Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
Home Espresso Machines
Watch videos with Gail & Kat, Rocket, Jura Capresso, Saeco, Rancilio, Quick Mill, Nespresso
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Helping out a...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 5 last page next page
Author Messages
ATLDiver
Senior Member


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

Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013, 6:55pm
Subject: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

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.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,050
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013, 7:51pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

These two ideas are at odds with each other "I don't want to go north of 500 for the machine and grinder" and "I don't want to have to upgrade right away because it takes too long to make milk drinks".  

Unless you get crazy lucky on craigslist or a find in your family's attic you will have a bit of trouble doing that.  A hand grinder will help you budget but it will still be tough.

I am not trying to discourage you but it will not be easy to do.

 
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
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
ATLDiver
Senior Member


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

Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013, 7:59pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

I understand my budget is self-limiting but I guess what I mean is if I dish out the bucks up front and skimp on the grinder or machine, just how limiting will I be? Everyone has to set a limit, $500 is mine but it's not a hard limit just a threshold. ;)

Looks like I can do a Gaggia classic and MDF for about my budget, maybe a bit over that which is ok but I'm open for options. My thoughts were to use the pressurized portafilters until I can step up to a good grinder, if this will work ok then this is the way I think I'll go. Once I'm willing to dish out another chunk of money I can pick up a grinder and use the non-pressurized filters. Other than Gaggia semi's, any other brands I should focus on?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,282
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 Mon Jan 28, 2013, 8:01pm
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

For 525.00 no sales tax and free shipping you can get a Gaggia Classic and MDF grinder. Its a great entry point. I have had my Classic 5 years and it works fine.

Click Here (www.wholelattelove.com)


You will need to start using better beans....fresh ones. You can order or you can fund a place near you. Grind  and fill double basket 3/4 way up....tamp to 30 lbs....then keep at it until your
shots are 20 to 30 seconds.

http://www.klatchroasting.com/






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

back to top
 View Profile Contact via ICQ Link to this post
ATLDiver
Senior Member


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

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 5:35am
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

Dabean, this is where I'm at right now. That combo seems like the best for what I'm looking for, I'm wondering if I shouldn't consider the Baby twin or other brands. So my idea of using the pressurized portafilter with ground coffee, (until I get my technique down,) won't work?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,454
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 6:00am
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

I would go Classic over Baby anyday. Don't know much about the MDF grinder. But like posted above you'll have to start using fresh roasted beans as in the stores those bags have been sitting for months generally and already stale. Stale beans = nasty tasting gushing shots....espresso unfortunately is more picky then other coffee methods. If you could swing a Classic and then a refurb Baratza Preciso I'd go that route (Baratza list new refurb units every Thursday on their site).

Plenty of roasters online, but google your area and see if you have any local ones or not too far, as well as 'good' coffee shops/cafes (not Charbucks lol). Good places will generally carry fresh beans from known roasters that they'll sell to you, be able to pick up a pound here and there and not have to pay shipping.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,282
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 Tue Jan 29, 2013, 6:19am
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

Yeah I had the MDF and its ok...it will work but I have the Preciso now and its definitely better. Heres a good little piece on the Gaggia Classic.

http://www.wholelattelove.com/articles/gaggia_classic.cfm


CMIN Said:

I would go Classic over Baby anyday. Don't know much about the MDF grinder. But like posted above you'll have to start using fresh roasted beans as in the stores those bags have been sitting for months generally and already stale. Stale beans = nasty tasting gushing shots....espresso unfortunately is more picky then other coffee methods. If you could swing a Classic and then a refurb Baratza Preciso I'd go that route (Baratza list new refurb units every Thursday on their site).

Plenty of roasters online, but google your area and see if you have any local ones or not too far, as well as 'good' coffee shops/cafes (not Charbucks lol). Good places will generally carry fresh beans from known roasters that they'll sell to you, be able to pick up a pound here and there and not have to pay shipping.

Posted January 29, 2013 link

back to top
 View Profile Contact via ICQ Link to this post
monkeyboy1971
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2011
Posts: 8
Location: england
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bosco lever
Grinder: Eureka mythos
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 6:21am
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

Have you seen my listing for a Brugnetti Simona?? I am in england and came across this beauty by luck, unfortunately for me it is 110v (american Voltage) machine, but I have been running it on a transformer and it is a fsab machine, gaggia are a great entry level machine , however since phillips took over thgere have been some issues over the quality, so buying used or refurbed is definitely the way to go, they are simple to use and produce a great shot. The rancilio silvia is (probably) the highest rated of the home solenoid machines but as you have noticed, even used come up rather pricey, which leads me back to the Brugnetti. Do a little research and you will see that this is the match of a Silvia, large brass boiler, commercial group head and solenoid, really solid construction and produces fantastic shots with a fabulous steam wand capable of super creamy microfoam. PM if you are interested and if not good luck in your initial plunge into the ever addictive world of espresso....
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
RichardCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Dec 2010
Posts: 128
Location: Long Beach
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: gaggia baby twin, mini...
Grinder: fiorenzato pietro 63mm,...
Roaster: weber grill with rk drum,...
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 7:20am
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

My first set up was a Gaggia Baby Twin and an MDF grinder.  I have moved on from there as I kept reading about other grinders being better.  My first move was to a Pietro T80 grinder with 63mm burrs that I picked up for about $200 on e-bay.  It's a very good grinder.  And much easier to use than the MDF.  However, I still use the MDF as a travel grinder - that is, when I go on vacation.  It's easily portable.  I use the Baby Twin for the same purpose.  That combination makes a decent latte or 2, which my wife and I enjoy.  
You are describing the Baby Twin as a dual boiler machine. It's very misleading that some sellers describe it that way.  It has a small brew boiler and a Thermobloc for steam. The reason I moved on from the Baby Twin for every day use is that it is a frustrating machine to use for steam.  Often, 1/2 way through a small pitcher of milk, the steam will stop.  I'll have to run some water through it, purge it, and try again.  When it works right, it's great, but when it behaves like this it drives you crazy.  
I picked up a Gaggia Coffee for free on craigslist.  The lady said the pump was kaput.  Well it was simply very dirty.  I cleaned it up and it works fine now.  And for 1 latte, I actually prefer it over the Baby Twin - especially for the price.  The point is, you can easily meet your objectives with some patience.  Get a Gaggia classic used and a 63mm grinder used and you'll have an excellent set-up.
I recommend you check out the Gaggia user group on Yahoo.  You'll see the kinds of issues people have with their units and find advice on how to rehab a unit, or make other adjustments to it.  Especially, check out the files, where there is good information on how things work and a section on grinders that people have found to be useful.

 
Bean2friends
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
ATLDiver
Senior Member


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

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 7:41am
Subject: Re: Helping out a newbie that is overwhelmed with choices
 

MB, I did not see your ad for your Brugnetti Simona, I'll go check it out but feel free to ping me to discuss as I'm open to all options. At this point, I'm leaning towards a Gaggia classic but still on the fence about the grinders. Since this machine will be producing mostly milk-based drinks the steam portion is important but I'll read up on the Simona as I'm not familiar with it.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 5 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Helping out a...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Donate to Coffee Kids
Coffee Kids works with farming communities around the world, improving lives. Donate today.
www.coffeekids.org
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.437548160553)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+