Posted Fri Jun 22, 2012, 4:52pm Subject: Re: New here
My suggestion to you would be to get espresso at a shop that knows how to pull it and has the equipment to do so. Then once you figure out if you like it, you can then start to read up on the specifics. I would suggest reading up on here and HomeBarista.com if you want to learn about the different nuances of espresso and machines. But once you do your reading, you'll realize that your first order of business is the grinder, not the machine.
This isn't a better or worse discussion. This all comes down to preference and coffee. For instance, I've found some coffees I like better as a filtered coffee and some I like better as an espresso. It isn't a matter of better or worse; they're just different.
No. You need a grinder. There are alternatives, but they are a compromise and you would be best off getting a better coffee maker instead of a low-end espresso machine..:
A good grinder should be the first thought regardless what brewing method you are considering. Good coffee starts with fresh coffee and for that you need to grind per use using fresh-roasted coffee beans. For a grinder check Baratza Brewing: The Espro press is EXCELLENT. Also Behmor has a new brewer that will (may) soon be available that shows promise. I have not heard any dates yet.
+1. I know that you're thinking to yourself, "what's the big deal if I just get it pre-ground?" And if we're talking about espresso, well there's a rather lengthy answer. But let's just talk about filter coffee.
Ground coffee stales faster than any other food product that I know of. Once ground, it starts to go stale the first 15 min (some say in 60s). Even unground, whole bean coffee starts to really lose it luster after 2 weeks.
So yeah, a grinder is absolutely essential for a quality product (but not as essential as good coffee is). A good hand grinder (like the Hario Skerton) is a good cheap option and the Baratza Encore is a fantastic non-espresso grinder. I actually just got my father one for father's day.
scanfield Senior Member Joined: 21 Nov 2011 Posts: 181 Location: Texas Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sat Jun 23, 2012, 7:52am Subject: Re: New here
Find the best coffee place in your city (it probably won't be a chain like Starbucks) and go buy a shot of espresso and a latte. Do this a few times spread over a week or so. If you find yourself wanting more, then dive deeper into the world of espresso but be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars (probably more like $1000).
Read some of the archives here and pretty soon you will find out that espresso is all about the grinder and super fresh beans. It's an expensive and relatively high maintenance pursuit.
I would recommend buying a good coffee set up (these can be very inexpensive) and go out for espresso.
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,627 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: CC1 Grinder: Baratza
Posted Sat Jun 23, 2012, 9:37am Subject: Re: New here
In addition to finding a good place by you (not Starbucks), pay attention to the coffee as well. Should have a nice rich crema, if none or very little avoid. If it taste sour or bitter avoid etc. Just as an example there are a ton of coffee shops around me and South FL in general, however only a handful actually know how to make a real nice Espresso.
But you have to try first, who knows, you may actually not like it.... can't really compare to filter coffee, too different.
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