harrydrinkscoffee Senior Member Joined: 15 Jan 2013 Posts: 2 Location: Australia Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013, 1:41am Subject: Best machine for practicing latte art and making good coffee?
Hi, I just left a job as a barista, but want to still make coffee and art at home, what would would you think is the best machine, as a combination (steam wand and extractor). Looking for a under 300 setup, not including the grinder/ accessories. Thanks :)
dolly0967 Senior Member Joined: 15 Jan 2013 Posts: 1 Location: yorkshire Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Lapavoni Grinder: Lapavoni
Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013, 2:55am Subject: Re: Best machine for practicing latte art and making good coffee?
Hi All, my name is Clare, i am new to Coffee Geek however i have spent time looking at the wealth of Knowledge contained herein. i have been looking for a new machine as my LaPavoni now is on its last legs. i like the look of the Laspaziali Vivaldi s1 2 mini, i have found a very good price with a company called Gio Espresso. i asked if they have a "January Sale" on of which they advised they don't have sales, however they have provided me with a voucher code entitling me to £100.00 discount the voucher code is MJ2T6H6H92 this i believe is a well kept secret and i would like to know if anyone else has had similar offers.
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 3,052 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Jan 16, 2013, 9:52am Subject: Re: Best machine for practicing latte art and making good coffee?
IMHO, The best machine would be a small commercial machine to keep your skills up. Most and maybe all home machines do not have the steam power to compare to what you learned on. Used commercial machines are often reasonably priced if you spend the time looking.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
Posted Wed Jan 16, 2013, 6:34pm Subject: Re: Best machine for practicing latte art and making good coffee?
I see the main issue in your search being a machine keeping up with the steam demands. You're pretty much only treading single boiler territory and with that you're limited to steam power of that single boiler. This isn't to say it's impossible, but it helps to have a machine with a thermoblock like the Breville 860XL/Crossland CC1/QM Silvano ($500-1000) so there's as much steam as you can use. Or even a dual boiler or heat exchanger but these are clearing $1250-3000.
I'm gonna assume you'd want a non pressurized machine so you can brew cafe style espresso so the best machine I can recommend is the Gaggia Classic or New Baby with the replaceable single hole steam tip (I think it's about $10). You will get a full 58mm portafilter and a small, fast recovering boiler. With the steam tip you might find it more similar to the cafe than machines with panarellos on the low end.
I would say if you're accustomed to cafe quality drinks and capacity you may want to reconsider your budget because the incapacity of machines sub $1000 may be far more apparent to you than others.
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