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Topic: home espresso set-up (17 msgs / 454 lines)
1) From: Kris McN
Soliciting opinions (and I know those are in short supply around here ;-)):
I'm thinking about getting a home espresso set up.  Money is not unlimited,
so I'm looking used or reconditioned, etc. but would still like something
that I can pull good shots with, not just a steam toy or something that
would give me immediate upgrade fever.  I've been trollimg e-Bay and the
like to see what's out there.  Would you just go for a new Miss Silvia and
PID it (though that's pushing the limits of budget)?  Or how about this
unused, PIDed, Gaggia Classic http://tinyurl.com/37xbnj*.  Or, if you had
a spouse who was willing and able to both add a 220v outlet and plumb it in,
would you jump off into the deep end and go for something like this used
Brasilia Portofino http://tinyurl.com/3bbgrr*?  These are all just
examples.  Or something else entirely.  I used to work in a coffee shop back
in the day, so I'm not entirely unfamiliar with the art and science, but I
haven't pulled shots at home since my inherited Francis Francis F5 went
belly up (and I was never happy with it) which was before I ever got into
home roasting.  Assume the grinder is taken care of (I scored a
reconditioned Super Jolly and new burrs for an awesome price).   The grinder
upgrade needed to happen no matter what.
Kris McN
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2) From: miKe mcKoffee
While Silvia or Gaggia class machines are ok, if you're used to better
stability you'd likely soon want to move to better. PID'ing stabilizes the
idle boiler temp but does not solve their inherent group temp creep problem.
IE takes 5 to 6 shots to bring group to temp stable with each sucessive shot
in a series rising in temp. ~12f rise from shot one to shot 6 in a series,
all with the same boiler temp. If you plan on doing much steaming,
fogetaboutit! Single boiler machines and steaming = PIA. 
OTOH while a low end commercial HX like the Brasilia could be a great work
horse once learning it's temp surf, with a used commercial machine you've no
idea what you're getting into. If it was properly maintained could be a good
deal. But could require substantial work to get it up to snuf. Not just
cleaning, could be badly scaled etc. But if a DYI type, what the hay go for
it!
Unfortunately with the continuing erroding $ decent Prosumer HX machine
choices under $1k have drastically shrunk. You didn't say what your actual
budget was but suspect $800 for lowest priced HX, an Expobar Pulser, might
be out.
No easy answer!
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/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.
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3) From: Michael Dhabolt
Kris,
What do you know!!   A new thread about something coffee related!
Your second example (The Brasilia) would be closer to my pick - -
assuming you could find a single group machine.  A commercial two
group machine is a bit much for any home environment IMHO.  Anyone who
has had experience with commercial machines will probably have a
permanent case of up-grade-itis with anything with a much smaller
format.
Congrats on the Mazzer score!
Mike (just plain)
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4) From: Alchemist John
Between a PID'ed Silvia and a Gaggia Classic, I did and would do 
again the Gaggia Classic.
But comparing to a Brasilia, you are right, that is the deep end.  I 
like to keep in mind 'enough', and for home use, the Brasilia in my 
book would be more than enough (meaning too much).  The two heads are 
what toss it over to me, but I know it is just an example.
My opinions...
At 17:13 3/31/2008, you wrote:
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John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/Homeroast mailing list
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5) From: kevin creason
I recommend the Aero Press. Yeah yeah, people say you can't make espresso in
an AP but you can with a little Yankee ingenuity and have something to be
proud of. This is a little premature-- it's something we've been working on
but not ready to annouce. A few list members (no names just initials of E*,
B*, and L* -- they can reveal themselves if they want to) have been working
on. M*, I hope you don't mind me announcing-- we have commercial shop that
will be our first customer! We're calling it the Espress Aminno. It's a
three minute espresso-- not rated for more than three hours of use in a day,
just yet.
But it's open source. So here's how you can do it.
First, you have to make a stronger cap. Get a block of stainless steel, and
a machine shop. Turn a replacement cap that is like a naked portafilter
bottom.
Next, you need to make a reinforced body for the AP. You can wrap it with a
metal sheet and lightly weld it shut around the body.
Now you need to make a really long tamper to fit the AP body. Talk to Les on
this since the body is so large a normal tamper won't fit, or get a block of
wood and turn it on your lathe from step 1 to fit the body. You will
actually need two of these-- see the next step.
Take second extra large wood dowl from step one and drill a 3/8 inch hole
through the center. One end should be hollowed out in a shallow bowl shape
within a 1/4 of an inch of the outside diameter. Go slowly and check
capacity of your bowl and long hole to verify it is a double espresso
capacity only. Or triple if you only plan to make triples.
Put second unit on top of tamped coffee groups over cup, bowl side down.
Boil water to proper temperature and pour in the little hole.
Oh, yeah, get gloves. It gets pretty hot.
Attach air compressor blowgun attachment with regulator set to 18 psi, and
blow until dry, but not so much that you blow the espresso back out of the
cup.
Enjoy your nice double or triple shot. Lick the counter clean if you did
blow too much.
