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Recommendations for setup under 2,500
Rocket R58 Double Boiler
Rocket Espresso R58 Double Boiler -  Everything you need for the perfect shot!
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Oberon
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Apr 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Idaho
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012, 7:41am
Subject: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

After reading through tglodjo's recent thread on the best prosumer machine, I'd like to some similarly tailored recommendations.

Following some of Jason's fine prompts (and others), here is the context:
- budget $2,500 for grinder and espresso machine
- typical day of use would entail 2 drinks, mostly americano's, but some straight, some milk (but likely not very often on the latter); likely never going over 4 drinks in one sitting
- little need for entertaining with drinks
- counter space is limited (and clearance above machine - so easy fill is important)
- (going into a new house) likely just 15v
- plumbing possible, but not a must
- my 'style'?  I'm fine with experimenting, but I do so to get something down the way I like it and then stick with the routine

Thanks in advance for the kind, and insightful input...
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,373
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012, 9:55am
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

Random thoughts . . .

-- Making Americanos requires a hot water tap in addition to the steam wand for milk drinks, so an entry-level machine like the Nuova Simonelli Oscar is OUT.

-- If you are truly making milk drinks rarely (say once of twice a week max), you may want to consider a high(er)-end SBDU such as the Quick Mill Alexia ($1,195).  But, in all honesty, switching back-and-forth from "brew temp" to "steam temp" is  a Royal PITA is you have to do it more often than that -- especially if you have to make milk drinks back-to-back-to-back.  In that case, you're much better off with an HX, where you don't need to worry about that.

-- Don't scrimp on the grinder. I'm sure you've already read/heard that, but it's worth repeating . . . again and again!  Buy a "better-than-you-need" grinder, one that will last through at least one, if not two upgrades.  If you never upgrade, you'll have a great grinder.  If you do upgrade, you won't have to get a new grinder, too.  And, as I'm sure you know, it's the grinder that makes espresso; the machine is just a hot water delivery device.  So, bottom line: spend more on the grinder than you think you need to, and less (relatively speaking) on the machine itself.

-- At an absolute minimum, look at the Baratza Vario.  You can also look for a used Mazzer Super Jolly, and buy a new set of burrs.  But with your budget, and depending upon your usage, you may want to go "higher" . . .

-- If you do want to go the HX route, take a look at the Rocket Cellini Premium Plus Espresso Machine, or any of the these Bezzera machines.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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RichardCoffee
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Joined: 2 Dec 2010
Posts: 119
Location: Long Beach
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: gaggia baby twin, mini...
Grinder: fiorenzato pietro 63mm,...
Roaster: weber grill with rk drum
Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012, 10:03am
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

I make Americanos without using the hot water from my machine.  Normally, I just pop a mug with the desired amount of water into the microwave and zap it for 30 or 40 seconds while I'm brewing the shot.  Another way I use occasionally is to steam the water in the cup using the machine's steam wand.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,373
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012, 10:12am
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

It sounds like, in the case of the microwave, you are making a Long Black -- pulling a shot into hot water.  

An Americano is adding hot water to the espresso.  

I have no idea what adding steam to the shot would do (aside from spraying coffee everywhere), but I would think the temperature of the steam wouldn't be the best idea . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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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 Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:13am
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

I make Americanos for my wife with the Ellimatic (pre-Oscar,but also no hot water tap) by pulling water through the portafilter. Works just fine, so I wouldn't necessarily write off an Oscar, as otherwise it fits your requirements and would enable you to get the grinder that will last the rest of your life.
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jwoodyu
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jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 847
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012, 4:44pm
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

Oscar and a Kony Fit the Oscar with a vacuum breaker or if you can blow the budget a little just get the Rocket.

Or

Rocket Like Jason said  and a Major


Personally since i prefer flat burr ugly does not offend me  I would go with a used Major and the Rocket.

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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zedex
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 129
Location: B.C Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz v2
Grinder: vario
Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

$2500?
1 used la spazialle vivaldi 2 $1800
New vario grinder $500 + -
New tamper $80 or less
Plumb it in with supplies $60.
Life is good.
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,040
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 Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:24pm
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

Most prosumer HX machines (no matter if it's a Rocket Espresso, Bezzera, Isomac, EMC, Elektra or other brand) will probably leave you enough money for a decent grinder. However, like Jason emphasized it's wise to invest into a really good grinder that'll last. So you might choose your grinder first and see how much money that leaves you for the machine.

I suggest you take a look at consumer reviews on CoffeeGeek, browse online shops, and the websites of different manufacturers in order to compile a shortlist. Then you take that list to local retailers and take a live hands-on look at all of those machines in consideration. You can't really go wrong with any espresso machine in the prosumer price range. So in the end you can buy the machine whose design and feel you like best.

 
***
"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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Oberon
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Apr 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Idaho
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Oct 28, 2012, 11:51am
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

A great start...this gives my research some needed direction


One note (on both grinders and espresso machines), is that I strongly prefer direct mechanical controls, so the Oscar is not-so-appealing.  

This also makes me wonder a bit about the Vario grinder, although in all other respects, it would rank quite high.  I can't do something as big as the Jolly.  I'm looking toward, these (altough the mini e is a bit $$$):

Vario
Mazzer Mini E
Compak K3
MACAP MC4 doserless
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
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 Oct 29, 2012, 6:37am
Subject: Re: Recommendations for setup under 2,500
 

Just as an aside, when making several Americanos back to back (I did 4 last night for guests) I find I work faster by pulling shots and steaming water to temp rather than dumping a lot of cold water into the steam boiler to make up for pulling hot water for the drinks from the steam boiler and my steam boiler is 2.5 l.

I can heat 8 to 10 oz of water while pulling a shot and have the whole drink finished in about 1.5 minutes vs a lot longer if I pulled that same 10 oz of water from the steam boiler then wait for it to recover so for me, the hot water tap is not as important as the steam wand even for making drinks in which I add hot water to them.

Hey, YMMV!!!!!

EDIT, then there is the fact that I can steam the water to my desired serving temp VS the temp of the water in the steam boiler, flashing on exit of the boiler or about 212 into the drink.

 
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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