machine and grinder setup please.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by K_Bean_Coffee
                          Absolutely not. It's pretty widely agreed that there's no noticeable difference in the cup within the family of planar burr grinders.
                          So many options.... see if you can visit a sponsor and get hands-on.
                          Cheers, Paul
                          Hmmm I'm not sure if that's an entirely accurate quote

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Casa Espresso View Post
                            Hmmm I'm not sure if that's an entirely accurate quote
                            It is close enough if referring to good quality grinders discussed on this thread.

                            I heard someone claim that the grinding size distribution of the Mazzer Super Jolly wasnt so good for Arabica beans.

                            How does anyone prove or disprove such a statement? Probably using a lot of beans, a number of grinders, a lot of trained tasters and a lot of detailed work.

                            The effect of grind is fairly small in amongst a lot of other bigger variables. Home Barista did a huge study some years back. What impressed me was just how much work and repetition was required to see the effect of grinding after carefully eliminating other variables.

                            Yup, go for the colour you prefer...IMHO

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CaffeinatedRunner View Post
                              So with a budget of $3k for machine and grinder (I have a couple of hundred extra put aside for cleaner, tamper, jugs etc.), this would mean allowing $2000-2200 for machine and $800-1000 for a grinder.
                              That's what I'd spend, YMMV

                              Originally posted by CaffeinatedRunner View Post
                              Would there be an appreciable difference in the cup between a Quamar Q50P and Macap M4D?
                              Fire away with suggestions for my new machine and grinder setup please.
                              I've not used or seen the Quamar in the flesh, the only reason I mentioned the M4D is that it's a fast grinder at this price point. For me, that matters, for many it doesn't.

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