HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Beginers Espresso Maker opinion (12 msgs / 787 lines)
1) From: george
Does anyone have any insite to the Breville Espresso 
Machine 800ESXL?  A new one is $399 an I can get 10% off 
and no sales tax thru the internet or the same deal with 
sales tax at a local store on this weekend's sale.
So far I have never found a shot of expresso that I have 
liked.  They ALL seem to have a bitterness that I have 
not been able to overcome.  Well once I did with some 
artificial sweetener.  It was from a jura capresso auto 
machine at a local retailers.  I have tried some shots 
from other places and it's always the same.... can't 
handle it.  Ya, I can't handle coffee black either.  
Tried a lot of times over the past 40 years or so, can't 
do it yet.
What I'm basically looking for is an exprensive machine 
to make the shots for the other water/milk based drinks.  
I will use it to try to get used to straight shots and if 
I ever get to the point I can then I will get something 
like a Brewtis.... I can go that high in price if I get 
to like expresso straight.
Here's the info on the Breville from their site.
Materials
The Espresso Machine´s body, controls and tamping head 
are formed using the highest-grade aluminum and zinc. 
Unlike thinner pressed metals, die-cast construction 
moulds molten metals at intense temperatures. The result 
is the ultimate in durability and performance, and a more 
refined finish.
Head Elevation
With a full 4.5 inch clearance, this is the first machine 
designed to accommodate larger cups and travel mugs, 
making it ideal not just for Espresso, but for Espresso 
variations like Americano, Cappuccino and Café Latte.
Filters
Each stainless steel filter incorporates Breville´s 
unique dual-wall crema technology. Beneath the first 
wall´s 333 pores is a second wall with a single exit 
hole. This produces a back pressure which, together with 
the Triple-PrimeTM pump, extracts more flavor from the 
coffee than any other machine.
Steam
The stainless steel steam wand is mounted on a swivel 
ball for easy maneuverability. It produces continuous dry 
steam for barista-style milk and froth. The wand also 
dispenses hot water on demand.
Temperature control
The thermoblock maintains the water at an ideal 204°F 
during extraction. While steaming, it reaches 
temperatures of over 250°F. So when steaming is 
completed, the unique Auto-PurgeTM function releases a 
measured amount of steam to return the temperature to the 
optimal level.
Pump
Prior to extraction, the unique 15 bar Triple-PrimeTM pump 
automatically releases three bursts of hot water into the 
filter head, causing the ground coffee or Espresso pod to 
expand. The increased pressure, allowing the machine to 
extract more crema, gives the coffee a rich, smooth taste
George   aka the MadHemi Roaster

2) From: Les
George,
Save up another 50 bucks or so and get a Rancilio Miss Silvia.  A way bette=
r
machine with great resale value if you get the upgrade urge.  If that isn't
possible go about $100.00 cheaper and get the Gaggia that sells for between
$250 and $300.00.  The Breville is way over priced.
Les
On 11/22/06, george  wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I agree. Wouldn't recommend the Breville or similar thermoblock with =
fake
crema enchancing PF machines. While this type espresso machine may make =
"ok"
sweetened milk based drinks you'll highly likely never get a really good
shot.
 
And more importantly what grinder will you be using! 
 
I'd recommend a Rocky grinder ~295 (at the minimum) paired with a Gaggia
"Espresso" or "Carezaa" ~$200.
 
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee 
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc: http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm
Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I =
must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal =
enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone =
before.  
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Les
Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 8:22 AM
To: homeroast
Subject: Re: +Beginers Espresso Maker opinion
George,
 
Save up another 50 bucks or so and get a Rancilio Miss Silvia.  A way =
better
machine with great resale value if you get the upgrade urge.  If that =
isn't
possible go about $100.00 cheaper and get the Gaggia that sells for =
between
$250 and $300.00.  The Breville is way over priced. 
 
