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Goner Message Board / Food & Drink / espresso makers
Posted: Apr 3, 2006 10:52 am
So I want, no NEED, to buy one. My coffee maker sucks and ever since I had the stomach flu all I have a taste for is vanilla lattes.

I kinda just want to buy a cheapo $40 one...is there any good reason to spead a whole lotta money on a nicer one???
Posted: Apr 3, 2006 11:08 am | Edited by: fierydrunk
Baby. The Rancilio Silvia ROCKS. It is pretty spendy. I think I spent $450 on it about 4 years ago. It looks like a mini-industrial grade. I researched it and it was the most reccomended one in the price range for quality of espresso shots and durability. It is a little tank. I love it. The ONLY issue I haev ever had is that the steamwand isn't as powerful as I would like, but I would haev to spend money on an industrial grade for that, IMO. You will need your own burr grinder to use this as it is picky about the grind--I bought a Solis Maestro (see below too).

Here are the specs:

Posted: Apr 3, 2006 11:30 am
Yeah, that looks great, but $400+ = that's crazy. Although I think I'd prefer to have one badass machine.
Posted: Apr 3, 2006 11:40 am
I had a shitty one for awhile and there is no comparison. The "stovetop" espresso makers aren't even real espresso makers, so if you are a hardcore "shot" person, spend the dough. It is worth it. If not, get a nice French Press.
Posted: Mar 12, 2008 5:39 am
The "stovetop" espresso makers aren't even real espresso makers

Can we get a judge's ruling? Jack? I just made myself a nice dark cup with my Elebak. Steaming milk adds a second step, but I'm kind of partial to the simplicity of the thing.
Posted: Mar 12, 2008 7:31 am
Hey man, I am a worthy judge on that topic (beans, roasting etc? Jack would be the man) and stovetop ones don't produce the level of steam pressure needed to make superior shots. I am not saying you are getting a bad tasting cup of coffee; it just isn't gonna be the same. I wish it were as simple as that because then I wouldn't be freaking out knowing that when my machine finally goes kaput, I am going to be out at least $500 for a new one.

From Wikipedia:

Stovetop espresso makers produce dark coffee, but they usually lack the necessary pressure which creates a foam emulsion known as crema.
Posted: Mar 12, 2008 7:38 am
saispas is correct. Technically by today's standards, it's not espresso; it does use steam and pressure, but not with the amount of force to get the crema. That said, it's the preferred method of brewing coffee for millions of Europeans.
Posted: Mar 19, 2008 2:57 am
And non-Europeans. I have three of those Bialetti machines.
Posted: Mar 19, 2008 5:24 am
Steaming milk adds a second step

doesn't that actually make it a capuccino?

because its not crema... its steamed milk

semantics, i know...
Posted: Mar 19, 2008 5:31 am
Crema is magic.
Posted: Mar 19, 2008 7:49 am
Steaming milk adds a second step

-the steam needs to build up some more pressure

doesn't that actually make it a capuccino?

-it certainly does (and if someone wakes up at my house wanting one, they're the one walking to the store for whole milk or whatever the heck they want to accessorize their coffee with - it's simple, I like coffee dark and strong and tasting of coffee)
Posted: Mar 19, 2008 10:51 am
i've had a couple of german friends who can totally work the stovetop espresso machines - never had a decent experience with a yank working the stovetop (me included)
Posted: Mar 19, 2008 11:32 am
I think they look cute, but for my needs (espresso and an option for easy steaming), I likes my Italian semi-automatic beast.
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 5:42 am
You might try an AeroPress. We just got one and are really liking it.

It\'s a sort of a giant hypodermic french press cylinder, but with filter at the bottom. Coffee and water in the top, stir and wait a few seconds then plunge. Air and hydraulic pressure created by the plunger seal forces the coffee thru the filter disc at the bottom. Adapts well to futzing around with water temps and mixture strength.

If you follow the directions in the kit you get a very smooth, non-bitter cup of pretty highly concentrated coffee. They recommend cutting it two to one with water for standard joe, but if you use the right quantity of a good espresso roast bean and take the result as is and you get a pretty tasty cup in the espresso style. Not the \'real\' thing, but damn good. And it\'s easy to make the equivalent of a 4 shot cup all in one go.

Plus it\'s kinda foolproof, in stark contrast to the machines which can be very finicky about grinds, tamping, quantities, etc.

About $25. Amazon\'s got \'em.
Posted: Mar 22, 2008 6:57 am
I'm sticking with mine.
Posted: Mar 22, 2008 8:27 am
HUh--that little thing is sort of interesting...how is the steam build-up in the frothing wand?
Posted: Mar 22, 2008 8:31 am
Posted: Mar 23, 2008 5:58 pm
The Keurig is where it's at. It makes a perfect cup of rich, black coffee. And, all I do every morning is microwave some milk for 30 seconds, and put it underneath that thing and let it rip. Damn Fine Cafe Au Lait. My favorite wedding gift.
Posted: Apr 9, 2008 5:13 am
Nadia's dad bought us a Francis Francis X1 for a wedding prezzie bout three years back and, despite the fact that the really hard water down 'ere in Bath has totally blocked the steamer nozzle (although I running a mix of vinegar thru the machine once a month to clean it), its makes an excellent shot with a good crema... the stovetop machines are OK, but you shouldn't really use the plain alloy ones, spring for a stainless steel model, as the aluminium gives yer, erm, what was it? Oh, yeah, alzheimer's! I find that the grind quality of the coffee and where you store it really makes a difference to the quality of the crema " the best, in my experience, is keeping Lavazza Gusto or, if funds permit, illy, in the freezer... I need a quad shot and a ciggie every morning just to get out the house!
Posted: Dec 21, 2010 8:25 am
bump - an oldie but a tasty....

You can make monster crema and fantastic, rich coffee with a stovetop pot. Not espresso by definition but still fantastic, done right. Trouble is, you need to hook up freshly roasted coffee, a good grinder and some practice (along with a $12 Bialetti) to make it happen. Proof -

Posted: Jan 3, 2011 6:08 am
The Keurig is where it's at. It makes a perfect cup of rich, black coffee. And, all I do every morning is microwave some milk for 30 seconds, and put it underneath that thing and let it rip. Damn Fine Cafe Au Lait.

which K-cup do you use for espresso? We got one for Christmas, and I'm LOVING it, but haven't branched out past the coffee sampler it came with, a box of chai & some of the teas.
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