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pnpdollars
Senior Member


Joined: 22 May 2012
Posts: 11
Location: uk
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 6:49am
Subject: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

hey all,

i've recently decicded to treat myself & buy a coffee machine, but since i know very little i thought i'd come & pick some brains that are serious about their coffee.

I normally ask for a regular filter coffee from the posh shop in town, but now i'm looking to buy i'm not actually sure if i get drip coffee or an americano. I don't think i could tell the difference just by taste anyways.

My girlfriend likes latte's & mocha's so i'm guessing the type of machine i'm looking to get is an espresso maker?

My criteria is quite basic as i'm no connoisseur. i'm looking for "nice" coffee, i realise that is a very vague term but it just needs to be a good alternative to shop brought coffee (like starbucks, if it's not a sin to mention that name here!) . needs to be full bodied & fresh tasting. anything more subtle would be lost on us & a waste of money.

After a little reading i have narrowed it down to this machine:
Click Here (www.amazon.co.uk)

So, my qustions are:
Is this a good machine to start with? I want it to last a good 4 to 5 years, making up to 5 cups a day.
Will the americano's from this machine be nearly or as good as a drip coffee machine?

Now the all important coffee questions! What brands are good for someone who likes their coffee but is not sharp tasting proffesional drinker?
And shall i buy beans or is pre-ground stuff ok? I've heard the pre-ground stuff goes stale inside an hour of opening & is a waste.
If i'm convinced to buy whole beans i'll also be looking for a grinder too!

Any help from you coffee-a-holics is most welcome!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,218
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 7:20am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

do you have a budget?

does your budget include your grinder?  If not, what is your grinder budget?

so, you're going to make americanos and espresso-based milk drinks?

how many drinks will you make at a time?

how many drinks will you make each day?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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pnpdollars
Senior Member


Joined: 22 May 2012
Posts: 11
Location: uk
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 7:27am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

about 200, not including the grinder. when i was looking at that machine i assumed i would be using pre-ground coffee. not so sure now. so 40 for grinder if i need one.

i was wondering if ppl think americanos are as good a drip coffee machines? but i would like to make espresso based drinks too.

will be making 1 or 2 drinks at a time & as stated up to 5 drinks a day.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,055
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 7:37am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

In order to make good espresso you need a decent grinder for several reasons: First of all pre-ground coffee never has the right fineness for proper extraction, and secondly ground coffee goes stale after just 15 minutes. The coffee has to be freshly ground and the grinder has to be dialed in for the right percolation time.

What you must realise is that the grinder is more important than the machine. With a capable grinder and an entry level machine like the Gaggia you chose you can make better espresso than with a crap grinder an a commercial espresso machine. You must not skimp on the grinder. With a 200 budget for the machine you should spend about equally as much money on the grinder.

I recommend to read this guide: How to Buy an Espresso Machine. It will give you a lot of answers.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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pnpdollars
Senior Member


Joined: 22 May 2012
Posts: 11
Location: uk
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 9:28am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

wow! did not realise that the grinder was so important. so if i have a budget of 240 i should be looking to split it 120 on each? if so could you post some links to good grinders please?

I am not so bothered about espresso, the reason i was looking at that particular machine was solely for making latte's & mocha's for my girlfriend. I think i prefer filter coffee but if i'm buying a expensive (for me) espresso machine then i'd want to get the most out of it ,so would mostly be making americano & the latte's.

so what do ppl think would be the best way to spend this budget to achive these aims?
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wsikes
Senior Member
wsikes
Joined: 3 Oct 2011
Posts: 396
Location: West Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Promac MD-64 AT
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 9:42am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

Mike, welcome to the forum and here is the best advice this old man can give you...
First, yes first, buy an espresso-capable grinder and then take what remains of your budget and get a "real" espresso machine.  A used Gaggia would suit your needs for now and would probably last you a very long time.  NO machine will suit your needs if you do not have a VERY GOOD grinder.
You mentioned that espresso is not a priority.  OK, but it IS a consideration, and I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that you will be looking for an espresso machine very soon if not later.  Doing it right the first time will save you a lot of money.  Or... you can make the same mistakes most of us made and try to get by with just an "ok" grinder at first.  It doesn't work. Trust me.
Good luck...

 
Bill
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,218
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 10:01am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

^+1

Another option is to get yourself a good espresso capable grinder and a French press for now, then save a little money while you research espresso machines (ie, put yourself before your GF - did I say that?...nooooo, not me).

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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pnpdollars
Senior Member


Joined: 22 May 2012
Posts: 11
Location: uk
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 10:04am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

cheers for the advice guys!

so buying whole beans & grinding yourself is the only way to go? i want to do this right with the money i have but i'm not so sure my tastebuds are so refined that i'd notice subtle differences in taste.

i have tried pre-ground coffee out of a cafetiere at my friends house & with a dash of cream that was very tasty. If i splurge on a good grinder to go with the machine i was looking at could i get a mug of coffee to rival the stuff out of my friends french press?
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Eiron
Senior Member
Eiron
Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 343
Location: Loveland, Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill 0930
Grinder: Quick Mill 031,...
Drip: TechniVorm KBTS
Roaster: Behmor 1600, Presto Poplite
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 10:21am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

pnpdollars Said:

... I normally ask for a regular filter coffee from the posh shop in town, but now i'm looking to buy i'm not actually sure if i get drip coffee or an americano. ...

Posted May 22, 2012 link

My recommendation is to figure out what you're drinking, first! After that, your equipment choices will be much easier to determine.

 
"Just what I need - another 'geek' label..."
- my friend Mark, on being told of Coffee Geek's existence

Good, affordable espresso: www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/355707
Coffee's hot enough for OCD: www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/330079
Personal & global health: http://www.broomfieldenterprise.com/ci_12802509
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,218
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue May 22, 2012, 10:23am
Subject: Re: new starter, needs this forum regulars advice!
 

pnpdollars Said:

so buying whole beans & grinding yourself is the only way to go? i want to do this right with the money i have but i'm not so sure my tastebuds are so refined that i'd notice subtle differences in taste.

Posted May 22, 2012 link

the difference won't be subtle

pnpdollars Said:

i have tried pre-ground coffee out of a cafetiere at my friends house & with a dash of cream that was very tasty. If i splurge on a good grinder to go with the machine i was looking at could i get a mug of coffee to rival the stuff out of my friends french press?

Posted May 22, 2012 link

yes, probably better in fact

If you buy freshly roasted beans and grind them yourself, you will be maximizing their potential, and it isn't subtle at all.  If you try to make espresso, this combo is essential for success.  It is only slightly less important in other brewing methods.

we follow something called the rule of 15s here...

green coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months...
roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days...
ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes...
or it goes stale!

many of us freeze our beans in airtight containers to stop the staling process.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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