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Found 69 results

  1. Hey all, I joined this forum a few weeks ago after purchasing a De'Longhi Eletta ECAM 44.660.B Bean to Cup. After a few weeks I've decided it isn't for me due to average taste in coffee and actually not very hot coffee. Also with reading a lot on this forum I'm going for the more manual option so..... I have a budget of around £500 for a coffee machine and grinder. I've read around the classic and i'm not a big fan of the looks (I know it's not all about the looks) and I think you need to like the look of the machine you are wanting to use. Basically I'm a huge fan of flat whites and want to really focus on getting a lovely flat white therefore this is the priority in coffee. I would just like (like many newbies) recommendations for machines and grinders. I've read the 'what can i get for my budget' which has been really helpful but I would love to hear more from members experiences and recommendations - especially from fellow newbies who maybe made a mistake in their first purchase and therefore have a few 'what not to dos'. Thanks all
  2. Hi all, I am looking to use tap water here in Dublin, Ireland to brew with. I have some questions about my water filter and water parameters here in Dublin which I have been told is soft water. I currently have a HMA filter set up with which I use to filter my tap water for drinking. It has 3 filters, a sediment filter down to 1 micron, a PCB-10-CM carbon filter which removes chlorine and chloramines and the 3rd filter which is a pentek carbon filter. I have used this water to supply my aquarium but thought I could use it with my tap water to use in an espresso machine. Water profile: Colour (Hazen)................................................ Turbidity (NTU).............................................. pH................................................................... 7.5 - 8.5 Conductivity (µS/cm)....................................... 140 - 150 Chloride (mg/l)................................................ Sulphate (mg/l)................................................ Total Dissolved Solids (mg/l)........................... 95 Total Residual Chlorine (mg/l)......................... 0.05 - 0.10 Nitrate (mg N/l)............................................... Nitrite (mg N/l)................................................ Ammonia (mg N/l)........................................... Phosphate (mg P/l)........................................... Aluminium (mg/l)............................................. Iron (mg/l)....................................................... Fluoride (mg/l)................................................. 0.6 - 0.8 Total Coliforms (MPN/100ml).......................... E.coli (MPN/100ml)........................ Enterococci (CFU/100ml)…………….. 0 Heterotrophic Plate Count 22°C (CFU/ml)....... Heterotrophic Plate Count 37°C (CFU/ml)....... Odour.............................................................. None Taste................................................................ None Magnesium (mg/L)........................................ 1.5 Calcium (mg/L)............................................. 18 - 20 Total Alkalinity (mg CaCO3/l)......................... 28 Calcium Hardness (mg CaCO3/l)..................... 45 - 50 Total Hardness (mg CaCO3/l).......................... 55 I am wondering if anyone can shed some light if i can use straight tap water or will i get scale etc. Do you think i need a softner for my tap water. My PH is at 7.5 so on the higher side. I am within the SCAA adequate brew zones. Thanks for any advice, Simon.
  3. Hello fellow coffee addicts, My first post on here. Ive spent the last couple of weeks exploring the forum for as much info as I can possibly gather and thought I should probably sign up and introduce myself! I've been a Nespresso user for the last 4 years or so (mainly due to convenience), and I'm yearning for more control over my coffee. I have a feeling I have opened up a can of worms with this coffee malarkey. Im an obsessive, perfectionist by nature. Combined with a love of good coffee, I sense this will become both time consuming and expensive! I wonder if anyone might be able to offer some advice. For my first setup im fairly set on the Niche Zero as my grinder (I've seen excellent reports on here and my local coffee shop recently acquired one and has nothing but great things to say about it) but im stuck on the machine itself. I’m juggling between the Sage Bambino Plus, it seems to tick many of the boxes as well as being compact. Having said that; I cant seem to see many reviews and the 54mm PF concerns me as I'd like to easily source a bottomless PF (so I'm better able to see where I might be going wrong as I learn). On the other hand, I'd quite like to be able to steam milk and brew simultaneously so I've been looking at other HX and DB machines. Again, I like the convenience that Sage seem to provide so potentially the Sage dual boiler is an option, but clearly a big step up in price! Really I just want to be sure that im not going to be too limited by the coffee machine itself but rather my own Barista skills (or lack therof). Will the Sage DB produce a far superior coffee to other cheaper options? Or are there any machines I should definitely be looking at in this price bracket? Help! I look forward to becomming part of this obviously thriving community of coffee lovers and learning from the wealth of experience! Cheers, Josh
