Newbie espresso addict has green but which espresso machine?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
t18skyguy

#1: Post by t18skyguy »

Greetings to all,
This is my first post, and I have been visiting the site for months now and am learning as much as I can. It's been a fun and interesting journey. I bought a little espresso maker at Costco, a bag of their beans, and ground it with a blade grinder, and it turned out just as crappy as you'd expect. I didn't understand why I couldn't replicate the taste from my local barista who uses a La Marzocco and a good grinder. Well next I bought the same bean blend that she had, and had the shop grind if for me, and that was a BIG improvement. That gave me more confidence. Now mine kinda tasted like hers, but I need to take the next step. For the grinder I think either the Vario or Mazzer mini will fit the bill, but the espresso machine is still an issue as I need help to find one that fits what I'm looking for. I respect the experience on this forum as I think it is second to none and thanks to all in advance.

I am a home latte drinker. Several a day or an occasional party. I won't plumb the machine in, but I don't want any plastic tanks. Stainless steel or is there another alternative? I want top notch quality and am willing to pay for it, but I don't want to throw money away on just a name. I want it to have an owners manual, and a parts manual, and parts available to me years down the road(no orphans). I'm leaning toward a semi-automatic. No levers for me because I get carpel tunnel real easy. By trade I'm an Aircraft inspector so my tolerance for junk is nil. I want to buy it once and service it myself if at all possible. Inside the machine I don't want any compromises like plastic parts where they should be brass etc. What would you guys advise that if you spend good money you get all that you pay for? Thanks, Don

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adimperial

#2: Post by adimperial »

If you're mainly a latte drinker and are big on build quality, I think a Rancilio Silvia is the first step for you. If you wanted a reasonably priced machine and drank straight espresso (and not so big on build), I would say Gaggia Classic.
I've had both and tested them side by side..
Silvia is built like a tank with excellent steaming capacity. Shot quality is hit or miss.. in my case mostly miss. I think the word 'finicky' is misleading.. I would say it's inferior shot for shot compared to the Gaggia. After testing side by side, my Silvia was on Ebay the next day.

Gaggia Classic doesn't compare to Silvia in terms of build. Body is a light metal (with very sharp edges.. ouch)
Drip tray is thin sheet of metal, drip pan is plastic.. but deeper than Silvia's. Steam wand with Turbofrother is a joke. Steam arm without plastic turbofrother is short, so it's difficult to steam small quantities of milk. I replaced the Gaggia's steam arm to the Silvia arm- highly recommend doing this.

hperry

#3: Post by hperry »

t18skyguy wrote:Greetings to all,
I am a home latte drinker. Several a day or an occasional party. I won't plumb the machine in, but I don't want any plastic tanks. Stainless steel or is there another alternative? I want top notch quality and am willing to pay for it, but I don't want to throw money away on just a name. Thanks, Don
I am not aware of any self-contained machines that do not have plastic tanks. You can avoid this by getting a plumbed model. If I had the money to spend and wanted to avoid upgrading I would look at dual boiler machines to reduce the variables (particularly temperature) I had to deal with. La Spaziale and Alex Duetto come immediately to mind. I have no experience with the Mazzer Mini, but have been very pleased with the performance of the Vario.
Hal Perry

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uscfroadie

#4: Post by uscfroadie »

How much green are you talking about dedicated for a machine only? Under $500, $1000, $1500, $2500, $5000?
Merle

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Koffee Kosmo

#5: Post by Koffee Kosmo »

Hi Don and Welcome

You should look at no less that a Mazzer Super Jolly
I would also recommend a good quality Heat exchanger or dual boiler machine
With care and a good cleaning routine they will last a decade or 2

Even if you had to borrow a small amount of money to do it
You will save in the long run not only cash but sanity

I am sure that the local members will recommend a good machine for you that ticks all the boxes you have noted

KK
Espresso Yourself - Home roast More
My Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com/

t18skyguy (original poster)

#6: Post by t18skyguy (original poster) »

As for the price point, I want to keep feeding in money until I have a machine with no compromise internals that will deliver excellent shots reliably. I'm not looking for the best bang for the buck but the best quality for the buck. I'm sure I will need to get better on my end with technique so in that regard I will need to catch up to the machine. I was thinking of an Olympia Maximatic, but is there a machine of comparable quality with less cost but equal performance? So no, I'm not stuck on a dollar value. I appreciate the input and keep it coming.

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Bluecold

#7: Post by Bluecold »

Orphanespresso has a Conti Empress for sale
http://www.orphanespresso.com/index.php ... ts_id=1784
Really nice. Really really really nice.

The Bezzera B2000AL single group lever will probably also last a lifetime.
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Koffee Kosmo

#8: Post by Koffee Kosmo »

t18skyguy wrote:As for the price point, I want to keep feeding in money until I have a machine with no compromise internals that will deliver excellent shots reliably. I'm not looking for the best bang for the buck but the best quality for the buck. I'm sure I will need to get better on my end with technique so in that regard I will need to catch up to the machine. I was thinking of an Olympia Maximatic, but is there a machine of comparable quality with less cost but equal performance? So no, I'm not stuck on a dollar value. I appreciate the input and keep it coming.
Dont get many Olympia machines down under but I know from owners reports that they are of high build quality
I personally like the La Marzocco Linea 1 group
And I like the build quality of Bezzera

KK
Espresso Yourself - Home roast More
My Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com/

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uscfroadie

#9: Post by uscfroadie »

If you don't mind spending $6500 or thereabouts, get a La Marzocco GS/3. Yes, it's alot of money, but you will still be able to service it many years from now. One of the members of this forum has a GS/1 that has been used daily and is still going strong 25 years later. Yes, it's twice the price of an Olympia, but if you keep both for 25 years the extra cost per day/month/year is miniscule.
Merle

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roastaroma

#10: Post by roastaroma »

Ciao, Don,

If you can even consider an Olympia, you have a huge range of good choices (with better support in the U.S. than Olympia). To push hot water through ground coffee effectively, one does not need to spend a fortune on the latest machinery. (I used to think $2K was a fortune, but really it's not anymore.) OK, I'm one of those reactionary lever-heads, but if I were shopping for a pump machine now, my first pick would be the Elektra Microcasa Semi-Automatica -- with the Murano glass bead, but that's just me.

H-B has a thorough review of this old-school machine posted here: Elektra Microcasa Semi Automatica Espresso Machine Review.

And the reservoir is metal, not plastic. :)

Buona Fortuna,
Wayne
"Non è la macchina, è la mano."
LMWDP #223