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Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Help Deciding...  
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RocknPop
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 8:07am
Subject: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

Hi guys,

This is my first post in the forum and I'm looking forward to joining the community.

My Saeco Starbucks Barista stopped working properly and the cost to repair it will probably be the replacement cost, so I'm considering the following machines:
- Slightly used Breville 800ESXL $250
- Another used Saeco Barista $110
- Used Gran Gaggia $90
- Refurbished Gaggia Evolution $209
- Refurbished Gaggia Classic $300

I plan to buy a burr grinder for no more than $150 as well. I do realize the biggest part of the espresso making process is the grinder.

Would you guys please share some expertise on these machines? I'm afraid that the Breville or Saeco stop working and I have to inject more money into them, and I'm afraid the Gaggia machines are not as good/reliable.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 11:20am
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

A good espresso grinder will cost you more than that, unless you buy a hand grinder.  Gaggia classics are good machines I hear. You know you like espresso and you enjoy doing it or you would not want to replace your machine, so why not go a step up this time? You already had the starter machine, get one that will be worth repairing for a long time.  I suggest you save for a longer time and get a better machine and grinder....

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,227
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

^ +1

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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RocknPop
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 11:52am
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

A good espresso grinder will cost you more than that, unless you buy a hand grinder.  Gaggia classics are good machines I hear. You know you like espresso and you enjoy doing it or you would not want to replace your machine, so why not go a step up this time? You already had the starter machine, get one that will be worth repairing for a long time.  I suggest you save for a longer time and get a better machine and grinder....

Posted October 13, 2012 link

I know! But what do I do in the interim?! :)
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,227
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

The Gaggia Classic ought to last you several years, and in that time you could potentially save up enough for a used HX or DB machine.  See if you can find a used/refurbished Baratza Preciso, or (if you're not averse to hand grinding) get yourself an OE Lido or Hario Skerton.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,456
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

$150 won't get you an espresso capable grinder, if you don't mind hand grinding then for a little more (think its around 170) you can get that Orphan Espresso Lido. Otherwise you'd have to see if you can save up a bit more or go north of $200 for an auto espresso grinder (Preciso for example which can also be found used or refurb). Of those machines listed, I'd stick with the Classic, easy to work on, 3 way valve, and not as quirky to deal with as the Silvia (temp swings and boiler cool down if you steam aren't as large). Still want to learn how to temp surf on it though.

Reason you have to spend more for the grinder, you can get a grinder like the Encore and a few others up to that $150 range and below, but their just not capable for non-pressurized baskets. So you'll generally end up with faster flowing/gushing shots that are under extracted vs a nice 25-30 second yummy pull, you can try to overdose to help compensate but on these machines your kinda limited on clearance with the group anyway and overdosing won't really help when the grind still isn't fine enough or consistent enough.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,470
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 Sat Oct 13, 2012, 1:19pm
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

Hands down!

RocknPop Said:

Refurbished Gaggia Classic $300

Posted October 13, 2012 link

HOWEVER . . .

RocknPop Said:

I plan to buy a burr grinder for no more than $150 as well. I do realize the biggest part of the espresso making process is the grinder.

Posted October 13, 2012 link

With respect -- no, you don't.  $150 isn't enough money to get a decent grinder for espresso.  Honest.  Grinding for espresso is different from grinding beans for any other preparation, and generally a grinder is either FOR espresso, or it isn't . . .

The Gaggia Classic IS a classic, and I'd grab it in a heartbeat (were I in your shoes).

As far as a grinder is concerned . . . unless you want to go the "manual" route and purchase a hand grinder like the LIDO, I'd strongly recommend you get this.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

Spend all your money you have now on a good grinder and a pour over drip unit like a chemex drip and save for the espresso machine or buy a used/refurbished machine like you had if you must have espresso. (only spending about 100 on it) BUT You have done the low end machines, I would go at least one step up now, really I might go up more than one step since you are sure you like doing it and you are sad without one.  I was leery of spending a lot on my first espresso machine because I was not sure I would even like making espresso.   You are already passed that and I believe ready to upgrade.  My machine used was under $500.  He is not pretty but he is a tank.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 1:57pm
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

Often the grinder is more expensive than the machine at the low end.  Mine was, but in fairness my grinder was new and the machine was used.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 665
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2012, 7:48pm
Subject: Re: Help Deciding Which Machine Please!
 

I bit the bullet, ground my teeth, then I bit my tongue and upgraded from a Rocky to a Mazzer Mini Electronic.

It wasn't cheap, but IMHO it was worth every penny and then some. It really made a huge difference in my drinks and brought out a lot of flavors in the coffee.
I was considering upgrading to a Baratza Vario-W, but I'm glad I didn't, only because I know that this will probably be the last grinder I buy for a very long time.

All I have is a Rancilio Silvia, but boy, did it ever seem like I was using a different machine when I pulled shots from it. Maybe some of it is mental, I don't know.

A lot of the other suggestions on this forum are quite good ones. If you don't mind buying used, Rocky grinders can typically be found selling for somewhere around your grinder budget,
if you don't mind putting up with the stepped grind adjustment and adjusting dose. They typically sell used for around $150-$200. However, I would consider saving your pennies and consider buying
something new like a Baratza Vario or it's smarter nephew, the Vario-W. The Precisio is a good alternative, but the Vario's are pretty much on par with that with the titan class commercial grinders
when it comes to grind quality. Now as for durability and reliability, that's a whole other discussion in itself. The Vario grinders have very good reviews on this site.

Since you've burned through a machine already, why not save your pennies for something which is considerably more durable? A Heat Exchanging machine will handle anything you throw at it and
they're also quite serviceable without being too expensive. (Relatively speaking) An Entry Level HX like the Bezzera BZ09 may be a good starting point. They're around the $900 mark though. Considering
that this is only $600 more than the most expensive machine you quoted, but don't you think you owe it to yourself to treat yourself out and stop worrying about a machine which will quit? Perhaps you
could find an equivalent used heat exchanging machine on the Buy & Sell section of the forum with a lot of life left in it.

Good luck!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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