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Thread: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Yes, I know this is a bit of a necro, but ...

    After a couple of years, how are you getting on, DwU?

    Also, what are current views on Nespresso (Virtuo especially) versus B2C machines like that?

    Just thinkin' .... about a self-present for Christmas.
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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Awesome, really glad I started the thread as I don't think the bean to cup machines would have been on my radar.

    I thought I was being rather indulgent in getting a machine that I would use maybe a few times a week, but my son started using it straight away, then the wife, and now a couple of years on my daughter is old enough to start drinking coffee. It must be averaging at least 4 cups a day, and is easy enough to use that we stopped buying instant. There is enough pipework on the thing to look imposing to visitors, but really the thing is super easy to look after.

    My dad bought one as well after trying ours

    I come across pod machines occasionally, we even have one at work for use at trade shows when a potential customer visits a stand (or at least in The Before Times, clearly not with Covid around) but apart from the dubious ability to make hot chocolate I kind of don't see the point in pods these days.

    My De'Longhi was on a rather good offer at about £180, but even such a basic model has been really good. Perhaps if I had a higher end model I would froth more milk, who knows


    Edit: Re-reading my first post I wasn't wrong about working from home, but now the whole family is

    Note that mine is the cheap Espresso maker that was on ao.com for £180 at the time, but there is a "size of coffee" dial which we just keep cranked most of the way up and it makes a mugs worth. I do find that to make quick coffee I put some milk in the mug first and then microwave for 30s so the coffee doesn't come out a bit cold when mixed with the otherwise fridge temperature milk.

    Closest I can find on a quick look to what I ended up with is https://www.amazon.co.uk/DeLonghi-Ca...dp/B00LB8FHJ4/ but at the time ao.com were doing some decent offers.
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 18-12-2020 at 09:22 AM.

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    Yes, I know this is a bit of a necro, but ...

    After a couple of years, how are you getting on, DwU?

    Also, what are current views on Nespresso (Virtuo especially) versus B2C machines like that?

    Just thinkin' .... about a self-present for Christmas.
    Treat yourself to a B2C

    I'm still on the french press as I just prefer what seems like a full range of flavour compared to espresso (and my chrimbo present is instead a burr grinder). If you go nespresso type then home-compostable pods are plentiful now from the likes of Eden Project and I've always found the coffee nicer than nespresso brand to boot, but enviro-cost for packaging/transport still far higher than going loose beans/ground.

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Just firing in my machine as it is excellent, regularly on offer and easy to use!

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/DeLonghi-Ma...8293023&sr=8-1

    Just in case anyone is looking for a 'self-pressie' ....

    EDIT: I should also say that I have had mine since 2012 with zero issues
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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    See, already, what happens is what happens every flipping time I get tempted by this.

    I start by thinking "Nespresso, maybe £80-ish."

    Then someone points out a £250 B2C machine and I'm thinking "It's not that much more".

    5 minutes after that, I'm looking at this and thinking "Extra features look nice".

    Before I know it, I'll be looking for my bank manager's phone number for a loan to get some some flashy with lots of blinkenlightzandsh...stuff, and also numbers for a divorce lawyer and a bodyguard 'cos the wife said "No" while waiving my favourite genuine Chinese Chef cleaver about for emphasis.

    I could get myself in really deep kimchee, very easily.

    Slightly more serioysly, because I don't know enough about what I'm looking at, I do suffer from featureitis, not wanting to miss out, and probably either end up with something I need a PhD and years of training to 'drive', or that is way overkill. I don't know what I need, as opposed to whims, I mean, "fully automatic" sounds really good .... if expensive. But even then, I need one with a mind-reading function to get what I want, but don't know I want.

    I'm a bit conflubjumacated.

    And I end up doing nothing. Wait a year or two. And start over.

    It's flippin' frustrating.

    I need a good coffee.

    Oh, bug.... erm, bother.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Haha. I was the same when I got this machine to be honest. In my mind it is the best 'middle' ground. There are some cheaper and some more expensive. But in terms of features etc, it is right in the middle and does pretty mcuh everything I need quite well with minimal fuss. I had initially set out to get a 'nespresso' type machine. But after some reading and hearing that getting my coffee ground at the point I wanted a coffee from fresh coffee beans (rather than preground or pods etc) was better, I researched a little further (mistake, as you have mentioned).

    In the end, I had a coffee from both machines (from friends who had the De'longhi and another who had a nespresso type pod machine). A 'nespresso' type pod using the same coffee as a bag of fresh beans I bought. I had a coffee from both machines, noticed a massive difference (again, coffee is subjective, like wine!). This then led me to spend an extra £120 on the machine I mentioned above so that I could get my coffee from whole beans as fresh as possible. I didn't want to get a seperate grinder and a seperate milk forther. Having it all in one machine, saved space and made for a more bench friendly choice to appease the wife.

