Looking for cheap espresso machine and grinder

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

#1: Post by espressoguyy »

anybody have any experience with this espresso machine. it's cheap which is perfect for me. i'm a total newbie to the espresso world. i just want something that works. what do you guys think?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F4 ... 90-6325666

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figured i might get a cheap grinder as well. anyone have any experience with this sort of grinder? is it a waste of time or do they work? thanks

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MR ... 90-6325666

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peacecup

#2: Post by peacecup »

I think a lot of folks here on HB are at the next level of espresso making, so most probably have not tried it. You can look for reviews at coffeegeek.com.

Personally I still use an entry-level Saeco Via Venetto as my backup machine, and hand grinders for all my machines. With good fresh beans my espresso is better than most I get at cafes, and I'm in no position to sink $1000+ into an "upgrade" at this time.

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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HB
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#3: Post by HB »

Someone reported acceptable results for espresso with the travel grinder you cite (from espressoparts or REI), but as I recall, they said the grind setting tended to drift. Another option is a manual Zassenhaus coffee mill for $70 new and the used ones are less on eBay (search on Zassenhaus+Coffee+Mills). Manual grinder aficionados note that the quality of even respected names like Zassenhaus can vary depending on the year of manufacturer (see Hand (grinder) Jive - a photo essay for an extended discussion).

The FAQs and Favorites links a few threads that cover the strengths/weaknesses of value-priced equipment (search on "cheap", "inexpensive", "budget"). Personally I would invest in a good coffee, a good grinder, and a cheap French press. Good espresso is hard to make on a shoestring budget, but very good presspot (or Aeropress) coffee is easy.
Dan Kehn

espressoguyy

#4: Post by espressoguyy »

thanks. appreciate your info. wish the world of espresso wasn't so expensive. would love some of the more expensive machines. just find it hard to justify spending 2 grand on a machine.

thanks again

DigMe

#5: Post by DigMe » replying to espressoguyy »

No need to spend two grand. $300 to $400 will get you something acceptable such as a Gaggia Espresso or Carezza and a decent grinder such as Le'Lit PL53, Cunill Tranquilo or Nemox Lux. I used to use a Gaggia Espresso that I got used for $30. If you're vigilant and patient there are great deals to be found.

brad

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HB
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#6: Post by HB »

I agree with Brad, you don't have to spend a fortune. My point was that if budget is a primary concern, you'll spend less for a French press + good grinder and have a better coffee beverage than a budget espresso machine + budget grinder. The Le'Lit PL53 is a grinder that is well suited for espresso, but could be used for French press while you weigh your options.

In my opinion, it's better to enjoy fantastic coffees -- not espresso -- on the cheap for awhile and then decide if espresso is your thing. Of course few listen to this advice (me included), as evidenced in The Hall of Shame.
Dan Kehn

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Bex

#7: Post by Bex »

espressoguyy wrote:thanks. appreciate your info. wish the world of espresso wasn't so expensive. would love some of the more expensive machines. just find it hard to justify spending 2 grand on a machine.

thanks again
Don't despair. I second what DigMe said. The reviews on CoffeeGeek are really helpful. Once I learned how to use my Carezza & MDF combo, it produced decent espresso and really good milk drinks. Remember that this forum is the "tip of the spear" for home espresso and the opinions on what is palatable follow on from that; what might be unacceptable to this crowd now is just fine for others. :) Most importantly, have fun with it! It's a hobby about the love of making a special, labor intense cup of coffee. The results from a $100 machine & $100 grinder won't be comparable to machines that cost 10 times that, but they can still be enjoyable for you.

I post this only because I disagree a bit with Dan. The consistency of regular coffee is too thin for me and it tends to turn my stomach a bit. The "thicker" consistency of espresso has been something I loved from the first moment I tried it. So, a french press wouldn't do much for me. Don't fret the budget set ups - do some research and you'll find that people are enjoying budget machines with budget grinders.