osiis Junior Member Joined: 14 Dec 2013 Posts: 1 Location: CA Expertise: Just starting
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 2:41pm Subject: In over my head
Well my mother came back from a vacation to Europe and said she likes Cappuccino. So I had the bright idea to buy here an Espresso Machine. Only to quickly find out I am way in over my head about this. I prefer to do things right the first time so I don't end up buying twice.
This is how it has gone so far. I was like this will be a great birthday present for her in February. Went to Amazon and saw the DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker was pretty popular and the Espressione Café Minuetto Professional Thermoblock Espresso Machine was as well. Then after doing some more typing into Google and coming here and reading posts I was ready to pull out some hair out.
My mother is a 66 year old crafty Japanese woman. Whatever I get her she will pick up very quickly on how to use it correctly and will do the research to also learn to use it quickly. She will also take care of her equipment. This is a lady that still uses wedding presents that are over 35 years old cuz she takes care of them.
If it was for myself I'd just buy DeLonghi cuz I'm not a big coffee person but since this is for my mother I am going to spend the $ and time into making sure I do this correctly since she said she likes it.
I suppose this is all very general and unspecific but I really have no idea what I'm looking at or even what goes into making a decent Cappuccino. I wish I had more specific questions or a direction I was looking/thinking but I don't.
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.)
Cappuccino and/or whatever else goes into making one.
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.)
1 - 3, she will make one for herself and possibly one for a friend(s). Most of the time 1 though.
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.)
She will use it everyday in the AM and probably when she gets home from work. So anywhere from 7 to about 21 drinks per week.
4) Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pour over machine with its own reservoir?
She will need a 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?
Well before I read anything about this I was thinking like $250 but now after reading she needs a grinder,etc I suppose I'd be willing to spend $1,000.
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 could buy used and she herself is quite skillful in fixing broken equipment. I can also fix it for her if need be and I live close enough to be able to help her out.
8) Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these.
No she has no accessories and would be buying them as well.
Thank you for reading and for any tips/recommendations.
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 2,950 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 3:38pm Subject: Re: In over my head
This is one of the few times I would suggest Breville double boiler. I would be looking for a steal of a deal on the old style when the new model ones come out. Since they did not come out before Christmas, I expect you might be lucky in February.
My reasons, her light usage and ease of learning curve for her. Grinder I suggest a Vario W or Forte.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,314 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 8:14pm Subject: Re: In over my head
Espresso is more of a passion than just a coffee based drink.
There are lots of choices in the sub $250 range but none of them are worth having.... seriously! I know you have moved your thinking up from this point and this is why you need to look up the chain.
A hand powered grinder can be had at or just below a $100 not but for one with a motor, they start at about the $350 mark.
It is not unwise to use a $350 grinder on a $350 machine, the grinder IS THAT IMPORTANT!
FRESH beans are mandatory, fresh is defined by less than 15 days SINCE THEY WERE ROASTED. Anything in the supermarket is hopelessly stale ANYTHING.
I am not trying to scare anyone away but rather to save the dissapointment that SOOOOOOO many have when they buy lower end equipment and the hours and hours of frustrating trying before they come to us for help. Nearly always, they are using supermarket beans and no grinder. Espresso can not happen under those conditions.
GASP, I actually KIND OF agree with Hellen but can not bring myself to actually advise someone to buy the BDB, I just feel the build quality is not there and for that price, it should be.
I think really, your mother is a good bet for a Super Automatic machine. They do all the work for you and all you do is push the button. BECAUSE they do all the work, the adjustments are not there to get a GREAT shot of espresso but they very often will give their owners something that they can enjoy, well enjoy if a trip to Starbucks will make them happy. Most here are not happy with that level of drink quality but most NON geeks can be or seem to be happy there. Whatever even if you do get her a SA machine, use fresh beans. There are lots of great vendors online and sometimes you may find a roaster in your town that is good. Good, FRESH coffee starts at about $12 for a 12 oz bag (not a pound) so there can be some sticker shock there too.
At the upper end of your range, you will start to find some better HOME quality SA machines, worth thinking about in a low volume situation like yours. They have built in grinders so that is not need. Aside from the lack of adjustability, they need careful maintaince, but that sounds like you have that covered. They can be a bit fussy and the less expensive ones have short lives. That is not to say that a more expensive one will last your lifetime but it has a better shot of hitting 5 years :D
Good luck, give it some consideration, do a lot of reading and perhaps even start a few threads with your questions :D
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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