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Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need advice on...  
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tegee
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Posts: 47
Location: New England
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brewtus IV-R
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012, 9:18am
Subject: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

Hello:

I am a newbie here, but a forum junkie on my hobby site.  So please except me into my coffee/espresso obsession...lol.

Back to being serious.  I would like to purchase a new espresso machine.  My current one is 15 years old and not a very good one.

To that end, I have it narrowed down to the Gaggia Classic, Baby Twin and New Baby.  I am try like heck to stay under $500-600 if I can.  And yes, I have a good grinder so i am good there.  Can everyone help me narrow it down and tell me the pluses and minuses of the three machine?  It would be a BIG help.

Finally, if you feel I am gong down the wrong road with the Gaggia machines listed and feel I should purchase and/or have a recommendation on a different name brand please feel free to offer suggestions for a machine $600.  It will be used mostly by myself my wife really does not like espresso, so it will not being getting heavy use....if that matters???

Many THANKS for any help and advice you can provide.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012, 10:26am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

welcome to the board
when you say you have a good grinder could you be a little more specific with model and maker please. many times people think they have a good grinder when in reality there not right for doing espresso.
there's nothing wrong with the  machines that you have  ask about
but do you want to stay with used or new? in that price range they used machine will give you much more value for your dollar. starting at about 500 dollars you can get a used h x class machine that is head and shoulders above what you're talking about.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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tegee
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Posts: 47
Location: New England
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brewtus IV-R
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012, 10:38am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

calblacksmith Said:

welcome to the board
when you say you have a good grinder could you be a little more specific with model and maker please. many times people think they have a good grinder when in reality there not right for doing espresso.
there's nothing wrong with the  machines that you have  ask about
but do you want to stay with used or new? in that price range they used machine will give you much more value for your dollar. starting at about 500 dollars you can get a used h x class machine that is head and shoulders above what you're talking about.

Posted February 29, 2012 link


First....thank you for your response.

I have a Baratza Virtuoso Preciso grinder, so I think I am in good shape there.

I have no issues buying used.  If I do go used i will really need some guidance on where to start looking at used machined.  So I am open to all suggestions; new and used.

Many thanks again and look forward to all replies.......
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SJM
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Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,716
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA (2), Maximatic, Cremina...
Grinder: K-10PB, Rancilio MD-50
Vac Pot: no like
Drip: no like
Roaster: HotTop   Huky en route
Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012, 10:45am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

If/as/when you want to pursue a conversation about Gaggias (as opposed to Gaggias vs HX machines for example), you might want to come over to the Yahoo Gaggia Users group where there are members who have or have had all of the machines you are considering.  

Buy the Classic if you can afford it.
Avoid the Twin at all costs;  it will bring you nothing but grief.
And as to the Baby? I don't think it's got an adjustable OPV which comes with the Classic and which you would want to add if it doesn't have one, but some people like the way it looks (or something)
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tegee
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Posts: 47
Location: New England
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brewtus IV-R
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012, 10:59am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

SJM Said:

If/as/when you want to pursue a conversation about Gaggias (as opposed to Gaggias vs HX machines for example), you might want to come over to the Yahoo Gaggia Users group where there are members who have or have had all of the machines you are considering.  

Buy the Classic if you can afford it.
Avoid the Twin at all costs;  it will bring you nothing but grief.
And as to the Baby? I don't think it's got an adjustable OPV which comes with the Classic and which you would want to add if it doesn't have one, but some people like the way it looks (or something)

Posted February 29, 2012 link


Great advice and thanks for your input.

Yes, the classic is my first choice and was only considering the Baby Twin because it is programmable; which I do not know if that is that big of a feature?  The New Baby is only in the mix because it is priced a bit less, but that is all.

I really do not have all that much experience, so I can not comment on Gaggia vs. an HX machine???
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,039
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012, 4:30am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

The Gaggia Classic is a solid SBDU machine capable of producing decent espresso shots. But for better temperature management it needs a PID, which will cost extra.

So if you can cough up another $199 to add to your mentioned budget, I'd suggest to get a Crossland CC1 which offers some great advanced features like programmable pre-infusion, integrated PID, and volumetric shots.

Your grinder suffices.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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SJM
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,716
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA (2), Maximatic, Cremina...
Grinder: K-10PB, Rancilio MD-50
Vac Pot: no like
Drip: no like
Roaster: HotTop   Huky en route
Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012, 9:04am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

Nobby is right that adding a PID is a worthwhile addition to a Classic, but going with a Crossland might not be your solution.  I don't know that it isn't, but I'm not sure the Crossland has been in users hands for long enough.  What you would be missing (I think) is a body of information from users about how to deal with any issues that might arise with that machine.  I have also heard (okay, I don't know this as a fact), but I think any parts to the Crossland are proprietary and not competetively sourced and priced?  

