Should I bother with an espresso machine?

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

#1: Post by JoesCup »

After my foray with a Gaggia espresso, my question is if I should even both with an espresso machine? How different will americanos and cappuccinos taste if made with an aeropress? I found the gaggia to be temperamental to a host of variables, if any were off the results were less than satisfactory. It seems the only way to make an espresso more forgiving is to go with an E61 based design. Whereas a $25 aeropress is smaller and seems to be fairly easy to make consistent (no tamping, not as susceptible to grind variations/dosing). I haven't tried aeropress yet, so those are just based on the observations I have had. I have heard very clover-like coffee is possible from it, which would be entirely palatable for me. The only thing I would need is some way to steam milk for a cappuccino/latte/mocha type beverage and some way to heat water. The only time straight espresso would be feasible is the evenings, since I need something that I can take with me on the go...which means making a lot of it so that it can retain some heat.
Army Strong

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Kristi

#2: Post by Kristi »

LOL! What do your tastebuds say?
Kris

JoesCup

#3: Post by JoesCup » replying to Kristi »

I haven't really tried aeropress... and I'd probably end up getting something like the solis for my hot water and steaming needs
Army Strong

Matthew Brinski

#4: Post by Matthew Brinski »

Despite what some claim, espresso cannot be made from an Aeropress. Espresso is a brew method, and the Aeropress represents a different method. Having said that, if you find your tastes to be satisfied with an Aeropress, then go for it. Some may shun the idea of using an Aeropress, but as you stated, it's been said that Aeropress brews can be somewhat representative to the Clover brew tasting profiles (although the Clover people would probably strongly disagree). Just know that you would be making brewed coffee rather than espresso (espresso is the process of pressure infusion of around 9 bar), and you would be preparing something closer to a cafe au lait rather than a cappuccino. But seriously, enjoy it if it works for your desires. I've gathered that a metal filter for the Aeropress makes all the difference. I've only had coffee from it with the stock filter screen.

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HB
Admin

#5: Post by HB »

Preparing espresso demands more skill and is more manually intensive than say French press. For the last few months I've been alternating days of espresso and French press. Both are great ways to enjoy coffee. I tried the Aeropress and it was an enjoyable clean cup. However, nobody would mistake it for an espresso prepared from a good setup. If you wish more information, Coffeegeek hosts pages and pages and pages of Aeropress commentary, much of it from the inventor himself.
Dan Kehn

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TimEggers

#6: Post by TimEggers »

A most interesting discussion, I agree that the comparison is like apples and oranges. I'm sorry to hear that your espresso is less than fantastic. Perhaps an Aeropress will be better suited to what you are looking for (I've never used one). I do know that my espresso (from a Gaggia) can be truly remarkable (even better once my Mazzer Super Jolly arrives)! Perhaps you could analyze your espresso and improve that. Perhaps a better technique or different equipment can offer better results. For nearly a year I made horrible espresso and was close to selling my machine out of frustration then I made my break through and since then I have made nothing but espresso.

Or maybe espresso just isn't for you and that's just fine too! :D
Tim Eggers
http://www.facebook.com/TimEggers
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JoesCup

#7: Post by JoesCup »

I'm not expecting espresso from an aeropress. The thought is that if my average experience might be better with an aeropress than with an espresso machine. Slight difference will be muted by dilution with milk or water. I guess my question is: how often are you able to make "really good" espresso? I'm not talking about "god shots" but something savory and enjoyable.
Army Strong

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HB
Admin

#8: Post by HB »

JoesCup wrote:I guess my question is: how often are you able to make "really good" espresso? I'm not talking about "god shots" but something savory and enjoyable.
According to the What does your typical espresso rate? survey, the majority are satisfied with their daily espressos. For me, there's good and there's better days, but there's very few days that aren't enjoyable. Keep in mind that your personal bar moves up over time. I would have been writhing in ecstasy ten years ago over an espresso I consider "good" today.
Dan Kehn

heyduke

#9: Post by heyduke »

I would say that most of my espresso's are good, some great, and very few bad. If I could figure out why, I would probably be rich since that seems to be the problem with making espresso. There are so many things that have to be done just right, fresh coffee, the grind, the tamp, ect. Even when you think it is just right it isn't. It all depends on the espresso gods.

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#10: Post by RapidCoffee »

JoesCup wrote:I'm not expecting espresso from an aeropress. The thought is that if my average experience might be better with an aeropress than with an espresso machine. Slight difference will be muted by dilution with milk or water.
Your point is well taken. I'd rather have a good cup of Aeropress/French press/drip/vac pot/whatever than a poor espresso. Heck, I'd rather have a cup of good tea! But other things being equal, I greatly prefer espresso over any other method of coffee brewing. (BTW, I'd argue that the differences between "aeropresso" and espresso are more than slight.)
JoesCup wrote:I guess my question is: how often are you able to make "really good" espresso? I'm not talking about "god shots" but something savory and enjoyable.
Every day, my friend, every day.
____
John