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Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Is it possible...  
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,021
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 11:20am
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

Unless you pick up a cheapo grinder for almost free, I don't advocate getting a cheapo grinder.  I think that is throwing good money after bad.

It sounds like you are going to upgrade sooner or later.  Get a good hand grinder you can use for travel/camping/back up or get a good electric grinder.

At entry level the grinder is as expensive or more expensive than the machine and yes, it is really that important.

 
Coffeenoobie

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

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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,997
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 11:33am
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

If you buy a grinder then get a good one.  You do not want to buy cheap now and then upgrade the grinder with a new machine.  The Baratza Preciso is a good grinder.  I found a factory refurb for $239, and that is about what I would expect to pay for a good grinder used.  

So the PF has nothing under the basket, out to the spout?  If so, then you are depressurized and should be able to get decent espresso with the proper grind and fresh quality beans.  You may need to read about temperature surfing as well.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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red4167
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Joined: 25 Jul 2012
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Location: Scotland
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 11:44am
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

This is the very same machine click in action. Apparently it has a stainless steel boiler and a 15 bar pump (presumably dialled down to 9 bar).

I have done a little research into grinders and I understand the importance.

With a good grinder and proper tamper do you think it would be possible to make consistently good espresso with this machine (consistently better than nespresso, and maybe as good as my local cafe)?

I have looked at the Gaggia MDF and Iberital MD2 - they seem to be in the right price range for me (around 130) if I am indeed going to make the jump to proper espresso- and the Iberital seems to be the better of the two (no doser and greater adjustability). The Rancilio rocky is a too expensive (around 200).
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red4167
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Location: Scotland
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 11:46am
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, the Baratza looks really nice... but quite pricey...
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 11:58am
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

Does your basket come apart at all or is it just one piece including handle? Looks like the older ones are just a solid non-pressurized piece and the later ones came with the pressurizer. Your going to want a nicer grinder then, if the Preciso is too much $ or even the Smart Grinder at around $200, just get a good hand grinder as nothing auto below the smart grinder is good enough for non-pressurized PF (unless you get lucky with a decent used machine). Hario Slim is like 30 bucks which I have too and good, can mod it so more "fine" grinding steps and consistency.

Don't bother thinking about the Rocky, out of date and out performed by cheaper grinders as far as fineness and consistency are concerned. Never used a Nesspresso, but long as you have fresh beans and a good grinder it should still taste very good, I got good shots out of a Delonghi Bar32.
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
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Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 12:06pm
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

I think that the Preciso is about bottom price for a good grinder with enough adjustment.  It is comperable in price to some of the better, used.  Rocky does not have enough steps, as noted outdated by newer and better.  Hand grinders are less, but you will want to upgrade.

You have a pump/pressure, nonpressurized PF, hot water and grinds, so you can get a decent cup.  More money makes it easier to do, but you will have the ingredients with Delonghi and a capable grinder.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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red4167
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Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Scotland
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 12:42pm
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

Okay, so what I would be looking for in a grinder,
-a small footprint
-the ability to grind straight into the basket
-enough adjustment

So what can you recommend apart from the Preciso? Is the consensus that the Preciso is at the bottom end for grinders that would be suitable for use with a standard portafilter w/o pressurisation? Is the Preciso at the bottom end for "capable" grinders?

How would you rate the Gaggia MDF or Iberital MD2?
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,997
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 2:28pm
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

Just to clarify since I planted that thought, the Preciso is around the bottom price end for a good powered grinder, I do not think of it as a bottom end grinder.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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MJW
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Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

I agree the BAR14 is a great machine and can make really good espresso if the grinder is able.  I have the EC270 which is almost the same but comes pressurized.  I had to remove the pressurized parts.

For a grinder I'll make some suggestions.  There's the Baratza Encore which if you tweak it can get you there.  It will work but you will probably wish for something with more adjustability.  The Preciso is good but pricey.

There's the Pharos (Orphan Espresso), which is a hand grinder but outstanding grind quality.  The burr set it uses is from one of the best grinders available.  OE makes another hand grinder which would also work but it doesn't grind as quickly as the P.

A used Rocky would work.  I found a used Mazzer Mini and it works nicely.  Around here there are a lot of used Super Jolly's that come up for sale b/c they're used in coffee shops.

I tried an Ascaso I-1 but I would not recommend it.

I hope you're able to make some great coffee with your machine!

-Mike
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
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Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
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Posted Thu Jul 26, 2012, 12:23am
Subject: Re: Is it possible to get good results from a crappy machine?
 

Well, basically what the espresso machine does is push hot water through a puck of ground coffee, and basically yes, any espresso machine can do that. What separetes a cheap machine from a prosumer or commercial machine are qualitity of built, durability, and temperature stability to name but a few. The quality of the espresso, however, mainly depends on the grinder, the quality and freshness of the beans, and the barista of course. Like it has been said many times on this forum: An experienced home barista can brew better espresso with an entry level machine and a capable grinder than with a commercial machine and a crap grinder. So it's possible to get good or at least acceptable results with a cheap machine.

Why didn't using ground coffee from a Nespresso capsule work? Because it's pre-ground coffee. Apart from going stale within minutes (some might even argue it's already stale), it just never has the right fineness for proper extraction.

By the way, most members here on CoffeeGeek will agree that Nespresso might be an approximation of espresso, but it's not really espresso. Wrong dose (5 g of coffee in a capsule), wrong volume (40 ml for a single shot).

 
***
"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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