Espresso Machine suggestions?

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TarHeel2002
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Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by TarHeel2002 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm

I've developed a bit of an addiction to lattes. I'm pretty frugal in most other areas so I don't mind buying a few every week for myself and DW. What I do mind is the time it takes to drive to the other side of town to get a decent one. I was thinking of trying to make my own in house so I don't have to make the trip. Any suggestions on a reliable machine that isn't 10k. Thanks!

inbox788
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by inbox788 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:18 pm

What is your budget? $500 or $5k or somewhere in between? Fully automatic vs. manual/semi-manual?

Answering those questions helps narrow down the choices.

From my research, the entry level seems to be around $500 for a semi-manual one like the Breville BES840XL.

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best- ... beginners/

You can get some fully automatic/super-automatic ones around $1000, but they're not well reviewed. You might be looking at $2-3k for a decent one.

Been looking here for a while, but still in paralysis by analysis mode. But I went on a binge and bought a years supply of k-cups that should tide me over for a while.
Last edited by inbox788 on Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dottie57
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:21 pm

Nespresso machine. Now at nespresso.com. They use capsules like a keurig. Capsules are expensive , but less than store bought latte. I bought it to make latte's but have come to prefer the espresso!
Last edited by Dottie57 on Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TarHeel2002
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by TarHeel2002 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:22 pm

Thanks for the link. $500-1k budget is what I was thinking.

inbox788
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by inbox788 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:26 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:21 pm
Nespresso machine. sale priced. now at nespresso.com. They use capsules like a keurig. Capsules are expensive , but less than store bought latte. I bought it to make latte's but have come to prefer the espresso!
Avoid Nespresso. If you drink regularly, the cost of capsules will exceed cost of expensive machines in a few years. Capsules are decent for convenience, but doesn't compare to fresh roast coffee just ground up before brewing.

Atilla
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Atilla » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:29 pm

Gaggia Classic.

Reasonable price, simple to use & works like a dream. I use distilled water only so I never have to descale it.
The Village Idiot - here for your entertainment.

EddyB
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by EddyB » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:38 pm

Consider that you will also want (bordering on need) a better grinder than most people realize exists.
When I use friends' single-boiler machines, I find them somewhat frustrating for making multiple steamed-mild drinks (I have a 20-amp dual-boiler machine). You might consider a used dual-boiler machine if you can find one in good shape.

FraggleRock
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Synesso Espresso

Post by FraggleRock » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:41 pm


Dottie57
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:42 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:26 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:21 pm
Nespresso machine. sale priced. now at nespresso.com. They use capsules like a keurig. Capsules are expensive , but less than store bought latte. I bought it to make latte's but have come to prefer the espresso!
Avoid Nespresso. If you drink regularly, the cost of capsules will exceed cost of expensive machines in a few years. Capsules are decent for convenience, but doesn't compare to fresh roast coffee just ground up before brewing.

Easy peasy to use. You can buy reusable capsules on amazon. Perfect expresso every time. No learning curve.
Saves space in kitchen. IF you can afford a latte at a coffee shop, this is no more costly.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:54 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (espresso).
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Thesaints
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Thesaints » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:05 pm

One can easily purchase refillable nespresso capsules, or even refill a used one a few times.
This way cost of capsules is abated and ine gets to use his/her favorite coffee.

Brevilles are good, some DeLonghi also are, limiting the analysis to “cheap” machines <$500.
The first thing one has to look is the filter. If it is all metal, that’s the one you want. If instead it has rubber gaskets, avoid.
However, the main ingradient for a good coffee is not the machine, but freshly ground good coffee.
And here I’m using the word “coffee” the same way as they do in Italy.

texasdiver
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:06 pm

Coffee Geeks is your go-to site for reviews and forums on all coffee-related equipment if you really want to get down into the weeds

http://coffeegeek.com/

Seattle Coffee Gear also does a lot of reviews and has good video reviews on youtube of various machines

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/espresso-machines
Last edited by texasdiver on Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

skisk
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by skisk » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:07 pm

Super-automatic coffee makers that grinds the beans and brews the coffee with just the press of a button are really convenient and don't have to be very expensive. Our 6 year old machine broke a few weeks ago, and we just bought this refurbished Saeco (=Phillips) machine for $400.

