/ Coffee heads: recommend me a <100 expresso machine

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iksander on 06 Apr 2012
My caffeine addiction has reached stage now where I need to increase my production capacity - eg. I've just got through my third stove top espresso maker. Any recommendations? I'd rather not go down the silly capsules route. I guess I probably ought to get into grinding too, but that's probably a whole other thread..
The Lemming - on 06 Apr 2012
Dux - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:

I have an older model equivalent to one of these from Delonghi:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/DeLonghi-EC710-Espresso-Cappuccino-Stainless/dp/B000BQ7EOI

Makes decent espresso and does a reasonable job of frothing milk with a bit of practice. Also has a filter that takes ESE ( espresso in a tea-bag like form) so you can have the convenience of a pod machine if you don't want to mess around with grounds.

The pod machines make poor, artificial tasting espresso and the pods are dearer than ESE and more expensive still than grounds and beans.

I usually grind Waitrose espresso beans in a cheap Delonghi blade grinder and think the results are at least as good as most of what you get on the high street and a tenth of the price.




David Hooper - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:

The Francia Francis X1 - had mine for a trouble free 10 years, its screamingly loud lime green and is like a cheerful little pet sitting on the kitchen counter that raises a smile. I even stroke it occasionally ;o)

Just drinking my first cappucino of the morning.

PS If it ever died I might consider replacing it with a Kitchen Aid Artisan.

PPS Dont forget to budget for a burr grinder for the beans.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=francis+francis&hl=en&prmd=imvnso&source=lnms&tbm=...
iksander on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to The Lemming: You're sick!
Dave B on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:

What on earth are you doing to your stove top makers. I've had one of mine over 20 years and it's still going well...
tim000 - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Dux:
> (In reply to iksander)
>
> I have an older model equivalent to one of these from Delonghi:
> http://www.amazon.co.uk/DeLonghi-EC710-Espresso-Cappuccino-Stainless/dp/B000BQ7EOI
>
> Makes decent espresso and does a reasonable job of frothing milk with a bit of practice. Also has a filter that takes ESE ( espresso in a tea-bag like form) so you can have the convenience of a pod machine if you don't want to mess around with grounds.
>
> The pod machines make poor, artificial tasting espresso and the pods are dearer than ESE and more expensive still than grounds and beans.
>
> I usually grind Waitrose espresso beans in a cheap Delonghi blade grinder and think the results are at least as good as most of what you get on the high street and a tenth of the price.

ive bought one of those last year , 70 . from currys , last one in the shop . very good .
Milesy - on 06 Apr 2012
Save your money and get better.

Grinder is more important than machine. Grinder makes espresso. The machine just pumps watern through it. If you just caffeine or milky drinks then anything will do but if you like really good tasting espresso then spend a little more.

I have a iberital mc2 grinder with a gaggia classic machine and I would say that is the lowest of the ladder in home espresso.
The Lemming - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:
> (In reply to The Lemming) You're sick!

Why thank you, sir. :-)

Would it help if I said that I've never drank a cup of coffee in my life?
Morgan Woods - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Dave B:

yeah the Bialetti ones last ages?
iksander on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Dave B: They don't fit well on my gas hob, the bakelite (?) handles just crumble eventually from the heat I guess.
iksander on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> Save your money and get better.

> I have a iberital mc2 grinder with a gaggia classic machine and I would say that is the lowest of the ladder in home espresso.

So that's about.. 350

I have a family and mortgage (and very occasionally climbing) to pay for as well as a maintaining my coffee addiction.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:

Heat diffuser. 3 will get you one.
Anonymous on 06 Apr 2012 - host86-142-132-240.range86-142.btcentralplus.com
In reply to iksander:

> So that's about.. 350

Aye he knew that of course, but that was exactly the point of his post. That and stating that this should be the minimum that people should be prepared to pay.
Milesy - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:

Stick with a stove top then or use a brewed method.

Espresso out the box of low end machines, particularly pre ground coffee just tastes horrible. I learned the hard way. I thought that even buying the gaggia alone would be all I needed.

If you just want caffeine then the delongis etc will produce something what you want. Taste is more important to caffeine for me.
thin bob on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:
I can't suggest anything expensive or funky...my vote is aeropress. About 20 and even I can't get it wrong.
Very quick, easy to clean (it spits the grounds out as a 'cake')
And you can fit it in your pocket.
Graham - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to thin bob:
+1 on the aeropress:
http://www.aeropress.ca/

cheap, makes good coffee, light enough to take on a trip.
Milesy - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Anonymous:
> Aye he knew that of course, but that was exactly the point of his post. That and stating that this should be the minimum that people should be prepared to pay.

Only from my own tastes and experiences. Since I started drinking in proper third wave coffee shops, i can no longer drink espresso anywhere else. Starbucks and costa is just thin and bitter but they don't expect their customer to be looking for chocolate, caramel, nutty or fruity notes from their coffee.

