Coffee Machine - $500 max

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by Benno1988, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. shredder

    shredder Member

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    Agreed. Based on what I would want, the choice seems clear.
     
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    Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    I think its clear between say a $100 machine and a $600 machine. Cofee from the $600 is going to be noticeably better.

    At what point do be realistic about the differences. The Barista express has more control, so it has potential to make better coffee. The biggest drawcard for me on the Barista Express is the built in grinder. Just chuck some beans in, and grind straight into the portafilter. No scoopin. The Bambino biggest drawcard is size, and I guess easier to use!

    Can't seem to find the height of the BES870 with the hopper on. 37cm (quoted specs) seems too short with hopper.
     
  3. alexb618

    alexb618 Member

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    not entirely true, it can be, if you know what you are doing. but most people don't.

    my parents have a silvia & rocky (plus the mega dollar beans they buy) and honestly the coffee that mum produces with that expensive gear is terrible. their silvia is less than 5 years old and has already had a new chassis as they rust, and some internal stuff has also been replaced. one of my mates was fully into coffee for a while and bought what i think was a gaggia classic, put a pid on it etc and it was still average. he also had about a zillion other little machines for cold drip and pressed coffee which were also pretty bad, and this guy spent untold hours reading, practising etc etc and could never get it right.

    both my parents and coffee snob mate have had coffees at my place and have all commented how good my coffee is. i am running a sunbeam 6910 & matching grinder that i got off gumtree for $80 about 5 years ago, cheap beans from my local roaster and coles milk, occasionally pauls smarter white (my secret weapon) when i am feeling fancy.

    anyway tldr, expensive gear doesnt translate to good coffee unless you really know your shit.

    i would highly highly recommend the sunbeam thermoblock machines unless you are a serious hobbyist.
     
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    Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    Yeah, need to know what you're doing.

    Side by Side the Breville felt much bettr than the Sunbeam. Just better build quality.
     
  5. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    The pod machines do what they do, they squirt water through the coffee puck in the pod. It's the same thing you do with a group handle and espresso machine, except the amount of coffee is precise, you aren't grinding it, measuring it into the filter basket and squishing it down properly. As for how "good" they are, I think it depends on the coffee. All of the brands have a variety of coffees. I have a Lavazza machine and I think the coffee's nice/drinkable but some of the colours are a bit blah to me, I know which capsule colours I like. Same with nespresso. I tried some in the shop, and it was nice (it's what got me drinking coffee after a lifetime of thinking I didn't like it). If you go to a nespresso shop, they'll probably let you sample some, or go up the harvey norman's when they've got their sales people in there. People say Aldi isn't bad, either.

    Your attraction to the grinder is fine BUT the grinder will spit some coffee outside the filter basket, you'll spill a bit when you remove it before you tamp it, and you have to clean the burrs to maintain it and take it apart periodically. What you save scooping you'll make up with cleaning up and maintenance.

    Breville does a milk heating do-dad, it whisks up the milk and heats it. A pod machine and one of those and you'd be set.
     
  6. frnak

    frnak Member

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    Pod machines are a good option for tight spaces. They produce similar quality to using pre-ground coffee but with better consistency and freshness (as every pod is sealed). Probably better than a low-end espresso machine. They are great if you don't drink milk coffee.

    I've tried a few milk heaters (Delonghi, Aldi, Breville) and I can say that they taste nothing like steamed milk. None of them can produce anything remotely resembling a flat white. Best was the Delonghi. The Aldi one consistently burned the milk to the container.
     
  7. darknebula

    darknebula Member

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    I’d also recommend either of the Sunbeam machines, I’ve had a 6910 for 6 years and really enjoy the coffee I make with it. About 2 years ago upgraded to the Breville smart grinder.

    If your budget is tight I’d suggest perhaps investing in a decent machine now and use ground coffee and then upgrade to a grinder down the track.
     
  8. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    I can't taste any difference between frothy milk and totally flat milk heated in the microwave :D I don't really "get" the point of froth. And I can't tell the difference between milk frothed up with a steam wand and the milk whizzed up in the breville milk jug thingie.
    There are a LOT of options and what suits one person may not suit somebody else. Some people would rather die than drink pod coffee, I think it's fine, etc etc
    My main consideration is the taste of the coffee itself, not so much which do-dad spat it out, or how. Others might be able to tell.
     
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  9. darknebula

    darknebula Member

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    I have to say that I couldn’t live without textured milk on my coffee now that I have it down pat.
     
  10. Manol

    Manol Member

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    I'm not sure if anyone else has suggested this, but, if you hop on eBay, you can find lightly used Breville BES900/920 units with Breville SmartGrinders for about $450-500.
    They're an EXCELLENT unit for the money.
     
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    Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    Went and had a look with my wife at the various units.

    Have decided on the Bambino given we have two young kids. So when I'm at work, the easier/less time to use it the better. Standing there holding a jug of milk while you get the foam just right isn't feasible.

    I have got the grinder approved though. So now the hunt for a smallish/slim grinder than I can just put the portafilter in, grind, then straight into Bambino.
     
  12. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

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    Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    Half that! :p

    Sooooany grinders. Coffee machines not much selection. Grinders, different story.
     
  14. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    The breville smart grinder pro that I linked to before remembers the amount, so you can grind while you're doing something else, you don't have to stand there watching it (and also when you get the amount right, you get that amount every time)
     
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    Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    I'm listening. These are good points for arguing a case for the product!
     
  16. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    The sunbeam em4810 (or whatever it is) has quite a good rep (and it's quite compact in size), but you do have to stand there while it fills the basket, and you do have to judge when you've put enough in, compared to the Breville.
     
  17. Zee

    Zee Member

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    $300 can land you a Silvia and maybe a Sunbeam EM0480 grinder. A bit more for a Rocky. Not terrible, a bit of research and you'll be getting a pretty good shot.

    Z...
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  18. Manol

    Manol Member

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    The Smart Grinder is EXCELLENT.
     
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    Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    Whats the difference of it over the Control one thats $60-100 less?

    The control you change grind size and timer.

    Apart from the LCD, what does the Pro do?

    Ideally it would just weigh the amount it puts in the portafilter :p
     
  20. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    it figures shit out, for example if you use double basket and single basket, you can alter number of shots and it figures out the time. I think it also changes the time if you change the grind size, I can't remember.
     

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