My story of the espresso machine and grinder – Part 1

Due to the many comments and questions I got lately about the decision to buy espresso machine and grinder, here is my story. I hope it will help all you lovely people to evaluate for yourselves the rational and the money to invest in your decision.

Note: in the world of coffeegeeks, the recommendation is always to get the grinder first. Then if you have money, go for the espresso machine.

Why grinder first? Well, to enjoy good coffee, you can do so without an espresso machine. The french press is a coffee brewing device you can find easily in shopping malls and they cost between RM50 to RM100. The Bodum has some very nice french presses.The grinder is most important because freshly grounded coffee tasted the best.

A note about roasted coffee beans. Unlike tea, let me assure you that aged coffee beans are worthless. The roasted coffee beans aroma and taste peaks between 5 days to 2 weeks from the roasting date. After that, it started going downhill. No technology in the world today are able to prevent the deterioration of roasted coffee beans. It is like preventing human aging. In fact, you can prevent human aging better than coffee beans.

Therefore, I can say all the coffee beans you see on the supermarket shelf are practically stale. Whatever they state on the “expiry date” are nonsense. The first time you open the package, you’ll get the whiff of aroma. After that, it is over. Now, I’m not saying that there is really no more taste and aroma in the coffee. It just meant that you are merely enjoying maybe only 30% of what could have been 100%.

And I can assure you, none of the coffee you see in Starbucks and Coffee Beans are fresh. I define freshness as coffee that is less than 4 weeks from roasting date. (in Malaysia, I stretch it to 2 months due to lack of supply)

What is worst than coffee beans that is not fresh? Ground coffee. Even if you have a batch of fresh coffee beans (say 1 week old), after you grind the coffee, it will lose its potential within 30mins to an hour.

That is why you need a grinder. If you grind your coffee and use them immediately, it has higher potential than grounded coffee.

Therefore, if money is an issue, get a decent grinder and a french press and you will be able to start enjoying decent coffee at home.

One big concern and one big question.

The big concern = It is notoriously difficult to get fresh roasted coffee in Malaysia.

The big question = How much is a decent grinder?
That depends on the brewing methods.

Coffee press (french press) and drip coffee = About RM 300++
Espresso type = RM 2,000.00

Summary: If all you want is nice coffee via presses and drip, just RM 300++ and a french press. If you want espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, mocha… those types that you pay RM10+ at Starbucks… It is a long term investment. Go to Part 2 of my story.


6 thoughts on “My story of the espresso machine and grinder – Part 1

  1. C.Lee

    OK. Seems I cannot get a Rancilio in Penang. A quick look round yesterday -found a Morphy Richards Roma Pump Espresso also known as Ariete 45900 also known as Liebeinskil something or other. Its a semi automatic, smaller than Rancilio, looks good. A check on internet reviews turned up good reviews. Its US $130, but here they want RM1300.00. Anyone tried this machine before?

  2. Irving


    I use to own one of those “toy” machines. but believe me, it is not worth spending the money. With RM1300++, I think you can get a Gaggia Evolution (Chan, is this right?), which, imho, is a much better & ‘proper’ machine in that price range

  3. kfchan Post author


    What Irving says is correct? Either get a Silvia or the Gaggia. Even the cheapest Gaggia (RM1300) is better than the Ariete.

  4. Venky


    If you are looking for coffee machines in Penang, get in touch with Victor from Lighthouse Coffee (012-4360836 ). I bought my machine from him. Great customer service. He carries the Gaggia as well. He also might be able to get the Rancilio Silva, talk to him. Good to know there are coffee lovers in Penang. We should arrange a session soon.

    BTW, Chan, got the Oscar to give me great microfoam after your advice and guidance.Thanks.

  5. angelyn

    hi, im new b in coffee, i used to drink kopi o b4, now im interesting in western coffee. so im searching for espresso machine at pg but still cant find out where the store is. my budget within rm1000, where can i get an espresso machine within that price at pg or kedah?

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