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Thread: Home espresso machines

  1. #1
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    Home espresso machines

    Hi everyone,

    I want to canvass opinions about high quality home espresso machines. I currently have a 10 yr old Saeco Incanto fully automatic which is ok for a fully automatic machine but I wonder how long it has left. I'm thinking that a manual or a semi automatic macine might be the go next time, but I want to be able to make great espresso with it.

    Thanks for your experience & opinons.
    "I'd better change my signature before I get myself into trouble..."

  2. #2
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    Rancilio Sylvia. Most affordable entry machine for professional Barista-quality espresso. Have mine since 9 years and will never live without a manual professional grade espresso machine again. Although one could of course go for higher quality and comfort if more money is available. Dont forget a decent grinder, though. Thats actually the first and most important leap towards high quality home made coffee, no matter the actual brewing method.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobes View Post
    Rancilio Sylvia. Most affordable entry machine for professional Barista-quality espresso. Have mine since 9 years and will never live without a manual professional grade espresso machine again. Although one could of course go for higher quality and comfort if more money is available. Dont forget a decent grinder, though. Thats actually the first and most important leap towards high quality home made coffee, no matter the actual brewing method.
    Thanks Tobes. Which grinder do you recommend?
    "I'd better change my signature before I get myself into trouble..."

  4. #4
    Senior Member khashy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemo View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I want to canvass opinions about high quality home espresso machines. I currently have a 10 yr old Saeco Incanto fully automatic which is ok for a fully automatic machine but I wonder how long it has left. I'm thinking that a manual or a semi automatic macine might be the go next time, but I want to be able to make great espresso with it.

    Thanks for your experience & opinons.
    What's your budget Nemo? Total I mean for machine and grinder?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mute-on's Avatar
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    Silvia and Compak K3.
    Nothing else is necessary for a great espresso

  6. #6
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    Thanks.
    "I'd better change my signature before I get myself into trouble..."

  7. #7
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    I have a very affordable Demoka grinder, again, lowest level entry machine for professional grade results. I am not sure theres that much difference as soon as you shop for real professional grinder. Make sure its a disk grinder with the slowest possible RPM. Noise might be another consideration.

  8. #8
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    I'd just go check out chris's coffee service. Most machines and grinders sold there are of great quality. I bought a used Compak K10 for a good price. It is overkill for home use but it works great. I had a quickmill silvano with PID and it made a great cup. I bought slightly used La Marzocco GS3 that I got for a great price, it also makes great coffee.

    I read the blue bottle coffee book a couple of years ago, the author James Freeman owns the brand. After he talked about espresso brewing and machine types his advice was very simple. "Spend $2000 USD and buy the heaviest machine you can find." I wouldn't say everyone would want to do that but it's short and pretty good advice without to much research.

  9. #9
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    go used for the grinder. There are boatloads of Mazzer Super Jollys out there. They usually just need a new set of burrs. You can save several hundred dollars.
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    David (WildBoar's Kitchen)

  10. #10
    Senior Member khashy's Avatar
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    The GS3/K10 combo is beast of a duet to have but we are into the thousands of dollars territory there.

    Might be that Nemo is happy to drop the $$ on a bad ass setup like yours.

    I couldn't go that far personally even though I would have loved to get my hands on a GS3.

    I would echo what has been said about considering the secondary market. There are some fantastic machines and grinders to be had pre-loved in brilliant conditions.

    My setup is a Gaggia classic (pre-2015, i.e. The good ones) and a Mazzer Superjolly:





    Both of these were purchased pre-loved in as new condition.

    The Mazzer is a beast, it truely is. I would say that 70% of the coffee shops I frequent in London use this as their primary grinder. I bagged mine for £250 (about 310USD with today's rates) three years ago.

    The Gaggia is a capable machine out of the box. I paid £130 (about 160USD) for it three years ago, again as new.

    Now the pro coffee gurus would be able to extract a fantastic cup with the Gaggia as is. I however have heavily modified the Gaggia and can now produce shots that I believe can stand up to any you get from a coffee shop, if not better.

    The mods are many and some of them a little pricy and time consuming, so if you are happy to get your hands dirty, go the Gaggia route.

    The Sylivia is a much better version of the Gaggia. Very capable with more 'industrial grade' parts (much more brass than the Gaggia) but still has it's limitations - lack of a PID being the main. However because the Sylvia's boiler is significantly larger than the Gaggia, the lack of a PID is much less of an issue and you can create really good shots with it as is.

    These two are the most entry level I would consider. If the budget is high enough, a whole new world opens up with HX machines and double boilers etc.

    I would however not neglect the grinder. I cannot stress this enough. The world's best coffee machine will have it's hands tied with a crappy grinder. Spend at the very least the same amount of $$ on the grinder as tye coffee machine itself.

    I spend 2x on the grinder and I am glad I did every time I pull a shot.

    get as good a grinder as you can.

    Separately, depending on how much of a coffee geek you are/want to be, have you considered lever coffee machines?

    I think I'll stop here...

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