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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Reader Recommendations => Topic started by: jonoliver on February 19, 2017, 01:53:18 PM

Title: Espresso Machine
Post by: jonoliver 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!
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: spooky105 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.


Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: boognish 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Rufus.T.Firefly 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: trollwithamustache 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: lisa_mustache 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: fuzzy math 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: lhamo 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: hyla 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. 
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: GrumpyPenguin 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: sparkytheop 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.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: JJ on April 03, 2017, 12:42:37 AM
The "Muscle over Motor" version is Portaspresso - manual grinder and manual espresso machine. A bit pricey and a PITA if you want frothy milk, but for great espresso shots and something you can use in a motel room it can't be beaten.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: triangle on May 13, 2017, 01:02:01 AM
For less than $200 the only one I would recommend is the "ROK Espresso Maker".  You will need some way to heat the water and you will want to pair it with a quality (hand) grinder with the ability to make small adjustments which will increase your overall setup price if you are just starting out with no equipment. The Rok/Presso is not the easiest machine to use, but once you get things figured out, it will make very good coffee. The other variable which is often overlooked by the beginning home espresso brewer is that you need freshly roasted coffee which does not come cheap. Buying coffee in bulk or off the supermarket shelf will not give good results, if that is your plan then I would recommend skipping espresso and using other brewing methods.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: taiwwa on May 14, 2017, 05:33:20 AM
For coffee, the mmm pick really can only be the aeropress. It is under $30, and for the price produces good home coffee. For a grinder I think my burr grinder cost $35. It isn't the best, but for home use it is enough.

Good coffee at local coffee shops is probably something you should budget for. Home machines probably result in you drinking too much coffee, and with a local shop you also are buying the atmosphere.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: HelinaHandbasket on May 14, 2017, 02:31:45 PM
We've had assorted filter pots, stove tops etc over the years. When our last pot died, we bought a gaggia Brera on special offer. You can use it with ground coffee or beans - we use beans - there's a proper steam wand, and a tea setting that's much faster than boiling a kettle! It's very much an investment piece, but as its easy to maintain and can be serviced if it breaks down (I despise the fact that so many things are cheaper to replace than repair now.)
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: ShortInSeattle on May 15, 2017, 12:36:39 PM
For coffee, the mmm pick really can only be the aeropress. It is under $30, and for the price produces good home coffee. For a grinder I think my burr grinder cost $35. It isn't the best, but for home use it is enough.

Good coffee at local coffee shops is probably something you should budget for. Home machines probably result in you drinking too much coffee, and with a local shop you also are buying the atmosphere.

Disclaimer: I love coffee. Perhaps too much.

+1 for the Aeropress! It's cheap, portable, doesn't use plastic earth-killing pods, and makes a decent espresso shot.

Prior to the Aeropress I bought a $200 espresso machine and found it wasn't powerful enough to produce good espresso, and it was hard to clean. Before I bought my $200 machine I'd heard you need to drop $500-700 to get a good quality espresso machine, and that seems to be true.

Because I'm too cheap to spend that kind of $$ and *also* because I love coffee shop atmosphere, we've adopted this system:

1. A daily "good enough" latte in the morning at home. (Aeropress, Costco espresso ground at Costco for free, Hand-Held Frother)
2. Occasional excellent espresso at one of our many great coffee shops in Seattle. (awesome coffee, plus an outing!)

This works really well. I'd recommend not trying out a cheap espresso machine with the intent of upgrading. I did that, and I just ended up not wanting to use it because it made crummy espresso.

SIS
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: gardenarian on May 15, 2017, 04:38:43 PM
I seriously think caffeine is poison.
I disturbs your sleep. It increases anxiety. It can increase blood pressure. I worsens menopause symptoms. It irritates the stomach and gut.
Caffeine addiction can bring on headaches. It is addictive. It increases risks of heart attacks in young adults.

On top of the health issues, coffee is expensive and much of the coffee grown is detrimental to the environment. Coffee machines take up space, are expensive, and make you more invested in your addiction.

I would seriously consider how much you need coffee. I grow more herbs that I can consume, and they make lovely healthful tea.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: triangle on May 16, 2017, 01:37:57 AM
Caffeine is a poison when taken in extremely high dosages, higher than what could be consumed naturally through tea or coffee. That said everyone has a different tolerance for caffeine, and some people are quite sensitive to it. Every few months there seems to be another study reporting that a few cups of day are not harmful and in fact beneficial to one's health; but we all know to be skeptical of limited study groups.

