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New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
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jalanc
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Nov 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Manila
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2012, 7:07pm
Subject: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

Hi guys, I'm a coffee lover and recent (10 months) espresso lover.  I've finally managed to convince my wife (who also loves coffee) to allow me to get a home espresso machine and grinder setup.  After numerous days of trolling and research, I've managed to narrow down my choices for grinder and espresso machine options to:

Espresso machine: Either Gaggia classic or Rancilio Silvia (although I'm leaning heavily towards the classic due to it's lower price)
Grinder : Refurbushed Preciso (USD 239); Refurbished Vario (USD 360) , Refurbished Vario W (USD 440), or Rancillio Rocky; I've looked into the Gaggia MDF, but decided against it being in the final list.
I plan on having this setup to practice and hone my new hobby in and will only be doing mosty 2-3 shots of espresso consecutively.  Maybe a macchiato or the occasional cappuccino - one for the morning and one for the afternoon.  

Of course, budget is an issue for me and I prefer not to spend too much more than USD 800 on the whole setup as I have a feeling I will want to upgrade in a few years time.  

Can any of you guys point me in the right direction? Am I missing any other options within the price range I have?
I have seen a lot of complaints regarding the reliability issues of the Baratzas and the fine tuning of the Rocky so I am on the fence with regards to the grinder.  
Is there an espresso machine that I should be looking at apart from these 2?

Many thanks and I would appreciate any input or comments.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,966
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:21am
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

Based on your post, the short answer I would give you is the cheaper Gaggia Classic and a refurbished Baratza Vario.

Here's a combination LeLit machine/grinder sale to check out as well...
Click Here (www.1st-line.net)

However, if you go with the Baratza Vario grinder, you probably won't want to upgrade it for a very, very long time.

Yeah, there are complaints about Baratza's plastic breaking, but not one person has complained that the customer service was anything less than excellent.  They stand behind their products and will take care of any problems to your satisfaction (from what I hear).  I've seen more than a couple of posts here that they take care of any problems that arise on their refurbished units as well.  My only caution would be to buy it directly from them.  I think I've read that the refurbs go online on Tuesdays (I'm guessing they sell very quickly)...so maybe it might be worth calling them.  One of the owner's of Baratza is a CG member as well.

The long answer comes after you answer the standard questions:

What kind of drinks will you make?
How many drinks per day? per week?
Do you entertain?
Can you plumb in the machine?
Do you have a dedicated 20-Amp outlet?
What is your budget? (which you've answered) Does that include a grinder? (which you've also answered)

Oh, I would take the Rocky off your list...and I used to own one.

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


Joined: 22 Nov 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Manila
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 8:41pm
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

Thanks for the inputs:

What kind of drinks will you make?
Probably will break down to:
espresso 70% of the time
macchiato  20%
french press - 10%

How many drinks per day? per week?
2 drinks at a time, twice a day so total of at least 4 -6 a day or 42 a week

Do you entertain?
no.  none of my friends are particularly fond of espressos - although I do some occasional magic tricks ;)

Can you plumb in the machine?
No, but I would like to eventually learn

Do you have a dedicated 20-Amp outlet?
Yes

What is your budget? (which you've answered) Does that include a grinder? (which you've also answered)
yes, USD 800 for both the grinder and the machine.  I know it's not much, but I am thinking that in a few years,  I would probably want to upgrade hence limiting my budget.

The LeLit package and the grinder specifically seems very interesting (thanks for the link).  Now I am more confused.
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jalanc
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Nov 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Manila
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Nov 24, 2012, 1:46am
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

Baratza has a refurbed Preciso now for USD 239, and wholelattelove has a gaggia classic refurbed for USD 299, which will bring the total to USD 559 for the machine and grinder.  

How is the performance of the Preciso vs Lelit and the Vario?  I can probably live without the elctronic stuff in the Vario, so maybe the Preciso will be good enough and save me a few bucks for the accessories I will need?
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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Sat Nov 24, 2012, 2:34am
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

jalanc Said:

Baratza has a refurbed Preciso now for USD 239, and wholelattelove has a gaggia classic refurbed for USD 299, which will bring the total to USD 559 for the machine and grinder.  

How is the performance of the Preciso vs Lelit and the Vario?  I can probably live without the elctronic stuff in the Vario, so maybe the Preciso will be good enough and save me a few bucks for the accessories I will need?

