Need advice about using a cheap espresso machine!


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Feb 1, 2006
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:( Well I had posted about using one earlier and was shot down because the model I have does not produce real esspresso, which to my dissapointment has found that out. Well , like I said, I have the Mr. Coffee machine, and I cant afford a 1000 dollar one so I guess its back to Starbucks. Can anyone maybe give me some tips on making the best out of a cheap model "espresso machine" ? :cry:
You would be best served by investing your money into a decent burr grinder, then use a Melitta or Swiss Gold filter to pour over brew your coffee - a french press would be a great alternative for certain coffee origins.

Purchase whole bean coffee from a local artisan roster and use it within 2 weeks from its roast date; grind only as much coffee is necesary is necessary for immediate use. Instructions for temperature and water/coffee ratios are found with most of these devices.

Even before considering the substantial investment in education and practice that is requried, it is not practical for the typical consumer to invest in the equipment necessary to create true espresso. Real espresso requires consistently precise conditions that can be produced only by specialized machinery - such equipment costs more (and often much more) than a $1,000.

Additional information can be found on CoffeeGeek and you may purchase these tools from Sweet Marias.


You can pick up a Rancilio Silvia for under $500 US new. Pair it up with a good commercial grade grinder and you can start slugging away at making fine espressos.

Good, 'real' espresso machines are getting cheaper as espresso popularity grows. The Silvia is an unforgiving machine and hard to use without previous espresso experience but she's not impossible.

Heat exchanging machines are easier to use but more costly. They do allow for making espresso and steaming milk simultaneously.

In any case, a good grinder is a must for espresso regardless of the machine you chose.

Don't let anyone fool you into believing good espresso is inaccessible. Do some research, get good equipment, do some more research and get advice if you need it and practice, practice, practice. I started knowing nothing except some theory and after lots of additional research and much practice I pull shots only a dedicated espresso bar can match. There's some science to it but it's not rocket science. ... /venus.htm ... omachines/ ... omachines/
For a steam machine the best thing I can think of is grinding evenly to a coarsness that's just shy of choking the machine, dosing and tamping well and just shy of choking the machine. Pushing the steam pressure during extraction should get you a better extraction provided the grind is even and resistance to the pressure is also uniform. To help with the pressure fill that reservoir to the max level. The only thing that might mess things up is that water will heat up past the boiling point when under pressure so while you can push the pressure by ensuring more resistance at the grounds or letting pressure build up before you brew (assuming you the machine gives you that control) added pressure means higher temp. and that temperature might be too hot and you'll get bitter brew.

For frothing build up that pressure and try to get the steam as dry as you can by bleeding off water from the wand while the pressure is building up.

Fresh roasted beans will also help.
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Note taken m8, thanks a mess guys. Well, my "espresso" maker is ok enough, I guess I would need good beans and I'm using Peet's Coffee Beans, Italian Roast. Its very good so far in comparison to GLoria Jean's. I'm satisfied. I wish I had enough money to sample more coffee's.
I have been thinking of getting an espresso machine at home, not like I drink more than 4-6 shots a day at work, but it would be nice for the weekends, and when I am painting and stuff.
I was wondering if anyone cn recommend a machine that I can pick up used in the 100-150 dollar range, a Nouva Simonelli or something like that, the only thing I require is that A. it is a real espresso machine, not a fakie one, and B. it is manual, not an automatic machine. I like being able to decide when my shot is done, not have the machine tell you when you have extracted enough.
I also like mixing it up as for what I am tossing in h machine. I love it at work when we gwt bored of regular espresso blends and decide to throw a light roasted Costa Rica or Java in the machine. It is god, although it will burn the hair off your chest.
need advice....

I have an older Saeco Magic Capuccino machine that makes acceptable espresso without much effort once you figure out the grind, the roast and the dose. Occasionally I get a really spectacular shot out of it. Then I try to remember exactly what it was I did to get it and write down my efforts.

I got this machine used for under $80 on ebay. You have to watch what is for sale, but eventually you can get a good deal from someone who is not selling 100s of machines at retail.

Hope this helps
You do not have to spend a bundle to make a great esspresso.
I'll put my little $40 Salton steam driven quad squirter, or my even older Mr. Coffee, up against any home machine out there. And I mean ounces of output per coffee input.
There are two kinds of home machines - pump driven and steam driven. All of the pump driven machines I have personally had contact with have gone TU. My steam driven units are still going.
These little steam driven machines, like most, give their best ouput when pulling 4 shots at once. I use a pretty fine grind of my favorite coffee, SGC Morning Thunder; load the basket with less than 28 grams of coffee, usually 24-27, then put in 6 ounces of water and seal it up and turn it on. What comes out is a fantastic 4 oz. of esspresso.
I would love to my little machine up agaist any commercial machine. Any takers?
Like I said, I'll put my steam driven machine up against any takers!
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LOL, wow, I admire your confidence. Hmm, so putting 4 oz instead of 2 standard? Thats what I've been fixing. And with Peets Coffee Italian Roast, damn its good!