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Hi, I'm new to the forum and would really welcome some advice. It's my husband's 40th Birthday coming up and I am going to get him a coffee machine as a suprise. He really loves the kitchenaid one (we have some of their other equipment) but having read some bad reviews I'm not sure it would be the best use of the money?

 

He loves espresso but also enjoys latte/cappucino, so a machine that can do all would be good. I have a budget of £500-600 to spend on it, so would really welcome some advice and recommendations.

 

Many thanks, The Doc.

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Welcome to Coffee Forums UK

 

You have an extremely realistic budget to work with.

Do you have a grinder? If not, then budget for £150-200 for the grinder and the balance for the coffee machine.

 

For a grinder you will need the Iberital MC2 as a minimum to ensure you can grind fine enough. Many other entry-level grinders are not up to the task

 

For machines, 2 spring to mind within the price range.

 

Rancilio Silvia (best price I have found is here)

or

Gaggia Classic (best price I have found is here)

 

And you'll even have a few ££ left over for some training

 

If you had an extra £200 on the budget (a lot I know) then this machine might be within reach.

 

Hope this gives you some food for thought


Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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Thanks for the advice Glenn, I certainly prefer the look of the Rancilio machine, but can't open the link to the last one as my work blocks so many sites! I was also going to get him a grinder, possibly on top of the machine (funds allowing of course) so your options really give me some good scope.

 

Can I just ask, would you advise against the kitchenaid yourself as I know that was the one he really liked the look of-but he hadn't done any research into them as he didn't think we could get one yet!

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In a word, yes. They do not grind fine enough for some drink types.

 

Grinders are ugly (grinder manufactureres take note!) but in this instance go for function over style. Your husband will thank you for it.


Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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Thanks again Glenn, I will definitely get the grinder you suggested. But ohhhhh now I love the look of the last machine you linked to, but it's just a bit out of my budget at the moment-well in stainless steel anyway. The black could be do-able but I can't find any pictures of it.

 

It's a pity the kitchenaid coffee machine is out of the question as it would match the mixer etc and the smeg, but you're right, function has to win over looks. And there are some lovely looking machines out there still.

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You could do a lot worse than the Rocky.

This is a solid, reliable grinder with a very good track record.

Make sure you get the doserless (as shown in the picture) as your level of consumption will not warrant the doser version.

 

The price is very good for the pairing too.

 

It is me that provides home coffee training and I cover the West Midlands area.

Feel free to PM me or contact me via the website and I'd be happy to call to discuss training options.


Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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Is £500-£600 the maximum on your budget?

 

Just, a little more could get you an entry level heat exchange machine like an isomac zaffiro or the vbm that glenn suggested, which would be far better at foaming milk than a classic. Pair that up with the iberital, or maybe even a used mazzer/macap and you'd have a fantastic setup.

 

Failing that, a silvia paired with either the rocky, iberital mc2, a mazzer/macap is a great choice. I'm not sure you can rule out the doser because of consumption levels, it all depends on personal preference. Dosers produce less clumpy results and some of them are quite satisfying to use and allow you to concentrate on doing other things whilst grinding. Doserless versions can also retain grinds in the chutes.

 

I like the looks of grinders like mazzers, they're big commercial beasts but some other grinders are a bit more plasticcy.

 

These reviews may also be useful:

 

http://www.home-barista.com/reviews.html

 

I've also noted there is a spaziale vivaldi used on ebay, which would definitely be worth a look. It's a rather large machine, but is renowned for its quality. Again, just the machine would be at the top end of your budget, but it's worth considering.

 

Lucky husband though :D

Edited by RisingPower

Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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Thanks RisingPower, I think I am now decided on the rancilio for the machine. We are very limited on space in the kitchen so any bigger machine is out of the question. The budget is quite tight as I also want to get him some other bits to go with it-like a decent tamper , jugs, cups and possibly some training too. I will check out the grinders you suggets.

