Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
Craft Roasted Coffee
Some days you make the coffee. Other days the coffee makes you.
bit.ly/craftroasting-ks
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Help me pick an...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
nwin
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2012
Posts: 29
Location: Bedford, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jun 8, 2014, 1:53pm
Subject: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

Alright, I've really been getting into coffee over the last few years.  At first all I thought to life was simply waking up, popping a k-cup in my Keurig, adding some random creamer, and setting off on my day.

Luckily, things have changed.  In the past two years, I've acquired a french press, an aeropress, and a CCD, as well as purchased a Capresso Infinity grinder, and have been home roasting with an old popcorn air popper.  My daily cup comes from a CCD, which I'm quite happy with.

However, you know you have all been there...I've started going down the rabbit hole.  With that in mind, here's the answers to the questions in the suggestions thread:

1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  Espresso, Cappuccino, lattes.  Mainly straight espresso shots and then the ability to froth milk to make other drinks.
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at any one time? 1. No more than 2 (if I'm doing a double shot or making something for my wife on a random Saturday morning.  This machine is going to see VERY leisurely use.  I will probably still maintain using my CCD Monday-Friday for my first cup.
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  I'll be generous and say 5 drinks a 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?  I need its own reservoir
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit? Moving soon and not sure about the amperage, so let's say 15amp to be conservative.
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder? I know the Capresso isn't going to cut it, so I'll probably need a new grinder as well.  Let's say $600 total.  However, ideally I would like to be out the door for between 4-500 total.
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'm not opposed to buying used, however I have zero skills to see just how used is used.  Also, I can tinker a bit with getting things to work, but I'm coming in with zero knowledge on espresso makers.
8)  Do you have the essential accessories (decent tamper, knockbox, the works), otherwise budget about $100 for these. I need to get these, but they will NOT be included in the above budget.


Extra thoughts from my own research:

I think the Saeco Aroma could fit the bill, or perhaps one of the Gaggia's (Color or classic if I'm willing to spend the extra cash).  Looking at the review for the Saeco on Seattle Coffee Gear, it comes with a pressurized portafilter which doesn't really seem to have any disadvantages (from my understanding it basically tamps the grounds for you and you don't have to dial in the grind setting). However, they offer a non-pressurized portafilter for extra $$, and I'm just wondering why you would bother for it? Is it more precision/fine-tuning? I've heard that many of the Gaggia's have mostly the same internals, however...in looking at the consumer reviews, it seems there are SO MANY different styles or names for the different Gaggia's, that it's tough for me to see which is the best of the lower end models, etc.  I did see that Amazon was selling the ROK Espresso yesterday for $125 new and almost jumped on that...however, looking at reviews, when it may not produce crema and for an extra $100 or so I can get an electric semi-automatic, I'm leaning away from the ROK.

For the grinder I'm considering either the Breville Smart Grinder or the Baratza Virtuoso.

More than likely the CCD and the Capresso Infinity will come with me to work and I'll buy another CCD for home use.

Thanks in advance for ANY suggestions!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,068
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Jun 8, 2014, 3:08pm
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

SCG sells both crappy and good equipment. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them if you find they have what you settle on at the right price, but I (my opinion) suggest doing your research elsewhere. The same cannot be said for Chris' Coffee Service - a place that only sells good stuff. My m.o. is to buy from CCS unless...they don't have what I need/want to buy or I can get a significantly better deal somewhere else (typically solved with a phone call to CCS for price-matching). Most of the other online coffee retailers do carry at least some amount of (what I would call) inadequate gear. The SCG videos are usually educational, but some of what they say needs to be taken with a grain of salt, or in some cases, a whole friggin' box...such as, that the ppf (pressurized portafilter) has little disadvantage. Without getting into the specifics, let's just say it allows you to make something resembling espresso with stale coffee and little skill...at the cost of poor quality in the cup. I'd only recommend using one if you're desperate to have espresso, but simply cannot spend enough cash to make that happen properly.  I, personally, do NOT see you in that predicament, and so, would strongly advise against wasting your time and money with one. My personal recommendation to someone starting out in your shoes would be to see if there's anyway you can scrimp together enough cash for a CC1...and a Lelit PL53, a Baratza Preciso, or a OE Lido 2 (if you are not opposed to manual powered grinding), or a used grinder in the Mazzer Mini class. If you cannot get yourself into that budget frame, then settle for a Gaggia Classic.  Again, 100% my opinion!

