Need Advice on a Home Coffee Machine

I want to make proper coffee at home. I currently have Aldi coffee pod machine. I bought it for that caffeine hit in the morning. Now I am looking for something that also tastes good too. I guess I also need advice on a grinder, and good smooth coffee beans.

I hear that the difference between cheap and expensive machine are subtle. I just need something that makes better coffee than 7/11 automatic coffee.

Comments

  • whats your budget?

    • About $600 for both coffee machine and grinder. Is my expectation too high?

      • Depends on how far you want to take it. Do you want an automatic machine?

      • I've been eyeing this myself for a long time, never could justify the price considering I am the only one who use it…

        https://www.thegoodguys.com.au/sunbeam-espresso-machine-and-...

        $649 with a coffee machine and grinder combo… problem is, the grinder might not be the best quality.

        Dual boiler so you can make hte coffee and froth the milk at the same time.

        • That grinder is actually a pretty good entry level burr grinder. Keep in mind that package has been mid $400 in the past.

        • I have this machine. It's a great solid machine. Where are you located? There is a sunbeam store on botany road in Alexandria that sells factory refurbs with 12 months warranty for ~$400.

        • That was actually on sale at the end of last month from the good guys for $499. They kept it in their eBay store during one of their discount sales making it ~$440 with click and collect.

          Have since upgraded but the sunbeam gave me 5 odd years of good service. Not an Italian machine by any means, but better than 7/11. My only complaint is that it was a little temperamental. Once you've got the grind amount set correctly, use a little digital kitchen timer to keep it consistent.

          Other commenter is right - for the price, the included grinder is great. A little clumpy, but just have a glance and correct before you tamp.

          Enjoy!

        • @jackary:

          I had the older model of this machine, and it worked fine for about 4 years, unusable by 5 years. So just keep in mind the longevity.

          Good quality machine for the price though. I since upgraded, but at machines significantly out of that price bracket. I doubt you'll find anything better in the price range than that Sunbeam package.

        • It's a great kit, and you can't go wrong with Sunbeam customer service either. I have the same Coffee Machine but the better version of the Grinder; we make better coffee at home than most cafes do.

      • Stick with the Aldi then. Nothing wrong with it. I have that at home. Had a $3000 prosumer at my office which was awesome but was repaired twice over 8 years, each repair costing $500. Just aren't worth it. Wait for the Breville Dual Boiler to go on sale (bloody goodguys/ebay sale hasnt happened in a while for these machines to where discounts add up). Or if you can save up get the Oracle when it goes on sale for $1600ish. Last year those prices happened a few times. Think its only happened once this year at the start of the year. So upset I didn't buy it then!

      • Had a barista express for a year, after owning 4 previous espresso machines. Offloaded them for various reasons, but I've gotta say- it's so well designed from a function & cleaning point of view. Little stuff like pop up handle on water container, lock on bean container (for placing in fridge so they don't leak) different filters and the descaling kit (all in corresponding boxes). Overall great design, the grinder is great quality… And you can customize presets.

      • Breville BES870 Barista Express. Buy it during a 20% off Ebay sale from Good Guys/Bing Lee

      • Seriously that won't get you a good machine
        Good machine cost $1500 upward due to components

        The top of the line breville expresso machine are good
        Coffee snob forum if you want to know about the art of coffee and hardware

    •  

      honestly, I don't know nothing about coffee

  • Breville dual boiler, if you got more cash Breville oracle.

    • The dual boiler is like $1200. A little pricey for me.

      • Even those aren't "proper" coffee machines, the proper ones will definitely set you back at least 4 grand, you know coffee machines at cafes with the 3 group heads, you know brand new they are like 25K minimum right?

        Single group head machine would be best for home use, I have one of these
        http://www.talkcoffee.com.au/shop/iberital-ib7/

        I use to be a barista during university, I'm now working as an automation engineer
        I don't even use the machine much anymore since I get up at 6am, to beat the traffic.
        No time at home in the morning to make my own coffee, I just have shitty work coffee.

        • 2k would buy a very reasonable single group E61 HX or DB and grinder these days.

