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Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine.
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Is the Gaggia...  
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strawberrykoi
Senior Member
strawberrykoi
Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 43
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3,...
Grinder: baratza vario, Hario...
Drip: chemex
Roaster: whirly pop
Posted Sat Apr 20, 2013, 8:54pm
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered...
 

Jenn312 Said:

I have this moka pot. Click Here (www.target.com)

I followed the instructions exactly and I did watch you tube videos to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong. I will try Bustelo but honestly I doubt I will like it, I rather drink regular drip than coffee from my moka pot.

I also just rinse out my moka pot with no soap like the instructions say.

Posted April 20, 2013 link

You might be following the instructions, but that doesn't change the fact that something is not right with your process... I'm telling you, the moka pot is an excellent brewer (although I do prefer the Aerpress). It's a very simple device... so there shouldn't be an issue with IT. However, without someone there walking you through it, you might be doing something wrong that you are unaware of (which is perfectly understandable... so don't feel that I'm criticizing you for it). Honestly, I think the problem is your grinder/your grind, stale beans, and possibly even over extracting the brew (AKA, burning it.. which is my only complaint with the moka pot - I would often "burn" my coffee). Mixed with frothed milk, it should taste almost just like a Starbucks latte (except even better, if you use good beans).

You seem really stubborn against getting a good grinder:

Jenn312 Said:

I need to get a machine and yes I know I should get a grinder first but honestly I don't want to.

Posted April 20, 2013 link

I understand... it's sort of "boring" compared to getting a fancy machine, but as someone else said, espresso is extra sensitive. With a bad/too coarse of a grind, the machine will extract too quickly, wont get much crema/be too blond, and the taste will be weak and hallow. If you use pre-ground coffee, it will simply taste blah... and may even still be too coarse, as store-bought-pre-ground coffee is really meant for drip or press use. I'm telling you, the grinder will make ALL the difference... even with a good grinder paired with the french press, it would taste light years better than Starbucks.

I seriously suggest this: Baratza Varo grinder (because it is versatile and good enough for most machines), Mypressi espresso maker, Aerolatte hand-frother, and your choice of beans. This was my setup while I was saving for my big machine... and honestly, I would have been happy with it for the rest of my life if I wasn't a coffee-fanatic.
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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 Apr 21, 2013, 12:56am
Subject: Re: Is Gaggia Classic still the best entry level espresso machine.
 

OK, let's step back for a minute here.

The key to making any kind of coffee.. and I mean ANY kind of coffee is fresh fresh fresh beans. Did I mention the beans have to be fresh?

Now, Going back to the rule of 15's.. This is what fresh means:

  1. 15 months from the time the beans were picked. (Some people will say 12 months)
  2. 15 days from the time the beans were roasted. (Some people will say 21 days...)
  3. 15 minutes from the time the beans were ground. (Some people will say 5 minutes.)

That's the easy way to remember it. If you follow that rule, that's where a good cup of coffee begins. Part of your issue is that you get your coffee pre-ground
and then it stales quickly. Take an apple. Now slice it in half and leave the halves on your counter for probably 1-2 hours. You'll notice that each half of the apple
has turned brown. Now, take a bite and notice how the taste of the apple has changed. This exact thing happens to coffee, except on a much smaller scale.

You can't even begin to serve a decent cup of coffee using any brewing process until you focus on the most important part of your coffee. The beans themselves
and the fact that you need to grind the coffee as you need it.

I'm going to emphasize this again, you can have the best espresso machine in the world sitting on your kitchen counter, but if you don't properly grind the coffee,
you are going to make lousy espresso. If you use pre-ground coffee, you will make lousy coffee. You simply cannot make decent espresso without a decent
grinder. Period Period Period. Full Stop. End of Story. I rest my case.

As much as I hate to say this, If you do not want to invest in a grinder, then just stick to drinking drip coffee. Every other brewing method which uses pressure to
brew coffee will amplify any imperfections in the coffee.

I made the same mistake with my own Bialetti Mukka Express... Buying a half pound of coffee and pre-grinding it with the Supermarket coffee grinder, putting it in a
mason jar and using it up. After a while, the smell of the coffee got to be outright sickening and I really noticed a really rotten taste of the coffee after a while, kind of
like what one gets when they use the company coffee maker which nobody ever bothers cleaning.

BTW, The Rocky is a great grinder if you plan on using it to grind coffee for your moka pot, but for espresso it is a little finicky. After my own personal experiences,
I would probably recommend a Baratza Precisio or Vario over the Rocky. Heck, Maybe even consider a used Compak K3 touch instead.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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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 Apr 21, 2013, 1:12am
Subject: Re: Is Gaggia Classic still the best entry level espresso machine.
 

