Entry-level espresso machine for college student?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.

Postby jyl » Jan 09, 2019, 6:22 pm

I am thinking about getting an espresso machine for my daughter. She is in college and lives in a small apartment w/ a tiny kitchen. Not looking to spend much, just give her an alternative to spending $ at Sbucks and maybe get her interested enough to go further. So . . . what do you think about the Estro/Starbucks "Barista" machines as an entry, entry level machine? They are pretty cheap on Craigslist etc.
John, Portland OR
Vintage bicycles, Porsche/VW, cooking, old houses.


Postby baristainzmking » Jan 09, 2019, 6:56 pm

Breville Bambino Plus may be worth looking at. It's super space friendly and frothers its own milk and uses the pressurized portafilter. The nice thing is that it also fits the portafilter from the Breville Infuser, so she can use the infuser non-pressurized baskets and the portafilter too.

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/brevi ... so-machine


Postby jyl » Jan 10, 2019, 8:13 am

Thanks. I will add that model of machine to my search. (This is something I will have to buy used when a good deal presents itself.)
John, Portland OR
Vintage bicycles, Porsche/VW, cooking, old houses.

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Postby Jake_G » replying to jyl » Jan 10, 2019, 8:54 am


Grab that Francis!Francis! X5 on craigslist. It's a great machine under the hood and your daughter might appreciate its funky looks. They have a decent sized brass boiler with a 57mm portafilter and a proportional temperature controller instead of snap thermostats, so there's no need to temperature surf to get consistent brew temps. I had a few over the years and they pull a great shot when paired with a decent grinder.


- Jake

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Postby rimblas » Jan 10, 2019, 8:22 pm

A Cafelat Robot? But then you probably also need a way to steam milk. Hmmm


Postby bedejay » replying to rimblas » Jan 11, 2019, 1:06 am

Graduated college 2 years ago and slowly got into coffee from drinking double shots from Starbucks almost daily when grinding school and work.

I started my journey into espresso with the Robot around Christmas of last year and it is definitely not a hard device to use. Does take some getting used to, but once you have the grind right it produces great shots! I don't have a Bellman steamer, but I do enjoy lattes using microwaved milk (for 45 seconds) and using a frothing wand for a minute. Not the same, but close enough for me! Hardly takes any room either.

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Postby slipchuck » Jan 11, 2019, 9:32 am

Will she have a grinder?
I think that,,Breville infuser or duo temp pro are good starting machines if she has a grinder

“There is nobody you can’t learn to like once you’ve heard their story.”

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Postby Jake_G » Jan 11, 2019, 9:54 am

jyl wrote:So . . . what do you think about the Estro/Starbucks "Barista" machines as an entry, entry level machine? They are pretty cheap on Craigslist etc.

That X5 is down to $30. As far as good deals go, that's pretty great. I've had two, and they are way better that *$ machines and the investment is essentially nil. As I mentioned earlier, they have an adjustable proportional temperature controller on them with a snap thermostat for steaming. Once they're up temp you're good to go for temp stability. The only downside is no 3-way, so you're best to knock the puck after steaming to avoid the dreaded PF sneeze. I used one for years with a shimmed Krups burr grinder and it made great milk drinks.


- Jake

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Postby redbone » Jan 11, 2019, 10:22 am

This depends on the coffee she drinks or wants to make and comfort of making espresso based drinks. Espresso aficionado would be the hardest to satisfy with a entry level machine as all other espresso based drinks allow for more leeway in hardware.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.

LMWDP #549


Postby goalerjones » Jan 13, 2019, 4:27 am

at this stage, and with those space requirements, I'd say a Nespresso wouldn't be a bad option.