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/saeco ... efurbished

lolbatross
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by lolbatross » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:14 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:22 pm
$500-1k budget is what I was thinking.
I recently picked up a breville BES840XL for just under $500. Its single boiler - so far it makes ok espresso and steams milk very well. I can make a serviceable miel but I wouldn't ever serve someone straight espresso from it.

Not long ago I also purchased a BES920XL double boiler for my brother as a gift. ~$1100. If you're serious about the espresso part of your latte this is the better choice.

As many others will attest to the grinder is equally as important. I wouldn't consider doing this at home without being willing to spend $300-$500 on a decent grinder - one that is intended for espresso. I have a baratza virtuoso percicio (discontinued) which gives me a ton of flexibility and can do coarse grind for french press as well. I have been happy with the product and support so I would recommend baratza as a company/brand.

J295
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by J295 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:18 pm

We love the Silvia Rancilio. Probably around $1000.

I think the key though it’s getting something from a local shop that can troubleshoot and repair for you. After about seven years we had an issue with ours. We took it into the owners of the local coffee shop where we bought it, and they turned it up and fixed it and charged us $20.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:42 pm
[Nespresso is] Easy peasy to use. You can buy reusable capsules on amazon. Perfect expresso every time. No learning curve.
Saves space in kitchen. IF you can afford a latte at a coffee shop, this is no more costly.
I saw the newest version on Amazon and seriously considered it. However, I drink a 12 oz mug of coffee each morning and my wife drinks a 10 oz mug. That would mean three capsules each morning @ $36 per thirty capsules, or about $109 per month. Right now we use one pound of locally roasted coffee beans per week @ $14. per pound, or about $61 per month. We like strong coffee, but even if we could get by on two capsules each morning it would still cost about $73 per month.

However, TarHeel is asking about an espresso machine and the Nespresso might be a good, low cost way to see if they like what they can make at home. As others have noted, a good espresso machine will start @ $1,000 and the more you read the more you will be pushed toward $2,000 - 3,000. Chris Coffee is a good place to look, and I have looked there at the Rockets and Quick Mills.

Also, of course, there is a lot more time and effort required to use and maintain an espresso machine than a Nespresso.

MStrambolo
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by MStrambolo » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:38 pm

Seattle Coffee Gear did a comparison of:

Cheap Grinder/Good Espresso Machine
Cheap Espresso Machine/Good Grinder

In their taste test, the grinder came out as the more important element.
*And* freshly roasted beans that you grind just before brewing.

A cheap grinder or pre-ground coffee will not provide as much satisfaction as going the whole 9 yards.

I have a Breville Pre-Infuser and a Mazzer Mini grinder.

hale2
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by hale2 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:22 pm

Atilla wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:29 pm
Gaggia Classic.

Reasonable price, simple to use & works like a dream. I use distilled water only so I never have to descale it.
+1. I've had mine for over 5 years and love it. Still works well. You can get one for under $400. Like others have said, it's more important to spend the money on the grinder. My Gaggia came with the MDF grinder. I wouldn't recommend that grinder. I'm searching for a better one.

Trelin946
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Trelin946 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:06 pm

Nesprsso is what I bought for my son and nephew. Easy to use, compact and it offers several price points plus with sleek and modern design.

Nthomas
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Nthomas » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:16 pm

Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001EU9UTM/re ... lAbETACDYF

We’ve had this espresso machine for four years and it is still going strong. Its about $80. It’s a pump machine (not cheaper steam machines ) that makes espresso as good as higher end machines. I used to be a barista and coffee roaster. Personally I don’t see a reason for me to have anything more expensive. When this one dies we will buy another.

3feetpete
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by 3feetpete » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:34 pm

+1 for Mr Coffee Espresso

4nwestsaylng
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:37 pm

A few years ago I was really into this, did all the research on Seattle Coffee Gear videos, read the pros and cons of the Rancilio Silvia with the Rocky grinder, etc.. I realized that I did not want to make espresso my hobby, I just wanted a reasonable espresso sometimes at home. Some days I want espresso, other days I do an Aeropress or just do a drip through with a Melitta filter over a coffee mug.

I settled on a Saeco Via Venezia espresso maker from Seattle Coffee Gear. It was about $300, but I think I paid less for a refurb. Bought a refurbished burr grind Capresso grinder with a metal body (it also comes with a plastic housing, but the burr grinders are equally good). This cost me about $100 as a refurb from a coffee supply place back East. So for a total of about $350, a decent grinder and machine. I mostly do straight espresso, but it has the Panarella wand for lattes.