Les
 
On 11/22/06, george  wrote: 
Does anyone have any insite to the Breville Espresso
Machine 800ESXL?  A new one is $399 an I can get 10% off 
and no sales tax thru the internet or the same deal with
sales tax at a local store on this weekend's sale.
So far I have never found a shot of expresso that I have
liked.  They ALL seem to have a bitterness that I have 
not been able to overcome.  Well once I did with some
artificial sweetener.  It was from a jura capresso auto
machine at a local retailers.  I have tried some shots
from other places and it's always the same.... can't 
handle it.  Ya, I can't handle coffee black either.
Tried a lot of times over the past 40 years or so, can't
do it yet.
What I'm basically looking for is an exprensive machine
to make the shots for the other water/milk based drinks. 
I will use it to try to get used to straight shots and if
I ever get to the point I can then I will get something
like a Brewtis.... I can go that high in price if I get
to like expresso straight.
Here's the info on the Breville from their site. 
Materials
The Espresso Machine´s body, controls and tamping head
are formed using the highest-grade aluminum and zinc.
Unlike thinner pressed metals, die-cast construction
moulds molten metals at intense temperatures. The result 
is the ultimate in durability and performance, and a more
refined finish.
Head Elevation
With a full 4.5 inch clearance, this is the first machine
designed to accommodate larger cups and travel mugs, 
making it ideal not just for Espresso, but for Espresso
variations like Americano, Cappuccino and Café Latte.
Filters
Each stainless steel filter incorporates Breville´s
unique dual-wall crema technology. Beneath the first 
wall´s 333 pores is a second wall with a single exit
hole. This produces a back pressure which, together with
the Triple-PrimeTM pump, extracts more flavor from the
coffee than any other machine.
Steam 
The stainless steel steam wand is mounted on a swivel
ball for easy maneuverability. It produces continuous dry
steam for barista-style milk and froth. The wand also
dispenses hot water on demand.
Temperature control 
The thermoblock maintains the water at an ideal 204°F
during extraction. While steaming, it reaches
temperatures of over 250°F. So when steaming is
completed, the unique Auto-PurgeTM function releases a
measured amount of steam to return the temperature to the 
optimal level.
Pump
Prior to extraction, the unique 15 bar Triple-PrimeTM pump
automatically releases three bursts of hot water into the
filter head, causing the ground coffee or Espresso pod to
expand. The increased pressure, allowing the machine to 
extract more crema, gives the coffee a rich, smooth taste
George   aka the MadHemi Roaster

4) From: george
Thanks for your input on the Breville machine.  I was 
just wondering if it would have been an okay machine for 
the milk based drinks and something to use to try and get 
used to the "bitterness" of expressos.  What caught my 
eye was that it was supposed to brew at an ideal 204 
degree temp whereas in the threads about the silvia you 
basically had to temp surf to get good shots.  I just 
thought it the Breville would eliminate that hassle for a 
beginner.
As for grinders, I have a Solis Mastro Plus and a Kitchen 
Aid Pro.  I know they are not the best, but thought they 
may be good enough for a beginner trying to get used to 
espresso.  I really would hate to not spend enough to get 
a decient setup but equally would hate to overspend since 
espresso definitely isn't "my cup of tea".  I just wish I 
knew of someone in the CNY area that could shoot me a 
really good shot so I could see if a good espresso could 
help my decision(s).  If I could get used to good 
espresso, I definitely would spend up to 3 grand for a 
great machine and grinder setup.  I love my caffine that 
much.
Oh, there used to be a Barnies coffee shop in the Carasul 
Mall, but it has been replaced with a StarBucks.  I just 
had to have a try at their coffee.  The largest cup of 
coffee was a respectable $2, but they only had a "bold" 
blend for non-decaf.  Talk about bold.... I thought I was 
in the middle of a forest fire drinking liquid nasty 
smoke water.  YUCK to the extreme.  Even my wife, having 
a small decaf coffee upon first sip squinted her eyes and 
said "this is nothing like home roast" and could barely 
drink it.
On 22 Nov 2006 at 8:48, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
<Snip>

5) From: Brett Mason
Hi George,
To get used to bitter espresso, just go to your local shop and buy some
shots...
On this list you'll hear about sweet espresso, tasty shots, proper
temperature, pressure, bean freshness and consistent grind.  All of these
will remove the bitterness in espresso.  There's a hundred variables to goo=
d
espresso.  Bitter is just easy and lazy...
You deserve better than bitter...
Brett
On 11/22/06, george  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