Be sure to turn it down. We had another member on the team, but he forgot to
turn the pressure down. We bravely continue on in the quest and experiment
to honor him.
Be careful with the air compressor hose-- it has gotten wrapped around a leg
or two during operation and we have had a few injuries from the pulled legs.
Posted 4/1/08.
On Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 7:13 PM, Kris McN  wrote:
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-- 
-Kevin
/* Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you
with experience. */
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6) From:
I have a Gaggia coffee that is older and looks like the classic does now, I
got it used on ebay and have been very happy with it all in all
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7) From: Barry Luterman
Yes I see but where doe the Duck Tape go? Or does one just wait until after
April 1 st and the put the duck tape wherever .
On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 4:32 AM, kevin creason  wrote:
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8) From: kevin creason
Duck tape!?
Pshaw. Strictly amateurs with hydraulic presses use duct tape on an espresso
machine. All though... if you burned a hole in your air compressor hose you
might use a roll of duct tape on that.
On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 12:05 PM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
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-- 
-Kevin
/* Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you
with experience. */
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9) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
I would love to see some pictures (you did take pictures didn't you?)
Sounds like air powered lever machine but I could be wrong afer my mind
is still trying to see this thing in my head....
Dennis
On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 12:05 PM, Barry Luterman 
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The
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beat
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-- 
-Kevin
/* Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat
you
with experience. */
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10) From: Sandy Andina
If you don't need hot water capability (not even dispensed through its  
steam wand), the Nuova Simonelli Oscar is pretty good and probably  
cheaper than the Expobar.
On Mar 31, 2008, at 10:44 PM, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
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Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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11) From: John Despres
Excellent design. being "open source" I've already modded it. First, I =
milled out two pieces of stainless to wrap the tube. Combined weight is =
enough to keep the brewer stabile while forcing the air through. I =
milled and turned a stainless tamper as well. I also did away with the =
drilled dowel idea. I found it blew the water out and up the sides of =
the tube - maybe my dowel was too narrow? I fitted a sealed cap to the =
top of the tube with the air hose attached. This allowed me to use a =
larger volume hose and decrease pressure. I get a very even distribution =
through the coffee with it.
However, I need a pulley puller to get the puck out. I'm working on that.
Great idea. Thanks for sharing.
John
True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69) wrote:
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-- =
John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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12) From: Vicki Smith
I have the Bezzera BZ02S and I was going to recommend it whole heartedly 
until I checked current prices and found that the machine I bought about 
a year ago for $695 is now $300 more. At that price, you may be able to 
do better with something else.
If you do happen to see one around at the lower price, you may want to 
consider it. The newer ones (same model number) co9me with a pressure 
gauge). The Bezzera BZ02S is pretty much like a Livia on the inside, but 
has some plastic on the outside.
Vicki
Kris McN wrote:
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13) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
That's a good deal for a quality machine. We didn't want to carry to 
Nuova Simonelli Oscar because of too much plastic on the exterior, 
even though it has good internals. People need to decide how 
important exterior and finish is, because there is a lot of cost 
invloved in that, and to some it might be extraneous. =Tom
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--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com
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14) From: Kris McN
Thanks to everyone who replied (stop poaching my thread April Foolsters!).
I appreciate the input.  I'm considering all the options, and I think I may
look around for a used commercial 1GR that we can plumb in.  miKe, your
comments about potentially buying a lemon are well-taken - that's my main
hesitation about going down that route.  I'm not averse to DIY, but I want
to spend more time using it to pull shots than working on it.
Alchemist John - why would you prefer the Gaggia over the Silvia?
I'm not generally a patient woman, but I'm going to try to act like one and
really look for a good/the right deal.
Thanks again!
Kris
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15) From: John Despres
Kris,
Despite my fun in your thread, I have been following it carefully and =
paying attention. You posed an excellent question! I plan a nice =
espresso machine to grace my counter one day as well. For now I'm =
playing with a cheapo to tide me over.
Thanks for letting us play in your sandbox!
John
Kris McN wrote:
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-- =
John A C Despres
Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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16) From: Scott Miller
I would be also be very wary about buying a used machine from a commercial
shop unless I was dealing with someone like the techs from the
coffee/espresso machine service company near me. Since I've had the chance
to see the care they put into rebuilds and they warranty their work, I think
that's a good deal. I'm sure the advice from miKe and others is spot on
regarding this.
I've had the chance to use both a Gaggia and a Silvia. I have a Gaggia
Coffee Deluxe in my house. Don't think you can really go wrong with either,
but I have had great luck with a rebuilt Gaggia for 2 years now.
cheers,
Scott
On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 3:15 PM, Kris McN  wrote:
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17) From: Kris McN
That's a good point, Tom.  And frankly, I don't care what it looks like
(within some reasonable limits).  I want a machine that will stand up to
regular home use (shots and steaming), I can learn to pull great shots on
without too much voodoo magic (I don't consider PID voodoo), won't give me
immediate upgrade fever, and won't eat up the entirety of my kid's college
fund.  Beyond that it can be ugly, or beastly, or cosmetically damaged, or
generally un-shiny.  Not too much to ask, is it?
Kris McN
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