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Thread: Coffee gear and discussion thread

  1. #191
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    Guys a little help here, wife decided she wanted an espresso machine. She was talking about the nespresso but I decided against the pods. So now with no prior knowledge I am going to be buying a machine. I just browsed the thread here and found homebarista so I'll be living there this week.

    Onto the question, I guess we will be spending around 1k on a machine plus grinder and I plan on going semi automatic. My friend has a lelit so I naturally started there

    This looks like it would be very handy Lelit Combi (PL042EM) but other opinions would be great. I wonder if the grinder included is decent quality or would I just be paying extra for it to be in the box, so to speak. Any direction would be great.

    Thanks
    Jared

  2. #192
    http://www.1st-line.com/machines/hom...elit/index.htm

    Unless you need the space, I'd save a coupe bucks and go separates. Plus if one dies, you don't lose both. The PL04 is a pretty well regarded machine but I've never used it. I had the PL53 and liked it but sold it to jump on the Vario band wagon.

  3. #193
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    I think I've (we've) said it before: it's easy to make great coffee with a so-so espresso machine and a good grinder, but it's hard to make good coffee with a great espresso machine and a so-so grinder. Spend a little extra money on the best grinder that fits your budget and you will get consistent results once you've dialed in all the parameters. Go with a cheap grinder (like I have) and despite your best efforts, great coffee and a good espresso maker, you'll probably only get one good pull out of three.

    Start with a great grinder and a sturdy starter espresso maker like the Silvia v.3 or the Le'Lit P041 and you will be making consistently good shots for years before choosing to upgrade the espresso machine. If you really want even more consistency, get the factory-PIDed 041 or add an Auber Instruments PID to a Silvia and you may never choose to upgrade the machine (I've had my "temporary" Silvia for seven years and if I PID it I doubt I'll every upgrade).
    Francesco
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  4. #194
    From what I've heard, the Lelit Combi is a decent choice in that price range but for the same reasons listed by I too would rather separates.

    If you can stretch your budget a tad, and possibly wait for the 30% Williams Sonoma sales, you can get the following for around 1k:
    - Breville Dual Boiler http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produ...oMerchRules-_-
    - Breville Smart Conical Burr Grinder http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produ...oMerchRules-_-

    Check out the CoffeeGeek first look review (http://coffeegeek.com/proreviews/fir...boiler/details) and the associated forums for details on the espresso machine, or check out the slightly annoying video review by Seattle Coffee Gear at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=7NIGabvnD2w. Lots of good features for home users, such as built in water filter and very temperature stable. The group temperature is also configurable, which is good if you want to delve into excellent roasts by the speciality coffee joints like Intelligentsia and Stumptown to dial in the precise balance between sourness and bitterness. The only cavaet being that they are relatively new, and don't have established reliability records, but at the price they are a bargain!

    Don't forget the importance of the grinder though. I think it's actually more important than the espresso machine itself, but never really gets the recognition it deserves. If you don't mind buying used gear, then look out for a used Mazzer Mini or a Super Jolly. Mazzer's are somewhat the commercial standard and they really are built like tanks. If you don't mind hand grinding then the Orphan Espresso Pharos (with voodoodaddy mods) is excellent or the new HG One, which is about to be released looks absolutely fantastic and user-friendly. We don't have many Vario grinders here in Australia, so haven't had much experience with those, but from most accounts they are probably a good/better option than the Breville Grinder listed above.

    And.. for lever lovers, finally a commercial lever which is home use friendly is about to be released - the Londinium I. Lots of info at http://londiniumespresso.com/blogs/l...-espresso-blog but you might have to read through quite a few blog posts to get to the initial info.

  5. #195
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    Highly recommend picking up a used Mazzer Super Jolly. If it's one that's seen some use, you can replace the burr. For ~$450-500 you will be set for a very long time with a first-class grinder.
    __________
    David (WildBoar's Kitchen)

  6. #196
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    It is looking like a Vario and Silvano or maybe an anita. I think the vario will fit in a smaller space better for me mostly. Any detractors? I think either machine and that grinder would have me setup until one or both of them die.

  7. #197
    Silvano has a thermoblock for steam which generally means sub-optimal performance especially for larger milk coffees. Anita is a good choice but I still think you should consider the Breville. Not as shiny as some of the Italian E61's but I don't really think the Italian machines are that well made anyway... If height is an issue with the Super Jolly, you could always get a smaller hopper (the plastic thing on the top which holds the beans). Either way you go, looks like you'll have an awesome set up. It all takes a while to learn and get the hang off, but this is always a handy guide to dialling in your shots - http://www.home-barista.com/tips/esp...te-t16968.html.

  8. #198
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    Ya I was concerned about the milk performance as that is my wife's main use, which is why I considered the Anita. I'll give the breville a look tonight. A reviewer commented on the SJ vs the vario that he only had 3 inches with the short hopper under his cabinets and if it isn't convenient it will see less use and I'd prefer convenience if performance is about equal.

  9. #199
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    Well, if you're (more than) doubling your budget now, you've opened up a LOT of doors. There are many, many decent machines in the $1500 to $2500 range, but note that at $1500 you are getting close to the point of diminishing returns. You have to honestly ask yourself how many espressos and how many milk drinks you intend to prepare on a daily basis (not just special occasions or when you have guests over). A $2000 machine needs its own type of commitment to master. If you're only making a couple of espressos a day and the occasional cap or latte on weekends, you might do better getting a top-notch grinder and a decent single-boiler machine for now. The beauty of a Rancilio Silvia or the Le'Lit P041 (among a handful of sub-$1000 standouts) is that when you think you are ready to graduate to a Quick Mill or La Spaziale you can sell your "starter" machine for pretty good money -- they are always in high demand if they've been well maintained.
    Francesco
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  10. #200
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    If your wife is "concerned" about milk performance but was considering a Nespresso, and now has you looking at an Anita... ROTFL!
    Francesco
    Unskilled flunky

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