6) From: Les
George,
There is no way the Breville can make good that it has a stable ideal 204
degree shot. That is advertising.   As far as I can tell the only home
machine that will be able to make that kind of statement will be the
LaMarzocco G3 when it comes out.  The price tag on one of those is going to
be from what I heard in the $5,000.00 plus range.  Espresso 101 is you pay
for power and stability.  You need to get into a Gaggia or Miss Silvia to
get the power you need, and they have reasonable stability.  If you want
milk based drinks, you will want a HX machine.  For the money, it is hard t=
o
beat an Expobar.  The Expobar Office Pulsar isn't much more than a Miss
Silvia.  They are very stable and have good steaming power.  The real jump
from an HX machine would be to a duel boiler.  However with some practice
and getting to know your machine, a HX machine is a good way to go.
Les
On 11/22/06, george  wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Michael Dhabolt
George,
On 11/22/06, george  wrote:
<Snip>
Espresso, properly pulled, will not exhibit the 'bitterness' that you
mention.  All but a few espresso shops, pull shots that compare to good
espresso similar to the disparity between your home roasted brewed coffee
and what you get at the local 'greasy spoon'.
The machines used by most commercial shops are Heat Exchanger machines, and
most of these shops don't have a clue about 'temperature surfing' / 'group
flushing' prior to pulling shots.  Most baristas in these shops just
load/tamp the PF and walk over and pull a shot - this results in shots that
are pulled at a temperature of 212° to 215°.  A long ways into the bitt=
er
side of the temperature range.  Most of these shops are serving well over
99% of their drinks as very high percentage milk drinks - well above the
percentage of milk in a correctly made cappuccino.  The bitterness provides=
,
at least, a vehicle for the consumer to taste something reminiscent of
coffee in their drink.
Even those shops with dual boiler machines such as La Marzocca, frequently
don't have their machines 'tuned' to the temperature appropriate for the
blends they are serving.  So the consumer is frequently still not getting
'good' espresso.
If you stumble upon an espresso shop that knows how to use their tools, it
will be an eye opening experience.......and you will be lost to the 'dark
side'.
The economics of building a machine that is capable of providing a
consistant temperature without 'temp surfing' during the 'pull', whether it
be 204° or 198° (the range required for different blends), puts the pri=
ce
well above $1000 in todays market. Learning the 'temp surf' process require=
d
for the affordable machines is not really all that difficult - even though
it sounds like black magic.
Mike (just plain)