The Aeropress is a great choice for making a single cup of coffee. The inventor was aiming to brew at lower temperatures to reduce acidity, but I believe most people brew at more normal temperatures. Another alternative for those wanting to make milk type drinks is to Vietnamese filter pot or any non-paper filter drip pot to make a stronger concentrate. Then use a separate milk frother in order to whip the milk. It will not be the exact same experience as using a shot of espresso but it will produce an enjoyable cup of coffee.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on May 17, 2017, 08:27:59 AM
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.

As others pointed out, if you really want espresso, you'll probably have to pay way more than $200 for a home machine (unless you're willing to go used -- see below), and more yet for an adequate grinder.

Maybe try Aeropress or pour-over first and see if that scratches the itch?  We're talking ~$30, plus ~$50 for an adequate grinder (e.g., Hario Skerton).  You can make really great coffee with these.

If you're still sure you want to make home espresso -- and let's say you spend $2-3 for a double espresso 5 days a week, or ~$650/year -- then you can certainly save money making your own at home.  IMO the cheapest machine you can make good espresso with is a Gaggia Classic.  I prefer the pre-2017 models with aluminum boiler.  You can often find them on e-bay used for ~ $250.

You will eventually get frustrated with temperature control (this affects basically all cheaper espresso machines), and spend another ~$100 for a budget PID temperature controller, or roll your own for half that.

You'll also need an espresso-capable grinder.  You can arguably get marginally acceptable results for ~$100 by modifying a used Gaggia MDF.  If you want to make better espresso, you'll have to spend more.  You could spend a few hundred on a Baratza, but I'd argue that the most Mustachian option is to get a quality hand grinder.  I'd recommend the OE Pharos for ~$300.

You're looking at $350 (used Classic + used MDF) up to $650 (used Classic + PID + Pharos) in startup costs.  A double espresso made at home will cost you ~$0.50/cup for quality beans from a good roaster like RedBird.  You could pay less for (probably) worse beans, and significantly more for fancier beans.  I pay about $180/year for ~daily double shots, using a moderately priced quality roaster like RedBird.

I wouldn't recommend going down this rabbit whole on a whim.  It's been a great hobby for me and I don't regret it, but if all you're after is some good tasting coffee, Aeropress or pour-over are far better Mustachian choices IMO.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: iluvzbeach on May 17, 2017, 08:45:47 AM
We have a DeLonghi model that retails for $250 ($200 after 20% off at Bed Bath & Beyond - ordered in store & shipped to house.) It's 5-years old now and running strong. We use it daily to make two espressos and two cappuccinos. We use a separate burr grinder for the beans. We're happy with the quality of the drinks.

Prior to this had an even lower end Saeco machine that lasted 5-7 years. I dream of a fancy all-in-one machine, but my MMM ways prevent me from making such a splurge.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: CutTheFat on May 18, 2017, 07:15:55 PM
I love my Mr. Coffee pump machine https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Coffee-Automatic-Cappuccino-ECMP50/dp/B001EU9UTM  I use it 2-3 times a day and I have had it for a few years.  I did have to replace the frothing wand.  The part with shipping was $8 and change.   
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: yyc-phil on May 18, 2017, 09:24:28 PM
A used Gaggia Classic and an MDF grinder, you can't go wrong. I have owned both for 20 years and except for a regular cleaning and replacing a few leaky seals over the years, they will continue to serve me well for a few more years. If your budget allows it, next up would be a Rancillo Silva and a Rocky grinder but in my opinion, it's not worth spending a few extra hundred bucks for pretty much the same thing.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: PNW on February 11, 2018, 10:36:26 PM
Here's what I did - snagged a used Breville cafe roma off craigslist - $80. Obvs not a top notch machine but wasn't sure how much use I'd get out of it and didn't want to spend more. Had a breville milk frother I got as a gift which I use still so I don't have to mess around with the pathetic steamer on the cafe roma. Used a hand grinder for a while which was OK but asked for a breville dose control grinder for christmas and this set up does a more than adequate job for me! True coffee snobs probably wouldn't be impressed but it works for me.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: englishteacheralex on February 11, 2018, 10:59:14 PM
This has been a very affirming thread! I love espresso drinks but there is no way I would ever buy a coffee maker of any sort that cost more than $50. I "went down the coffee rabbit hole" about six months ago and purchased both a stainless steel 32 oz french press from Amazon for $5+$6 shipping (I think it was some kind of scam because it was supposed to be $30 and then for about 5 minutes it dropped to $5...still don't understand how that happened) and an Aeropress (on sale on Amazon for $22).

I also have a blade grinder that a friend gave me when she de-cluttered. I use Costco beans.

The resulting coffee from my Aeropress or French press has been great! Cheap, portable; tastes like a latte to me! If I want a real "Wow" I'll get a latte from a coffeehouse a couple of times per year.

