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The easiest and cheapest entry level machine that will provide longevity and actually brew good espresso is going to be the Breville Barista Express as a few others have mentioned. It's only got a single boiler so it takes a little bit to warm up the steam wand to warm your milk if you're making anything milk based, but in general its produced great espressos for me over the years. I've had mine for 2 years and it's still running strong. The steam wand isn't as strong as it once was, but that could be due to mineral buildup. It required quarterly back flushing and I do a weekly cafiza tablet in the onboard cleaning system, so all in all the maintnence is very minimal. You can get a brand new one on sale somewhere for around $450, sometimes cheaper around the holidays. The grinder on it is only good for espresso - it's dialed into a very fine range, so even at it's coarsest setting it isn't course enough to really brew by any other methods, however, the grinder works almost perfectly for most coffee beans when it's dialed in closer to its finest settings. You can improve your espresso shots by buying a separate grinder, but for simply espresso's, you'll have no problem finagling the onboard grinder, especially since it provides such a cost efficient way to grind the bean. A typical espresso grinder itself ranges from ~$350 and up. As for a bialetti moka pot, I personally love them. They however, do not make espresso, but the coffee that they do brew is much stronger than a typical pour-over or drip method brew and it's very rich and flavorful. If you get a Bialetta "Brikka" moka pot, it actually has a pressure valve that makes it even stronger and provides a nice, rich crema on top of the cup too. Moka pots are awesome, but they're rather time consuming having to bring the water from the recommended ice cold fill to a boiling hot on the stove top. For right around $200 you won't find any real espresso machines, especially due to the fact that any stand-alone espresso machine is going to require an espresso grinder and those in themselves are well over $200 alone. The next best entry level espresso machine would be the Rancilio Silvia which is a timeless piece, and people who don't find themselves diving deeper into the espresso rabbit hole use these machines for upwards of 20 years. They range anywhere from $300 used to $600 brand new, and don't stray from a used machine from a reputable dealer - like I said, they can lest up to 20 years if proper maintenance is performed. However, if you get a Silvia, you'll need a grinder. Rancilio offers the Rocky grinder which is nice, but at the price point there are much better grinders, namely from Baratza. The "sette" is an excellent and innovative grinder and grinds and insane speeds with very even grind qualities.
 
Sorry for the long-winded post, but I hope that helps. My recommendation for the cheapest entry level machine stands as the Breville Barista Express. It's a beautiful machine to look at and it gets the job done without any added bells and whistles that'll run up price on you. Regardless of what espresso route you choose, I also HIGHLY recommend getting a moka pot because they're amazing in their own right, and produce a very rich, delicious cup of coffee that's a nice change of pace from a typical espresso. Best wishes and enjoy your coffee journey, it's almost as addictive and cumbersome as buying cigars!
 
- Josh

So the breville is around 5 ....then I would still need a grinder ? How is a grinder that expensive ....yikes


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The easiest and cheapest entry level machine that will provide longevity and actually brew good espresso is going to be the Breville Barista Express as a few others have mentioned. It's only got a single boiler so it takes a little bit to warm up the steam wand to warm your milk if you're making anything milk based, but in general its produced great espressos for me over the years. I've had mine for 2 years and it's still running strong. The steam wand isn't as strong as it once was, but that could be due to mineral buildup. It required quarterly back flushing and I do a weekly cafiza tablet in the onboard cleaning system, so all in all the maintnence is very minimal. You can get a brand new one on sale somewhere for around $450, sometimes cheaper around the holidays. The grinder on it is only good for espresso - it's dialed into a very fine range, so even at it's coarsest setting it isn't course enough to really brew by any other methods, however, the grinder works almost perfectly for most coffee beans when it's dialed in closer to its finest settings. You can improve your espresso shots by buying a separate grinder, but for simply espresso's, you'll have no problem finagling the onboard grinder, especially since it provides such a cost efficient way to grind the bean. A typical espresso grinder itself ranges from ~$350 and up. As for a bialetti moka pot, I personally love them. They however, do not make espresso, but the coffee that they do brew is much stronger than a typical pour-over or drip method brew and it's very rich and flavorful. If you get a Bialetta "Brikka" moka pot, it actually has a pressure valve that makes it even stronger and provides a nice, rich crema on top of the cup too. Moka pots are awesome, but they're rather time consuming having to bring the water from the recommended ice cold fill to a boiling hot on the stove top. For right around $200 you won't find any real espresso machines, especially due to the fact that any stand-alone espresso machine is going to require an espresso grinder and those in themselves are well over $200 alone. The next best entry level espresso machine would be the Rancilio Silvia which is a timeless piece, and people who don't find themselves diving deeper into the espresso rabbit hole use these machines for upwards of 20 years. They range anywhere from $300 used to $600 brand new, and don't stray from a used machine from a reputable dealer - like I said, they can lest up to 20 years if proper maintenance is performed. However, if you get a Silvia, you'll need a grinder. Rancilio offers the Rocky grinder which is nice, but at the price point there are much better grinders, namely from Baratza. The "sette" is an excellent and innovative grinder and grinds and insane speeds with very even grind qualities.
 
