New to Espresso-ish. Looking to get a nice "for life" espresso machine and grinder

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
TEspresso372

#1: Post by TEspresso372 »

Hey all, first-time poster, Been looking to get deeper into the espresso rabbit hole and am willing to fork up a bit of cash for a nice BIFL espresso machine and grinder.

The current set-up is a Breville Bambino with a Barzata Encore Coffee Grinder. I've been eyeing a couple of brand espresso machines on WholeLatteLove (let me know if there's another website with decent pricing, thanks!).

Taste buds/end goal:

I prefer espresso shots usually but won't say no to making myself a flat white from time to time. I've also been looking to get into latte art.

Espresso Machine:

I've been mixed between two brands on WholeLatteLove for the espresso machines. I originally eyed a Rocket Espresso machine due to the looks, and after researching a bit, I read that it's not the best bang for its buck.

The two brands I'm deciding between are Profitec and Quick Mill (just because my friend has a Quick Mill, which looks pretty nice). I'm leaning more toward Profitec, but I'm not sure about the difference between all the series of the brand starting from 400-500-600-700 lines.

Are there any features that I should get or consider when looking at it? My friend told me to get one with PID and heat exchanged or a dual boiler.

Grinder:

I've got my eyes set on the Eureka Oro Mignon Single Dose Grinder for the grinder. I've fallen in love with the looks of the grinder, but I can't decide if I should spend the extra $100 for a Chrome finish. But I do want something that's a BIFL as well.

Scale:

My friend told me to get an espresso machine with a timer, but I'm leaning more toward the Acaia Lunar Scale.

Let me know if you guys have any recommendations for a fellow peer looking to go down the rabbit hole. Thanks!

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

I'd start with a budget. You've described options that range from a couple thousand on up.

BIFL really doesn't exist. Either you're pulling classic espresso where you can buy some attractive object and it doesn't matter (at least among the reasonable choices), or whatever you buy today will be obsolete in 5-10 years.

There are many vendors and much equipment appropriate for modern espresso that isn't sold through them.

Without a budget, all suggestions would mainly be noise.

nameisjoey

#3: Post by nameisjoey »

I would say the most BIFL setup you can get would be a Cafelat Robot and a quality hand grinder - I'm partial to an OE Lido (OG or Basic) or Pharos.

mycatsnameisbernie

#4: Post by mycatsnameisbernie »

Your Bambino is capable of making great shots from medium to dark roasts when used with a non-pressurized/single wall filter basket and a good espresso-focused grinder. Right now, your Encore is the weak point of your setup.

I suggest you put whatever you were planning to spend on a new machine towards a grinder. A good grinder will make your Bambino feel like a whole new machine. Once you get some mileage on your Bambino + good grinder, you might want to think about upgrading your machine. During that time, do more research on machines. You should understand the pros and cons of single boiler vs. HX vs. Dual Boiler, as well as vibratory vs. rotary pumps before you shell out serious money for a new machine. You also might want to consider lever machines.

mgwolf
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by mgwolf »

Seems like you're paying more attention to the looks than anything else. It would be worthwhile to do a little more research into types of machines, etc. There are some good articles about that under "Resources" on this site. Also, as Jeff suggested, figure out your budget before you look.

beancrusher

#6: Post by beancrusher »

You've listed out machines from about $1500 to $3000 and a $700 grinder. You don't have to buy everything all at once, and especially for espresso there's a lot of personal preference involved so there isn't a rule that spending more leads to better outcomes. You should get a scale and the Lunar will be a good one there, but there are a few cheaper alternatives that would be fine too.

The Bambino is a decent machine to use while you explore your likes for espresso so I think you could actually stick with that machine and upgrade your grinder first. Common recommendations in different price tiers are the Lagom Mini or Niche, Lagom P64 with either SSP MP or HU burrs, and the P100 with HU burrs (naming is misleading, 98HU is more similar to 64MP than 64HU). A few new grinders in the "mid-range" that are coming out are the Zerno Z1 and Acaia Orbit.

TEspresso372 (original poster)

#7: Post by TEspresso372 (original poster) »

Great thanks all! I had a feeling something was lacking in my espresso. Will be looking into getting a nice grinder first and playing around with that first.

zsiberian

#8: Post by zsiberian »

I second the Eureka sentiment.

When deciding if you should spend extra on something you really want I'd consider the regret factor from "it was only $100 more" down the line. Which could be a legitimate deterrent.

I personally hate that my Eureka chrome sites sit stained most of the time and need polish, but once it gets one - it's an eye candy for sure.

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#9: Post by Jeff »

Eureka certainly has a lot of eye candy. Tilting an old design at a rakish angle and adding half-hearted bellows doesn't make a grinder a good single-doser.

User avatar
mrgnomer

#10: Post by mrgnomer »

Absolutly get a Lunar. Great investment in espresso extraction.

There's some good single dose grinders. Eureka Oro is a good one. Niche Zero is a popular one. DF64 is a Niche Zero alternative. Looks like the Lagom P64, if you can find one, is a good investment.

The grinder is the best to go high with on the investment. If you get the best it can follow you on any machine upgrade. I find good grinders also have a longer lifespan than a machine. My prosumer e61 lasted for almost 15 years before it needed an expensive time consuming rebuild. My grinder was still running like new. All it needed was a good cleaning and new burrs.

Good semi automatic/lever espresso machines don't really become obsolete. Only thing that I found really changes on most prosumer machines is the extraction control features. E61 double boiler or heat exchanger single boiler is still based on the time tested E61 grouphead. There is the improved saturated grouphead for better temperature control as a change to E61 but I don't see the design of saturated groupheads drastically changing any time soon. Levers are back in favour as well and they have been around a long time.

Changes in machines that reflect trends in extraction control so far can be added to older machines. You have PIDs for more precise brew boiler/brew temp control and flow restrictors for extraction pressure control on E61s. Levers can benefit from PID control. By design they already give on the fly extraction pressure control. The extraction ramp down with a lever is kind of fixed but ends up more forgiving and leads to a different extraction than an e61 grouphead. I think it's consistently better. Levers use groups that haven't changed significantly in years. I still use a 1971 Cremina 67 to regularly pull shots that still surprise me with how good they are.

If you're going to plunge down a hole do it with the grinder. Research the kind of extraction you prefer and the machine that will give it. Differences in prices reflect features like rotary vs vibe pump, plumb in capability, heat exchanger vs double boiler, saturated vs e61 grouphead vs lever. The parts in a prosumer machine are pretty standard across the board and vary mostly by grades in quality to save, I imagine, production costs. Any machine will require regular maintenance and inevitable parts replacement with higher grade part machines maybe lasting longer but the parts more expensive.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love