Three years later, my Saeco is still going strong.I buy my espresso beans at Costco or from Peets.

I still like to go out for coffee, I probably just drink it more than before.

goodlifer
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by goodlifer » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:49 pm

I bought a refurbed Saeco Intuita from Seattle Coffee Gear for $200 several years ago. It made excellent espresso for my tastes. I want a good cup but I'm not willing to spend $1,000's or more than 10 minutes getting it. I don't use it as much anymore because it needs more attention than I'm willing to give and my guests usually want coffee. The Intuita makes "Americano", which my guests don't like. I called SCG a few times with questions for setting it up the first time and to verify that the machine was really supposed to be "that loud" and nothing was wrong with it. Their customer service is great.

Now I use the Cuisinart burr mill and either a moka pot (delicious!) or just a regular coffee maker with good beans and it is good enough for me. Much better than Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

SittingOnTheFence
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by SittingOnTheFence » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:59 pm

Been using Gaggia Classic for 10 yrs. A bit of a pain to clean. Someone upthread posted about using distilled water, think I will give that a try but seems that it might change the taste of the brew. Grinder is probably overkill, a Mazzer Mini.

Fresh beans make a big difference in flavor.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by WoodSpinner » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:19 am

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
I've developed a bit of an addiction to lattes. I'm pretty frugal in most other areas so I don't mind buying a few every week for myself and DW. What I do mind is the time it takes to drive to the other side of town to get a decent one. I was thinking of trying to make my own in house so I don't have to make the trip. Any suggestions on a reliable machine that isn't 10k. Thanks!
Espresso is one of my passions. Not sure of your budget or preferences but here is what I am currently using.

https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... ortaholder

If I did a lot of frothing, then this would be my choice ( it is such a great machine!)
https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... -plumbable

At the entry level, I used a Rancilio Silva and Rocky for 16 years and highly recommend them.


Good luck

8-)

EnjoyIt
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:00 am

texasdiver wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:06 pm
Coffee Geeks is your go-to site for reviews and forums on all coffee-related equipment if you really want to get down into the weeds

http://coffeegeek.com/

Seattle Coffee Gear also does a lot of reviews and has good video reviews on youtube of various machines

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/espresso-machines
This post is right on. More important than the espresso machine is getting a fresh bean and a very good grinder. The Mazer Mini is a good grinder But there are some others that can cost a lot more. Seattlecoffeegear has some good stuff as does wholelattelove.com. It really depends on how much you want to spend. My advice is to get a very good grinder and then look for an espresso machine. I am particular to ECM espresso machine which is what we own. It has a stainless steel boiler and the design is easy well put together so that if anything breaks it will be easier to repair. The other biggest advice I can give you is to use softened water. Calcium buildup on a machine eventually kills it.

lazydavid
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by lazydavid » Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:09 pm

SittingOnTheFence wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:59 pm
Fresh beans make a big difference in flavor.
Aside from using clean water (I agree that distilled is overkill), the freshness of the beans is the single most important component of making a quality cup of any coffee-based drink. Rule of thumb is that coffee beans must be:
  • roasted within 15 months of harvest
  • ground within 15 days of roasting
  • brewed within 15 minutes of grinding
or they are stale.

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Pete12
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Pete12 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:53 pm

Nespresso here but we only use it on the weekends, capsules are expensive but it makes a great latte or espresso.

The best coffee maker I have ever owned is a $3 Pour Over Single Cup Brewing Cone that I bought on Amazon. During the week I grind up my beans (from Costco of course) very fine and make a 16oz cup that lasts me all morning.

hale2
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by hale2 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:18 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:19 am
TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
I've developed a bit of an addiction to lattes. I'm pretty frugal in most other areas so I don't mind buying a few every week for myself and DW. What I do mind is the time it takes to drive to the other side of town to get a decent one. I was thinking of trying to make my own in house so I don't have to make the trip. Any suggestions on a reliable machine that isn't 10k. Thanks!
Espresso is one of my passions. Not sure of your budget or preferences but here is what I am currently using.

https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... ortaholder

If I did a lot of frothing, then this would be my choice ( it is such a great machine!)
https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... -plumbable

At the entry level, I used a Rancilio Silva and Rocky for 16 years and highly recommend them.