Sorry for the long-winded post, but I hope that helps. My recommendation for the cheapest entry level machine stands as the Breville Barista Express. It's a beautiful machine to look at and it gets the job done without any added bells and whistles that'll run up price on you. Regardless of what espresso route you choose, I also HIGHLY recommend getting a moka pot because they're amazing in their own right, and produce a very rich, delicious cup of coffee that's a nice change of pace from a typical espresso. Best wishes and enjoy your coffee journey, it's almost as addictive and cumbersome as buying cigars!
 
- Josh

My bad I just read that part .....thank you so much for this info josh !!


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Many people will say the grinder is more important than the espresso machine. Makes sense. 

I kept my Rocky for cold brew/drip/gravity brews. 

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Many people will say the grinder is more important than the espresso machine. Makes sense. 
I kept my Rocky for cold brew/drip/gravity brews. 

I can’t imagine there being that much nuance and technology in a grinder to justify costs of that magnitude ....someone please enlighten me ...


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Once you get a true burr grinder, as opposed to a blade grinder you're doing better than most of the population. Blade grinders are wildly inconsistent with grind size. You can do what I, and another poster, did and get the hand grinder used in the espresso video above for $40. Also the size of the burr, infinite adjustability, and of course motor size makes a difference.

Were talking about commercial quality equipment which is an investment but seriously holds its value. I can sell my mazzer for close to what I paid for it at this point. I got a craigslist deal. 

I would buy a used commercial espresso machine or a Rancilio Silvia, or Gaggia classic over a new Breville. Especially if you're not moronic with a screwdriver/wrench.

Check your local craigslist for grinders, change the burrs and you're done for years.

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On 7/25/2018 at 5:04 PM, Brandon said:

Here’s my usual routine as I’m trying to get the dogs to poop, feed the dogs, get the kids dressed, and load the work van...
 

Do you like it? Any complaints?

I guess I don’t mind spending the money because I pretty much pour coffee into myself all day, but I’m worried I’ll buy yet another gadget that I’ll fail to use.

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On 7/25/2018 at 8:04 PM, Brandon said:

Here’s my usual routine as I’m trying to get the dogs to poop, feed the dogs, get the kids dressed, and load the work van...
 

You're from Brazil?  Sounds like the music my wife listens to...

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I just bought a used mahlkoenig k30 vario. Hopefully my wife doesn't kill me...

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Dragging up an old thread, but I recently upgraded from a 20 year old Starbucks profi to this beast. I'm picking it up this weekend, and can't wait to try it out!a4fd152f14fc41d8cea504db66bc33d8.jpg

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I have a 75 La Pavoni, love it to bits, but you do need a decent grinder to go with it.  I have the Mazzer SJ for what its worth.  Great coffee and a great toy, you do need to practice!

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I have a 75 La Pavoni, love it to bits, but you do need a decent grinder to go with it.  I have the Mazzer SJ for what its worth.  Great coffee and a great toy, you do need to practice!
That rocket machine came with a mazzer mini electronic type a, but I already have a mahlkonig k30 vario. Should be set on grinding for the rest of my life haha

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I use a commercial filter coffee machine at work coupled with a domestic burr grinder and fresh beans.

I have only recently started grinding my own beans but it really does make alp the difference.

Went for a filter coffee machine because we are doing coffee for 6 lads in the morning. To get the creamy frothy milk effect we have our milk in a cold fridge that makes the milk form ice crystals. Just shake the milk and pour.

At home I use a stove top percolator to go with my stove. Do a batch in the morning and leave it on most the day...

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Dragging up an old thread, but I recently upgraded from a 20 year old Starbucks profi to this beast. I'm picking it up this weekend, and can't wait to try it out!a4fd152f14fc41d8cea504db66bc33d8.jpg

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I've always wanted a Rocket espresso machine. They're so damn sexy

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Dragging up an old thread, but I recently upgraded from a 20 year old Starbucks profi to this beast. I'm picking it up this weekend, and can't wait to try it out!a4fd152f14fc41d8cea504db66bc33d8.jpg

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I think I would burn the house down trying to figure it out.

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I think I would burn the house down trying to figure it out.

 

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There's a power button and a lever that activates the brew. Then knobs that turn for steam or hot water. Super simple, more simple than most coffee machines. Getting the most out of it is a different story haha

 

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This has served me for many many years.  The grinder is borderline and I am not proud of the current beans but all-in-all it does pretty well.lapavoni.thumb.png.fa52a8e8f18e42160d2420d06d0d177f.png

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On 7/23/2018 at 1:12 AM, crking3 said:

 

Hey all,

 

Was wondering if you could help me out with the purchase of an espresso maker. Looking for something relatively cost friendly and simple......I don’t care about all the frothers and extra bells and whistles....just a good cup of espresso

 

Thoughts? Thanks !