  4. A couple of weeks ago my Krups Novo 2300 died on me. I know its not the machine of choice, but when I got it 18 years ago I was very happy with it as a huge step up from just having a cafetiere and who fanatasied about being able to have a tasty espresso at home! After a very short period of research, a 2nd hand Gaggic Classic seemed a decent bet, and when one turned up on Ebay in my locality and including a MM grinder too I was keen to buy and now have it sitting in my kitchen. I've been using it for a week or so and (for me) am perfectly happy with what I'm getting out of it at the moment, though I will admit I'm just relying on pre-ground Lavazza stuff at the moment for convenience. I'm hopeful that I can get the MM to provide me with some passable fresh grinds, though I am well aware of its limitations and have relatively little cash-appetite for spending any more money on coffee at the moment! But I do have some queries in the meanwhile. The model I have is an August 2006 one, "made in Italy" on the label and quoted as 1300W. I've honestly no idea of how / if it's been serviced over the years, but it's lived in a soft water area. Cleaning materials - I've seen videos with PulyCaff online, I presume there's unlikely to be anything in my kitchen already that could replace the branded cleaning materials? Backflushing - there was no backflushing disc with the machine, are the silicone inserts that you can pick up from Ebay broadly as effective as the full on backflushing metal disk? They are a lot cheaper... Tamper - the plastic one that comes with the machine is a few MM short on the diameter, I presume the more expensive ones fit the PF basket accurately? Volume of grinds to use - I'm mostly using the double basket, but I've found if I fill that right up to the top and then tamp down I sometimes struggle to get the PF into the machine, and can see the screw head imprinted on the grinds. I'm guessing that implies I'm using too much or not tamping hard enough? Also it comes with a tapered single basket, but I'm conscious that apparently there are different types around. How would I go about identifying the basket that I've got? It seems a looser fit than the double (it has a tendency to come out of the PF when I'm emptying the puck) and I struggle even more to get what I would expect to be a sensible amount of grinds into that one and still have it fit into the machine. Temp lights - without getting too technical about temp surfing and other stuff that I've read a little about, am I right in thinking that providing the machine has had a decent warm up period, the light on the switch which starts to pull the espresso isn't a binary "do use" or "do not use"? On the Krups that I'm used to (which I suspect had a very small boiler, if it had one at all) the instructions were to only pull the espresso when the light was on. So it doesn't matter hugely whether the light is on or off? I'm sure I will have missed some questions here, hopefully you can help me with some useful answers! I have been trawling through the forum a little, but if I'm missed an obvious place that answers all these, please feel free to point me in the right direction - I won't be offended!!
  5. Hi, Hope you can help with a dilemma. I have a krups XP520 but I'm finding the coffee a bit bitter (compared to my old Aldi £40 machine). To try to improve things I was wondering if I should buy just a grinder (thinking iberital MC2 if this is still the best beginner grinder?) or if I should ditch the krups and buy both gaggia classic and the iberital (or any other suggestions if these are now out of date recommendations)? Alternatively I'm also sort of considering a delonghi bean to cup...less mess and more consistency. Are they really that much worse than the "seperates" (I'm happy with music from my radio and a £8 red wine eg Wolf Blass yellow label on offer if this gives a guide to my pickiness in tastes ie I don't need a £60 bottle and a £2000 music system to enjoy them ) Any help much appreciated! Thanks, Dom.
  6. New coffee shop, 1500 quid budget 2 grinders 1 for house espresso 1 for decaf or maybe guest espresso what grinder combo would you go for ?
  7. Hi, I'm new to buying fresh coffee beans and am using a hand grinder and Aeropress. I bought some from Redbur coffee to try and they were very nice, but I'm running low. I like really strong coffee that has that almost creamy top and wondering what sort of beans would be best for this. There seems to be so many different types and I'm not sure what the best type would be to get the kind of coffee I'm after. Would espresso beans be good for regular coffee to give it more strength or what would you recommend?
