O.K. Enthusiasts I need a little advice. My grinder is lousy, I don't have an espresso machine to speak of and everyone knows I love the bean. I'm ready to get a real grinder and a home espresso machine. I'm open to advice.

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I guess it all depends on how much money you're willing to put in and what you're looking to make. I recently purchased a Quickmill Anita from Chris' Coffee and LOVE IT. When I was searching their site, two stood out to me, the Anita and the Alexia. The Alexia can come with a PID installed which is going to give you great consistency with your shots and might be preferable to someone who drinks a lot of straight espresso. The Anita is an HX that allows you to pull your shot and steam at the same time without any kind of wait like the Alexia would. The Anita won out for me because of this. I drink more milk based coffee than straight espresso. They're both great machines but might be above a sane persons price range (I ordered before I could chicken out). I'd check the coffee geek article on how to buy an espresso machine and look at some of their forums.
Chris' Coffee has a great reputation. I agree the Anita looks like the better of the two. My cycling habit keeps my pockets from getting that deep. I was considering the Rancilio Silvia and Rocky grinder. Seems like a lot of people are happy with that setup. Did o.k on the coffeegeeks website. BTW what grinder are you using?
I've got a Rocky. It treats me right.
I went with the Mazzer Mini with doser. Gives you everything the professional models give you including timer, to promote very consisten shots once you've dialed in. For anyone in Seattle, I am a distributor for Chris Coffee and would be happy to do home delivery and help with in-home training and set-up. I'm not charging any extra for this..just love to help.

As far as the machine, I'm using an Izzo Alex, also from Chris Coffee and thrilled. Back to back shots are not an issue. Home-barista.com and Chris Coffee has a lot of information on both the Mazzer Mini and the Alex. I put an Alex in a home in Scottsdale and it definitely won the "mine is better than yours" contest.
We keep going back to the stepped Macap M4 with doser. I like the grind quality and adjustability finding the steps make it easier to repeat settings. We rarely get caught 'between steps' as they are not too far apart. The doser sweeps clean and breaks up any clumping. It's a nice machine.

I don't know which espresso machines are available 'across the pond', but here in the UK the Neuvo Simonelli Oscar is highly regarded, offering an excellent HX unit at a great price.
I've got the Vetrano Rotary from Chris Coffee and a Mazzer Super Jolly grinder. I love them both.
Hi there,
You can see my setup at my blog http://wilsonhines.wordpress.com - just click on the llink on the right to my flickr pages. I have a 10 year old Faema S87 2 group (a commercial machine) that is plumbed in and uses 220v power. For the grinder I use a Mazzer Mini. This takes a lot of room, but produces the same quality as you can find in the some of the best "Third Wave" coffee shops, with a lot of practice. I have about $1,800 in my whole deal, including the machine, grinder and wares. But, I found my machine and grinder at exceptional prices through just hard nose sniffing work and word of mouth.

If your going to go with a "home" machine, otherwise known as a "prosumer" machine and grinder, you would do well to find one with an E-61 group head, like the Brutus II or some of the expobar models. Also, you CANNOT cut corners on the grinder. I have heard some fantastic prosumer users with exceptional skill, talent and equipment say something like "You can make great espresso with a $800 grinder and a $300 machine, but you can't make great espresso with a $100 grinder and a $800 machine." It is so true. I also have a fantastic Kitchen Aid ProLine grinder which is awesome for anything but serious espresso. That is a $250 grinder! It will do OK on a very low volume setup, but even in my house I have locked it up tight as a drum.

Last peice of advice: Do research on Home-Barista.com and Coffeegeek.com and other fantastic research type sites for at least six months. That sounds like a long time, but you will appreciate that peice of advice. Take your time...and I am saying that from a "compulsive buyer."
I used to have an Isomac grinder (well, I still do) but once I upgraded my machine I decided to upgrade the grinder as well. Went for a doserless Mazzer Mini and have to admit, it's worth every penny! If you are really serious about your home set-up, don't skip out on the grinder, it's true what they say: "buy cheap, buy twice".
Baristaonduty aka Guruonduty said:
For my home setup I have a Starbucks Barista, a decent machine which accepts pods and ground coffee. I also like using the "Italian stovetop ,some call it turkish, I use a commercial grinder, as well as a small black and decker,any how it depends on how much you are trying to fork out as well. I carry A Rancilo as well on my site among a few other nice home machines. If you are interested in taking a look at them just ,msg me and I will gladly navigate you to my site..Stay away from the Comobar Machines their fuses blow all the time, poor designing I guess..
Hi,

Stage 1:
My advise, buy a second hand Rancilio Silvia for 200 Dollar, tune it with a PIDkit (www.pidkits.com) and add a steamwand conversionkit at www.espressoparts.com

Stage 2:
Buy a nice second hand grinder, Mazzer :-). I use a ECM best, perfect grinder..ofcourse there are always better ones on the market but certainly a good start.

Stage 3:
Buy a cheap roaster, antique ones are good cause its cost effective and will give you the basics of roasting.

Stage 4:
Upgrade to more upscale machine with E-61 Group like Vibiemme Super Domobar or ECM Giotto.

Stage 5:
Buy a nice home roaster such as Genecafe :-)

Regards,

Mathijs
I purchased my equipment on wholelattelove.com. I suggest looking at prosumer machines such as expobar, and a mizzer for a grinder.

I love my Delonghi ec-702 and grinder. Ebay was the way i went and no regrets. also i love the vaccum packed ground  Lavazza espresso if you can't get a grinder right of way.

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