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Newbie question #767
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
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ActionJ
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Greenville, SC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 14, 2012, 6:25am
Subject: Newbie question #767
 

Ok,

I am not a current straight espresso drinker, but once I have my own machine, I will become one. Currently my caffenie fix comes from good dark roast coffees and my drip machine. My wife likes the milk drinks, and we both are foodies and enophiles. Anyway, once again the limited budget question. I have read enough (and many of your newbie threads) to know that I should get a good grinder (at least a good one for a rookie). The Baratza Virtouso (586) model seems to be good enough at $229. And why are everybody's prices the same????

Now for the espresso machine. Seattle Coffee seems to push the Saeco Via Vinenzia. It seems to be a reliable machine that does a good job of frothing, but I never see it recommended on here. I see the Gaggia Classic recommended on here some, but its reviews are not as good as the Saeco Via Venzia on Amazon. And if I got the machine from Seattle Coffee would you go with the stainless refurb at $249 or the new in box, non-stainless at $299? Does Seattle Coffee give good service on their extended warranties?

Also, looked at the Le'Lit 041QE at 1st-line Equipment. They tout the all brass tank for more constant temps, but a few reviews mention that its frothing capabilities are limited.

I will go with one of the specialty equipment retailers instead of Amazon. Does anyone have a strong opinion as to which retailer to go with? Like I said most of their prices seem to be the same, which is too bad. I guess everyone is trying to just match Amazon.

Bottom line I want a machine that gives reasonably good espresso, has a good frother ( it seems the one hole variety and a little practice is best) and I want a retailer who gives good service before and after the sale. Thanks.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,398
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 May 14, 2012, 7:02am
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

Welcome, Jeff, to CG . . .

ActionJ Said:

I am not a current straight espresso drinker, but once I have my own machine, I will become one.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

How do you know?

ActionJ Said:

Currently my caffenie fix comes from good dark roast coffees and  . . .

Posted May 14, 2012 link

. . . and you may find that -- like most of us -- you'll prefer lighter roasts (FC+, for example) for your espresso.  

ActionJ Said:

(W)e both are foodies and enophiles.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

Darker roasts are more like over-oaked Chardonnay . . . the oak masks the flavor of the wine and its origins; it could come from anywhere and taste the same.  Lighter roasts reveal more of the coffee's origins and unique character, much like the distinctive qualities found in a Chablis 1er Cru or a Meursault, versus a (not over-oaked) Santa Cruz Mtns. Chardonnay or one from the Sonoma Coast, one from Margaret River Central Otago . . .

ActionJ Said:

I have read enough (and many of your newbie threads) to know that I should get a good grinder (at least a good one for a rookie). The Baratza Virtouso (586) model seems to be good enough at $229.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

Baratza Virtuoso?  No.  Baratza Preciso?  Yes.

ActionJ Said:

Now for the espresso machine . . .

Posted May 14, 2012 link

Can we return to basics for a moment?  (Just bear with me.)  ;^)

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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ActionJ
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Greenville, SC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 14, 2012, 7:47am
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

Jason - Thanks for the response...

You asked: How do you know?

I don't know for sure, but I tried espresso in Italy and found it strong, but I figure it is an acquired taste and I have found that over time I usually like drinking good products straight, scotch, bourbon, etc.

Thanks for the advice on the lighter roasts, I will try them out, especially with espresso.

Jason said: Baratza Virtuoso?  No.  Baratza Preciso?  Yes.
Jason - This is how the budget creep works! But point taken. I guess I saw a video on Seattle Coffee Gear and they didn't see a big difference if the Precisio if I heard them right, but it definitely seems to be a more recommended choice. Will take your advice.

Jason said : Can we return to basics for a moment?  (Just bear with me.)  ;^)

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
Mochas and lattes and a few espressos for me if I acquire the taste.

2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)[ I see making one as sufficent. One for my wife and then mine. Two would be ok, but don't need to pay a premium.
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  [i](This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)[ I see maybe 14 -21 week]
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir? I see a pourover machine as good enough. I have a very good plumbed in water filter suppply on our prep sink, where I could get good filtered water for the reservoir.
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit? All my circuits look to be at least 20 amps.
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder? Well, my budget isn't set, and it seems to keep creeping up the more I read. so I see it being $600-$750 total, including grinder.

Thanks - Jeff

also - how do you get that highlight thing working.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,129
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon May 14, 2012, 1:11pm
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

ActionJ Said:

I don't know for sure, but I tried espresso in Italy and found it strong, but I figure it is an acquired taste and I have found that over time I usually like drinking good products straight, scotch, bourbon, etc.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

From everything you've said, I suspect you will really appreciate lighter roasts like City, Full City and Full City +.  you seem to appreciate the quality in things you ingest, and these will definitely bring that out.  "dark roasts" can be over roasted so that mostly all you taste it the char, rather than the essence of the coffee beans...as Jason said.