  8. OK, this is now driving me crazy. I'm an impatient guy and need to get a new espresso machine to replace my cheap, now broken, machine. I had purchased a machine on here, but that fell through as it developed a fault. I have a wanted ad for an Expobar Dual Boiler / something similar, but it seems these machines don't come up that often. I'm thinking of going for new, but that doesn't put much in my budget range (£800). So I'm thinking of upping the budget to cover an Expobar Dual Boiler from Bella Barista; this would be on a credit card so not a general budget for used items. I can't make myself wait for a couple of months to have the cash available and/or for the right thing to come up second hand. I've pretty much discounted getting something from abroad (ie from Italy / NL etc), as I'd like the reassurance of a UK distributor plus the advice / 'training' from Bella Barista sounds like a good idea. A new Expobar Dual Boiler is 1285 from Bella Barista (the reservoir only is 1185, but out of stock). Within my range and in stock they also have Bezzera BZ10, ECM Heidelberg Barista, Rocket Plus PID. The other machines are HX and my preference is for the Expobar. Am I wrong / crazy to be thinking of buying new? The alternative is to get something cheap (£2-400) and wait for something to come up s/hand and then sell on. But of course, I still have to wait for that and then sell/buy as well. Reading this back, I've not really asked much of a question but just generally looking for opinions before I spend lots of money!
  9. Hi guys, A quick question about free on loan coffee equipment here in the UK. I'm Australian and have come from an establishment in Melbourne where we got through 60-70kg+ of coffee a week, and our wholesaler supplied my employers with everything: Barista training, tamp, grinder, cups, custom painted La Marzocca FB/80 (everything!) Now I'm doing my own thing, targeting a small space in Hackney, London and I'm trying to establish which boutique suppliers might offer a free on loan machine/grinder and how many kg's I might need to get through to interest them. If not, whether anyone has had experience with rent to buy, loaning machines or something similar? I'm still a little while off starting this project and don't want to waste time of suppliers I might deal with in the future, so I though I'd try and ask here first! I've loved what I've tried from Monmouth, Has Bean and Volcano coffee in various places if anyone has experience with any of these guys. Cheers
  10. I'm looking for a 2-group dual fuel machine that's suitable for my mobile coffee trailer and came across a 'Magister KES 2-Group Compact' for sale locally. It seems to me that this machine can be converted to run on gas as well as electricity and is quite compact so ideal for my mobile setup. The thing is that I can't seem to find out much information about these machines/this company. Does anybody have experience using one of these machines? How was it? As far as I'm concerned I've been on the lookout for something like a Fracino 2-gruop semi auto dual fuel, can anybody advise me as to which companies do a solid machine which I could pick up second hand for around E2,000?Hope to hear from many of ye soon, Phil
  11. My current pour over methods are Chemex, V60, Kalita Wave 155 and GINA by Goat Story. Is the Kalita 101/102 worth adding to my gear? How does it compare to other methods? Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.
  12. Hi everyone Firstly, apologies! I've not posted in a very long time here. Now, for the first time in ages, I've hit a snag with my coffee making equipment and I reckoned this would be the best place to ask for advice. For the last couple of years, I've been using a Mazzer Super Jolly for all my brewing that's Chemex, Aeropress, and espresso but, quite frankly, I'm bored of trying to deal with the doser all the time. I know there are people out there who have modded their SJs by removing the doser and replacing it with a funnel or a spout, and there are loads of tweaks to the doser using the lids off cans of squirty cream and all that. I'm not after any of those things. I'v no desire to strip out and fiddle with my SJ all that much, as it's in pretty much perfect condition and I value that, and I really just want something without a doser. Here's where you folks come in! Can anyone recommend a solution? If I sell my SJ, I'd need to replace it for the money I sold it for (which puts me out of reach of things like new Mazzer Minis), I still want one grinder to rule them all (my kitchen is tiny and my wife has a limited level of patience for coffee equipment), and I want something of good quality (like my SJ). Alternatively, does anyone know of an 'easier' way of removing the doser? All and any suggestions are welcome. Or if anyone wants to swap a used Mini for a used SJ...