Good luck

8-)
I've been considering upgrading from my Gaggia Classic. I know the Rancilio Silva is on par to slightly better than the Classic, so the jump up to the one you recommend should be similar. Since you have upgraded, can you really see a significant quality difference with the one you are now using? I'm not an expert so I don't want to spend a lot of money on an upgrade only to discover that my palate and limited experience result in me not being able to taste a difference.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:28 pm

For water I currently use tap water filtered with this filter
https://tinyurl.com/y74hjjjz

It is a BWT filter. It works like a Brita except it replaces Calcium with Magnesium. The theory behind it is that you still get the flavor without the calcium deposits.
Last edited by EnjoyIt on Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

furikake
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by furikake » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:46 pm

I second checking out coffeegeek. Rancilio, Gaggia are very good. I have a Starbucks branded Saeco from like 20+ years ago that still works, before Phillips bought out Saeco. Definitely use RO or distilled water otherwise you have to clean your machine with acid to flush out the built up calcium. Also get a good tamper, if you're not getting a fully automatic machine. Not only your technique and the machine and the grinder are important, the beans are very important too. I roast my own beans so they're as fresh as they can get. If you use stale beans from the grocery store, it doesn't matter how good your machine is, you will still produce a stale cup of latte.

Jeff Albertson
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:16 pm

Nespresso compatible capsules are available from Amazon and Aldi. The Amazon ones are from the Bestpresso brand from Spain, about 33 cents per pod. The Aldi version, $3.59 for ten pods. Original Nespresso pods are about 70 cents. You can probably find a blend at each of these companies that you like.
I've had a Silvia Rancilio for a long time, but haven't used it in several years.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by WoodSpinner » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:44 pm

hale2 wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:18 pm
WoodSpinner wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:19 am
TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
I've developed a bit of an addiction to lattes. I'm pretty frugal in most other areas so I don't mind buying a few every week for myself and DW. What I do mind is the time it takes to drive to the other side of town to get a decent one. I was thinking of trying to make my own in house so I don't have to make the trip. Any suggestions on a reliable machine that isn't 10k. Thanks!
Espresso is one of my passions. Not sure of your budget or preferences but here is what I am currently using.

https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... ortaholder

If I did a lot of frothing, then this would be my choice ( it is such a great machine!)
https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... -plumbable

At the entry level, I used a Rancilio Silva and Rocky for 16 years and highly recommend them.


Good luck

8-)
I've been considering upgrading from my Gaggia Classic. I know the Rancilio Silva is on par to slightly better than the Classic, so the jump up to the one you recommend should be similar. Since you have upgraded, can you really see a significant quality difference with the one you are now using? I'm not an expert so I don't want to spend a lot of money on an upgrade only to discover that my palate and limited experience result in me not being able to taste a difference.
It’s a definite improvement. Much better consistency and a larger proportion of god-shots. I don’t have to time the reheat cycle the way I did for the Silvia and it’s much better when foaming milk for lattes and cappuccinos.

The Baratza grinder (get the timer model) is amazing but loud! This is probably the biggest improvement. Downside is that the grinder is really meant for Espresso and doesn’t do as well for coarser grinds used for drip or French press. I use the Rocky for these grinds and the Baratza for the Espresso.

Definitely a splurge, probably a 5-7 year payout (compared to buying Americano’s at Peet’s), but it brings a smile to my face.

:D

hale2
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by hale2 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:21 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:44 pm
hale2 wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:18 pm
WoodSpinner wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:19 am
TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
I've developed a bit of an addiction to lattes. I'm pretty frugal in most other areas so I don't mind buying a few every week for myself and DW. What I do mind is the time it takes to drive to the other side of town to get a decent one. I was thinking of trying to make my own in house so I don't have to make the trip. Any suggestions on a reliable machine that isn't 10k. Thanks!
Espresso is one of my passions. Not sure of your budget or preferences but here is what I am currently using.

https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... ortaholder

If I did a lot of frothing, then this would be my choice ( it is such a great machine!)
https://www.wholelattelove.com/expobar- ... -plumbable

At the entry level, I used a Rancilio Silva and Rocky for 16 years and highly recommend them.


Good luck

8-)
I've been considering upgrading from my Gaggia Classic. I know the Rancilio Silva is on par to slightly better than the Classic, so the jump up to the one you recommend should be similar. Since you have upgraded, can you really see a significant quality difference with the one you are now using? I'm not an expert so I don't want to spend a lot of money on an upgrade only to discover that my palate and limited experience result in me not being able to taste a difference.
It’s a definite improvement. Much better consistency and a larger proportion of god-shots. I don’t have to time the reheat cycle the way I did for the Silvia and it’s much better when foaming milk for lattes and cappuccinos.

