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Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 64
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Syphon
Roaster: Hottop+TC4C
Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 5:07pm
Subject: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

Hi all,

I was passed down a super auto machine, Jura J5, about a year ago from a family member. I have recently discovered this site and have been trolling for a week or so. I have noticed that have been bit by the Espresso Bug! I am now looking to get more in touch and in control of my espresso drinks and looking to buy a semi-auto machine.

I am looking to spend any where between $500 - $1000 (machine and grinder). I have picked this wide range because I have just recently graduated college and still in a job search, with that said I am looking a low price equipment, without sacrificing to much quality if possible. If there is a slightly higher priced machine that provide better quality (meaning taste of a shot and durability of the machine) I will splurge a little more. I am aware that there are other accessories that are involved and these are not included in the price range but will be purchased.

I still have a lot of homework with investigating machines and grinders, but I figured a good place to start would be to ask the coffeegeek community where to focus my research on (i.e. brands or specific machines).

Hopefully this extra information helps with what I am expecting the machine to do. The drinks that I typically make with my current machine range from straight shots to a variety of espresso milk drinks. I use my current machine daily, making drinks for two people at a time.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advanced!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,226
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 Tue Oct 8, 2013, 6:38pm
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

You should look at the "sticky" on this page and then answer the standard basic questions.

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


Joined: 4 Oct 2013
Posts: 27
Location: Spokane, WA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Oct 8, 2013, 8:54pm
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

I'm brand new to the espresso world as well and had the same budget. Just today I purchased the Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL along with a Baratza Vario grinder. Getting these put me over my budget ($1330 total after discount & going through Ebates) but the Breville had all of the features I wanted and the Vario comes highly rated.

The other machine I was considering was the Crossland CC1. It's quite a bit cheaper in price but has very similar features. The main difference is that you can't brew & steam at the same time and the steam is a bit weaker. We drink mostly milk-based drinks so I wanted a machine that could turn out a few of them without having to wait.

I originally planned to go with the Rancilio Silvia V3 because it's a workhorse...but once I discovered the CC1 I realized I wanted a machine that I didn't have to temp surf. I didn't want to pay $200 more to add a PID on the Silvia when I could just get the CC1 which had one.

I don't have my Breville yet but it seems to have amazing reviews overall, and while the jury is still out on long term durability, people seem to be very happy with it as far as being able to fine tune their espresso while still having some of the fancy features.
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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 Oct 9, 2013, 2:37am
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

Baratza Vario + Saeco Aroma/Classico/Via Venezia/Barista + Bottomless Portafilter = ~$700

Do not waste your money on a Silvia (unless you find one used), as you will likely outgrow the machine quicker than you realize. Spend the lion's share of your budget on a nice grinder and you'll find yourself more future-proofed in your espresso endeavors. Here's some rules of thumb:

1) All used Oscars need work

2) The Rancilio Silvia is only a decent value if purchased used

3) The importance of the grinder cannot be overstated

4) The worst shots you make by hand will generally taste better than Starbucks or a Superauto (both the same thing now) provided your beans are fresh

5) Beans more than two weeks old are edging toward the trash can

6) Steaming milk to make latte art is much harder than it looks

7) This is an expensive hobby, and once you reach a certain point of constant frustration, it's your pocketbook rather than your prowess that is lacking, so don't beat yourself up.

8) 80% of this hobby is cleanup--Wipe, sweep, backflush, rinse, scrub, soak, purge... If you aren't astounded with how much cleanup you're doing, then your machine is suffering.

9) DON'T GIVE UP.

Welcome to the obsession!
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 64
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Syphon
Roaster: Hottop+TC4C
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 4:27am
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

Thank you for your input LJSquishy and Markarian. I will look into these! Markarian I appreciate the list of rules of thumb I will keep these all in mind.



Emradguy Thank you for directing me to the standard questions. Here are my answers to the standard questions, hope this helps with getting a better feel for what I am looking for.

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.)
Straight shots to a variety of espresso milk drinks

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 two at a time, twice a day.

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.)
At least twice a day, everyday. So, at least 14 drinks per week. Possibly more for a a couple weeks when I decide I have the itch to attempt to practice latte art.

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 am not looking to externally plumb.

5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
I just moved into a new apartment complex, I am going to say standard.

6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?
I am a new college grad in the middle of a job hunt on a budget, but have been bit by the espresso bug: $500 - $1000 (machine and grinder). I would like to spend less but I do not want to loss to much quality.

7)  Are you willing to buy used or do you need new equipment? Do you or family member have the skills to repair used equipment?
I am willing to buy used or new. I suppose it depends on the reviews I find and hear about. I do not know anyone with skills to repair equipment.

8)  Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these.
I do not have these accessories, but planning to get them. These are not in my budget stated above.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,437
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 6:09am
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

cafetom,

You have already had the intro machine in the Jura, albeit, not a great start, but a start. That $1000 will get you another starter outfit in that it unless you find a deal on used equipment you will be getting a single boiler dual use machine and a basic grinder. It will be a nice outfit, and one that a beginner would do well with, but not great. Since you are job seeking, hold out for a bit. If a good job happens you can invest in a long term outfit that will serve you well. A HX machine and a nice conical grinder that will last five to ten years (or more) would be a better setup than one that you may outgrow in two.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
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 Oct 9, 2013, 6:59am
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

Whole latte love has these pacgage deals

Gaggia Classic & MDF Espresso Bar $600

Gaggia Classic and Baratza Virtuoso Preciso Pack $698

Rancilio Silvia and Baratza Virtuoso Preciso Pack $844
Recommended! :D
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 64
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Syphon
Roaster: Hottop+TC4C
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

Thank you everyone for your inputs!

I have done much looking around and strongly considering a Gaggia Classic with a Preciso Refurbished or Vario Refurbished grinder.

I am open to any opinions about this set-up and which grinder I should get before I make the purchase.

Thanks!
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
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 Oct 9, 2013, 11:13am
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

Well the Vario over the Preciso has more settings for espresso.  If you get the Classic get this for better micro foam. :)
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SJM
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,723
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA (2), Maximatic, Cremina...
Grinder: K-10PB, Rancilio MD-50
Vac Pot: no like
Drip: no like
Roaster: HotTop   Huky en route
Posted Wed Oct 9, 2013, 11:24am
Subject: Re: Introduction Machine for a Beginner on a Budget
 

Is your grinder going to be a 'dedicated' grinder?  Can you keep it just for espresso?
If so, you have other and probably better choices to pair with that Classic.

If you are only able to have one grinder and it must be re-set regularly between settings for drip or press or espresso, then perhaps the Vario is a good choice.

If you can (and some of us think it necessary to) have a dedicated grinder, then you might want to look at something else.
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