 

I had a private message from someone saying not to buy from the link I attached for the rancilio pack as they company are in italy and often don't supply the goods. The guy also gave me the number for another company but I am yet to contact them-my espresso I think it was?

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Sorry John, no you didn't. I think I read elsewhere that they sometimes don't come through with the goods. I did email them about delivery time and they responded, but I am taking your warning and not going with them. I am going to contact my espresso this week. Thanks again for the warning.

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I didn't want to risk being sued by them.

I'm pleased that I managed to stop you in time.

Their returns policy is confusing but appears to be: you always have to pay to return goods to Italy; after 7 days, but within 30 days, you also have to pay their carriage expenses to you plus a 10% re-stocking fee; packages shall not have been opened.

 

You won't go wrong with MyEspresso; I have purchased from him several times; give him a ring; very knowledgeable and helpful; he loves to speak to customers.

 

One more thing:-

 

If you love cleaning up scattered coffee grounds and playing with chopsticks, yoghurt pots and darning needles to breakup clumps of coffee, then buy a doserless grinder.

 

If you don't love cleaning up scattered coffee grounds and playing with chopsticks, yoghurt pots and darning needles to breakup clumps of coffee, then buy a doser grinder. The doser is used for transferring just enough freshly ground coffee to the basket filter under your control, with no mess and no clumps. It should not be used for storing ground coffee which would obviously go stale.

 

Do a Google search of these two words together:- chopsticks doserless

 

for more information on the role of chopsticks, yoghurt pots and darning needles when making coffee.

Edited by Baj1936
added Google suggestion

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Hmm, I am not liking the idea of extra cleaning up, so a doser grinder it is! Thanks for all the advice guys-I am 100% positive I will be back once we have the machine; or maybe my husband will.

 

So what accessories should I be looking to get him to make sure that he can make coffee as soon as he opens the machine-actual recommendations would be appreciated.

 

Thanks guys...getting closer!

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I'm not completely convinced by a doser. It might be worth looking on this and other forums about for and against. Mine is doserless and I have a small tub underneath the chute for any spills. The chute is not difficult to clean compared to the doser.

 

As for other items, if its not been mentioned already in posts on this thread, then a tamper is needed. Those that come with machines are generally rubbish. If lattes or cappucinos are desired, then a stainless steel jug (size dependent on number of drinks: 1 or 2 per shot) and a thermometer.

 

For Christmas I received a knockbox and tamper station but I don't think you need these items initially.


Still learning on... Gaggia TS, Cunill Tauro, PTM Tamper, Motta Tamping Stand and Knock Box, Gaggia Milk Jug and fresh beans!

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I didn't want to risk being sued by them.

I'm pleased that I managed to stop you in time.

Their returns policy is confusing but appears to be: you always have to pay to return goods to Italy; after 7 days, but within 30 days, you also have to pay their carriage expenses to you plus a 10% re-stocking fee; packages shall not have been opened.

 

You won't go wrong with MyEspresso; I have purchased from him several times; give him a ring; very knowledgeable and helpful; he loves to speak to customers.

 

One more thing:-

 

If you love cleaning up scattered coffee grounds and playing with chopsticks, yoghurt pots and darning needles to breakup clumps of coffee, then buy a doserless grinder.

 

If you don't love cleaning up scattered coffee grounds and playing with chopsticks, yoghurt pots and darning needles to breakup clumps of coffee, then buy a doser grinder. The doser is used for transferring just enough freshly ground coffee to the basket filter under your control, with no mess and no clumps. It should not be used for storing ground coffee which would obviously go stale.

 

Do a Google search of these two words together:- chopsticks doserless

 

for more information on the role of chopsticks, yoghurt pots and darning needles when making coffee.

 

I think they have had some good reviews also actually, and their customer service has been pretty good when they sent damaged goods. But yes, they're not strictly a UK business.

 

I don't think you can say that about all doserless grinders. Some like the robur, the versalab m3 and the vario provide excellent non-clumping results with excellent distribution without any of the above techniques.

 

My mazzer mini produces clumps even with the doser. It does slightly reduce them though.


Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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Thanks RisingPower, I think I am now decided on the rancilio for the machine. We are very limited on space in the kitchen so any bigger machine is out of the question. The budget is quite tight as I also want to get him some other bits to go with it-like a decent tamper , jugs, cups and possibly some training too. I will check out the grinders you suggets.

 

I had a private message from someone saying not to buy from the link I attached for the rancilio pack as they company are in italy and often don't supply the goods. The guy also gave me the number for another company but I am yet to contact them-my espresso I think it was?

 

The rancilio will do you nicely then and it's certainly a good choice for the budget.

 

As to things you could get alongside, a reg barber tamper would be something quite nice from coffeehit.co.uk.


Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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Oh now I'm confused about doser or doserless!

 

It depends on which grinder you get :) On lower end models it makes more of a difference for breaking up clumps. On higher end models like the versalab m3, it really wouldn't make any odds or very little.

 

Dosers generally being designed to be kept full and in commercial environments, so they don't have to spend time grinding, just thwacking the doser.

 

I enjoy thwacking the doser though and I find it gives me time to do other stuff whilst grinding rather than standing there and waiting however many seconds for it to finish.

Edited by RisingPower

Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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At home I use a doserless and find them easy to work with. The chutes are usualy plastic but as long as they are kept clean and they are not too long then you might not be affected by clumping. (The split of cafes with doser is greater than those with doserless - this has more to do with grind and store rather than grind fresh...)

 

Humidity, static, length of dosing chamber all have an effect on clumping

 

You can get clumps in a doser grinder too.

 

I find that Paper Towel in front of the grinder catches any stray grinds...


Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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I find that Paper Towel in front of the grinder catches any stray grinds...

 

I think the coffee grinds cackle at the notion that they could be caught by a mere piece of paper towel.

 

You'll never catch them all, they get everywhere :D


Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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Initial Extras Shopping List:

 

600ml. frothing jug

latte spoon

espresso cups

cappuccino cups

latte glasses

tamper

tamper mat

group cleaning brush

blind filter basket

cafiza cleaning powder

 

Brita water filter jug + Maxtra filters

 

 

This is a link to the rancilio instruction video -

 

http://www.rancilio.it/popup/popup_video.html

Edited by Admin
removed supplier recommendation

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Initial Extras Shopping List:

 

600ml. frothing jug

latte spoon

espresso cups

cappuccino cups

latte glasses

tamper

tamper mat

group cleaning brush

blind filter basket

cafiza cleaning powder

 

Brita water filter jug + Maxtra filters

 

 

This is a link to the rancilio instruction video -

 

http://www.rancilio.it/popup/popup_video.html

 

Whaaaat? No bottomless portafilter :eek: And cooor, look at the clumping on that rocky.

Edited by Admin
removed supplier recommendation from quote

Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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"bottomless portafilter"

 

You're wicked - The husband will not be well pleased when, at his initial attempt at using one,

his chest is scalded by the hot coffee squirting in all directions from the bottomless portafilter.

Edited by Baj1936

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I forgot to mention that you need to make sure you have some freshly roasted beans timed just right for the big day.

 

There are plenty to choose from:

http://www.hasbean.co.uk/

http://www.coffee-direct.co.uk/

http://shop.squaremilecoffee.com/

http://www.londiniumespresso.com/


Still learning on... Gaggia TS, Cunill Tauro, PTM Tamper, Motta Tamping Stand and Knock Box, Gaggia Milk Jug and fresh beans!

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"bottomless portafilter"

 

You're wicked - The husband will not be well pleased when, at his initial attempt at using one,

his chest is scalded by the hot coffee squirting in all directions from the bottomless portafilter.

 

I like being squirted by hot jets of coffee in the morning. It wakes you up :D

 

I think it's a challenge to get the most and strongest jets.


Izzo Alex Mk2 Dual Water, Compak K10 Conical, Gene Cafe, Cona Model D, Motta Jug and not enough cravendale...

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