HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Espresso machine rec? (17 msgs / 417 lines)
1) From: michael brown
hey friends,
i posted a few weeks ago about espresso blends and which beans make a good espresso.  and in a polite way, you told me to figure it out for myself.  that truly was the best advise i could get.  SO thus far my fav is a kenyan AA coffee i got from a local roaster.  he's been very helpful but is very vague about the true origins or lots of the beans.  so anyway, coffee from somewhere in Kenya is in on my fav list.  i just ordered some geisha, yemen, and broke down and got the Monkey Espresso blend.  now my new question: can my fellow coffee enthusiasts recommend an esspresso machine for under $300?  i'm embarrased to say i've been using a 20-30 dollar "espresso machine" that i got at a local drug store.  time to step it up.  i've got a grinder that i'll have to update too but i think i need to get the brewing aparatus a priority. 
thanks guys!
michael B from b'ham, AL 
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2) From: Gary Foster
Your *grinder* should be your first priority, not your espresso  
machine.  I know, I know it seems hard to swallow but as stubborn as I  
was when everyone kept telling me this, they were right and I was wrong.
Get your grinder in shape first.  Trust me on this.
-- Gary F.
On Aug 12, 2008, at 7:06 PM, michael brown wrote:
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3) From: R Nepsund
I don't have an expresso machine, but I looked into them about a year ago.
It seems that the decent espresso machines start at about $300 with a
Gaggia.  Also you need a good grinder to make good espresso.
SweetMarias.com has to have great info on espresso machines somewhere.
Hmmm.  http://www.sweetmarias.com/espresso-general1.htmllooks good.
Also CoffeeGeek.com has good equipment reviews from owners.
For now I'm sticking with my AeroPress.   I'm finally getting a good used
grinder in the next few days.
On Tue, Aug 12, 2008 at 7:06 PM, michael brown  wrote:
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4) From: Michael Dhabolt
In that price range (probably a little higher) my choice would be the
small Gaggia with a three way valve.  There are a bunch of models,
body work changes are the major differences.
I will also second the previous statements about the grinder being the
major player in this equation, and should be the first consideration.
Mike (just plain)
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5) From: Coffee
The grinder is key... I have a Rocky and it's pretty good, but I got a  
chance to use a Mazzer Robur and I was stunned at the difference. Now  
have grinder envy ;-(
Might have to upgrade to one of those Cimbali Max Hybrids like Les  
got...
-Peter
On Aug 13, 2008, at 11:33 AM, Michael Dhabolt wrote:
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6) From: Jim Gundlach
Michael,
      Remember the espresso machine is an accessory to the grinder,  
not the other way around.
         pecan jim
On Aug 12, 2008, at 9:06 PM, michael brown wrote:
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7) From:
I had about 400 to spend on an espresso machine after getting a Rocky grinder. After a little research (which was not adequate), I got a Saeco aroma stainless steel. Looks nice...solid. Altered and then bought a nonpressurized portafilter.
I regret not saving 200 more and getting a Silvia...with a normal 58mm PF. It seems that most things in the 300 range are severely inadequate...with all kinds of doo dads and assisted frothers and pressurized PF. Only thing I know of in that range is the Gaggia. These can be found refurbed on various sites as well as ebay.
Now I made my bed...i'll lay in it. I committed to get 1-2 yrs out of it...give it away...and jump past the Silvia to a Brewtus, Andreja or Expobar.
A subadequate purchase will leave you unhappy and you'll spend the more money later anyway.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone.

8) From:
I had about 400 to spend on an espresso machine after getting a Rocky grinder. After a little research (which was not adequate), I got a Saeco aroma stainless steel. Looks nice...solid. Altered and then bought a nonpressurized portafilter.
I regret not saving 200 more and getting a Silvia...with a normal 58mm PF. It seems that most things in the 300 range are severely inadequate...with all kinds of doo dads and assisted frothers and pressurized PF. Only thing I know of in that range is the Gaggia. These can be found refurbed on various sites as well as ebay.
Now I made my bed...i'll lay in it. I committed to get 1-2 yrs out of it...give it away...and jump past the Silvia to a Brewtus, Andreja or Expobar.
A subadequate purchase will leave you unhappy and you'll spend the more money later anyway.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone.

