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Hello, I'm new. What should I buy?

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Hello fellow coffee lovers.

I imagine I'm at a very familiar place, which the members of this forum have experienced themselves at one time or another.  I have a basic machine (de'longhi MicaLite) with which I have used ESE pods or pre-ground and I am looking to take things a shade more seriously because I'm just not getting that indy coffee shop flavour.  Like many though my budget is not would I would like it to be, so what's my best bet?

I will of course need a grinder, and a better machine, at the very least one which takes non-pressurised filter baskets.  I looked at Sage (Barista Express) because they are unavoidable in this area, and affordable, but the internet rabbit hole has led me here and to the likes of the Gaggia Classic pro.

I want to be able to spend time crafting the best shots, but like everyone, I also occasionally want to grab one on the way out of the door without having to faff too much.

There are just too many options and too many variables!  Input most definitely welcome.

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By the sounds of it the Barista express may be the one. I don’t know much about the next classics to give an opinion so I won’t.

My current set up is a La Pavoni professional with compak grinder. It’s no more faff really than using the sage kit so would also be an option I’d say. Just takes a little longer to warm up that’s all.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


home - Sage dual boiler & Compak E8

work - Sage bambino plus & smart grinder

 

@SkateReclaimCreate

 

 

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5 minutes ago, joey24dirt said:

La Pavoni professional with compak grinder

Thanks for the input. I heard the sage reliability and longevity isn’t quite so good. Maybe that’s not true. Is your La Pavoni professional a hand pull? Are they tough to get right?

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Hello and welcome :)

My advice would be to spend a good few days reading round the forum to get a feel for machines/culture/cost etc. You will be in a much better place to make an informed decision then!

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I'm new here myself and was in the same situation as yourself, in fact was in that situation for a long time. Last week I bought he Eureka Mignon Specialita and the Sage Duo Temp Pro and I think that combo has the sweet spot of ease of use and tinkerability as in you can spend as long as you like trying combos of beans, timings and the like alternatively you can switch on your two machines grind some beans in less than 10 seconds and have a lovely fresh drink in your hands in the time it takes a kettle to boil. Hope this helps.

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22 minutes ago, E404 said:

I'm new here myself and was in the same situation as yourself, in fact was in that situation for a long time. Last week I bought he Eureka Mignon Specialita and the Sage Duo Temp Pro and I think that combo has the sweet spot of ease of use and tinkerability as in you can spend as long as you like trying combos of beans, timings and the like alternatively you can switch on your two machines grind some beans in less than 10 seconds and have a lovely fresh drink in your hands in the time it takes a kettle to boil. Hope this helps.

Hey thanks for the response. I had been looking at the bambino which I think is similar to the duo temp pro. I haven’t heard of the grinder you mention and naturally was drifting to the sage one. I’ll take a look at the one you mention.

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A lot depends on whether this is going to turn into a major obsession for you. If you think it is, don't jump in too quickly. Do lots of reading and if you possibly can visit Bella Barista who have the biggest range of machines and grinders on show/demo.
Unless you enjoy buying and selling, it's better to get it somewhere near right for you first time. Most of us have begun more or less where you are now and gone through several upgrade stages. That isn't necessarily expensive but it is time consuming.


Rocket Giotto Evoluzione v2, Eureka Zenith 65E, Niche grinder, Pharos grinder with VoodooDaddy mods, Eureka MDL, Torr Goldfinger, Smart Tamp. Various coffee stuff.

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Yes the pavoni is a lever machine. I also have a bambino plus and sage smart grinder that I use at work. That’s pretty good to be fair. It’s got some cool features, but also is pretty automatic for when you can’t be arsed to mess about.

As mentioned though, have a good look around. Decide what you would be happy to spend and also take into account the cost of fresh beans too. Put crap in and get crap out lol. Check YouTube when you find some machines you like and watch loads of videos.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


home - Sage dual boiler & Compak E8

work - Sage bambino plus & smart grinder

 

@SkateReclaimCreate

 

 

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11 hours ago, joey24dirt said:

Yes the pavoni is a lever machine. I also have a bambino plus and sage smart grinder that I use at work. That’s pretty good to be fair. It’s got some cool features, but also is pretty automatic for when you can’t be arsed to mess about.

As mentioned though, have a good look around. Decide what you would be happy to spend and also take into account the cost of fresh beans too. Put crap in and get crap out lol. Check YouTube when you find some machines you like and watch loads of videos.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Do you have a non-pressurised basket for the bambino, and if so how does that work out for you? It doesn't come with them does it?

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Do you have a non-pressurised basket for the bambino, and if so how does that work out for you? It doesn't come with them does it?


