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Found 7 results

  1. Just an observation: Since I have started using this forum, which incidentally is a fantastic example of what a forum should be, I have noticed a trend in activity. Looking at the members viewing figures it seems that the most visited sections of the website, by far, are the equipment area (Grinders, Machines, Accessories) and the For Sale or Swap. Indeed, recent examples of kit being placed for sale and going in seconds seem to imply that a decent percentage of the membership is permanently on the look out for new gear. Golf forums are similar with near constant banter regarding the latest offering from Taylormade, and little notice of the advice of some 'old boy' who has been consistently knocking around in single figures for 30+ years using some clubs he bought from the pro in 1992. I remember talking to Gary Alliss (the commentator's son) and he was convinced that a large number of players were hooked, no pun intended, on buying more than actually playing. Is that the case to a degree with coffee drinkers, or is the activity just an artefact of people using the site for consumer/purchasing advice? This is definitely not intended as a criticism, especially as I have been doing exactly what I have mentioned above. However, a quick message to the 5 people currently viewing the Barista skills section - make some room, I'm coming in!
  2. 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!
  3. Hi all, longtime lurker first post. Having killed our Rocky Rancilio grinder trying to remove the burrs (screws seized, destroyed the carriers trying to get the old burrs off and new burrs on... long story and new carriers seem quite hard to find) we are looking at an upgrade to the SJ. There are some absolutely knackered ones on ebay at the moment, but in general quite a few better-looking ones come up often enough. I'm wondering if a "works but sold as is" one is worth a go if I can get one for 20-30 quid though? My mechanical skills aren't too bad despite killing the Rocky. If were I were trying to remove the Rocky screws again I would do things differently... live and learn. I've been doing a lot of reading about it but actually haven't seen any Mazzers in person so was wondering if anyone had tips and caveats for buying secondhand. Seized adjuster rings, dead bearings, new burrs, and the like all seem to be fixable from what I've read here. Do the burr screws suffer from the same issue as the Rocky? Any other particular thing that would be an absolute no-go on a secondhand knackered Mazzer?
  4. Coming in new to the world of coffee can be a very steep learning curve, to help others and give back a little to the community I thought I’d write down some of the things I considered & researched when buying a new machine. Please let me know if there are any other major areas to add or if you spot any mistakes and I’ll update. Cost Have a realistic budget Make sure you include budget for an appropriate grinder for the machine if required Don’t forget money for extras like tamper, knockbox & jug etc. [*]Size, machine location & access Make sure the machine, grinder and extras fit where you intent to put them, some of these machine are very big Placing under a wall cupboard will restrict your choice of machine – don’t forget the cups on top require more clearance You’ll need to fill the water tank or get the machine plumbed in – make sure you have space to access Do you care about having to move the cups on top of the machine to fill the tank? [*]Boiler Type – how often do you want to steam? Do you mind purging water before you pull a shot? Single Boiler – Cheapest. Makes the shot 1st, then heats the boiler up for steaming – takes the longest to make a cappuccino Heat Exchange (HX) – Pull shot and steam milk at the same time – water for shot is heated by passing through a tube in the steam boiler, as a result if there is a long time between pulling shots the water can become too hot requiring you to purge before you pull (no big deal) Dual Boiler (DB) – Most expensive. Separate boilers for pulling shots and steaming each at the right temp, pull shots and steam milk at the same time. Lots of DB machines have the ability to turn off the steam boiler if you don’t need to steam. The 2 boilers can be made of the same material or different. [*]Pump/Profiling/Lever Pump - Vibration or Rotar – make your own mind up which is best based on cost, noise, plumbing Pressure Profiling (PP) – new tech, gives you control of the pressure throughout the pull, the theory being that different pressures at different times during pulling a shot produce better taste Lever – manual, least complex, provides pre-infusion. Read about purging/flushing the group head, pulling lots of shots, and steaming Spring – controls the flow of water for you using the profile of the spring, the lever rests in the upright position meaning you’ll need to think about where to place the machine Direct – You control the flow rate, lever rests in a downward position making wall units less of an issue [*]Boiler Material Copper – are you one of the people who can taste copper in water? Google “super tasters” Brass – quality of brass varies, make sure it’s decent Stainless Steel – is the machine well made enough, particularly where welding is required [*]Build & maintenance Build Quality Build layout Are all the parts of the machine you’ll use in the right place for you? what happens if something goes wrong? Easy & cheap maintenance – does the machine use standard parts which are easy and cheap to replace? [*]Grinder – make sure it’s good enough for the coffee machine. This is a topic in itself but a few things to consider Burr size Flat v conical burrs Titanium burrs Single dosing versus hopper Size of the grinder – some are enormous! Hand grinders versus electrical New versus used Availability of used Importing grinders [*]Other things to think about Cleaning & descaling Shot Timer Temperature & pressure gauges PID – controlling the temperature Pre-infusion How good is the retailer? Pre and post-sales support, ability to Try before you buy Try before you buy – you’re going to spend your hard earnt cash, go and try different machines before you buy if you can, side-by-side comparisons are even better! Water – plumbed, tap/bottle, hard/soft [*]Read threads on this forum [*]Ask for help and advice here – there’s a knowledgeable and very helpful community Don’t forget opinions are just that, ultimately there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s whatever is right for you.
