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Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Buying an...  
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,477
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 Mon Nov 19, 2012, 7:13am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

Raymond, it is nothing personal, but your experience in Vienna is -- and will always be -- different than the experience people have in North America, if for no other reason than you are running on 220v electricity while North America runs on 110.  Most machines are designed to run on 220, and then parts are switched out to turn it into a 110 machine.  (This was part of the overall excitement about the La Marzocco GS/3, as it was designed from the start to be a 110v machine.)  That said, there are other reasons as well . . .

As you participate more on these boards, you may discover that the general attitude here to reviews on Amazon are that a large quantity of salt is needed.  We tend to prefer actual experience from people we have come to know and trust, and -- with the exception of their new "BDB" (BES900XL) -- the personal experience among regular board participates is that Breville SUCKS!  There have been problems reported with the BDB, too, but they seem to be fewer than for other machines out of the box.  There is also still the issue of customer service, which -- at least as far as the US is concerned -- seems to remain a weak point.  (There is no way you would know this, living in Austria.)  Indeed, when you said above that,

I got a BES900 from Amazon, the bigger sister you should get for your husband, and I had a good hard and long look inside.

At least here in the US, if you open the machine, it voids the warranty.

AND, as has been pointed out repeatedly, Breville's double boiler machine seems to be the exception to Breville's poor reputation for build quality.

Finally,

RaymondParker Said:

It always burns down to the question of price versa very personal need and preferences

Posted November 19, 2012 link

Doesn't it always?  This should, I would have thought, go without saying.  This is why there is no single "best" machine -- what may suit your needs may not be what would suit my needs, or the needs of the OP.  But I cannot in good conscience recommend to the OP that she buy a) a Breville, or b) any machine with a built-in grinder.  YMMV (and apparently does).

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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RaymondParker
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Nov 2012
Posts: 41
Location: Vienna
Posted Mon Nov 19, 2012, 7:40am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Doesn't it always?  This should, I would have thought, go without saying.  This is why there is no single "best" machine -- what may suit your needs may not be what would suit my needs, or the needs of the OP.

Posted November 19, 2012 link

Indeed :-)

The reason I decided a BES900 and a separate Breville grinder was not based on US sites reports but on user reports in Europe on various sites. Amazon Europe, after having been under forceful attack for forged "reports" is doing a lot now to sort the black sheep's out.  And rest assured - as soon as the machine makes the slightest hiccup south, its on he way back to its producer and you learn first here. In Europe we enjoy a full 30 day no question asked return guarantee, in Germany a guarantee for any technical fault for 2 years and Austria (we always have a special "Wurst") we have even three years full warranty on any electrical appliance. It seems that I got the latest shipment and that gear (at least the first week 7/24) works flawless and as expected.
As I mentioned before - just after my buying I have learned that what is sold here as 'Gastroback Advanced Control' is actually a 'Breville' Product from a company known in the US for producing the shabbiest, lousiest, most useless crap and is no beacon of user friendliness.
If I would have known that before, I would never ever have touched that stuff.

Anyhow, as Martin Luther said: "Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise..."

As I have bought already :-)
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Mon Nov 19, 2012, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

Ray, there's a very simple rule that's been borne out over the years - the more complexity (the more moving parts), the more frequent the breakdowns, problems and need for service. Having spent my life working in various aspects of various tech fields, from repairing electronics and musical instruments to working on computers, writing user manuals for high-end DSP products, and being an amateur radio operator, I can speak from multiple instances that this is true. And it's always much easier (and cheaper) to repair a less complex device. So unless you're willing to live in the world of totally disposable products, where you throw it away and get a new one when the old one breaks, any all-in-one products tends to be a false economy.
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RaymondParker
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Nov 2012
Posts: 41
Location: Vienna
Posted Mon Nov 19, 2012, 7:49am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

GVDub Said:

the more complexity (the more moving parts), the more frequent the breakdowns, problems and need for service.

Posted November 19, 2012 link

100% true.
The question simply is, if the OP wants to shell out twice the price of a BES840 to get the same performance with two different gears she would get with the small one-in-all Breville and be then "repair-wise" on the save side.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,477
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 Mon Nov 19, 2012, 7:52am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

OR . . . save money, get a better machine AND a better grinder by buying either the Gaggia or the Le'Lit referenced above.  ;^)

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,042
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 Nov 19, 2012, 9:05am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

Not to flog a dead horse but OK I will anyway,
The track record of B machines here is, well, not so, er, outstanding.
We also advise AGAINST buying a machine with a built in grinder, much more often than not, the grinder is  not of even fair quality and you are stuck with it, like it or not then if it breaks........

Jason hit the mark, buy the two he advised and you will have something that will last until you decide to upgrade and have better equipment too.

 
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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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Mon Nov 19, 2012, 9:50am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

RaymondParker Said:

100% true.
The question simply is, if the OP wants to shell out twice the price of a BES840 to get the same performance with two different gears she would get with the small one-in-all Breville and be then "repair-wise" on the save side.

Posted November 19, 2012 link

Both solutions that have been offered up (the Gaggia and LeLit combinations) have been within the proposed budget, so I don't see how they're "twice the price". As far as performance goes, either grinder mentioned is a better choice than the built-in grinder of the Breville, as will give superior performance at the same price. Since grinder quality has a larger impact on quality in the cup than the machine does (again, the voice of personal experience and the experience of many others here), unless convenience outweighs quality, that should be the determining factor.
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RaymondParker
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Nov 2012
Posts: 41
Location: Vienna
Posted Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:16am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

GVDub Said:

Grinder quality has a larger impact on quality in the cup than the machine does (again, the voice of personal experience and the experience of many others here), unless convenience outweighs quality, that should be the determining factor.

Posted November 19, 2012 link

This sentence should be hammered in gold on top of every page!
This is also my experience and judgment:

"Its the bean, the bean and then the bean & finally the best grinder you may afford."

The rest is most highly overrated on influence on a good cup of coffee. Any gear providing about 30 ml at 93 degrees celsius with 9 bar in about 30 seconds in a pre heated small cup will do - and provide a nice Ristretto shot. Most folks (at least in most of Europe) put industry garbage in decent equipment and expect magically the conversion into a excellent cup.
The old saying is here more true then ever: shit in - shit out
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All87
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 3
Location: AR
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

So after some more looking I like the Gaggia Classic and the Gaggia Baby Twin. They are both on sale for $349. Which would be the better choice?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,042
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 Nov 19, 2012, 11:09am
Subject: Re: Buying an espresso machine for my husband, help!
 

Raymond if you take some time to read all of the help me buy a *******, you will find that the grinder is ALWAYS placed on top of the list. Read our FAQ on how to buy an espresso machine and agaIn you will find the grinder is king. This is why we advise against built in grinders, they are lower quality and when they break, you are stuck with them.

 
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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