I've been reading Amy Dacyzyn lately--the "wow" factor that she writes about seems extremely relevant here. $1000 for an espresso rig does not seem to be a good "cost per Wow" investment over the humble French press/Aeropress plus maybe some really good beans and a hand burr grinder if you want to get epicurean about it.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Telecaster on February 11, 2018, 11:04:17 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.

^ This.  A moka pot and a frother will get you about 99% of the way to perfect espresso.  You'll need to spend huge bucks to get that last percent better. 
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: grantmeaname on February 18, 2018, 01:59:18 AM
I bought one of the $700 Breville machines after a trip to Europe, and I have no intention to go back ever again.
Why not? Europe is great!
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: grantmeaname on February 18, 2018, 02:01:58 AM
$1000 for an espresso rig does not seem to be a good "cost per Wow" investment over the humble French press/Aeropress plus maybe some really good beans and a hand burr grinder if you want to get epicurean about it.

I know this is an espresso thread so a hand grinder is possibly not relevant, but the Hario Skerton is a phenomenal adjustable, easily cleaned hand grinder that runs like $35. Mine is seven years old now and still works phenomenally.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: englishteacheralex on February 18, 2018, 10:05:24 AM
$1000 for an espresso rig does not seem to be a good "cost per Wow" investment over the humble French press/Aeropress plus maybe some really good beans and a hand burr grinder if you want to get epicurean about it.

I know this is an espresso thread so a hand grinder is possibly not relevant, but the Hario Skerton is a phenomenal adjustable, easily cleaned hand grinder that runs like $35. Mine is seven years old now and still works phenomenally.


That is a marvelous piece of information as far as I'm concerned. I shall look this up on Amazon immediately. My grinder is a cheap blade grinder that I inherited fifteen years ago from a friend who I helped to move out. It gets the job done but I have been told by many sources that burr grinders are the gold standard. Many sources also say that an electric burr grinder isn't worth anything unless it's $100+, which is a price point I am inclined to scoff at.

The hand burr grinder idea is intriguing, but I haven't gotten around to researching it yet. Many thanks.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: sparkytheop on February 18, 2018, 07:20:29 PM
I bought one of the $700 Breville machines after a trip to Europe, and I have no intention to go back ever again.
Why not? Europe is great!

Haha, sorry, no intention of going back to bad coffee.  I love Europe and plan to go back there as many times as I can!
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on February 18, 2018, 07:46:48 PM
We bought a DeLonghi machine off of craigslist for $100.  Best $100 we spent all year.  Never went anywhere for lattes anymore; ours were better and cheaper.  We still use it often.  (It helped, too, that we got free espresso pretty often.) 
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: jedithunder on March 19, 2018, 02:23:10 AM
I have one in the garage I never use if you want it?
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Just Joe on March 23, 2018, 09:56:10 AM
Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CNY6UK/

We have the smallest one (two shots) and a big one. Also works when the power is out - just add camp stove.

Seriously. This is what all my Italians friends owned when I lived in Italy. 
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: J Boogie on June 05, 2018, 12:34:14 PM
If you want to keep it under 200, forget about espresso. You won't make good espresso under 200. You can make bad espresso and try to hide it with milk and sugar, but then why bother making espresso?

My advice - Get a french press. Almost any french press with good reviews will do. The grinder is what matters. Be mustachian and get a hand grinder, because french press is perfect for hand grinding. Hario Skerton, javapresse, etc. You can make awesome coffee now under 50 bucks. Keep your beans fresh in an airscape.

If you must try for espresso on a budget, find a gaggia classic for under $200 and an MDF grinder or baratza grinder.

Some folks here have endorsed Breville. I say avoid them, they put plastic where it doesn't belong. Some might give you good results for a little while, but the second you have to do some maintenance you'll see their true made in China colors come shining through. Italian machines like Rancilio and La Marzocco are built like tanks and meant to be repaired throughout a long service life. Krups, most Delonghi, anything that also makes toasters - you might as well drink that nespresso bat diarrhea.



Source - I have a Silvia and Rocky. Paid 300 and 180 respectively. I am also addicted to Craigslist.




Edited to comment on moka pot.

It seems like a great option on the surface. But to make decent moka pot coffee, you still need a decent grinder.  You also still need a way to steam milk. Those $5 vibrating milk frothers are bullshit. Another gadget on its way to the dump in a year. No one wants froth. Our mouths crave the smooth silky microfoam. You might be able to utilize a stovetop steam wand, but that's another $80-100 bucks.

