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good espresso grinder and beans?

valleygirl Oct 24, 2006 01:54 PM

I just moved to the middle of nowhere and need an online source for espresso beans and I am interested in investing in a burr grinder to grind said beans. I have a Gaggia Classic espresso machine, which I love. I was told that this machine needs a particularly fine grind, but that may have been salesperson-talk.

Any suggestions? Thx

  1. j
    Jimmy Buffet Oct 24, 2006 07:51 PM

    I have a Cunill El Cafe Tranquilo (rebadged as Astra)grinder to go with my Rancilio espresso machine and love it...

    1. s
      saeyedoc Oct 24, 2006 02:34 PM

      I have a whole-house water conditioner (the water here in TX is very hard). I also have an in-line carbon block filter for the house and another one where the machine attaches. Overkill, but I moved here last year and already had the extra filter so it was no big deal to install it. The whole-house filter came with the house.

      1. s
        saeyedoc Oct 24, 2006 02:13 PM

        try www.coffeegeek.com

        The grinder and fresh beans are a key ingredient in making quality espresso at home. The key with espresso is consistency of grind, if it's not even, you'll develop holes where the pressurized water will just shoot through.

        A lot will depend on how much you're willing to spend. I have a Mazzer Mini which is a commercial quality grinder that alot of coffee shops use for their decaf (they use a larger version for regular). It makes a huge difference. It currently sells for about $400 which is probably more than your espresso machine cost. I'm using a plumbed in, rotary pump machine that I spent about $1200 on.

        Also check out chriscoffee.com, they have many kinds on-line, starting at about $200. I bought mine on-line through Illy with a coupon I found somewhere on the internet and got a great deal on it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: saeyedoc
          valleygirl Oct 24, 2006 02:31 PM

          I don't mind spending a few hundred on a grinder. The espresso machine cost about $700 by the time I paid all the taxes. Although I bought it at Espresso Mali in Montreal which I have since read on another board is well-known for price-gouging. I had no idea.

          I'm curious about the water in your machine -- is your house water demineralized? Or do you have to descale alot?

          1. re: valleygirl
            UnConundrum Oct 24, 2006 04:18 PM

            Where do you live? One of the best coffee roasters in North America is in Saint Saveur. He'd be a great source for the beans. Grinder wise, I bought the Rocky Rancilio that you can find at Sweet Maria's http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.elect... Speaking of Sweet Maria's they have some very reasonable roasting equipment, and they're a great source of raw beans. You could roast your own expresso beans and not worry about freshness. The green beans keep indefinitely.

            1. re: UnConundrum
              saeyedoc Oct 24, 2006 04:23 PM

              I thought seriously about roasting my own, but found a microroaster right down the street! More expensive, but less than a divorce. Most coffee afficianados will tell you freshness is most important, then grinding and tamping (get a good tamper, I ordered one from Reg Barber online) and then the machine itself.

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