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best capp. machine for $2000


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After just returning from an amazing trip to Italy, I have decided that I have to buy an espresso machine to make cappuccino. I loved the illy cappuccinos. I live in the mountains and there is not a good place to buy good capp's here. I figure that I buy an espresso drink a day at about $5 each. If I did the math right, that puts me at $1820 a year spent on crappy coffee. I will probably have to order the beans from the internet.

I am at a loss between all the choices of machines to buy. At this point I seem to be pickier about the quality of the foam than the espresso. My goal is to learn how to make myself a delicious capp with the heart shape foam.

This would be a machine for my home. On average, I would probably make 5 capp's a day. I thought I should budget in the $1500-2000 range.

I am not sure about the water plumbing. My water has a lot of junk in it that builds up.

Thank you for you input!!!

:rolleyes:

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You have do decide exactly what you want from your machine in order to figure out the best one for your needs. Do you want to learn how to make a cappuccino yourself, or do you want a machine that spits out a coffee with fuzzy milk on top if you look at it funny? How much mess are you prepared to accept in the general vicinity of the machine? How much room do you have to install coffee equipment? What style and color scheme does it have to fit into?

When you're talking about a $2000 budget, you're up there in the superauto price range... but the superautos are really not the devices that can produce the best coffee and fuzzy milk. They will, however, produce something alright, and with a minimum of mess, and in a smaller space than a grinder and espresso machine would take up.

If you're a more hands on type, put down the money for a high quality grinder and a good solid espresso machine. The Rancilio Rocky/Silvia combination is frequently cited as a great pair of machines that will produce damn fine caffeinated beverages. You're likely not to spend more than $750 on the pair.

You should have a poke around www.coffeegeek.com to get an idea of what's out there and what people think about various machines.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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A dual-boiler machine like the Brewtus II or La Spaziale Vivaldi S1 will probably give the best steaming performance. Both are under $2K, but the S1 needs to be plumbed in, which may take it over your budget (filters, fittings, etc.)

Do you already have a good grinder? if not, you need to include that in your purchase. That would definitely put you over your limit with the machines I mentioned. Maybe a Heat Exchanger (HX) E61 type machine coupled with a good grinder would fit your budget. I have a Macap grinder and an Isomac HX machine. The steaming performance is good but not stellar. Maybe someone else can suggest a "steaming champ" in you price range.

Search Google Video for "latte art" and you'll turn up some great shots of people pouring the decorative foam stuff. Great fun, but it takes practice. (I can't do it).

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I'll second the recommendation of the Silvia/Rocky combo at a greatly reduced price point, but then I've never owned anything better. For a while, I did have my heart set on a pasquini livia 90, but i just couldn't justify the slightly improvement over the silvia to myself.

if you're serious about shopping, there are a couple very good websites. check out www.coffeegeek.com and www.wholelattelove.com. both have lots and lots of information and reviews.

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I second the recommendation to visit coffeegeek.com. There's so much information there, though that it can be overwhelming. However, in the espresso machines and grinders forum there are many threads devoted to choosing the right machine. I just recently purchased my first home espresso machine (though I worked as a barista for many years), but my budget was only $300. I say, if your budget is $2000 don't get the silvia/rocky combo, especially if you want to make multiple milk drinks. There's a huge difference in ease of use between single boiler machines like the silvia and heat exchanger (HX) or dual boiler machines. I managed to snag myself a brugnetti top for very cheap because it has a lot of cosmetic damage, and I'm really happy with its performance.

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First, let me say that the recommendations to buy a quality burr type grinder are right on. As for machines, I have the Andreja premium. With the plumbing accessories, grinder and the machine, it's right around 2k. I am extremely happy with my set up.

When you say you have a lot of stuff in your water, what exactly do you mean? If it is just sediment and some minerals, the filter kits that attach before the machine will work fine. If you have bacteria or chemical pollution, you may need to stick with bottled. Either way, you can use the Andreja.

The number one rec. I would make to you would be to deal with Chris Coffee in Albany NY. Not only will they help you with the perfect setup you are looking for, their service is nothing short of perfect. Whether it's how to install, or use, or repair your machine, the people at Chris' (including Chris himself, its not just a name :smile: ) are top notch, friendly, and very knowledgeable.

Chris' Coffee....Chris' Coffee :biggrin:

Edited by adegiulio (log)

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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If you'll be making multiple drinks at a time, get something with a heat-exchanger or dual boilers. The Silvia setup works well for straight espresso or single milk drinks, but it isn't ideal for multiple milk drinks. I'll second adegiulio's recommendation for Chris Coffee, I got my machine from them a few years ago and they've been great to work with.

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Thank you all very much for your feedback. To answer a few questions posed:

I do not think I want a super automatic, because my ultimate goal is to be able to make the quality foam.

I could possibly increase my budget a little if I needed to in order to get the best machine for me & grinder.

I would like to be able to make a few drinks in a row.

The stuff in my water seems to be some sort of mineral buildup. It tends to clog and needs to be cleaned occasionally. No chemicals that I know of.

:biggrin:

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The stuff in my water seems to be some sort of mineral buildup.  It tends to clog and needs to be cleaned occasionally.  No chemicals that I know of. 

:biggrin:

That's a piece of cake to handle. When you set up the plumbing, (which is also very simple to do), you will be installing a filter and a softener in-line with the machine. They will clear up any issue with minerals.

Call Chris, he is honest and cares. He will hook you up with whatever is right for you....

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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The stuff in my water seems to be some sort of mineral buildup.  It tends to clog and needs to be cleaned occasionally.  No chemicals that I know of. 

:biggrin:

That's a piece of cake to handle. When you set up the plumbing, (which is also very simple to do), you will be installing a filter and a softener in-line with the machine. They will clear up any issue with minerals.

Call Chris, he is honest and cares. He will hook you up with whatever is right for you....

I second the motion to call Chris' Coffee. I've done business with them since I opened my shop 9 years ago... not espresso, but regular coffee service. They are fantastic to do business with and customer service is perfecto. I am located about 40 miles west of Albany NY and on the few occasions when we had equipment problems, they drove out immediately with replacements.... once on a Saturday. Check out their web site. They recently started roasting beans too.

Ilene

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