          Nothing wrong with the Breville DB, it'll make a great coffee but I'm not sure it'd last as long as something Italian. I guess you'd need to factor in a longevity vs purchase price equation.

        • They're perfectly capable machines.

        • @jackary:
          I got breville db last 4-5 years no issue
          Capable reliable machine and still brew good coffee, I get local roast bean in 1/2 kilo pack

        • @Hearthstone: No arguments from me! If anything I was trying to make a case for the dual boiler. It's a ripper home setup… But comparing it to even a basic Italian dual boiler is futile. Little things - stainless steel vs brass boilers, no insulation, no E61 group, the breville steam boiler is tiny, and once Breville discontinue the DB, good luck with spares!

          The breville dual boiler weighs 13kg. A similar VBM dual boiler (super) weighs 28kg.

          The breville is the cheapest dual boiler money can buy for a reason - that isn't to say it won't make a good 5-6 years worth of coffee - take a look on productreview.com.au at the functionally identical but now superseded BES900 - they aren't reliable machines.

      • You get what you pay for if you want shop quality like coffee there are no other way,I got this machine and it is tops love it…

    • Plus he'll need a grinder for a dual boiler. Definitely not going to be under a grand

    • A+ Have the Breville dual boiler and use it for 2 cups of coffee each day. Been going strong all year and a little hit to the pocket if I broke tommorow I would go back and buy another one! Consistent grind, Consistent shot, has the de-scaler @ the front. If you don't know how useful a descaler port is stop reading now and look it up. Over-all I could write up a complete review of the coffee machine going over the consistent tempeature, the bar pressure being consistent and how I no longer buy $6 cups of coffee a day. It's mostly paid for itself.

      Though the disadvantage is it doesn't come with a nice jug's that you normally get when visiting the coffee shops and a friendly smile and wink.

    • The model under that is around $600 and has a grinder built in, I found it to be actually quite good.

  • +6 votes

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/NEW-Breville-The-Barista-Espresso...

    I have one of these, i waited for 20% off ebay sale and paid around $550 i think.

    you do have to use fresh beans tho, roughly $20 a kg, as you wont get the right pressure from the supermarket beans as they to stale.

    • Was going to suggest the same at that budget, it's an ok machine, it's got nothing on a dual boiler or an italian made Rancilio or something (not far out of price range) but… when you dial it in right you do get great coffee from it.

      having the grinder built in keeps mess down and preparing for a brew pretty quick, it's slow to let out steam but and can be temperamental at times, as said once going does make a good drop of coffee.

    • I agree with the other owners of this machine. I have the previous generation model BES860 which has a smaller bean hopper but is essentially the same as the BES870. It's been operating trouble free for a couple of years now. I picked it up for relative steal at around $400 on clearance for the new model in early 2014, thanks OzBargain.

      I'm getting very satisfactory results on Aldi medium roast beans with the grind turned up pretty fine and some pretty precise dose measurement. The pressure indicator sits right at the top of 'the zone' and produces a nice crema. As the other posters have said, it takes a bit of experimenting to tune in, but once done is capable of making a very good coffee pretty quickly.

      The single boiler means the transition between coffee and steam takes longer than dual boiler systems, but for the one or two uses it has every day, that's perfectly fine for my home and the integrated grinder and small profile means it consumes a minimum of bench space.

      • Another vote for the Barista express! I moved down from the Breville Dual boiler to Barista express to save on counter space in tiny kitchen. For one or maybe 2 people - can't be faulted. The limitation of not being able to concurrently pull a shot while steaming milk is a notable drawback if you regularly make more than 1 or 2 coffees in a sitting - it can really slow things down. But for 90% of people 99% of the time this really isn't an issue.

        Other pros: Heat up is literally 30 seconds (the machine is ready to go before I've got milk in the jug), grinder mess is confined to the drip tray… and once everything's dialed in the machine is remarkably consistent. Easily best grinder in budget class too - Have currently been dialing in new beans and over the last 10 grinds the dose has been consistent every time to within 0.2g. Perfect.

        Cons: Because the machine flushes the thermoblock with cold water after steaming milk to cool down the brew head for pulling a shot of coffee instantly, the 2L water tank drains remarkably quickly. The drip tray could be bigger too, again because the water used cooling the brew head ends in the tray - so it needs emptying every ~5 coffees. I wouldn't keep a whole lot of beans in the hopper at one time either because the machine gets very hot - no point spending $50/kg to burn your beans!

