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Newbie - The best machine for my needs, Recommendations?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Newbie - The...  
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2012, 4:51pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - The best machine for my needs, Recommendations?
 

Luscombe Said:

I have been home roasting for years so I knew I would have fresh beans.

Posted July 9, 2012 link

Maybe it's something that I might consider trying, as the cost of entry doesn't look too expensive. When I get to that point, I'll be asking for a lot of advice, but I'm not there yet. I'll leave that for another thread!

Luscombe Said:

Great espresso can be made without E61 heads, here come the flames.

Posted July 9, 2012 link

I wouldn't mind hearing from forum members about E61 vs non-E61. I know that E61 machines carry a premium. I'm not sure what to think about it. I know Dual Boiler E61 machines exist, but I don't know if E61
is less important in a dual boiler machine compared to an HX machine.

Luscombe Said:

You will want to balance the boiler sizes to your needs.

Posted July 9, 2012 link

A smaller boiler is fine for me, considering that I will be using it mostly for myself and when we have the occasional company come over. If I need a larger boiler, I'll upgrade but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Luscombe Said:

when the cone shrinks and the color blonds.

Posted July 9, 2012 link

OK, I'll admit that's some great newbie advice right there. Thank you.

Luscombe Said:

I kinda fell into the grinder through a series of emails...

Posted July 9, 2012 link

I may certainly consider purchasing a used grinder and/or accessories through the swap forums.

Luscombe Said:

Send me your email address

Posted July 9, 2012 link

I'll send an e-mail to your public e-mail address listed in your profile. That's your gmail address.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,047
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 Jul 9, 2012, 5:04pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - The best machine for my needs, Recommendations?
 

Luscombe Said:

I do not time my shots as I made a bottomless PF and stop the pull when the cone shrinks and the color blonds.

Posted July 9, 2012 link

agree...this is a good visual cue to the end of the shot.  However, if you really want to know when the shot is over, you need to taste it right at the end.  It changes quite a bit, and quite rapidly.  The technique (or exercise, if you prefer) for learning both the visual cue and the change in taste is to take rapid successive samplings of the extraction as it's coming out of the pf.  Just setup your shot as normal and instead of placing a cup under the pf, let the stream fall into the drip tray.  Using a small spoon, sample the extraction as many times as you can, particularly towards the last half of the extraction.  You can even have a timer running, if you want to.

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


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 578
Location: LA, Ca
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office with...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Customized Alpenrost,...
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2012, 5:38pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - The best machine for my needs, Recommendations?
 

Hi
I have an Expobar office, and if you're lucky (I was), there is a screw in the group head that lets you install a thermocouple into the group head.

For ALL E61's, this screw is there, and you can install a digital thermometer in the grouphead.  It costs about $100, and takes maybe 15 mins to install.  The guy who designed it has written a very detailed installation procedure.  The main thing is getting the depth correct, but he tells you how to do that.

I had trouble with temp surfing before, with the thermocouple it is simple and repeatable.

Or you pony up for a DB, and then you don't have to worry about it.
My real problem with a DB was the size, it was going to take up too much counter space.

Randy
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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2012, 9:12pm
Subject: Re: Newbie - The best machine for my needs, Recommendations?
 

qualin Said:

Can you tell me who you bought it from?

Posted July 8, 2012 link

This is the one that I have, but there are many more/less fancy.  This is sort of a starting point to get you thinking.

qualin Said:

I may consider saving my pennies for the weighted version to keep the dosing consistent. I understand that underdosing or overdosing a machine can really affect results.

Posted July 8, 2012 link

Very true.  Or you could use a small scale of something like this. I pre-weigh my beans for each shot and keep the hopper empty, just grinding what I need for each shot.  This allows me to switch for decaf at night, and full caff in am and between types of beans easily.

qualin Said:

It was in San Francisco that I gained a whole entire appreciation for a decently made capuccino.

Posted July 8, 2012 link

Yes, It is certainly a mecca of coffee.  My cafe hopping has included: Blue bottle (3 shops), Sightglass, Four barrell, Ritual, Some place at the old Ferry building pulling Verve, and my hotel room aeropress with 49th parallel guat retana. 2 days left!
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jmreeves
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Feb 2011
Posts: 17
Location: TN
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: pasquini livia
Grinder: baratza vario
Posted Tue Jul 10, 2012, 3:48am
Subject: Re: Newbie - The best machine for my needs, Recommendations?
 

qualin Said:

Wow.. There are lots of replies. Thanks everyone for your input so far! I'll start off by going through each reply.



OK. I've read time and time again on this forum that the grinder is more important than the machine.. Garbage in, Garbage out. It's something I'll take into consideration.

I really think this will help your consistancy
There sure are a lot of variables. Grind, Tamp, Dose, etc. Seems to me that it can be difficult keeping them all consistent enough to end up with that "God" shot.

Just tackle one at a time and it won't be hard at all. I don't find HX's hard to temperature surf at all. Weight your dose, variable eliminated. Your tamping won't be a huge factor at first so try not to worry about it and just keep it consistent.

There is a local "Roastisterie" here that I've been dying to try their espresso blends. They have one of those six foot tall roasting machines that are designed to roast 50 lb bags of beans
in one shot. It's downright heavenly to sit down in the shop and smell the aromas of those beans being roasted. You bring up another good point about all of those accessories. I guess I'll
have to consider budgeting at least $200-$300 in accessories! So, other than seeing how well one tamped/ground their shot, why would someone use a naked portafilter?

well, it is the easiest way to figure out how well you ground the shot. Also it can help you figure out channeling issues. Certainly not a need but if you are eliminating variables...

I can see this being a pain, especially if the tray fills up without a visual indicator. I'm considering the idea about putting it near the sink and using a drain line, but I'm not sure if that's too wife friendly.



Compared to my Breville K-Cup maker, I kind of expect the machine to be just as noisy. It appears that rotary pump machines carry a bit of a price premium. I guess for the purist, they are better
but from my point of view, I don't think I could justify spending the extra money just to have a quieter machine. Are vibe pumps less reliable than rotary pumps?



OK, Here's a few things you brought up that I really didn't think about. What are your thoughts on this? I know the Breville DB machine requires "Professional Service" after about 6,000 drinks, it
goes into a lockout mode (At least from my understanding) and then it has to be shipped off to the service depot for scaling. This is something which took away it's attractiveness for me.  

I build computers as a hobby so I don't see any reason why I couldn't bring the machine to the service provider, have them show me how to properly descale the boilers and then do it myself.

Yes, we have hard water here.. very hard water. What would be my expected price to spend on an in-line water softener? Is it more cost effective to purchase one instead of periodically descaling
the machine? I would think that due to the volume of drinks I'd be doing, it would be years before I would have to descale a machine?

Posted July 8, 2012 link

Breville immediately turned me off of that machine and I loathe their design plan. I know very little about the machine but it's not one I want simply due to the service being required. I understand you could probably have someone show you how but I don't want to buy into a company that has that perspective. I am not sure what the price difference would be in canada for a good in-line water softener. In any case you will want to descale anyway. It is a fairly straight forward process that doesn't take much time yet is well worth it. I would recommend reading some of the very helpful guides on home-barista on pulling shots, cleaning espresso machines and buying espresso machines etc.
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