What's your reason for your espresso setup?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
EstoCuppo
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#1: Post by EstoCuppo »

Curious to know on peoples reasoning on why they bought their gear and how they came up with it.

I'll start. The first time I had a really good latte was at then Toby's Estate, and then Blue Bottle (when they weren't as big), I know wanted to replicate good that good latte at home. So when I saw that those cafes were using La Marzocco machines and Mazzer grinders, I thought it was the right setup at home so I can have that mimic that really good latte. This was around 2018 and the La Marzocco Linea Mini (LMLM) was already getting some press and praises so I figured it was the right machine, I then paired this with a Mazzer Super Jolly since that was closest setup I can get to those cafes. Even though I bought those 2 items used, they have been performing great to this day with the exception of my LMLM just having been through service due to the potentiometer going bad.

My reason for my setup is really to just have that really good latte I can produce day in and day out at home and I have been able to do just that and I'm still happy to this day :) Thought about upgrading to a GS3 so I can do different profiles and other experimentations but we'll see.

BogongTiger

#2: Post by BogongTiger »

I just wanted to make espresso-based milk drinks with fresh beans. I'd moved to a small country town early this millennium and, while there was a place to get coffee in town, I wanted it at home. I graduated from a cheap espresso maker to an Oscar 1 and heavier duty grinder and started roasting beans at home. Back then I didn't know about profiling or any of the fancy stuff people do these days - things like WDT and RDT hadn't been invented or if it had, it wasn't talked about like that :D

I've recently upgraded the grinder and replaced the (still working) Oscar with a Breville dual boiler. Still using the old Gene Cafe and hoping it lasts for a while longer.

I've only recently discovered (via this and other forums) all the latest trends and new gadgets - there've been a lot of things happening with home espresso in the last 20 years that I'm only now discovering.

After reading up on what people are doing these days I'm enjoying experimenting a bit. But really, when it all comes down to it, I just want to enjoy my morning coffee or two or three.

BodieZoffa

#3: Post by BodieZoffa »

For me it's a few reasons... one is that all other forms of coffee are weak and boring. Never have had anything close to being as fulfilling as espresso. Another reason to do it as home is I can do it at my own pace, far better than any shop I've ever been in and can do it rather affordably. I take the same approach with roasting as I grew tired of the overpriced commercial 'artisan' roasted stuff and knew I could do better at home definitely cheaper. My only regret is not starting home roasting sooner than I did. My daily habit of 5-6 doubles each morning costs me maybe $2 all said and done. If I were to go to any shop in my area for that volume it'd easily be $12-15 daily with a bit of fuel factored in. Yeah don't think so...

Nunas
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#4: Post by Nunas »

We'd been drinking "espresso" for years, not realizing that our moka pot actually made something else. Most of it was consumed as Cubanos and Americanos (except we didn't know what the latter was at the time :lol: ). Then we discovered the Bellman, which included a steamer, so we graduated to lattes and cappuccinos. We were happy with this until one day one of our friends said that he wanted to buy a "proper" espresso machine. We accompanied him to a large roaster/café/sales place in Auckland (forget the name), where we were given a short course on espresso, from roasting to making. Oddly, we bought a machine and our friend didn't! That was the beginning of the rabbit hole. We had a string of various roasters and coffee makers (still have most of them), a bunch of different Breville machines, then a Magister Stella (HX), and finally an ECM Synchronika (DB), which we still have. Along the way, we also dabbled in lever machines, mostly out of curiosity and to keep as display units over our espresso bar.

mycatsnameisbernie

#5: Post by mycatsnameisbernie »

I started my coffee journey in the mid 1980's when Peet's opened a café near my house. In those days, Peet's was considered "new wave" and there were lines around the block for it. I got a Melitta cone & filters, a blade (sorry) grinder, and started buying beans from Peet's to brew at home. On weekends I would get in line for a latte or cappuccino.

About 15 years ago, I had this (now totally debunked) theory that I could save a lot of money by making espresso drinks at home. I got a De'Longhi super automatic, and continued to use it with Peet's very dark and oily beans. I liked it so much that I got a 2nd machine for my vacation home. All was good for 10 years.

5 years ago I had a house fire that filled the house with smoke. My insurance paid for a replacement espresso machine. I went to my local specialty kitchen store where they had several demo machines. I was intrigued by the Breville Barista Express. The salesman, who was formerly a professional barista, made me a cappuccino and it was delicious. The process didn't look much harder than a super auto; the only difference was tamping and moving the portafilter to the group. Or so I thought. So I purchased the Barista Express.

I immediately noticed that, even though I hadn't a clue about how to dial in, the worst drink I made with my BBE tasted much better than the best drink I made with my super auto. Especially when I started buying medium roasted beans from local roasters other than Peet's. I discovered HB and other espresso forums, and rapidly fell down the rabbit hole of trying to make the best possible espresso and milk drinks.