        Hope this helps anyone thinking of the Barista express. Not Breville associated :p

        To the person I replied to: Good pick with the Aldi beans! They're the budget pick of choice - fun fact - the 'best before' date on the package is 2 years after roast, so you can get an idea of when your beans were bagged.

        • I have had the breville dual boiler for nearly 4 years without a hitch. I can also confirm the Aldi beans are fantastic especially when you factor the $10 price.

      • I only make coffee on weekends since I have my morning hit at work but the BES870 is going strong and like uzz30 I also buy Aldi beans and enjoy it.

        Btw, not a great deal or anything but if you need it now you can get it for $610 shipped from betta with that csun20 code.

        • Mind if I ask how you have your grinder set for the beans, and if you use medium or dark roast? Just curious really - cheers :)

        • @jackary: medium roast and set in between 6 and 7. Brings the pressure into the top area though.

  • Aeropress

  • For $450 the Breville Precision Duo might be an option. BEP810 machine and comes with grinder.

    Same 54mm portafilter as the "Barista" BES870. (Note - this is an unconventional size - most smaller machiens have 51mm, and most 'pro' machines 58mm.)

    Still has a PID for controlling the temperature - but it's not programmable. That's the main feature you miss out with this machine - also can't program shot times (though it does cut out not much after 30 seconds anyway).

  • Breville

  • Buy a mochamaster and never drink milky coffee again

  • I had a gaggia classic and that produced good coffee provided the beans were ground right. If you want cafe quality coffee I suggest you go see a coffee roaster that has a shop attached and see what machines they sell.

    • I have the Gaggia New Baby and the Gaggia Synchrony Logic. I don't use either as I have a two group Boema at work, but the Classic would definitely be in the ball park for a reliable semi auto.

    • I bought a second hand gaggia classic + sunbeam grinder for 400 and it makes great coffee, although do you have to spend a bit of time learning / experimenting to get it right. Since upgraded the grinder to breville smart grinder.

  • Head for Gumtree.

    I started with a cheapie Sunbeam, but took advice from the coffeesnobs forum and bought a good grinder.
    Total was around $600.

    I graduated to a Sunbeam 6910 (around $700 from memory) which I hammered for 7 years, and eventually replaced the grinder with a Breville Smart Grinder.

    I now have a $3,000 Expobar HX machine, and it makes better coffee than the Sunbeam.
    However, I could afford the upgrade, have done a couple of short barista courses and know how to tweak the coffee machine and grinder to get the best out of them.

    My suggestion is to buy a top-end Breville or Sunbeam machine off Gumtree for less than $200 (take advantage of crap resale values), buy a new Breville Smart Grinder (or Sunbeam equivalent) for less than $400, and you are in around budget.

    Buy your beans from people like Manna Beans, who always have a deal going on OzB, and spend some time learning how to make really good coffee.

    Then you can watch "Upgradeitis" get you :-)

    • +++
      Spend up on a good grinder..
      The machine itself is of less importance than the freshness of the coffee and the grind.

    • I'd head to gumtree as well, or eBay.
      I've had a good experience with a couple of Saeco machines over the past 10 years. The basic Magic machine which can be had for $200-300.
      The internals are pretty bombproof and haven't changed in years.

    • +1

      I bought a breville dual boiler (older model, bes900) off gumtree for $700 with a 3 year extended warranty. Ended up getting a free upgrade to the bes920 coz it started playing up.

      Bought the grinder separately though +$250

  • when you buy pods you are effectively paying 3 to 5 times more for your coffee.

    Being a heavy coffee user, I bought Delonghi Magnifica (https://www.binglee.com.au/delonghi-ecam22110sb-magnifica-s-...) from these guys 3 years ago. It has been serving approximately 4 cups of coffee every day. 2 years late it failed, I sent it back to Binglee and they sent me a new one.

    I understand it is out of your budget but it's fully automated and highly recommended

    • Looks like Bing Lee or Delonghi had treated you well.

