Posted Fri Dec 28, 2012, 7:25am Subject: Re: Newbie buying his first machine. Need help
As a newbie as well, I'd offer up this suggestion:
Grinder - a used Rocky (doserless) or new/refurb Baratza Preciso/Vario. A Rocky might be had for $250 used; the Preciso refurb is $240 from Baratza. If you can bring yourself to splurge, go for the Vario.
Machine - A used Gaggia Classic can be had for under $300 if you search. The warm-up time is short, the steam is decent for one drink at a time, and the investment minimal. They also hold their value. I wouldn't spend the money on a new one; they are pretty robust and there are no electronics that could flake out easily. You could swap out the steam wand for a commercial style wand if you want to at a later date.
Personally I wouldn't consider any of the other Gaggia consumer machines other than the Classic.
I've never used a Silvia, but they seem to hold their value well. Used models seam to command over $300 regularly, and from whet I've read, the long warm-up wasn't convenient for my schedule/needs.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,313 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:59am Subject: Re: Newbie buying his first machine. Need help
All machines need at least twenty minutes or more to warm up not just waiting for the water to get hot. The whole machine needs to stabilize at temp. Just waiting for the light to go out is not long enough. The light goes out on a Sylvia in about 5 minutes.
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!
Posted Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:38pm Subject: Re: Newbie buying his first machine. Need help
I've owned Rocky and would recommend against it. The steps are to wide, making it difficult to get the grind just right. You end up modifying your dose to get the shots to come out how you want, and well...if you're a newbie, that makes the balance between grind and dose that much harder. If you're experienced enough to know how to do that without to much difficulty, then you want a better grinder.
...and +1 to what Wayne (calblacksmith) said.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 2,950 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Dec 28, 2012, 1:00pm Subject: Re: Newbie buying his first machine. Need help
Having the temp be constant is the problem with the smaller boilers that single boiler starter machines have. So, the warm up time is very important so you are as stable as that machine can be. That is one of the nice things about more expensive machines, larger boilers and better heat stability.
Grinder with no steps or really small steps is very important and can't be over stated. The grinder affects the taste in the cup more than you would think.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
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