Upgrade Espresso Machine or Grinder?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
FightOn2013

Postby FightOn2013 » Jul 07, 2019, 7:51 pm

Hi all - first post :)

Long story short - I'm debating between upgrading from a Breville Barista Express to Profitec 300/500 or just get a new grinder (thinking about the Sette 270) to use with the Barista Express.

I know the Profitec is in a different league than the Barista Express, but here's why I'm having this "dilemma"...
I have a Breville Barista Express 860XL (first gen?) that needs to be serviced and most likely will be replaced by Breville with a refurbished 870XL (latest Barista Express) due to multiple parts failing. The service cost is ~$250, so I will need to pay that amount to get a working Barista Express. I'm thinking this might be a good time to upgrade instead of throwing more money into a Barista Express.

I guess what I need help/your opinion on is whether I would see a more significant improvement in espresso quality from a better grinder or a better espresso machine.
I have been using the built-in grinder on the Barista express, and the espresso comes out o-k to me. SO... would upgrading to Profitec makes much of a difference in espresso quality (given the same grounds) or would using a separate grinder (e.g. Sette 270) give me a better "bang for the buck" improvement?

TIA

User avatar
luca

Postby luca » Jul 07, 2019, 8:03 pm

Up to you, but one thing that can be expensive in the long run is multiple incremental upgrades; eg if you buy a slightly better grinder, keep it for a few years and then upgrade that again to a another slightly better grinder. I haven't used the sette 270, but the niche delivers such bang for the buck that I think if you can jump up to that, it's probably money well spent for espresso use. If that means that you need to save up a bit to upgrade the machine, so be it. I suspect niche + your current machine would probably give you better espresso than profited + your breville integrated grinder, but, again, that's kind of speculation on my part.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

guydebord

Postby guydebord » Jul 07, 2019, 8:20 pm

IMO the grinder, you will immediately taste the difference. However, I would not recommend the Sette, I had it and all I can say is that its a cheaply designed/built machine that has too many documented problems... while it works, it grinds decently for its price, but for less the price of the sette I would go for a manual grinder, like the BPlus Apollo, Kinu M47, Commandante C40, Feldgrind, etc.
If you want electric, the least expensive option I would recommend is the new Eureka Mignon line and then the Niche Zero, the choice obviously depends on your workflow.
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

FightOn2013

Postby FightOn2013 » Jul 08, 2019, 9:35 pm

luca wrote:Up to you, but one thing that can be expensive in the long run is multiple incremental upgrades; eg if you buy a slightly better grinder, keep it for a few years and then upgrade that again to a another slightly better grinder. I haven't used the sette 270, but the niche delivers such bang for the buck that I think if you can jump up to that, it's probably money well spent for espresso use. If that means that you need to save up a bit to upgrade the machine, so be it. I suspect niche + your current machine would probably give you better espresso than profited + your breville integrated grinder, but, again, that's kind of speculation on my part.


Thanks Luca - I agree with you and now considering the Eureka Mignon Specialita as my grinder. Niche Zero is tempting but it's >$200 more than the Specialita (Buying the Specialita from ECS is actually cheaper than the getting the Sette 270 from Amazon) and I'm not too sure about the single dose set up of the Niche.
Do you have any inputs on the Specialita? From what I read in other threads, seems like reviews are mostly positive...so far.
I do want to get a grinder that will last me a while (in terms of longevity and me outgrowing it too soon). I don't know if I will ever get to a point where I want to upgrade from the Specialita to something $1K+, and even if i do, I think the next upgrade would be my last upgrade for grinder.

FightOn2013

Postby FightOn2013 » Jul 08, 2019, 9:37 pm

guydebord wrote:IMO the grinder, you will immediately taste the difference. However, I would not recommend the Sette, I had it and all I can say is that its a cheaply designed/built machine that has too many documented problems... while it works, it grinds decently for its price, but for less the price of the sette I would go for a manual grinder, like the BPlus Apollo, Kinu M47, Commandante C40, Feldgrind, etc.
If you want electric, the least expensive option I would recommend is the new Eureka Mignon line and then the Niche Zero, the choice obviously depends on your workflow.


