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I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > I need a "first...  
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jamichau
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jul 2011
Posts: 10
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jul 24, 2011, 9:43pm
Subject: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

I would like to get my wife an espresso machine for her birthday.  She knows about it and is excited. My budget is low, that's just a fact.  Around $250 is where I'd like to be. Our plan is to buy a machine without a grinder, purchasing pre-ground coffee for now. I've done a little web research and one site left me feeling as though I'm wasting my time, because "you gotta spend 400 to 500 dollars to get a decent machine".  I hope that's not true.  My wife has used a commercial style machine in the past, but she's no expert and isn't looking to be the world's best barista.  I just want to stop the $4.55 per day Starbucks habit.  I figure a reasonably priced machine would pay for itself quickly.
Am I being foolish?  Are sub-300 dollar machines by DeLonghi, Cuisinart, Breville, etc, a waste of money? I would really appreciate some good advice. I'm feeling pretty lost and can't afford to make a mistake.  Thanks, in advance, for your replies,

-J
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jezekilj
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Feb 2011
Posts: 29
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jul 25, 2011, 1:00am
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

For your budget the best is capsule machine.

It will cost you 5 times less than star bucks.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,942
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Jul 25, 2011, 5:14am
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

In a nut shell, for the most part, the very low $ machines are low results machines.

If you are really spending $4.55 a day, only on monday through friday, then you are buying coffee 261 times a year, at $4.55 per day, that equals $1,187 per year. If you only take half of that or about $550, you can get a stet up that will blow away anything you can get at *$, plus supplies of course so your first year spending will be about the same and a significant reduction every year after that while drinking very good to great coffee, something you can't get at *$.

This is not to mention that if you drink coffee on the weekends, that wasn't even taken into account is the *$ expenses.

You NEED a grinder that is able to grind for espresso, a whirly blade spice grinder won't do it. Plan  to spend about $75 for a used, referb hand powered grinder.

Good fresh coffee is also need. Plan to spend about $12 to $15 per pound to start with and the prices can but don't need to go up from there.

GREAT coffee at home is not hard to achieve but you will need to invest a little more than your starting price. You could go with used starter equipment from our BST board when it comes up and with a hand grinder you could possibly stay under $300 for machine, grinder, tamper, steaming pitcher and other items need to make coffee.

Good luck!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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chasemonster
Senior Member
chasemonster
Joined: 3 Jun 2010
Posts: 364
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Audrey
Grinder: Hario Mini Mill
Drip: V60
Posted Mon Jul 25, 2011, 5:15am
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

This machine is a lot of fun: Click Here
(Scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the customer reviews.)

It has the pressurized portafilter, and you can buy whole bean coffee from your supermarket or from Starbucks and bring it home and grind it up in a whirly blade grinder. Here is the best whirly blade grinder for the money: Click Here

The DeLonghi espresso machine should last at least 6 to 12 months, maybe longer.
The Krups grinder is practically indestructible.

- - - - - - -

A better alternative would be this: Click Here  or  Here
Both of these Gaggia machines ship for free.
Then, use the rest of your money to buy a burr grinder that will work with the Gaggia.
Something like this: Click Here

- - - - - - -
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timjoy
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2011
Posts: 3
Location: UK
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jul 25, 2011, 5:18am
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

go for argos. I just bought one!
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,461
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Mon Jul 25, 2011, 6:33am
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

John, first of all, welcome to CoffeeGeek . . .

jamichau Said:

Our plan is to buy a machine without a grinder, purchasing pre-ground coffee for now.

Posted July 24, 2011 link

Sadly, this idea will produce stale espresso of poor quality.*

jamichau Said:

I've done a little web research and one site left me feeling as though I'm wasting my time, because "you gotta spend 400 to 500 dollars to get a decent machine".  I hope that's not true.