My first step was to get a better grinder. I got a Kinu M47 hand grinder. After 3 years I got tired of hand grinding and got a Eureka Specialita. At the same time I decided I could no longer put up with the super auto. I got a Profitec Pro 500 and a Niche Zero, and used the BBE with the Specialita in my 2nd home. One year later, I got another bad case of upgraditis. I now have a Quick Mill QM67 in my main home and the PP 500 in my vacation home.

Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks they can save money by making espresso at home :D

palica

#6: Post by palica »

Ok, my turn :mrgreen:
I drink latte's only, so each time I do an espresso, I need to froth milk too.
Also, I can not understand in 2022 to turn a coffee machine 30 mns before you do an extraction. I want my espresso machine to be turned on and to be ready to extract a coffee after a couple of minutes.
So I need quick heating, and vapour on request.
But I did not want to sacrify temperature stability, and the look is also important for me.
So I went with an Ascaso Dream PID, and a Mignon Specialita.
My setup is simple, compact, can be turned on and give me a perfect latte less than 5 mns after that, is well built, durable and the design is second to none. Also, I want to keep it simple and do not like all the gizmos and complicated devices. My next machine will probably be an Odyssey Argos, I just want to have the feedback from the first buyers.

Milligan

#7: Post by Milligan »

I started with a BBE to see if I would like espresso at home and it served us well for several years. I quickly found the limits of the machine and lived with that for some time. It was inconsistent and took quite awhile to steam but I maneuvered around its quirks and found a decent balance of expectations. I wanted my next machine to not be the limiting factor in the espresso I made. I was torn between a few different machines but eventually went with the GS3. I like its provenance, support within the espresso community, customization options, mechanical adjustability, quirky look, and robust build. I haven't had it long but am tickled to be fortunate enough to have one on my counter.

As for grinder, I don't think I've finished my journey yet. I have an SJ with SSP reds and a Caedo E37S that I am bouncing between at the moment. I like the workflow of the Caedo especially with several drinks in a row. I have my SJ highly modified for single dosing so I usually use it when I just want a small quantity of a certain coffee. I haven't set up a good test for side by side taste comparison yet, but would be surprised if there was a huge difference between them once they are both dialed in.

As for accessories... nothing fancy. Small tamp pad, 1.5lb billet SS tamper, generic WDT, and stainless dose funnel. I may play with a distributor at some point.

Amberale

#8: Post by Amberale »

Nunas wrote:We'd been drinking "espresso" for years, not realizing that our moka pot actually made something else. Most of it was consumed as Cubanos and Americanos (except we didn't know what the latter was at the time :lol: ). Then we discovered the Bellman, which included a steamer, so we graduated to lattes and cappuccinos. We were happy with this until one day one of our friends said that he wanted to buy a "proper" espresso machine. We accompanied him to a large roaster/café/sales place in Auckland (forget the name), where we were given a short course on espresso, from roasting to making. Oddly, we bought a machine and our friend didn't! That was the beginning of the rabbit hole. We had a string of various roasters and coffee makers (still have most of them), a bunch of different Breville machines, then a Magister Stella (HX), and finally an ECM Synchronika (DB), which we still have. Along the way, we also dabbled in lever machines, mostly out of curiosity and to keep as display units over our espresso bar.
You moved from EnZed to Canada?

GorchT

#9: Post by GorchT »

Being one of the bad people who prefer really light roasted light roasts, I needed high extraction to get something which is tasting better than Battery acid. Therefore the Titus Nautilus with 98mm Burrs and the Decent. The Decent also because it's fun to play around with the parameters. Maybe at some point I would add some small 49mm lever machine (looking at Strietman) or replace the decent with a ACS Vesuvius lever. Grinderwise I would maybe add a second Nautilus in the far future to have 2 burr sets :D But atm buing more gear is way to expansive and i will most likely enjoy the current status for the next 5 years. Maybe I will go down the roasting rabbit hole at some point.

drH
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#10: Post by drH »

I was first exposed to espresso at Starbucks in the 90s. I liked it.
When I moved to Boston my espresso experiences expanded and I learned to appreciate a wider variety of roasts. Like the OP, I noticed many cafes using Mazzer grinders and La Marzocco machines.

Today I'm mostly motivated by simplicity and low tech workflows. I want things to be simple. At the moment that means I'm working with the Cremina- I like that it's small enough to move around, doesn't use a lot of water, pucks are clean and dry, and it has minimal day-to-day maintenance. Everything is by feel so it's easy to be flexible about roast level.

All that said, I still find myself longing for the "real cafe" experience that I was originally biased towards. Biased is the right word because I know there are a variety of machines that will make excellent drinks but I'd still love to have a Mazzer + LMLM. The cup warmer and hot water tap and precise temperature control would further simplify my routine. Maybe it's in the cards...