CoffeeTec.Com

Just made my first espresso at home, now improving it...?

OP
M

Melissa2013B

New member
Jun 17, 2013
13
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #16
So now that my bubble has been burst, what is the minimum that someone would have to pay, to get a quality machine that makes real espresso, and a suitable grinder? And the brands ( obviously not Delnghi? ).

( Oh, just checked and it appears my grinder is a Capresso 560.)
 
Last edited:

Surfer

New member
Jun 18, 2011
160
0
Boca Raton, FL
I wouldn't worry too much especially if this is your budget right now, can always save up. Ton of companies offer similar machines at that price range so it's not really them alone, really as long as your happy with it right now that's what matter. Hard to go by ratings b/c about 99% of them buying and reviewing like on Amazon are just moving up from preground drip or still using drip and got it as a wedding gift etc etc... so they don't really no better, but compared to what they do know and what they've been used to it's "better". I started with a Bar32 which is the samething internally as your EC155 and was fine with it.... till I played with a real grinder and machine lol. At that point I never knew the difference between pressurized and non-pressurized portafilters. Even saying that though, I made better drinks and coffee on that cheap little thing then Starbucks any day, fresh beans are the most important part and even if using a pressurized portafilter fresh beans make a huge difference. You even said it tasted great vs your normal coffee before, so just consider that :) . I may have made a mistake, when you said you were pre heating the water I thought you meant using warm water in the tank, I think what you meant by that was turning on the machine or warm up right? 15 Bar bragging rights don't matter, pump could be 50 Bars lol, when actually running at the puck will usually see around 9 bars regardless of rating.

I had a Capresso 560, although it's not suitable for espresso grinding pretty much at all, it's perfect for a pressurized portafitler machine or for coarse needs like drip etc.

But since you asked, pry the cheapest entry setup that's good would be a Gaggia Classic which hovers usually just under $400 new (some are like $360 new on ebay) or refurbed from wholelattelove for like $280 shipped (for some reason on their website they charge more for refurbs lol). A Saeco Aroma is cheaper but comes pressurized and no 3 way valve, so you have to buy a regular portafilter for it, might as well just get a Classic and enjoy it's other advantages. And Baratza Preciso grinder is about the cheapest fully espresso capable grinder and also has very tiny retention vs some others around it's price range, which is around $300 new or $230 something like that refurbed from Baratza (they update their site every Thursday with refurb models). I've got a Crossland CC1 and Preciso which is about a $1k combo new. But you can even consider getting a hand grinder, you can pick up a cheap Hario Skerton or Slim and they can be modded to be used stepless, I got Slim on Amazon for like 30 bucks. But then you need to factor in some accessories, like group cleaning brush, decent tamper (rattleware make s a great cheap one), cleaning/descaling stuff like Cafiza etc. Or since you mentioned the large drinks you make, people even used tripple bottomless baskets for higher doses like 21+ grams, and make larger shots like 3+ oz, or just normal 2oz shots but with the extraction taste of that dose.

Thats the main difference, real espresso requires a very fine, yet consistant grind with trimodal/bimodal qualities, and that's where the cheaper grinders can't compete... or do. They can grind fine and even choke a machine, but that doesn't mean much. And it's the puck creating the back pressure vs the mechanism in a pressurized unit, so with the right grid and dose you'll get that thick real espresso extraction and crema.

But like I said if your happy and this is your budget range right now, don't think about it. It taste good too you right now and that's all that matters. But like I also mentioned before you should still be able to pull 2 oz shots with the double, or maybe an ounce and half each since these baskets aren't large enough. If you like the single taste better it may be over-extracting and you like that punchier bitter taste.

If you want to try, you can disassemble the basket like the pic I posted above (which you should anyway to clean periodically as it can get gunked up, I remember my pressure clip was sticking and not working). And then just use it w/o the pressure mechanism and plate and try using your Capresso to grind with it, who knows, may like it better and sorta get more of a real espresso extraction.
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Melissa2013B

New member
Jun 17, 2013
13
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #18
This is weird. Using an old Taylor 5989 stick thermometer, I measured a cup of water that came out of the Delonghi "espresso" machine. It says 150 degrees, certainly not even anywhere near coffee brewing temp, though I don't know how espresso temp should compare to that.

But THEN I ran a pot of water through my Technivorm KB-741 Mocca Master, which is about 4 years old, and it's SUPPOSED to brew at the correct 202 degrees, but this thermometer said 175. So either I need a better thermometer, or the Technivorm aint what it used to be. ( how could THAT BE? )

We're at about 5800 ft here in west Denver, so I could just about boil some water and pour it into the closed basket of the Technivorm and get proper brew temp, as water boils at about 202.5 here.

