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Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Help with...  
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sarahjane792000
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 10
Location: uk
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Nov 30, 2011, 5:38pm
Subject: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

He would like a pump espresso machine (we used to have a Gaggia Classic but it got damaged in one of the 3 moves we did last year and he misses it).  I asked my sister to pretend that her husband would like one so he could advise and I could listen in to get an idea of what he wants form the machine.  He mentioned a Villaware and Gaggia Classic to her.  I can get the classic for 160 on Amazon.co.uk and the Villaware for 300 from Comet in the UK (we are UK based). Click Here (www.comet.co.uk)

Budget is a factor, I'm afraid.  And it's tight!  I appreciate good machines cost more, but we don't have that spare cash.  300 is more than I'd want to spend, but if its by far better than the gaggia classic, I'd consider.  Can you tell I'm not a coffee connoisseur!?!  I guess my question is, does anyone have an opinion on the above machines/preference?  Or are there alternative machines on the same budget that I know nothing about??

Also, what is the difference between the gaggia classic and baby?

Many thanks in advance!
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Wed Nov 30, 2011, 7:03pm
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

tl;dr version - the Gaggia is a safe option, and that price is good.  Buy a grinder.

I don't know the Villaware, but the Gaggia Classic is a good, robust, well-known and tested machine with good support (i.e. you can buy parts and fix it easily should you ever need to), and at that price is pretty much unbeatable (about $250 for the USAians).  I might be entirely wrong here, but from the website, it looks like the Villaware is a thermoblock machine, and uses a non-standard pressurised portafilter.  Both of these limit the ability to produce good espresso.  It looks like both have frothing aids on the steam arms, but the Gaggia one can definitely be removed easily (the plastic bit slips off) as you get better at steaming.

I don't think there's any significant difference inside the Gaggia Classic and basic Baby, but the cases are different.  Some - more expensive - Baby versions have electronic timing of the shot.  The Baby Twin has a separate thermoblock for steaming milk so that there's no waiting between brewing and steaming, but is significantly more expensive.

If you don't have one, there are a couple of UK specific threads about grinders in the grinders subforum (e.g. this one) - the Baratza grinders often recommended for espresso on here are very expensive in the UK, but there are a few suitable electric grinders around the 150 mark (e.g. Iberital MC2 or Ascaso I-mini - I've not used either of these grinders or the second seller so this isn't a recommendation), one of two cheaper electric ones that can be made to work for espresso, and several suitable manual ones well under 100.  Grinding coffee fresh is essential to making good espresso - it's better to spend more on a good electric grinder than on the machine in this price range.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,391
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Dec 2, 2011, 8:44am
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

Get the Gaggia Classic and a good grinder!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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sarahjane792000
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 10
Location: uk
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Dec 10, 2011, 7:48am
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

Thanks for replies! I have found this site that sells the classic, baby and baby twin, all at very reasonable prices.  The baby and twin are out of stock but may be back in before Christmas.  Amazon Uk also sell classic at a very good price.  Which is the better machine?  Many thanks
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sarahjane792000
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 10
Location: uk
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Dec 10, 2011, 7:49am
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

oops! The link:
Click Here (www.telephonesonline.co.uk)
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TLCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa, ON Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Saeco burr
Posted Sat Dec 10, 2011, 8:26am
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

I don't know if I'm breaking any of the forum rules, as I really do not intend to.

Long story short, I bought a gaggia Baby class d in the uk about 3 years ago. We brought it back to Canada but soon realized that it wouldn't be that easy to use a 240v machine in Canada. I now need to get rid of it, and will be going back to the uk on Monday. I would be happy to let it go for 100GBP (complete with original packaging), which would leave you some for a decent grind.

Let me know if interested and I will send you some photos and more details.

Cheers,

Thierry
Ps. Again, please let me know if I am breaking any rule.... It really isn't my intention.
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Sat Dec 10, 2011, 2:55pm
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

To the OP, I don't think there's any real difference between the Baby and the Classic in terms of the output, so aesthetics is the only real choice there.  The Baby Twin has a separate steam thermoblock (microboiler), so you don't have to wait between brewing and steaming for the boiler to heat up or cool down.  This is a big help if you are going to make a few lattes or cappuccinos back to back.

Thierry,  I'm running my UK Classic on a 2000W step-up/down transformer that I got from eBay for $75 (US) shipped.  This works fine, so you can get your Classic up and running on 110V easily enough.
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TLCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa, ON Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Saeco burr
Posted Sat Dec 10, 2011, 7:02pm
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

Thanks dyqik,

I also have an up/down converter, and was actually planning on getting a dedicated 240v direct from the electric box out in the kitchen. But I was told by a few electrician that this would only work for a short period as the there would be a frequency problem (60hz vs 50hz) which would eventually fry the electronics in the machine.

How long have you had this setup for? The other thing was that I was also told that using an up/down voltage converter actually uses quite a lot of energy, on top of that of the machine. Any thoughts? Right now the machine is just sitting in the basement, in the box, gathering a bit of dust...
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sarahjane792000
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 10
Location: uk
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Dec 11, 2011, 6:40am
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

Thanks for replies! I actually got a bit too keen and ordered the classic before anyone had posted but am now wondering if I should have gone for baby twin. I remember hubby saying its a pain with classic when making for guests as takes ages to do more than a couple. This is not very often though and I have read mixed reviews about baby twin as more to go wrong? It's too much money on most sites but a very reasonable price on link above, although oos. I'm.wondering if I should phone tomorrow and ask when they anticipate more stock and perhaps changing my order to a baby twin. What to do? I'm not in the coffee know-how and not sure hubby is as much as he thinks he is either!

Also, the link given for the iberital grinder- which one to get? One says auto and the other doser! Once again, I'm lost!!

Many thanks!
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sarahjane792000
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 10
Location: uk
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Dec 11, 2011, 8:51am
Subject: Re: Help with hubby's christmas pressie please!
 

After googling I've now decided that the baby twin'll be too troublesome, but am now tempted by the baby- it looks nicer, with better buttons? Oh, I'm so confused!! I will also buy the ranchilio wand so does this fit onto classic and baby?

So, with yr experience and knowledge, which I completely lack here, which machine would you purchase if you were me, I gave found both at reasonable price? Be honest!! Thanks!
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