Author Topic: Espresso Machine  (Read 969 times)

jonoliver

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Espresso Machine
« on: February 19, 2017, 01:53:18 PM »
After listening to MMM on Tim Ferriss' podcast last week, I was reminded of the fact that an espresso machine is a thing you can actually have at home. I did a quick search of the forum for any recommendations and only found one for Saeco machines, and it looks like all of their more affordable models are discontinued. Any one have a recommendation for espresso machines? Not sure what's realistic for price range, but probably don't want to spend more than $200.

Thanks!

spooky105

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 06:11:16 AM »
Short of a manual grinder + stove top setup, I don't think you'll find something that will produce a quality espresso and last at that price point.

A solid burr grinder (Baratza Virtuoso) will run you $200-$250 new (I bought mine used on eBay for about $125) -- these are pieces of equipment that last and are repairable, unlike most things these days. Control over the grind size and consistency are huge factors in espresso quality...definitely not a place to cut corners. I've also used Hario manual grinders when I'm on the road, though my experience is only with French Press/Pour Over with these -- should work fine, but you'll be cranking for a while to grind up the fine coffee required for espresso.

Rancilio Silvia is a well-regarded, no frills espresso machine that comes in around $700. This paired with the Virtuoso grinder produces a top-notch espresso / latte / cappuccino (comparable to what I've had at your niche premium coffee joints). Of course it takes time and practice to get everything dialed in just right. And just as the grinder quality is huge, so is the quality of coffee you're using.

I reckon the payoff for a $1,000 investment is about 1 year, assuming you replace 5 espresso beverages per week per year at $4 a pop. After that, a quality cup is costing you pennies on the dollar (coffee and milk).

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com has a number of youtube videos that provide a lot of education and product reviews.



boognish

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 04:22:18 PM »
I bought a cheap Krups espresso machine for around $50 a few years ago and it's been great to this non-discerning poster.

I use a regular blade grinder, and heat up milk in a stainless steel pitcher - works for me.

I'd balk at dropping $1000 on a coffee setup, but I suppose it depends on how fancy you want to get.
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Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 04:42:30 PM »
I've been perfectly happy with our Mr Coffee espresso maker ($40). I like coffee and am moderately picky, but not on the connoisseur level. I suggest dipping your toe in on the "cheap end" before sinking several hundred dollars. If you really don't like an inexpensive model, you've only lost $40-50 instead of overspending by $100s.
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trollwithamustache

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 05:27:59 PM »
Rancilio Silvia is a well-regarded, no frills espresso machine that comes in around $700.



Oh sweet Rancillio! how I enjoy romancing you every morning.

Seriously the Rancillio is finicky about grind size. But with a good burr grinder and some experimentation you won't be able to go back to bad café coffee.

lisa_mustache

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 10:35:29 AM »
I've been perfectly happy with our Mr Coffee espresso maker ($40). I like coffee and am moderately picky, but not on the connoisseur level. I suggest dipping your toe in on the "cheap end" before sinking several hundred dollars. If you really don't like an inexpensive model, you've only lost $40-50 instead of overspending by $100s.

+1

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Coffee-Espresso-Frother-ECM160/dp/B000U6BSI2/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1487957438&sr=1-1&keywords=Mr+Coffee+4-cup+steam+espresso+system

I got the linked Mr Coffee machine in November 2015 (on sale for $27 before Christmas), and it's still going strong for my almost-daily lattes.  I did splurge on a $5 stainless steel "frothing pitcher" which, by MMM standards, was unnecessary (but not included with the machine).  You can just steam the milk in the mug you're going to use.  I didn't buy a "tamper" and haven't needed one of those either.

fuzzy math

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 07:59:42 PM »
Breville. We had a cheaper ($300) model, then found a $700 model at a garage sale.

The sub $100 espresso machines do not make true espresso. If you look up the pump /steam / shot pouring methods, they do not compare at all. If you don't care about how your coffee tastes, they're ok, but in that situation you could just brew coffee and microwave milk.
I could tell a big difference between my $300 and $700 machine's quality of product. Now the $300 latte tastes gross in comparison to the $700.

lhamo

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 08:14:04 PM »
I am currently on my second Delonghi Magnifica --the first one I bought used in China(it had been lightly used for about a year by the previous owners) for around $700 (imported machines were extremely expensive there) and used for 3-6 cups of coffee almost daily from 2009-2016.   We left it in China because it runs on 220v.   The current one is a refurbished unit I got off Craigslist for $325.    I had some issues with error messages about a month in, but took to Seattle Coffee Gear and the tech told me it was because I had been using beans that had too much oil, which gunks up the insides.   He helped me clean it out and reset it, and I switched to Lavazza beans (these machines do best with Italian roast-- I find Lavazza Crema Suprema beans to be dark enough for my tastes) and it has been working fabulously since.
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hyla

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2017, 08:07:11 PM »
While not a true espresso machine, stovetop moka pots ($15 - $25) make coffee which is pretty darn close to espresso.  I have one and like the coffee it makes a lot.  And unlike actual espresso machines, moka potsthey have no electrical parts so they'll last forever.  And then if you also bought one of those handheld milk frothers ($5 - $10) you could also make a close approximation of cappuccino. 

Alexander0405

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2017, 11:28:37 AM »
About 7 years ago I threw down $550 on a new Gaggia Classic and MDF grinder.  I have averaged 7 to 10 lattes a week for all seven years with those machines since.  It was a luxurious expense at the time, particularly since I was a grad student then.  But, what can I say, I love my homemade lattes.

I've used a fresh Costco roast (they roast their own beans in-store here) for years. Love those beans. Cheap too.

sparkytheop

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2017, 10:25:22 PM »
Breville. We had a cheaper ($300) model, then found a $700 model at a garage sale.

The sub $100 espresso machines do not make true espresso. If you look up the pump /steam / shot pouring methods, they do not compare at all. If you don't care about how your coffee tastes, they're ok, but in that situation you could just brew coffee and microwave milk.
I could tell a big difference between my $300 and $700 machine's quality of product. Now the $300 latte tastes gross in comparison to the $700.

I wouldn't try to talk someone out of a cheaper machine if that's what they really wanted, but I can say that for me, the $50 machines didn't do what I wanted, so they ended up getting used a couple times then never used again.

I bought one of the $700 Breville machines after a trip to Europe, and I have no intention to go back ever again.  Years ago, I'd made espressos at work (a cafe), with the real nice commercial espresso makers, and the only thing I see "lesser" about the one I have is that I cannot froth the milk and brew the espresso simultaneously.  I'm not willing to spend more though, so I just do the milk, and then the coffee, and am happy enough with that.  It does pull a pretty shot of espresso.