  5. Not sure if many have come across this already, but seems like a good resource for buying/selling used gear.
  6. Hi everyone. I'm looking at getting my wife a coffee machine for Christmas, but alas I have no idea about coffee. I occasionally drink a cup at work with milk and 2 sugars (judging from the name of this website I'm pretty sure that's as close to blasphemy as I can get - sorry!) and always have a hot chocolate every time we go out somewhere. I have a tenancy to waffle on so I'm going to bullet point the rest of this post and hope you lovely people can help me out a bit - please excuse any stupidly simple questions! I've tried to do a little research already I have a budget of about £400 GBP I'm based in the UK and as far as I know can't buy Sunbeam coffee machines, which get good reviews on here I think I want to get a Burr grinder(?) as well, with a doser (although I'm not sure what a doser is, I think she'll need one?) Do I need the grinder, or are they any good pre-ground coffee's that's make do? The top contender so far, from looking around this price range, is the Rancilio Silvia. I 've found the Silvia with a Rancilio Rocky grinder(good?) for £450 My wife used to a be a pretty good barrista (so she says!) so technical issues shouldn't be an issue Are there any machines comparable machines, quality wise, to the Silvia that are easier to use? We have have 2 children under two years old - hence her need for coffee, but also a huge lack of time to spend half an hour every morning making the perfect cup Am I been silly even looking at a Silvia - am I jumping on a bandwagon? Are there any machines at say half the price of my budget that even you coffee drinkers think makes a decent, better-than-caffetiere coffee? Do I even need an espresso machine, considering the fact that ease will be a greater factor over a sligh drop in quality of the outcome for the next year ro two while the kids grow up and aren't so dependant on their mum? Would a perculator be a good, very cheap compromise to get better-than-caffetiere coffee? I think that's all and I hope you can help, even if it's just to say "yes, you've done well for a non-coffee drinker, go with the Silvia", or "No, stick with Starbucks (another swear word?!) if you can't afford something better" Thanks in advance everyone, Rich
  7. Tl;DR I'm an idiot. Save me from myself. I've been reading around on here a lot and one thing is for sure. Due to my predisposition toward idiocy, my "budget" is increasing toward the GDP of a small country. This is not good - and I wonder just how much more you get for your money. And if I'm being stupid. Which I probably am. I'm 99% sure I want a lever machine. The process of using a lever appeals to me. However, the price does not! There seems a massive difference between La Pavoni and Londinium, for example - but is that massive price gap worth it in terms of what's in your cup? Having moved from french press to aeropress with a hand grinder, I can already tell a difference. Having had a coffee from somewhere that uses decent kit and staff that know how to use it, I can tell a difference. At what point in the budgetary scale do you see a drop off in your return for your money? I know there will be a "sweet spot" for expenditure somewhere...... So here's my situation at the moment: I drink between 2 and four cups of coffee a day - all black. I would like to start drinking flat whites as well. My wife and daughter like lattes. So I guess that will potentially add another couple of cups a day. So 5-6 cups a day. I like the idea of a lever machine - it seems a more involved way to make coffee. I guess things like how long the machine takes to heat up etc are important. As are things like how easy they are to break. How much they cost to run. And as far as a grinder goes, something with as little retention as possible, that's easy to use, easy to maintain and is available now. Finally - the kitchen isn't huge, so I can't have anything truly gigantic. Sounds easy. Not. And is why my head might explode if I think about it too much. My aim for a budget started out at 300, then crept up to 600 and now sits around the 1000 mark. However, if that can come back down again whilst ticking all the right boxes, that would be awesome
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