So to the moka pot I say NO, as it's still a chunk of money for a cup of coffee that I've honestly never enjoyed, and often found disgusting. See if you can find anyone with a moka pot who enjoys it straight up with no milk or sugar to hide the rancid or metallic notes that are common in moka pot coffee.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: grantmeaname on June 05, 2018, 02:53:03 PM
I like Moka pot coffee. If I didn't like it I wouldn't have posted further up the thread recommending it. Different strokes I guess.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: jamesdg33 on June 05, 2018, 03:07:37 PM
I am personally very fond of my AeroPress, though it's a bit more low-tech than the fancy alternatives noted here. I also invested in a metal filter and never looked back, so I'm not wasting as much paper. Links below.

https://www.amazon.com/Aeropress-Coffee-and-Espresso-Maker/dp/B0047BIWSK/ref=sr_1_6?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1528232478&sr=1-6&keywords=aeropress
https://www.amazon.com/Altura-Mesh-Aeropress-Stainless-Reusable/dp/B00JVTQHVC/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1528232478&sr=1-3-spons&keywords=aeropress&psc=1
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: englishteacheralex on June 05, 2018, 05:12:18 PM
+1 on the Aeropress. I'm a fan, myself.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: J Boogie on June 06, 2018, 09:32:17 AM
I like Moka pot coffee. If I didn't like it I wouldn't have posted further up the thread recommending it. Different strokes I guess.

What are your thoughts on it straight up without milk and sugar?

I guess if you are not a very discerning latte drinker, it's a pretty solid option. But if you really like espresso, and the intense flavors you get from that extraction process, the moka pot is a pale comparison. That's why I recommend the french press over the moka pot, you can go all the way and work towards brewing an intensely awesome and flavorful cup of coffee. With a moka pot you'll never reach espresso-level flavor. It's like a pitcher throwing practice pitches in the bull pen. With french press at least you're in the game. Same with pour-over. You can progress and improve.

But like you say, different strokes. Some people just want a tasty drink in the morning or with dessert. And some people are weirdos like me :)
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: PoutineLover on June 06, 2018, 09:42:48 AM
I like Moka pot coffee. If I didn't like it I wouldn't have posted further up the thread recommending it. Different strokes I guess.

What are your thoughts on it straight up without milk and sugar?

I guess if you are not a very discerning latte drinker, it's a pretty solid option. But if you really like espresso, and the intense flavors you get from that extraction process, the moka pot is a pale comparison. That's why I recommend the french press over the moka pot, you can go all the way and work towards brewing an intensely awesome and flavorful cup of coffee. With a moka pot you'll never reach espresso-level flavor. It's like a pitcher throwing practice pitches in the bull pen. With french press at least you're in the game. Same with pour-over. You can progress and improve.

But like you say, different strokes. Some people just want a tasty drink in the morning or with dessert. And some people are weirdos like me :)
I drink my espresso from the moka pot with no milk or sugar. If you are getting a metallic taste it's probably because you are washing it too well, you want the coffee oils to stick around. A quick rinse with no soap between brews is the way to go. If it gets rancid, use the grinds to scrub it off. Or wash and then brew a couple throw away pots to get back the coffee flavour.
I'm half italian, and in my opinion that's the best way to make coffee, and one of the cheapest. I also have a manual milk frother for the times I feel like jazzing it up a little.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: acroy on June 06, 2018, 10:04:22 AM
For coffee, the mmm pick really can only be the aeropress. It is under $30, and for the price produces good home coffee. For a grinder I think my burr grinder cost $35. It isn't the best, but for home use it is enough.
^^^ This
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: J Boogie on June 06, 2018, 02:17:45 PM
I like Moka pot coffee. If I didn't like it I wouldn't have posted further up the thread recommending it. Different strokes I guess.

What are your thoughts on it straight up without milk and sugar?

I guess if you are not a very discerning latte drinker, it's a pretty solid option. But if you really like espresso, and the intense flavors you get from that extraction process, the moka pot is a pale comparison. That's why I recommend the french press over the moka pot, you can go all the way and work towards brewing an intensely awesome and flavorful cup of coffee. With a moka pot you'll never reach espresso-level flavor. It's like a pitcher throwing practice pitches in the bull pen. With french press at least you're in the game. Same with pour-over. You can progress and improve.

But like you say, different strokes. Some people just want a tasty drink in the morning or with dessert. And some people are weirdos like me :)
I drink my espresso from the moka pot with no milk or sugar. If you are getting a metallic taste it's probably because you are washing it too well, you want the coffee oils to stick around. A quick rinse with no soap between brews is the way to go. If it gets rancid, use the grinds to scrub it off. Or wash and then brew a couple throw away pots to get back the coffee flavour.
I'm half italian, and in my opinion that's the best way to make coffee, and one of the cheapest. I also have a manual milk frother for the times I feel like jazzing it up a little.