The Baratza grinder (get the timer model) is amazing but loud! This is probably the biggest improvement. Downside is that the grinder is really meant for Espresso and doesn’t do as well for coarser grinds used for drip or French press. I use the Rocky for these grinds and the Baratza for the Espresso.

Definitely a splurge, probably a 5-7 year payout (compared to buying Americano’s at Peet’s), but it brings a smile to my face.

:D
Thanks for the info. The grinder is my biggest issue so I'll definitely take a look at the Baratza. Hopefully it isn't any louder than my Blentec blender. That thing drives me crazy and the dogs run outside once the see I'll be using it!

My impatience with waiting the proper time for the reheat cycle is definitely a problem too. I'm definitely going to look at a new machine. We pretty much only drink espresso drinks and I agree there is nothing better than the perfect shot.

cpumechanic
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by cpumechanic » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:23 pm

I have had this machine for 4+ years

https://www.amazon.com/DeLonghi-ESAM330 ... =esam+3300

Comes with 2 year warranty, and if purchased with correct credit card that will add another 12 months.
So.. you spend up front but have a guaranteed operation for the next 36 months.. cost per cup beats the "pod" machines.

Price goes below $500.. and has enough adjustment for beans and water amount to make very strong, or weak coffee.
You can find them re-furbished from Delonghi for $400 and if Delonghi is the seller they are just new units someone returned.

Lots of information on the WWW on how to repair if things go bad but a very reliable and very popular semi-automatic espresso machine.

876 reviews on Amazon.. makes it one of the most "popular" ones on that site.

I don't think you can go wrong buying this machine.

It is my favorite "robot".. beans in top... push button, espresso out the bottom.

CPU
We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

smackboy1
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Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by smackboy1 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:20 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:22 pm
Thanks for the link. $500-1k budget is what I was thinking.
I jumped into the deep end of the espresso pool about 3 years ago so I know what it's like to be in your shoes. The most important thing is to figure out exactly what you want out of coffee before spending any $. It's really easy to waste $ buying equipment that will not produce what you want. The first step is research. Espresso is all about the equipment: grinder, espresso maker, steamer. So if you go down that road you want to be absolutely sure you buy the correct equipment for your needs, otherwise it could be expensive lesson.

Read reviews and try to purchase from a store with a generous return policy. I initially bought a $1,000 Saeco super automatic from Whole Latte Love. It was super easy to to use, but the espresso was mediocre. I was able to return it after using it for a few weeks in exchange for a semi automatic Breville dual boiler and Baratza grinder.

Go here:

https://www.home-barista.com/

http://coffeegeek.com/

https://www.wholelattelove.com/

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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pezblanco
Posts: 470
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:02 pm

Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by pezblanco » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:04 pm

You should recognize that coffee is a whole other world. If you develop a palate for it, you will end up going "deep into the weeds" as some have called it. You should know that people that are into good espresso will shudder if you mention Nespresso. You should know that people that are into good expresso will be horrified at any grinder less than than a Rancilio Rocky and will characterize as such as a "bean wacker". You should know that people into good expresso are never ever ever going to buy a super-automatic .... nor a manual pump machine .... there is only one choice: semi-automatic.

I'm not of that rarified class .... I have a very simple recommendation for everyone that convinces me that they want to produce good espresso as inexpensively as possible: Rancilio Silvia ... Rancilio Rocky. Learn how to use those two and you will be on the path.

takeshi
Posts: 1174
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by takeshi » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:14 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:22 pm
Thanks for the link. $500-1k budget is what I was thinking.
Make sure you're budgeting for a good espresso grinder as well and not leaving it as an afterthought. That is, unless you're looking into a superauto but I wouldn't recommend one unless convenience trumps quality for you.