Before I begin, I saw a Knee mill at my local Italian Supermarket selling for $20. I thought about buying it. I'll have to post pictures later
on the grinders forum. So, it now makes me wonder.. if knee mills are so cheap, what's stopping you from buying one? (A knee mill is a
grinder you hold between your knees and twirl a lever ground to grind things.)

I guess I should have elaborated on one point... I'm going to apologize to the moderators if I'm a little off topic for this forum...

If you truly want to enjoy wonderful coffee, find a local roaster in your area who sells coffee in bags which have a one way valve.

Be leery about roasters who use bulk bins and be very careful. Ask them when they roasted the coffee, how long it has been sitting in the bin
and whether or not they empty the bin completely when the coffee on the bottom gets too old. (If they can't answer these questions, don't buy.)

Now, stop brewing "Espresso roast" coffees with your Moka pot. (Espresso Roast technically doesn't exist, but when you see it, it usually
means that the beans are burnt and over-roasted.) Buy light roasted coffees and consider single-origin coffee instead of blends. (Besides,
light roasted coffees have more caffeine in them anyway!)  

Focus more on coffees which are much better suited for Moka pot brewing. You don't have to use Espresso Blends if you find them too harsh.
There isn't any rule whatsoever that says you must use Espresso blends with a Moka pot.

Now, if you can get great coffee out of your Moka pot by doing this, then you are ready to venture into the world of espresso. For that, you'll
wonder why you didn't buy a grinder sooner.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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steamer
Senior Member
steamer
Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 903
Location: socal
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus IV R
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-B Baratza...
Vac Pot: Krubs Moka Brew, vacPot
Drip: TechV, and many more
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 6:44am
Subject: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine.
 

Maybe best to first find a roaster that sells coffee drinks. Try their espresso, if you like it, then you have a source for fresh coffee beans. have them grind some for espresso so you have something to compare too, keep them for future use. Onto the machine. WWL has refurnished Gaggia classic for $300, once you got your hands and mind into espresso and your good at making them after months of chasing the perfect shot, the bug will get you and you will be looking at your next machine. at that point get a Nice grinder and chase the shot again, Now once your happy with the grinder and the classic, you will want a better machine cause your gaining knowledge. Now just idle along till you save up for that $1500 basic espresso HX/dual boiler system. Now then, that should be a year from now. Enjoy the ride.
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takeshi
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takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 1,015
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 6:59am
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso
 

Jenn312 Said:

If and when I do decide on a grinder I am leaning towards the Ranchilio Rocky Doserless.

Posted April 20, 2013 link

Do not bother with the Rocky.  Refer to any of the many other recent threads on the Rocky as they also discuss other alternatives.

Jenn312 Said:

I need to get a machine and yes I know I should get a grinder first but honestly I don't want to. I really need to see if I can keep with a habit of making myself a daily cappuccino and  lattes first before investing in a grinder.

Posted April 20, 2013 link

Jenn312 Said:

I don't really want to buy an Aero press because I feel like I already wasted my money on a moka pot. The coffee it made was so bad my guests even said it was the worst coffee they ever had I tried Lavazza beans and some others I bought on line. I even went to both Starbucks and Fairway and had them grind the beans for me on their big fancy grinders.

Posted April 20, 2013 link

I wouldn't expect you to stick with it if you're not grinding fresh each time.  If you're using Lavazza or any preground then your beans are stale and you'll be disappointed with the results.  A shiny new espresso machine won't fix the problems that you're experiencing.  If anything, you'll probably just end up frustrated at the poor espresso you're getting from the much pricier Gaggia.  Don't give up on the moka.  There's a learning curve no matter which brewing device you're using.  If you need help then provide the details on what you're doing and people will be happy to help you out.

As we always advise -- don't leave the grinder as an afterthought.  It really does matter more.  If you can't properly grind your beans then it doesn't matter if you have a $20K machine.  You'll still get poor results.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 7:11am
Subject: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine.
 

You have gotten a lot of "tough love" advice in this topic. If you don't have the patience to trouble shot the moka pot process then you don't have the patience for espresso.  I think you are a good candidate for class learning before you buy.  If you spend $350 on a machine and can't get good coffee out of it you will feel like you have wasted your time and money.

You beans are part of your problem and maybe the grinder. Your pot is fine, now link the grinder. If you are using good beans and good grinder you should be getting tasty brew from any number of moka pots/french press/drip machines.

