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Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

emradguy Said:

Modding a Rocky to stepless is going to really help the owner get the most out of that grinder, but in the end, it's still a Rocky, and it doesn't hold a candle to a high end grinder in the cup (even a Mazzer Mini class grinder), all other factors being similar. .

Posted December 18, 2013 link

100% agreed... I am not going to argue that, don't think anyone would ;-) ... but only to those of us that know the difference in the first place, and had the opportunity to compare!

"ignorance is bliss" as you said - 99.99% of folks would not be able to tell said difference between those shots anyway!  My father used to always say "I can't tell the difference between the $7 bottle of wine compared to the $107 bottle"... my reply was always "good, I will keep the $7 bottles on hand too for when you come over... leaves more good wine for the rest of us!"  Most here on this site, with our refined palates, higher expectations and astronomical coffee budgets (relatively speaking) KNOW the difference... more beer for us!

But at some point we have to also make the folks who aren't spending north of $2K on their setups *feel* ike they have a snowballs chance at pulling a good shot too - because they do!!  :-)

I know, we are in a circular argument... cheers to you!

PS - funny, I used the "ignorance is bliss" phrase earlier today on the grinder forum here on CG... deja vu all over again!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,303
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 Wed Dec 18, 2013, 9:59am
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

yes, it seems we are in total agreement, but maybe my post didn't highlight enough, how much I agree with you (for onlookers)?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Pendel
Senior Member
Pendel
Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Posts: 42
Location: Maine
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL & Cremina
Grinder: Macap M4
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 10:46am
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

OK, so I think I need to ask for some votes to get this straight:

Let us say that here are my choices:

No additional cash outlay:

  1. Mod the Rocky as described above; keep the Aroma.

$200-$400 additional cash outlay (which is all we can afford):

  1. Resell the Rocky, and hunt for a used Mazzer Mini; keep the Aroma.

  2. Resell the Rocky, and hunt for a used Mazzer SJ; keep the Aroma.

  3. Mod the Rocky, sell the Aroma, and buy a new Gaggia Classic (I am very reluctant here, as I am not fond of the idea of using an aluminum boiler).

  4. Mod the Rocky, sell the Aroma, and buy a used Rancilio Silvia.

  5. Something else?

Part of the big question for me is whether the additional outlay of $200-$400 will really produce a dramatic difference in the shots.

Your input is much appreciated!

:-)
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 10:59am
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

All I can say is "a man with a plan!"  I admire that...

... just make sure you don't get laughed out of the kitchen by spending too much!! :-) (big smiley)

Cheers to you Pendel.
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 2:29pm
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

hi Pendel,

fyi, i've been hunting "cheap" grinders and machines for the longest time on ebay and others. average take home price for sj is about $400 and for mini is $350. if you're unlucky, expect to spend more burrs and others.

i think mazzers are generally over priced, especially on ebay...but you can find occasional gems now and then...i passed on a reasonably good condition sj around $180, and a bad sj / good major twin set at $400...and miss a great 1 owner 2 yr old mini at $250. also pass a mini vivaldi 2 with macap grinder that got sold for $600...ended not sold. i still beat myself for passing those up.

reasonable grinders i would consider are the macaps m4/mc4, compak k3 and ns mdx around $300-350, and anfim best and ns mci/mcf. noisier and cheaper trespade based conical burrs grinder can be had new around $250.

of course there is the great $/performance oe pharos.

anyway i got myself a bregant / obel for $20 + $70 2-day air...stupid shipping $ aside that got stuck in dallas for 4 days, it needs new burrs and top bearing...takes me to a grand total out of pocket of $140 for a 64mm burr set...stepless mod to come.

i also got a two months used gaggia classic with upgraded wand for $250...$5 light dimmer mod, $3 switch for heater mod, $3 silicone potholder to wrap the boiler. these takes the machine up a level.


there are many great choices if you're not in a hurry...  i suggest bracketing a range of machines and grinders, and i think after christmas you should have a field day.

hope these helps, david.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 3:40pm
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

emradguy Said:

yes, it seems we are in total agreement, but maybe my post didn't highlight enough, how much I agree with you (for onlookers)?

