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Espresso: Espresso Machines
What machine to buy - beginner.
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jackson
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2003
Posts: 2
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Nov 18, 2003, 1:45pm
Subject: What machine to buy - beginner.
 

Hello, I am trying to research an espresso machine as a Christmas present for my husband. We've had some Coffeemate or some similar type of machine for years and it recently broke.  I find myself overwhelmed with all the factors that should come into play when making a good shot of espresso - I had no idea and wonder if I've ever tried a well made shot....  Any suggestions on the type of machine I should look for without breaking the bank?  Thanks!
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CaliforniaCaffiend
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Oct 2003
Posts: 44
Location: Davis, Ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Rituale
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Tue Nov 18, 2003, 2:18pm
Subject: Re: What machine to buy - beginner.
 

Well, without more info on what would be too expensive, I'd start with a Rancilio Sylvia machine and a matching Rancilio Rocky grinder.  It's a good "real" espresso machine, meaning it has a pump, with a decent boiler, a three way valve, and good steaming abilities.  A burr grinder is a must have.  Check the reviews here for both the Silvia and Rocky.  

Beyond the Silvia, there are better machines, but you'll pay dearly for the improvements.  A good e61 heat exchanger will make better espresso, see Exobar, Isomac, ECM for examples, but you'll pay $1000 to $1300 for the machine alone.

Good luck with the research!
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49express
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Nov 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis Francis X5
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky Doserless
Drip: Braun
Posted Tue Nov 18, 2003, 5:30pm
Subject: Re: What machine to buy - beginner.
 

Hey Jackson, you don't say whether your defunct machine was an espresso maker or what.  Tell me more about what the thing looked like.  And how much DO you want to spend?  Guidelines will help in advising you.  I'm getting the impression you haven't been making "the real thing" and might need a machine which has some beginner bells and whistles.  The Rancilio machines are not beginnier machines, more for someone who know what they're doing.  So, give us some more info and we'll try to guide you in the right direction.
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jackson
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2003
Posts: 2
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Nov 18, 2003, 8:12pm
Subject: Re: What machine to buy - beginner.
 

The machine that we've been using is a Mr. Coffee espresso machine which uses steam to froth the milk.  What to spend.... I'm not sure.  I thought about spending $400 and was hoping to get a good machine for that or less.  I struggle with spending a lot if I'm not going to be able to make good espresso with my machine - I just wouldn't get the value.  So, that said, I want to find a beginner machine under $400.  I suppose I could wait on the grinder and add that later.  Thanks so much for your help!
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tom_b
Senior Member
tom_b
Joined: 19 Aug 2003
Posts: 537
Location: Maui, Hawaii

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia/PID
Grinder: Nuova Simonelli MCF
Roaster: USPS/Popper
Posted Tue Nov 18, 2003, 10:13pm
Subject: Re: What machine to buy - beginner.
 

The Gaggia line of espresso machines makes good espresso, and the cheaper ones are like $200. The Gaggia MDF grinder is about $150 right now. If you skip the grinder, you can't control the flow of espresso to get an 'ideal' 25 second 2 oz shot, so you're going to miss out on quality. Cheaper burr grinders die, or they don't grind fine enough, or if they do they produce a lot of powder that overextracts when the hot water hits and bitterness is the result. Blade grinders don't grind fine enough, which will make the espresso waterey.. Be sure to get a tamper that will fit your new espresso machine's portafilter handle and learn about temperature surfing to get a really consistant espresso..
Regards,
tom
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49express
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Nov 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis Francis X5
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky Doserless
Drip: Braun
Posted Thu Nov 20, 2003, 4:50pm
Subject: Re: What machine to buy - beginner.
 

Jackson, go read reviews on www.wholelattelove.com.   User reviews are listed by machine and you can glean lots of info.  Things to decide:  portafilters - do you want one that's pressurized to relieve you of the need to get just the right grind and tamp, or do you want the non-pressurized one and learn how to do it right?  Do you have a preference on switches as opposed to buttons?  How about how much plastic is involved in the machine?  We all know how plastic just lasts and lasts, especially cheap knobs.  When reading reviews, think about how many shots you'll be extracting each time you use the machine.  Is a long warm up time worth it if you alone are needing a single or double, then you're out the door?  Or are other folks going to use it too, so once it's warmed up it's ready to produce shot after shot after shot?  Also, think measurements.  How high are your upper cabinets on the counter where you plan to put it.  Will you have room?  Yes, these are reasons why it took me so long to decide on what to buy, it will drive you nuts.  But, better to think about these things than be sorry later.
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