Guy - thanks for sharing your experience and the suggestions! I'm now considering the Eureka Mignon Specialita and buying from ECS! Do you have any experience/input with this grinder? especially the longevity of the machine...

EDIT - Just realized you have the Specialita from your signature! would love to hear your experience with it!

takethingsapart

Postby takethingsapart » Jul 08, 2019, 9:50 pm

I think the grinder gives quite a bit more value than the espresso machine. The same coffee will taste better with a better grinder, but an upgraded machine might taste pretty much the same as your breville. I went from a rocket apartamento to a la marzocco gs3 and I don't think the taste of a straight shot taste that much different. But upgrading the grinder definitely improved things.

For what it's worth, I've tried the Niche and I think it's a great grinder to buy. Maybe try and get one used?

User avatar
luca

Postby luca » Jul 09, 2019, 6:56 pm

FightOn2013 wrote:Thanks Luca - I agree with you and now considering the Eureka Mignon Specialita as my grinder. Niche Zero is tempting but it's >$200 more than the Specialita (Buying the Specialita from ECS is actually cheaper than the getting the Sette 270 from Amazon) and I'm not too sure about the single dose set up of the Niche.
Do you have any inputs on the Specialita? From what I read in other threads, seems like reviews are mostly positive...so far.
I do want to get a grinder that will last me a while (in terms of longevity and me outgrowing it too soon). I don't know if I will ever get to a point where I want to upgrade from the Specialita to something $1K+, and even if i do, I think the next upgrade would be my last upgrade for grinder.


Haven't used it, so no idea. Looks like it has 58mm flat burrs, which are tiny. The Kony burrs in the niche will have dramatically more cutting surface.

When reading online reviews, be careful to try to get a sense of what comparative experience the writer has. There are lots of reviews from people without much experience that make things sound incredible. They probably are, relative to what the person is used to. There are lots of reviews from people with lots of experience that insightfully point out shortcomings. Read the two side by side and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the former thing is better, but, in fact, the second person's B grade coffee might be more to your taste than the former person's best efforts.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

nuketopia

Postby nuketopia » Jul 10, 2019, 1:17 am

Tough call on the Sette. I have a 270w in my weekend place. It grinds very well actually.

The first one went back nearly immediately and was replaced quickly with a brand new one from Baratza. It worked for about 2 years, then just this weekend, a plastic part broke, that really shouldn't have been plastic. Kind of a minor part, which they appear to have upgraded to metal now.

Kind of on the fence on the Sette. On the one hand, it does grind quite well. On the other hand, they seem to have their issues, not just mine. It's at my weekend place, that I get about a weekend a month at, along with a week or so on holidays. So in two years, it's been used to make 2-4 shots a day while we were there. Maybe literally, cumulative 90 days of use, with maybe twice that many shots and it hasn't been abused.

Hopefully, the current 270wi and the rest of the line have had enough running changes to make them reliable.

Makes good coffee and the grind to weight feature is really nice.

The Baratza Forte is quite good, commercial quality, all metal, grinds to weight.

thirdcrackfourthwave

Postby thirdcrackfourthwave » Jul 10, 2019, 1:32 am

I've used a friend's Breville Pro and I thought the espresso was okay. Assuming you stayed with a Breville it would perform better with a better grinder than the one that comes on the machine. I guess you could always start with the new grinder and ride the new Breville for a spell until/if upgraditis kicks in. You'd need a good grinder if you went to a Profitec.

jpsm

Postby jpsm » Jul 10, 2019, 3:29 am

I will go against the grain and suggest you go for the espresso machine upgrade. If I am not mistaken the 300 is the one that looks like the silvia right? the 500 is the one that looks like the 700 and imo that look is great and timeless. As for the grinder, you can always get it later on if you are itching to find/taste that "God shot" Just finance the thing so it wont hurt as much. Also imagine waking up to a beautiful machine... What comes next is pure goodness.... if not.. I believe your mind will tell you whatever you are having is delicious because it came from a beautiful machine. but what do I know... I just got into the whole espresso game last december :lol: