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So Many Choices... by Jim Piccinich
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Senior Member
Joined: 24 Jan 2002
Posts: 499
Location: Freehold, NJ USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Undisclosed
Grinder: Indisclosed
Vac Pot: Bodum Electric
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Sun Sep 15, 2002, 12:00am
Subject: So Many Choices... by Jim Piccinich

So Many Choices...
by Jim Piccinich

Overwhelmed? Inundated with information? Confused on which home model espresso machine to purchase? Jim Piccinich gives you some guidance!
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Senior Member
Joined: 22 Mar 2002
Posts: 335
Location: Long Island,New York
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro,Silvia,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini,Rocky,Solis...
Vac Pot: Yama,Cafetino,Silex
Drip: Cusinart Brew Central,...
Roaster: Cafe Rosto, Hearthware...
Posted Tue Sep 17, 2002, 7:33am
Subject: Great 1st Article from 1st Line !

This was an excellent 1st article and works well as a checklist for research into the different options available for a buyer.  It would be a good idea for them to print this out and call a potential seller and go over these points one by one to help make a final decision.

Mark indicated that it would be a good idea to include suggestions for future articles so how about :

Super-Automatics (what they are, can and can't do, etc.)

Selecting the right espresso machine for you (You seem to have that started)

Humorous anecdotes

Most common questions/problems and some solutions/answers

Future of online equipment selling (anything connected)

How did 1st Line start (representative companys experience on running/starting this kind of business)

Typical week

Our friend : Lime Scale

I always like an article on people they most respect in the coffee arena and why.

Again, this was excellent!  Thanks for the effort and for showing your obvious dedication to this art/science!

George W.
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Senior Member
Joined: 11 Feb 2002
Posts: 1,144
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: LM 4 group , Isomac Tea,...
Grinder: Major, Super Jolly,...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Fetco, Melitta
Roaster: Sivetz , Diedrich
Posted Tue Sep 17, 2002, 9:52am
Subject: Re: So Many Choices... by Jim Piccinich

George W. is absolutely right Jim - good article and should be used by any prospective buyer in the process of selecting a model. Not mentioned but implicit (or it was in there and I overlooked it) and operhaps worth spelling out are a few others
1) expectations of the user  - are they expecting a drink about good as they get get from the local *$ or do they have a developed enough taste for espresso that they knwo they'll be dedicated enough to be in search of the "god shot"?
2) Overall budget?  When I started out I didn't even bother looking at higher priced gear - started with an $80 pump style DeLonghi. Lots of limitations but a good low risk way to get my feet wet.
3) Are they going to focus on milk drinks? Some machines are better at steaming than others.
4) Will it be a solo act or used for groups? I live alone and rarely entertain at home for anyone other than my GF or an occasional out of town visitor - I rarely need to make multiple drinks in a row and recycle/ready time is not an issue.

I suppose the list could go on and on but you've provided a great service here in spelling out some of the basics. By a combination of reading the coffeegeek.com consumer reviews, some dumb luck and a good merchant, I ended up with a combo that serves me well for now (Gaggia Baby Milennium and a Solis Maestro grinder) but it would not meet many people's needs.  I frequently get up and want to make one quick shot before heading out the door. The quick warm-up time of the Baby is a major plus and because I rarely make multipl eshots successively the small boiler size is not an issue. I have it on an open counter and the top fill feature is also a plus. Again.... this was by chance - i'ts packed in with some other gear and side fill wouldn't work for me but I hadn't really considered this issue when choosing a machine.  Bottom line is that there are plenty of decent machines in a variety of price ranges but ait really helps to have guidelines to sift through the mass of info.
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Senior Member
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 229
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90
Grinder: Pasquini Moka 90, Anfim...
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Brewer
Drip: none
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Sep 17, 2002, 9:09pm
Subject: Another consideration

It is one thing to have mountains of information, but there is no substitute for actually seeing the machine in action, in person, and ask any questions that come to mind.  I would also consider the ease of service that should, preferably, be local rather than shipping a heavy unit across the country.
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Senior Member
Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Posts: 103
Location: TivertonRI
Expertise: Intermediate

Posted Wed Sep 18, 2002, 10:36am
Subject: Leading to a comprehensive guide.

Great article. I think this could evolve into what I think is missing online, an expertly written guide that covers a broader range of skill levels.

Most guides are either too light, or assume you are on a mission to be an expert. The beginner can't easily absorb this.They just wan't to know what to expect for x dollars. It is difficult to trust the companies. Most grinders over 20 bucks say "perfect for espresso" on the box somewhere.

Most enthusiasts would deem it impossible to make a good (subjective) beverage with a cheap machine...can someone answer then why they are made? Is it all a scam for the ignorant (or uniniatiated)? thanks - spence
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Senior Member
Joined: 1 Mar 2002
Posts: 78
Location: NYC/Palermo
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cimbali Junior DT/1
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Wed Sep 18, 2002, 8:18pm
Subject: Way to go Jim!!

Nice to see the east coast represented on coffeegeek! Great job on the article...I am sure this will help many newbies (and those.. hehe...looking to upgrade). The photos in the articles were nice too. A good future article may be one of your experiences fixing (or trying to) various machines. We may come across similar problems and/or learn how to avoid them ;-) Also, if possible, any articles on home roasting or green beans would be interesting.  best regards. toto
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,300
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Tue Sep 24, 2002, 8:39pm
Subject: *Customer Service #1*

I can't really add to the above mentioned excellent accolades! Great overview for the possibly overwelmed newbie starting out,& this article will get you flyin straight.
It's super that you accepted the writing spot Jim,& can find the time for these well appreciated & eagerly anticipated 1st & future articles.That's why I went with 1st-line all the way for my espresso equipment.Your dedication & passion to the art & science of our favorite beverage,very competitive prices,& superior "Customer Service",11 stars out of 10, that goes above & beyond the call of duty!
Cheers,& welcome Jim!
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Senior Member

Joined: 5 Oct 2003
Posts: 1
Location: keystone hts
Expertise: Intermediate

Posted Sun Oct 5, 2003, 2:40pm
Subject: Re: So Many Choices... by Jim Piccinich

i have a ka-865mw and lost the top to my pot in a recent move. i miss my coffee and would like to know where i can find a new top. thank you
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