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Espresso machine advice for a novice
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DCWildcat
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Oct 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Washington DC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:47pm
Subject: Espresso machine advice for a novice
 

I have used a Delonghi Magnifica for six years and I loved it.  It finally gave out on me, and I cannot find a repair shop in the DC area.  Thus I am in the market for a new machine.

My budget is $500 to $1000 (machine and grinder).

I am very tempted to buy another Super automatic as it is easy, and easy to make multiple shots for guests (which I need to do about once a month).  I was thinking of getting another Delonghi.. but a major issue is the difficulty in getting service.

However, after reading these reviews and speaking to espresso pros, I am thinking of stepping up to a semi-automatic.  I am nervous about learning the manual steps.  If I do go semi-automatic, it seems like the Rancilio Silvia and Rocky Bar combo is the most recommended.

I would very much appreciate advice on my perceived choices which are:

  1. DeLonghi ESAM3300, $500 total cost.  Easy to use, low cost, grinder included.  Fragile and hard to repair.
  2. Rancilio Silvia and Rocky Bar, $1000 total cost.  Highly recommended.  Durable.  Learning curve to operate.
  3. Breville BES900XL, $1100.  Honesty have not done much research on this but it has great reviews.  I ma not even sure if has an inclusive grinder.

Any advice whatsoever would be appreciated.  Meanwhile, I am reading other posts on this great site!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,008
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:55pm
Subject: Re: Espresso machine advice for a novice
 

I have NEVER pulled a shot before I got my semi auto and I am doing pretty well on it. I wanted an HX machine and grinder on your budget.  I ended up with a used Oscar and a Vario w.  One year ago today.  I still like it, get great espresso and I don't want another machine unless I win the lotto.



Please read the following links then ask your questions.


"How to Buy an Espresso Machine"
"First machine - 300-400$"
"For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?"
"Decent Espresso Machines for $300"

 
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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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,008
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 1:02pm
Subject: Re: Espresso machine advice for a novice
 

The grinder is the most important part.  You have have a great grinder and crappo machine and get good shots.  The reverse is not true. Hard to believe but a 3k machine will not give good shots with a whirllygig grinder.

 
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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DCWildcat
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Oct 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Washington DC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Espresso machine advice for a novice
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

The grinder is the most important part.  You have have a great grinder and crappo machine and get good shots.  The reverse is not true. Hard to believe but a 3k machine will not give good shots with a whirllygig grinder.

Posted December 11, 2012 link

That is definitely what I keeping reading.  I am hoping the Rocky does the trick, although one vendor suggested I get the Virtuoso.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,008
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 1:50pm
Subject: Re: Espresso machine advice for a novice
 

Rocky has large steps... that means one click on the grinder changes the grind a lot.  When you are fine tuning the shot you want really small clicks/steps or no clicks/steps.  I went with really small clicks for grinder size reasons in my kitchen.  The Virtuoso has large clicks unless you get the preciso model.  I got the top of the line Vario W.

Be sure to check the buy sell trade forum here.

 
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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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,979
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 2:00pm
Subject: Re: Espresso machine advice for a novice
 

You can read several threads similar to yours, as what to get starting out, or replacing equipment.  I see few recommendations for Rocky and or Silvia recently.  Neither have good bang for the buck.  

I find more recommendations for CC1 or Gaggia Classic. Classic is currently $349 shipped from WLL.  If a new SBDU machine does not come with a PID, then you may want that addition to control the temperature, add about $50 - $200 depending on your abilities for DIY.  Used machines can be a good place to start as noted.

About the least expensive finely adjustable espresso grinder is the Baratza Preciso.  A Baratza refurb from Baratza.com for Preciso, Vario (w) may be the best buy.  Do not go lower down the Baratza line and expect good results.  Preciso refurb about $239 + about $10 - 15 shipping.

I could have a little bias based on what I recommend :), but it is still a good budget starting place.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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