And if you have bad beans and grinder then nothing you will do will make it taste good.  Garbage in garbage out.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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Click Here (maps.google.com)

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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 Mon Apr 22, 2013, 9:39pm
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso
 

takeshi Said:

Do not bother with the Rocky.  Refer to any of the many other recent threads on the Rocky as they also discuss other alternatives.

Posted April 22, 2013 link

OK, Just to clarify something Takeshi said on this..

If you find a used Rocky for a decent price (ie. Less than $200) then it is a decent grinder for everything but espresso. It's something I would use if
I wanted to grind for french press, drip or Moka pot. The Rocky is what they call a "Stepped" grinder which means that when it comes down to selecting the grind
for espresso, you only really have two good steps to choose from, the rest you have to adjust by dose. It's like doing brain surgery with a steak knife. On the
upside, the steps make it easier to dial the grinder in... but kind of in the same way that training wheels make it easier to ride a bike.

I do believe, from my own personal experiences, that there are better offerings on the market with better control, especially when it comes to grinding for espresso.
I would only consider the Rocky if you are on a limited budget and you find one cheap. New, they're simply not really worth it.

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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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 Apr 23, 2013, 4:33am
Subject: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine
 

...or you could keep to starbucks and try to not buy anything but coffee. Now, i know, in here this is more or less an insult and thats not what I intend to do, so please, read the rest of my post.

Thing is, youve gotten a lot of advice from a lot of people who  have been where you are now. We dont have starbucks, but something similiar, and I can hear how people here thinks of the taste... But if you like it better than what you have the patience to make, then I cant see why not?

Jenn312 Said:

...I need to get a machine and yes I know I should get a grinder first but honestly I don't want to. I really need to see if I can keep with a habit of making myself a daily cappuccino and  lattes first before investing in a grinder... I would like a machine that I can keep for at least 5 years that also makes a good foam for cappuccinos, and latte's

Posted April 20, 2013 link

Well, first off, Ive just tmade the switch from mokapot to espressomachine. And honestly, if you havent had the patience to make it work, I dont think youll have the patience for an espressomachine. Even though it wasnt that hard for me to get a decent result, it took quite a lot more learning than making a decent coffee in the mokapot. I think that inconsistency whithout grinder will take way more of your patience than a full setup, hence youll be feeling that you throw more money away.
The machine will last 5 years, if you take care of it, backflush, descale and more... That is also timeconsuming. If your main target is saving money in the long run, maybe you should ask about full autos, as it simplifies the proces. Im not saying thats your only (primary) goal, but think about it.

Jenn312 Said:

...The coffee it made was so bad my guests even said it was the worst coffee they ever had...
I need to make at least 2 steam drinks in the morning and maybe around 4 when company comes over.

Posted April 20, 2013 link

This is kinda offtopic, but isnt your guests kinda rude? Anyways, I think you may have trouble making 4 milkdrinks (especially lattes, as they take more milk) in any SBDU machine. I dont know, im also just getting to know mine, but I suspect..
-Sune
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Jenn312
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Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 7:54am
Subject: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine.
 

Ok so correct me if I am wrong but is the consensous that my latte would taste the same wheater I make it in my moka pot or say a Gaggia, that in the end it's the beans and grinder that will make all the difference.

I noticed everyone also said to not get the Rocky grinder will a Baratza Preciso be a better option.

Yes my guests were rude but they are InLaws so I have to bite my tongue and smile with a nod.
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RoyceRuiz
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Joined: 30 Mar 2012
Posts: 118
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 8:24am
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machin
 

Jenn312 Said:

Ok so correct me if I am wrong but is the consensous that my latte would taste the same wheater I make it in my moka pot or say a Gaggia, that in the end it's the beans and grinder that will make all the difference.

I noticed everyone also said to not get the Rocky grinder will a Baratza Preciso be a better option.

Posted April 24, 2013 link

In answer to your two questions above,

  1. You are half right, beans and grinder make the most difference in coffee quality but coffee made in a moka will be different than a espresso machine.  I think what others are telling you is that with your beans and grinder, it will actually taste worse in an espresso machine because all of the flaws will come out more.  If you had proper beans and grinder they would both taste good but would still be different.  A Moka does not produce espresso but its own kind of concentrated coffee.  YOU STILL NEED TO TELL US WHAT KIND OF HAND GRINDER YOU HAVE.  

  2. Baratza Preciso would be much better due to its micro step adjustment and more consistent grind.  DON"T BUY A ROCKY FOR ESPRESSO.
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