The grinder is much more important than the espresso machine itself. If $1K is the upper limit of your budget I'd suggest something like the Baratza Vario & the Gaggia Classic. Your budget is going to limit you to single boiler machines. IMO it's really not worth splurging on a high priced single boiler like the Silvia as it's still a single boiler -- and I say that as a former Silvia owner. If you're going to splurge then do so on the grinder.
TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
I've developed a bit of an addiction to lattes. I'm pretty frugal in most other areas so I don't mind buying a few every week for myself and DW.
I know it's beyond your budget but as a latte drinker myself I'd highly recommend a heat exchanger or double boiler as it takes MUCH longer to make milk drinks with a single boiler machine -- especially when you're making more than one. Single boiler machines also tend to be less consistent. Like many who have upgraded from a single boiler, I find it much easier to get good, consistent results with less hassle and effort since I upgraded from a single boiler years ago.
TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
Any suggestions on a reliable machine that isn't 10k.
There are tons of reliable machines (even under $10K) out there so reliability really isn't the best criterion for narrowing down the options. Note that if reliability is a priority for you then that's probably going to be a strike against superautos for you as they are more complex with more moving parts. Also note that the Baratza Vario may not be the best choice if reliability is a priority. Something like the Fiorenzato F4 (or better) would be a better fit.

As stated above, the shop selling you the machine and whoever is servicing the machine (if not the same as the seller) are very important considerations. I would easily recommend Chris Coffee even though they are not local to me.

Keep in mind that even the most reliable machine is going to require routine maintenance (backflushing, descaling, replacing gaskets, etc) and, eventually, replacement of parts.

Like others, I'd also recommend reading up on sites dedicated to the topic such as Coffee Geek and Home Barista. Make sure you are aware of the 5 M's and that you're considering all of them and not just the Machine.
Atilla wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:29 pm
I use distilled water only so I never have to descale it.
While that's one way to deal with it, it's not ideal since some minerals are needed to properly extract espresso. I highly recommend testing one's water so one knows the hardness and can determine scaling rate based on usage to formulate a descaling plan. if necessary. It's also possible to treat hard water.
pezblanco wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:04 pm
You should know that people that are into good expresso will be horrified at any grinder less than than a Rancilio Rocky
The Rocky hasn't been a baseline for at least a decade. It's generally the Baratza Vario these days.
FraggleRock wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:41 pm
http://synesso.com/mvp-hydra-2/
Nice machine but over $10K.

GmanJeff
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:12 am

Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by GmanJeff » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:36 am

Nespresso is not bad at all, occupies a small footprint, and is very convenient, but one is limited with regard to capsule selection and the cost of the capsules can be more than for whole beans in all their variety.

I decided to go the superautomatic route, with a Krups machine which prepares an extensive range of coffee beverages at the touch of a button. It requires no separate grinder and allows the use of any relatively non-oily bean you want to try.

While espresso purists may scoff, the practical reality for some of us is that we don't want to be bothered going through a big production whenever we want a coffee-based drink. I knew that once the novelty wore off of going through the myriad steps involved in preparing a drink, I'd probably find the process more irritating than entertaining. So, it may be worth considering the extent to which you want to be compelled to engage in the multi-step process required of manual or semi-automatic options before going down that road.

Many stores which sell superautomatics have display models which can be used to prepare sample drinks so you can assess whether the quality meets your personal standards.

xkunalx
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:10 am

Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by xkunalx » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:09 pm

I have 2 of these, one at my home and one at the parents'
https://www.amazon.com/Breville-BES870X ... ta+express

Found this to be the best combination of price and function. Has a built in grinder, which risks the whole thing if it breaks, but have been going strong for 3 years.

mrgeeze
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:09 am

Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by mrgeeze » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:22 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
I've developed a bit of an addiction to lattes. I'm pretty frugal in most other areas so I don't mind buying a few every week for myself and DW. What I do mind is the time it takes to drive to the other side of town to get a decent one. I was thinking of trying to make my own in house so I don't have to make the trip. Any suggestions on a reliable machine that isn't 10k. Thanks!
I use a $16 Bialetti stovetop espresso machine and a $130 Breville milk frother.
Its quite nice for latte's. also hot chocolate, warm milk, frothy egg-nog, even soup in a pinch... Trust me.

Anyway, I also use the Cafe Bustelo coffee in a can. Not all the time, but its handy to keep around, and works in a pinch. Its a good bargain.

smackboy1
Posts: 972
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:41 pm

Re: Espresso Machine suggestions?

Post by smackboy1 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:31 am

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:12 pm
What I do mind is the time it takes to drive to the other side of town to get a decent one.
You anywhere near Counter Culture? They have excellent coffee and knowledge.

https://counterculturecoffee.com
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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