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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2017
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    5

    Advise Please: Looking for the Best Bang for the Buck Espresso Machine

    Hey Folks,

    So things got really crazy between school & work, so I finally have time to re-visit getting a home espresso machine, instead of visiting the local cafe.

    Originally, I was trying to keep the budget around $300. But I may have to go above that.

    It gets very confusing when all of them seam (at least to one that doesn't know) to do all the same things. So I'm forced to ask the question, what makes this manufacturer / model better than this at $X dollars more?

    Before I begin...I just want to confirm my understanding...of semi-automatic and super-automatic (i don't think there's just an automatic category, but I could be wrong)..

    Super-automatics usually have a built in grinder, and basically its touch a button, and its done. Semi-automatic, you have to grind the beans up, fill the portafilter, press a button to start, press button to stop. I'm not the type to stand hovering over something for 30 seconds while it heats up and 30 seconds more while it pours. I'll probably be getting some breakfast going on while its doing that, just build a routine, so its not a negative, but...its doable and I'd have to be mindful (no biggie).

    With that in mind...I'm trying to sort my way through a series of models. Some of them have them have pros/cons. One review of the Ronsilio Silvia indicates it broke after 2 years of use, and only 1 place to have it fixed in USA. With $750 gone, and $170 in shipping to fix his machine, it kinda makes ya wonder if it was worth it.

    These are the semi-automatics ... that have sorta caught my eye. Some of these I can bare figure out if any what the differences are, more importantly how they might impact my morning routine.

    Saeco Poemia ($250CAD)

    Capresso EC100 > Product Code: SA-CAP-EC100 ($200CAD)
    Capresso EC PRO > Product Code: SA-CAP-ECPRO ($390CAD)
    Capresso Ultima Pro Expresso Machine > Product Code: SA-CAP-ULTIMA($350CAD)

    Gaggia Carezza Deluxe ($480CAD) (although I see this in categories of both semi-automatic and super-automatic)
    Gaggia Classic ($530CAD)

    Lelit Anna -LEPL41LEM ($750CAD)

    (i'm including Rancilio but I'm very weary of the company)

    Rancilio Silvia M v5 ($960CAD)

    These are the super-automatics:

    Gaggia Carezza Deluxe ($480CAD) - (no built in grinder)
    Gaggia Brera ($850CAD) (ceramic grinder though)
    Saeco Lirika Plus ($900 CAD) (ceramic grinder)

    Does anyone have any experience with these machines? I hope they last longer than their 1 year manufacturer warranty. What is the brand hiarchy?

    Ideas, thoughts? other notable machines not mentioned? I'm looking for best bang for buck. Doesn't have to the BEST of the BEST...just has to give me a descent cappuccino or latte in the morning (double please).

    Thanks

    TBB

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    756
    What type of drink do you normally make? Espresso or Espresso based drinks (lattes/capps/etc)? And how many do you want to make at one time... is it just yourself or will you be making for others?

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Hey thanks for reply, its just for me, and normally it would be cap or latte. The idea is to stop taking a synthetic form of caffienne and go for something from more nature sources. I do not like the flavor of coffee per say, but easy enjoy double latte's or capuccinos. Its for daily use, mornings mostly. Although It could be used very occassionally, when I host. It only needs to do 1 at a time, I always make 2 in a row if need be. That said, I've never owned a machine before, I would normally just pick one up as I wanted at the local coffee shop, but with pricing that starts @ $5 bucks a cup, and easily soars to $10, somehow spending $5x250 or $750 a year on take out coffee seems a little outrageous for starbucks etc. So its also about ease of use and learning curve and all that. I don't need the $5000 machine, but I'm not look for a 1/2 assed machine either. Something middle of the road, that does authentic espresso to make that cap or latte, with relative ease, not alot of headaches, low maintenance, and ain't gonna break down. .... thanks a bunch for your counsel.
    Last edited by TweetyBirdBrain; 08-25-2018 at 03:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    13
    What type of drink do you normally make? Espresso or Espresso based drinks (lattes/capps/etc)? And how many do you want to make at one time... is it just yourself or will you be making for others?





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  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2017
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    I only make 1 cup at a time, cap or latte, usually a double shot.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    May 2014
    Location
    Kansas City
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    756
    Hey there... sorry ... got swamped in life and never responded back.

    First thing to consider is the grinder... with espresso the key to getting good espresso is consistent grind size. Unfortunately 'good' grinders aren't cheap but they last a LONG time, I'm going on 10+ years on my Mazzer Mini. The Baratza Sette is probably the intro espresso grinder to consider... runs around $250-300... up from there take a look at the Rocky and the next step up is a Mazzer Mini. There are several other great grinders in that $300-$600 range. Unfortunately below that price point the grinders aren't great which will lead to inconsistent extractions and less flexibility in grind size adjustments.

    In regards to espresso machines... to first address your concerns about the Rancilio Silva.... its a rock solid machine. I brutalized my Silva for 10 years of heavy use and never had a failure. Its one of the tried and true entry level espresso machines on the market. When selecting an espresso machine there are two key things to consider: 1) How well does it extract and make espresso 2) How well does it froth milk. Most quality machines can extract the espresso pretty well. However, the lower end espresso machines use pressurized portafilters which I'm not a fan of. They basically mimic the power of a full sized espresso machine pump to extract the espresso. Net-net .. lower cost & price point but also lower quality extraction. Most people looking to have a quality setup at home start with the Rancilio Silva or Crossland CC1 - they run typically around $600 and are single boiler machines. It uses the same boiler to produce hot water for espresso extraction as well as steam for milk steaming. These are typically a bit slower to steam milk than higher end units but generally do a good job. They challenge with a single boiler is making back-to-back shots or a shot / steam milk. The single boiler is a bit of a limiting factor... it will do the job for a single drink but they don't do great banging out several drinks in a row. Up from that you get into HX boiler machines but the starting points are around $1200. I replaced my Silvia with Rocket Apartmento HX machine... works perfect in my home situation and can handle several drinks in a row.

    Ultimately - to get into doing espresso drinks at home for similar to cafe quality your looking at $1000 (IMO). But once you save and invest in good equipment you are set for a long time.
    Last edited by Musicphan; 08-28-2018 at 12:46 PM.

 

 

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