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Espresso Machine
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  • Espresso Machine

    Post #1 - September 30th, 2004, 12:30 pm
    Post #1 - September 30th, 2004, 12:30 pm Post #1 - September 30th, 2004, 12:30 pm
    I am planning to shop for a home espresso machine. I love the stuff, but I am nowhere near a fanatic about it. I say this because I don't need a machine that will allow me to measure exactly 32 lbs. pressure of the grind and adjust the quantity of steam, etc.

    I am looking for a user friendly machine that makes a decent cup of espresso within a few minutes.

    On Craig's List, I found a Chicago company that offers refurbished home and commercial machines. But I may need to know a bit about what I am looking for, so I don't get the run-around. I will post more information about this company when I hear back from them.

    Any advice you can provide is appreciated.

    pd
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #2 - September 30th, 2004, 3:04 pm
    Post #2 - September 30th, 2004, 3:04 pm Post #2 - September 30th, 2004, 3:04 pm
    The best (only?) entry level machine for producing top notch espresso is the Rancilio Silvia. Gaggia also makes decent entry level machines. I have a Silvia and it is so solidly constructed that I believe it will outlive me. New they go for around $400 - or 100 Starbucks lattes if you work on the barter system. Second hand ones are fairly easy to come by. I'll definitely be finding mine a second home when I decide to step up to a Pasquini Livia or some such gorgeous machine.

    Rather than bore you with a rehash of details, check the following sites for very comprehensive information:

    http://www.wholelattelove.com
    http://www.sweetmaria.com

    You will need either a quality burr grinder or a source that will grind your beens to spec for you. The former is the better options because the necessary grind changes as the beans age and the weather changes. Subtleties are crucial with espresso.

    rien
  • Post #3 - October 1st, 2004, 11:32 am
    Post #3 - October 1st, 2004, 11:32 am Post #3 - October 1st, 2004, 11:32 am
    I have a Gaggia Deluxe, that I paid $350 for, including some Illy coffee they threw in from wholelattelove.com. I have had it for just over a year, and its great.
    Maintenance is important too, they get calcified and gunky from espresso.
    I agree with the grinder based on research, but can't bring myself to spend the $$ on a good one. I use pre-ground Cellini espresso having tried Illy, Inteliigensia, Lavazzo - all of which I ground in my crappy blade grinder and I find Cellini to be the best. Its fresh and has an excellent crema.
    LO
  • Post #4 - October 1st, 2004, 2:19 pm
    Post #4 - October 1st, 2004, 2:19 pm Post #4 - October 1st, 2004, 2:19 pm
    I've been drinking way too much espresso every day of my life since I was about 16 (I'm 35). That said, the best thing to happen to me in a long time, espresso-wise, was when someone bought me a Saeco Vienna a few years ago. I have had many machines, including a very cool Pavoni that is great to look at on my counter, but I am most pleased with the Saeco. I had my doubts, as this is a big plastic thing with a ton of moving parts just itching to break. But it works incredibly well. 100% automatic, from grinding to cleaning (sort of like the new Starbucks machines). When I feel like hand-crafting a drink, which is almost never now, I still have the Pavoni. It's expensive, like $700, I think, but it is almost always on sale for maybe half that in Chef's Catalog.

    Another option is to buy a restored pro machine from my buddie Huso, a Bosnian military guy who runs an espresso service from his home on Western and is the sole US rep fro several Italian brands of coffee and machines. He works with many Italian and Balkan restaurants around town. His workshop is an espresso wonderland, and the guy can tell a story. He might offer you some cevapcici off the grill, and might scare you a little with his political rhetoric, but he's essentially good people. Here's his business:

    http://www.espressoworld.us/
  • Post #5 - October 1st, 2004, 3:23 pm
    Post #5 - October 1st, 2004, 3:23 pm Post #5 - October 1st, 2004, 3:23 pm
    I am looking for a user friendly machine that makes a decent cup of espresso within a few minutes.


    For your purposes, the best machine, in my opinion, is the Nespresso. I have had the one, the linked one in particular http://www.nespresso.com/precom/sima/fi ... us_en.html for 5 years and it still operates perfectly. It uses capsules of espresso, about 7 different varieties, plus seasonal options (most recently a coffee from Yunnan). I've had all varieties, including the decaf options and they are all flavorful. It's neat, easy and produces a perfect head of crema. I'm certain that there will be skeptics on this board as I have encountered and converted (or at least convinced) such skeptics in the past including one particular coffee snob who refused even to drink the Ily espresso served at Spiaggia's 25th anniversary celebration. It's good stuff as evidenced by the fact that it is often served at Michelin starred restaurants in Europe as well as 4 stars in the states, Citronelle coming immediately to mind.

