smithy01 Senior Member Joined: 20 Jan 2010 Posts: 3 Location: uk Expertise: Just starting
Posted Wed Jan 20, 2010, 1:41pm Subject: Recommendation for Coffee Machine - Newbie
I've had to return 2 coffee machines over the last few weeks of here in the UK. One was a delonghi ec330 at $280 and the a High Street Store manufactured model at $100. Both were recommended as best buys in a UK Independent Impartial magazine. I'm no expert in the taste of coffee being a newbie to ground coffee, but both machines produced continuous inconsistent results and to make matters worse both were awful trying to froth milk, sometimes taking over 5 minutes. So after getting my money back I'm now looking for a reliable machine that will produce coffee and frothy milk reasonably quickly without having the boiler turning on and off several time to produce 2 cups.
I've been looking at the gaggia baby and gaggia baby class range, recommended by many reviewers and am wondering if I should buy one of these models. I have heard that these models can sometimes be a little unreliable. After spending some more time reading reviews and going round in circles Iíve found quite a few people recommend the Rancillo Silva above all similar priced models. But paying an extra $200 above a gaggia baby/class - will I notice an improved coffee taste and will the extra build quality of the Rancillo provide additional years of use? Can I justify spending close on $800. Do I need to spend a lot more money above than the Delonghi to get a decent machine? I've also read reviews that would suggest the Rancillo takes ages to heat up and can get too hot therefore running that flavour of the coffee?
Posted Wed Jan 20, 2010, 2:12pm Subject: Re: Recommendation for Coffee Machine - Newbie
I'll say it first for the group: grinder > machine. Make sure to budget for that and probably spend more on the grinder. While many machines can provide good temp control and pressure not every grinder can. If the grind is too coarse you will never get a consistent extraction...and it sounds like that is what you are looking for. In terms of the effect on "coffee taste" the grinder will have a bigger effect in general. Rocky works well, Vario is the current darling. I had a Rocky/Silvia combination, upgraded to a used Mazzer with new burrs, then upgraded the machine to a double boiler.
Silvia heats up pretty quickly and you can speed it up by pulling water through. The Silvia has also gone up alot in price so I think the conventional wisdom is that the gap in cost between the Gaggia and the Silvia is not justified but there are lots of arguments over that.
In terms of consistency adding a PID to a Silvia is almost a must....provides great temp control...but I ran mine for many many months without it. I'm not sure if this mod can be done to a Gaggia easily. Steaming w/both is quite good.
TrailRunR Senior Member Joined: 7 Feb 2007 Posts: 76 Location: Western Massachusetts, USA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Rancilio Silvia w/PID (Past:... Grinder: Mazzer Mini (Past: Baratza... Vac Pot: Nope Drip: None Roaster: I wish
Posted Wed Jan 20, 2010, 6:10pm Subject: Re: Recommendation for Coffee Machine - Newbie
See above post re: grinder
If you are sure you really want to go down this rabbit hole then read this That will get you going in the right direction. The Gaggia machines are always a good machine and some will say a little more forgiving than the Silvia. They all need a good grinder or you won't be happy.
Good luck and look at past forum posts. We all started at the beginning at one time or another.
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