9) From:
I had about 400 to spend on an espresso machine after getting a Rocky grinder. After a little research (which was not adequate), I got a Saeco aroma stainless steel. Looks nice...solid. Altered and then bought a nonpressurized portafilter.
I regret not saving 200 more and getting a Silvia...with a normal 58mm PF. It seems that most things in the 300 range are severely inadequate...with all kinds of doo dads and assisted frothers and pressurized PF. Only thing I know of in that range is the Gaggia. These can be found refurbed on various sites as well as ebay.
Now I made my bed...i'll lay in it. I committed to get 1-2 yrs out of it...give it away...and jump past the Silvia to a Brewtus, Andreja or Expobar.
A subadequate purchase will leave you unhappy and you'll spend the more money later anyway.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone.

10) From:
I had about 400 to spend on an espresso machine after getting a Rocky grinder. After a little research (which was not adequate), I got a Saeco aroma stainless steel. Looks nice...solid. Altered and then bought a nonpressurized portafilter.
I regret not saving 200 more and getting a Silvia...with a normal 58mm PF. It seems that most things in the 300 range are severely inadequate...with all kinds of doo dads and assisted frothers and pressurized PF. Only thing I know of in that range is the Gaggia. These can be found refurbed on various sites as well as ebay.
Now I made my bed...i'll lay in it. I committed to get 1-2 yrs out of it...give it away...and jump past the Silvia to a Brewtus, Andreja or Expobar.
A subadequate purchase will leave you unhappy and you'll spend the more money later anyway.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone.

11) From: Zara Haimo
The Krups Gusto which is no longer produced, but may be findable on ebay 
actually produced pretty good espresso and used to cost well under $100 new. 
I used one for a couple of years before I got an E61 machine.  The Gusto has 
a small portafilter, but has enough pressure to pull decent shots although 
it's not so good for steaming milk.  I now have a Giotto, but have kept my 
Gusto for when I travel by car.  With a Zass grinder, I  can pull good shots 
in a motel room.
I just checked and there's a Gusto on ebay now.
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12) From: Michael Wascher
I managed to pick up a couple of Esti Profis for under $50. Another $30 or
so & I had parts (gasket, hopper for the grinder, ...) + some elbow grease
and I have a decent machine. The second unit is working too, just needs a
hopper & a few other parts for the grinder.
Will I upgrade some day? You bet! But it was an inexpensive foray into
espresso. I occasionally pull a really good shot, and they're almost always
better than what I can find in nearby resteurants.
On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 9:46 PM, Zara Haimo  wrote:
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13) From: Les
Dean,
I went down the same road.  I gave the Saeco away.  I enjoy my Expobar
Office Control.  As much as I like the Silvia (I had one.), the
Expobar Office series is much easier to pull good to great shots on
than the Silvia and being a true HX machine with a modified E-61 group
head you get good stability and steam power for not much more than a
Siliva.  The Office Pulsar is less than a thousand bucks and often you
can get them on sale or on a buyers remorse for the same price as a
Silvia.  My advice, is to save your money and get at least an Expobar
Office Pulsar.  Once you are in the 1200-1500 range, there is a lot of
competition and you can pick and choose from many fine machines.
Les
On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 5:39 PM,   wrote:
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14) From: Les
I pulled one of my best shots ever on a Gusto.  As long as you work
within the limitations of its size, the Gusto was one of the nicest
machines I have used.  Don't expect to bang shot after shot, or pull a
2oz double shot.  A 1.5 oz double shot is about the limit.  When I was
using one, I usually pulled 2  one to one and a quarter shots for a
double shot.
Les
On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 6:46 PM, Zara Haimo  wrote:
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15) From:
Thanks Les...
Guess I am alleved to see that I'm not the only one that has regretted equipment decisions.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo Phone.

16) From:
Thanks Les...
Guess I am relieved to see that I'm not the only one that has regretted equipment decisions.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo Phone.

17) From: Sandy Andina
You will not see much improvement from a Silvia over a well-maintained  
Saeco Vapore/Estro Profi, given identical variables (clean machine,  
freshly roasted beans, great grinder, proper tamp and dose, beans  
ground just before shot).  I've owned both (still have the Silvia as  
my backup) and might not have had to go to intermediate machines had I  
a better grinder and known about homeroast and proper maintenance  
while I owned my Estro (gave the Saeco to my sis when I got the Estro).
On Aug 14, 2008, at 8:34 AM, Les wrote:
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Sandy Andina
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