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Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Best Machine for...  
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adamstivala
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adamstivala
Joined: 5 Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Location: miami, fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013, 6:27pm
Subject: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Hello,

I am looking to buy an espresso machine for daily use. Here are my specifications:

Capacity: 15-25 single shots per 30 min period
Functions: steamer wand, standard outlet, water resevoir, and would love an integrated bean grinder (but can live without it i suppose)
Price range: $400 to 600 (can be new or refurbished)
Uses: I will use it on a daily basis at my school to make espresso, lattes, and cuban coffee for up to 20/ppl in a 30 min period
Experience: I have over 15 years in the restaurant industry and am not a pro-barista but know my way around professional machines

Other than that, I value a quality brand without too many previous problems because I live outside the US, and to send for repair or return the machine would take months.

Thank you for your input!
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rotwang
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rotwang
Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 150
Location: New Mexico USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Pure
Grinder: Pharos, KyM,  Sözen, PeDe
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: No..Cezve
Roaster: nope
Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013, 6:35pm
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Sorry, but I don't think there is one.  Unless you find some great deal on a used machine, anything in that budget is going to really struggle to put out drinks that quickly.
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adamstivala
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adamstivala
Joined: 5 Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Location: miami, fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013, 7:38pm
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Thanks for the reply.
What would be good options in either direction, and the better brands?
Higher cost or lower capacity?

I was looking at the Breville BES860XL but read mixed reviews.
I have a $35 Imusa that can bang out 2-3 shots in about 3 min but it's single use and opening the reservoir valve when it's hot gets dicey!
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013, 8:37pm
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Used HX machine, like an NS Oscar might be able to handle the volume, but you need to add several hundred onto your price for a grinder that can handle the load.

If you spent over a decade in the food service industry, you know that skimping on your equipment will only lead to headaches.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,675
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 Fri Apr 5, 2013, 8:51pm
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Hi like the others said, you are limited to whatever you can find used, commercial preferred. To that you will need a grinder that is commercial also, unless you stumble into someone GIVING their gear away, I would expect a minimum of $2k on the used market.
A Breville anything will not do the job, you are solidly I'm n commercial grade equipment here.

Any specific brand is a moot point as you are limited to what is around you. To that you will need to repair whatever you find in this price range so add in money for that too,
.
Good luck!

 
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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adamstivala
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adamstivala
Joined: 5 Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Location: miami, fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013, 11:19pm
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

Great, thank you for the advice :)

Let me refine my original parameters then:

Screw the grinder and steamer (i have a separate one and can use the electric $35 Imusa steamer separately )

Is there a machine which can functionally make 10 single shots in 30 min in around that price range? I don't need fancy. Is the pull an option? Thanks!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,675
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 Sat Apr 6, 2013, 1:38am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

You are now in the range of doo-able.
You are still looking at used but a machine such as the Oscar George mentioned, sells used in the $500 to $600 range and it can easily pull a double shot every couple of minutes they steam well, have an auto fill boiler and are a pour over (built in water tank)
And run on a standard home outlet. As a bonus, they are certified for light commercial service.

To get anything resembling good espresso from it though, you need a quality grinder, a used Super jolly sells for about $350and to that you will need to change the burrs at about $50.

With a setup like this, i have taken care of parties of up to 40 or so people. It is a lot of work though and you are moving all the time

What grinder do you have? You will not be able to use a $75 home grinder, they cant grind for espresso. New, a motor powered grinder for espresso starts at about $300 and those grinders won't last very long under that kind of use, you need a SJ class grinder at a minimum.

 
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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adamstivala
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adamstivala
Joined: 5 Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Location: miami, fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 10:04am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

hahaha i have the $75 home grinder :)

This operation doesn't need to be too high end, and I will probably use the pre-ground Bustelo or Llave for Cuban coffees, which are 90% sugar anyway.
The shots and lattes I will just put the grinder on the finest grind and use that.
Would it be appropriate to use that grind with the Oscar?  I'm sure quality would suffer a bit but we are talking super stressed out, caffeine addicted medical students with little knowledge of coffee besides something dumbed down with copious amounts of sugar and milk.

Thank you all for your feedback super helpful!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,015
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 10:37am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

All the flavor is in the grinder.  You need a grinder or do pods.  Oscar makes a pod kit for the machine or sometimes you find them used already set up for pods.  I would not pay for a pod or capsule drink but other people do.

 
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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crazy4espresso
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crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Sat Apr 6, 2013, 10:42am
Subject: Re: Best Machine for semi-professional daily operation under $600?
 

adamstivala Said:

hahaha i have the $75 home grinder :)

This operation doesn't need to be too high end, and I will probably use the pre-ground Bustelo or Llave for Cuban coffees, which are 90% sugar anyway.
The shots and lattes I will just put the grinder on the finest grind and use that.
Would it be appropriate to use that grind with the Oscar?  I'm sure quality would suffer a bit but we are talking super stressed out, caffeine addicted medical students with little knowledge of coffee besides something dumbed down with copious amounts of sugar and milk.

Thank you all for your feedback super helpful!

Posted April 6, 2013 link

In that case, might a recommend a superauto? Definition=push 1 button to turn machine on, push 1 button to brew.  Everything else taken care of. Seems to fit your needs well.  I have some experience with Gaggia superautos and they're generally decent, all things considered. I hear some positive reviews of the Quick Mills but no direct experience with them.
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