    Looking back now, I made the right choice. The coffee is great and the machine is easy to operate. No fancy touch screens etc or baffling settings. Just a coffee beans grind nozzel. Coffee strength nozzel and water amount nozzel. The fact it has had zero issues in 8 years is great as it has made that initial £240 outlay a worthwhile investment (considering many electronic items die in short periods of time or require 'spares' which are extortionate).


    I attach a review below and am happy to answer any questions on the machine I have. But I do feel your frustration. I go through the process you mentioned above with nearly everything. Cars, phones, speakers, headphones, washing machines!, tumble dryers!:

    https://coffeeblog.co.uk/delonghi-ma...m-4200-review/
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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    .... BUt I do feel your frustration. I go through the process you mentioned above with nearly everything. Cars, phones, speakers, headphones, washing machines!, tumble dryers!:

    ....[/url]
    Tell me about it. Once, I strarted out indending to buy a used Jag for about £10k. My logic was that it's enough to get not a complete dog, but at a price point where people are buying something new, and getting rid of the old, but the market is depressed by lots of people that might buy the car won't because they can't afford the insurance.

    Somehow, I ended up going from used Jag to brand new BMW M3 which was, well, a bit more than that. It involved thinking, well, if Jag then maybe Beemer. A 328i, maybe. A bit more and a few years old, but ...

    So, visit showroom. Find suitable car, but on my way into see the salesman, I walked past an M3. I'd never driven one. So, I said to the salesman, after a 328 but, erm, how about a test in that, pointing at it, first?

    Well, and hour and a half later and still wearing a huge grin, I was buying a new M3. Not a £10k used Jag.

    The wife was well impressed .... but I'd hidden the cleaver.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    )....

    I attach a review below and am happy to answer any questions on the machine I have....
    Okay, so taking you up on that kind offer ....

    I've productively used the last few hours since my previous post avidly reading CoffeeBlog.

    Thanks for that link. I think.

    So .... grinders.

    As predicted, I'm now thinking I need a half-decent grinder. The Sage one looks tempting, and I really like flashy screens, etc. Plus, I have really fine, accurate and wide-ranging control over grind size, dose strngth, grind time, etc. Of course, I have no (well, that's overstating it a bit, but is good for effect) why I need all that control, but having read the reviews, surely I do.

    Don't I?

    And it's a bargain (apparently) at £200.

    So .... bearing in mind I started out looking at a Nespresso machine that would, you know, actually make my coffee at half that amount .... why would I need a grinder, no matter how fancy a gizmo it is, when a B2C machine does, well .... bean, not ground coffee, to cup.

    I mean, doesn't B2C imply it grinds in the machine? And presumably, to your satisfaction?

    My guess is that if I want to use various brewing methods, be it french press, Aerothingy, filter, etc, then I need a grinder.

    If I want espresso, then an espresso B2C machine will, to a good level of taste satisfaction, do an espresso grind, and no grinder necessary?

    Secondly, I presume that De'Longhi machine is suitable for making anything espresso-based, like the Americano or even Capucchino which are my most likely drinks?

    Thirdly, any commonly desirable variations it won't do?

    And yes, I'm aware these are numpty-level questions but if I'm upping the budget three-fold, and short of an M3, I mean sample machine, to test drive, I want to be sure I'm not over-complicating getting a decent cuppa over that Nespresso.

    Oh, and usage? For me? On average, two or three cups a day. The wife seems content with instant but, if I get one, who knows?

    Oh, and TIA.
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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    I've got a B2C machine, but I still use a burr grinder to feed a cafetiere and a moka pot, depending on my mood. The B2C is just too quick and easy, and the coffee is great, so that gets 95% of the use between the three options.

    My B2C machine, the £180 ESAM 2600 - I think the cheapest Delonghi B2C, has a mechanic knob under the coffee bean hopper door that controls the space between the ginding elements, which in turn determins the fineness of the grind.

    There's a combination of button presses which sets the temperature - pick a temp, set it, and leave it.

    There's a knob on the front which sets how much ground coffee I want in the brew.

    Another knob on the front controls how much water gets pushed through the brew - I don't know the exact terminology, I keep mine low to get a standard espresso shot. There's a button to dispense a single shot, and another button to dispense a double shot.

    I've got all the knobs dialled in for the espresso I like, marked with a permenant marker just in case the knobs get bumped. It's pretty much a case of pressing the one button to deliver 'an espresso'.

