Hello everyone! Upgrade espresso machine and grinder -- or only grinder?

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

#1: Post by japester79 »

Hi all,
New member here!
Looking for a bit of advice please.
I'm currently using a sage barista express machine and am looking for an upgrade.
Like the idea of an e61 machine (I think they look the business as much as anything :D ) but obs I'll need a grinder too.
So here's the thing, do I just get a decent grinder now, see how that impacts the brew quality on the sage, or bust the bank and upgrade both elements?
Any recommendations on either? I'd like to keep total spend under 2k (gbp) if possible.
Space for the machine is approx 400mm(W), 500mm(d), 400mm(h).

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#2: Post by ira »

I'd suggest start with the grinder. The difference between the built in grinder on my neighbors Breville and my Monolith were night and day. You'll need the grinder anyway and it will give you more time to think about espresso machines. You also might find that the Barista Express with a good grinder will hold you till it dies. Not that you need a Monolith, but it's what we had to test with. It proved the point that the Breville could make a good espresso, essentially as good as my E-61. More limited, but not worse.


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#3: Post by Nunas »

Unless you're keen to make coffee a hobby, I'd go with only the grinder first. I think you'll be amazed at the difference it will make. The grinder in the Barista Express is not that good (I've had three of them :oops: ). If you get a new grinder, be sure to use the standard baskets, not the pressurized ones in your Sage; as I recall, the BE comes with both. On the other hand, if you want to experiment with your espresso and hone your skills, and assuming you like the Breville/Sage products, you might consider getting their Double Boiler. Of all their espresso machines, it's clearly the best. It has a large following here on H-B. I know it isn't as classic looking as an e61 DB, but you can do everything you need to with it, providing you make a simple (reversible) modification to control the flow (search here on H-B). If you're really stuck on e61 machines, then be prepared to blow your budget because a good one with an appropriate grinder will set you back a bundle.

japester79 (original poster)

#4: Post by japester79 (original poster) »

Always use the standard baskets, never bothered with the pressurised ones.
It's oddly reassuring to hear the grinder change will make a discernible difference as it will obs justify the spend there.

Other than the monolith are there any other grinders to look out for and any good resources I could pick up a good used/refurb?

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#5: Post by Nunas »

Monolith! I thought your budget was 2k GBP. I was thinking about something less than half as expensive, maybe a Eureka Specialita or something in that ballpark. Don't get me wrong, the Monolith is a fantastic grinder, but, really, do you want to spend that much money on a grinder to match a Breville/Sage espresso machine, be it the BE or the DB? Even if you go the whole hog for an ECM Synchronika e61 DB, which alone is way over your stated budget, the Monolith is a heck of a lot of grinder. Or are you joking, and I've taken the bait :lol: ?


#6: Post by SandraF »

I know many folks lust after the more "boutique" grinders. They all seem to be really great as well as beautiful. However they are not readily available.

I've been touting the grinder I bought, the Eureka Atom 75. It's made by a company who has been manufacturing grinders for over 100 years. It's been around awhile, so doesn't get much said about it, but it is a very good grinder. Quiet and FAST (3.25 seconds for 18g), very user friendly and comes in 4 colors.

I have not used other grinders so I have nothing to compare it to, but it's very nice.

Best of luck in your search.


#7: Post by slaughter »

Was in the same situation as you are. I had the barista express and wanted something better. My wife didn't agree that we needed an upgrade so I went for a grinder first. Bought a eurika specialita and was a huge upgrade. Coffee was much better but again not ideal. A few months later I pulled the plug and bought a Lelit Bianca to match my grinder :D

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#8: Post by ScottinTexas »

Eureka Atom or Niche Zero, big price difference with different features for your needs. As to espresso machine, anything >$2000 is generally built like a tank. You just must decide on your budget, style, size, etc. i've had every iteration of the La Spaziale Vivaldi and Dream over the last 20 years and have loved them all, built like a tank, reliable, consistent, programmable, very nice esp. for the money.

japester79 (original poster)

#9: Post by japester79 (original poster) »

No baiting intended. Didn't check pricing till after I replied to the previous poster! Hahah.

japester79 (original poster)

#10: Post by japester79 (original poster) »

Think niche zero is going to be the winner...