8) From: Sandy Andina
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This is a mediocre automatic machine (made by Sunbeam, the electric  
mixer folks) for people who want to be able to say they spent four  
hundred bucks but don't know jack about espresso. Telltale words:   
"aluminum" instead of brass parts--aluminum is flimsier and heats up  
quickly but does not retain consistent heat. Aluminum will also  
eventually corrode and pit.  "Thermoblock:" hallmark of an entry- 
level pump machine. You will never get a really good shot without a  
boiler, not a thermoblock. "15 bar pump" is meaningless--what you  
want is consistent pressure, and even expensive machines put out  
enough concentrated steam at 9-10 bar.  "Dual-wall crema  
technology:"  whenever you see ANYTHING purporting to enhance crema,  
run the other way. The Breville is yet another machine designed to  
concentrate air pressure by holding back water--any "enhanced crema"  
you'll see is not true crema (an emulsion of coffee oils created by  
consistent steam pressure from freshly ground and freshly roasted  
beans that is stable, thick and so slow to dissipate that some will  
remain in the cup after you finish drinking the shot) but whipped  
coffee.  This machine is no better than a Krups or DeLonghi entry- 
level thermoblock pumper costing half the price, though I'm sure  
it'll look cooler and more impressive on your counter.
You will get much better espresso from cheaper machines like the  
Saeco Barista models sold by Starbucks (stainless steel boilers  
instead of thermoblocks, heavier steel or brass groupheads and  
portafilters---buy a NON-pressurized aftermarket portafilter from  
Saeco, though--you want to maximize crema the old-fashioned way, via  
your beans, grind, tamp and consistent pressure and stable temp). If  
you don't mind having to be conscientious about descaling (and am not  
squeamish about aluminum boilers), you can get a real pumper from  
Gaggia for as little as two hundred bucks (the Carezza), or a little  
more, like the Classic, Coffee, or Baby models, all of which have  
brass groupheads and commercial brass portafilters.  The steam wand  
will have one of those stupid plastic froth-aider sleeves, which I  
think you can remove if you want to learn to make true pouraboe  
microfoamed milk instead of foofy bubble-bath froth that you have to  
spoon.
But if you can spend $400 on a Breville, are you willing to throw in  
another $100? That'll get you a Rancilio Silvia, a true espresso  
machine with brass boiler and grouphead, pro brass portafilter, and  
if you don't mind having to wait between brewing and steaming (it has  
a single dual-purpose boiler instead of a heat-exchanger system or  
second dedicated steaming boiler), you will be pulling and pouring  
better drinks than most coffeehouses (other than the artisanal ones  
that have real commercial machines and trained baristas instead of  
bored minimum-wage drones pushing buttons on what are little more  
than expensive drink-dispensers).  Silvia takes a bit of practice,  
but she will reward you.
What kind of grinder do you have, though? I'd spend the money first  
on at least a Rocky, KitchenAid ProLine, Baratza Virtuoso or LaPavoni  
PG series grinder and get an inexpensive Gaggia like the Carezza or a  
used Classic or Coffee--a great grinder and okay REAL machine will  
give you better shots than a cheap grinder and even a thousand-dollar  
"prosumer" machine. Sounds counter-intuitive--it did for all of us at  
first--but the grinder is MUCH more important.   That Breville is too  
expensive to give you enough money left over for a really good  
grinder--but too chintzy to provide a good shot on its own, even with  
a great grinder.
On Nov 22, 2006, at 9:36 AM, george wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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This is a mediocre automatic =
machine (made by Sunbeam, the electric mixer folks) for people who want =
to be able to say they spent four hundred bucks but don't know jack =
about espresso. Telltale words:  "aluminum" instead of brass =
parts--aluminum is flimsier and heats up quickly but does not retain =
consistent heat. Aluminum will also eventually corrode and pit.  =
"Thermoblock:" hallmark of an entry-level pump machine. You will never =
get a really good shot without a boiler, not a thermoblock. "15 bar =
pump" is meaningless--what you want is consistent pressure, and even =
expensive machines put out enough concentrated steam at 9-10 bar.  =
"Dual-wall crema technology:"  whenever you see ANYTHING purporting to =
enhance crema, run the other way. The Breville is yet another machine =
designed to concentrate air pressure by holding back water--any =
"enhanced crema" you'll see is not true crema (an emulsion of coffee =
oils created by consistent steam pressure from freshly ground and =
freshly roasted beans that is stable, thick and so slow to dissipate =
that some will remain in the cup after you finish drinking the shot) but =
whipped coffee.  This machine is no better than a Krups or DeLonghi =
entry-level thermoblock pumper costing half the price, though I'm sure =
it'll look cooler and more impressive on your counter.
You will get much better = espresso from cheaper machines like the Saeco Barista models sold by = Starbucks (stainless steel boilers instead of thermoblocks, heavier = steel or brass groupheads and portafilters---buy a NON-pressurized = aftermarket portafilter from Saeco, though--you want to maximize crema = the old-fashioned way, via your beans, grind, tamp and consistent = pressure and stable temp). If you don't mind having to be conscientious = about descaling (and am not squeamish about aluminum boilers), you can = get a real pumper from Gaggia for as little as two hundred bucks (the = Carezza), or a little more, like the Classic, Coffee, or Baby models, = all of which have brass groupheads and commercial brass portafilters.  = The steam wand will have one of those stupid plastic froth-aider = sleeves, which I think you can remove if you want to learn to make true = pouraboe microfoamed milk instead of foofy bubble-bath froth that you = have to spoon.
But if you can spend $400 = on a Breville, are you willing to throw in another $100? That'll get you = a Rancilio Silvia, a true espresso machine with brass boiler and = grouphead, pro brass portafilter, and if you don't mind having to wait = between brewing and steaming (it has a single dual-purpose boiler = instead of a heat-exchanger system or second dedicated steaming boiler), = you will be pulling and pouring better drinks than most coffeehouses = (other than the artisanal ones that have real commercial machines and = trained baristas instead of bored minimum-wage drones pushing buttons on = what are little more than expensive drink-dispensers).  Silvia takes a = bit of practice, but she will reward you. 
What kind of grinder do you = have, though? I'd spend the money first on at least a Rocky, KitchenAid = ProLine, Baratza Virtuoso or LaPavoni PG series grinder and get an = inexpensive Gaggia like the Carezza or a used Classic or Coffee--a great = grinder and okay REAL machine will give you better shots than a cheap = grinder and even a thousand-dollar "prosumer" machine. Sounds = counter-intuitive--it did for all of us at first--but the grinder is = MUCH more important.   That Breville is too expensive to give you = enough money left over for a really good grinder--but too chintzy to = provide a good shot on its own, even with a great = grinder. On Nov 22, 2006, at 9:36 AM, george = wrote:
Does anyone have any insite to = the Breville EspressoMachine 800ESXL?  A new one is $399 an I can = get 10% offand no sales tax thru the = internet or the same deal withsales tax at = a local store on this weekend's sale. = Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-240--910111449--

