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Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Considering an...  
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artmanr
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Nov 2008
Posts: 30
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee Deluxe, Gran...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Baratza...
Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:28pm
Subject: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

I have used the Gaggia Coffee at home for four years.  I love it.  Now I am getting ready to take it to the office to be mated with a Baratza Virtuoso (also from home).  Shortcomings of the Virtuoso grinder for espresso aside, I have learned to make an acceptable espresso...to me.  Perhaps it's the Black Cat beans I use.

My new (please Santa, I've been good) grinder is a Baratza Preciso.  I'll keep that at home.

Now....what espresso maker for home?   Budget is $400.  I like Gaggia.  We work well together.  

Classic?

Baby Twin?

Any other model or make I should consider?  I would like to step up my game with this maker.  Mostly an espresso drinker with the occasional milk drink.  

Thanks for your opinion and insight.

AR
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
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 Dec 8, 2012, 11:17pm
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

Random thoughts:

-- The ONLY difference between a Gaggia Coffee and a Gaggia Classic is that the latter has a three-way solenoid, while the former does not.

-- A three-way solenoid is a good thing to have, but it's not going to improve your espresso.

-- At your stated budget of $400, nothing is going to be an upgrade; your budget is merely going to shift you from one SBDU to another, but no apparent reason . . .

Now, don't get me wrong:  I have my "old" machine in my office, and my "new" machine at home.  Love having a machine at both places.  Certainly nothing wrong with that!  But don't "fool" yourself into thinking you're going to "upgrade."

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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EricBNC
Senior Member
EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 1,869
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
Grinder: K30, Major, Preciso, Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam C30, Bodum Santos...
Drip: Bonavita BV-1800,...
Roaster: Behmor, Melitta, Fresh...
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 2:46am
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Random thoughts:

-- The ONLY difference between a Gaggia Coffee and a Gaggia Classic is that the latter has a three-way solenoid, while the former does not.

-- A three-way solenoid is a good thing to have, but it's not going to improve your espresso.

-- At your stated budget of $400, nothing is going to be an upgrade; your budget is merely going to shift you from one SBDU to another, but no apparent reason . . .

Now, don't get me wrong:  I have my "old" machine in my office, and my "new" machine at home.  Love having a machine at both places.  Certainly nothing wrong with that!  But don't "fool" yourself into thinking you're going to "upgrade."

Posted December 8, 2012 link

+1

I have a Coffee as well and have used a Classic side by side for a while with it when a friend asked me to adjust his OPV. There isn't any reason to buy one if you already have the other if an upgrade in taste is your goal.

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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artmanr
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Nov 2008
Posts: 30
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee Deluxe, Gran...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Baratza...
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 8:20am
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

Good points, gentlemen.  I'll assume the Baby Twin does not rank as an upgrade either.

NOTE.....FWIW, I also have a Gran Gaggia I picked up second hand that has very low "miles".....cycles?....on it.   I could do nothing and save up my money for something else at a later date.

The one shortcoming I see of the Coffee is in steaming, though for one latte, it is usually enough.  I'm sure there are other shortcoming too such as heat stability and precision.  What it may lack, however, the Gaggia coffee makes up in reliability, ease of use and ease of repair/modification.  I replaced the steam valve quite easily and tear down for routine cleaning is pretty easy.

So, let's turn to the better than average question:

In terms of having an excellent all  around machine for home use that would be a logical step up from where I am now.....what should I consider?  


Art
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
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 Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:05am
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

artmanr Said:

So, let's turn to the better than average question:  In terms of having an excellent all  around machine for home use that would be a logical step up from where I am now.....what should I consider?

Posted December 9, 2012 link

Art, there are dozens of threads on the subject, and you have given us precious little information to go on . . . it's a bit like you asking for a recommendation for a new car . . . but not telling us whether you're looking for a sports car, a pickup truck, minivan, or luxury car.  So, while I'm tempted to say that you should consider this, in reality we need much more information before any meaningful consideration(s) can be given to any specific machine.

OK, let's take it from the top . . .

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

The more specific you are, the more specific we can be . . .

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,036
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 1:14pm
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

artmanr Said:

I'll assume the Baby Twin does not rank as an upgrade either.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

The Twin would be a downgrade.  Interesting note on a repair site abut Baby and Baby Twin.

http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaBabyClassandTwinBaby.html

You could upgrade the Gaggia that you have with a PID.  DIY for $80ish if you get the RTD sensor, of less with a generic K thermocouple.

http://auberins.com/

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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artmanr
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Nov 2008
Posts: 30
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee Deluxe, Gran...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Baratza...
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 6:41pm
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

Thanks guys...

I had not really considered mods to the Coffee.  That is intriguing.  To answer the questions posed...

1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.).  Mostly espressos.  Occasionally a latte, maybe one per week.

2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.).  Two espressos per day.  Sometimes three.  On occasion twice that or more to accommodate friends,

3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.). 10 to 14 espressos.  2 lattes.

4)  Can you plumb  a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?   I could plumb it.  I'm ok with a pour over reservoir.

5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?  Only 15 amps.

