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Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
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Oligarch
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Sep 24, 2012, 5:25pm
Subject: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

Hi All,

Iím new to this forum and slowly getting into espresso and related drinks. I was never much of a coffee drinker (even when working long hours in a high stress job), but have been developing a taste lately and drinking 1-2 espressos, lattes, and/or cappuccinos a day as I work on a book project. My coffee shop spending is adding up, and Iíve been considering buying a home espresso set up.

Iíd like to get a grinder and machine setup with the following parameters in mind:

Number of drinks per day: 1-3
Types of drinks: Mainly espresso, latte, cappuccino
Max budget for grinder and machine: approximately $750 (some flexibility here if thereís a huge jump in quality)

I really would like to get something that I wonít have to be upgrading/replacing in at least the next three years. Iím also assuming a steel casing is better than some of the plastic ones out there, so would like something with a solid build quality.

Iíve gone through the Coffeegeek buying guide, and have also tried searching the forums for earlier newbie questions like mine. While very helpful, a lot of the previously posted information is now outdated, so I was hoping to get some up-to-date comments.

Based on the idea that I should not skimp on the grinder, I was considering the following combo from Wholelattelove:

Gaggia Baby Twin for $398.34
Rancilio Rocky grinder for $349.00

Total cost $747.34

What do people think of this? Any other suggestions? Any experience with Wholelattelove? Any other vendors I should check out?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,032
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 Sep 24, 2012, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

there actually are a fair number of pretty recent similar threads.  However, to answer a couple of your questions...

1) Don't waste your money on a Rocky.  You're better off with a Baratza Preciso.  I've owned the Rocky and all you may have already read on here about the steps being too wide are true.

2) In your price range, yeah, you're looking at the Gaggia probably, since you've included the grinder in that budget.  However, you also said you'd consider upping the budget if there a huge jump in quality.  Yeah, there would be a huge jump in quality if you were to kick in another...say...$350-500.  You might want to look into getting an Oscar (possibly even a used one).

If/when you upgrade is really a matter of your own desires and patience, more than the equipment.  I used a Rancilio Silvia for about 8 years before upgrading.  I paid only $450 for it, but now, it costs considerably more, and hasn't had much improvement thrown in.  I used a crappy, substandard "burr" grinder for a couple or years, then a Rocky for about 5 years, before getting what I have now.  You don't have to go down that path, if you don't want to , and if you DO want to, you'll go down it when you are ready.  We have no way of knowing if/when, you'll ever want to upgrade.  It depends what you're willing to put into this, and how good you want your drinks to be.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,386
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Mon Sep 24, 2012, 5:51pm
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

The Gaggias are very well thought of for entry-level machines. the Rocky not so much.
A Vario refurb is $360 (reg. $460) and more highly regarded than the Rocky:
Click Here (www.baratza.com)

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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satman
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Aug 2012
Posts: 2
Location: indianpolis
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Sep 24, 2012, 6:05pm
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

I bought a Seaco italia, over the years I have owned 4 of them,
Costco now sells them, if their is a problem their is a return.
I know it is not the thrill of the grind, but it is quick, and does a decent job.
$700 buck and all in one machine...owned by LG now and great phone support.
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Sep 24, 2012, 6:18pm
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

For that budget, you could get a LeLit PL041 and PL53. Better machine, better, more adustable grinder.
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Oligarch
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Sep 24, 2012, 8:40pm
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

Thanks for the helpful replies all!

Based on the feedback, I'll ditch the Rocky idea.

In terms of grinders, what do people think re: Vario vs. Precisio vs. PL53? Some reviews say Precisio is better in some ways than the more expensive Vario, but the latter has ceramic rather than steel burrs -- which of the two is better? I see some sites listing the Vario at $450...

Also, I now see the Gaggia Twin reviews are quite weak, and so am intrigued by the PL041. If I go that route, is it better to do an all LeLit combo, or still go for the Baratza.

All the reviews I've seen about the PL041 are pretty good, and it's on the lower end of the price spectrum. Are there any minuses that I'm missing by going for that over a Gaggia?

I would go for an Oscar used, but just don't feel safe ordering one on-line, and honestly am so new to this that I wouldn't know what to look for in person (I'm in the Boston area).

Thanks again for all your comments -- any additional feedback would be much appreciated!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,022
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Sep 24, 2012, 8:56pm
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

I got my oscar used on craigs list and had no idea what I was doing and how to fix one.  But I learned.

 
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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ShooterMcGavin
Senior Member
ShooterMcGavin
Joined: 17 Feb 2012
Posts: 53
Location: SoCal
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: N.S. Oscar
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Sep 25, 2012, 12:36am
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

If you're considering used, I'd keep an eye on craigs list for sure.  I'm not sure how the market is over in boston, but I waited over 6 months searching scouring craigs/ebay everyday for a deal.  My budget was also ~700 and I was set on finding a used silvia, but eventually found an oscar 2 hours away for ~400 (leaving me 300 for a preciso).

 
Daviiid
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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 Tue Sep 25, 2012, 1:37am
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

Oligarch Said:

I'll ditch the Rocky idea.

Posted September 24, 2012 link

I knew what I was getting into when I bought mine. It is an annoyance. I'll probably keep mine for grinding stuff other than espresso when I upgrade from it, it's built like a tank. It beats the heck out of my old Hamilton Beach Blade grinder!

Oligarch Said:

In terms of grinders, what do people think re: Vario vs. Precisio vs. PL53?

Posted September 24, 2012 link

I believe there was an excellent review on this site that compared the Vario to the Precisio. Mark Prince did it. Very knowledgeable guy when it comes to coffee...

Click here - Warning PDF download

Basically, the Vario is Baratza's top of the line grinder. If you can afford it, buy it. I don't think that the ceramic burrs should be an issue, I'm not sure why they went that route.
I personally probably would choose steel burrs myself, but I think for the value you get for your money, the Vario is pretty amazing. Some people have said the Vario grinds just as
well as other grinders which are double or triple the price. That's pretty awesome.

Good luck in your quest!

 
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: 3,032
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 Tue Sep 25, 2012, 1:31pm
Subject: Re: Advice for novice on first grinder and machine purchase
 

Oligarch Said:

In terms of grinders, what do people think re: Vario vs. Precisio vs. PL53?

Posted September 24, 2012 link

I think most here would say the Vario is hands down the best choice of those three for espresso.  I've read that ceramic burrs stay sharper longer.  I find that surprising, but I've seen that stated in several places.  I didn't mention Vario before because of your budget, and the fact that the Preciso is clearly espresso capable.  I must say though, the only "Baratza" grinders I've ever owned were not espresso capable (Solis Maestro and the Solis 166 - from before Baratza bought them out).

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