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Another N00b needs advice!
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Zaheerk
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Black and Decker (yuck).
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 9:03pm
Subject: Another N00b needs advice!
 

Hey All,

I've been lurking for quite some time, I read the sticky notes. and I am just hoping for some good advice. I love coffee, but I am not an afficianado.. I currently have a Delonghi EC155 and a Black and Decker Grinder, I have used this setup for 2+ years . I know I made a bunch of people cringe inside by my statement. I recently got a nice bonus at work, and am able to put up to 520.00 towards something nicer...

After reading some of the asks from the forum members I thought i'd give some details:
1) I don't think I will ever have "upgradeitis" - I usually go nuts about things then stick with them - this is the first time I have looked at upgrading in 3 years.
2) I love milk based drinks , but sometimes  in the afternoon enjoy a straight double shot.

Budget: 520.00- 600.00 tops
Do you own a grinder: Yes.
What are your needs (choose all that apply): I will only need likely 2 double shots a day. 80% is milk based, which is likely why i can tolerate what I do now.
what is your experience: I try to tamp and dose with consistency. I enjoy a good coffee buzz.
Where are you located: Canada.
I would like something ideally to last 10 years.

What I am thinking:

Breville Barista BES870XL - I have an brand new offer for 512.00 for this , seems like a great deal. Remember just looking for the best espresso I can afford..
Gaggia classic + a Grinder
I can also get a used Saeco Venezia cheap + a high end grinder.

What I found:
Gaggia classic coming in at 470 ish
Barista Express BES870XL - 530.00
A used Venezia ( has a real boiler right?) - 150.00

I am mostly leaning towards the Breville BES870XL, has great convenience with the grinder combo, but don't overly like the "thermocoil" design - However I am only looking for "average-good" -  I think that is all I can afford.

So, I hope I provided  a lot of info, for some more educated thought than me. My Breville offer is only on sale until tomorrow, so hoping for some good input.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,844
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 9:49pm
Subject: Re: Another N00b needs advice!
 

Welcome to CG.
Around here, we think grinder first!
A very good entry level grinder would be a Baratza Encore, or used Rancillio Rocky doserless. Or even a Baratza Virtuoso with Preciso burrs.
Thus, the grinder will set you back anywhere between $129 and $229.
You might be able to get a deal on a Gaggia and Virtuoso with Preciso burr set for around $600. This would be a VERY good set up for quite a while. The Virtuoso would allow you to go from espresso grind to French press, both done competently. The Rocky is more just espresso, but is old technology. The Encore is a very good grinder for drip and French pores, but is not nearly as consistent for espresso as the other 2. Anything less than these (IMO) will not get you the crema rich shots you desire.

Just know that will a "SBDU" machine ...single boiler dual use, you will have to wait about 1 minute or so between pulling the shot and steaming, as the boiler has to come back to temperature.

BTW, why not peruse CG's "BST" Forum...Buy/Sell/Trade Forum and you might find just what you're looking for at usually $.50-$.75 on the dollar. Members here usually are very finicky about their gear, and most times the equipment will be in very good condition.

Hope that helps.


Note...there are a few other grinder choices, but you must get a grinder that is designed for espresso grinding, not a Braun/Krups/Saeco, etc.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Thu Mar 20, 2014, 11:38am
Subject: Re: Another N00b needs advice!
 

Zaheerk Said:

Breville Barista BES870XL - I have an brand new offer for 512.00 for this , seems like a great deal. Remember just looking for the best espresso I can afford..

Posted March 19, 2014 link

I'd highly recommend not getting a machine with an integrated grinder.  Allocate more of your budget to the grinder as it is very important.  You might be better served by focusing on the grinder upgrade now so you can get a better grinder and upgrade the machine later.
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Zaheerk
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Black and Decker (yuck).
Posted Thu Mar 20, 2014, 12:03pm
Subject: Re: Another N00b needs advice!
 

Thanks for the advice! IMAWriter , I am pretty handy , and not averse to some used equipment, especially from people on here. So I will take a look!.