  13. Morning everyone, I'm new to the home roasting game but have worked in a roastery for the last year so have some idea of the roasting process etc. I'm ready to make the leap into the 1kg market and have been looking at the following roasters: Toper Cafemino Dalian Amazon Golden GR1 North TJ-067 (From Mill City Roasters in the States) Now I did also have a good look into the Aillio Bullet but there's still not much information out there even though it has been on the market for a little while. There is currently no distributer here in UK and I'm worried about cost of parts/if it ever needed repairs etc. The tech seems pretty advanced but I can't help but think that this means more could go wrong and be harder to fix. I've also read that it has no tryer and had been designed with a monthly roast limit of 100kg which has put me off. We had a 30kg Toper where I previously worked and although this is obviously 30 times bigger, as a manufacturer I found the build quality/reliability was good. It didn't break down the whole time I was part of the company and I can't remember a bad batch coming out of the drum. However, the price of the Cafemino is twice that of the Dalian. Would I just paying the additional cost for the name alone? The TJ-067 seems quite similar to the Dalian in build quality/features but I couldn't find a distributer in the UK. Does anybody know if there is one? The reviews on the Mill City site look great and it is affordable. Just a shame about that little stretch of water that is known as the Atlantic Ocean! The GR1 is a bit of a mystery. The only info I can find is on a distributers website and have been unable to uncover any reviews. I've submitted a price enquiry so maybe I'll get a little more information from them. Would be great to get my hands on feedback from the public though. My main aim is to find a machine that I can learn on. Roll my sleeves up and get hands on with the process. So if it doesn't come with software etc I'm not too bothered. Probably out of my price range anyway. I want to be able to produce consistent, high quality roasts with the ability to batch roast if I decide I want to sell coffee in future. Lastly, I'm looking for a tried and tested machine that is safe, solid and parts are easy/cheap to come by. Would be fantastic to get some insight from anyone who has owned one of the above or used one. It would be a great help. Many thanks, James
  14. Soooo, bit of a strange one that Im hoping someone has the knowledge to help me with. I've just pulled a couple of shots with the Horsham Pioneer beans with a Gaggia classic, 14g basket. Mc2 grinder. First shot: 14.1g in, 30 out, 19 seconds! Obviously fast with a lot of fines in the cup, bitter-ish taste. Not a great deal of pressure on the tamper. *I adjust for a finer grind (which was annoying knowing there were fines already)* Second shot: 13.9g in, 31g out, 24 seconds. Which still seems fast right? Well, now for the confusing bit... it took 10 seconds after the switch was flicked before coffee started flowing from the spouts which seems very slow. There was slightly more pressure on the tamp fewer fines and a less bitter taste. Needless to say Im confused as to whether the grind is too fine or too course. Or even if it needs to be courser but tamped harder. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks Dom
  15. I am currently looking to buy a coffee/espresso machine for my home (I work from home too) and would really appreciate any advice on what I should be considering. I've run some web searches looking for machine reviews but aside from those I found on Which, and the results seem to be contentious according to certain reviews, I have not been able to find anything else particularly helpful. Initially I was looking for a semi automatic machine with an integral grinder but I am also okay with buying a grinder separately if that is the right way forward. I am a novice to coffee making, certainly not drinking it though, but I would like to be able to consistently make good quality espresso, cappuccinos, lattes etc... at home. Reading some of the horror stories I was hoping to find something that won’t either break down every few months, have dodgy electrics, poor build quality (I see that seals/gaskets often seem to go), or not having enough pressure to steam the milk properly.... Other than the odd day or two it’ll never be making more than around 10-15 cups a day. I am fairly flexible on budget and don’t mind making the investment in a machine (within reason of course). I would not class myself as a connoisseur but I do like good coffee. Also, if you also have any recommendations on which shops I should be considering then that advice is also gratefully received. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope to hear from some of you soon. Best Garry
  16. Choosing an Domestic Espresso Machine An espresso machine has a seemingly simple task - to pump water through ground coffee at a temperature of around 93˚c and a pressure of 9 bar in 20 to 30 seconds. There is a secondary function of producing steam for heating and foaming milk. So why is there such a range of machines and range of prices (from £50 to £2000 and beyond)? What do you get for your money? How much do you need to spend to make a decent espresso There are a couple of key features that distinguish the good from the mediocre, and perhaps the most important is: Temperature Stability Supplying water at the correct temperature is essential for espresso. A commercial espresso machine is designed to be left on all day; it has a large boiler and a large amount of metal which, once warmed up, will keep a stable temperature all day long. Many commercial machines also heat the group (the bit the water passes through which the portafilter - the part that holds the ground coffee - locks onto) to help keep temperature stable. But in a smaller domestic machine it is much more difficult to maintain temperature - it will continually heat up and cool down as coffee is made. Brew Temperature and Steam Temperature You may have noticed already that the task of the espresso machine is not so straight forward - it has to supply water at for the coffee but at near boiling point for the steam. How is is able to do this? 1. Single Boiler