    If you would like to try some, just let me know and you can stop by.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #6 - October 1st, 2004, 4:17 pm
    Post #6 - October 1st, 2004, 4:17 pm Post #6 - October 1st, 2004, 4:17 pm
    MAG wrote:It uses capsules of espresso, about 7 different varieties, plus seasonal options (most recently a coffee from Yunnan).


    Unless there is a another firm using the same capsule portioning method, there was one being demonstrated at Costco in Glenview a few weeks ago. They were allowing each customer to pick their coffee type before making it.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - October 1st, 2004, 5:56 pm
    Post #7 - October 1st, 2004, 5:56 pm Post #7 - October 1st, 2004, 5:56 pm
    I have owned the Alessi Coban (Nespresso) machine for three years. I am a complete convert to the pod technology. It is 3X more than MAG's machine, but it is still worth every penny.

    http://66.70.211.12/store/alessi_03220.html

    Erik M.
    Last edited by Erik M. on October 2nd, 2004, 8:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #8 - October 1st, 2004, 6:26 pm
    Post #8 - October 1st, 2004, 6:26 pm Post #8 - October 1st, 2004, 6:26 pm
    Thank you for all the help. All of the websites provided were interesting to say the least.

    The website for nespresso looks pretty slick, other than the one question that I want to ask. How much are the little capsules? In the biz world they call this razor and blade marketing. [Saw avg. price of capsules on another site, about $.45/cup]

    Eric, I thought you only drank the Vietnamese drip coffee?

    I have an appointment to meet with JeffB's guy tomorrow. Perhaps I will learn even more.
    :shock:
    pd
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #9 - October 1st, 2004, 10:07 pm
    Post #9 - October 1st, 2004, 10:07 pm Post #9 - October 1st, 2004, 10:07 pm
    I have a Saeco Classico Steel and a Saeco burr grinder. I've been very happy with both, making more cappuccinos than straight espressos. The Classico does a very nice job of steaming milk. I found a deal on the Classico from Bestbuy.com using Froogle to price search.

    Full disclosure, the espresso user groups tend to be down on Saeco and similar machines (including Starbucks Barista) because they use pressurized portafilters, which some feel does not make "true espresso." These are designed to make precision in grind and tamp less important, and allegedly, make 32 lb tamping not needed.

    Likewise, some reviewers felt that the Saeco burr grinder and others at its price point tend to shoot out coffee due to static electricity. In my experience, grinding for 2-4 shots at a timer, this is not a problem.

    With respect to tamping, my shots improved considerably when I started using a properly sized steel tamper with appropriate pressure.

    Also, my current favorite coffee is Intelligentsia Italian Roast. I tried Intelligentsia Black Cat, and was under whelmed.

    Anyway, enjoy. As Jeffery Steingarten wrote, "people who are into espresso care more about everything (about espresso) than I care about anything."
    OPMark
  • Post #10 - October 2nd, 2004, 8:34 am
    Post #10 - October 2nd, 2004, 8:34 am Post #10 - October 2nd, 2004, 8:34 am
    pdaane wrote: How much are the little capsules? [Saw avg. price of capsules on another site, about $.45/cup]


    That is about right. I place my orders online, and the sleeves are delivered to my door within two business days.

    pdaane wrote:Eric, I thought you only drank the Vietnamese drip coffee?


    Yes, I do drink Vietnamese drip, but not exclusively.

    Erik M.

    p.s. I added a link to a picure of my machine, in my initial post.
  • Post #11 - October 20th, 2004, 12:53 pm
    Post #11 - October 20th, 2004, 12:53 pm Post #11 - October 20th, 2004, 12:53 pm
    Thanks to everyone who provided the much valued information.

    OPMark's post of the Jeffery Steingarten quote about summed up my attitude. My goal was to have a double espresso everyday at my fingertips without much hassle.

    Probably the best choice for me would have been one of the Nespresso machines advised by MAG and Erik M.; however, I didn't want to have to purchase pods from a single source provider, particularly Nestle Foods for the duration. That, and the $.90 a pop (double) is a bit too close to the $1.50 at Starbucks for a double.

    I took JeffB's advice and went with a Saeco. I met with the interesting Bosnian Military guy at Esspresso World; however I did so only after seeing an advertisement for used machines on Craig's List-Chicago, as I mentioned in the original post. Although I had a nice quick chat with Huso, he did not have any used machines and never got around to scaring me with political rhetoric. He did chide me a bit for being a professional and still quibbleing about parting with $600 for a new machine. Those are the salesmen I run from, not walk. I'm sure, though, if he had it, we would have centered our discussion on the used machine.