 

 

I've been into coffee quite seriously since about 2000, when a friend from the old Herfers Paradise BB sent me some home roast - amazing.

I did vacuum brewing for awhile with an electric thing from Starsmucks - made great coffee, when it died I went to press pot (french press), and then a Technivorm moccamaster. My wife however used my $80 espresso machine from amazon until it died. I did a little research and replaced it with a $250 Breville, intending not to use it after all I had the best drip machine made. Well this thing got me hooked on cappuccino and I started looking for a used Rancilio Sylvia. Found one and bought the Rancilio Rocky grinder for a pair. The Sylvia has long been considered one of the best sub $1K machines and you should be able to find one used for around $300. Remember do not cheap out on the grinder it is as important or more so than the espresso machine itself. The downside of the Sylvia is temp control and single boiler.

Today I use a LaSpaziale Lucca espresso machine, Eureka Atom grinder, and a Behmor 1600+ roaster. Pretty spendy with a  combined total well over $3000 USD. I however would say that the best cappuccino in Taichung comes out of my kitchen.

I would check reviews at Seattle Coffee gear, I think they are fairly honest. Chat with the folks at Clive Coffee as well (based in Portland my home town) Cheap espresso machines are generally junk.

The other thing that will make a huge difference is home roasting your own beans, do some searching. Start off with a used air popcorn popper for cheap.

 

Good luck!

1651913936_IMG_20180615_175125(1).thumb.jpg.09af516c0066713561022225ecd5a720.jpg

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On 9/25/2018 at 7:19 PM, Ericbrobes said:

Wife loves her nespresso

I am a fan as well and think they make a good product.  I'm sure there are better systems but you cant beat the simplicity.  

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If you are really dedicated to having very, very good espresso at home then yes you can do it (see above.)  There is a learning curve (not too bad) and you might blow up a machine or two.  Well not really blow up, but they can leak or valves can go out.  For decades I used custom made E61 machines from Salvatore Espresso (Solvang California.)  Those triple shot baskets really taxed the valves and I found I was repairing leaky machines twice a year.  One was hard plumbed in so coming home to the kitchen floor soaking wet was not fun (yes even when shut off the valves can leak.)

I roasted beans.  Heck, I blended beans and then roasted them.

The coffee was great, best I've ever had.  only too me three years and a couple of thousand to get to that point.

On the other hand I use the Nespresso now.  Tap the little capsules on the palm of your hand a few times to "pack" them (sort of like we used to do with Pall Mall reds) and you're good to go.  When the machine starts leaking throw it away and get another $99 one.

It was fun to do it right, but having to get up at 4:30 for a couple of years kind of killed it for me.

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1 minute ago, Jack said:

If you are really dedicated to having very, very good espresso at home then yes you can do it (see above.)  There is a learning curve (not too bad) and you might blow up a machine or two.  Well not really blow up, but they can leak or valves can go out.  For decades I used custom made E61 machines from Salvatore Espresso (Solvang California.)  Those triple shot baskets really taxed the valves and I found I was repairing leaky machines twice a year.  One was hard plumbed in so coming home to the kitchen floor soaking wet was not fun (yes even when shut off the valves can leak.)

I roasted beans.  Heck, I blended beans and then roasted them.

The coffee was great, best I've ever had.  only too me three years and a couple of thousand to get to that point.

On the other hand I use the Nespresso now.  Tap the little capsules on the palm of your hand a few times to "pack" them (sort of like we used to do with Pall Mall reds) and you're good to go.  When the machine starts leaking throw it away and get another $99 one.

It was fun to do it right, but having to get up at 4:30 for a couple of years kind of killed it for me.

Blending before roasting?? Whoa. I taught myself how to roast on an electric 1kg roaster and smaller sample roaster. I have never heard of blending before roasting, as beans are a variety of sizes and each single origin have different roast profiles and characteristics; thus they should be roasted separately, right?

On another note...does anyone have a Slayer?

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30 minutes ago, Derboesekoenig said:

Blending before roasting?? Whoa. I taught myself how to roast on an electric 1kg roaster and smaller sample roaster. I have never heard of blending before roasting, as beans are a variety of sizes and each single origin have different roast profiles and characteristics; thus they should be roasted separately, right?

On another note...does anyone have a Slayer?

Oddly yes!  Tried it both ways after reading an article from the early 2000's.  It was recommended, I believe, for the smoothest flavor, but only for beans of similar sizes, of course.

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Best money I have ever spent... have used this every single day since purchase... 6 years roughly... 3k cappuccinos and counting.... af3828513a4514b53bdef9942e7e6d93.jpg

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