    • +1 for Delonghi Magnifica. My one is going great guns. Managed to score it under $500 during a Myer sale a while back also. May be worth waiting for another.

    • I understand it is out of your budget but it's fully automated and highly recommended

      Not if you go 2nd hand, I got one of these (earlier version) for $350 and it still had over 2yrs extended warranty left, it only had about 50 coffees on the counter at the time, it now has about 15000 and is still going strong.

  • You can get the Sunbeam PU6910 bundle (EM6910 + Grinder) from TGG for just under 600.
    with the right beans, grind settings, and developed technique it can pump out a mean coffee.

  • +1 vote

    I bought a delonghi magnifica from Amazon UK which was GBP 286 delivered at the time so well below your budget. Going strong almost 5 years later. If I needed to replace I would get whatever amazon UK currently has in the same vein

    • My machine is now more expensive ESAM 4200 currently £355 (296 excl VAT +59 postage).
      Within your budget my choice would be ESAM 2800,GBP 283 delivered

    • Also got the delonghi magnifica - good machine! Only problem I've had so far was the steamer knob breaking off early on but replaced under warranty without fuss. It's out of warranty by a long shot (haha) now…I'd say it's about 8-9 years old now…about as long as I've been riding bikes. Must be a cyclist thing?

    •  

      Double plus the delonghi. We have two (magnificas); the first bought 11 years ago that popped its pooper valve after about 8 years, so we bought another that happened to be on special somewhere.

      BTW, the repair on the one that needed a replacement "boiler and element" was $150AU, reasonable I thought.

      Oh yea, we drink lotsa coffee, grinder set to max fine and strength also to max.

      After sales service from Delonghi has been tops.

      Only complaint I have it doesn't bring the cup of coffee to our bed in the morning.

  • In true ozbargain fashion I've got to suggest giving a Stovetop Moka pot a go, at around $50 it makes a far better cup of coffee than any pod machine.

    • I'd just like to second that sentiment.
      I got my coffee grinder from Kmart for $20.
      http://www.kmart.com.au/product/stainless-steel-coffee-grind...
      It works and makes acceptable ground coffee for my moka – you can get these for US $6.50 from Aliexpress http://www.aliexpress.com/premium/moka-coffee-maker.html
      The coffee tastes OK to me. The smell of the freshly ground coffee beans is wonderful (Brasilia Super Crema coffee beans, 500g for $5 from IGA).
      I'm a bit baffled why people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on these things.
      The Kmart grinder is a blade type grinder which the purists frown on, but this whole setup is so cheap that I suggest you try it first, zealmax, and see if you're happy with it before you take out a second mortgage. Seriously, I've seen bins for dumping grounds in that cost more than my entire rig!
      It's quite satisfying to make your coffee "manually" like this, instead of just pressing a button on some fancy machine. And yes, I've used the fancy machines, in offices, and I think at home it's nice to slow down a bit and smell the roses (or the coffee beans).
      PS If this is beyond your budget, Kmart do another grinder for $13.

    • I am interested in trying the IKEA radig
      Seemed better value, stainless steel, rather than the seemingly more traditional aluminium ones

      http://m.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/art/50163221/

  • Second hand Rancilio Silvia and a conical burr grinder. Should come in under your budget and will give you a great cup.
    I have owned a Silvia for the past 12 years and used it every day (Including growing and processing my own coffee.)
    Try for a V2 if you can and if you get really keen there are enough websites showing how to mod them and take it to the next level (I've not bothered as the stock version does me. I was amazed at how many people modify them to have greater control, they have way too much spare time.)

    • I couldn't agree with you more on recommending a 2nd hand Silvia. It is well known that the Rancilio is a solid machine, made with semi-commercial components that just seem to last. I got a Silvia machine with matching Rocky grinder thinking I would upgrade a few years later… that was 9 years ago and it's still going strong! Regular descaling and back flushing is all it needs.

      Unfortunately I think the Op is coming off a push button Aldi machine and looking for "something that makes better coffee than 7/11 automatic coffee". For those of us that have used the Silvia, we know that there is a huge learning curve at the beginning. If the Op is hoping to become a home barista, then it's the perfect machine to learn on. But I'm just not sure whether that's what the Op is looking for.

