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What it the best espresso maker?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > What it the best...  
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Radah2014
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2014
Posts: 3
Location: maroc
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 12, 2014, 9:10am
Subject: What it the best espresso maker?
 

So its my bf's birthday and I want to buy him an espresso maker. I've gone on websites and asked friends but I'm getting mixed responses, and I have no idea what to do. I can't spend too much on it cause I'm a poor college student, probably 50-200$, but I'd prefer the cheapest for the best quality.

thanks!
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uscfroadie
Senior Member
uscfroadie
Joined: 2 Aug 2008
Posts: 396
Location: San Antonio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: GS/3 Strada MP, BDB; owned...
Grinder: Forte, Zass and PeDe hand...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Nope
Roaster: owned Behmor
Posted Wed Mar 12, 2014, 9:20am
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

Sorry to not give you the answer you are looking for, but for that price range, I'd start finding alternative gifts.  The machine you can buy in that range will never get used.
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convan23
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Dallas
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Mar 12, 2014, 9:31am
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

You are probably going to get a lot of people on this forum trying to talk you into spending more or going another route because they'll give you the rundown that "great espresso" can't be had from a sub $200 set up. While this may be true, my girlfriend (who I am now marrying in a few short weeks!) back in college gave me an espresso machine and I will always cite that as one of the best presents I've ever received. Sure, the espresso it made sucked compared to what I drink now, but it gave me roots to enjoy coffee as a hobby, and I have since spent many, many more dollars in pursuing "great espresso" (which, depending on how you look at it, may not be a good thing ;-) )

If this is your BF's first entry into great coffee, my recommendation would not be an espresso machine though...I would consider an aeropress and a hario slim grinder:

Click Here (www.amazon.com)
Click Here (www.amazon.com)

This will give you better coffee then a sub $200 espresso machine, and you can make the coffee just as strong as most espresso, and will taste much better then a cheaper espresso machine. This is NOT an espresso machine, but will give you amazing coffee. I still use mine today.

If you are set on getting an espresso machine; you have two options (in my opinion). One, get a nespresso. People on here will probably advise against it, but they are easy and don't require much investment. Designed for people that just want their morning java and aren't coffee nuts. If you think he's going to get into coffee, you can consider the Delonghi EC155. It's actually the same machine I got back in college, and will produce a coffee that looks like espresso and tastes like strong coffee. If your BF gets really into it he'll outgrow the machine quickly, but it is the machine that I attribute to introducing myself to the espresso world and again, consider it one of the best gift I've ever received (granted, I ended up buying the above AeroPress and hand grinder just a few weeks later). Just know that if he's the type of person to actually turn coffee into a hobby, espresso is a very, very expensive one :-)

Whatever you end up doing, be sure to buy some fresh roasted coffee to go with it... (look for a roast date on the coffee, if it doesn't have a roast date within the last 2 weeks it isn't fresh)
Best of luck!
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Mar 12, 2014, 9:39am
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

Let's try to help by reading between the lines:
  1. Your bf likes coffee.
  2. I do not know whether or not he makes his own or he and you primarily use cafes.  You are positioning him to make coffee or espresso at home, so let's go with that.
  3. You may or may not have read the many posts on this web site that emphasize the importance of a good grinder, so let me assure you that to get great flavor out of great coffee beans you have to marry (no, not you. I'm not trying to start something)...one has to marry well micro-shredded (not crushed) coffee beans with the correct amount of good water at the correct temperature range and for the correct amount of time.  There are many ways to get the correct amount, quality, temperature and brew time of water to make coffee.  A water kettle, a mug and a clean sock will do.  But there is only one way to get well-ground coffee and that is to buy a good grinder.

Bottom line: Give him a gift of a good coffee grinder that he can enjoy for years.  Perhaps add a French Press pot if the finances permit.  Then you can parlay this to give him an inexpensive but good espresso machine in a year or two as expenses permit at that time.

For this year, I suggest giving him a gift of a Gaggia MDF grinder or any of the Baratza grinders, pehaps the Vario.  Then next year or thereafter, buy him a Mypressi espresso machine, $169.

Buckley
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Ian
Moderator
Ian
Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1,465
Location: England

Espresso: Euro2000,Rancilio
Grinder: Mazzer,La Cimbali
Vac Pot: Cona-->CraigA
Drip: Belgique for emergencies
Roaster: Primas with variac
Posted Wed Mar 12, 2014, 9:45am
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

You could get a moka pot and save up for something worthwhile?


Cheers

Ian

 
www.videojug.com/film/how-to-behave-on-an-internet-forum
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Radah2014
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2014
Posts: 3
Location: maroc
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 12, 2014, 10:09am
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

Thanks for reply
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Crow
Senior Member
Crow
Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 57
Location: Reno, Nevada
Expertise: Just starting

Grinder: Zass Havanna
Vac Pot: Cona Old no. 2
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sun Mar 16, 2014, 6:46pm
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

A Saeco Poema (Amazon about $100) will make espresso that is way way above say a Starbucks made cup.

There are no cheap electric grinders. A portable grinder, such as a Zass works well for me, cost about $100, but it was bought long ago when the quality perhaps was better than it is now. It takes 150 turns to grind 7 grams of beans. But some beans require much less force, making the job infinitely easier. Such as this from Amazon which are beans so easy to grind it takes concentration to determine when you have ground all the beans (because it takes so little force to turn the grinder crank compared with other beans).