Interesting. So you've got your moka process dialed in enough to enjoy it straight up. So you say it's the best way to make coffee... does this mean you prefer moka pot coffee to espresso? I would be interested to hear why. It's possible I've never had a really well made cup of moka pot coffee.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: grantmeaname on June 06, 2018, 06:02:36 PM
I like Moka pot coffee. If I didn't like it I wouldn't have posted further up the thread recommending it. Different strokes I guess.
What are your thoughts on it straight up without milk and sugar?

I guess if you are not a very discerning latte drinker, it's a pretty solid option. But if you really like espresso, and the intense flavors you get from that extraction process, the moka pot is a pale comparison. That's why I recommend the french press over the moka pot, you can go all the way and work towards brewing an intensely awesome and flavorful cup of coffee. With a moka pot you'll never reach espresso-level flavor. It's like a pitcher throwing practice pitches in the bull pen. With french press at least you're in the game. Same with pour-over. You can progress and improve.

But like you say, different strokes. Some people just want a tasty drink in the morning or with dessert. And some people are weirdos like me :)
While I know that moka pot coffee is not technically espresso, IMHO it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck so it is one. If I want espresso for a recipe, or a cocktail, or an espresso drink, or to drink on its own, I turn to my moka pot. I'm not a huge espresso drinker so it would be wasteful to have a full espresso machine that would get used once or twice a month. My moka pot is probably older than me, fits in the cabinet, and makes something basically equivalent for my purposes. I could lose sleep over the lack of crema or feel inadequate compared to that one espresso I had in the train station in Rome four years ago (yes, it was better), but what utility would that give me compared to being happy enough now? 80% of the coffee I drink is cold brew or french press anyway.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Hula Hoop on June 07, 2018, 04:54:43 AM
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.

Here in Italy - everyone makes their espresso in a moka pot.  Mine cost around Euro 10 although you can get fancy ones for Euro 20.  I've had mine for 10 years and just replaced the gasket occassionally.  People here in Italy love their espresso but would think you are completely insane for spending hundreds on an espresso machine.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on June 11, 2018, 01:54:48 PM
Here in Italy - everyone makes their espresso in a moka pot.  Mine cost around Euro 10 although you can get fancy ones for Euro 20.  I've had mine for 10 years and just replaced the gasket occassionally.  People here in Italy love their espresso but would think you are completely insane for spending hundreds on an espresso machine.

Whatever you make in your moka pot is not 'espresso'.  It's 'coffee from a moka pot' or 'moka pot coffee', etc.  I'm not saying it's better or worse than espresso, but it's definitely not espresso!
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: CNM on June 11, 2018, 02:10:41 PM
I have this Capresso Cafe Pro machine: https://smile.amazon.com/Capresso-125-05-Espresso-Maker-Silver/dp/B01C7L633C/ref=sr_1_30?ie=UTF8&qid=1528747705&sr=8-30&keywords=capresso+espresso+machine

Price on amazon is $175.

It works like a charm!  I usually make myself a double shot for breakfast.  It has a milk steamer option, but it is used very rarely (when a guest asks for one).
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: tralfamadorian on June 11, 2018, 03:26:37 PM
Here in Italy - everyone makes their espresso in a moka pot.  Mine cost around Euro 10 although you can get fancy ones for Euro 20.  I've had mine for 10 years and just replaced the gasket occassionally.  People here in Italy love their espresso but would think you are completely insane for spending hundreds on an espresso machine.

Whatever you make in your moka pot is not 'espresso'.  It's 'coffee from a moka pot' or 'moka pot coffee', etc.  I'm not saying it's better or worse than espresso, but it's definitely not espresso!

To-may-to, to-mah-to. Moka pots have been making espresso since the 1930s when all espresso machines maxed at ~2atm of pressure. It wasn't until after WWII that the modern 8-10atm espresso machine was invented. So, I don't think it's really up to us to tell all the Italians to get with the American definition of modern espresso.

My DH uses a moka pot x2 a day for a straight up, no milk, no sugar, hot bean water. No complaints on rancid or metallic results. I'm not an espresso drinker but he tells me that he finds most espressos from coffee shops to be bitter and/or astringent.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: grantmeaname on June 11, 2018, 06:58:47 PM
TDES. Just saying.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/26/cure-yourself-of-tiny-details-exaggeration-syndrome/
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on June 11, 2018, 07:54:07 PM
I think it's reasonable to differentiate between "espresso" as it has existed for the past 60 years or whatever, and other methods of coffee preparation.  Particularly in a thread where someone was asking about buying an espresso machine.  I assumed a post-WWII espresso machine.  :P

Are slippers, loafers, sneakers, oxfords, and work boots essentially interchangeable simply because they are all worn on feet?
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on June 11, 2018, 08:19:06 PM
So, I don't think it's really up to us to tell all the Italians to get with the American definition of modern espresso.

