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Looking to buy high end espresso machine - Need advice

Postby pipijo on Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:50 pm

Hi.

I am an avid espresso drinker but an amateur barista.

I travel to Italy often and I love the really hot, creamy, dense single shots you get there.
Have been unable to replicate that quality at home. (have resorted to nespresso)
I drink my espresso straight with no milk or sugar.

Can you please suggest an espresso machine for home?
I am willing to make the investment for a great machine.

Thanks
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Postby howard seth on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:14 pm

A hot creamy topic: but you might want to indicate what you mean by investment: How much $$$$$? for machine (+$$$ for grinder?)... and do you ever do steam/foam milk drinks as well?

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Postby pipijo on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:21 pm

No, never steam/foam milk.
willing to spend total of 4k.
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Postby cai42 on Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:16 pm

Greetings,

Nespresso produces a better cup compared to the grinder and espresso maker you own?

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Postby bgn on Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:19 pm

Wow! 4K. Nice. It's mostly opinion from here! I'd spend about one third of that price on a grinder, like a mazzer major or maybe a Mahlkonig K30 Vario. Then I'd probably plop down for the Cimbali Junior that Chris' Coffee just brought in with a few custom mods. But that's just me. Tip: don't look at the pictures of levers on this site. Lever lust complicates everything! Love my Cimbali m20 lever.
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Postby jfrescki on Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:55 am

For $4k, you'll be able to get a fantastic grinder & machine. It will simply come down to personal preference for different features. You really should do at least two things, 1) familiarize yourself with the types of machineshere and here and here. 2)Start reading reviews on this site.

Depending on your needs/desires and the fact that you only make espresso, it may be as simple as a Quick Mill Alexia with PID control which is arguably regarded as one of the best espresso only machines. And a great grinder like a Mazzer Super Jolly. But no matter what you do grinder first, grinder first, grinder first! Don't skimp there.

Edit: But if you're ever going to steam, even for guests then look to an HX or DB over a single boiler like Alexia.
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Postby Bluecold on Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:11 am

bgn wrote: But that's just me. Tip: don't look at the pictures of levers on this site. Lever lust complicates everything! Love my Cimbali m20 lever.

orphanespresso has some restored levers.

On the other hand, if you don't steam milk, I'd spring for a gravity fed lever and a titan conical. You'd spend a lot less than your budget. Which means you have some money leftover for other fun stuff.

I've got an old gravity fed lever and a titan conical and the only thing that would definitely make me happier is a low-retention electronically timed titan conical (i.e. Elektra Nino). Maybe a large commercial lever but I'm a bit wary of learning temperature behavior by feel now that I've been spoiled by a PID.
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Postby Louis on Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:26 am

bgn wrote:I'd spend about one third of that price on a grinder, like a mazzer major or maybe a Mahlkonig K30 Vario.


Note: The Mahlkonig K30 Vario is currently available for only $1,495 at Chris Coffee Service (http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/grinders/mahlkonigvario). This is substancially lower than other vendors currently.
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Postby newmanium on Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:32 am

I'd push to get an Arrarex Caravel and a good grinder. I started with Nespresso just like you, only straight espresso, and the Caravel is a perfect upgrade. Will make spectacular espresso, and I am in love with the machine - very good for a beginner because it gives you so much control over the shot.

And you'll save most of your money - chances are you will develop a very particular opinion on what you want in the future, it helps to not make a huge, blind investment up front that leaves you stuck (in my case, friends also got into my espresso habit, but they wanted milk - now I have a GS/3, with the Caravel still sitting nearby).
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Postby yakster on Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:06 pm

Bluecold wrote:orphanespresso has some restored levers.


I know, I look with lust in my eyes, but so far have managed to restrain myself.

Bluecold wrote:On the other hand, if you don't steam milk, I'd spring for a gravity fed lever and a titan conical. You'd spend a lot less than your budget. Which means you have some money leftover for other fun stuff.


This is a good point. You'll probably want to get some nice accessories (tamper, knockbox, etc.) and you'll also soon learn that you need to feed your machine a steady diet of freshly roasted coffee from a good coffee roaster so you can apply the money you save on the machine to quality coffee. There's little point to spending a lot of money on the best equipment and then being frugal with the coffee budget.
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