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  1. #1
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    Entry level espresso machine suggestions

    Hi all

    I am looking for a decent machine in the range of 400-500 USD.
    Will appreciate your advise.
    I know I would probably have to get a grinder if I wanna make anything good out of the machine, no idea what to go for either..

    Also would like to avoid any plastic or aluminum parts in the coffee making process.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Dben; 04-12-2017 at 11:59 AM.

  2. #2
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    For that price range the Gaggia Classic would serve you well. It does have a hybrid boiler design (aluminum upper/chrome plated brass lower/group), which is a proven/safe design and great performer for solid home use. They use a thick aluminum boiler/external heating elements so heat time/recovery is rather quick.

    Yes you will need a fairly good grinder to match with the Classic as it has a non-pressurized 58mm basket system. No training wheels so to speak like you find on lower priced machines. You may be able to find a decent combo deal on the Classic/MDF grinder, which would be a good setup for daily use/price.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow745 View Post
    For that price range the Gaggia Classic would serve you well. It does have a hybrid boiler design (aluminum upper/chrome plated brass lower/group), which is a proven/safe design and great performer for solid home use. They use a thick aluminum boiler/external heating elements so heat time/recovery is rather quick.

    Yes you will need a fairly good grinder to match with the Classic as it has a non-pressurized 58mm basket system. No training wheels so to speak like you find on lower priced machines. You may be able to find a decent combo deal on the Classic/MDF grinder, which would be a good setup for daily use/price.
    Yea, from what I could find, the options are the Gaggia classic, Rancilio silvia and Breville duo temp-pro.
    I was wondering what are your thought on that and if there is still something else I should consider.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    What grinder are you using?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musicphan View Post
    What grinder are you using?
    I'm not, looking for one as well.
    But I'm not worried about that, I do know MDF has some gap between the levels, while others do a more fine grind, some has a container while others do not, etc..

  6. #6
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    Nothing against Breville as they have gotten a lot better, but still are an appliance company. I have seen pics of them internally and not impressive for the price point. Most aren't easily fixed mainly due to lack of parts to be found based on what owners say.

    The Classic is a good solid home machine. I currently have a Silvia and it likely will be my last machine. Cost a fair amount more than the Classic, but the build quality is definitely more robust. I have had a KA Pro Line, which is a Classic x2, so I can make accurate comparisons between the two. Silvia has a reputation for being finicky, but I appreciate that. It is very hands-on compared to more docile home machines, but the performance/build quality is there and can match any machine that I've ever owned/used.

    Yeah the MDF has steps between settings, but don't read too much into that. Stepless can be nice, but not the do all-end all feature you just have to have for great espresso. I currently use a stepped Rocky grinder and dial in 2-3 different blends on any given day. With the Rocky I never have to go up/down more than 1 click. Granted they are closer than the steps on the MDF, but likely not that much difference. Some grinders have bins you can grind into, some have dosers, which I happen to like using. Dosers are misunderstood by many and can actually be quite efficient/less messy/wasteful than other types of delivery systems.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dben View Post
    I'm not, looking for one as well.
    But I'm not worried about that, I do know MDF has some gap between the levels, while others do a more fine grind, some has a container while others do not, etc..
    Cool.... as long as you know the machines will be limited in its performance without a solid grinder.

    Another one to consider is the Crossland CC1 .. it has a PID controller which the Silvia does not. I owned a Silvia for 10+ years... rock solid little machine. I had modified with the PID controller for better temperature control. It does however lack steam pressure (like most on the lower end). To get solid steam pressure for frothing many drinks your jumping up the price scale a bit. FYI... Seattle Coffee gear sometimes runs specials on Rocky/Silvia combo (and they also offer a 10% off to new customers/email subscribers).

  8. #8
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    In comparison to others around this price range, I think the Breville holds up pretty well.

    Here is some information about it Best Espresso Machine Under $500 - beverage for me

    I too enjoy the Silvia however!

    Happy brewing!
    Sandra H

  9. #9
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    The barista's craft of making espresso is the manipulation of temperature, pressure, grind and dose to get the most from a well-chosen bean.
    If you want to make espresso consistently at the "craft" level, as opposed to making something which is recognizably espresso but can be pretty bad no matter what you do, you need equipment which allows you to make the necessary adjustments in a very controlled way and at a very fine level.
    The least expensive/best bang you can find in cozzy review.
    Don't buy equipment which will fight you. The most you can learn from it is how to mitigate some of its inherent weaknesses, rather than how to make consistently good espresso. To that end, I suggest skipping the SBDU (single boiler dual use, such as the Gaggias) class entirely, unless you (a) have no interest in making milk drinks; and (b) plan on modifying the machine with a PID. Without the modification, SBDU temperature control is so inaccurate that whether your cup is bitter, sour or balanced becomes a matter of chance, rather than skill.

 

 

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