Posted December 18, 2013 link

LOL.. but you did say you agreed 99.99%.... I was focusing on the 0.01%!! Lol

It's the engineer on me I guess...

Fair enough - cheers to you!!
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bardogg
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 2
Location: johannesburg
Expertise: Intermediate

Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 5:43pm
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

I just posted essentially the same thing on a different thread so apologies for sounding like a broken record, but the BDB/Preciso combo has turned me back onto espresso after giving up for several years in frustration (mainly b/c I simply refused to believe the advice about grinders).  I'm a true newbie in terms of succeeding at decent espresso, so take that into account, but I have a fair bit of experience failing to make a decent shot with a good espresso machine.  My most recent failed setup was an Expobar Office Pulser with a Gaggia MDF that I attempted to make stepless but without adding anything to stabilize it, so I was essentially trying to manually hold the setting each time I ran it with predictable results in terms of consistency.  Getting the Preciso made my daily vac pot much better (no more annoying stalls) and getting the BDB has made the dialing-in process for shots downright fun instead of frustrating.  The shot-timer, PID and pressure gauge give me all the information I need to easily track changes in each variable.  You can get a refurbed BDB for under $800, which makes it worth it even if you're not steaming milk.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,034
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 19, 2013, 6:28am
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

Brian, good luck with that BDB, really!

AT LAST WE HAVE A BUDGET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Admittedly is is small. Rocky will do in a pinch, even modded to stepless, you really will want to go for a better grinder though. As Hellen's tag line says, GRINDER, GRINDER, GRINDER!

Under $1K for grinder and machine, you really should be 50/50 grinder/machine. Under $650, spend more on the grinder than the machine.

 
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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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Thu Dec 19, 2013, 7:13am
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

calblacksmith Said:

AT LAST WE HAVE A BUDGET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted December 19, 2013 link

Can we get an "Amen"?

calblacksmith Said:

Admittedly is is small. Rocky will do in a pinch, even modded to stepless, you really will want to go for a better grinder though. As Hellen's tag line says, GRINDER, GRINDER, GRINDER!

Under $1K for grinder and machine, you really should be 50/50 grinder/machine. Under $650, spend more on the grinder than the machine.

Posted December 19, 2013 link

We also have a broken record, but I couldn't agree with you more, Wayne . . .

;^)

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Pendel
Senior Member
Pendel
Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Posts: 42
Location: Maine
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL & Cremina
Grinder: Macap M4
Posted Fri Dec 20, 2013, 7:24am
Subject: Re: Semi-Auto Espresso Machine Advice, just for shots; no milk.
 

OK, so here is an update, for all of you still kind enough to be paying attention to this thread.

I am now an owner of a used Macap M4 grinder, as well as of a used Rocky, both with dosers.
Neither has been yet delivered into my hands and so I have not assessed them, as far as gauging what sort of immediate attention each will require.
If the machines function as promised, I will be very fortunate to have bought each one for under $300, even if I need to put new burrs into the one I keep.

So, first of all, let me thank all of you who have pitched in and had encouraged me to drop more cash on esoteric coffee equipment.
My family members have indicated that they are not joining me in giving these thanks...

Now, I am going to start hunting for a machine, as I am afraid this may take a while, given what I am after, but my BD is in the spring and one can always hope!
Having read more specs than I would care to admit, I have narrowed down my search to a used Quick Mill Alexia, if such machines ever hit the market at well discounted prices.
I am attracted by E61 and the brass boiler, among other things, and the use profile of the machine fits my needs.
My hope is that some folks decide to move up to HX or DB machines in search of the milky heaven, and may want to let the poor (not so old) Alexia go at a good discount.

Anyway, what do you guys think about this choice? Are Alexias durable and hassle free?

Cheers, and thanks!

:-)
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