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Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
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mythos1453
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Montreal
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013, 11:06pm
Subject: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

Hello all,

I have a Gaggia Espresso Color from Europe 210V, but now I moved to North America (Montreal, Canada) recently. Could anyone tell me if I can actually use it here? would it require extensive modifications and I should just buy a new one?

Any help/suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
George
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EndTwo
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 89
Location: Denmark
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Apscaso uno steel prof
Grinder: Mazzer Major DR + Mahlkönig...
Drip: french press, ceramic v60...
Roaster: skillet
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 1:07am
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

I would think youd get some powerproblems since they only run 110ish volts... But I dont know.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 1:50am
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

You would likely need a hefty voltage converter in order to use your Gaggia in Montreal. For a machine that cheap, you may want to simply consider upgrading. The Gaggia color (at least the American version) pulls 1100 peak watts, which would mean you'd need a hefty voltage converter capable of handling that kind of load. These start at about $70 a piece and go up from there, and are quite large. If you are moving to Canada permanently, I would highly recommend getting a different machine or the 120v version of the one you have.
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 10:28am
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

As said above, you'll need a step-up/down voltage transformer.  You don't need to worry about the differing frequency though for an espresso machine.  About 1500W would be right to run a Color or Classic, and maybe a grinder.  The benefit to bringing a machine and getting a transformer is that it'll also work on anything else you have that is 230V only (I bet you've got one wall wart PSU for something vital that isn't 110V compatible...), and if you go back again, you can use the transformer in the other direction.
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mythos1453
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Montreal
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Mar 29, 2013, 9:43pm
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

thanks for all the replies! you guys were really  helpful/informative. I think based on what you said I'll buy a new machine all-together. I looked for a 1500W voltage transformer and it goes for ~$70 :(. I'll just give the Gaggia to my family back in Europe or something.

Now back to the "new" machine part :)!. First of all I need to mention that I'm a student so I'm on a very limited budget :(. Ideally I'd like to spend <$200 but I could push it up to $300.

I was set on Breville before I found this forum lol...I was also set on not buying a grinder :)

Based on what I read  its impossible to get a good espresso if I don't have a grinder. So I'm trying to find a way of how I can do this with my limited budget.

I found a refurbished Cuisinar EM-100FR
Click Here (www.newegg.ca)

do you think I should even consider refurbished? or could you make any suggestions? any help/opinions would be very much appreciated!

Thanks,
George
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
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 Mar 30, 2013, 1:48am
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

mythos1453 Said:

Ideally I'd like to spend <$200 but I could push it up to $300. I was set on Breville before I found this forum lol...I was also set on not buying a grinder :)

Posted March 29, 2013 link

Hi George.

Considering that you are a student on a limited budget, I would probably recommend that you stick to a good Moka Pot, like the Bialetti Moka pots. You can use pre-ground
coffee with them without any issues if you really don't want to buy a grinder. Although, buying pre-ground coffee means it will stale fast. If you can grind your coffee as you
need it, then do that.

I wouldn't recommend compromising on buying something like a refurbished machine with a pressurized portafilter. There are better things to spend your money on.

That's how I started out, a moka pot will make very strong coffee. It's not quite like espresso but it is close enough when budget is an issue.

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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mythos1453
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Montreal
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 5:43am
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

Hello qualin,

could you recommend a decent manual grinder?

Best,
George
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
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 Mar 30, 2013, 10:44am
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

]Lots of people have recommended the Hario Skerton as a good espresso and general purpose hand grinder. However any "knee mill" will grind good enough for moka pot or drip coffee.

EDITED:

Here's what it looks like: http://www.visionsespresso.com/hario-skerton-hand-mill/

The advantage to using a hand mill is that you can grind as slow as you like to preserve the taste of the coffee.

Alternatively, you can also consider the Orphan Espresso Lido hand grinder, which is 3x the price of the Hario, but also is of a much higher quality.

Click Here (www.orphanespresso.com)

The upside to the Lido is that it can grind precisely enough for espresso, should you ever manage to get your hands on an espresso machine in the future that doesn't have a pressurized portafilter.

Sometimes, if you keep your eyes peeled on the classifieds, like Kijiji or Craigslist, maybe you can find someones old espresso machine they got for a wedding present and never used it. Then all
you'd need to do is modify it so that the portafilter isn't pressurized anymore.. but IMO, I still would say not to waste your money.

Just as a bit of a clarification, I consider the "Entry Level" espresso machine to be something like a Gaggia Classic or any Lelit machine. New, they're about $600, but used you can find them for
roughly around half as much, depending on how old they are, how well used they are, etc... Again, Caveat Emptor.

Perhaps you can find a used Saeco Aroma machine. There are a few people who have modified theirs to use a non-pressurized portafilters or you can buy an aftermarket portafilter. Check the
classifieds on here, maybe you may find something. There are some coffeegeeks who are downright experts at making espresso the cheapest way possible, but it means looking in all of the
right places and understanding that you are buying cheap plastic stuff with a short longevity.

Again though, I can't stress this enough, it is better to make Moka style coffee on a budget with a quality grinder, then skimp on the grinder (Or not buy one at all) and get stuck with a
junky cheap "espresso" machine with a pressurized portafilter. (Again, this is all IMHO!)

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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mythos1453
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Montreal
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 8:31pm
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

wow thanks for the detailed response!!

do you think the Bialetti Brikka a good choice? Also, why is a pressurized portafilter a bad thing? I've been looking into this but I can't find a definite reason.

Thanks!
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
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 Mar 30, 2013, 9:36pm
Subject: Re: Bringing an Espresso machine overseas
 

mythos1453 Said:

do you think the Bialetti Brikka a good choice?

Posted March 30, 2013 link

I don't honestly think you can go wrong with any Bialetti product. The stovetop Moka pot is how most Italians make espresso at home. Just don't do what I did and put it into the dishwasher.
The dishwasher soap will destroy the protective aluminum coating and will destroy it. (Found this out the hard way after inadvertently destroying a Mukka Express)

The Brikka uses built up steam pressure to aerate the coffee, producing the approximation of crema, but it isn't real crema. Realistically, for being on a budget, it's a good compromise.

mythos1453 Said:

Also, why is a pressurized portafilter a bad thing? I've been looking into this but I can't find a definite reason.

Posted March 30, 2013 link

In a proper unpressurized portafilter, the grind of the coffee regulates how fast the water can flow through the puck. As a result of this, everything is extracted out of the coffee and
proper smooth, silky espresso emerges from the machine. Basically, anything that can pass through the tiny holes in the portafilter ends up in the cup.

On a pressurized portafilter, one single teeny weeny little hole regulates that water flow, not the grind, so as a result, not only is everything not extracted out of the coffee, the texture
and feel of a real espresso won't be there either. As well, the coffee itself won't be as intense or bold because the water flowed too fast through it. Arguably, as a result of this, one can end
up with an underextraction if traditional espresso volumes are being used, so to compensate for this, larger volumes need to be extracted.

Pressurized portafilters are used as a way to compensate for poorly ground coffee or pre-ground coffee. They're also used with pods as well and all Super-Automatics use them because there
isn't a way for a Super-Auto to compensate for the grind properly.

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