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Looking for inexpensive, easy to use espresso machine

Postby new2espressosc on Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:53 am

Good Morning,
I've been considering the Delonghi Model DCM1385GY, but have been unable to find any reviews on this machine.

If anyone can provide me with your experience or opinions, I would appreciate it.

Suggestions on other machines would be appreciated also. I only have a couple of "criteria" for what I am looking for. Non-"Automatic", I don't really need or want the machine to grind the beans, and pump out my coffee at the touch of a button! It's one of the things I like about my morning! Making my coffee! Also, I would like a machine that has a brass or stainless (or perhaps I should say, non-aluminum) boiler.

Thanks!
Debbie
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Postby brokemusician77 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:47 am

Good morning Debbie.

I think I speak for everyone here when I say DeLonghi machines are not recommended. For the same price, you should be able to pick up a Gaggia Pure. Far better choice. I think the boiler on that model is stainless steel.

What's your overall budget, and how much have you allocated to spend on a grinder?
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Postby AUSTINrob on Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:53 am

I researched my purchase for WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too long and I believe that I came up with the cheapest machine/grinder combo that would yield me top quality shots - consistently...wish I had more $$ for a double boiler, but again if I didn't keep it on the cheap, it was never going to get approved by the wife!

-Quickmill Alexia (with PID) (see chris coffee website)
-MACAP M4 stepless dosered grinder
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Postby brokemusician77 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:10 am

That is a great setup. Far better than mine, but I'm going to guess it's WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY beyond the OP's budget. Not to fear. You can make great espresso with a lesser setup. Although it will take more work, and has a bit of a steeper learning curve.
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Postby zin1953 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:23 am

Debbie, I'm not trying to pile on, but pass on -- indeed, run away from -- the DeLonghi!

In order to give you the best possible suggestions, we would need to know some more information from you, such as:
  • What is your overall budget, including the grinder*?
  • What type of espresso drinks to you enjoy, and what do you drink most -- straight espresso, cappuccino, lattè, etc.?
  • How often do you/will you make these drinks a day? A week?
This will give us a better idea of what will best suit your needs.

Cheers,
Jason

* It may sound counter-intuitive, but the grinder is actually more important than the espresso machine. Honest.
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Postby new2espressosc on Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:28 am

brokemusician77 wrote:Good morning Debbie.

I think I speak for everyone here when I say DeLonghi machines are not recommended. For the same price, you should be able to pick up a Gaggia Pure. Far better choice. I think the boiler on that model is stainless steel.

What's your overall budget, and how much have you allocated to spend on a grinder?


Hi brokemusician77...
Interesting about the Delonghi....

I'd like to keep it at less than 500.00. I know that's not much. But, I'm just a newbie and I don't have a huge amount of money to spend right now. My other machine is giving up the ghost and I don't want to buy another of that brand. And truth be told, I might not, even given two side by side, be able to tell the diff between what an "expert" would consider a GREAT espresso and a good espresso!

My brother has a "older" burr grinder that he is going to ship me... What would I anticipate paying for a good grinder?

Thank you for your help!
D
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Postby Bluecold on Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:05 pm

If you buy an old gravity fed lever machine from ebay you just might be able to squeeze in a Baratza Vario under $500. Then you've got a really easy to use setup. No milk foaming though.
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Postby brokemusician77 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:12 pm

What the!? Is everyone on crack this morning? What part of a newbie who's, "Looking for inexpensive, easy to use espresso machine" suggests a Quickmill with an M4, or an old lever machine with a Vario?

Although these would be excellent choices down the line, I'd hardly recommend either of them as a starting point.

$500 should get you a great entry-level setup, if you spend that $500 right. At this price point, you should spend at least as much on the grinder as you do on the machine. It would be better to spend $300 on the grinder and $200 on the machine than the other way around. Get the best grinder you can for between $200-$300 and then choose the machine based on whatever you have left over.

I have a Baratza Virtuoso for a grinder, which is the bare minimum. They run $200 You can make it work, but it takes a lot of tweaking, and even still you'll get mediocre shots at best. If all you drink is milk drinks, it'll do. I love straight espresso, but I can barely drink the stuff I make with this grinder and am ready to upgrade after only 6 months.

Grinders you should look at are, Nemox Lux, Gaggia MDF, Ascaso i1 or i2, Rancilio Rocky, Le Lit PL53. These are the usual suspects in this price range.

What kind of burr grinder does your brother have? Do you know the make and model?
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Postby Bluecold on Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:26 pm

brokemusician77 wrote:What the!? Is everyone on crack this morning? What part of a newbie who's, "Looking for inexpensive, easy to use espresso machine" suggests a Quickmill with an M4, or an old lever machine with a Vario?

I, as a newbie, bought as my first machine a La Peppina. I love it to bits. It is easy to use and inexpensive. I am not on crack. If i had money for crack i'd buy an Elektra Nino first.
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Postby timo888 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:57 pm

Can someone in the S.C. area direct the OP to a place where she can get a good espresso? She's saying she probably couldn't taste the difference between mediocre espresso and good espresso, and that's probably because she hasn't had the good stuff.

If I weren't high on crack, I'd tell Debbie to stick with a French Press and good mail-order coffee until she can afford to spend at least $800 for machine + grinder. Why settle for mediocre espresso when you can buy a French Press for $12?

Though there is always the Peppina + hand-grinder option. Excellent espresso, but Debbie might not have a GFCI outlet to protect herself from electrocution.
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