Is it necessary to buy an "expensive" espresso machine & grinder?

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

#1: Post by rbnkrst »

Hi guys , so in this mean-time i want to buy a new espresso machine for only home use and little bit confuse.

Now I use an espresso machine : krups xp620 and grinder : krups gvx20 for years and want to upgrade to a new line-up.

My pick is rocket appartmento espresso machine with the rocket fausto grinder.

Is it necessary to buy rocket appartmento + fausto for only home use ? Mostly use the machine only for 1-2 cappuccino in the morning and 1-2 cappuccino in the evening

Or maybe just invest on the cheaper espresso machine like rancilio silvia ? Grinder like eureka mignon ? Etc? Do you guys have any suggestion or just stick with my pick? Thankyou so much guys for your help !

liquidmetal

#2: Post by liquidmetal »

All on you man.

You'll get much better espresso, that's for sure.

Why dont you do a cost comparison of your current rate of going out for coffee vs the upgrade?

Over a certain amount of time the upgrade is bound to be cheaper. But it's going to be an luxury upgrade, not something you need.

Just my opinion, I'm sure someone here can provide a great reason why you need a slayer ;)

smite

#3: Post by smite »

I agree with the previous response. It really comes down to what you want. Think of it like buying a car. Do you just want something that will just get from point a to point b or do you have a preference for driving in luxury or really fast like in a sports car... Its really a matter of personal preference. Also the lifespan of a good quality prosumer machine is pretty good and will definitely give you more consistently good espresso for your money.

Check this out this series of helpful videos which should help you think through this decision:

Espresso 101: Newbie Introduction to Espresso [videos]

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felyko

#4: Post by felyko »

rbnkrst wrote:Hi guys , so in this mean-time i want to buy a new espresso machine for only home use and little bit confuse.

Now I use an espresso machine : krups xp620 and grinder : krups gvx20 for years and want to upgrade to a new line-up.

My pick is rocket appartmento espresso machine with the rocket fausto grinder.

Is it necessary to buy rocket appartmento + fausto for only home use ? Mostly use the machine only for 1-2 cappuccino in the morning and 1-2 cappuccino in the evening

Or maybe just invest on the cheaper espresso machine like rancilio silvia ? Grinder like eureka mignon ? Etc? Do you guys have any suggestion or just stick with my pick? Thankyou so much guys for your help !
My experience with the Silvia is that you can get really nice espresso if you install a PID but being a single boiler, you'll need to wait for the boiler to heat up when you want to make a cappuccino. Is it worth the price, I think so. Can you try out the Silvia and the Appartamento in person and pull a couple of cappuccinos?
The rocket appartamento is going to be much better than what you have now.

I think you may be able get by with just a Baratza grinder if you want to save money. For the about same price as the Fausto, you have the Eureka Zenith, ECM V-Titan, Profitec T-64, Mazzer Mini-E.

Lately, I've been trying to minimize the upgrade cycles and if knew what I wanted 10 years ago, I would have gone straight for a DB. That means, if you really want the Appartamento and can afford it go for it. Buying the Silvia and then upgrading to an HX/DB is what always bothered me.

maki

#5: Post by maki »

well, i started with
a beans-to-coffee Krups,
then Gaggia Classic,
then Rancilio Silvia (with PID, then meCoffee controller),
then La Scala Buttefly HX,
and now La Marzocco Linea.

was it worth it?
definitely yes.

do i feel a difference in the cup?
mm. the most was from the Krups to the Gaggia. then, i guess it was more subjective.
now, i am thinking what can i tune in more in the La Marzocco, because something is missing...

if i were you: yes, get the HX and a nice grinder. and stay there))
LMWDP #630

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bluesman

#6: Post by bluesman » replying to maki »

What's funny is that all of us say exactly that, but only after following the same path we now recommend that others avoid :lol:

As I've said many times before, we're paying for the education and experience we get when we acquire and learn new things. Seen in that light, it's worth every penny - playing with & talking about the equipment and drinking the coffee it makes are secondary benefits. Being comfortable & happy with an old, unsophisticated HX and a grinder that few HBers ever even consider was only possible for me after decades of experimentation. My wife could probably have proposed "better" use for much of the money I've spent on this and other forms of sensory pleasure. Fortunately, she hasn't gone without and I've been such a happy & pleasant husband that she must figure it was worth letting me "get it out of my system" :P

I also still listen to music played on the '68 Thorens turntable and '75 LS3/5a speakers I bought new when they first came out. Rather than rebuild my Mac MC275 (salvaged from an audiology booth at our hospital when they went solid state in about 1980), I sold it and bought a Prima Luna tube amp "just because". I really didn't "need" any of the upgrades I sold myself in the last 50 years, as my sound today is little if any better than it was with the Thorens, Rogers, and any of the 35 or so amps / speakers / sources I went through. And I don't think that my espresso would please me more today if it came from a Synesso, either.