6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?  My budget is $500.  I have a Baratza Preciso under the tree for Christmas (I think).  I hope that is the right grinder for me.

Now, I truly appreciate your advice and opinions.  I realize this type of thread is common, especially this time of year. I read a dozen before posting my own.   Apologies if this is already asked and answered.  

But, your answers are already instructive and helping me.  I hope someone else might also find the informatin useful.  

Perhaps I need to further hone my skills and technique before getting in any deeper on the equipment front.   A shiny new machine won't help me brew a better shot.  Toward that end modifying the Gaggia maybe makes the most sense so that I can monitor the variables that right now I am only guessing at.  Though my shots taste good to me.

I have the new grinder, so maybe that is enough to elevate my game on the equipment front.   I'm mechanically inclined and I could probably follow directions well enough to mod the Coffee.  

Sorry to be so long.  

AR
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 669
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 Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:14pm
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

Judging from your response, a standard SBDU machine would do the trick quite nicely for your needs. Your budget isn't unreasonable for an SBDU at all.

If you are looking for shot consistency, then buying a SBDU machine with a PID or modifying your existing SBDU with a PID may be a solution.

You will see more of an improvement in your shots going from a $250 grinder to a $1000 grinder than you will going from a $400 machine to a $1400 machine.

I guess my bigger question would be, what are you looking to get out of the machine which your current machine isn't giving you?

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


Joined: 15 Nov 2008
Posts: 30
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee Deluxe, Gran...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Baratza...
Posted Sun Dec 16, 2012, 9:54am
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

OK.  I have spend a week looking and reading and I still need some help.  I decided that I don't want to mod the Gaggia Coffee Deluxe.  I'll just keep it as is and use it at the office.

For home, I think I want to get a SBDU machine with a decent steam wand, 3 way solenoid and an adjustable pressure valve.  I plan to use this machine to make espresso shots; sometimes back to back.  Once or twice a week, I will make a latte or cappuccino, but probably not more than one per sitting.   It is for these reasons, I have focused on a SBDU machine.  I could afford a machine with an HX, but steam is not really an issue for me.  That's why I'm thinking SBDU.  

I'm considering the Gaggia Classic vs. the Lelit PL041QE.  In fact, I ordered the Gaggia, but then reconsidered the Lelit.  I like that the Lelit has a better steam wand and is already set to 9 bars by the factory.  On both of those issues I'd have to tear into the Gaggia and also need the Sylvia steam wand.  

So, my question to the learned is Gaggia Classic of PL041QE?  I don't plan on adding PID to either one.  So, is temp surfing something I can master on either machine?  Is a brass boiler better than an aluminum one from a scale standpoint?  I live in Chicago and our water tends to be on the harder side.  

I truly appreciate your help.  If I decide for the PL041QE I have to cancel my order for the Classic asap.  Probably today (Sun December 16th, 2012).  

Regards,

Art
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 669
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 Sun Dec 16, 2012, 12:47pm
Subject: Re: Considering an upgrade from Gaggia Coffee de luxe
 

artmanr Said:

I'm considering the Gaggia Classic vs. the Lelit PL041QE.

Posted December 16, 2012 link

Who are you using as a vendor? If you can, consider the Lelit PL4TEM instead. I believe 1st line also sells a PID modified version of this machine out of the box. I'm not sure what they call it, but
it's roughly about $170 more than the PL041QE. Considering that a PID conversion kit is roughly $200-$250, it's a bit of a deal.

I think the Lelit PL041QE is fairly competitive to the Silvia and is functionally identical to one. It also offers better bang for the buck, at least IMHO.

Here is a good thread on the Lelit:

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/483073

If you really want to upgrade your machine, A PID controlled SBDU is a must. Otherwise, anything you buy won't be much of an upgrade. I consider the "Holy Grail" of PID-Equipped SBDU machines to be the Rancilio Silvia..
but by then, you are pushing nearly $1000. IMHO, it's about as far an upgrade you can go without going to a dual heater machine like the Crossland CC1, the Quickmill Silvano or a HX. It's also doesn't really have any
economic sense either, unless you have a really big lack of kitchen counter room.

artmanr Said:

For home, I think I want to get a SBDU machine with a decent steam wand, 3 way solenoid and an adjustable pressure valve.

Posted December 16, 2012 link

I think all SBDU machines north of $500 will all have those features. I wish I could comment on the Lelit, but I can't because I've never owned one.

artmanr Said:

So, my question to the learned is Gaggia Classic of PL041QE?

Posted December 16, 2012 link

If I had to choose, I would probably pick the latter. Again though, I don't have any personal experience with this machine so YMMV.

artmanr Said:

is temp surfing something I can master on either machine?  Is a brass boiler better than an aluminum one from a scale standpoint?

Posted December 16, 2012 link

If I had to choose between a brass and aluminum boiler, I would pick a brass one, but this is IMHO. I've noticed aluminum cookware can introduce a taste into the water, I don't know if the same holds true with a boiler.

Temperature surfing is easy to master once you've developed a routine and you know what works and what doesn't work. However, it becomes a real pain after a while and isn't necessary with a PID equipped machine.

Here's a video how how to temperature surf a Silvia:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhxvDusY3jk

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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