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Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need help -...  
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RNAV
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Fayette'nam, NC
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 5:47am
Subject: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

Sometime in the next several months, I'll be deploying and want to attempt to have decent espresso while I'm gone.  I need y'all's expertise to help me come up with a workable solution.

What I drink
I start my day off with a quad mocha, so steaming milk is something I'd like to have.  Around midday I have a double.

What I've got to work with
Imagine an 8'x8' closet with a bed & an electrical outlet, and that's pretty much the space I'll be working with -- plan on no running water in the room.  I currently have a Breville BES400XL & a Skerton hand-grinder that I can take with me - in terms of size, that's really as big as I can go.  My biggest concerns are 1) the Breville doesn't really make good espresso, and 2) I likely won't have much of a way to clean up grounds and whatnot.

Also, my budget is extremely limited - basically, whatever I could possibly sell the Breville for is about what I'd have available for something else. Nevertheless, suggestions that meet my goals, but not my budget, are still desired (I could sell some other stuff to fund a good solution).

What I'd like to achieve
1) Decent espresso (something which I don't think the Breville really delivers, but it's better than nothing).  The machine needs to be compact.
2) Steaming ability.
3) As little mess/clean-up as possible.

I've been contemplating picking up a super-run-down La Pavoni lever.  Also, the whole pod-espresso concept sounds attractive because I assume there would be little clean-up, but I know next to nothing about espresso pod machines or the quality of espresso they produce.  Also, what's this Nespresso thing I keep hearing about?

Anyone have any suggestions?
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 9:48am
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

I think I would be looking at bringing the hand grinder and a moka pot, mypressi or areopress if I were traveling and maybe a hand frother heather.  I don't believe I would bring a machine with me.  If I had to suggest a machine maybe a CC1 because it does fast steam with the thermoblock steaming.

You can sample a Nespresso at most nice kitchen stores.

 
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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genecounts
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Posts: 84
Location: virginia
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: LaSpaz, Olympia Cremina
Grinder: Zass, Baratza Vario,...
Vac Pot: Bodum
Roaster: Gene Cafe
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 10:16am
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

Just sent my son a Bodum french press, 8 cupper.   Went to Google and found it on drugstore .com for $19.00 marked down from $39.  $5.95 shipping.  And they ship to APO's at that price since he is in Afghanistan.
If you're going to Bagram they already have a decent grinder that 200 guys share in break room.
I keep him supplied with fresh roasts.
Have offered to send him a decent espresso machine but he said they wouldn't have time to clean and maintain and the bulk?
Use my spare Cremina for travel.

The only reason I sent him the french press is one of the guys wives sent his bud one for Christmas and it is a huge hit.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 11:05am
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

The http://espro.ca/espro-press/ is supposed to be a good one.

 
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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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,774
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 Sun Jan 6, 2013, 11:48am
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

Hi, I know of the place you are.
358th -313 ASA,  HHQ 313ASA,  (now both are MI) 8th psyop 7th special forces.

Pods are not good espresso but they may be OK with enough milk and syrup. They are expensive and stale but the clean up is easy.
Getting what we call fresh coffee will be hard so that may be a point in favor of pods as at least they are vac sealed and a few weeks either way is not a big deal.

Nesspresso is nothing more than singleserve coffee in plastic pods, not espresso but OK as coffee when at its best.

Honestly if you are into milk drinks, the cleanup of the milk is much more of an issue than coffee grounds.

Getting supplies will be the hardest thing for you. I would use the mypressi twist and a hand grinder but the gas cylinders may be a problem to get.

Seriously thinking about it, the best compromise just may be a pod machine. It will NEVER be great espresso but it may be better than what you are drinking now and the cleanup is low and the pods last a long time in storage then with care full shopping you can get good coffee in pods, not like fresh but pretty good though. See our vendor list for quality pods.

Which machine? Your low budget keeps you in the bottom level machines.

If cleaning and fresh coffee isn't a big deal to get, I get good results with the aero press. While it isn't espresso it is very good coffee that can be made strong enough for mixing into a milk drink but then you still need to do something about milk. If you have access to a microwave you can use a bodem milk frother.

A microwave, fresh coffee, hand grinder aero press, bodem frother can give you a low cost very good setup.

 
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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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 Sun Jan 6, 2013, 12:33pm
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

I would actually recommend a small Saeco semiauto with a pressurized portafilter, such as the Classico or Via Venezia. You'll get better than pod coffee, but not as good as ground and tamped yourself. Still, the Aroma/Classico is TINY and it's a cube so it takes up very little space. Add a bucket to slog out your grounds in and rinse your PF and you'll be the envy of your unit. Stay safe!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,774
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 Sun Jan 6, 2013, 1:57pm
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

Agreed but the budget is that of a used  starter machine, not much to work with

 
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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RNAV
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Fayette'nam, NC
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 4:35pm
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

Thank you all for the input.  A few responses, if you will:

I am not currently deployed, but will be at some point in the near future (I'm being non-specific for a reason).  So I've got time to shop around & potentially sell some other items to fund a good deployed-espresso-solution.  

As it stands now, I fully intend to take my Skerton hand grinder and my Breville with me.  I will have room for that setup, and I'll have access to plenty of water, so I certainly can clean up.  Whether or not I'll have running water in my room will determine how much of an inconvenience cleaning up is.

I was more or less wondering if there were a machine that would offer as good or better espresso, while also offering easier cleanup, which lead me to think of those ESE pods or Illypresso whatevers (since I have no experience with them).  It seems though that the consensus is that these pod machines aren't any better in the cup than what my Breville can provide.  

Again, thank you all for the suggestions -- I've got some options to ponder.
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dorkroast
Senior Member
dorkroast
Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 88
Location: CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cheapo Melitta pourover
Roaster: Behmor, Popcorn Pumper
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 7:14pm
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

I traveled for years in the military and was sort of a coffee snob the entire time so I have a bit of experience with it. While it's true that the pod machines (illy pods for example) don't make the best espresso in the world, they work great for deployments because they store forever, are easy to clean up, and pack down small. They also make a decent cup- especially for a milk drink.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of pod machines at home, but for travel they make quite a passable cup.

Personally I ended up either traveling with a lexan french press (my local REI sells them for camping) or I had a Krups travel coffee maker which was gifted to me from another military member but is no longer made.

For vacations I've packed my Gaggia Coffee- but more of a problem with a real machine is both the availability of fresh beans, and a grinder capable of giving you the right grind for your machine. My grinder is a beast.

Truthfully if I was going to deploy now I'd most likely buy either a illy pod compatible machine, or ever better a nespresso machine, a crapload of pods, and an electric milk frother. A nespresso machine will give you results that are better than what you'd get from old, improperly ground coffee beans in a standard machine.

Good luck during your deployment. Let us know what you decide on and how it worked out in the end. My last deployment the chow hall had a huge superautomatic which produced passable drinks. Was great until it broke- which it seemed to do quite often.
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CharityV
Senior Member
CharityV
Joined: 8 Jul 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Rocky DL
Roaster: SC/TO
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 9:59pm
Subject: Re: Need help - looking for a deployment espresso machine
 

It occurs to me that something cool this site could offer might be a "send coffee to our troops" kind of thread, where coffeegeeks could sign up to send freshly roasted coffee to other coffeegeeks deployed overseas. Or something. I don't know what average shipping times are, or anything, but I would love to participate in something like that.
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