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rubyca
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 4
Location: california
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 9:33am
Subject: home machine
 

Hi, I would like to upgrade my Barista Athena machine. I would like some recommendations on what is a good home machine for the $500 dollar range.  thanks
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 10:44am
Subject: Re: home machine
 

Welcome to CG.  A bit more information would help us help you.  I will paste some standard questons from JasonBrandtLewis on the forum by his permission.

"Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?"  

And

"So, let's start at the beginning, OK?

ONE way to classify espresso machines is by their method/mechanism/capabilities for producing the shot.  

-- Manual machines do not have a pump.  They rely on the operator to force the water through the puck by use of a lever.  With some machines, the lever is controlled manually by the operator -- like with the La Pavoni Europicola, or the Olympia Cremina.  The operator lifts the lever up and pulls it down, pushing the water through the puck.  With other machines, the lever may be spring-operated, like with the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva, the Bezzera B2006AL, or the Rancilio Class 6 LE models, in which the lever is controlled by a spring -- the operator pulls the lever down, and then a spring draws the lever back to the "up" position, moving the piston and forcing the water through the puck.

-- Semi-automatic machines have a pump to force the water through the puck, but the operator turns the pump on-and-off.  Examples would include the machines like Gaggia Classic, the Faema Legend (the original E61 machine), or the Izzo Alex Duetto II -- which are, respectively, an SDBU, an HX, and a DB machine -- all in semi-automatic formats.

-- Full-automatic machines, also known as volumetric dosing machines, have a pump to force the water through the puck, like a semi-auto, but after a certain volume of water is dispensed (programed by the operator), the pump will shut itself off automatically.  HOWEVER, the pump can also be shut off manually, just as with a semi-automatic.  Examples would include the Bezzera BZ07sde, the Elektra Sixties T1, and the La Marzocco Linea AV models.  Each of these , by the way, is also produced as a semi-automatic -- the Bezzera BZ07spm, the Elektra Sixties A3 (now discontinued, although plenty of other semi-autos are still made by Elektra), and the La Marzocco Linea EE models.

-- Super-automatic machines do everything for the user, who merely has to push a button, wait, and drink.  These machines will grind the beans, tamp the puck, push the water through the grounds, froth the milk . . . everything.  Examples include everything from a Gaggia Titanium, the Jura-Capresso Impressa S9, and the Faema X3 Prestige.

THEN you can classify machines by their boiler type (and please note, I am ignoring thermoblock units):

-- Open boiler machines are relatively rare, and date back many decades.  These can heat the water for espresso, but cannot build up any pressure to steam milk.  To the best of my knowledge, this are all manual lever machines, and include machines like the Arrarex Caravel and the FE-AR La Peppina.

-- Single Boiler Dual Use (SBDU) machines are the most popular machines for home use.  These have one boiler and two thermostats; the boiler will either heat the water within to brewing temperature or to steaming temperature.  The operator must wait for the boiler to move up/move down before continuing, i.e.: the machine can only brew or it can steam milk -- one or the other -- at a time.  The best known example, at least here in the States, would be the Rancilio Silvia

-- Heat Exchanger (HX) machines also have one boiler, but it is permanently set to steaming temperature.  Cool water, either from a built-in reservoir ("tank") or from a water line ("plumbed-in" or "direct connect"), is then flash heated to brew temp via the use of a heat exchanger.  Examples would include machines like the Izzo Alex II, Quick Mill Anita, or the Vibiemme Domobar Super.

-- Double Boiler (DB) machines have two boilers, one for heating the brewing water, the other for making steam.  Examples would include the Izzo Alex Duetto II, the La Spaziale Vivaldi II, or the Vibiemme Double Domobar v.3.

ALSO, machines can be classified by their components, if you will, and their target market.

-- Consumer machines are just that, designed for home use by the consumer.

-- Professional (or commercial) machines are designed for high-volume use in busy cafés, restaurants, etc.  They use more robust parts than consumer models, able to withstand their heavy, constant usage.

-- "Prosumer" machines fill in the gap; they are actually low-volume commercial machines that can also by used in a home environment.

So you can have a commercial lever machine, or a consumer lever machine; a full-automatic HX prosumer model, as well as a full-auto HX commercial model, and so on and so on and so on . . . . "

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,032
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 Mar 6, 2013, 1:46pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

In addition to the above which is standard info and questions here, you WILL need a grinder, a hand powered grinder that is able to grind for espresso starts in the apx $100 range. For grinders with a motor that can grind for espresso, they start at about $350

The grinder is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE SETUP, the machine only heats water and pushes it.

 
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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rubyca
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 4
Location: california
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 2:46pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

  1. I will probably make 3 latte cups a day and 3 americano cups a day.
  2. I have 15 amp circuit.
  3. I have a burr grinder.
  4. I cant plumb directly into the machine.
  5. I have a budget of around 500.
  6. I can live with a good used machine that I will be able to get parts for.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,296
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 3:05pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

Simply owning a burr grinder may not be adequate for espresso, because of the necessity to make fine adjustments. Which grinder do you have?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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rubyca
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 4
Location: california
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 3:56pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

The burr grinder is a Cuisinart
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coffeestig
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 67
Location: Charlotte
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill QM67
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Electronic...
Drip: French Press
Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 4:15pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

rubyca Said:

The burr grinder is a Cuisinart

Posted March 6, 2013 link

unfortunately that will not work for espresso.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 4:25pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

Your grinder works with pressurized portafilters like you have now.  If you move up you will probably need a better 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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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 Mar 6, 2013, 5:57pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

Instead of getting rid of your Athena, why not invest in a really nice grinder that gives you some room to grow, say a refurbished Baratza Vario (Baratza's refurbs are usually better than new). You can spend the leftover money to get a nice bottomless or spouted portafiler for your Athena from Seattle Coffee Gear, as well as a 53mm tamper. The little Saecos make fine espresso if you go pressureless and have a nice grinder. This way you'll have room to upgrade your machine when your budget expands and already have a more than capable grinder, which is more important than the machine.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,296
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: home machine
 

Markarian Said:

Instead of getting rid of your Athena, why not invest in a really nice grinder that gives you some room to grow, say a refurbished Baratza Vario (Baratza's refurbs are usually better than new). You can spend the leftover money to get a nice bottomless or spouted portafiler for your Athena from Seattle Coffee Gear, as well as a 53mm tamper. The little Saecos make fine espresso if you go pressureless and have a nice grinder. This way you'll have room to upgrade your machine when your budget expands and already have a more than capable grinder, which is more important than the machine.

Posted March 6, 2013 link

+1

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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