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Which Espresso Machine Do I Buy?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Over the years I have spent quite a lot of money buying domestic espresso coffee machines. I have also spent quite a lot of time taking them to pieces on a sunday morning. They all have one main problem, they break. My last purchase was a Gaggia Synchrony Digital, very good until the boiler seals went after about 1700 cups. New boiler needed as seals are not sold as a part number etc.

My question is and I know the sky is the limit; can anyone recommend a good professional single phase 1 group semi automatic espresso machine with mains water supply and coffee grinder for domestic use without going over the top in spec or price. It has to be fully serviceable down to the last seal!

I live in the UK and I have found a dealer selling a semi automatic espresso cappuccino machine “la Pavoni Pub Line” + separate ZIP base grinder. Are they any good?

I realise that there are many makes being manufactured so if nothing else tell me the ones to keep away from. Any help would be appreciated.

maxon 8
post #2 of 26
Try Saeco.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 26
post #4 of 26
Maxon, have you tried the nespresso brand? I bought a year ago and I am quite happy with it. The only drawback is that it works on a pod system so you are required to use their coffe. However I have found nespresso coffee to be quite excellent. www.nespresso.com. I posted a thread about the machine I bought here:

http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showt...ight=Nespresso

Also a friend of mine has a capresso which is excellent. It is a lower end model but the coffee is good. The higher end capresso machines are crazy expensive (2-3 thousand).

Hope that helps.
Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #5 of 26
Cruise this site, lots of information.

http://www.coffeegeek.com/
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that, great site just what I wanted.

Maxon8
post #7 of 26
Maxon,

I was wondering what you went with after all this time? I am in the market for a new machine and have been doing a lot of research.
Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #8 of 26
Also visit the website Home-Barista.com. They provide a wealth of espresso related information.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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post #9 of 26
Thanks koko I have been to the Home-barista site many times it is an excellent site.

WHat machine do you have?
Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #10 of 26
Hi Nicko and longtime no hear!

Okay, I tried two lever machines: one was a SAMA and the other a Olympia Cremina 67. Although they made great tasting espresso like I've never had before, both machines were eventually sold. Making espresso requires tons more effort than, let's say, Turkish style coffee. And really, I prefer the latter because I get twice the volume with an equivalent amount of body.

Since I left espresso making, I will soon begin a journey into coffee roasting and will let you know how it works out. My roaster, of all things, is a Whirleypop Stovetop Popcorn popper! Veeeery high tech. The upside to roasting, however, is that green coffee beans usually cost between $3 and $6 a pound and, in their green and unroasted state, have a shelf life of about a year.

Turkish coffee when properly made using Peets Arabian Mocca Sanani will give a product having chocolaty highlights and lots of foam. I know, I know, foam ain't crema but espresso ain't Turkish, either!

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #11 of 26
Great to hear from you to. Ehh hemmm it is "Greek Coffee" to me anyway. :)

I have read amazing things about the Olympia Cremina 67 and was suprised you sold it since I believe they are out of production now. I recently ended up with an Ascaso (Spanish) model and you are right it is a ton of work!

For years we have had a nespresso machine and were very happy simple and affordable. Lately though I was looking to move up and have the ability to use ground coffee of my choice or pods. The Ascaso was recommended to me and that is what we went with so far so good.

I will say though I was completely ignorant to how much of an art making espresso is. The grind, the tamping, the water temperature, priming the machine, cleaning, and so on. I find myself using the pods most (Lavazza grand crema) but I am slowly experimenting with the ground coffee.

As for Turkish/Greek coffee I have grown up on that and pretty much consider myself an expert on the subject. :D. I have never tried Peets brand but will give it a go. Most of the time I use Loumidis coffee.
Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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post #12 of 26
Let's call it GMT coffee: Greek, Middle Eastern, Turkish!!!! :roll:

At least with coffee made GMT style with Peets Sanani, I get great foam and flavor throughout the lifespan of a 1 pound bag - which amounts to around a month or two.

Fresh roasted espresso beans, when used in an espresso machine, however, must be used within two weeks of roasting otherwise you'll note a huge deterioration in flavor and crema.

Using the same coffee freshly ground for espresso, you may notice a huge difference from morning to night and even with weather changes. Espresso therefore isn't for me. Making it is just way too sensitive to environmental and human factors. Gimme' a nice ibrik any day.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #13 of 26
Koko when you get the coffee from Peets do you have them grind it? If so what grind to you specify?
Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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Bacon (I made)
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post #14 of 26
Ok Koko I wish you would of told me the Sanani is $18.00 a pound!!!!

:D :D :D
Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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Bacon (I made)
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post #15 of 26
I purchase whole bean and use either my Zass Turkish/Greek grinder or the actual Sjojen made in Turkey. Approx 14g of beans to make one full 2 oz espresso cup.

Also I'm not receiving notifications to replies to my posts.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #16 of 26
Also you'll find that making GMT coffee is much more cost effective, less $ per cup, than espresso.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #17 of 26
Top sirloin is more cost effective than tenderloin, too. But they're not the same thing. And yes, the espresso process can be very finicky but good modern equipment, especially top line grinders, portafilters, and group heads, makes it less so.

BDL
post #18 of 26
Equipment aside, I consider GMT coffee as an experience transcending a choice ribeye and filet mignon.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #19 of 26
Thanks Koko I am ordering some of the coffee you recommend Peets is a favorite brand of mine.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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post #20 of 26
Objection. Non-responsive. Move to strike.

And as a side note, don't try running Peet's in an espresso machine. Great coffee for GMT, french press, vacuum and drip, but too dark a roast for an espresso machine.

BDL
post #21 of 26
I just tried the Intelligentsia black cat espresso blend and after a few tries with the grind I finally pulled a really nice shot (my best yet).

As for the Peets coffee I am ordering some for my Greek coffee.

BDL I am confused you had recommended the Peets coffee to me over the Starbucks I was using are you saying I should not use Peets?
Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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Bacon (I made)
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post #22 of 26
I'm a Peets customer for 35 years but not exclusively. That stated, perhaps either my taste buds have changed or it's Peets roasting technique that's been altered. I now find that many kinds of dark roasted beans taste outright burnt.

For everyday drinking of American style manual drip coffee with breakfast, I use Caracollilo Coffee located in Tampa, Florida. Lighter beans are offered that seem well suited to my ever aging palate! And CC Coffee offers green beans, too.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Reply
post #23 of 26
Nicko, I assumed that you would already possess, by now, a grinder suitable for GMT coffee. :eek:

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Reply
post #24 of 26
Sadly no I always buy Loumidis or Bravo which always comes pre-ground. I will invest in a good grinder.

Thanks
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #25 of 26

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Reply
post #26 of 26
I love Peets, and have been drinking it almost since he started roasting in the East Bay. But not for espresso.

Intelligentsia Black Cat is a superb choice.

For our espresso, we have some good roasters in the SGV and buy from a few of them; I maintain a friendly relationship with Pasquini, and sometimes get the Italian brand they import, Perra, or their house brand; there are several Trader Joe's blends which are convenient, acceptable, and not too expensive; and we sometimes buy our beans from the local Armenian and Russian supers. I'm not sure where they get them, I think there's a guy in "East Hollywood" on Santa Monica right around Vermont who does most of that roasting. But the prices are cheeeeeeeeeeeeeap, and the blends are good (with a little robusta for zip -- the way I like it).

Merry Christmas,
BDL
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