Time for a real espresso upgrade. What do you suggest

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

#1: Post by Chaplain »

Looking to upgrade from my current DeLonghi EX680M to something much better. I've used the DeLonghi dailey for probably 5-years without a hitch. Now my desire to drink coffee is turning the corner to become a hobbie like many of you. Therefore I really appreciate the wealth of knowledge and the suggestions that this forum offers.

I know my budget of $400-$600ish is small so I'm willing/plan to stretch that dollar by buying used in order to get something of higher quality. Also willing to purchase a fixer upper since I'm pretty handy. Be awesome to find a high end machine and restore it or a thousand(s) dollar machine that just needs some love.

Any models I should be on the lookout for? Or any leads on a solid deal? I do have a burr grinder, nothing high end, but something that can be upgraded at a later date (not part of the $500 current budget)

Thanks in advance.

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#2: Post by happycat »

That's a very low budget.

You could do it with a Flair or Robot + a good hand grinder.
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#3: Post by Jeff »

Unless you get really, really lucky, even a 10 or 20 year-old HX machine is going to be hard to buy at that price point, and then likely needs $50 in gaskets and potentially needs $100-300 in parts.

What are you goals with a new machine?

Does your budget include a new grinder?

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#4: Post by TigerStripes »

If you're committed to the $500 budget you should find a used gaggia classic or rancilio Silvia and add a PID to it if it doesn't already have one. Combine that with a decent hand grinder and you'll be at the entry level of good "real" espresso.
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#5: Post by jasiano »

good thing you are willing to buy used, because whilst not every good machine will cost thousands of dollars, 4-500 isn't a whole lot.

I agree with above post, some used Gaggia classic or similar can be had for less than that depending on how much work they need. Pretty sure James Hoffman did a video very similar to this kind of idea (i.e. good espresso setup within a budget) and he bought a used Gaggia from memory and fixed it up.

If you are in Australia I would say you could maybe find a used Breville Dual Boiler and clean that up.

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#6: Post by VoidedTea »

I went from Delonghi Dedica to the Robot and have no regrets after a year of daily use. Unless you want milk drinks it is a very solid option within your budget. For me, it was definitely a step up from Delonghi in terms of coffee taste. The Robot will last forever and will come handy even when you decide to purchase a more expensive machine. I would stay away from used machines as espresso machines require special care and you never know how it was handled. The risk is not worth it IMO when the Robot and some frothing machine will give you pretty much the same results.

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#7: Post by BruceWayne »

$500 really is manual lever and hand grinder range for good espresso. Tbh, the good espresso hand grinders seem to start just under $200 with the 1Zpresso range, Lido E-T, and Kinu Phoenix. The $100 grinders seem to be stepped and don't have enough steps in their espresso range.

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#8: Post by BaristaMcBob »

Honestly that's not much of a budget for a "real" espresso machine. At that price, you'd have to stay with a single boiler or thermoblock system, which would suggest looking at the Gaggia or refurb Lelit machines. But that leaves the issue of the grinder.


#9: Post by mathof »

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#10: Post by MB »

Fortunately, the Cafelat Robot can make excellent espresso. It's on par with my fancy lever machine, and honestly not that much longer to use. I boil water in the microwave while grinding and give it a few seconds before opening the door for safety. The cleanup is a quick wipe with a paper towel and no real maintenance or descale. You can use whatever water you like without worry. And, there is something satisfying about pushing the lever arms down to extract the coffee. If you don't have a quality espresso grinder, they have an option of a special basket for pre-ground coffee.

If you need to steam milk, you can use your existing machine or one of the other options mentioned.
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