T Nation

Best Espresso Machine?


#1

Here's one that's probably a little out in left field.

I'm looking to buy a superautomatic espresso machine. I have owned a cheap Capresso machine for a year and a half. While grinding the beans and setting up the machine aren't that time consuming, it is a royal pain in the ass to have to babysit the damned thing so that it doesn't overextract the espresso. Because of the way it works, if I try to make successive espressos, I get around 25% less on the second one, because the heating element heats back up too quickly and will burn the espresso if I let it keep going. Plus, It doesn't really make ristretto.

I used to work at a place that had a Saeco Magic Deluxe, which I thought was decent. We never used espresso beans in it, so I have no idea how good the espresso actually was. I've been looking at the Saeco Incanto Sirius, but I really can't find any source of reliable reviews on the higher-end machines. Saeco's site doesn't help, since they refuse to just lay the products out in a tiered way, instead preferring to use an awkward features list that really doesn't tell me what I need to know. I'm not married to the idea of getting a Saeco product, I'm just more familiar with the brand.

So here's what I'm looking for: It must grind beans (are ceramic grinders really that great, btw?), have a water resevoir (filtered or unfiltered), dispose of its own waste into a collector bin, and have either a foaming wand or a capuccinatore. It must be reliable, considering how much these damned things cost. Finally, I am looking for the best tasting espresso possible. I have read that well-made espresso tastes like molten bitter-sweet chocolate; most American versions just taste bitter.

I'm hoping there are some experts here who will set me straight.

And yes, I know a hand-pump system would probably be better, but it's a pain in the ass. I want to wake up in the morning, hit a button, and have my coffee goddamnit!


#2

Not exactly what you are looking for but have you considered using a machine that uses "pods" of coffee. The pods are preground vacuum packed pucks of coffee you put into the machine and then just prees the button for espresso. Each pod is perfectly ground, tamped to the proper specs, and factory fresh.

I have a Lavazza Espresso Point machine and love it. Not designed for a high volume enviroment but still NSF certified for use in a bar/restaurant

http://www.coffeeforless.com/product.asp?id=601&CatID=140&ovchn=OTHER&ovcpn=Froogle&ovcrn=Lavazza+Espresso+Point+Machine+FREE+SHIPPING&ovtac=CMP

You can find them cheaper than this on Ebay but this page has decent information.


#3

What are you, gay? Why would any real man want to know about expresso [sic] machines?

[/joke]


#4

nephorm,

regarding taste & crema, "nespresso" has been the best machine i've ever used. the vacuum sealed capsules are far better than the paper pods some other machines use. check it out.

http://www.nespresso.com/precom/home_us_en.html?

df


#5

I'd like to avoid a pod system if possible, but how does the flavor compare?


#6

I had a Wega Espresso 2 head machine (about $4000), grinding my own beans and the flavor using the Lavazza Arabica pods is just as good and definitely more consistent and easier and zero maintenance. If it breaks, throw it away and buy a new one. Push the button and walk away. I use bottled water in it so no filtering or conditioning of the water.

I buy the pods in bulk 500 at a time from Espresso Perfection and get them for $0.25 each. They have many differnet blends so get a sampler pack and enjoy.


#7

I have used a Magimix Nespresso machine & Nespresso capsules for 2 years. The best coffee I've ever tasted :slight_smile:
When I was deciding what to buy, I visited my favourite Italian coffee shop which uses a huge Gaggia machine & asked the owner what he would buy. He uses a Nespresso machine at home & that was good enough for me!