I'm not telling all the Italians anything.  But my understanding is that if you order a coffee in an Italian coffee shop, you order a caffè -- which implicitly means espresso.

Quote
My DH uses a moka pot x2 a day for a straight up, no milk, no sugar, hot bean water. No complaints on rancid or metallic results. I'm not an espresso drinker but he tells me that he finds most espressos from coffee shops to be bitter and/or astringent.

It's great that your DH enjoys moka pot coffee.  I'm not knocking it.  And it makes perfect sense that a non-espresso drinker would find the taste of espresso to be objectionable in some way -- it's a very strong, complex drink.  Not to mention that there is a huge amount of variation in espresso due to different beans, roasts, equipment, and barista skill.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: J Boogie on June 12, 2018, 09:26:54 AM
TDES. Just saying.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/26/cure-yourself-of-tiny-details-exaggeration-syndrome/

If you have a hobby and you're not into the tiny details, I can't relate to you :)

When those tiny details equal insane amounts of money, I get it.

But we're talking about a few hundred to spend on equipment up front. If you're a big time coffee drinker, and you drink a 3lbs/month, and you like to support your local coffee roasters who you know source responsibly so you pay $10/lb, you're paying 360 a year for coffee.  Let's say 500/yr if you include milk and sugar.

That's $5,000 over a decade. To be using equipment that doesn't depreciate much and allows you to get the most delicious result from your already expensive coffee habit, it'll make it $5,500 over a decade if you buy a $500 worth of espresso equipment (you can get a used gaggia classic and a gaggia MDF grinder easily for 500, and you'll be able to pull some solid shots and whip up solid microfoam).
 
It's easy to balk at expensive equipment prices. But I'd much rather pay an extra 500 now if it means my coffee will taste significantly better every day for life. Not to mention how much fun it is to delight your guests when you host. Although I admit I occasionally end up playing barista for big chunks of time... which is great if it fits your personality. I like to be buzzing around a bit, or at least have a good excuse to be, depending on the guests.




Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Hula Hoop on June 12, 2018, 09:50:26 AM
My DH uses a moka pot x2 a day for a straight up, no milk, no sugar, hot bean water. No complaints on rancid or metallic results. I'm not an espresso drinker but he tells me that he finds most espressos from coffee shops to be bitter and/or astringent.

I never drink espresso outside Italy as it's bitter and horrible.  That includes the espresso from a family member's fancy home espresso machine and the espresso from the fancy coffee places in other countries.  I'd much rather coffee from a moka pot, whether that's espresso or not, or plain drip filter coffee.

Bird in hand - yes, a "coffee" here in Italy in a coffee shop is automatically an espresso.  You can also get espresso based drinks like cappuccino.  However, I've never heard of an italian owning a home espresso machine - everyone here has a moka pot.  IMOand in the opinion of 99.9% of Italians, who espresso aficianados, the moka pot makes decent espresso coffee and it costs an extremely mustachian Euro 10.  If you want to spend hundreds on an espresso machine though  then go right ahead - it's your money afterall.  You can put it in your kitchen next to your vitamix /jk/

Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on June 12, 2018, 09:59:36 AM
TDES. Just saying.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/26/cure-yourself-of-tiny-details-exaggeration-syndrome/

If you have a hobby and you're not into the tiny details, I can't relate to you :)

:D  I love this.  Maybe part of the issue here is that some people don't realize that coffee is a hobby for some of us?
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on June 12, 2018, 10:47:54 AM
I never drink espresso outside Italy as it's bitter and horrible.  That includes the espresso from a family member's fancy home espresso machine and the espresso from the fancy coffee places in other countries.  I'd much rather coffee from a moka pot, whether that's espresso or not, or plain drip filter coffee.

Hula Hoop -- peace.  Even if I happen to think you're calling it by the wrong name, I wish you nothing but enjoyment from whatever it is you make in your moka pot.  De gustibus non est disputandum.

For me, coffee (in particular espresso from a 9-bar espresso machine, but sometimes coffee from Aeropress, pour-over, and French press) is one of the greatest small pleasures in life.  Every day I find joy in the ritual of preparing and consuming an espresso or espresso-based drink.  Along this journey -- 5 years and counting -- I've incorporated other interests like hardware/software (I built a custom computer to control brew temperature, etc.), data science (analyzing the effects of grind fineness, brew temperature, water/ground ratio, etc., on the taste), and even art (learning how to steam milk properly and use it to create latte art).

I've spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 on equipment -- chosen carefully to yield the highest quality for a price within my budget.  The daily cost of the equipment is about 40 cents, the per-use cost is about 20 cents, and both are shrinking daily.  The equipment has enabled me to pursue what has become one of my favorite hobbies.  I have no regrets about it whatsoever.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Hula Hoop on June 12, 2018, 12:50:11 PM
Wow Bird in Hand - that is amazing.  I didn't realize that coffee could be a hobby but, of course, it makes sense as I know people who are really into creating and consuming other drinks like wine and beer.  Anyway more power to you if the cost per drink is 20-40 cents.