You’re right it doesn’t. I do have the non pressurised too. Works as it should once it’s all dialled in

The coffee isn’t as good as my pavoni, but it’s still nice to have when at work for sure.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

home - Sage dual boiler & Compak E8

work - Sage bambino plus & smart grinder

 

@SkateReclaimCreate

 

 

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12 hours ago, Rob666 said:

A lot depends on whether this is going to turn into a major obsession for you. If you think it is, don't jump in too quickly. Do lots of reading and if you possibly can visit Bella Barista who have the biggest range of machines and grinders on show/demo.
Unless you enjoy buying and selling, it's better to get it somewhere near right for you first time. Most of us have begun more or less where you are now and gone through several upgrade stages. That isn't necessarily expensive but it is time consuming.

I wouldn't say major obsession no.  I just want to get a better espresso, and for it to look decent on the sideboard.  I drink Nespresso professional at work (cos it's provided), which is bland as hell, although I have had Nespresso in the shop which wasn't bad. So a little home rig which get me a better espresso than that, suitable for a bit of latte art, and will let me do some tinkering at weekend, and I think I'll be happy. I think.

That said, I do like to buy right first time, and not don't want to feel too limited by my eventual purchase.  I've been looking for weeks and keep ending up going orund the houses.

Edited by forsh
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19 hours ago, forsh said:

I want to be able to spend time crafting the best shots, but like everyone, I also occasionally want to grab one on the way out of the door without having to faff too much.

Crafting a best shot does take some time especially if someone has never done it before. Past that it depends on how precise you want or need to be. People tend to forget the need aspect and be ultra precise. Weighing shots out isn't too much of a problem really especially with Italian style machines with a lever that starts and stops the flow. When a machine has a button etc people often still weigh out and press it again to stop. The grinder and dose of grinds will have been set to obtain the correct taste. Often by methods mentioned on the web rather than trying variations. The aim is to produce a drink that the drinker likes - full stop, no rules. Sorting this area out can take some time. Tamping and preparation needs to be pretty consistent as well.

People weigh beans into grinders. The actual time taken to get them into a grinder is pretty short ;) with practice. I reckon 10sec max , often less with weights to 0.1g.  Getting the grinds out of the grinder into the portafilter may take a bit longer. Timed grinders can be used as well. There will be some variation in output. What I found working that way is that eventually the output settled down. Weight out needed to be checked and sometimes rather small changes to the timer were needed. If some one keeps changing beans and or settings I don't think they will ever settle down that well. In my case I bought a 2nd grinder for beans I wanted to try. Some people have been known to do the same to have decaf around. The other alternative is to accept the variation or adjust what comes out with a spoon or by adding more grinds with a manual grind. Some set one of the time buttons etc for a very short period and use that to adjust. Sounds messy but again not that much time is involved. The simplest way is to accept what ever variation comes out but that still needs to be checked. This style of approach fits in with weighing out. If taste varies too much then a solution needs to be found such adjusting the dose somehow,

 

2 hours ago, forsh said:

That said, I do like to buy right first time, and not don't want to feel too limited by my eventual purchase.  I've been looking for weeks and keep ending up going orund the houses.

:) That's the other problem. The more you read the worse that aspect will get. You need to ask yourself some questions - all shiny stainless Italian style or what. Then comes budget. You could spend £6k+ on a machine and £2.5k+ on a grinder. Minimum might be a Sage DTP and one of their grinders. Thermothingy machines such as the DTP, dual boiler or hx, stands for heat exchanger but some very similar machines look like these but don't have a heat exchanger, usually called dippers. Then there are machine like the Classic that us one boiler for both steam and brew. Not the sort of thing some one who wants milk based drinks as quickly as possible before they go to work. Italian bling type machines usually need 1/2 hr or more to heat up so people start them on a timer. Then there are side issues such as if a machine breaks could you repair it yourself maybe with some forum input or would you have to call in an engineer. How easy the machine is to maintain can come into it as well - bottled or tap water. Tap has it's complications that worsen as the water gets harder.

John

-


In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A,. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

SageBanner_v01.jpg.a45786743a4eb401969788b45ae7f893.jpg

 

 

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Thanks for all the input guys, I have narrowed it down to, well quite. A lot really.

Grinder wise I think likely the Sage Pro, Gaggia MDF, or kinda tempted by the ROK hand grinder. Maybe the Nemox Lux if I can find somewhere to buy it.

Machine wise I’m still in the Sage DTP, bambino, or Classic debate, but also might wait a bit and try a stretch to the Silvia. I kinda want it to look smart too, which the Sage stuff does, but I love the authenticity of the Silvia.

So yeh, er, narrowed down right?!

i have eliminated the Express cos I just keep hearing the grinder isn’t up to the job. Although it looked ok in demo at John Lewis.

My budget is like £500 at the mo, which seemed like loads before I started haha! and I would prefer the security of warranty. 

