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Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Equipment advice...  
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jjin082693
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:03pm
Subject: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

Hey all,

First off, just wanted to say how glad I am to have discovered this board - especially before I actually bite the bullet and make a purchasing decision. I was originally considering the Breville Barista Express but, given the barrage of negative feedback it's gotten here, I've decided against that.

So now I turn to you all for some purchasing advice! But first here's some information that might be helpful to you guys.

I have a relatively flexible budget of 400USD for both machine and grinder; naturally, the less I pay the happier I'll be, but I'm very willing to somewhat overshoot that budget if it'll give me a justifiable increase in quality.

I'm a fan of milk-based drinks and, as such, would place a good-quality steaming wand as one of my top considerations in a machine.

I only expect to make at most 2-3 drinks at a time, as I only expect to ever really be making them for myself and my girlfriend.

For machines, I currently have my eyes set on the Gaggia Classic or the Lelit PL41E, but since those are both extremely out of my budget range, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for machines in the 200USD range.

For the grinder, I am considering the Gaggia 8002 MDF.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,052
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 Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:30pm
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

Preferring espresso based milk drinks and looking for good steaming power, your "wish list" somewhat calls for a HX machine, which is of course way out of your given budget. Have you considered buying used or refurbished?

 
***
"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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jjin082693
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:49pm
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

Hi Nobby,

Thanks for the prompt response! I have very little qualms about buying used/refurbished.

Given my wants, would you say that the Gaggia Classic is something that I should consider? If so, it will give me something to keep an eye out for when hunting for used/refurbished deals.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:09pm
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

Cheap machines are not normally good at making a lot of milk drinks fast.  Part of the reason my first real machine was an HX not a single boiler.

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

Grinders:

Hand grinders are the cheapest:
Hario Coffee Hand Grinder
OE LIDO Manual Coffee Grinder
OE PHAROS Hand Coffee Grinder
Baratza:
Prescio
Vario(w)
Used commercial:
Super jolly etc.

 
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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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 1:56am
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

I also recommend a Baratza grinder.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,870
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 Dec 19, 2012, 6:46am
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

Best espresso with a $400 budget?
Grinder Click Here (www.baratza.com)
Moka Pot Click Here (www.sweetmarias.com)

Heat your milk in a microwave and use a hand whip or if you can afford the $19
http://www.amazon.com/HIC-Brands-That-Cook-005/dp/B0002KZUNK

It won't be "true" espresso but it will knock the socks off anything you can get at a shop that wears green aprons with a mermaid over the door.

 
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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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 857
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 7:17am
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

Love those moka pots.

 
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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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,430
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 Dec 19, 2012, 7:27am
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

First of all, welcome Jonathan to CG . . .

jjin082693 Said:

I have a relatively flexible budget of 400USD for both machine and grinder; naturally, the less I pay the happier I'll be, but I'm very willing to somewhat overshoot that budget if it'll give me a justifiable increase in quality.

Posted December 18, 2012 link

No one is saying that you need to spend thousands of dollars -- though, admittedly, some of us have -- but $400 for both a machine and a grinder is impossible if you buy new.  

jjin082693 Said:

I have very little qualms about buying used/refurbished.

Posted December 18, 2012 link

Good, because that's what you will have to do if you're locked into that budget . . .

jjin082693 Said:

I'm a fan of milk-based drinks and, as such, would place a good-quality steaming wand as one of my top considerations in a machine.

Posted December 18, 2012 link

This eliminates most low-end machines, because most are horrible at steaming.

jjin082693 Said:

For machines, I currently have my eyes set on the Gaggia Classic or the Lelit PL41E, but since those are both extremely out of my budget range, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for machines in the 200USD range.

Posted December 18, 2012 link

These two machines are the MINIMUM that I recommend.  So, considering that they are too expensive as new machines, my advice is to be patient and to scour eBay, craigslist, and the BST forum here on CG to find one of them USED.

jjin082693 Said:

For the grinder, I am considering the Gaggia 8002 MDF.

Posted December 18, 2012 link

I used a Gaggia MDF grinder for about 25 years.  It will work, but it's not the greatest choice.  It's stepped, and the steps are reasonably wide.  That, and even when they're on sale, they are $199 new.  So, again, keep looking for used, and above all, be patient.

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


Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM67
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bunn
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 11:26am
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

I found that by using a good hand grinder I could save well over $100 and apply it to a machine. People on a tight budget could benefit from this logic. I have read outstanding reviews on the Kyocera Ceramic Manual Hand Coffee Grinder CM-45 CF for $75. Of course you would be hand grinding every cup and would be sacrificing quite a bit of convenience. As long as your only drinking one or two shots at a time, it is a possibility. I have zero experience with this, and am only sharing what I read. Hope it helps.
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jjin082693
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Dec 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Equipment advice please! (400USD budget)
 

I've read about the potential for cost-saving by using a hand grinder, but i'm also skeptical of that tactic, especially since Mark's "How to Buy an Espresso Machine" guide explicitly advises not to skimp on the grinder, and that most hand grinders are unable to grind the beans fine enough as needed for espresso.
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