Dual Function Most favoured on this forum are the Gaggia Classic (approx. £169) and the Rancilio Silvia (£349) The very cheapest espresso machines (under £100), despite their appearances, are really like a version of the Bialetti or Moka stove top pots; rather than using a pump, hot water is heated up by an electric element and steam pressure passes it though the coffee. This inevitably means the water is too hot and scalds the coffee. We will not be considering these. The simplest ‘proper’ domestic espresso machines work like this: a small thermostat-controlled boiler heats up the water to brew temperature, the pump forces it through the coffee. To make steam to foam your milk, you switch to a second thermostat and wait until the water reaches boiling point. Immediately we can see two problems with this system: firstly, you have to wait a few minutes between brewing and steaming for the boiler to get hotter and, perhaps more importantly, the temperature in the boiler is rising and falling all the time - after you have made steam, the boiler is going to be substantially hotter than it was before and it could take some time to return to the correct temperature for coffee. The Classic is solid, reliable and parts are easy to replace. It is a very popular machine and it easy to pick up a decent one second hand. The Silvia is generally regarded as a slightly better machine - more solid and better temperature stability - but the current price differential between it and the Classic mean that, arguably, it is not such good value for money. There are many other single boiler machines on the market, many of which look more stylish than the Gaggia or Rancilio but none of them are going to make better coffee or offer better long term value for money. Both the Classic and the Silvia can upgraded with a PID control. The PID (stands for Proportional/Integral/Derivative) is an electronic device that, rather than switching power to the boiler on and off like a simple thermostat, supplies power in a series of pulses that get briefer as the boiler approaches the correct temperature. The PID control also allows you to experiment with different temperatures for different coffees. 2. Heat Exchanger (HX) Popular HX machines include the Fracino Cherub (approx. £650), the Expobar Leva Office (£900), and the Rocket Giotto and Cellini (£1200 to £1400) The heat exchanger has been used for decades in commercial machines. In an HX machine there is one heating element and one boiler, which superheats water under pressure so it can deliver steam on demand. Temperature of the water is usually regulated by a pressurestat (the pressure of the water in the boiler is directly related to its temperature). The brew water does not come directly from the boiler but from a copper tube that passes through the boiler. A variation on this design (often but not necessarily incorporated into HX system) is the thermosiphon, which uses principles of convection (hot water rises/cold water sinks) to pass water directly from the boiler to the group which acts as a heat sink to reduce this superheated water to brew temperature. If the group gets too hot or too cold, water in the thermosiphon will circulate and bring it back to the correct temperature. The E61 group is often found on HX machines (called so because it was developed by Faema in 1961 - the year of the eclipse). Although initially a commercial design, it is now found on many prosumer machines. In the E61 group water is circulated through the body of the group itself, maintaining a stable temperature. It also allows for pre-infusion, which lets hot water flow into the coffee grinds just before extraction takes place enabling a better extraction. All the machines mentioned above are solidly made and will produce excellent coffee. The Italian machines (like Rocket and Izzo) tend to win on sheer looks, but the British (Fracino) and Spanish (Expobar) machines offer excellent value for money. All the machines mentioned so far use an electric pump to force water through the coffee. Pumps come into two basic types - vibratory and rotary. Both work well; the vibratory pumps are cheaper, rotary pumps quieter. 3. Dual Boiler Popular Dual Boiler machines include the Fracino Piccino (£600), Expobar Leva Dual (£1100), La Spaziale Vivaldi II (£1500) and the Izzo Alex Duetto (£1900) A increasingly popular solution is to have one boiler supplying the water for brewing coffee and a separate boiler supplying water for steam. Both boilers have their own heating elements. This creates a slightly more complicated and more costly system, but it does mean the temperature of the brew water can be controlled completely independently of the steam system. E61 type groups are also found on Dual Boiler machines. Both HX and Dual Boiler machines can maintain stable temperature and steam milk at the same time as they brew coffee and produce first rate espresso and cappuccino. Some machines, like the Expobar Leva Dual and the Alex Duetto have PID controls to maintain and adjust temperature accurately. Although in principle, Dual Boiler may seem like a better solution than HX machines, in practice both can produce excellent coffee. It really comes down to the particular design of the machine, and some HX designs may have better temperature stability and steam power than Dual Boiler machines. But there is an alternative to pump machines. 