What kind of thermometer should I use for measuring water temp, though? An electronic one with a rod? What brand is good, yet not expensive?
...

Wait, I just took a pyrex cup of water and brought it to a hard fast boil, and this thermometer went up to 202! So the thermometer is good. Then why is the Technivorm not brewing at 202 anymore?
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Melissa2013B

New member
Jun 17, 2013
13
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #19
I wouldn't worry too much especially if this is your budget right now, can always save up. Ton of companies offer similar machines at that price range so it's not really them alone, really as long as your happy with it right now that's what matter. Hard to go by ratings b/c about 99% of them buying and reviewing like on Amazon are just moving up from preground drip or still using drip and got it as a wedding gift etc etc... so they don't really no better, but compared to what they do know and what they've been used to it's "better". I started with a Bar32 which is the samething internally as your EC155 and was fine with it.... till I played with a real grinder and machine lol. At that point I never knew the difference between pressurized and non-pressurized portafilters. Even saying that though, I made better drinks and coffee on that cheap little thing then Starbucks any day, fresh beans are the most important part and even if using a pressurized portafilter fresh beans make a huge difference. You even said it tasted great vs your normal coffee before, so just consider that :) .

Yeah thanks surfer. It tasted better, but now I'm wondering if the Technivorm was going downhill with temperature, since it was new? I need to accurately measure it.

I may have made a mistake, when you said you were pre heating the water I thought you meant using warm water in the tank, I think what you meant by that was turning on the machine or warm up right?

Yes, it has you preheat it, then use the heated water, but as someone else pointed out, it must used a very tiny tank, because the green preheat light goes out about halfway through a little ceramic espresso cup.


15 Bar bragging rights don't matter, pump could be 50 Bars lol, when actually running at the puck will usually see around 9 bars regardless of rating.

Not sure how it matters, if the water temp is way too low.

I had a Capresso 560, although it's not suitable for espresso grinding pretty much at all, it's perfect for a pressurized portafitler machine or for coarse needs like drip etc.

I see. OK.

But since you asked, pry the cheapest entry setup that's good would be a Gaggia Classic which hovers usually just under $400 new (some are like $360 new on ebay) or refurbed from wholelattelove for like $280 shipped (for some reason on their website they charge more for refurbs lol).

Thanks again. Just taking a quick peek, the Gaggia Evolution costs even less. Does that make real deal espresso?

A Saeco Aroma is cheaper but comes pressurized and no 3 way valve, so you have to buy a regular portafilter for it, might as well just get a Classic and enjoy it's other advantages. And Baratza Preciso grinder is about the cheapest fully espresso capable grinder and also has very tiny retention vs some others around it's price range, which is around $300 new or $230 something like that refurbed from Baratza (they update their site every Thursday with refurb models). I've got a Crossland CC1 and Preciso which is about a $1k combo new. But you can even consider getting a hand grinder, you can pick up a cheap Hario Skerton or Slim and they can be modded to be used stepless, I got Slim on Amazon for like 30 bucks. But then you need to factor in some accessories, like group cleaning brush, decent tamper (rattleware make s a great cheap one), cleaning/descaling stuff like Cafiza etc. Or since you mentioned the large drinks you make, people even used tripple bottomless baskets for higher doses like 21+ grams, and make larger shots like 3+ oz, or just normal 2oz shots but with the extraction taste of that dose.

Thats the main difference, real espresso requires a very fine, yet consistant grind with trimodal/bimodal qualities, and that's where the cheaper grinders can't compete... or do. They can grind fine and even choke a machine, but that doesn't mean much. And it's the puck creating the back pressure vs the mechanism in a pressurized unit, so with the right grid and dose you'll get that thick real espresso extraction and crema.

But like I said if your happy and this is your budget range right now, don't think about it. It taste good too you right now and that's all that matters. But like I also mentioned before you should still be able to pull 2 oz shots with the double, or maybe an ounce and half each since these baskets aren't large enough. If you like the single taste better it may be over-extracting and you like that punchier bitter taste.

If you want to try, you can disassemble the basket like the pic I posted above (which you should anyway to clean periodically as it can get gunked up, I remember my pressure clip was sticking and not working). And then just use it w/o the pressure mechanism and plate and try using your Capresso to grind with it, who knows, may like it better and sorta get more of a real espresso extraction.

Thanks for the rest of this, I'll look into it all!
 