Posted November 24, 2012 link

The only opinion that matters here is your own.  In this price range, the more you spend, the more you get, but you have to balance that with your aim to minimize expense.  The precisio is adequate for espresso. People use it and are very happy with it. As you move up the line, you will get better results but get diminishing returns above vario level.  If you are anticipating an upgrade in the future, I think your long-term budget will benefit by maxing out your grinder budget now.  When it comes time to upgrade, you only need the new machine.  Starting with a precisio, you'd need to upgrade both in the future; so I'd recommend starting with the vario if your current cash flow will allow it.
If not, then either the lelit or the precisio will be fine starter grinders.
Your other option would be to invest in a hand grinder if that is something you'd be interested in.  The Orphan espresso pharos is a titan class conical grinder but it requires hand grinding and is a pain to get the grounds out.....there is an active member on Home-barista.com (voodoodaddy) that modifies these to make them more user-friendly that you could always do in the future.  That will get you a grind quality that you can only best with an electric version over $1000.  But the hand cranking is a show stopper for some.
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Skylar
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Apr 2004
Posts: 134
Location: New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: lelit espresso
Grinder: lelit grinder
Vac Pot: B. D. Electric
Drip: chemex
Roaster: wok roast and popper, heat...
Posted Sat Nov 24, 2012, 7:56am
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

Hi,

As a lelit owner (machine and grinder) the combo has worked well for me and was an advance on my admittedly lower range Gaggia (Espresso) and Baratza (Maestro). Indeed only after giving the heave -ho to the Baratza Maestro and getting the lelit grinder did I start to approach a reasonably consistant degree of espresso extraction. The machine I have, by the way, was bought from 1st-line when they were clearing their shelves for the model that they have on special now.

I note that you are not in the US and would have to assume that the deal they have on line is not available to you.

Best of luck with whatever you chose.
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Keurig
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 10
Location: United States
Expertise: Professional

Posted Sat Nov 24, 2012, 8:10am
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

Yeah good choice good luck with it :>
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,966
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:01am
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

Skylar Said:

As a lelit owner (machine and grinder) the combo has worked well for me and was an advance on my admittedly lower range Gaggia (Espresso) and Baratza (Maestro).

Posted November 24, 2012 link

I've never used a Lelit grinder, so keep this in mind when I say...the Baratza Maestro has (dare I say) never been recommended on this board for espresso.  The Encore, which is a step up, is also not recommended, nor is the Virtuoso.  The Baratza grinders which are felt to be adequate for espresso are the Preciso and the Vario.  Hopefully, someone else can attest to hands-on comparison between the Preciso and the Lelit grinder.


diggi Said:

Your other option would be to invest in a hand grinder if that is something you'd be interested in.  The Orphan espresso pharos is a titan class conical grinder but it requires hand grinding and is a pain to get the grounds out.....there is an active member on Home-barista.com (voodoodaddy) that modifies these to make them more user-friendly that you could always do in the future.

Posted November 24, 2012 link

diggi Said:

That will get you a grind quality that you can only best with an electric version over $1000.  But the hand cranking is a show stopper for some.

Posted November 24, 2012 link

The "HG one" is another (almost) available hand grinder that uses either Mazzer Major or Robur conical burrs (user choice).  They are taking pre-orders, but it's not expected to ship until January.  The price is about $850.  Certainly quite a bit more than the Pharos, but less than $1k and doesn't require modification (or so it seems).

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


Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore The Club/Oscar
Grinder: K6 Pro/Super Mini E
Posted Sun Nov 25, 2012, 5:34pm
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

I have a refurb Preciso and a Mazzer Mini on decaf duty.  The Preciso has been rock solid, much better than merely adequate.  Nothing about the construction inspires confidence but it keeps churning out consistent grinds and great coffee day after day.  

If you like doing milk based drinks, a used NS Oscar would do very well for you.  Parts are widely available and troubleshooting isn't too difficult.  I am within your budget for the Oscar and the Preciso.....but being in Manila, it may be more difficult to control costs.
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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Sun Nov 25, 2012, 5:47pm
Subject: Re: New wanna be home barista - about to order my first home setup
 

emradguy Said:

The "HG one" is another (almost) available hand grinder that uses either Mazzer Major or Robur conical burrs (user choice).

Posted November 24, 2012 link

+1. I intentionally left this beauty out of my post as it is not really tested by the masses as of yet and unclear if this will be a true winner.  I certainly hope it is.  I have been lusting after this grinder for weeks now, but have yet to pull the trigger.  I know I already have enough $$ tied up in gear at the moment, but would love it if this one pans out.  And yes, once you factor in the mods for pharos, they are pretty close in price (only the pharos is still more portable).
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