Best espresso setup for a beginner

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
Jeff_S

#1: Post by Jeff_S » Jan 12, 2020, 2:26 pm

I'm pretty new to coffee and am trying to figure out the best setup for a beginner. I started with a Keurig I received as a gift about six months ago and hated it. I quickly moved on to a moka pot and was satisfied with it until I started comparing it to actual espresso. Now I've been looking for an espresso setup. Incidentally, my sister just gave me a nespresso maker which I don't dislike, but will probably end up taking it into my office when I get something better. Its expensive for coffee that isn't real fresh.

I'm going back and forth between getting a La Pavoni (either new or used) or getting a Flair. I know neither setup is the most user friendly for a beginner, but I'm the type of person that drives stick because automatic isn't really driving. The biggest drawbacks I see on the Flair is that it won't make a double shot, and I still have to use the Nespresso milk frother. I'm okay with heating my water separately.

Is there any downside to getting a used La Pavoni? I've seen some as low as $350 on eBay. And they look awesome. I could also get one new, but that's getting up there in price as I need to get a better grinder to go with it. Do the used ones tend to work alright or will I spend the difference refurbishing it? Any advice is welcome.

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sweaner
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#2: Post by sweaner » Jan 12, 2020, 3:30 pm

Budget for both grinder and machine?
Scott
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baristainzmking
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#3: Post by baristainzmking » replying to sweaner » Jan 12, 2020, 4:50 pm

+1

I would go with Cafelat Robot instead of flair. It is very forgiving and easy to pull double shots with.

https://www.cafelatstore.com/collection ... esso-maker

If you don't mind hand grinding it, a Kinu M47 Phoenix is a good option.

https://prima-coffee.com/equipment/kinu ... ix-kinu-sp
Julia

Jeff_S

#4: Post by Jeff_S » Jan 12, 2020, 8:17 pm

sweaner wrote:Budget for both grinder and machine?
If I had answered this afternoon, you would have received a lower number. I just got back from the Nespresso store and ran some numbers. If I drink only Nestle pods and drink 3 - 4 shots per day, it comes out to about $1000 per year.

If I buy locally roasted, single origin specialty coffee and use 1 lb per month +/-, it comes out to about $200. That's $800 per year I'm paying just for the convenience of Nespresso. Those little Nespresso machines aren't so cheap when you think about it. So...if I take that $800 and put it into an espresso machine, and take the Nespresso into work (where it will actually save me money over buying at the cafeteria), I think that works out.

So for budget, obviously lower is better, but $800 - $1000.

Jeff_S

#5: Post by Jeff_S » Jan 12, 2020, 8:33 pm

baristainzmking wrote:+1

I would go with Cafelat Robot instead of flair. It is very forgiving and easy to pull double shots with.

https://www.cafelatstore.com/collection ... esso-maker
The only reason I wasn't looking at the Cafelet is that the arm span wasn't going to fit where I want to put it. However, I think I can work around that. Is that going to be much easier than a boiler machine?
If you don't mind hand grinding it, a Kinu M47 Phoenix is a good option.

https://prima-coffee.com/equipment/kinu ... ix-kinu-sp
Electric is easier, but my neighbors would probably prefer I get a hand grinder. I'm currenly using a very noisy, very messy Mr. Coffee grinder. The M47 is out of stock. Do you have any other suggestions?

Jeff_S

#6: Post by Jeff_S » Jan 12, 2020, 8:44 pm

$370 for the Cafelet Robot Barista, plus a couple hundred on a grinder will still be a couple hundred under budget. Unless someone can tell me a downside to the Robot, I might do this.

If I get the Cafelet without the gauge, will it be more difficult to make a good cup of espresso?

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sosha
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#7: Post by sosha » Jan 12, 2020, 9:02 pm

The gauge on the Robot is a great way to learn. It will help you get your grinder dialed in. And, you will see/feel the difference in pressure applied in the cup. I think Julia's suggestion is spot on: a Barista Robot with the professional basket, alongside a Kinu Phoenix will give you the best shot.
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Jeff_S

#8: Post by Jeff_S » Jan 12, 2020, 9:49 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I'll go with the Barista pro version. How is the Orphan Espresso LIDO 3 grinder (https://prima-coffee.com/equipment/orph ... sso/lido-3)? The phoenix and the other grinders I was looking at are all out of stock.

Edit: I'm going to go with the LIDO E, as its made for espresso and is in stock.

baristainzmking
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#9: Post by baristainzmking » replying to Jeff_S » Jan 12, 2020, 10:59 pm

I tired Lido and didn't like the grinds adjustment. You can order Kinu grinder directly from their website. They ship from Florida, I think.

https://www.kinugrinders.com/index.php? ... gauge=none
Julia

Jasper_8137

#10: Post by Jasper_8137 » Jan 12, 2020, 11:08 pm

If you are planning on steaming milk, I'd go with a used Olympia Cremina and a Kinu Phoenix grinder. I know this will be over your budget, but you will get great shots and easily be able to froth milk. If you're not interested in milk based drinks and don't mind an extra step, then I'd go with the robot as Julia suggests.

Regarding grinders - I have a lido and Kinu m47. I use the lido for French Press when camping and my Kinu with a Flair. Although the lido works for espresso, I much prefer the Kinu's grind adjustment.