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Espresso Machines


Clerkenwellian
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Long-term, bottled water is an expensive and unnecessary habit for coffee-making -- not to mention I don't trust the bottled water companies. If the local tap water is so hard as to be a major problem, you just get Rancilio's $20 softener accessory and hook it to the water line. That plus a Brita and you'll be all set.

thanks... don't suppose anyone knows if the softener accessory is available in the UK?

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I think it's in that first link Bux posted above, but take a look at Illy's offer of a Francis Francis X5 for basically wholesale ($175+$25 shipping) if you agree to buy coffee for a year.

I've been using mine for a couple of months and am very happy with it. There is also, I think, a link to the wholelattelove site's review of the machine.

Jim

I bought a Francis machine as well from wholelattelove and was very satisfied. I bought mine about a year ago (fire engine red!) and absolutely love it. If you like to have an "interactive" coffee-making experience, this is a good machine.

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Ok, I know there are many coffee-heads out there, and pardon me if a topic like this has been started before (I couldn't find one, though), but please share what kind of espresso maker is in your home kitchen.

I have a Francis X1 (in red) - so beautiful! :smile:

What about you?

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I've not felt the need to spend for a sculpture that also makes espresso... My kitchen now has a Gaggia Carezza, which is by no means beautiful, but still makes a fine espresso. I've also got a Saeco Via Veneto pod machine in the office, and a retired Krups Novo 2000 in the basement awaiting another spot that needs an espresso maker.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Rancilio Silvia

Mazzer Mini grinder

Lava Deluxe Tamper (in green)

I run a two stage water filtration/softener set-up that is cartridge based (also has the benefit of giving me tasty tap water).

I swapped out the baskets from the Silvia for commercial baskets from work (I think they're from an older La Marzocchi). The Silvia baskets seem a bit small, but most of all are easy to dent and ding which results in a failed seal.

I switch back and forth between brewing with Uncommon Grounds Molta Roba and Thomas Carra Espresso.

Shrug... I'm a fanatic. What can I say?

fanatic...

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I have a Rancilio Silvia and a Rocky grinder (same as slkinsey, who advised me when it came time to pick something out) which I'm pretty much thrilled with.

Sam also has ALL the accessories, including a roaster, which he'll tell you all about when he posts to this thread (which he undoubtedly will!).

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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Sam also has ALL the accessories, including a roaster, which he'll tell you all about when he posts to this thread (which he undoubtedly will!).

Yep.

Rancilio Silvia

Rancilio Rocky Grinder (although I covet the new Doserless Rocky Grinder)

La Marzocco Filter Baskets

Separate Single and Double Spout Portafilters

I am soon to get the 1st-Line modified Three Hole Steam Tip for the steam wand

Hearthware Precision Home Roaster

Just can't stand American drip-style coffee... totally can't stand the drek sold as "espresso" most everywhere in America (perhaps they should call it "expresso" to distinguich it from the real thing).

--

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Rancilio Silvia, Rocky grinder, La Marzocco filter basket as well.

If anyone wants to trade up to my Rocky so I can trade up to the doserless Rocky, PM me. Uhhm, I wonder if there's any eGulleteer out there with a Sylvia in the market for a better grinder...

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I got a "Saeco Bistro" , European version (220V), with built-in grinder. Works very well for the last 6 years.

Someone gave me last Christmas a "Capresso 201" 'FrothExpress',

nice little gadget, when I want to keep up making more then a few Cappucinos. It won't take power nor water away from the Espresso maker. Also calibrated timing (mine) results in satisfaction.

Peter
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Just as a plug... before you buy the doserless Rocky (a very nice grinder by the way), you might want to look at the Mazzer Mini as well. It's very fast, incredibly consistent, and its fine adjustment potential is pretty damn amazing. I know it's not doserless, and I have to admit that I see this as an obvious failing. I'm hoping they'll come out with a doserless Mini. But it was an easy choice for me to upgrade from a Rocky to this - and even a doserless Rocky would not tempt me away.

fanatic...

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I have a Gaggia Espresso, I am getting very good results from it.

I like having to fool around with all the variables.

My grinder is a wizzer type grinder, I usually use Lavazza coffee and find it can be excellent.

I hate the burnt tasting overpriced crap from northwestern based coffee marketers. It is easy to make you coffee consistant when it is all burnt.

My target is to get a smooth creamy fragrant taste I have had in Madrid, some paces in Italy and in Cafe Italia in Montreal.

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By whizzer grinder, Kenk, if you mean one of those $15-20 Krups-like grinders, you might want to beg, borrow or steal a more expensive grinder--something like the Rocky or the Mazzer Mini--and live with it for awhile. You might just discover a "more consistently more excellent" excellent. (When you say NW, have you tried the two espresso varieties from Caffe Vivace?)

