Shinok Senior Member Joined: 19 Feb 2013 Posts: 3 Location: Florida Expertise: Just starting
Posted Tue Feb 19, 2013, 2:11pm Subject: First Real Machine
I'm just getting into the hobby and was hoping for some advice. I've been skimming the forums and have got some great stuff to work with but figured I'd start a thread and not hijack another.
I have been making latte's for a few months but I know there is definite room for improvement. My wife likes how they come out but we're using a cheap Delonghi "espresso" maker that has a plastic steam head for easier frothing. I've gotten fairly good at utilizing what I have but the espresso lacks (none of the rich crema etc) and although I get that decent wet paint look from the milk, it always feels too thin and never gives me enough to do any sort of latte art (not really that necessary :p)
My problem is that when I get into a hobby, I like to do it right the first time and like the more traditional aspects when available, which has led me to the manual side of things. I know there will definitely be a learning curve but am I better off sinking money into a manual machine or will I get similar results from one of the automatics? Budget is probably going to be under $1,000 until I can really justify higher so I was looking at the La Pavoni's to start (Stradavari is on amazon for $810)
The automatics seem a bit out of price range aside from some of the Breville units, like the Barista version for $580, but if those are better to start with, I could possibly look at some of the higher models.
Posted Tue Feb 19, 2013, 2:31pm Subject: Re: First Real Machine
Hi, welcome to CG. How about a little more information? What is your grinder? What is your coffee supply and date roasted? Is you current machine using the standard pressurized portafilter, or non-pressurized.
You might start by reading here How to 12 Easy Guide to espresso at home.
Posted Tue Feb 19, 2013, 3:13pm Subject: Re: First Real Machine
Grinder is the first issue to solve as you will begin to see as you read the Espressomyespresso link. Probably the minimal acceptable grinder for espresso is the Baratza Preciso and it is $239 + shipping for the refurb from Baratza.com. New refurb offerings are on Thursday mornings and up until sold. The better buy if in your budget is the Baratza Vario refurb also available on the site for $360 IIRC.
After you understand the significance a grinder and freshly roasted beans, then you are more ready to start looking at machines.
Be careful when you look at any electric espresso grinder, especially those for less, and research it carefully on the forums, not Amazon or similar reviews.
The Delonghi will be pressurized if not fixed by you. Look at the thread on getting started in home espresso and learn the basics and you will get a lot of help here. Again, describe what you want use-wise when you report back.
crazy4espresso Senior Member Joined: 19 Jan 2008 Posts: 147 Location: Toronto Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni... Grinder: Pharos
Posted Tue Feb 19, 2013, 3:18pm Subject: Re: First Real Machine
I don't see mention of a grinder. A big chunk of that budget will have to be sunk into a quality grinder if you want espresso. I suggest you spend some time researching grinders before you settle on a final budget, and before you settle on a machine. If you have a decent grinder you can make decent espresso on a cheap machine, but a $6,000 espresso machine will not make anything resembling a drinkable shot with a whirly blade, say.
Posted Tue Feb 19, 2013, 4:55pm Subject: Re: First Real Machine
With 2 lattes, in the morning and the desire to be able to do 6+ is a session, you are leaving the Single Boiler Double Use machines, like the one that you have but perhaps bigger and better. If that 6+ is not very rare, you are going to be looking a HX, heat eschanger, machines and or douible boiler. There are good resources/members with those machines and lots of strong feelings about best in a given budget. I just gave you the terms HX and double boiler and you can start to research.
Start looking at grinder threads, but I think the Baratza Vario is a great start, and the Preciso if budget demands. I say that and have the Preciso. You may need to up your budget, get ready.
The Espressomyespresso site that I gave you earlier is a great reference for much of the espresso journey.
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