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Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia. Now I'm having regrets...Did I make a mistake?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Just bought a...  
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EspressoRoyaleWithCheese
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jul 2012
Posts: 5
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jul 31, 2012, 3:21pm
Subject: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia. Now I'm having regrets...Did I make a mistake?
 

My Gaggia Classic just recently died on me, and after some searches online for an equivalent replacement in the $350-$400 range I impulsively bought the Saeco Via Venezia from Williams Sonoma.
Click Here (www.williams-sonoma.com)

And now I'm wondering if I made a terrible mistake even though it hasn't even arrived yet.
And here's why: The portafilter is a 53mm pressurized one.

This now means my amazing solid St. Stl. 58mm tamper is of no use.
And now I worry that I will have less control over my shots.

Do any of you have experience with this model? I couldn't find many reviews online, but the ones I did find were somewhat mixed. Some loved it, others complained about the tamper issue.
Am I over reacting? Or should I return it and just get another Gaggia Classic?  
What would you do?
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FrankyD
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Joined: 27 Jul 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Davis, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/Kyocera...
Drip: Bodum French Press
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Tue Jul 31, 2012, 3:45pm
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia. Now I'm having regrets...
 

If you had asked before purchasing it from Williams Sonoma, SeattleCoffeeGear does sell the same machine for $300, and has rave reviews from the group.

I have the Starbucks Barista which is practically an old Saeco Via Venezia and it's been working just fine. If I had a choice based on budget, I'd get something else.

Although, if you feel so inclined, you can remove the pressurizing mechanism and use it just like a non pressurized one, or you can buy a non pressurized one from SCG when they get it in.

Have you considered taking your Gaggia and getting it serviced instead? I can't say I've ever used a Gaggia Classic, so I can't compare it to the Saeco.
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frank828
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Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 581
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue Jul 31, 2012, 5:06pm
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia. Now I'm having regrets...
 

can i ask what is wrong with the gaggia classic?  there are many people with the same machine and they can likely help you troubleshoot and repair it.  these machines really arent THAT complicated and parts are typically readily available online.
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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 Tue Jul 31, 2012, 10:50pm
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia. Now I'm having regrets...
 

Well, using a decent grinder and fresh coffee and after getter rid of the pressurized portafilter, you can pull good shots with the Via Venezia. I think you'll find that the difference isn't all that big to your Gaggia Classic, which comes with a pressurized PF ex factory, too. Sorry about your tamper though. But is the Classic really beyond repair?

 
***
"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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EspressoRoyaleWithCheese
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Joined: 31 Jul 2012
Posts: 5
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 5:15am
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia. Did I make a mistake?
 

Thanks for your responses!

My gaggia classic has been giving me trouble for many months. While I don't think it's beyond repair, I just have no idea what the problem is. There's no pressure for pulling shots, but the steamer works perfectly fine. It simply hums and strains, but no water drips. For the past 6 months whenever pressure drops I've cleaned it out using Cafiza and that's helped, but that means cleaning it out every 2 weeks.  nothing has worked in my latest attempt. I've removed and cleaned all the group head components. When I open the top And look inside, everything is clean and connected properly. I assume there's a clog somewhere inside, but I don't know how to find it, and I don't want to pay 100 bucks to service it. Then again, maybe there's another easy fix?

I guess I'll try the via Venezia and maybe buy the un-pressurized portafter. Ill give it a try and see what comes Of it. Thanks for all your help. And let me know of you have other suggestions for the gaggia. I'm at a loss.
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,039
Location: Germany
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Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
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Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 5:18am
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia. Did I make a mistake?
 

When was the last time you descaled the machine? Maybe it all it needs is a professional cleaning.

 
***
"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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EspressoRoyaleWithCheese
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Joined: 31 Jul 2012
Posts: 5
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia.
 

I just descaled. But the problem is that even descaling doesn't work because basically no water runs through the group head. It's so badly blocked and I can't seem to clear it out. Incidentally, it is a used machine which I bought about 6 months ago...it's always had this problem, so I assume the previous owner simply didn't know how to take care of it. Just FYI, it was a struggle to remove the group shower cap because it was so thickly calcified. I finally pried it off and was able to clean it, but that still didn't do anything. I'm sure someone can find a fix, I just don't have the expertise to disassemble the entire machine and put it back together.
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia.
 

EspressoRoyaleWithCheese Said:

I just descaled. But the problem is that even descaling doesn't work because basically no water runs through the group head. It's so badly blocked and I can't seem to clear it out. Incidentally, it is a used machine which I bought about 6 months ago...it's always had this problem, so I assume the previous owner simply didn't know how to take care of it. Just FYI, it was a struggle to remove the group shower cap because it was so thickly calcified. I finally pried it off and was able to clean it, but that still didn't do anything. I'm sure someone can find a fix, I just don't have the expertise to disassemble the entire machine and put it back together.

Posted August 1, 2012 link

What could have happened, especially if the previous owner was laxidasical about cleaning. If he had descaled it right before, or you did right when you got it or whenever. There may have been so much lime deposit built up that it can remove in chunks when descaling and clog up lines, group etc. Rare, but it does happen in bad cases of build up, but you did say the screen was very calcified so....
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randytsuch
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 578
Location: LA, Ca
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office with...
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Roaster: Customized Alpenrost,...
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia.
 

I wouldn't give up on the Gaggia yet.

Gaggia's have a self priming valve that fails, and I think the symtom is no pressure through the grouphead.

There used to be a fix for it here
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gaggia/

but I  can't find it anymore

I know it was relatively simple, but it would defeat the self priming feature.  Just means you need to open the steam valve if you need to prime the machine.

There is also a forum at that gaggia group, you need to join, but after you join there are manuals and diagrams and articles on gaggias to help you fix them, and also to make improvements if you are so inclined.

Classics are relatively simple to take apart, just number the wires and take pictures so you know how to reconnect things, and its not too hard to disassemble the entire thing.

Randy
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al_bongo
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2008
Posts: 450
Location: Scotland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Solis 166/Iberital MC2
Vac Pot: Cona
Drip: Chemex/Melitta
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:53am
Subject: Re: Just bought a Saeco Via Venezia.
 

I too have a Starbucks Barista aka Via Venezia. You need to replace the pressurized portafilter for a start if you keep the machine. I've moved a way from home espresso; nothing to to with the machine though, but I have to say I would have gone with another Gaggia Classic rather than the Saeco in your situation.

I'm sure the Classic has it's issues too but the Saeco combined with a small boiler has a sub optimal location for the cold water feed that fills this small boiler. I've not done temperature measurements to confirm what I've read on line but I was always left with the lingering doubt that the Saeco machine would have difficulty maintaining temperature during a pull.

Having said that with a decent grinder and the non pressurized filter it was fairly consistent and I did pull decent shots with a bit of care. With hind sight just not my first choice of machine.
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