Hi all, I have decided to take the next step in my coffee journey and upgrade my equipment. I was a life long tea drinker until a few years ago when I got into road cycling. Seemingly coffee and cycling go hand in hand and now I can't really function in a morning without the stuff!
I currently have a DeLonghi ECP33.21 and up until recently I've been using pre ground coffee from a variety of roasters including Mancoco in Manchester and Rins in the lakes and producing something that tastes ok, although well aware that there is massive room for improvement. I've recently added a Ranchilio steam wand to the machine as a bit of an experiment really after poking around on here and seeing Gaggias etc being modded. Surprisingly it works and my milk is now almost resembling something like I've been lusting after from all the videos I've watched. I also picked up a hand grinder and a non pressurised basket. The thinking was to see for myself if I could tell the difference between fresh and decent pre ground rather than just rely on what I had read online before jumping in with both feet. Well here i am in search of a new grinder and machine which obviously speaks volumes to the result of that expeirment.
The machine is obviously inferior and I imagine not up to the task of delivering much improvement over what it does already. Mostly I drink a couple of flat whites a day and perhaps 3 or 4 on a weekend. I have had a go with the non pressurised basket with the hand ground coffee but it either pours through in seconds or chokes the machine completely which I was surprised as i didn't think the hand grinder would be able to go fine enough. Perhaps this is just another indicator that the machine is not up to it?
I am now treading a seemingly well trodden path of new forumites. Ive been back and forth and the budget has inflated and shrunk a few times. However I'm leaning towards two espresso machines now. Obviously a used Gaggia classic which sounds like the first option for most with the ability to keep it going and modify as you go, this seems like a cost effective place to start. The other which i am slightly surprised at myself at is the Sage DTP. I am aware reliability seems to be an issue, but like most I'll probably have moved on before that becomes an issue. I like the fact that it seems a bit more beginner friendly straight out of the box and although Im quite happy to have a tinker I like the thought of getting on and learning how to pull a decent shot without the need to add a ton of upgrades first. I terms of grinders I imagine one of the eureka model is where i will end up although just going straight for a niche zero is seriously tempting the lead time is probably the thing thats stopped that happening already.
Anyway thats where I am at, sorry for the ramble any insights or pointers greatly appreciated.