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Need assistance with semi-automatics
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need assistance...  
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,023
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 Wed Oct 31, 2012, 6:42am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

tglodjo Said:

... doable if one is on an extremely tight budget with a very basic machine.

Posted October 31, 2012 link

In that situation, I'd prefer a good hand grinder.

 
***
"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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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
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 Wed Oct 31, 2012, 7:06am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

khiyasu,

Remember I said

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

Posted October 30, 2012 link

and

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

The more specific you are, the more specific we can be in our replies.

Posted October 30, 2012 link

So FIRST, you need to be specific with your budget.  Whether it's in "bucks" or "loonies," saying that you don't want to break the bank is -- well, relative to how large your piggy bank is.  SECOND, while I'm not trying to throw a wet blanket on your proverbial party, a dose of realism may be needed here.

Great espresso does not cost thousands, and no one here is suggesting that you spend that much.  But is does cost something.  The minimum that I, personally, feel comfortable in recommending for a rock-solid system is the Gaggia Classic ($599.95 CDN), paired with a Baratza Precisio ($290 CDN when purchased together; $319 if bought separately).  (Please note all links apply to Canadian vendors; all prices are in Canadian dollars.)

This is by no means the only system I'd recommend.  The Le'Lit machine and grinder that Bud ("qualin") mentioned will also work well.

But then you write, "I am quite intrigued by the superauto only because if I have a bunch of friends over it would be easier and quicker to make coffee for them;" and "I am mainly interested in making good coffee for my friends who visit as I love hosting people at my house." With respect, I would suggest you learn to crawl before you walk, learn to walk before you run.  Do me a favor:  look at this machine.  Then, look at this one.  Do you know what the major difference is?  $12,000+ (USD).  Both are HX machines, but the other major difference is that, with the second one, a skilled barista can knock out multiple drinks at one time, and all of your guests can have their coffee within 5-10 minutes.  With the first machine, even the most skilled barista can only make one drink at a time, and your guests will have to wait for their drinks -- and the first served will finish before the last one gets his or her cappuccino . . . .

Again, no wet blanket -- just realistic expectations.

AND, by the way, the super-auto won't necessarily save you any time; it will, however, cost you in terms of diminished quality in the cup and increased frequency and expense of repairs.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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khiyasu
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Squamish, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 8:28am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Thanks qualin, tglodjo and NobbyR,

Your replies have been very very helpful and has given me a better direction of where to go. As I plan on investing in this for the long run, I think that I will need to go with the better quality, more expensive machines. No point in buying a low cost one if it will break down soon or if I will have to upgrade it. I would like something that will last me for years so I will have to save up and increase my budget.

To be able to make espresso that is better than the stores, but to maybe serve 5-6 people max once a week, would the La Pavoni/Gaggia Baby or Lelit PL43 Conical Burr Grinder and Lelit PL41EM V2 be good enough to start and maybe get me going for a few years before I decide if I want to pursue a much better machine/grinder?

Thanks again, this forum has been the most helpful and informational forum I have ever been a part of.
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khiyasu
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Squamish, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 8:35am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Thanks again Jason,

My budget can be flexible and I think I'm getting what you guys are saying. I am willing and able to invest more and start a good quality grinder and a good quality semiautos to learn more about espressos and get me started. I guess I didn't really know what to ask in the first place but I guess what I was really looking for is like what you mentioned, a good rock-slid set up to start and learn about espressos that will last me at least a few years making good espressos before I move forward to the next machine/grinder.

Much rather make good quality espresso with the semi auto than a super auto. Definitely not going to go down the superauto route anymore :)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
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 Wed Oct 31, 2012, 8:50am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Good choice, SUPERS while easy to use are breakdown prone, expensive and lower in quality.
There is NOTHING wrong with your recent choice, it will be slower when serving multiple people though.

This is a DEEP subject and you can dive in, sink or swim or, like you did, ask for help and then TAKE the help offered.

Like Jason said, you will need to spend something but the ability to get quality goes a long way to ease the hit in the bank account.

The grinder comes first, even at the expense of a more fancy or shiny machine. A good grinder may last you a couple of machine upgrades if you choose to but no machine can make up for a bad grinder. Going hand in hand with better starter gear is fresh beans. I know you have been told this but I can't count how many times we have had to help someone who bought nice equipment then they were frustrated in pulling shots due to using supermarket beans, fresh makes a HUGE difference!

 
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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khiyasu
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Squamish, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 9:12am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Just found these on sale for a good deals. Good starter to invest in paired with one of their recommended grinders?

Gaggia Baby Twin
click here

Gaggia Classic
click here

Rancilio V3 Silvia Pro click here

Ascaso Red Dream
click here

Gaggia Baby Twin + Gaggia MDF Doser Grinder from this website seems like a great deal and comes with a starter pack.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
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 Wed Oct 31, 2012, 9:14am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

The Rancilio will have the best resale value; it and the Gaggia Classic are the two I'd recommend.

I'd pass on the Gaggia MDF grinder, and opt for the Baratza Preciso.  

(More later, but I'm late for work.)

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,023
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 Wed Oct 31, 2012, 10:02am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Out of the machines you listed I'd opt for the Silvia and Classic as well. However, both are SBDU which is something of a drawback when you want to make cappuccinos and lattes regularly and in larger quantities. Therefore you might want to take a look at the Crossland CC1 and the QuickMill Silvano. Both machines offer thermoblock enhanced steaming, the Silvano even a second pump which makes it a dual boiler, sort of.

 
***
"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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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,014
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 10:07am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

If you don't rule out the used market you can get a nice HX for half of new price or less.  That is what I had to do because I wanted more steam power than any Single boiler.  Also, check the buy sell trade on this board.  Some people are in CANADA.

*edited for people that can't follow my train of thought..... I was talking to him and he knows where he is.....

 
Coffeenoobie

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

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Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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tglodjo
Senior Member
tglodjo
Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 209
Location: Jackson, TN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso
Drip: Wave, V60, Chemex, Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 10:57am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Personally, I'd go Silvia and Baratza Preciso or Vario. Of course, that's my current set up :)

With both, your resale value will be nice if/once you decide to upgrade. Plus, both can stay with you a long time, and (hopefully) the Silvia will at least keep you busy for a year or so before you decide to trade up. (The Baratza Vario should stay good for you for whatever machine you go with next too.)

I also second the looking on the Buy, Sell, Trade forum. There have been some great deals there. If you can make sure a machine has been treated well, buying used can be very good for your budget. I've also had a lot of luck doing the "or Best Offer" option on eBay. That's how I got my Vario for $350 new instead the regular $450 price tag.

And as the others have said, a single boiler will certainly limit you in making multiple drinks at one time, but I've found as a beginner, it's alright. My guests are patient and they actually enjoy standing around and learning about the process as I make their drinks.

That's just my two cents :)
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