 

Edited by forsh

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10 hours ago, forsh said:

I wouldn't say major obsession no.  I just want to get a better espresso, and for it to look decent on the sideboard.  I drink Nespresso professional at work (cos it's provided), which is bland as hell, although I have had Nespresso in the shop which wasn't bad. So a little home rig which get me a better espresso than that, suitable for a bit of latte art, and will let me do some tinkering at weekend, and I think I'll be happy. I think.

That said, I do like to buy right first time, and not don't want to feel too limited by my eventual purchase.  I've been looking for weeks and keep ending up going orund the houses.

Reading your subsequent posts and seeing your budget is approximately £500 narrows your options considerably. I would still think about a used grinder, the commercial ones are pretty bulletproof and can be bargains second hand. The machine is more difficult. You will struggle to get anything decent which is easy to use. That said, a Sage might well be the best option if you want to buy new. Best of luck with your deliberations.

 


Rocket Giotto Evoluzione v2, Eureka Zenith 65E, Niche grinder, Pharos grinder with VoodooDaddy mods, Eureka MDL, Torr Goldfinger, Smart Tamp. Various coffee stuff.

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I enjoyed my Barista Express. The grinder steps are a bit of a limitation but not that much in practice. That was the grinder I ran a lot of beans through using the timer. The SGP was the 2nd grinder I bought to go with it. The steps on that are a bit finer but most of them extend the grinding range out of the range used for espresso. The BE doesn't by much.

Internally the Bambino seems to be a BE less grinder and some additional bells and whistles. Might not be a bad choice all things considered. There is a need to buy BE / DTP single wall baskets to go with it. I assume these will fit the portafilter it comes with but some have bought the BE/DTP one. In real terms that can only be on looks as I understand both are made of stainless. The baskets it comes with are dual wall for preground.

The DTP is a very simple machine. A side effect of that is that for some reason Sage have dropped the hole in the middle of the rubber back flushing disc. It's best to add one. I've suggested using a 1/2mm drill to get a clean one. There is less to go wrong in this machine.

The Sage Infuser is also available in the UK

https://www.thecoffeemate.co.uk/p/coffee-machine-sage-the-infuser-bes840/

A BE less grinder but that doesn't save that much on price.

The BE is volumetric but there are catches using it that way solved by use of the pressure gauge. The Bambino may be as well but I have no idea what they have done inside that.

I'm not a fan of machines with 250 to 350ml dual use boilers. They aren't really big enough even with PID so feel thermothingies are a better option. Main draw back is it's best to descale regularly but it easy to do and doesn't take long. There are also a hell of a lot more small boiler machines of various types. I'm relating this to ideal brew water temperature flow. Not tried an HX machine yet but when I do I wont flush it unless I find I need to. Theory is one thing taste is another.

My biggest beef with the Sage machines that use the smaller diameter baskets is the range of sizes they offer. 2, a big single and a big double with nothing in between. It is possible to modify another makers baskets to fit. The rim is too big so has to be reduced. That way I obtained a 14g which I found useful. Many only use the larger sized double and don't care about this. Some people modify another which I believe holds even more than the standard double. Must depend on the beans that are used as I prefer strong coffee. I found that the double could be too strong and the single too weak.

:) So there I was happily making coffee with my BE. Lots are. Looked on ebay one day and saw a refurbished Sage Dual Boiler  and bought it. Not much of a warrantee with those so not for the feint hearted. Talking good coffee gets difficult here as taste can vary according to the machine that is used. That really doesn't mean that one is better than another so hence people getting good results from all sorts - even small boilers. I'd be inclined to say that the main difference I have noticed with the DB over the BE is somewhat easier to make stronger coffee and brewing/tuning being more similar to what other types of machine users do. Also more basket sizes are available even though Sage only make 2.

John

-

Edited by ajohn

In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A,. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

SageBanner_v01.jpg.a45786743a4eb401969788b45ae7f893.jpg

 

 

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12 hours ago, Rob666 said:

Reading your subsequent posts and seeing your budget is approximately £500 narrows your options considerably. I would still think about a used grinder, the commercial ones are pretty bulletproof and can be bargains second hand. The machine is more difficult. You will struggle to get anything decent which is easy to use. That said, a Sage might well be the best option if you want to buy new. Best of luck with your deliberations.

 

Thanks for the comments.  Could you recommend a commercial grinder make/model I can start to look at second hand?

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You could get a 2nd hand serviced Gaggia Classic with the all the important mods (PID, OPV mod and silva wand) and a 2nd hand Mazzer Super Jolly (maybe even a Mazzer Major!) for under £500 and it'd make some great coffee.

If I were to start my coffee journey again, with what I've learned from this forum, I'd buy these from trusted members of the forum and be off to a flier. A great starter set up.

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