Best espresso setup for $500-600?


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Oct 18, 2012
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Hello all, this is my first post here after lurking for some time. I haven't found quite the answer I'm looking for so I decided to register and post.

I am in the market for an espresso machine for home use. I'm not a coffee snob, but do appreciate a good cup. I typically don't drink straight shots so I'd be using the machine to make capps, fraps and the occasional macchiato. I have a hand-me-down "Krummy" Krups machine at the moment and have found that it makes little more than strong coffee. I've been able to convince the wife to justify spending around $500 on a new machine so I am here looking for suggestions. I am not set on super-auto or semi-auto, but I will admit that the convenience of a super is pretty tempting. I have been looking hard at the Saeco Talea Giro Plus which I can pick up refurbished for $499. Does anyone here have any experience with this machine? I'm also looking for suggestions for a semi-auto, but keep in mind that I'll also have to factor a grinder into the budget.

Hello TonyB


It sounds like you're saying you want both an espresso machine and a grinder....and your budget is $500- $600.

I remember reading some threads on this coffee forum where people recommended spending most of your budget on a good grinder. I can't seem to find the specific posts right now, but I'll keep looking.

In the meantime, hopefully one of the other forum members will be able to offer you a couple of suggestions.

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Correct. I have $500-600 to spend on either a super-auto (refurb'd Talea) or a semi-auto and a grinder.

Also should add the I have been reading up on the Breville BES840XL. Anyone here with experience with them?
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Wanted to update that I bought a machine over the weekend. I decided to go with a Breville BES860XL. What enticed me was the built-in grinder and that it's a semi-auto so I can tailor the shots to my liking. I read a lot of reviews and articles before buying it, pretty much 50/50 good/bad as far as reviews are concerned. I've played with it for a few days and think I'm close to getting it dialed in. I will say that I have made a TON of horrible shots and have gone through a lot of beans experimenting with the grind and tamp and this machine is very sensitive to those two variables. So far I'm happy, my last 6 shots or so have been properly extracted. I'm thinking that a lot of the bad reviews are from people who think making a good shot is as easy as opening the box and pushing a button.
Thanks for the update. It sounds like you are enjoying your new machine. As you're finding out, it pays to be persistent. Good thinks come to those who try and try again. Now you'll be going through less beans and enjoying your coffee more.

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Haha yes, the "P" word. Persistence. I've gone through a lot of beans in the past week and over the weekend finally found myself in espresso bliss. All of the associated variables equate to thousands of combinations to get the "right" shot. As a result, I've got a note pad full of scribble-scrabble documenting what worked and what didn't. Not sure if it helped at all, but it definitely put my scientific mind to ease. I've finally got a system down, a procerdure if you will, which yields an excellent shot of espresso every time. Well.....almost every time. I'm close to the point of being willing to serve a cappuccino to house guests!
I just bought a Jura 13531 and I just soo love it! Well I like drinking cappuccino so its a nice treat for me since it has a cappuccino frothier. Feels like I'm drinking coffee at a great cafe. Orville
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Starbucks Verismo for $199 makes great espresso

Hi Tony -

I'm not sure if this may be too "basic" but I just bought the new Starbucks Verismo espresso and coffee machine a few weeks ago, and I'm loving it! It makes great espresso. I'd say it's about 99% close to the real Starbucks taste. This is a pretty basic machine, it uses pods, and makes espresso in 15 seconds. Now you did mention you were looking for a grinder too, so this may not be it. But if you are looking for a simple, great working machine that makes great espresso, I'd highly recommend it. And, it's only $200.


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