amerc Senior Member Joined: 2 Jan 2010 Posts: 9 Location: Baraboo, WI Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Gaggia Classic Grinder: Nuova Simonelli MCF Drip: Bunn A-10 Roaster: Fresh Roast Plus 8
Posted Sun Sep 26, 2010, 6:44pm Subject: Re: Some opinions for a new espresso machine
I would suggest a Gaggia Classic. Look online, you can sometimes find deals with free shipping. Make sure any machine you buy doesn't have a pressurized portafilter. It will limit you ability to achieve the best shots. Because they have two layers in the basket, coffee oils build up between and impart nasty taste into your espresso. You will need to spend at least $200 on a decent grinder. There have been some pretty good reviews of the Nemox LUX doserless grinder. Enjoy the quest to make great espresso at home!
Here's my general recommendations whenever anyone is on such a budget: What are your priorities? Do you want the best tasting coffee you can get for the money you have, or does it have to be espresso regardless as to how difficult it will be to make or how inconsistent it might be? $400 CDN. for an espresso machine will get you something, but a grinder is a must, and you could easily spend that much on a grinder, the universal advice being that the espresso machine is an accessory to the grinder.
Would a hand grinder do? For about $100 you can get a quality hand grinder. Then try the Aerobie Aeropress (which even works with the lowest quality grinders, although not as well). It is tough to make a bad cup using that device. The Espro Press (from a Canadian company) is about to be available and it makes a great cup as well, and I am looking forward to reviewing it very soon. There are also the tried-and-true pour over cones that work great. The one constant is that you have to feed them all high quality coffee to get good tasting beverages from them.
Posted Mon Sep 27, 2010, 4:23pm Subject: Re: Some opinions for a new espresso machine
I am looking for a decent machine that will last for a reasonable amount of time considering the cost .. a semi automatic pump machine, i have looked at a few different machine but the once like braville and krups are apparently garbage and i am wondering if i can get something like a gaggia pure in calgary
Posted Mon Sep 27, 2010, 4:58pm Subject: Re: Some opinions for a new espresso machine
What kind of drinks do you want to prepare? How many at once? How quickly?
Does your $400 budget have to go towards a good espresso grinder too? (It doesn't matter what machine you get - if there isn't a good espresso grinder nearby, it will be almost impossible to get good results.)
On that kind of budget, stateside, I got a throwaway department store machine on clearance and a good grinder. It worked pretty well for 9 months; then I got a real machine to use with the grinder.
Posted Mon Sep 27, 2010, 5:26pm Subject: Re: Some opinions for a new espresso machine
well i would be happy if it made decent espresso .. i dont object to heating up my milk a little bit at first by microwaving it since i usually make a white hot chocolate to add to the espresso (i make real white hot chocolate not powdered stuff) and i usually do a double shot at a time maybe 1-2 in an hour and the 400$ is for just the machine .. for now i have some illy preground yes i know it will be stale.. blah blah blah .. it still tastes good
Taste is subjective. If you like preground Illy, who am I to argue with you. I'd like to offer that there's "better" out there. It requires fresh beans (within 2 weeks of being roasted) and a quality burr grinder.
If you choose to stay with preground coffee, I probably wouldn't spend $400 on a machine as I don't know you're going to matter. I would personally look for an entry level machine with a Pressurized Portafilter (PPF). With preground or poorly ground coffee, a traditional portafilter just isn't going to work.
If you plan on getting a grinder later, I'd recommend saving up and buying both at once.
REgarding your other thread you've started, the reason someone might not offer a brick and mortar is that there's so few. quality home espresso equipment is an EXTREMELY small niche which means fewer vendors which means fewer retail locations. Quality home espresso is basically a mail order venue with few exceptions.
Stale coffee VS fresh coffee is like rancid, green, maggot infested beef VS dry aged Prime beef in a fine dining establishment, there really is no way to compare them.
Not to mention that it is impossible to get a good shot with pre-ground. It will never be the right grind for your machine and will either pull too slow or more likely, will channel, pull too fast and be overextracted sewer water.
Your choice, but without fresh, properly ground coffee, regardless of the extraction method, you might as well drink water, it will positively taste better.
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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