So "if i were you: yes, get the HX and a nice grinder. and stay there", but only if you're able to be happy with what you have and not chase the emperor's new improvement. If you're the kind of person who has to learn for himself / herself, go for it if you can afford it and if doing so won't cause you any personal stress. Consider each new acquisition an adventure and a learning experience. And someday you, too, will advise the next generation of HBers to "get the HX and a nice grinder and stay there".

PS: No one "needs" an expensive espresso machine & grinder. That's not why we buy them!

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Peppersass
Supporter ❤

#7: Post by Peppersass »

In most cases, a very skilled barista can get a good cup from a Silvia or other low-end espresso machines. It's a matter of learning to compensate for the machine's shortcomings. But even highly skilled baristas can't get a good cup from a sub-par grinder because there's no way to compensate. Therefore, you should invest in the best grinder you can afford.

IMHO, the least expensive acceptable espresso grinder is the Bartza Vario (not clear to me if the newer and less expensive Baratza Sette is comparable -- I've seen mixed reviews on that.) A Vario will cost about $500. You may not think so, but that's a bargain in the world of espresso equipment. You can't really find anything comparable under $1,000, except the Bartza Forte, which is really just a beefed up version of the Vario.

I don't believe there are new grinders in the $1,000-$1,500 range that are truly worth the money. But you might be able to find a used one for about that range that could be a real bargain. For example, used Compak K10s, which are fantastic grinders, are going for around $900-$1,000. Once you get above $1,500 or so there are models that are superior to the Vario. These days, the best grinders are over $2,000 -- some well over that. Are they worth the money? Yes, if you can afford it and want the best possible cup.

A word about what makes a grinder "good". There are certainly some important differences in particle distribution between low-end and high-end grinders. But IMHO, the most important difference is consistency -- i.e., the ability to produce exactly the same particle distribution each and every grind. Without that, dialing in espresso becomes difficult to impossible. Dialing in is the key to making good espresso and it's the hardest thing to master. If the grind keeps changing on you, the quest becomes very frustrating indeed. The pages of this forum are packed with laments from newbies with sub-par grinders who cannot dial in.

As for the machine, the most important factor is stable and predictable temperature. As mentioned, Silvia is drastically improved with a PID temperature control upgrade, but speaking from experience it's still a challenge to get the extraction temperature right. There are HX machines comparably priced to a PIDed Silvia that make it much easier to get the right extraction temperature, but you must still learn how to make them do it (it's called temperature "surfing".) That's why many opt for double boiler machines, which are more expensive.

A secondary but important consideration is preinfusion flow rate. Some machines have flow restrictors that slow the flow during the time the basket is filling. This tends to make the machine "more forgiving" of grind and distribution errors, which are common for newbies.

Finally, before you spend any money, carefully consider how much you care about great espresso. If it's really important to you, and you have the money, then go for the best grinder and machine you can buy. I believe it's much more cost effective to start with better equipment than to start cheap and repeatedly upgrade. I made that mistake by buying a Silvia and Macap M4 to start. Within a month I came to my senses and bought a GS/3 and a Vario. Never looked back. Later I upgraded to a Compak K10, then to a Monolith Flat. Had I known what I know today, and had the Monolith Flat existed back then, I would have started with that grinder. Life would have been a lot easier.

It's far faster and easier to learn on better equipment, so the whole experience is that much more enjoyable.

goalerjones

#8: Post by goalerjones »

already many good points/answers here but I will add this.

For me, moving up has been a great thing. Every time I start it up in the morning I just grin. Better grinder, better machine, easier to use, less time spent searching. I love the process, but a DB was my answer (I'm not going to temp surf for an HX machine by personal choice).

How much water do you want to use? HX flushes go thru more water than SBDU/DB units.
Plumb? In-line filtration system to cut down on scale buildup?
Tank only? Once again, water quality for equipment longevity.
How much time do you have for coffee making each day? Need fast warmup time?
Milk?
No milk?
Do you entertain? How often? how many?
Will you work on it, descale it yourself?

My method was to research lots of machines. Made a spreadsheet and did comparisons, spoke to dealers, board members, emailed manufacturers, looked up common problems (all machines have them, I just decided which one's I would live with), and user satisfaction. In all my looking I discovered what was important to my daily schedule and specific user needs. Then I waited for really good deals like my wife taught me to do (saved $700 total).

Plastic Jones

#9: Post by Plastic Jones »

I use a JavaPresse conical burr mill that I paid $24 for. It is manual, but I am thoroughly satisfied with the finished product.