mariana Senior Member Joined: 5 Feb 2011 Posts: 1 Location: Mexico Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Sat Feb 5, 2011, 7:02pm Subject: Gaggia vs. Saeco
I live in southern Baja and my faithful saeco died -- after many resuscitations over the years he is just gone. I have an absolutely maximum budget of $400 - prefer to keep it under $300 and I have to ask someone flying down to bring it for me. So there is no opportunity for service, no chance to send it back if it is not what I want. My Saeco kept me going daily for five years - it wasn't perfect but neither am I and I was grateful every morning for my cappuccino that he faithfully produced. Yes, I know, the frother wasn't great but we got by.
The Gaggia Classic or Gaggia New Baby are contenders as is another Saeco. I do not want anything that needs pods. My son says go with the Gaggia but he doesn't care about milk or frothing. Any and all opinions/suggestions/guidance gratefully apprecaited. This is my first post here - thank you.
bobp Senior Member Joined: 14 Jan 2011 Posts: 5 Location: Fair Lawn Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Sun Feb 6, 2011, 8:59pm Subject: Re: Gaggia vs. Saeco
I just bought a Gaggia Classic and I'm not satisfied. The machine comes with the boiler pressure set to 11 bar, for use with ESE pods. You'll have to get a hold of a pressure gauge to reset the machine down to 9 bar for use with ground coffee. The Gaggia boiler is only 3 ounces (100ml) so it doesn't have much steaming power, but it is enough for 1 cappuccino. The small boiler means that it does comes to temp very quickly. My experience isn't extensive but from my observations, pulling a good tasting shot is hit or miss with this machine. I think you should buy an Aeroccino plus frother for $85 and a Primula Moka pot for $10. Good luck.
Posted Sun Feb 6, 2011, 10:11pm Subject: Re: Gaggia vs. Saeco
The Classic does need a little tuning out of the box for real consistent espresso shots. But with a little work it is an amazing machine for the money. I have to admit I haven't owned other machines, buy I do know enough to see how well built it is. The problem is that it's set up for pressurized portafilters now.
As for the steaming issue. I found a trick that works great. From brew mode, start a timer when you flip the steam switch and experiment. I wait 28 seconds, purge the wand and begin steaming. Now there is no lack of steam. The nice thing about the boiler is that it heats up quickly. You're trying to steam before it reaches temp because it had to cool down a bit too much before it begins heating again.
AlexD Senior Member Joined: 4 Feb 2011 Posts: 12 Location: Sterling Heights, MI Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Posted Wed Feb 23, 2011, 8:37pm Subject: Re: Gaggia vs. Saeco
The Gaggia Classic is a solid machine that can produce great shots if the other variables are fine tuned (grind, dose, and tamp). You can switch out the stock wand with a Silvia steam wand to improve the frothing/steaming performance. It's built like a tank so it should last for years if properly taken care of.
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