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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Helping out a...  
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ATLDiver
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

Thanks Richard, I will do that. I was thinking the Baby Twin due to the 'dual boilers' because as I mentioned, the steam capability is important to me. What I'm getting at this point is that at my price point I'm not going to get what I want unless I go used/refurb'ed. Since I'm so close to the Savila should I splurge on it as it seems I'm not going to get good enough with the Gaggia line? What are the things to look for on used Silvas?
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ATLDiver
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:56pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

ATLDiver Said:

Ok, I've spent some time on here reading and learning, (as well as other places,) but I still confused on what I want. Here's the setup, I want to step up to an espresso maker from my current French Press as I appreciate good strong coffee but I'm not to the connoisseur that many are here.

Start with what I like...Mostly cappuccinos/Latte's and the occasional espresso from the coffee house. I buy all my coffee at Costco, I generally buy the medium blend house blend but occasional splurge on Kona beans. I work from home so I usually drink 3-4 cups of regular coffee (black) with an occasional cup in the evenings after dinner. I first started out thinking I wanted a super-automatic machine for the convenience and the ability to make milk drinks, (I've found out semi's do this as well.) After reading, talking to a friend that has a Silva and looking at my options I think I really want to go with a semi-auto but have some reservations. First is cost, I really, really don't want to go north of $500 as that's the point where I feel comfortable spending for this endeavor.  That would include both a grinder and machine so my options are rather limited but I'm not opposed to a refurb'ed unit (actually Whole Latte Love has some I've been eying,) and might consider used so that opens up some higher priced machines normally to me as well.

Right now the Gaggia Baby line as well as the classic are my top choices for my criteria but I'm not sure on the grinder, is it possible to to use a semi-auto with pressurized head and use a the grinder at the store set to espresso? I've read where some have done this with good success until they can justify/afford a quality grinder, if possible this is what I would do in the short-term. If this is possible I might just make the jump to the Silva or pick up one used. If this is not possible, what's the bare minimum grinder I could pull off? Gaggia MDF or maybe a refurb'ed Rocky? If I were to stick with the Gaggia line would I be better off sticking with the Classic over the Baby dual-boiler unit?

One thing I'd like to prevent is buy something that I'll want to upgrade fairly soon as I do appreciate spending time to produce a more quality product but obviously there's a limit here. I don't want something that takes 10 mins to make a single drink and/or froth milk so your advise is appreciated.

Thanks in advance for patience on my questions as I muddle my way through this. Given that I've always made coffee, never espresso this whole thing is a tad new but I'd like the ability to produce something better than I can get at my local coffee house.

Posted January 28, 2013 link

Quick update, I placed my order today for a Gaggia Classic and Gaggia MDF grinder from WLL. Lot of going back and forth on my options but decided to just bite the bullet, if later down the road I want to expand on it the option is there. Might take a look at those PID options for the Classic when I get comfortable operating the setup.
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CharityV
Senior Member
CharityV
Joined: 7 Jul 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Rocky DL
Roaster: SC/TO
Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 5:40pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

I think you're going to be pleased with that set up. It's a solid entry level machine and grinder, should serve you well for a few years, maybe longer. I've been using a comparable set up for going on 8 years, and am only now seriously looking at jumping to a much higher end machine. I have two friends who have also gotten into espresso (after spending some time at my house, lol) with similar set ups (one with the exact pairing you're getting, I believe) who couldn't be happier, and seem content to never upgrade.

Happy shot pulling. :)
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,297
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 5:42pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

Its been five years since I first got the same set up.  I now have a different grinder. I love my Gaggia Classic. Remember also that you will need eventually to buy a 58mm tamper.  I also have cleaned mine
regularly and the grinder also. I guess since I learned some people now dont advocate the 30 lbs tamp but i still do it. I actually used a scale to learn what 30 lbs felt like. You will need some fresh coffee also.  
By fresh I mean whole beans freshly roasted from roast date to two weeks out. I looked for roasters online in Atlanta and found a few. I dont know if these guys are good or not ????

Atlanta Coffee Roaster's

2205 F LaVista Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
Phone: (404) 636-1038

After you unbox and read all the instructions and get ready is when the fun begins, heres what I did five years ago. I only used double basket. I filled 3/4 of way up and tamped to 30 lbs. I then adjusted grinder so
the pull was between 20-30 seconds. For me thinking of it in these terms gave me some loose guidelines that I could adjust and tweak until I got to my goals. On the grinder 34 is the coarsest and 1 the finest,
I havent used mine in awhile since I got the Preciso but I would start around 7 to 10. Thats little Gaggia has some power in its pump and lock up is really good. If it chokes turn it off and try a higher number grind,its hard to choke though.
I think you will be happy with the choice you made. I paid almost that five years ago just for the Classic. Heres a video I made a few days ago for a guy who wondered why I never have upraded. Now I do think of it now and then but
only to get a little more control and consistency shot after shot. Have fun. You can also back flush it because it has a 3 way valve.