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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My target is to get a smooth creamy fragrant taste I have had in Madrid, some paces in Italy and in Cafe Italia in Montreal.

I'm pleased to see yet another confirmation that coffee is Spain is the best. The most annoying thing about cofffee in Spain on my last trip was that many of the best restaurants are now serving Italian espresso and consquently, we had better coffee in average bars than in the best restaurants.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Malachi--I've never seen a Mazzer Mini in the flesh--it does appear significantly bigger than the Rocky, is it? What do you have the Mazzer doser adjustment set to release with each pull--in grams?

What did you sell your used Rocky for--$125-150?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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2 questions: i have miss silvia, of whom i've written previously.

i've got an ancient gaggia mdf that i'm very pleased with. what are the benefits of a doserless grinder?

and what are the top choices for mail-order roasted whole beans? i used to get malabar gold from josuma, but it was just such a pain in the ass i stopped. they only roast one day a week and you have to know by 11 a.m. friday that you're going to run out of coffee by noon wednesday. just not that organized. but it is killer coffee. right now i'm on torrefazione "palermo", which is very good. though not killer.

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It's bigger - but most noticably it is much heavier.

One of the only weaknesses of the Mazzer is that, for some reason, if you pull short quick pulls on the doser it tends to spray espresso everywhere. As a result, instead of dosing in my usual (small) amounts I have to pull 9 gram doses. It's taken some getting used to as I like to use 17 grams per espresso usually. So I tend to get a little wastage, and it often takes more time than I'd like (resulting in a decreased temp for the portafilter and mallet). Of course, the above measurements are purely desired guidelines given the vagaries of beans, time, humidity, etc.

I'm not a big doser fan for various reasons - but the Mazzer grinder is so incredible that I'm willing to put up with it.

Sold the Rocky for $135 including shipping.

fanatic...

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I haven't used that one, Russ, but I can tell you one thing I don't like about the Rocky--each time you put the portafilter under and click the doser lever--you get a pre-set amount of ground coffee. You cannot adjust it, you cannot see it, you can just click and click.

In an ideal world, two clicks is exactly precisely what you want, tamp and pull. I want 17 g. Guess what? For me, two clicks is never ever what I want. 3 clicks is too much. So I'm always sweeping some back into the doser reservoir, some grounds are always spilling out of the filter basket by the third click. The halfway click isn't consistent enough.

I think I'd prefer complete control--no doser--and just have the amount I visually "sense" I need ground directly into the portafilter OR something like the Mini which you seem to able to adjust the amount of each dose--a gram or two more, a gram or two less--so each click gives you what you want.

But that convenience comes at a $125 premium above the cost of the Rocky; the Rocky doserless model is essentially the same price as the doser model, roughly $250-260.

But then I keep a digital gram scale near my silvia just to check things from time to time and shot to shot if I'm not getting the performance I want.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Oh - and yes. Espresso Vivace is totally incredible.

It's hard for anyone to answer the "what are the best espresso beans" question, to be honest. I know people who absolutely love espresso roasts that I consider burnt and horrid. I'm a big fan of varietal espressos, but I understand that most people don't like them and I rarely serve them to anyone. It's all so so subjective and personal taste based.

You might want to check out Coffee Review -- Ken Davids is a rational, balanced guy with a great palate.

For what it's worth, I'm a big fan of Uncommon Grounds coffees (though most of their espresso roasts are too dark for my tastes).

Of course... I leave the most important for last. If you can possibly, in any way, find a roaster who is local or an espresso bar who works with a regional roaster where the espresso is high quality, the roasting professional and consistent and the roasting schedule realistic you're probably going to be happier than with any of the larger mail order companies.

fanatic...

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As Steve says, doserless means better control over the amount of espresso released into the portafilter which equals less waste and more consistency of results. In addition, most dosers do a fair to middling job (at best) when "sweeping" grinds into the portafilter. This results in stale grounds (to a greater or lesser degree) getting into your portafilter.

fanatic...

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Bean-wise I'm dedicated to Caffe Vivace, Graffeo and La Colombe's La Nizza blend, in that order and for different reasons. As Malachi says, at least one of these might seem over-roasted and harsh to some. It is subjective but I also think some blends work well with milk and some I appreciate more straight as espresso.

Price-wise it seems better to buy locally. Some day I will undoubtedly get sucked into the whole home roasting experience. Until then, mail order at a premium price seems to keep me the happiest given my alternatives and my palate, even accounting for the shipping delay. In the case of Vivace, you get your beans for espresso on the second day after roasting, in perfect shape.

I think we few who have seen the espresso light on eGullet have to take this seriously:

"If you can possibly, in any way, find a roaster who is local or an espresso bar who works with a regional roaster where the espresso is high quality, the roasting professional and consistent and the roasting schedule realistic you're probably going to be happier than with any of the larger mail order companies"

and name names.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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