Best grinder and espresso machine for... $400 budget?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by costaricacoffee »

It has been a while since I have been on the forums, but I have done some research and am getting no where fast reading old posts in the FAQs.

I have been roasting my own coffee with a Bullet and love it BUT I am getting tired of only pourover coffee and would like to jump into espresso.

The current grinder I have is awful (Cuisinart) and would like something better. It would be great if the grinder could do both pour-over grind and espresso, but I am mainly focused on espresso. I would be lucky to pull 8 shots in a week for myself so neither need to be a workhorse.

I have $400, which I realize is not a lot but figured I could start with that...suggestions for both a single shot machine and a grinder would be much appreciated.


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#2: Post by GregoryJ »

You should be able to hit your budget with a Flair and a 1ZPresso JX Pro. If you're opposed to manually pulling or grinding, you'll be hard-pressed to do better than a moka pot.

Side note: A good grinder and a moka pot will make a nice, heavy cup of coffee. Pretty low budget and very different from pour over.


#3: Post by palica »

+1 on a Flair or Rok and a manual grinder (1Zpresso or Kingrinder) . You will sacrify nothing to quality of the shot. It will just take a bit more time.
And if one day, you decide to upgrade, you will keep your manual grinder for test or decaf or different beans.
I have a J-Max and a Mignon Specialita and I use the J-Max as much as my Mignon. The Mignon remains full of my everyday beans and my J-Max is for tests, new beans, decaf etc... Good luck with your search!

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#4: Post by Jeff »

I've seen a couple 1Zpresso JX-Pro hand grinders sell for around US$100-120. I believe they're $160 + tax new. I find it to be suitable for espresso and reasonably easy to dial in. Many less expensive hand grinders can be between frustrating and nearly impossible for espresso. (I have no personal experience with the Kingrinders, as they came after I bought my 1Zpresso.)

If you can stretch your budget, I think a Robot (which I have personal experience with) or perhaps a Flair 58 (which I haven't used) may be a significant step up in ease of use and maybe less tweakiness compared to the earlier Flair and Rok models. The Robot and Flair 58 are occasionally available on the used market as well. New, there are several purchase options, including a couple of Canadian vendors that have the Robot model without the pressure gauge at around US$350 with the current exchange rate.


#5: Post by bgnome »

costaricacoffee wrote: I have $400, which I realize is not a lot but figured I could start with that...suggestions for both a single shot machine and a grinder would be much appreciated.

Another reasonable option to consider would be the Sage / Breville Barista Express. Surely not anyone's top pick, but can usually be found in your budget range and gets you to good espresso without a lot of fuss.

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#6: Post by JmanEspresso »

Ive been using the Flair Classic for the last few months while I ponder an upgrade. My listed equipment is back in NY.

Defintely a solid choice. If I was buying one right now, Id want the 58 to be honest, but in the model lineup of the regular flair models, the Pro 2 is the way to go. Bigger grouphead, and you get the pressure kit too. But even on my barebones, smaller grouphead design signature, the espresso is honestly impressive.

And im not even using a "great" grinder.. Im using a Virtuoso Preciso! The grouphead design lends to some forgiveness of not needing the finest in espresso grinders.

You could do the Flair Classic and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, and be in under your 400 dollar budget. Little bit left over to buy a tamper. Personally, I dont get along with the hand grinder scene. I DID start out that way, my first espresso capable grinder was an orphanespresso refurbished model(back when they did that), a PeDe(Peter Deines) model. A little wooden box grinder. And it got me going in the world of espresso. And I still have it today... on a shelf.. and i look at it.. and am thankful I never have to use it anymore lol. Theres nothing wrong with hand grinders, theres plenty that are awesome, capable pieces of equipment, its just not my style.

And if you want to do lattes or cappucinos, you can get a little stovetop steamer, or even fudge it with a microwave and a little hand whipper.


#7: Post by Oskuk »

Bankrupt coffee-houses are the place for good machines cheapo.


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#8: Post by HB »

costaricacoffee wrote:...I have done some research and am getting no where fast reading old posts in the FAQs.
Like this one? It includes a very helpful recommendation:
HB wrote:For other recommendations, search on title-only "budget espresso machine" or "budget espresso" or "budget grinder" to find discussions at various pricepoints. And of course there's the reviews and review research, which cover a fairly wide range of equipment and prices.
The above search led to this thread, posted 4 days ago, asking essentially the same question:
Espresso machine/grinder on econo budget.
Dan Kehn

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#9: Post by thesharpener »

Like others have said, a 1Zpresso hand grinder (I have a JE Plus), and a manual machine like Robot or Flair is a great starting place.
Pete - LMWDP #572

costaricacoffee (original poster)

#10: Post by costaricacoffee (original poster) »

Sounds like a hand-grinder and lever machine are the way to go at this price point.

Just our of curiosity what is the "next level up" both in price point and in terms of grinder/machine?