ActionJ Said:

...mochas and lattes...

Posted May 14, 2012 link

I used to drink mochas, but gave them up for the reasons stated above.  i.e., I found that the chocolate masked the coffee flavors.


ActionJ Said:

I see a pourover machine as good enough. I have a very good plumbed in water filter suppply on our prep sink, where I could get good filtered water for the reservoir.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

plumbing the machine is really convenient.  I've been refilling reservoirs for years and can tell you...it's a real PIA.  Hopefully, you won't have the same experience as me, but you might want to consider having the option to plumb-in available in the machine you choose.


ActionJ Said:

All my circuits look to be at least 20 amps.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

a dedicated 20 amp circuit is recommended for at least some of the machines out there.  I can't speak on all of them, but the Izzo Alex Duetto II can operate in 15 or 20 amp mode.

ActionJ Said:

Well, my budget isn't set, and it seems to keep creeping up the more I read. so I see it being $600-$750 total, including grinder.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

this budget will probably keep you in the SBDU realm for machine, unless you are able to find a really good deal on a used HX.

ActionJ Said:

also - how do you get that highlight thing working.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

use the "quoted button" in the bottom right corner of the post you'd like to quote.  you can highlight the bracketed quote#### thing and copy multiple times in the text.  make sure to put a bracketed x behind the section you want to quote and then delete the "waste" (for lack of better term)

btw, welcome to CG!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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ActionJ
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Greenville, SC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon May 14, 2012, 7:23pm
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

What about this grinder instead of Precisio?

Ascaso I-1/I-1D Espresso Grinder
Regularly $359, now $271 at 1st line?
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,398
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 May 14, 2012, 9:29pm
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

ActionJ Said:

Well, my budget isn't set, and it seems to keep creeping up the more I read. so I see it being $600-$750 total, including grinder.

Posted May 14, 2012 link

As is often said, you don't need to spend a fortune to make great espresso at home, but you do need to spend something . . .

Take a serious look at the following machines, listed in alphabetical order:  
Gaggia Classic
Gaggia New Babby
Le'Lit PL041

For a grinder, look at the Baratza Preciso.

And remember . . .

The Four M's of Espresso:
1) the Macinazione is the grinder, and with it, the correct grinding of the coffee beans;
2) the Miscela is the coffee beans/blend itself;
3) the Macchina is the espresso machine; and
4) the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  

All four are important.  Nothing is more important than the grinder.

/ / / / /

Babbie'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.

Cheers,
Jason

* OK, so there are very few hard-and-fast "rules" -- more like "rules-of-thumb."

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,095
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

The Preciso continues to get high regard here in spite of the burr carrier issues that really need to be resolved. Baratza gets the (well deserved) highest marks for customer support, but a broken burr carrier is still a grinder that can't make your espresso in the morning.  This burr adjustment accuracy is critical for espresso, and not nearly so for other brew methods.  .... These endorsements make coffeegeek look more like a marketing and sales arm of the industry.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,031
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 10:37am
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

If you don't mind used you can often find a used 1k machine for half or less.  That is a lot more machine for the same buck.  I did that. Even though it worked when I bought it, it was not perfect.  I have had to fix a valve, clean another valve and replace the pump. However, I have learned a lot, feel like I still got an ok deal even with the work I have put into it.  I can crank out espressos and steam milk at the same time for a large group and that is not something most starter machines can do.  (I just did this weekend)  My budget creep came when got a new Vario W grinder.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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ActionJ
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Greenville, SC
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 10:27am
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

I think I am down to 2 combinations, both about the same cost.

1) The Le'Lit PL041EM V2 and the Le'Lit PL43 grinder. "1st in Coffee" said the LeLit PL43 grinder would be fine with the LeLit PL041. $725. They claim under 20 seconds recovery time to pull a shot after frothing.

2) The Gaggia Baby Twin (refurbed, comes with a 6 month warranty) and the Baratza Preciso grinder from "Whole Latte Love". $669. They claim the temps hold better with the double boiler and the problems that originally were happening with the machine have been fixed. $100 more for the new model that has a one year warranty.

Thoughts about the machines and the vendors? Thanks.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,015
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 11:51am
Subject: Re: Newbie question #767
 

My 2 cents is to avoid the Twin.  It has not been fixed and used long enough to have great reviews. Make sure that you know of the fix and reviews from users, not sellers.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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