Analysis paralysis: choosing my home espresso machine & grinder - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
dubchobbs (original poster)
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#11: Post by dubchobbs (original poster) »

Thank you (and so many others) for the great advice. I decided to purchase a Flair58 (used, from BruceWayne) and will be getting a nice grinder after some practice with my JXpresso Pro. This seemed like the most prudent way to proceed, while figuring out my preferences.

I like light roasts for pour over. For espresso, I have a preconceived notion for how espresso should taste (full bodied, rich, slightly sweet) based on my earliest happy experiences with shots pulled on trips to Italy. However, I've yet to explore how a really good pull on a light or medium roast can taste. I only recently discovered how to make truly good pour over with some complexity of flavor, thanks to bean recommendations by a local roaster (Cole Coffee.)

So, instead of spending several thousand $ to figure out what I do/don't like, I'll plan to experiment with this manual setup. Perhaps I'll step into a "less expensive" electric grinder like the Niche for workflow purposes as an on-ramp to the super expensive grinders as my palate develops. Kind of like how I refined my palate for wine many years ago...

Btw, I found a picture of the first kind of espresso machine I had back in the mid-1990s (when I also had a *cringe* blade grinder and thought I was so sophisticated): ... ah_1427235

Interestingly, I just realized why I have been reluctant to consider the Decent; it reminds me of this Krups machine.

Anyway, the Flair58 is my first real espresso machine since then (not counting several Nespresso machines I've owned over the years.)


#12: Post by Mountain »

Randy G. wrote:.. or a fantasy :lol:

I feel you need to take a step back. You seem all over the place from a Robot to an GS3 MP to a Jura (a Jura!?!).
Check my website's blog chapters 159, 160, 161, 166, 167, and 168.
I ended up with a machine that I can incrementally adjust to my coffee and my taste, and do so in increments and repeatability that is unmatched in the industry. If there is another machine that comes close I did not find it in my exhaustive search. And I have a great grinder. All that is documented in those chapters. I won't belabor the entire thing again here. Retelling the story is even starting to bore me. :wink: But search my user name for my previous posts on the subject.
Hey Randy G - cool website. I skimmed around quickly and see lots of great info.

@dubchobbs - sorry I cannot help you. Anyone who chooses Form over Function when it comes to espresso (your various vetoes in your writeup because you don't like the aesthetics) is beyond my comprehension. I wish you good luck but cannot understand why anyone would compromise performance and functionality for aesthetics. Probably the engineer in me - I'm always Function over Form. If all things equal then OK, pick the pretty one. At least you know what is important to you and if something is an eyesore in your mind and you cannot get beyond that, then no matter how good the espresso tastes it isn't going to matter (I guess). Good luck finding the compromise solution that will make you happy.


#13: Post by LindoPhotography »

Atom 75 is a good grinder and may have a similar profile to the JX-Pro grinder with a little more clarity and less body most likely (being a flat burr).
But it's not the lowest retention and not the best for single dosing if you're doing just a few drinks a day then I think the Lagom P64 might be a better option, especially if you're into lighter roasts for light roasts the SSP burrs are great. Otherwise for darker roasts the Stock burrs should be good and the Atom would also be good. With the JX-Pro and the Lagom P64 with SSP burrs I think that's a good combo and basically covers all your bases whether you like light or dark roasts.

Niche Zero is very nice grinder to use workflow wise, and if you like high body really nice rich espresso it's the best choice, but probably similar taste quality to the JX pro. Like Eureka grinders It also works well for medium or darker roasts, but won't really bring out the flavour clarity a Lagom P64 or even a DF64 burr set does for light roasts.

dubchobbs (original poster)
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#14: Post by dubchobbs (original poster) »

I am now several days into using the Flair58 and JX Pro with a range of beans, including some light/medium coffees that I enjoyed as pour overs. Enjoying the craft, learning to make a good puck and realizing that I do like the lighter roasts for espresso, when done well (which is to say that it's a new-ish experience for me.)

I've ordered a Lagom P64 with unimodal burrs (what was available via Prima Coffee.) Will eventually spring for the SSPs. Looking forward to how that helps the workflow and outcomes.

Definitely wanting a semi-auto but I'll wait until I feel a reasonable sense of mastery around the basics of consistently prepping and pulling a shot with the beans I prefer.

dubchobbs (original poster)
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#15: Post by dubchobbs (original poster) »

Another update, and continued gratitude for every one of you who patiently offered advice. I've spent a few months and a fair bit of $ with a Flair58, two grinders (P64 and NZ), and BAGS of beans from AndytownSF, Manhattan Roasters, SaintFrank Coffee, Klatch, Fritz (Korean roaster via Ain't Normal in Oakland), Brandywine, Little Wolf, and a few others.

I've learned that I really like the light and med roast stuff, both for filter and espresso. Have started to make consistently reasonable pucks that translate into good pulls. Am glad I started with the manual lever and bought good grinders, instead of spending a ton on a machine without some fundamentals.

Now, having researched a bunch more and "discovering" the wisdom that others shared (thx especially to those encouraging a gradual approach), I decided to buy a Decent (h/t Randy G for your detailed blog on the experience, which kept echoing in my mind as I explored various options.) Excited for it to arrive.


#16: Post by zefkir »

Enjoy your automation. :D