    The ad on Craig's list did not include any information other than that they had used machines. An email from The Expresso Shoppe appeared in my mailbox on Monday. They had a used rebuilt Saeco Vienna for about half the price of new. So that's what I bought. UPS delivered it the next day.

    Thanks also to Rien for the post including the website for WholeLatteLove.com. Anyone who is an espresso drinker can learn something from this very informative website. If you are in the market to buy, I would go so far as to say the website is required reading material.

    So far, I am quite pleased with my purchase. Again, thanks for the advice.

    Regards,
    Peter
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #12 - October 20th, 2004, 1:50 pm
    Post #12 - October 20th, 2004, 1:50 pm Post #12 - October 20th, 2004, 1:50 pm
    Which Saeco did you get? Was it one of the automatics or a "regular" one like the Classico?
    OPMark
  • Post #13 - October 20th, 2004, 2:10 pm
    Post #13 - October 20th, 2004, 2:10 pm Post #13 - October 20th, 2004, 2:10 pm
    OPMark,

    I purchased the Vienna, which is a superautomatic. It grinds the coffee, fills, tamps and empties all with the touch of one button. :D

    I'm not sure what the Vienna Deluxe has that makes it about $200 more, but I didn't need it.

    pd
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #14 - October 27th, 2004, 11:02 am
    Post #14 - October 27th, 2004, 11:02 am Post #14 - October 27th, 2004, 11:02 am
    I'll cast another vote for the Nespresso machines. Yes, the capsules are on the pricey side (and you're forced to confront the fact that, yes, you really are a drug addict as you keep putting one after the other into the machine). Yes, the capsules seem to take something away from the romance of espresso. And yes, maybe it doesn't ascend the heights of espresso-dom, although it really seems quite good to my limited palate.

    But, it is so convenient to use and clean up, and is so consistent. Great for a drink in the morning, and easy for churning out multiple servings at a dinner party. I have an old Krups-branded machine, which I bought dirt cheap as the Krups-Nespresso relationship was being discontinued. Of course, I tithe to Nespresso regularly with the capsule purchases.

    A couple of questions. Has anyone used any of the new "Concept" Nespresso machines? Also, has anyone used any of the other pod-style machines?
  • Post #15 - October 27th, 2004, 4:24 pm
    Post #15 - October 27th, 2004, 4:24 pm Post #15 - October 27th, 2004, 4:24 pm
    "But, it is so convenient to use and clean up, and is so consistent."

    See, the problem is, this is no argument against the Saeco machines, which sport all of the above. Plus, you get to blend and grind your own beans which might or might not come from a huge multinational.

    Right now I'm working with a 50/50 mix of Costco (Damen) Costa Rican and Lavazza.

    Honestly, the downside is the bulky, plastic body and the million moving parts. But I'd say my machine is full depreciated by now and still going strong. I would need to buy another, today, if I got home and it was broken.
  • Post #16 - October 27th, 2004, 5:48 pm
    Post #16 - October 27th, 2004, 5:48 pm Post #16 - October 27th, 2004, 5:48 pm
    We had a Capresso C1000 (one of the automatic grind from whole bean types) for a while. I was generally pleased with it, although I have a slight preference for the coffee from the Nespresso. The Capresso was definitely cheaper as far as the beans are concerned. Required marginally more cleaning than the Nespresso. It also had quite possibly the most confusing user interface of any device I've ever owned.

    But I may return to something like the Saeco one day.
  • Post #17 - February 15th, 2005, 4:42 pm
    Post #17 - February 15th, 2005, 4:42 pm Post #17 - February 15th, 2005, 4:42 pm
    How-To: Make a cheap portable espresso machine

    Ingredients

    * Lengths of 1 1/4-inch and 2-inch PVC tubing
    * Various pipe joints shown in the above picture (hereafter reffered to as a, b, and c from left to right). You'll need two of the bottom right, and a part that mates two 2 inch pipes together (d, not shown).
    * PVC cement, and teflon tape
    * Some sort of stopper that will make a sealed fit in a 1 1/4-inch tube
    * 2 inch diameter portafilter cup
    * Caulk gun
    * Hot water and finely ground coffee
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #18 - February 15th, 2005, 5:53 pm
    Post #18 - February 15th, 2005, 5:53 pm Post #18 - February 15th, 2005, 5:53 pm
    Ed,

    Rube Goldberg would be so proud.