    Then, add hot water for an americano. Or, take 1/3 mug of of cold milk to the steamer hanging off the side of the B2C machine, pour the steamed milk in with the espresso, boom - cappuccino.

    There are nicer machines which automate the milk steaming. I'd like one of those.

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    Okay, so taking you up on that kind offer ....

    I've productively used the last few hours since my previous post avidly reading CoffeeBlog.

    Thanks for that link. I think.

    So .... grinders.

    As predicted, I'm now thinking I need a half-decent grinder. The Sage one looks tempting, and I really like flashy screens, etc. Plus, I have really fine, accurate and wide-ranging control over grind size, dose strngth, grind time, etc. Of course, I have no (well, that's overstating it a bit, but is good for effect) why I need all that control, but having read the reviews, surely I do.

    Don't I?

    And it's a bargain (apparently) at £200.

    So .... bearing in mind I started out looking at a Nespresso machine that would, you know, actually make my coffee at half that amount .... why would I need a grinder, no matter how fancy a gizmo it is, when a B2C machine does, well .... bean, not ground coffee, to cup.

    I mean, doesn't B2C imply it grinds in the machine? And presumably, to your satisfaction?

    My guess is that if I want to use various brewing methods, be it french press, Aerothingy, filter, etc, then I need a grinder.

    If I want espresso, then an espresso B2C machine will, to a good level of taste satisfaction, do an espresso grind, and no grinder necessary?

    Secondly, I presume that De'Longhi machine is suitable for making anything espresso-based, like the Americano or even Capucchino which are my most likely drinks?

    Thirdly, any commonly desirable variations it won't do?

    And yes, I'm aware these are numpty-level questions but if I'm upping the budget three-fold, and short of an M3, I mean sample machine, to test drive, I want to be sure I'm not over-complicating getting a decent cuppa over that Nespresso.

    Oh, and usage? For me? On average, two or three cups a day. The wife seems content with instant but, if I get one, who knows?

    Oh, and TIA.
    It's been a hectic few days!

    I shall try my best to answer your questions.

    "As predicted, I'm now thinking I need a half-decent grinder. The Sage one looks tempting, and I really like flashy screens, etc. Plus, I have really fine, accurate and wide-ranging control over grind size, dose strength, grind time, etc. Of course, I have no (well, that's overstating it a bit, but is good for effect) why I need all that control, but having read the reviews, surely I do.

    Don't I?"

    I don't think you need all that control to be honest. As with most things, everything can get super complicated and convoluted for little extra benefit.

    "So .... bearing in mind I started out looking at a Nespresso machine that would, you know, actually make my coffee at half that amount .... why would I need a grinder, no matter how fancy a gizmo it is, when a B2C machine does, well .... bean, not ground coffee, to cup.

    I mean, doesn't B2C imply it grinds in the machine? And presumably, to your satisfaction?"

    The B2C machine I linked you to also takes ground coffee (in the middle compartment). I always use whole beans myself. But the feature is there for ground coffee should you want to use it.
    But as you say, the B2C negates the use of a grinder because it grinds the beans for you internally. In my mind, it does this to my satisfaction. You can vary the grind - finer grind or courser grind using a knob to adjust accordingly,. Trial and error allows you to adjsut to your liking. Mind sits around 3 (I think goes from 1 (fine ) to 7 or so (course).

    "My guess is that if I want to use various brewing methods, be it french press, Aerothingy, filter, etc, then I need a grinder."

    Yes, I would say so. It would come down to what kind of coffee you want and then going from there. For me, my favourites are latte and cappuccino. The B2C works for my needs with little fuss or mess.

    "If I want espresso, then an espresso B2C machine will, to a good level of taste satisfaction, do an espresso grind, and no grinder necessary?"

    Yup!

    "Secondly, I presume that De'Longhi machine is suitable for making anything espresso-based, like the Americano or even Capucchino which are my most likely drinks?" -

    Yes. The milk frother allows you to heat up a reasonable sized jug of milk for a big cup of latte or cappuccino. Americano can work by adjusting the water amount using knob on front (there only are 3 - 1 for water amount, 2 for coffee strength (how many beans it uses etc) and 3rd is for the steamer for milk). I have latte the most so I go for 1/3 coffee and 2/3 milk. Sometimes 50/50.

    "Thirdly, any commonly desirable variations it won't do?"

    I'm not too sure to be honest. It can do mocha (because you can just do a shot of coffee, add some choc powder and then steam some milk). It does americano type, latte, cappuccino. What other kinds of coffee are there (these are the only ones I am aware off haha)? The only thing they say not to do is do NOT use is flavored beans and oily beans as they can ruin your internal grinder.