Re: the Grinder budget - The BES870XL, comes with the grinder, I have found very few reviews, but have been told the burr set has been improved for better shots. I am not sure what esteem the Breville Barista is held in to be honest though.

Waiting 1 minute for temp is not a big deal to me. I drink one double in the morning and one in the afternoon. on a bad day, I have another in the evening. So really this will ever pull 2-3 a day. I already wait 30-40 seconds for my Crappy Delonghi EC155. (this is like a 80 dollar machine haha).

The Baratza or Rocky Express. look like good options, but I would not have much for a machine in that case. I can get a Capresso EC Pro, with a bottomless unpressurized filter FOR AROUND 300.00

I guess the question is, what would make better drinks? A Baratza with a Capresso EC pro (Or some other combo), or a Breville Barista Express? (the 870 model)
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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 Thu Mar 20, 2014, 1:11pm
Subject: Re: Another N00b needs advice!
 

Encore can't do espresso, it can go fine and choke but that means nothing for espresso, you can "pull" a shot it just won't taste good lol (it's espresso grinding is meant for pressurized portafilter machines). Capresso and Bodums etc can choke machines as well, but useless for espresso shots. It's not just the "fine" grinding, even a $20 bean masher grinder can go fine enough to choke a high end machine, but the correct grind quality (bi/tri model) and consistency is whats needed for espresso. Virtuoso won't even really work, might be passable if you don't mind going nutz playing with your dose daily to compensate. I have a Preciso, the Virtuoso is the same without the microadjustment. I have never pulled a good shot just using the Macro, always have to use the micro adjustment once I have it in range on the Macro.

I'd avoid the BES870, I like the dual boiler, but their other stuff not a fan of and the integrated grinder still isn't good, it's basically the Smart Grinder packed it which itself is not really passable for espresso. Personally if you can find a used Gaggia Classic, and a refurb Preciso (check baratza site on thursdays as they update it then) that'd be a great starter and huge jump from where your at. If you need to save for another month or so it'll be well worth it. Rocky even if modded to be stepless I still didn't like, too many quirks and high retention, but sometimes they can be found really cheap, some people on here have scored them used for like 50 bucks. Wholelattelove sometimes has refurb Gaggia Classics for pretty cheap, I've seen them on ebay for like $270 but last I checked a few weeks ago for someone they were out of refrubs.

You could also try a Hario Skerton modded to be stepless (search on here for instructions), it and the mini are fairly useless for espresso with their steps, but when made stopless they can be pretty decent. Could hold you over for a while, while you save for a better grinder. Could you save for another month or two to put towards a decent entry setup like a Classic and Preciso? You'll be much happier in the end.
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Zaheerk
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Black and Decker (yuck).
Posted Thu Mar 20, 2014, 8:08pm
Subject: Re: Another N00b needs advice!
 

So i've basically commited myself to the Baratza Virtuoso or the Preciso. The Machine is really what is driving me bonkers now..

I have seen the Capresso EC Pro- With a Brass boiler for 299.00 at idrinkcofee.com
Also this brand , Ascaso basic - Also brass boiler, and chrome plated brass porta-filter.

They both seem like a good "starting point" - Please Please, keep in mind i use a 40 dollar black and decker burr grinder at the moment.  I am just trying to get the best quality for my money that I have now.

I hit up the local classifieds might have a good in, to a Sylvia. fingers crossed. but without that which of the two machines would any of you suggest?
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,844
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Fri Mar 21, 2014, 3:44pm
Subject: Re: Another N00b needs advice!
 

The Virtuoso with the Preciso burr is cheaper, but i agree with "cmin" that a Preciso refurb would be preferable, due to the extra Micro adjustment lever.
Baratza's CS is tops as well. Tell Kyle or Kyra we sent you!

The Gaggia Classic can do a very fine job for you, and with it, you'll learn good technique for the (don't say we didn't tell you) inevitable upgrade of machine down the road.
The Preciso will do you fine for the next 2 years.
Whatever you get, read the manuals thoroughly.

Just remember, you need to budget about $75 for a good $29 stainless or aluminum 58mm tamper, a $16 buck milk pitcher, and $25-$30 for cleaning supplies...unless you already have this stuff!

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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