4. Lever Machines Popular lever machines include the Pavoni Europiccola (£300-£500), the Ponte Vecchio Lusso (£650 - £800), the Elektra Micocasa (£1000), the Olympia Cremina (£2750) and the Londinium I (£1600) Lever machines use a manual lever connected to a piston to force water through the coffee. This is traditional method that preceded electric pumps and is still favoured in southern Italy and is now having something of a resurgence. Advocates of lever machines claim that the column of water the piston pushes through the coffee extracts the very best from the coffee and the mechanical design of the system means temperature of water is reduced as the piston descends, reducing the undesirable elements that remain in the coffee as the extraction progresses. Lever machines have the additional advantage of being extremely reliable and almost silent. In manual lever machines the lever is connected directly to the piston, in spring-driven machines it is the spring that does the work (lifting the lever tensions the spring ready for the next extraction). Like dual boiler and heat exchanger designs, lever machines will supply steam without waiting for the boiler to reheat - either by basic mechanical design (the mass of the group and cylinder cooling the boiler water to the correct temperature) or by using thermosiphon principles. The best lever machines also exhibit excellent temperature stability but, with some of the more inexpensive machines, keeping the temperature steady can be a bit hit or miss (or, some would say, an acquired skill). The high price of some new lever machines is offset by the fact, because of simplicity of design and quality of engineering, they can literally last a lifetime. In conclusion: How much difference does it really make? 1. ALL the above machines are capable of making good espresso and cappucino, just on some it is easier than others. Generally speaking, the more sophisticated machines give more consistent results - it may take a bit more skill and fiddling to get a predictable result out of a smaller machine. Milk steaming is also easier on a bigger, more powerful machine. 2. The more sophisticated machines not only are likely to give you more consistent results, they will also allow you to fine-tune the extraction to get the very best out of the beans. This can make the difference between good and great coffee. 3. The bigger machines also allow you produce more coffees in a row and steam more milk without having to wait for the machine to heat up or cool down. If you are holding a dinner party and want to make half a dozen or more cappucinos, you may find it so tedious on a small machine that you end up offering them another form of coffee altogether. Roland Denning November 2012
  17. Hey Guys, I've recently fixed up two la pavoni's I've bought on Ebay. The idea was to kinda fix up and learn about Lever Machines as I'm used to a Rancilio Silvia, and sell off the machines I no longer use. After much more repair that I had anticipated, I have gotten them both working, one is a Post-Millennium and another is a Pre-Millennium machine. The Post-Millenium machine I have works beautifully. After a short while I was making what I considered better coffee than my Silvia. It's easier to adjust the slightly course/fine grind with the pressure you manually apply with this machine. The Pre-Millenium I've tried to use but have failed to get a decent shot from. I know these machines are different to operate, and after having another go today trying to ready guides about how to pull espresso from this one I am still failing. I think it's overheating, but I know we can't adjust the temperature on these machines, only the pressure gauge (which I assume is the pressure of the boiler, not the temperature). I've tried pulling a shot after turning on from cold, heating once, easing out some water, it quickly re-heats and then I go for the shot. I have also tried a cold flannel to cool down the grouphead, then pull a shot with similar results. The coffee generally tastes very bitter and has lots of tannin (like a dry red wine), and always tastes poor. I usually aim to overextact my coffee rather then underextract as I have it with milk. This generally ends with a nice sharp espresso taste which is toned down by the milk. With the pre-millenium I'm getting bitter burnt. If I go to extract normally, it's just bitter and bland/slightly watery. I've noticed a couple of differences with my machines on how they operate, I'm not sure if this is common for these machines: The post-millenium (good coffee) takes ages to re-heat the boiler after use or opening the steam value, usually after about 30-60 seconds of the value open it kicks in. The pre-millenium (bad coffee) is very very quick to get to temperature, after you pull any water it reheats about 5-10 seconds later for a few seconds and is up to temp again. Another thing about the coffee I'm producing, sometime I get islands of crema from the pre-millenium machine which break apart and float around. It breaks apart like something bad is floating of the surface and doesn't look appetising in the slightest, hard to see in a static shot but it all moves around like little pieces: Any help would be greatly appreciated on how to get good coffee from this machine. Do you think it's user error or my repair error? Thanks for reading! - James
  18. I've had a Vario for a good few years and whilst I've gotten a lot of good use out of it there have been a number of quality/build issues. Had to switch the motor out about 5 months ago and recently the new one burnt out too, so think it might be time to move on. I mostly make brewed coffee at home - Kalita wave, v60, chemex, aeropress, french press. I do have a Gaggia Evolution for espresso that still ticks along okay although also getting on a bit, but I do enjoy making espresso on the weekends. In looking for a replacement I'm hearing some concerning things re the Sette, which might have been the obvious replacement. What I am understanding generally is that there isn't going to be a good solution for both brewed and espresso grinds, so I may need to move to a two-grinder set up instead. Looking for any advice or recommendations anyone can share. Not keen on going down the hand grinder route for brewed, mostly as I think others in the family might struggle with making adjustments for different grinds, and I'm a bit lazy in the mornings! Have heard good things about the Wilfa Svart which goes for £105, so would leave more cash to go towards a separate espresso grinder. Or would this be a big step down for brewed from the Vario? If so, any suggestions for better alternatives. Think that at the moment for grinders my total budget would be around £500, so £100 for a Wilfa would leave £400 for an espresso grinder. Obviously more spent on the grinder for brewed means less money for the espresso one. Anticipate I'll probably get the itch to upgrade the espresso machine in the long run too, maybe able to spend £500-£700, so am thinking the investment in the separate espresso grinder might still be worthwhile even if it's overkill for the current set up. Thanks in advance!
