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Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
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christinejamrok
Senior Member


Joined: 1 May 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Florida
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 12:19pm
Subject: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

So a few months ago I got a gift card to Crate & Barrel, and used that money to purchase a Breville Barista Express. I wound up returning it for several reasons, but mostly because the espresso it made wasn't terribly flavorful. On it's own it was extremely bitter, and mixed with steamed milk, it didn't even taste remotely the way I would expect from a $600 machine. My little $9 machine from Goodwill did a better job at making something that tasted like cappucino, rather than brown-tinged steamed milk. I did like how easy the machine was to use, but I just wasn't thrilled with the lack of bold flavor.

Since returning it, I've decided to pursue getting a better, albeit probably more expensive machine. I'm budgeting about $1000, but a couple hundred dollars more for a much better machine would be great. I would love a machine that gives me the option of steaming the milk while making the espresso, but that's not a key feature I need. I'm find with either a built-in or separate grinder, but if I get a separate one, I want a compact one that won't take up much counter space, and will be easy, quick, and convenient to use. I don't want to spend a super long time preparing espresso each morning---- the faster the machine steams/brews, the better (though I don't mind wait time for the machine to heat up---- I just want the hands-on time to be as minimal as possible. Once I figure out my favorite settings, I want to be able to make the drinks fairly easily). I also don't mind steaming milk by hand. I don't like the steam wands that are supposed to just be "set it and forget" it style.

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.)
Lattes and cappucinos mostly, with the occasional Americano. I like my drinks a bit on the larger size---- double shots, very rarely do I make singles.

2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
On average, probably two or three drinks every day, but I will occasionally need to make five or six drinks at one time. I hated how long my last machine took. Switching between pulling shots and steaming milk took forever with the single boiler, and the espresso went cold before I was ready to pour the milk.

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.)
Probably twenty to thirty.

4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir?
I could, but would prefer a machine with a reservoir.


5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
I could if need be, but would much prefer a countertop 15-amp unit.

6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?  
$1000 for everything, give or take a tiny bit.

Thanks so much for the help---- I was so disappointed with that Breville, and would love something that pulls better tasting shots!
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,944
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 12:37pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

Hi Christine

Welcome to the CoffeeGeek forums. You will get lots of good advice from our members. But, I know one of the first questions they will ask you is "What kind of grinder do you now have?" They will ask because a good quality grinder is essential to quality espresso. So can you answer that question for us? That will determine whether the $1000 will need to include a grinder.

Cheers, Dana.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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christinejamrok
Senior Member


Joined: 1 May 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Florida
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 12:39pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

Ah, I should have made that more clear---- I do not have a grinder, which is why my budget is for both an espresso machine and a grinder.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 12:41pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

Are you open to used equipment?  You money will get more machine used.  My set up was just about 1k and I think I have a good starter set up.  Oscar used is a bargain at 500 or less.

 
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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christinejamrok
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Joined: 1 May 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Florida
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 12:43pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

I'm not opposed to used, so long as there is a way to return the machine should I find it's not up to par. I've noticed that Amazon offers a thirty day return policy on used items, which would be great if I could get it through that outlet. I'm less interested in Ebay/Craigslist/that avenue, but a reputable dealer of used goods would be just fine for me.
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Burner0000
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Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,082
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 12:53pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

By the sounds of it you wan't a machine with a smaller boiler for the faster warm up time.  If 10-15min isn't too long I would recommend the Crossland CC1 It's got it all. If that's to long I would look at a gaggia machine.  Add the latte art SS wand retrofit and you should be good.  IMO I would just get an HX or dual boiler if you can live without a fast warm up time by adding an auto timer to the outlet your machine is plugged into.  NS Oscar's are just over $1,000.

Crossland CC1
NS Oscar

This is just me though.  I recommend the two for price and what you want them to do.

Lastly I would check out the Breville Dual boiler.
Breville Dual Boiler "On sale $300 off"

If you consider the Crossland CC1 I would match it with the Vario grinder.
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dana_leighton
Moderator
dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,944
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 12:55pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

You might consider some of the machines on the Buy, Sell & Trade forum here. Generally these machines are coming from loving homes, and the owners are willing to help you with dialing in and getting the machines working. I see there's a pair for about $1k, not clear whether it's been sold yet: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/members/buysell/620694

As usual with any private-party sale, caveat emptor.

Cheers,
Dana

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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dana_leighton
Moderator
dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,944
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 1:00pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

Burner0000 Said:

If you consider the Crossland CC1 I would match it with the Vario grinder.

Posted May 1, 2013 link


I'd second that, but raise it to the Vario-W.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,082
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

dana_leighton Said:

I'd second that, but raise it to the Vario-W.

Posted May 1, 2013 link

Definitely!  It would be my dream setup If I'd known of them when I was in the market. Currently own a Silvia + Macap MX, paid $700 used.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,111
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed May 1, 2013, 1:35pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a new espresso machine. Have a budget of about $1000
 

OP: having read you are wiling to up your budget a couple hundred dollares if it would give you what you want, I will go ahead and recommend the following as one option...

look at the NS Oscar and the Baratza grinders mentioned thus far.  Call a couple of the popular online sales places that are frequently mentioned here and see if any of them will cut you a combo deal.

given you are willing to wait for warmup time is a big, huge plus, because most any machine takes 30-45 minuteds to get up to optimal operating temp.  However, if you get a good one (like the Oscar) that has a boiler which autofills, I would recommend putting it on a programmable timer, so that at least when you routinely want to use it, it will be warmed up already.

since you can plumb the machine, you should reconsider your desire to do so.  It's a huge inconvenience to have to refill the reservoir every day (trust me, I know this very well).  if you run not plumbed for a while and then plumb it, I suspect you will never look back (that's what everyone who plumbs in says at least).

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