Click Here (www.youtube.com)






ATLDiver Said:

Quick update, I placed my order today for a Gaggia Classic and Gaggia MDF grinder from WLL. Lot of going back and forth on my options but decided to just bite the bullet, if later down the road I want to expand on it the option is there. Might take a look at those PID options for the Classic when I get comfortable operating the setup.

Posted January 31, 2013 link

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ATLDiver
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 5:55pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

Thanks Bean, yeah I'm looking forward to getting it setup and pulling some shots. I've been looking up videos online of the Classic to hit the ground running, include some great "how-to's" on WLL's site. I know of the Atlanta roasters although I've never tried anything from there yet, sadly it's actually quite aways from me so it would be easier just to have them ship. I do have a Whole Foods nearby and Costco with in-store roaster so that's likely what I'll start off with as I'm used to both. Don't want to go paying for quality stuff until I know somewhat what I'm doing.

I assume starting off with the double-walled (pressurized) filter is wise until I get dialed in? Also, the Classic does come with a tamper, right? If not guess I need to call and have one added.
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,297
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 6:43pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

Five years ago I bought into the Breville hype and bought a Breville and it almost wrecked my beginnings in espresso.
This is also what taints my feelings for the new Breville Double Boiler I simply hate machines that are gimmicky.

Click Here (coffeegeek.com)

I seriously do not know what Gaggia is doing going down the Pressurized Portafilter road. I dont. I hate them and dont think they have any business on a real machine.
Mine came with the single wall and double wall basket only..the commercial ones that you can see all the way through.
Because espresso is the art of mining, if you will ,the heart and soul of coffee,if you use a coffee with no soul you will get a soulless coffee.
If you use that PPF it will make a fake looking espresso but not the real thing. I have never bought coffee from Costco or Whole Foods
so I cant verify its quality or freshness. Just remember that if your results are bad check both these issues 1) PPF 2) fresh quality whole bean coffee.

Click Here (www.wholelattelove.com)


ATLDiver Said:

Thanks Bean, yeah I'm looking forward to getting it setup and pulling some shots. I've been looking up videos online of the Classic to hit the ground running, include some great "how-to's" on WLL's site. I know of the Atlanta roasters although I've never tried anything from there yet, sadly it's actually quite aways from me so it would be easier just to have them ship. I do have a Whole Foods nearby and Costco with in-store roaster so that's likely what I'll start off with as I'm used to both. Don't want to go paying for quality stuff until I know somewhat what I'm doing.

I assume starting off with the double-walled (pressurized) filter is wise until I get dialed in? Also, the Classic does come with a tamper, right? If not guess I need to call and have one added.

Posted January 31, 2013 link

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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,305
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 Thu Jan 31, 2013, 6:44pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

ATLDiver Said:

I assume starting off with the double-walled (pressurized) filter is wise until I get dialed in?

Posted January 31, 2013 link

No, start off right and go with non-pressurized baskets. I believe Gaggia is included both pressurized and non-pressurized with new machines.  Don't use the WF coffees unless they roast in-house (wasn't clear if yours does, or if it's just the Costco).  You need beans that were roasted within the past 15 days...and as mentioned above, you ought to like them :)

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


Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 6:58pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

I intend to move on from the pressurized head pretty quickly. From what I can find, there's seems to be a pretty consistent setup with the Classic and MDF so that's where I'll start.

I picked up a couple of bags of Lavazza beans to go along with my order but have about a pound of 'House Blend' beans from Whole Foods I got a few weeks ago. If I recall the beans were roasted two days prior and when I got home I put them in the freezer. Since my current coffee setup is a French Press with a Cusinart grinder so I'm not compleatly foreign to decent coffee.

My wife is excited about the milk drinks so we're both looking forward to it.
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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 Thu Jan 31, 2013, 8:23pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

ATLDiver Said:

I picked up a couple of bags of Lavazza beans to go along with my order but have about a pound of 'House Blend' beans from Whole Foods I got a few weeks ago. If I recall the beans were roasted two days prior and when I got home I put them in the freezer. Since my current coffee setup is a French Press with a Cusinart grinder so I'm not compleatly foreign to decent coffee.

Posted January 31, 2013 link

Uh . . . well . . . I mean . . . um . . . Oh, heck: HERE.

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


Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 8:26pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

I keep 'em frozen until I need them.... ;)

Yeah I know, I'll need to step it up. I actually want to check out a couple local options for beans much closer to me.
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