Even if you get the cheapest espresso machine you can possibly get, the grinder is still a must for good coffee. Pre ground is already stale, and most of the supermarket beans are already stale as well.

ericoides - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Anonymous)
> [...]
>
> Since I started drinking in proper third wave coffee shops,
>
Would you mind expanding?
Milesy - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to ericoides:

You could have googled quicker than the time it tok to ask that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Wave_Coffee
ads.ukclimbing.com
ericoides - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Milesy:

What's with the hurry? I might have been relishing your take on it. Likewise, it might have been your neologism and a search would have proved fruitless.
bill strachan - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander: I love my presso http://www.presso.co.uk/

There's a good coffee supplier in Inverness that knows what grade grind for different machines - the presso is quite fine.

Bill

PS The Inverness coffee man - http://invernesscoffeeroasting.co.uk/ He'll sell over the phone or by email.
thin bob on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to iksander:
anyone recommend a serviceable coffee grinder? nothing over 40 please!
or shall I just bung 'em in the food processor.
[yes, I know it's a scummy way to do it, but my coffee is an occasional pleasure, rather than a hobby] Ta!
thin bob on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to bill strachan:
> (In reply to iksander) I love my presso http://www.presso.co.uk/
>
> There's a good coffee supplier in Inverness that knows what grade grind for different machines - the presso is quite fine.
>

Nice!! Alessi style, i like it!
now going to scare myself seeing how much it costs :-(
thin bob on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to thin bob:
Coo! not bad, 80.

if it made 4, I might just get one. Or if I had more cash. Still looks good though
Milesy - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to thin bob:
> (In reply to iksander)
> anyone recommend a serviceable coffee grinder? nothing over 40 please!
> or shall I just bung 'em in the food processor.
> [yes, I know it's a scummy way to do it, but my coffee is an occasional pleasure, rather than a hobby] Ta!

You destroy the oils and favours in any type of blade grinder. Get a burr grinder, even a hand burr grinder.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hario-Skerton-MSCS-2TB-Coffee-Mill/dp/B001802PIQ
thin bob on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to Milesy: Nice one Mr Milesy, bang on the money! Cheers
deanr - on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to thin bob:

You should only grind coffee with a burr grinder, not a blade grinder. Here is a cracking hand burr grinder. To grind a measure of beans for an espresso takes less time than it does for my machine to warm up, so it's pretty convenient. You can also adjust the burr for different tyes of brew - course for a cafetiere and fine for an espreso maker. As said before, good coffee is all about the grinding.

http://www.coffeehit.co.uk/porlex-tall-hand-grinder/p401
thin bob on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to deanr:
thanks Dean.
Have you used it? does it grind to espresso, the blurb just says 'french press'. Ta!
iksander on 06 Apr 2012
In reply to thin bob: Ar$e, looks like another expensive taste to indulge
gouezeri on 06 Apr 2012
I'd rate the Porlex more than the Hario's, as there's slightly less movement in the burr carriers. I've used and own both. I wouldn't personally use either for espresso, if I had a choice. Neither offers either enough adjustment or consistency in grind (too many fines). But they are both ok for Aeropress, or a v60, clever dripper etc, when travelling.

If you want something quicker for the kitchen, that would work for french press etc. as well, then try to get a Solis 166. Starbucks used to sell them as their base grinder the "Barista" (probably the only decent purchase I've ever made in a Starbucks). From memory, they used to sell for around 40 quid when on sale. It'll work for espresso, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it.

Milesy's comments above on espresso machines and grinders is spot on. Good brewed coffee can be had easily and cheaply. Good espresso, not so much. Getting a decent grinder is key though.

My vote.
Travelling: Aeropress + Porlex Mini Slim
Kitchen: Solis 166 (will get you started, if you don't intend to go the espresso route) Iberital MC2 as a minimum (if you might want to go to espresso sometime in the future, the downside of the MC2 is that it is slow and cumbersome to adjust, if switching between brew methods) + Gaggia Classic as a minimum, Rancilio Silvia as a good entry level machine. Good espresso is not cheap.

Totally off the wall, there is also the Mypressi Twist (quite a lot of hassle for an espresso), but that would still require a decent grinder. More info (probably too much) on my mate James' blog:
http://www.jimseven.com/2010/01/23/mypressi-twist/
gouezeri on 06 Apr 2012
I should probably have mentioned this along with a recommendation of a Gaggia machine. Gaggia UK went bust in 2009, and to my knowledge no longer exists. Gaggia itself was bought by Saeco, who are in turn owned by Philips. So it's no longer quite the firm it was, but I believe the machines are still the same. They also (at least Gaggia UK) used to offer good deals from time to time on refurbished models, definitely worth looking out for if you're deadset on getting an espresso machine for as little money as possible.

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