If you would consider used gear, there are some loved, but left behind, R. Silvias for sale on this site in the BST forum, or at least there were recently.  I certainly wouldn't recommend buying a new one though.  I started with that machine.  It's good.  It's solidly built to last at least a couple/few decades...but at it's current price, the CC1 is a much, much better buy. I, personally, would say if you've not enough cash for a CC1, get a Gaggia Classic or nothing at all (in the new gear category).

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,007
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sun Jun 8, 2014, 3:15pm
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

For the price range that you want

http://www.wholelattelove.com/Gaggia/classic.cfm

and a Baratza Preciso refurb for $239 + shipping.  Available intermittently starting on Thursdays at

http://www.baratza.com/

Good for straight espresso, caps, and occasional latte.  Most machines in your price range are steam impaired.  In the Gaggia line, only the Classic.  No pressurized as mentioned.

Start your journey here

http://www.espressomyespresso.com/

    12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
nwin
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2012
Posts: 29
Location: Bedford, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 5:05am
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

Well the CC1 is 100% out of my price range, so that's out.  Right now it looks like the Gaggia Classic would be the best bet to go for as far as longevity, quality, etc.

I see new ones for 350 and a refurbished for 299 on wholelattelove (however a coupon for father's day brings the new one to 325 so I'd do that vs a refurbished). Is that fairly decent?  If I were to buy a used one from these forums, how much would be reasonable to pay?

Also, can anyone state some reasons why the Preciso would be better than the Breville Smart Grind?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,745
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 Jun 9, 2014, 5:36am
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

How much to pay depends on what you are buying. I suspect that a two group commercial will be at least $1500 for something that works and a bottom end SBDU may be had for as little as $100, less if it needs work. Like anything, price depends on the item and condition.

The Preciso does pretty good with espresso while the smart does not. Both are lower end grinders, so what else do you want to know?

 
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!
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
nwin
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2012
Posts: 29
Location: Bedford, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 5:49am
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

calblacksmith Said:

How much to pay depends on what you are buying. I suspect that a two group commercial will be at least $1500 for something that works and a bottom end SBDU may be had for as little as $100, less if it needs work. Like anything, price depends on the item and condition.

The Preciso does pretty good with espresso while the smart does not. Both are lower end grinders, so what else do you want to know?

Posted June 9, 2014 link


Sorry, but you lost me here. In my earlier post, I was talking about the Gaggia Classic that I see retail for $400 new.  Are there several different variations of the Classic (some being two group commercials, other being SBDU as you mentioned)?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,068
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 7:14am
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

No, The Classic is what you've seen.  Wayne (calblacksmith) was just trying to llustrate how the used price will vary depending on what is available and what condition it is in.  If you can afford it, the Classic and the Preciso will get you started.  In the future you can always upgrade one or both if you desire to delve deeper into the craft.

As Wayne said, the Smart is not a good espresso grinder.  You need consistent particle sizes (typically, a bimodal distribution is used - ie, two peaks in the size distribtuion curve, with particles clustered around a coarser peak and a finer peak).  The finer particles fill gaps between the coarser particles, allowing the pressure to build in the puck. It's more complicated, but that's the general principle. Most of us here believe the Preciso is about as low end as you can go to achieve decent cup quality. Baratza used to update the refurbished section of their website only on Thursdays, but I beleive they've changed that. I am pretty sure they still only pst units as they become available.  The refurb units are backed by a one year warranty.  They are also calibrated by them, so you typically don't have to do anything other than dial in the proper grind setting.  They offer impeccable customer service/support as well. The Lelit PL53 (which I mentioned beofre), is slightly cheaper brand new from www.1st-line.com than a refurbished Preciso. I think it's better built. Some say it's better quality in the cup, but I can't comment more on that, having not tried them side by side.  It's definitely worth considering. Here's an active thread for you...

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/grinders/670012#670012

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
nwin
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2012
Posts: 29
Location: Bedford, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 7:51am
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

emradguy Said:

No, The Classic is what you've seen.  Wayne (calblacksmith) was just trying to llustrate how the used price will vary depending on what is available and what condition it is in.  If you can afford it, the Classic and the Preciso will get you started.  In the future you can always upgrade one or both if you desire to delve deeper into the craft.