    • Agree with 2nd hand Silvia also! I picked one up for $400 years ago and bought a Breville Smart Grinder (for $200).

      Regular descaling and backflushing will keep the Silvia going for years, and if repairs are required, they are a basic design to keep it simple.

      • Hey! we got the same setup!

        Came here to say, I got my Silvia second hand for about $450-500, and the Breville Smart Grinder was given to me as a gift.
        I came from a cheapy $120 Sunbeam machine, big difference.

    • also run a s/h rancilio silvia.

      I got a s/h v3 (with new v4 boiler), temp guage, pid, low water cutoff, v4 wand and dial
      And a brand new italian grinder (Quick Mill doserless) for $750 with some bonus extras.

      couldnt be happier.. Jumping into a silvia will be frustrating as hell for a newbie at first. it really requires persistence and an affinity to detail.

    • +1. Had a Silvia for nearly 10 years with a Sunbeam Burr Grinder. Best value combo you can get IMO. (Easily under $1k)
      Mate at work had one too and upgraded to a new La Marzocco. :o
      Awesome machine, but out of my budget and he's a coffee nutter.
      Make sure though, that you get QUALITY beans from a roaster, not the shit off the supermarket shelves.

  • +1 for Sunbeam EM6910 or even the new EM7000 series. The Sunbeam EM0480 grinder will do, but from what I hear, the Breville smart grinder is better.

    Sunbeam have a bit of a tradition of giving away free grinders when you purchase the EM6910 (or I guess now the EM7000 series) coffee machine at the right time of the year. I believe it's usually October/November, so perhaps that is something to watch out for…

    Decent coffee machine is important, but even the best machine won't be much use without a decent grinder. When faced with the decision to allocate limited funds, do not opt for a cheap, shitty grinder. That pretty much also implies do not buy a coffee machine with built-in grinder. Whatever you do, do not buy one of those spinning blades, blender style "grinders".

    As far as coffee goes, find a place that sells freshly roasted beans and is easy for you to get to. Only buy whole beans, grind as needed straight into the portafilter. Beans are only good for a maximum of two weeks since roast date, after that they go downhill. So, depending on your consumption, you probably want to pick up 250-500g every week or two. Buying roasted beans on-line doesn't work too well unless you go through several kilos every fortnight.

    If you decide to get into roasting your own beans, then buying green beans online is the way to go. You can store green beans for a year or longer and still get excellent results.

    • I read some reviews on EM6910, and there were some that said the seal wasn't good. What are your experiences with it?

      • Mine is about 8 years old and still on the original seal. I bought a spare seal a year ago of eBay for $6 delivered because I figured out that after this long, it may be a good idea to have a spare. However, the original seal is still in great nick, just discoloured.

        I think most of the problems that people attribute to the seal are actually issues with how they maintain their machine. You need to keep it clean, which means a quick (5 second) wipe down of the seal area with a sponge after you make coffee and a backflush every time you run the water tank empty. Backflush is just a matter of putting a little rubber disc in the portafilter and running the pump for 5 seconds, stopping the pump, waiting 3 seconds and running the pump for another 3 seconds. Every month or two I do a proper clean. Rather than using the overpriced cleaning tablets, I use 1/4 of a teaspoon of 100% sodium percarbonate (it costs about $9/kg) and run the machine on the cleaning cycle which only takes a few minutes to complete. I use filtered water, so I descale once a year at most. You only need a bit of white vinegar to descale.

        The other factor that would affect the lifespan of the seal is unnecessary or incorrect disassembly, There are many people who will disassemble the brewing head filter screen and pull out the seal in order to clean that area. If you have a good regular cleaning regimen as above, there's really no need to do this more than once every couple of years, maybe yearly. The seal and shower screen are a tight fit. Getting them out is tricky and it is really, really important to not use a sharp tool such as a knife or a screwdriver to pry the seal out. You also need to be very careful with the edges of the shower screen, because they too are sharp enough to damage the seal. If you put nicks in the seal, it's only a matter of time until the seal splits. If you do take the seal out and clean the brewing head, it's a good idea to use a good quality food grade lubricant on the seal so that it seats better and is subsequently easier to remove. I use Inox MX6, which can be picked up from AutoOne. LubriFilm Plus would also do the trick.

