Starter Espresso Machines

I have been looking at to a basic espresso machine to replace my Nespresso

Not the automatic type like Phillips, Delonghi etc but more like Giggia Classic Pro or a Lelit or a ECM

And a grinder to go with it

They have many models all across the price range

I don’t want a 500 series but Atom or even 272 level max if it is worth it, far easier to explain like this:)

We will have couple of espressos and couple of lattes per day, that’s it.

Any experts out there? More I read more I am confused

A few months ago I was looking to upgrade my espresso machine and grinder. Initially I bought a new coffee maker and soon realised the problem lay with the grinder. After much research (and clear instruction not to use up too muchwork-top space) I settled for a machine with a built in grinder (see pic).
A hugely improved coffee experience and haven’t looked back.

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All the Sage machines are fantastic consumers machines. Really easy to use with a decent quality of espresso.

The Gaggia classics are great too but not so easy to get consistent results due to lack of water temperature.

As for the grinder, along with fresh beans this the most important part of coffee making.

You can literally go into thousands with this stuff. Did you have a budget in mind?

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I use a La Pavoni Europiccola machine. They are an expensive outlay at £450 but hear me out. I have had lots of friends who have had very complicated ‘bean to cup’ type machines but they all break down in the end as they are very complex. The Europiccola is essentially a very well made mechanical device with no fancy electronics. I service it myself on an annual basis by changing seals. Occasionally it needs sending off for a bigger service but essentially they go for ever. I have had mine for over twenty years and a friend uses one that is 40 years old. If you view it that way then they are very good value for money. I also regularly use a Bialetti stovetop moka espresso maker. They are very cheap and make great coffee. My Italian friends tell me that no Italians have fancy machines at home - they just use moka pots! For a coffe grinds have a look at the Wilfa machine which is great and good value at about £100 - I have used for 2 years and really rate it

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Thanks for answering

2000€ is the max I’m willing to spend but I will be happy if i get away with a 1000€ I will be happy

For both machines

I should of course add that La Pavoni invented the modern commercial espresso machine and that my Europiccola as looks v cool IMO!

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Always had a bialetti at my home, I was in Italy for 3 years.

They get a very nice espresso at arms reach

I drink nespresso, v60, moka, french press and Turkish coffe according to the time of the day, mood and company

Another vote for the La Pavoni. I’ve got the matching ‘Jolly’ grinder that goes with it.

My only comment against the La Pavoni is it gets so hot and it’s not insulated… the amount of times I’ve thoughtlessly touched it and realised it’s at 100 degrees or so…

But still, there’s something very relaxing about manually pushing the water through the ground beans.

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Always check the small print with grinders. I nearly bought the Wilfa (excellent brand - recommended by my local roasting guys) until the particular model I was looking at said ‘not suitable for a fine Espresso grind’. Sadly, that’s all I drink.

That is true - I use mine for bialetti/Chemex/Aeropress. In my experience the only coffee that I have found works well in the Europiccola is Illy so I didn’t buy grinder for Europiccola

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Had my classic for 7+ years… a winning combination with the iberital grinder. You’ll have to keep it clean though as they need more tlc than the nespresso… Dead easy to fix and work…can’t recommend them highly enough and a great way to start your coffee journey.

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If you prefer to spend 1000 euro, I would choose the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine + Rancilio Rocky on demand grinder. This is a well known and proven combination in the entry level of serious espresso.
Be aware that it is a bit frustrating to make milk based drinks (like cappuccino or latte) on a single boiler machine because of the different temperatures for espresso making and milk frothing. A heat exchanger or double boiler machine is more convenient for that, but cost quite a bit more. Also, don’t underestimate the value of a good grinder (preferably stepless + on demand).
If you are willing to spend 2000 euro, I would go for the Bezzera Magica (nice quality heat exchanger and beautiful E61 machine) + stepless Mazzer Mini grinder.

Have you any experience of using an espresso machine and grinder? It can be quite tricky. Even after years I still make a bad shot at least once or twice a week.

The la pavoni is a lovely machine but I think it takes a while to master.

Gaggia and Rancio machines are what loads of people start with but in my experience, both are difficult to work with to pull consistent shots.

Although the Sage isn’t the best on the world its great to start with because it’s so easy to use and relatively cheap. And a few high street shops stock them so you can try them out.

If you want to go all out, I’d get the Decent Espresso machine from America.

Agree that the La Pavoni machine takes a while to master but that is half the fun and when you have learnt to get it right it makes brilliant espressos!

Any comment on lelit machines?

I’m probably sticking to my Lavazza capsule machine… but a Lelit Mara X looks good, and maybe a Niche Zero grinder… combo about in the middle of the budget?

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Too much plastic with capsules, I start to feel bad tried refillable ones but not very successful

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Ask 100 people a question on what they would recommend and you will get 100 different answers!! With this in mind, I can recommend the Jura E80. I bought one a couple of months back and it seems brilliant (to me anyway). Does a whole range of coffees very well, a great all rounder. Paid GBP839 - money well spent :grinning:
cheers
Neil

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I’m also long term user of Rancilio Silvia espresso machine and Rocky grinder (maybe 10 years). I have also used a Gaggia Classic type machine and the Rancilio is more consistent and powerful.

I think the Rancilio has been widely regarded as one of the best manual machines, although you can pay more for machines that have a second boiler for milk frothing. It is built in Italy by a company that makes commercial machines and is like a miniaturised version. It has been sold in the past by John Lewis but I think the department stores now mostly concentrate on bean to cup machines like the Sage.

A manual machine like the Rancilio will require some practice and application - it’s a long way from a pod machine, but can produce much better coffee and good milk froth. If you go this route you will need to develop good practice, use freshly roasted beans and allow the time to make each cup of coffee with due care. You will have to do what the barista does in a proper coffee shop, but it will be more complicated and slower because you will have a domestic machine.

If you would prefer a simpler process then maybe you should consider some of the bean to cup machines as an alternative.

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Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules are (now) compostable, so they go out with the food waste…

Maybe I’m not committed enough, but it was the bit in the Lelit operating instructions that said the machine needed to be professionally descaled annually on top of all the maintenance you need to do yourself that convinced me I wasn’t worthy. And it’s only me drinking coffee here.

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