Speaking of which, I went to Naples for work recently and everyone here says that they have the best coffee in Italy.  I had an espresso in a random bar and it was out of this world.  I wonder what their secret is? 
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: J Boogie on June 12, 2018, 02:31:20 PM
Oh man, there are so many theories out there - about Italy in general but Naples to be specific.  Here are a few.

-Their water is better. Volcanic mineral water

-They use lower quality beans - Robusta along with Arabica. I've never had any espresso that wasn't 100% Arabica as far as I know. It's counterintuitive, but might be a factor. I've never been to Italy or Europe BTW, so I have no idea.

-They use only freshly roasted beans

-Their baristas are better

-They rarely have milk in their coffee, so because of this they've had to always make espresso delicious enough to drink straight up
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Hula Hoop on June 12, 2018, 03:07:31 PM
One thing that my husband always says is that certain coffee bars clean their machines better than others and that's why their coffee is better.  But here in Italy, even the bad espresso is way better than what you get anywhere else.

I agree that people generally just drink plain espresso here maybe with some sugar in it so it has to be good quality.  I generally get a cappuccino at the bar at around 10 am (cappuccino here is strictly a breakfast drink so 10 am is about the limit apart from tourists) and I often notice that I'm the only person in the bar drinking coffee with milk even at that hour and I'm usually also the only foreigner.  Everyone else is knocking back an espresso or possibly a caffe macchiato (ie espresso with a tiny amount of milk).
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: J Boogie on June 13, 2018, 07:49:57 AM
One thing that my husband always says is that certain coffee bars clean their machines better than others and that's why their coffee is better.  But here in Italy, even the bad espresso is way better than what you get anywhere else.

I'd agree with keeping your machines clean making a big difference. The flavors we look for in espresso are so subtle and fleeting and that the tiniest amount of rancidity or staleness of the residue can overpower.

Some people who live in Italy say their espresso ISN'T better, but foreigners get swept away with the romance of Italy to the point where the pasta, the pastries, the fruits, the wines etc all taste incredible when you're in a euphoric state.

Unfortunately, a blind taste test is impossible due to the short lifespan of an espresso shot. Getting a shot flown in from Italy just wouldn't work :)

 
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: sparkytheop on June 13, 2018, 09:32:00 AM
One big thing I noticed is that in Italy, coffee was at a drinkable temperature. Here in the states it's always made so damn hot I have to let it cool down for a long time to drink it.

I own an espresso machine and it's been worth the cost for me. I can make it the perfect temperature for me. I've also started rotating my own beans when there is a good breeze and I have the time. I'm not as good as my brother with roasting, I'm still dialing it in to "just right", but I'm getting much closer!
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Hula Hoop on June 13, 2018, 12:44:42 PM
One big thing I noticed is that in Italy, coffee was at a drinkable temperature. Here in the states it's always made so damn hot I have to let it cool down for a long time to drink it.

If you're talking about cappuccino (or caffe latte) that's because it's meant to be kind of slightly warmer than lukewarm.  If it gets too hot, the milk loses it's sweetness.  Now that I'm used to Italian cappuccino I always notice that they heat the milk too much outside Italy which makes the cappuccino not taste as good.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: grantmeaname on June 13, 2018, 04:34:42 PM
If you have a hobby and you're not into the tiny details, I can't relate to you :)

When those tiny details equal insane amounts of money, I get it.

But we're talking about a few hundred to spend on equipment up front. If you're a big time coffee drinker, and you drink a 3lbs/month, and you like to support your local coffee roasters who you know source responsibly so you pay $10/lb, you're paying 360 a year for coffee.  Let's say 500/yr if you include milk and sugar.

That's $5,000 over a decade. To be using equipment that doesn't depreciate much and allows you to get the most delicious result from your already expensive coffee habit, it'll make it $5,500 over a decade if you buy a $500 worth of espresso equipment (you can get a used gaggia classic and a gaggia MDF grinder easily for 500, and you'll be able to pull some solid shots and whip up solid microfoam).
I've certainly never been accused of not liking coffee before! I agree that part of the fun in any hobby is getting into the details and perhaps learning about the minute differences between a good cup and a great cup. But I think we differ on what a reasonable amount of money is. Homebrewing is by far the most expensive hobby I've ever dabbled in and you're talking about more money than even an expensive homebrewing habit in order to drink coffee. That might be more money than I'll pay for electricity this year! (Yes, maybe any given person here can easily afford throwing away half a grand a year on coffee. But this site argues frugality accomplishes more than just increasing your pile of benjamins. Frugality is inherently worthwhile no matter your income.)