The Crossland might be the next best thing to come down the pike, but I think it's too new to market to be a good choice.   Seems to me from what I've read here, even the dealer options are shrinking, and that might not bode well for it's longevity (and part availability).
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AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012, 9:19am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

I'll give you some of my thoughts about the various models of Gaggia - if you decide to go Gaggia.  The Classic - and all the models that use the same water tank and drip tray arrangement - is just a really convenient layout as far as ergonomics.  You can easily remove the drip tray to empty and it's nice and deep.  The water tank is easy to see for water level - fairly easy to remove for cleaning.  And the top of the machine is handy for setting cups and whatever else.

Many of the other Gaggia models have identical components on the inside and will brew espresso just as well - and the plastic cased models heat up much faster (not so much metal sucking the heat away from the boiler).  But most of the other cabinet styles have drip trays that are harder to remove to empty and same with the water tank.  Many don't have a place on top to set your cups.  And the plastic cabinet models tend to slide around when you are trying to lock or unlock the portafilter so you have to hold the machine with one hand while you twist the PF with the other hand.

And then there are switches .... the classic and similar models have heavy duty rocker switches.  Many of the other models have push button switches which are not as solid (don't give a positive feel to use) and won't last as long. (EDIT: oddly, the cheapest old model, the Carezza, has really nice, large rocker switches)

When I look at videos of the CC1 --- I can't imagine any machine with that type of electronic button arrangement being around 30 years from now without having had multiple replacements of electronic boards and multi-function switch/dials etc.  But a dirt simple machine like the classic - will be running forever (or until the boiler corrodes into oblivion - I do like the idea of a large stainless boiler on the CC1 - though the gaggia heats up mighty fast)
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tegee
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Posts: 47
Location: New England
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brewtus IV-R
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012, 11:20am
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

This is ALL GREAT information for a somewhat beginner like me in the market for a nice all around (somewhat simply) machine.

To that end, I may steer clear of the Baby Twin becasue of the somewhat bad reviews and electronics and may narrow it down to the Classic of the New Baby.  If I really want to increase the budget, the Rancilio Silvia V3 looks nice.  But I heard that grinding is critical for it to make a nice cup of espresso.

Lastly, if I do go with the Classic do I really need to do all the MOD's like the PID and the steam nozzle, etc?  I am simply a recreational espresso drinker and need to know if I should MOD the machine if I chose that model?

Great info....keep them coming...tegee!
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AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012, 12:44pm
Subject: Re: Need advice on Gaggia machine purchase
 

I am sort of by myself in not recommending a PID.  Here is my reasoning:

I buy a $10 digital thermometer and glue it (OK you can doublestick tape if you don't want glue on your nice new machine) to the front of the espresso machine and fish the thermocouple wire inside to the boiler (the classic has some openings in the chassis so you don't need to drill any holes).  

Now I can see the temp swing as the boiler turns on and off.   A PID would be nice to hold the boiler in a narrow temp range instead of the wide swings you get without it HOWEVER the PID does nothing about the cold rush of water when you start your shot (well it tries but it is WAY too late on the trigger for a Gaggia)

I find that with Gaggia (old style aluminum boiler like on the Classic) with the heater on the outside (vs stainless with heater sitting inside in the water)  turning the heater on will heat up the outside of the boiler but it is a good 5-10 seconds before that heat gets to the water.  So when you start your shot and cold water rushes into the boiler, the PID won't notice it for a few seconds (cold water has to cool down the outside of the boiler) and then it turns the heat on and it is another 5-10 seconds before that heat has any affect on the water inside the boiler.  So your shot is pretty much halfway done by the time the PID starts having any affect on the water temp.  Remember, I'm talking about the temp of the water DURING the shot --- the PID would be lovely to get your starting temp where you want it.

My own routine goes on the premise that (with Gaggia external heater) I want to start the shot when the boiler reaches my target temp with the heater still hot (the boiler is coming up in temp, the boiler either just shut off or is just about to and when I start my shot the heater is still hot and transferring that heat to the cool water that is rushing in during the shot.  

Now I did add one mod to my classic - a switch so I can kick the heater on during the shot (you can't use the steam switch because that activates the 3-way valve and flushes your shot).  Since I have the thermometer mounted I can see what effect I'm having.  However - even without a thermometer and without my switch mod - if you get the machine warmed up well, I find I just wait for the boiler to heat cycle and start my shot the instant the light tells me the heater has turned off -- that will give a shot temp that works really well and no expensive PID needed.

And the steam wand --- only if you don't like the stock one.  I don't do milk drinks so I don't care.  But if I did do milk drinks, I would get the ball joint V3 Silvia wand (more fabrication needed) and make a socket to support it (othewise you have to get the swivel only V2 Silvia wand).   The wand mod just gives you a nicer looking wand that is long enough and that uses a normal tip instead of the silly frothing aid.

The trick to getting lots of steam (regardless of wand) is to start steaming BEFORE the ready light tells you to - I can boil the milk if I'm not careful and I don't ever run out of steam on the Classic if I open the steam valve and bleed the water out shortly after flipping the steam switch and then start steaming as soon as the steam is coming out strong and dry --- that keeps the heater on.  If you are tricky (and if you have the thermometer like I do) you can flip the steam switch off before the thermostat trips and then back on before the steam slows down - doing that I can keep it steaming until the boiler starts to run dry and I have to blip the brew switch a few times to get water back in the boiler.
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