VindiPanda Senior Member Joined: 12 Dec 2013 Posts: 2 Location: Ann Arbor Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 2:57am Subject: Interested in buying a espresso machine
I wondering if it is possible to buy a espresso machine on a budget of 200-300 dollars that can make decent espresso. A relative recently upgraded and gave me there Rancilio rocky grinder, the other essential accessories I can budget for separately. I am fine buying used, just looking for the best bang for the buck machine available.
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 2,972 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 7:36am Subject: Re: Interested in buying a espresso machine
If you already have a grinder that is good because your budget is tight. I would look for a good used machine. I got my Oscar, light duty HX machine for 475. I have seen them as low as 250 but that is rare. Did you read the sticky?
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,491 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 Thu Dec 12, 2013, 1:26pm Subject: Re: Interested in buying a espresso machine
Though CoffeeGeek can NOT stand behind any of the private sales, as they are private transactions and the website is not involved and will not be involved in any way, the machines offered for sale there TEND but there is no guarantee, to be in pretty good shape and unless the add says the machine needs work, you can pretty much count on the machine being OK. The VAST majority of the people there are honest and more than up front in how they represent the items.
At that price range, you are solidly in the lower end starter machines. There is nothing wrong with that as we all need to start some place but though these machines can produce good to great espresso, they take a whole lot more work at it because of their small sized boilers and bare bones features.
Rocky is a OK starter grinder but the market has moved on since he was introduced. You might want to look into some of the many mods that have been done on Rocky, first start with making him stepless as this is one of the biggest drawbacks with that grinder.
As to a specific machine, there are very few new machines at that price level worth having brand new, but by going used you open up the choices. It pretty much is whatever you can find at that price point, someone moving up from a starter machine is most likely the person who will be posting an add in the $300 range.
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!
Buckley Senior Member Joined: 25 Jan 2011 Posts: 413 Location: Baltimore, USA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Londinium I, Olympia Maxima,... Grinder: Compak K-10 WBC, Gaggia MDF Drip: Hario V60 Roaster: Nondescript popper
Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 1:11pm Subject: Re: Interested in buying a espresso machine
Your budget guarantees that you will purchase a simple, uncomplicated machine that, therefore, will require you to learn how to balance roast freshness, grind size, water temperature and infusion yourself because the machine will not do it for you. The advantages of this is that you will learn a lot and be more of an expert than if you bought a semi-auto, also the machine will be easier to afford, maintain and understand than a complex one. The disadvantage is that the quality is completely on your shoulders and there is a learning curve, but it may not take you more than 1/4 pound of coffee to get the hang of it with a little self-discipline and the ability to remember what you did the day before. Since you have a grinder, I assume that I do not have to preach to you about fresh, quality roasts.
Therefore, my first suggestion is a new Mypress twist v2. ($169). My second suggestion is a used premillenial La Pavoni Europiccola. My third is a millenial La Pavoni Europiccola. You can buy on ebay but be sure the seller is on the level. You can buy one for $300-350, easily and as low as $150 with luck. Make sure you ask questions, like, does it have a brass plunger (premillenial only), is the boiler body dented at all (especially where the 'T' steam valve joins), are the gaskets new or old? These machines last forever and are easy and relatively cheap to maintain oneself. Be sure to read about their tendency to overheat after the first two pulls. My fourth suggestion is go to a local commercial coffee maintenance company in Ann Arbor, Flint or Detroit. Go to ones who service espresso machines and they will have refurbished models but these are likely to be relatively complex commercial machines and not consumer or 'prosumer' machines. Neverthelss, you make luck out and they have something appropriate; or they may know the local network of coffee hobbyists. Also, they can usually fix what you buy from them in the future.
Skylar Senior Member Joined: 15 Apr 2004 Posts: 119 Location: New Jersey Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: lelit espresso Grinder: lelit grinder Vac Pot: B. D. Electric Drip: chemex Roaster: wok roast and popper, heat...
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 9:06am Subject: Re: Interested in buying a espresso machine
This site suggests a starter Gaggia pump espresso machine for $200 (less on special). I bought a Nemox junior for $99 from Ist line when they first offered them. When I received it, I filled it, heated it, made a cup and promptly emptied and stored it away for emergency use if my Lelit. bought for $299 when a new iteration was looming and they were presumably making room for a bunch of upgraded devices. The Nemox Junior on their site is selling for $149 now. They have recently been throwing one into orders of over $1000, gratis.
What was said about fresh beans, proper grind, tamping, correct weight of dose blah, blah, blah is quite correct. Ya gotta learn somewhere and these machines really won't hold your hand. You do know what a good shot tastes like, right? You do know what you will be striving for? lol
marosmith Senior Member Joined: 15 Dec 2013 Posts: 36 Location: Lafayette, Oregon Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Silvia V2 Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 1:52pm Subject: Re: Interested in buying a espresso machine
Ok ok, I had to sign up and post here:
An encore is just fine for espresso. The lack of micro-adjustments may make it harder to dial in.
I started with a saeco barista and could make an ok shot.
A saeco sirena with a naked portafilter made excellent shots. It took effort, but for $200 for a used machine and a grinder anyone can pull good shots.
I upgraded to a silvia which also can pull great shots, build quality and durability make it much better than the sirena. The silvia can be purchased used for $300 if one looks hard enough.
My point? It may be more difficult to pull a good shot with cheaper used equipment. The cheaper equipment like the sirena are not going to last 20 years etc.... However anyone can make excellent espresso with these machines.
The more $$$$, the easier it will be to get a consistent shot and dial everything in. Further, you will gain durability and ease of ability to replace parts.
When new folks post a price limit, respect that and give them their options. I think anyone can understand that spending more money will get you a better product, however it's not a necessity.
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