IMHO one great effect of Mustachianism is taking the knowledge you accumulate in a subject and using it to get your hobby satisfaction for cheap or free. I learned about Sweet Maria's (https://www.sweetmarias.com) from this site, where you can get unroasted beans for $6/lb and turn them into roasted beans for not much more money with an air popper, heat gun, or cast iron skillet. Similarly, farther afield from coffee, think of the hobbyist who uses his car skillz to snipe a badly underpriced dream car off of Craigslist or Mrs. Frugalwoods' (in)famous free yoga (https://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/07/23/how-does-free-yoga-help-our-financial-goals/). You don't enjoy coffee less if you roast it yourself or enjoy altering clothes less because you found a Zegna jacket for a song at the thrift store. You're becoming a badass by learning more about your field of interest and you're spending less in the process, so your fun for bucks fraction is improving in the numerator and denominator.
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on June 14, 2018, 08:03:02 AM
I agree that part of the fun in any hobby is getting into the details and perhaps learning about the minute differences between a good cup and a great cup. But I think we differ on what a reasonable amount of money is.

Right, and for me, a premium of 20 cents per brew (and dropping) is a reasonable price to pay for 5 years (and counting) of an awesome hobby with olfactory, gustatory, and stimulant benefits on the side.  So we differ on this.  So what?  Any further arguing boils down to differences in values and opinions over trivial matters.  What's the point, to root out heretics of the One True Mustachian Way?

Frugality is a wonderful thing.  So are hobbies -- even hobbies that cost money.  Hobbies, or even just certain indulgences that sometimes cost money, add value to our lives in ways that vary by person.  For me, not everything is an optimization problem where the only, or even primary, constraint is minimizing cost.  If you get your kicks living every aspect of your life that way, more power to you -- you'll probably be FI before most people here.  I think that's awesome, but mustachianism doesn't need to be asceticism-lite in every aspect of our lives.

Quote
IMHO one great effect of Mustachianism is taking the knowledge you accumulate in a subject and using it to get your hobby satisfaction for cheap or free.

I've learned how to propagate various plants, and I've made friends with other gardeners who share cuttings and plant seeds.  Have you looked at the price of plants at a garden center?  My gardening hobby has become way cheaper as I've learned more about it, and yeah, I feel pretty badass about that.

On the other hand, my coffee journey took me from a $10 Chemex type of pour-over, to a $25 Aeropress, to a ~$300 Gaggia espresso machine*.  Given how much I've enjoyment I've derived from learning about, preparing, and drinking espresso, I feel pretty badass about that, too.

*For the record, I was considering the Gaggia, a Rancilio Silvia ($700), and more expensive machines with electronic temperature control.  After extensive research I decided that the Gaggia was close enough in features to the Rancilio for my purposes, and that I could eventually figure out how to roll my own temperature controller with existing hardware and sensors.  That's exactly what I did, and (IMO) my $300 Gaggia performs as well as a fancy $800+ machine.  Not only that, but I could likely sell the Gaggia for about as much as I paid for it, due to my modifications.  There's your $#%^! badassity!  :D
Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: J Boogie on June 14, 2018, 09:51:04 AM
Buying an automatic espresso machine wouldn't quite fit our shared values.

But when it's manual, there's so much you can do.

We like to fine tune and feel the satisfaction of achieving great results with our own two hands.

There's something so satisfying about getting dialed in perfectly and seeing that thick syrupy espresso slowly drip out.  Unlocking the flavors that used to just be coffee flavor.

DIY espresso culture is all about getting the most of out of your equipment. The Gaggias and the Rancilios are pretty high quality, but they're not plug and play. You gotta figure things out, understand at least a little about the physics and chemistry of the process, and it's super fun. The best part for me is that it's social. I'm super into woodworking too, but I can't really share that with family/friends all that well. I can make things for them occasionally, but can't invite them behind the scenes casually. It's noisy, dusty, and dangerous. Whereas making espresso for them delights them.

Title: Re: Espresso Machine
Post by: Bird In Hand on June 14, 2018, 11:01:47 AM
The best part for me is that it's social. I'm super into woodworking too, but I can't really share that with family/friends all that well. I can make things for them occasionally, but can't invite them behind the scenes casually. It's noisy, dusty, and dangerous. Whereas making espresso for them delights them.

That's a great point!  Almost everyone who visits our house drinks coffee, and it's fun for me to prepare them something they might otherwise pay $5 for at a fancy cafe.  On the rare occasions when my latte art is up to par, I love presenting that to my wife or a guest and seeing the delight in their eyes.