        TL;DR - in my experience there are no issues with the seal.

        • The seal ages by getting compressed, so you no longer have a proper seal, resulting in leakage out the side of the group head.
          Replacing the seal is quick and painless during a descale.
          It's got absolutely zero to do with maintenance.

          Having said that.. I still get about 2 -3 years from our seals. It's not a problem in my experience.

        • @scubacoles:

          I still get about 2 -3 years from our seals. It's not a problem in my experience.

          I think that Sunbeam lists those seals, together with the anti-calc cartridge as consumables that should be replaced every 12 or so months. They certainly last a lot longer than that.

          I think the bad reputation for the head seals may have come from the original EM6900 machine. Apparently the fix on those was to insert a shim under the seal to make it protrude a bit more.

          I guess I've done well with my seal. No leaks in 8 years.

          BTW: The Sunbeam machines are dual pump, dual thermoblock with PID design. That means you can texture your milk and extract coffee at the same time. This is something that you can't do with machines like the Rancilio Silvia. The Sunbeam will let you program the temperature of the water as well as temperature and wetness of the steam wand. For the money, they are excellent machines.

        • @peteru:
          the bad reputation comes from those who leave their group handle in the head for prolonged periods, and its usually those same people who dont bother running a wet cloth around the group head after using

        • Second, I have mine for 7 years, and have done > 4000 cups easily. I counted them cups the other day.
          I replaced seal ~$20 and have had the issue with the right water knob not sealing properly - replaced under warranty.

          Overall, incredible value for money and got as a combo.

          I have heaps of issues with the grinder though and just been too stingy to replace. Super happy with my EM 6910 and I would say still making better coffee than the recently "mass produced" rancilio silvia [This is a 1:1 match in terms of value for money | Pros and cons.]

          I LOVE making coffee in the morning, so I may like others here head up the next level 2000 - to 3000 for a machine.

          It is really shocking when I regularly make better coffee and micro-foam milk at home than 80% of the coffee shops in Perth (and I am not claiming I am good… quite sad actually at $4-5 a cup!!!)

        • @scubacoles:

          Agreed, I have a regular habit at the end of my coffee to wipe the steam want, purge and wipe the group head and purge….
          I know what you mean, seen some people leave dirty group handles in place with the used coffee for days; not great for the seal.

      • Our 5 year old EM6910 made 4-6 coffees a day very reliably for 5 years. Group head seal was replaced twice (I did it myself) - very easy job. You know the seal's knackered when coffee leaks around the portafilter when you make a shot.

        The fate of our machine was the same as most coffeesnobs.com.au posters - dead steam wand. It probably could've been fixed.

        Cannot fault the Sunbeam. As much as I love my Breville now, I know neither the barista express nor dual boiler will make it to 5 years. Just have a megaphone next to the machine, you'll need one :)

  • If your not gonna spend min 1K plus on a decent coffee machine, stick to the stove top with the traditional bialetti mokka

    http://www.bialetti.com/www.bialetti.com/coffee/stovetop/mok...

    I use mine 2-3 times a day, and dont plan on changing the method anytime soon! When I was travelling around Italy, EVERYONE had one of these on there stovetop..So if thats how the Italians are doing it, thats how I'm doing it…Just make sure you buy the right size for the right amount of cups you want to me making (dont buy a 3 or 6 cup to make a 1 cup)

    • THIS. Needs to be paired with a good grinder (Sunbeam $200-300 models are excellent bang/buck).

      I've tried them all, this is the best combo.

    • I had 2 nespresso machines, then bought the Bialetti one and has never looked back. Best $30 ever spent on a coffee maker.
      It depends on how big is your usual cup, if you're after espresso shot then 3 cup will do. If you like a long black with milk kinda thing, go for 6 cup.

      • I'm with these guys.. I love my Bialetti. I usually use packaged Lavazza Oro Gold with it and it's amazing.

        • When compared to instant coffee.

        •  

          @peteru: One can make incredible coffee with these stove top wonders! It takes practice, but I get it that for some,doing anything more than pushing a button is too difficult.