Amazon (White House Espresso whole bean) (a particularly dark and shiney roast):

http://tinyurl.com/White-Coffee

Saeco Poema:  

http://tinyurl.com/amazon-poema

Good luck finding a manual grinder good enough to make a really fine grind as my Zassenhaus  does. With some searching they are out there. I had to modify it by adding an extra stainless steel washers and a wider nut to compress the spring tighter, in order to make it grind fine enough. Easy enough, took maybe 5 minutes with the correct size end wrench.

For $200 I get espresso that blows Starbucks away (but then that is a low bar, and easy to do :) )

Some folks around here believe the Hario ceramic grinder is a good choice, I think I've seen some mods for it around here in the forum , to make it better for espresso...

http://tinyurl.com/grinders-geek


http://tinyurl.com/amazon-hario
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Crow
Senior Member
Crow
Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 57
Location: Reno, Nevada
Expertise: Just starting

Grinder: Zass Havanna
Vac Pot: Cona Old no. 2
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sun Mar 16, 2014, 7:15pm
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

I took a look at my modified Zass just now. Actually what I added were two flat washers with a common lock washer in between them. All 3 are stainless steel. I did not add a nut. And I did not need an end wrench, only the correct size screwdriver, which I had to go and purchase. It is a common slotted screw, nothing special, but a long and wide slot.

Slide off the bottom cap and turn upside down, right on the top will be a screw with a wide and long slot. You need a good screwdriver that fits, might have to take the Zass into store to find correct fitting screwdriver (if you don't already have a dozen kicking around, it which case one should fit).

Unscrew. There is already one washer there. Add a flat washer, the lock washer, anoter flat washer under the screw head. Screw it back. Done.

The Zass screw is 3/8" wide, the flat washers need to be a tiny bit wider. Thickness: the stack of 2 flat washers with lock washer in between measures .150" on my modified stack of washers. .125" would be 1/8", so a little thickness more than 1/8" was added.

I'm not sure of the hole size. I might be necessary to take the grinder in the store to find which washer has holes small enough to just barely fit, which is what you want.

Result: it now grinds much finer than before. However it does not do as well for courser grounds, like it used to. Which I don't care about, as long as it does the finest grind.

You can try different thickness of washers, if you can find them at hardware store. I went to a local large independent hardware store, not a chain store, because their stock is out there in drawers not packed behind clear plastic, so I could examine them before purchase.

My Zass was the turkish Zass, this one, but not bought here, and since it was made earlier, perhaps the quality of them now is not as good, who knows?

http://tinyurl.com/Marias-zass
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,675
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 Mon Mar 17, 2014, 6:23am
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

Espresso is more than a machine, there is no BEST machine but some starter machines are better than others. In espresso and coffee in general, it is the GRINDER that is the important machine, not the water heater that gets all the attention.

A quality grinder with a motor, for ESPRESSO starts at $350 for the bottom ranking of grinders that are able to do espresso. For other use aside from espresso, about $150 can get you a starter grinder that is quality and if you must stay with less than that, move to a hand powered grinder for under $100.

Choppers with whirly blades are NOT coffee grinders and will not produce properly ground coffee. They will produce pulverized powder to boulders from the beans. The powder will over extract very quickly and the boulders will never give up anything.

Consistency is the key to good coffee and espresso. A consistent size grind is mandatory as is fresh, properly roasted coffee beans. Fresh for espresso is less than TWO WEEKS FROM THE DAY THEY WERE ROASTED not a best by date or a use before date. For other methods of brewing you can eek that out a bit and get as much as a month from the beans depending on how sensitive you are to the staling process. Coffee is a food and like all foods, it will spoil. Just because it is hard and brown does not mean that it does not spoil, it does and you can taste it.

There is a fairly negative comment above from a new member here about how we will try to get you to spend more money, that is not true, we WILL tell you that for even a base starter grinder and a base starter machine for true espresso, it will require a bigger budget. There are NEAR espresso methods such as a Moka pot, that will give you an espresso LIKE coffee, it is the way that nearly all Italians make their daily brew but it is not espresso.

With coffee it is a GRINDER AND a brew method, not just a machine. You can not have good coffee from pre ground coffee. It is stale long before you buy it. Would you buy an apple at the store then have the produce manager cut it into hundreds of pieces because you do not have a knife at home? What would you have by the time you got home? Brown mush right? The same thing happens to coffee but it is brown to start with so you do not see it.

Welcome to the board, hang out, learn. We welcome all questions!

 
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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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,356
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Mar 17, 2014, 11:20am
Subject: Re: What it the best espresso maker?
 

I started with a Bar 32 (samething as the Delonghi EC155) and Hario Slim grinder, cheap, everyone starts somewhere and gf had gotten it for me so I had no clue what else was available. Then she created a monsters, heh. I had modded the Bar 32, if you grind beans before use and those beans are fresh roasted, will be much better then going to Charbucks and getting a cup. No comparison to my setup now and I don't even have an high end setup.

If budget is tight, hard to beat an Aeropress and a cheap hand grinder like the Harios.
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