    I like the idea of traveling with this all-plastic expresso machine. I read earlier where someone takes their french press on the road. The thin walled glass of french presses would make me inclined to keep it at home.

    Vietnamese coffee filters are inexpensive, made of metal and easily tossed in the suitcase without fear of breakage. Too bad there is no such thing as single servings of condensed milk; at least in this country.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #19 - February 16th, 2005, 9:16 pm
    Post #19 - February 16th, 2005, 9:16 pm Post #19 - February 16th, 2005, 9:16 pm
    If you are looking for an espresso machine on the Internet... Buyer Beware! Regarding refurbished machines, I strongly recommend that you ask these questions... Who did the work? Is there a guarantee on the service? What happens if the machine breaks down, do I have to ship it back and wait for service or can I drive it over to a repair facility? There are a lot of hacks out there that are just looking to make a quick buck and not help you out in the long run.

    I recommend that you call someone in the coffee industry that can help you get a machine that will fit your needs as well as your budget. Call Paul at Intelligentsia Coffee. He's been in the business for more than 15 years and knows his stuff!
  • Post #20 - October 2nd, 2008, 3:01 pm
    Post #20 - October 2nd, 2008, 3:01 pm Post #20 - October 2nd, 2008, 3:01 pm
    FYI, just to add my input- I just got a nespresso c100 as a wedding gift and i use it ALL the time. I go through about 2 capsules a day which is far cheaper than me going to fourbucks. And the espresso is actually REALLY fantastic.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #21 - October 2nd, 2008, 4:02 pm
    Post #21 - October 2nd, 2008, 4:02 pm Post #21 - October 2nd, 2008, 4:02 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Ed,

    Rube Goldberg would be so proud.

    I like the idea of traveling with this all-plastic expresso machine. I read earlier where someone takes their french press on the road. The thin walled glass of french presses would make me inclined to keep it at home.

    Vietnamese coffee filters are inexpensive, made of metal and easily tossed in the suitcase without fear of breakage. Too bad there is no such thing as single servings of condensed milk; at least in this country.


    Cathy, Marketplace on Oakton and many Mexican groceries carry La Lechera (Nestle) 6-packs of tiny 3.5 oz condensed milks with pop-tops, easily purse-sized...though I suppose you'd want to make sure it doesn't come in contact with your crab pick... :wink:
  • Post #22 - October 3rd, 2008, 9:20 am
    Post #22 - October 3rd, 2008, 9:20 am Post #22 - October 3rd, 2008, 9:20 am
    This isn't an espresso "machine" per se, but it is really really cheap, makes excellent espresso and americano, and its very minimal. Of course it doesn't foam milk or anything like that, I generally whip it on the stovetop if I want it.

    http://www.aerobie.com/Products/aeropress_story.htm
  • Post #23 - October 8th, 2008, 11:29 am
    Post #23 - October 8th, 2008, 11:29 am Post #23 - October 8th, 2008, 11:29 am
    I can second the recommendation for faux espresso from the Aeropress. I'm still researching proper espresso machines but use the AP (Aeropress) pretty much every day.

    For true espresso, the folks that know say the grinder is more important than the machine for quality. The machine just makes things easier to be consistent. A lot of people recommend the Rancillio Rocky as a good entry-level espresso grinder. For machines, the Gaggia line has a few models that get good reviews for entry-level machines. Some even can be used with pods. They're not ones I've been looking at but one of theses sites should be able to help:

    http://www.coffeegeek.com
    http://www.home-barista.com


    Be careful with internet or used equipment sales. A lot of commercial equipment is designed for 208VAC electric and plumbed water; something not available where you want to put the machine. It may also be too tall to fit under a standard kitchen cabinet. Then there's the question of how it was cared for by the previous owner(s).

    HTH
  • Post #24 - May 6th, 2021, 8:07 am
    Post #24 - May 6th, 2021, 8:07 am Post #24 - May 6th, 2021, 8:07 am
    Nespresso Aeroccino 3 Frother
    This is one of these places where it is here today and gone tomorrow, priced $59.99 instead of $98.
    Rapid one touch preparation of hot or cold milk froth
    1 button for all preparations, 1 second button pressure for Hot milk or hot milk froth, 2 second button pressure for cold milk froth
    Maximum hot & cold milk froth capacity: 4 oz. Maximum hot milk capacity: 8 oz
    Auto shut off when finished
    Maximum levels are indicated on the internal wall of the jug
    Dimensions (with base): 3.9 x 3.9 x 7.2 inches
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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