  19. So thanks to help on here I got a lovely ECM Mechanika IV rotary plumbed in and I love it. And thanks to my own inexperience, I ignored some advice on here and went with a Eureka Mignon. Having lived with it for a few weeks I'm able to more accurately define my grinder requirements now (an expensive evolution!) and I'd really value some recommendations based on these: Hard requirements: Must fit on to worktop within 44cm space under kitchen eye-level cabinets and be able to load the hopper with beans without moving it - this is easy with the mignon. I'm swapping between caf and decaf beans quite a lot now, more than I expected - I don't want 2 grinders. I want to be able to mark on the grinder where my setting is for one bean and a mark for the other and easily move from one to the other - and to not have to have the grinders moving when I change setting as I do on the Mignon. I also want to be able to mark for aeropress - again easily move. Because of above I want to be able to put just the amount of beans in a need for one shot or 2 and then easily prepare for another bean. It will be common for me to make a decaf for me, immediately followed by a caf for my wife - I want this to be hassle free as possible (with 1 grinder). I want it to be automatic so I press a button and the right amount of coffee is ground that I set and I can leave it and it will stop grinding itself. Naturally it must grind espresso at least as well as the Mignon which I find is great although too much clumping. Pretty flexible on cost - I do want new - I'm assuming my 44cm height constraint puts a ceiling on the cost anyway. Though I don't, for example, want to be spending more than £800 and would really REALLY like to spend a huge amount less. Quietness is a big deal to me - my coffee obsession isn't going down brilliantly in the house ALL the time and I'd value something highly that was as quiet as possible.... e.g. significantly quieter than the Mignon. Softer requirements: It would be great if it had a light that shone on to the pf/container whilst grinding as it can be a little dark where I have my kit. It would be amazing if it showed the weight of ground coffee and even better if it automatically stopped at a certain weight. I've found the Mignon quite messy both in terms of when it's grinding (coffee not landing in pf/container all the time) and more so after it's been used and a slight vibration causes dump of ground coffee falling out the shoot. A machine with a tray at the bottom as a minimum though ideally one that is designed to maximise ground coffee coming out in a narrow shape as it were - basically something less messy :-) BTW I swore to myself and my wife I would not contract upgradeitus
  20. Hi There, I have a Eureka Mignon and a Silvia which satisfy my espresso needs, but I'm looking for an inexpensive grinder which will grind coarsely but reliably for French Press. - don't want to mess about with the Mignon as it's pretty 'dialled-in', and want something i can just switch on and grind with whilst bleary-eyed in the morning. I'm looking for something quite 'compact' as worktop space is at a premium, and I wondered whether anyone had any recommendations ? I've been looking at things like the Delonghi KG79 which seems to do an 'ok' job for something like French Press, and I noticed there's an MC-2 for sale very close to me for £60 (I used to have one of these and it was great, if a little noisy and maybe a wee bit too big for me). Any help or advice gratefully received ! Thanks Richard
  21. Hello, I own a Gaggia Classic and Iberital MC2 grinder. They have served me well over the years, but I feel like it's time to upgrade. Especially after coming back to this forum. I've lusted after a Rocket, ECM, Expobar or Isomac or Lever type machine for years and now have the money to splash out. A machine like those would look great on my counter top! So my consumption is as follows: At home one or two coffees on weekdays, with 3 or 4 on the weekends. Plus drinks for visitors. Mainly double shot with a bit of steamed milk. I'm planning to drink more espresso and sample different flavours, using fresher beans - maybe even roast my own in time. I have the Aeropress and Porlex hand grinder, which I use at work and trips away. T I've read the importance of not scrimping on the grinder on this forum and by attending a barista course my wife paid for some time ago. I've also learned that my machine just cannot texture milk to practice the fancy art you see on Youtube, etc. I used to chat to a lady who ran the coffee bar at our work and she showed me how good she could steam milk. Grinder first. I'm looking to spend £250 - £400. I considered the Eureka Mk2 with a machine / package deal. I then thought about a used better quality grinder, then saw the new Baratza Sette recently. I'm not sure that i would get the one with the weight feature. The plan is to see how the Sette reviews or get a better quality second hand grinder and replace the burrs. I just have to watch kitchen space when considering a