Posted July 24, 2011 link

Sadly, it is.  Even these machines will have their drawbacks, BUT . . .  

jamichau Said:

Are sub-300 dollar machines by DeLonghi, Cuisinart, Breville, etc, a waste of money?

Posted July 24, 2011 link

Breville = Run aawwaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!
DeLonghi = see Breville (but if you have to pick one or the other, go DeLonghi).
Cuisinart = best of a bad lot

jamichau Said:

Am I being foolish?

Posted July 24, 2011 link

No.  You're not.  But you are making some of the same "mistakes" every newbie makes -- for example, letting your enthusiasm and anticipation lead you towards temptation and, possibly, some poor decisions.  

Rational Thought No. 1: a hand grinder will cost you approx. $75.  That expenditure alone will result is much better espresso, even with a -- god forbid! -- Breville.  (Don't do it!)  

Rational Thought No. 2:  look towards the idea of getting a refurbished machine -- see these and scroll down to the last three offered.  That will stretch your budget a bit, and allow you to afford a machine and Thought No. 1.

Understand that I used two Gaggia machines for over 25 years, with each lasting 12-15 years before finally giving out.  That said, knowing what I know now, I would have upgraded from there long before I actually did.  But easily one of those Gaggias will last you 5+ years, plenty of time to save up for a better machine and a more-than-adequate electric burr grinder.
 
Cheers,
Jason

* Babbe's Rule of Fifteens:
-- Green (unroasted) coffee beans should be roasted within 15 months, or they go stale.
-- Roasted coffee beans should be ground within 15 days, or they go stale.
-- Ground coffee should be used within 15 minutes, or it goes stale.

Your choice.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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duberville
Senior Member
duberville
Joined: 25 Jul 2011
Posts: 29
Location: Ottawa, ON
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: V3 Silvia, PID (Auber)
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Yama
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon Jul 25, 2011, 6:59am
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

I really would like to suggest that you NOT buy preground - it will make Starbucks coffee even more unpalatable. What you might want to do, if you're just interested in espresso, is to get a MyPressi Twist, ( click here ), with a hand grinder, like this one click here.

 
Sincerely,

Avery
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jamichau
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jul 2011
Posts: 10
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jul 25, 2011, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

Wow, 6 replies in one day! Thanks very much to all of you for helping.  I will check the links you posted and consider all your advice. It's surprising all that goes into "a lousy cup of coffee" - Major Margaret Houlahan, M*A*S*H.
Anyway, I'd like to ask another question. I know someone who works at Starbucks and gets a 30% discount on equipment from their site. On their site, Click Here (www.starbucksstore.com)  I'm looking at two versions of the same machine: Saeco Aroma in either black or stainless.  What do you think? (I can almost hear the screeching already!).

Thanks,

-J
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jamichau
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jul 2011
Posts: 10
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jul 26, 2011, 9:46pm
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

Ok, followed Jason's link to WLL, did some reading, and purchased the Gaggia Espresso Dose for my wife.  Need to find a manual grinder now.  Wish us good luck........

Thanks again to everyone who replied!

-J
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,056
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Jul 26, 2011, 11:40pm
Subject: Re: I need a "first machine" at a reasonable price
 

chasemonster Said:

...buy whole bean coffee from your supermarket or from Starbucks and bring it home and grind it up in a whirly blade grinder.

Posted July 25, 2011 link

Bad advise! You really should use coffee beans, but even though a blade grinder is relatively cheap it is totally unsuitable for making espresso, because it tends to heat the coffee, which degrades its aroma, and the grounds are very inconsistent. What you need is a burr grinder. Therefore, like JasonBrandtLewis said, a hand grinder is a much better and equally cheap alternative. Remember, the grinder is at least as, if not more important than the espresso machine itself for making good caffè.

The best hand grinder for espresso beans I know is the Zassenhaus Santiago. If you can't get it in the U.S., you'll be able to order it at amazon.de click here

NobbyR: Zassenhaus.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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