Buying my first machine + grinder, $500-1,000 budget, recommendations?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
JustGettingStarted

Postby JustGettingStarted » Oct 13, 2016, 3:23 pm

I'm a steamed (almond) milk drink kinda guy :0) ... It's actually an insanely expensive habit, and I'm convinced I can do it better and cheaper at home. For example, I pay anywhere between $5-7 for that drink, so I figure within a year doing it on my own, the equipment would probably pay for itself in a year.

I would also like to learn more about the finer points of coffee, and espresso tasting, and because of this I want equipment that puts me on the commercial quality path. I don't just want a set up that makes "nice frothy drinks," I want to know how to do it "right" (whatever that means :D).

My go to is 4 shots, 20 oz., almond milk mocha, so I want to make the best version of this I can at home. Pulling best/high quality shots for a home set up that I can, and getting good microfoam (I need to be able to make good caps, and pour latte art).

After reading, I understand that the grinder is the most important piece.

I have been looking at rancilio silvia (a machine that I can mod is also extremely appealing, I think I could install a pid on this model), and Baratza Sette 270(w) Series.

All this being said, I would love some help and advice, what do you all think about these choices? Any and all advice is welcome.

PS. I was a Barista for a couple years, and got some decent training.