Mazzer, etc! Moving onto the machine. I'd like decent Espresso, but need the ability to texture milk well - much better than my Gaggia Classic. Apart from when I'm making for a group when people visit - which takes forever on my Gaggia, I make coffee for just me. Do you think a dual boiler would be over the top? Do any of you own a decent machine that can make great espresso, when used with a quality grinder, and can texture milk like a pro machine? Looks. I just love the look of the classic machines and want one. I ordered the sage DB, as I read good stuff about it and the price was good, but my wife pointed out that if I'm spending £1000+ I should pay more for what I want. Decided to cancel the order - although the £850 deal looks good - albeit for Red. I like the look of the Lever machines, but I've read they can be difficult to master and the steam may not be quite there for milk texturing. Maybe someone can tell me wrong? Summary - Decent quality grinder. Nice espresso. Ability to texture milk well. I think I may be slightly closer when considering grinders, but need more food for thought when it comes to the machine. Hopefully someone can spike my interest with a suggestion or 3.
  22. Hi Guys. There seems to be huge amounts of expertise on this forum with engineering and electrical matters so I'm hoping that somebody can help. I've got a SJ and am using a small hopper and judging the dose by eye (I know I should be weighing but find this is too much faff). The trouble is its dark in the hopper so I'm thinking about a installing a led inside the doser to brighten things up. How on earth can I do this? I'm guessing I'll need resistors and complicated stuff like that so am running scarred at the moment. If I can get this sorted I might do something similar to light up the portafilter area too. Any help, ideas, suggestions for a technophobe would be much appreciated. If this is a stupid idea then feel free to tell me so!
  23. anyone got a recommendation for a sexy knock out box to suit the silver grey mignon ive got on order ???
  24. My Krups grinder recently packed in and after reading posts on here and elsewhere I have just ordered a new Eureka Mignon to replace it. I have owned and used a Gaggia Cubika machine for the last 10 years, but I am now thinking that it may also be a good idea to upgrade my machine to something that will get the best out my fancy new grinder. I usually make myself a macchiato every morning and then flat whites for me an my wife plus occasional guests at the weekends. I don't want to have the delay I currently experience with my Gaggia in between making the coffee and steaming the milk, and then again in between additional cups. My budget is up to around £600 for the machine, either used or new, but I don't want anything too large as I don't want it taking up half the kitchen worktop. My initial conclusion was to buy a modified Nuova Simonelli Oscar, but unfortunately the looks aren't to my wife's taste so I'm now looking at equivalent alternatives to this so would appreciate any suggestions! Are the Expobar Pulser or Lelit PL60 any good?
  25. I suppose that in a way I am preaching to the converted since most of the people on this forum have good words to say about Bella Barista. However, I would just like to say that my son and I went there yesterday to buy a machine, grinder and associated accessories. I am something of a novice, but my son, a member of this forum knows rather more, but nevertheless Claudette took it all in her stride and meticulously went through all my options, let me try machines, explained processes and made me feel really at ease, and as importantly, ensured that I bought the machine that was right for me. In the end I bought an ECM Barista, Mazzer mini electronic and a host of accessories like shower screens and filter baskets. It is going to be great learning how to get the best out of it all, but I was very much left with the impression that Bella Barista were right there behind me if I needed advice or if something went wrong. I was particularly impressed with the fact that I was allowed to 'play' with the machine that was to be mine and that it was checked over in front of me, and that I was able to try a range of grinders with the same beans to get an idea of the effect that quality of grind has on flavour. All this contrasts markedly with a manufacturer whose premises I visited a few days beforehand and who gave the impression that retail/domestic customers like me were really very small potatoes and that the machines were far more important than the coffee that came out of them. It is a sad fact of life that there are still retailers about who do not adhere to the motto that the customer is always right: when they lose business and customers then they could do no better than visit an establishment like this to see how professionals do it. Judging by other posts by other people I am quite sure that any Coffeeforums member would have a similarly rewarding experience.
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