As Wayne said, the Smart is not a good espresso grinder.  You need consistent particle sizes (typically, a bimodal distribution is used - ie, two peaks in the size distribtuion curve, with particles clustered around a coarser peak and a finer peak).  The finer particles fill gaps between the coarser particles, allowing the pressure to build in the puck. It's more complicated, but that's the general principle. Most of us here believe the Preciso is about as low end as you can go to achieve decent cup quality. Baratza used to update the refurbished section of their website only on Thursdays, but I beleive they've changed that. I am pretty sure they still only pst units as they become available.  The refurb units are backed by a one year warranty.  They are also calibrated by them, so you typically don't have to do anything other than dial in the proper grind setting.  They offer impeccable customer service/support as well. The Lelit PL53 (which I mentioned beofre), is slightly cheaper brand new from www.1st-line.com than a refurbished Preciso. I think it's better built. Some say it's better quality in the cup, but I can't comment more on that, having not tried them side by side.  It's definitely worth considering. Here's an active thread for you...

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/grinders/670012#670012

Posted June 9, 2014 link

Ah ok, I thought that the Breville had gotten better since they upgraded the burr set it shipped with a few years ago?  Apparently still not good enough.  As for the Lelit, I don't think that will work for me.  From the reviews at 1st-line.com, it seems that it is strictly an espresso grinder, as changing it to drip/pourover grind would involve turning the dial hundreds of times which I am not into.  I plan on taking my Capresso Infinity to work for use with a CCD, and I plan on still being able to make pourover/CCD at home.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 8:04am
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

nwin Said:

Ah ok, I thought that the Breville had gotten better since they upgraded the burr set it shipped with a few years ago?  Apparently still not good enough.  As for the Lelit, I don't think that will work for me.  From the reviews at 1st-line.com, it seems that it is strictly an espresso grinder, as changing it to drip/pourover grind would involve turning the dial hundreds of times which I am not into.  I plan on taking my Capresso Infinity to work for use with a CCD, and I plan on still being able to make pourover/CCD at home.

Posted June 9, 2014 link

you can pick up an hario Skerton or Slim for your coarse needs at home, I have a Slim. The Preciso can do both but best left to one or the other, if you switch it back and forth that will put a ton of wear and tear on the adjustment ring causing it to fail or grind settings to wonder. I use my Preciso for espresso only. The Preciso and Vario are the only all around grinders that can do both spectrums, but only the Forte version of the Vario is stout enough to handle that constant switching back and forth.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
nwin
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2012
Posts: 29
Location: Bedford, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 11:21am
Subject: Re: Help me pick an espresso maker and grinder...target price <$600
 

CMIN Said:

you can pick up an hario Skerton or Slim for your coarse needs at home, I have a Slim. The Preciso can do both but best left to one or the other, if you switch it back and forth that will put a ton of wear and tear on the adjustment ring causing it to fail or grind settings to wonder. I use my Preciso for espresso only. The Preciso and Vario are the only all around grinders that can do both spectrums, but only the Forte version of the Vario is stout enough to handle that constant switching back and forth.

Posted June 9, 2014 link

Thank you for your reply and thoughts on my grinder selection!  Just one question, because I want to make it clear of what my actual use will be and ensure we are on the same page.

I wake up early for work...really early.  I do not see myself making an espresso drink first thing in the morning in addition to my CCD that I would drink on the way to work.  Realistically, my use would be:

Monday-Friday: Grind 25 grams for the CCD
Saturday/Sunday: This is my time to experiment and have fun with the espresso maker and make a cup for my wife in the morning.  She's still stuck on the Keurig, so I don't realistically see her tamping/frothing/etc for a cappuccino each day.

So really, I would be changing the grind settings on Saturday morning and then again on Monday morning.  Do you think that would still cause too much wear on the Preciso?

The thought of hand grinding Monday-Friday is not at all appealing to me.  I do prefer the simplicity of throwing 25g of beans and hitting a switch rather than trying to hand grind at 4:30 in the morning :)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Help me pick an...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Don't suffer bad espresso
Package deals on the best machines from Izzo, Quick Mill, VBM, La Marzocco & more.
www.clivecoffee.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.390331029892)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+