    I know that this can get very complicated and expensive. I have no doubt that a separate grinder and a £1000 semi-pro machine will make a better coffee than my B2C. BUT, I was after a price/performance ratio. In my mind, the B2C I have is the best in that range for a really good coffee (in my view - when compared to professional cafes etc) and ease of use. Using this machine to make a latte takes maybe 3 or so minutes? I don't want to spend 10-15 minutes making a coffee. Life is too short
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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Good answers, neon. Thanks.

    I've carried on reading, watching (YouTube have seen more of me on coffee videos in the last week than on everyting else put together, all year.

    I've reached some conclusions.

    I need to decide two things .... okay, three. But the third probably overrides the first two.

    1) How good do I want my coffee to be, for whatever my absolute maximum budget may be.

    2) How much time am I willing to put in, both a) learning, and b) making a coffee?

    3) While I have no doubt at all that pro machines, and grinders, are capable of producing a better result, are my taste buds good enough to tell the difference, and appreciate it?

    If the answer to 3) is no, then the first two become kinda academic.

    Question 1) is really about .... am I prepared to spend a very large amount of time really learning about coffee? Am I taking up a hobby, or do I just want a good cuppa? Truthfully, had I done this several decadesback. t would have been "hell, yeah, hobby" but these days, nope. Life's too short.

    That rules out "Barista" grade machines. Andmaybe fancy grinders too. By the way, the "why" of grinders is to fine control the grinding size to suit bth the bean, and the intended brewing methods. Machines like yours aren't (apparently) capable of getting the very best out of thev beans, that high end machines, used properly, are capable of getting from good beans expertly ground. The question is, do they get close enough? For my purposes, undoubtedly.

    The crunch point, really. is that even if my taste buds are good enough(about which I'm sceptical) Q2 nails it. Am I prepared to invest that much time in learning to extract the best? Because if I buy the type of machine that could, it is also capable of giving far inferior results if I drive it incorrectly. Which is apparently very easy to do. Get it wrong, I mean.

    Oh, and you can still potentially improve on your results with a really good grinder, but you do need to get the grind just right, and pre-grind just enough coffee for your needs 'cos, once ground, it loses flavour pretty quickly. That much I leaned about 40 years ago.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    So are you any closer in finding a suitable device for your needs?
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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    So are you any closer in finding a suitable device for your needs?
    Oh, yeah.

    It usually lasts about 10 minutes. I know what I want. It just costs about 4 or 5 times what I want to pay. Now, I could just figure, WTF, and get one. Then, I decide that it's a choice of that, or a machine like yours, and about £1750 on a gaming PC. What do I want more, a good machine capable of good coffee, and a new gaming PC, or a very good machine capable of better (but how much better) coffee. Which is about the point I decide to give up coffee completely.

    Except, y'know, about £80 on a Nespresso machine. Or maybe a £250 filter machine. But that really good £600 Nespresso machine might be a compromise. Plus, a grinder and make my own refillable pods.

    But if I'm at £900 for a fancy Nespresso and grinder, just go the whole hog and get the £1600-£2000 machine I had my eye on 10 minutes ago.

    And repeat.

    Someone please shoot me now. Take mercy. Get it over with.

    I mean (corny old joke alert) I used to think I was indecisive, but now I know I am. Aren't I?
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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    Oh, and will I play enough games to justify a new PC?

    But if I do, I know I'll need good coffee with it. Yep, off again ....
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    I'll probably end up with the fancy machine, and the PC.

    But when the wife finds out what it cost, well, .... just shoot me now. Save her the effort.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Coffee machine for an occasional user?

    From a few years of fiddling with a variety of ways of making coffee, if I was starting from scratch it would be a Niche grinder to cover all the grinding needs. Its designed to have as near to zero retention as possible, the concept was to make the best home grinder that's not insanely expensive. It uses the same burrs found in expensive commercial machines, but is designed or single dosing.

    For filter I really wouldn't bother with a machine, just get a good pouring kettle and a V60 or Clever Dripper. I have a MoccaMaster and wouldn't pay the the new price for it, but worth the £75 I picked it up for.

    Expresso and variations of, difficult one. If I was working at home I could probably justify a Sage Dual Boiler. With my current work setup which involves leaving the home early, so no noisy coffee making kit, I have settled on an old Gaggia Classic with a self installed PID temperature controller. Cost me about £200 to get the machine and do a DIY service and install the PID controller. Also a few other cheap mods. Only external things to add are milk jug, temptags, and scales.

    A set of scales are really important in learning how to make most types of coffee, with scales you can weigh the coffee / water and then time the extraction.

    Just noticed the Sage B2C Barrister Express was on sale earlier on amazon (£399), might be worth seeing if that drops down in price again.

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