9) From: Sandy Andina
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On Nov 22, 2006, at 9:36 AM, george wrote:
<Snip>
Oh, and this is a load of hooey. You don't make cappas and lattes by  
brewing a shot into a mug full of steamed milk--you should be  
steaming your milk separately in a pitcher and pouring it into the  
espresso. Most good machines will accommodate a standard-height mug  
if you want to brew the shot directly into it instead of into a shot  
glass first.  Same thing with Americanos--except you generally brew  
the shots into a partly-filled cup of very hot water or add the water  =
after brewing.  If you want to make a drink in a tall cup or travel  
mug (an abomination to purists), brew the shots into shot glasses or  
little metal pitchers and pour them into the cup or mug, steam the  
milk in a pitcher, and then pour the milk atop the shots. (You can  
pour the shots into the milk, which is called a "latte macchiato,"  
which is what most amateurs--and I include the teenage drones behind  
the counter--think is a "macchiato." The latter, an "espresso  
macchiato" is a blob of foam--or a little bit of poured microfoam-- 
atop a shot or two of espresso.  I have had to instruct baristas in  
how to make a macchiato!  One even told me they couldn't make me one  
because they were out of caramel!!!!).
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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On Nov 22, 2006, =
at 9:36 AM, george =
wrote:

With a = full 4.5 inch clearance, this is the first machine

designed to accommodate = larger cups and travel mugs,

making it ideal not just for Espresso, but for = Espresso

variations like Americano, Cappuccino and Café = Latte.

Oh, and this is a load of = hooey. You don't make cappas and lattes by brewing a shot into a mug = full of steamed milk--you should be steaming your milk separately in a = pitcher and pouring it into the espresso. Most good machines will = accommodate a standard-height mug if you want to brew the shot directly = into it instead of into a shot glass first.  Same thing with = Americanos--except you generally brew the shots into a partly-filled cup = of very hot water or add the water after brewing.  If you want to make = a drink in a tall cup or travel mug (an abomination to purists), brew = the shots into shot glasses or little metal pitchers and pour them into = the cup or mug, steam the milk in a pitcher, and then pour the milk atop = the shots. (You can pour the shots into the milk, which is called a = "latte macchiato," which is what most amateurs--and I include the = teenage drones behind the counter--think is a "macchiato." The latter, = an "espresso macchiato" is a blob of foam--or a little bit of poured = microfoam--atop a shot or two of espresso.  I have had to instruct = baristas in how to make a macchiato!  One even told me they couldn't = make me one because they were out of caramel!!!!). Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-241--909517769--

10) From: Sandy Andina
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On Nov 22, 2006, at 12:52 PM, george wrote:
<Snip>
Others may jump all over me for saying this, but for a couple of  
months before I got my Rocky I used a SM Plus with a Silvia and got  
very good, even some excellent, shots.  The Rocky will be a quantum  
leap in quality and grind consistency, however (and a Mazzer will  
take you to the next level above that). An SM Plus and Kitchen Aid  
Pro won't redeem the mediocre shots you'd get with a Breville, though.
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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On Nov 22, 2006, =
at 12:52 PM, george =
wrote:

As for = grinders, I have a Solis Mastro Plus and a Kitchen

Aid Pro.  I know they are not the best, = but thought they

may be good enough for a beginner trying to get used = to

espresso.

Others may jump all = over me for saying this, but for a couple of months before I got my = Rocky I used a SM Plus with a Silvia and got very good, even some = excellent, shots.  The Rocky will be a quantum leap in quality and = grind consistency, however (and a Mazzer will take you to the next level = above that). An SM Plus and Kitchen Aid Pro won't redeem the mediocre = shots you'd get with a Breville, though. Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-242--909187643--

11) From: Sandy Andina
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On Nov 22, 2006, at 12:52 PM, george wrote:
<Snip>
IMHO, they are only a slight improvement over Starbucks--their beans  
though fresher and not as over-roasted are not fresh enough and they  
concentrate too much on the flavored beans and syrups.
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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On Nov 22, 2006, =
at 12:52 PM, george =
wrote:

Oh, there = used to be a Barnies coffee shop in the Carasul

Mall, 

= IMHO, they are only a slight improvement over = Starbucks--their beans though fresher and not as over-roasted are not = fresh enough and they concentrate too much on the flavored beans and = syrups. Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-243--909088241--

12) From: scott miller
George,
Like miKe describes, I started out with more $$ going towards the grinder
and a Gaggia espresso machine. I'm really happy with the grinder (La Cimbal=
i
Jr.). The Gaggia has been good enough for me to work on learning the
fundamentals and I hope to soon take the serious plunge on the espresso
machine front.
cheers,
Scott
On 11/22/06, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
e
<Snip>
ok"
<Snip>
t
<Snip>
nt
<Snip>
re.
<Snip>
hat
<Snip>
ttings
<Snip>


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