Good deals - Espresso maker and burr grinder for $500
I posted previously with questions about Ascaso espresso machines and my quest to get a great espresso maker and grinder for under $500. I only got one reply but thought I'd share my results with anyone who is in the market for the same. By shopping around I succeeded:
1) KitchenAid Proline Burr Grinder for $75 on Amazon. The red model - not refurbished - is on sale for $99, and if you are spending more than $125 in housewares you get an extra $25 off. For some reason this $99 price is less than the same item refurbished ($149) and the same item in gray ($199)??
2) Ascaso Dream Versatile machine for $400 on EBay. The color selection was limited, but since I'd been looking at the lower end Ascaso Arc for $500 I was REALLY happy. The Dream costs $600 and up elsewhere. It is new and has a 1-yr manufacturers warranty. The Ascaso Arc's were $350 from the same Ebay seller. Only a few of each are available.
Since they are birthday and Christmas gifts for my spouse, I can't report on their function, but they are beautiful. After the holidays I'll report back.
My previous post:
The red KitchenAid grinder on Amazon is an older version that has some flaws which may or may not matter to you. I got one this week. The lid on the hopper is very loose, like it needs a much thicker gasket (not a big deal though). The platform leading to the burrs is very horizontal so I always get 5-10 beans sitting on it. I have to knock them in with a stick. I think these 2 issues are universal among the red models.
Even with the recalibration adjustment that KitchenAid recommends, I could not get the grinds fine enough (eventhough I can hear the burrs touching, weird). Some say that the grind just looks coarse but is actually fine enough to choke an espresso machine. I can't test this.
The newer models that have some of the issue fixed have a -1 after at the end of the model number. I think they're currently backordered.