Surfer

New member
Jun 18, 2011
160
0
Boca Raton, FL
Thanks again. Just taking a quick peek, the Gaggia Evolution costs even less. Does that make real deal espresso?
Don't know much about that machine, but from checking online it seems it does not use a pressurized/crema enhancer PF, but has a real 58mm portafilter. Looks like it may be similar internally to the Classic but not sure, it doesn't have a 3 way valve (so like your delonghi you have to wait before you remove the PF or the pressure will shoot coffee everywhere, ask me how I know... did that with the Bar32 first time lol). But it looked like a basic, but real, espresso capable machine just w/o the 3 way valve and Stainless body of the Classic.

Would need a better grinder so would depend on your budget. There are quite a few hand grinders that are affordable if you don't mind hand grinding and an electronic grinder would push the budget too far. May want to check out coffeegeeks as there's more espresso peeps over there and would pry know more about the Evolution. Gaggia makes good reliable machines, except for their Baby Twin, stay away from that, not made as well and has design flaws.

Here's some reviews on the machine:
http://coffeegeek.com/reviews/consumer/gaggiaevolution
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Melissa2013B

New member
Jun 17, 2013
13
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #21
Well the Gaggia Classic isn't too bad, if I look on Ebay. They have refurbed ones.

A hand grinder will actually make good espresso?! I am there! What brands please?!

And I see heavy stainless tampers too, but am curious - someone mentioned a 30 lb tamper for $100?
...
OOPS:

http://coffeegeek.com/guides/howtobuyanespressomachine/getagrinder

Manual Grinders
We don't include manual grinders (like the Hario Mini Ceramic) in this guide for a couple of reasons. First, most hand grinders, especially budget ones, cannot do a consistent enough grind for pump-driven espresso machines (the Hario models are an exception). Second, and probably more important, hand grinders are very, very slow when grinding for espresso. Think two, three minutes to grind. Because immediate grinding is crucial to great espresso (ie, you should be brewing within 30-45 seconds after grinding), a lot of the coffee's stored Co2 is released from the grounds when using a hand grinder and patiently grinding enough to do a double shot.
 
Last edited:

Surfer

New member
Jun 18, 2011
160
0
Boca Raton, FL
Well the Gaggia Classic isn't too bad, if I look on Ebay. They have refurbed ones.

A hand grinder will actually make good espresso?! I am there! What brands please?!

And I see heavy stainless tampers too, but am curious - someone mentioned a 30 lb tamper for $100?
...
OOPS:

CoffeeGeek - Don't Skimp on the Grinder

Manual Grinders
We don't include manual grinders (like the Hario Mini Ceramic) in this guide for a couple of reasons. First, most hand grinders, especially budget ones, cannot do a consistent enough grind for pump-driven espresso machines (the Hario models are an exception). Second, and probably more important, hand grinders are very, very slow when grinding for espresso. Think two, three minutes to grind. Because immediate grinding is crucial to great espresso (ie, you should be brewing within 30-45 seconds after grinding), a lot of the coffee's stored Co2 is released from the grounds when using a hand grinder and patiently grinding enough to do a double shot.
Pry meant you tamp with 30lbs, the Espro Tamper has a clicking mechanism to let you know when you hit that range of pressure when tamping. But it's around $100. Rattleware makes good cheap tampers on Amazon (just make sure their for the machine you buy, 58mm tamper for a 58mm portafilter etc). I have a Hario Mini Slim around, it can be finicky, the steps are wide so you find a click that's usually too coarse and the other is too tight, so you have to play with dose (i.e. if too tight lessen the dose and if too coarse up the dose). But there are some other hand grinders as well. Cheapest electronic grinder that's espresso capable would most likely be a refurb Preciso (grinder I have) from Baratza.

You may want to join CG to ask for help about that b/c there are way more people actively posting about espresso and hand grinders etc then on here.

Wholelatteelove sells the refurb Classics, and I think they list them cheaper on Ebay then their store as well.
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Melissa2013B

New member
Jun 17, 2013
13
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #23
Pry meant you tamp with 30lbs, the Espro Tamper has a clicking mechanism to let you know when you hit that range of pressure when tamping. But it's around $100. Rattleware makes good cheap tampers on Amazon (just make sure their for the machine you buy, 58mm tamper for a 58mm portafilter etc). I have a Hario Mini Slim around, it can be finicky, the steps are wide so you find a click that's usually too coarse and the other is too tight, so you have to play with dose (i.e. if too tight lessen the dose and if too coarse up the dose). But there are some other hand grinders as well. Cheapest electronic grinder that's espresso capable would most likely be a refurb Preciso (grinder I have) from Baratza.

You may want to join CG to ask for help about that b/c there are way more people actively posting about espresso and hand grinders etc then on here.

Wholelatteelove sells the refurb Classics, and I think they list them cheaper on Ebay then their store as well.


But wasn't someone saying not to use a hand grinder for espresso? Something about too slow and releasing carbon dioxide that's needed?
 
CoffeeTec.Com
Top