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Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Help! I need...  
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greensticker
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2012
Posts: 2
Location: New Zealand
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun Aug 26, 2012, 5:28pm
Subject: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

Hi, I am looking for a Semi Auto machine with a decent steamer and control over the extraction i.e. I want to be able to choose when the water stops instead of it just hapening automatically. I have worked in coffee for 3 years and want to buy a machine for at home so I dont get rusty while I save for my coffee van. I am looking to spend around $600 - $700 (NZ$). I have had a look at a few but dont realy know what to look out for. here are a few I have found within my price range. Any feedback would be great.

Breville BES820 Professional 800

Breville BES840 The Infuser

Breville BES860 Fresca

DeLonghi ECO310W Icona

I am also looking at these on Trademe (our version of Ebay)

La Piccola.it Coffee Pod Machine

ASCASO Dream (Retro Yellow)

KitchenAid Artisan Coffee Machine
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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 Sun Aug 26, 2012, 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

If I were wanting to start a coffee van I would really consider used commercial machines and grinders. NS Oscar used is portable commercial rated machine that used price is a real bargain. It is often used for catering, so I would think a better investment for you than anything on your list.  You could use it as a back up or low volume starter machine very easily.  You could do coffee bars at parties and weddings with it to help you towards your goal.

 
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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greensticker
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2012
Posts: 2
Location: New Zealand
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun Aug 26, 2012, 8:52pm
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

I have considered this but my plans are to buy a coffee van that has already been set up. This machine is realy just a cheapo that will let me practice my latte art and give me some control over extraction so I can get a feel for the coffee I will be working with in the future. My city has been pretty decimated by the eathquake so these pop up coffee places are doing pretty well. I will think about making more of an investment to get to my goal faster though.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 654
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 Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:09pm
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

Are you taking the price of a grinder into account with your budget?

There are some reviews on this site involving the BES820. Check out http://coffeegeek.com/reviews/consumer/brevillebes820xl
There are also some reviews on this site involving the Acaso Dream. Check out "Ascaso Dream Espresso"

I would personally go to a retail store and look at one in person though if you can. If I had to choose, I'd probably pick the Breville BES840 over the Acaso dream.

The Delonghi and the KitchenAid are junk, don't waste your money on them.

If you want to practice like a professional, you need a machine which professional components in it. If you play with consumer machines, that will be just it, you will be playing, not learning.
If I were you, I'd save your pennies for a machine considerably higher in budget. I'm not sure if you can buy LeLit machines there but I bet you could get your hands on a Rancilio Silvia!

IMHO, if you want to start a coffee van, you might as well buy a machine which could be durable and dependable enough to act as a backup machine in case your primary machine dies.
That way you get the best of both worlds and you can most likely write it off as a business expense instead of wasting your money. (I'm not sure how it works in NZ though.)

I mean, if you are blowing $750NZ already, why not save your pennies and buy something a bit nicer for double the amount which will last you and do a better job in helping you learn?

Read the reviews. Good luck!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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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 Sun Aug 26, 2012, 11:54pm
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

Point 1. Spending your money on a home machine will not hone your skills at pulling shots.  Most home machines can't steam very well at all so most will not help you with latte art.

Point 2. Spending your money on a used commercial machine that can be used at home will keep your skills up.

Most importantly:

Point 3. If you spend your money on used commercial gear, you might be able to write it off as a business expense as suggested, use it as a back up if you main stuff goes down and even make money catering coffee at parties/events right now.  None of which you can do with a home machine for the same or even more money than a used machine in the class I am suggesting.

Used commercial gear is often of better quality and cheaper than new high end home gear.  And you can turn around and sell it for about the price your bought it for assuming you got a good price and it still works. This is not true for new home gear. (i.e. If I buy a used 350$ Super jolly and I use it a year I can turn around and sell it for 350$ fast but if I buy a silver painted plastic home espresso machine and use it a year I will not be able to sell it for more than half if I am lucky or find someone gullible)

If you insist on buying a cheap home machine after telling us your goal is to hone skills to have a coffee van, then good luck to you.

 
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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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 654
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 Aug 27, 2012, 12:11am
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Point 1. Spending your money on a home machine will not hone your skills.  Most home machines can't steam very well at all so most will not help you with latte art.

Posted August 26, 2012 link

I would agree. If I was going to do latte art professionally, the least I would want is a dual boiler machine. You need a machine with a boiler that has thermal inertia. While a
SBDU machine may steam adequately for home use, a professional machine will steam very differently. It takes me about a minute to steam 6 oz of milk with my machine at home.
In comparison, a commercial dual boiler machine with decently sized boilers can heat up the same amount of milk in roughly 10 seconds.

Coffeenoobie Said:

If you insist on buying a cheap home machine after this, then good luck to you.

Posted August 26, 2012 link

More to the point, if you want to burn your money and learn your lesson the hard way, then have at it. You get what you pay for. I've noticed a lot of commercial machines
floating around on the used market which are priced somewhere around a low to mid-end prosumer machine. I've found that multi-group machines are cheaper because
you need a high wattage line and a plumb in connection to make them work, something a consumer machine doesn't require.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
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 Aug 27, 2012, 5:51am
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

I pretty much agree with most everything said except for the need of a DB to get quality steamed milk.
HX machines have been the work horses of industry for decades and there is no reason to think they are any less in the steaming arena than a DB.
There are differences between HX and DB but one is not "better" than the other, they are just different.

 
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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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,086
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Thu Aug 30, 2012, 7:10am
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

I am a good example of this.. I plan to open a cafe in the future.  I was able to get a commercial 2 group for only $700, my Macap MX for only $350 and my VFA grinder for free!  Used machines are all over the web and Kajiji.  Most are anywhere from only $500-$1500 for the big 2 and 3 group HX machines!  At home I use a little Delonghi EC155.  Sure it makes good drinks but I know I can't get my practice on this machine.  Due to my living situation plumbing in a commercial machine in next to impossible so I will be buying the closest home machine I can afford to a commercial.  Most likely an Oscar or Rocket.  I agree fully with coffeenoobie having a home commercial machine would save your business if your main machine went down.  You would also save money as well on not having to rent a loner machine until repairs are made.

Also I just remembered!! Orphan espresso's Youtube channel has a video on how to use a pump and a 5gal water tank to supply a commercial machine. :)  I will post it when I find it.


Here it is:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BGfQVq6Dnw&feature=plcp
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,046
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 Thu Aug 30, 2012, 7:19am
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

calblacksmith Said:

... HX machines have been the work horses of industry for decades and there is no reason to think they are any less in the steaming arena than a DB ...

Posted August 27, 2012 link

In fact, most commercial machines are still HX. Frothing power largely depends on boiler size: the bigger the boiler, the more steam you'll have.

 
***
"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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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,086
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Thu Aug 30, 2012, 8:18am
Subject: Re: Help! I need some advice on purchasing a Semi Automatic Machine.
 

Here is a perfect example.

Click Here (ontario.kijiji.ca)

If your located in Ontario I would jump on this.

PS: VFA is out of business but you can still get parts. I own this exact machine but in silver.
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