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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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Jenn312
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 9:41am
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machin
 

RoyceRuiz Said:

In answer to your two questions above,

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.

Posted April 24, 2013 link

Sorry I have a Hario. I thought I mentioned it earlier. I have this model which I ordered from Amazon Click Here (www.amazon.com)


I know I am going to sound dense but since I am making milk drinks. If I end up being able to make decent coffee in the moka pot will my latte taste as good as say Starbucks. Would I use only have the coffee in my moka pot. The moka pot makes a lot of coffee and aren't lattes generally more milk. I can only add a splash of milk to the coffee if I use the entire pot. Sorry I have a sweet tooth and I needs lots of milk and some caramel in my drinks.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 9:47am
Subject: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine.
 

If you find a used rocky for say 100$ and it works it is worth it.  But at full price I would get something else.

Grinder and beans (and water itself) are most of the taste, the water delivery system is just a small part of the taste.  The pressure and temps of espresso machines makes a foam from the coffee oils that make up the crema (foam on top of espresso) that adds to the taste and mouth feel of espresso that others methods can't do.  They can't get the temps and the pressure needed to make that emulsion happen.  Cheap starter machines use a pressurized basket to fake the foam but it doesn't taste the same.

 
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
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 10:00am
Subject: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine.
 

When I started I wanted big gulp sized milk drinks with tons of sugar and flavorings.  I still have a sweet tooth but after 2 months of making good espresso I cut the milk down by two oz. In 6 months I was down to 6-8 oz of milk and cut out the flavorings. Less than a year later I was down to 3-4 oz of milk and now I am trying to get off the sugar totally.

You can make good sweet coffee drinks with cold brewed, moka, french press.  You don't need espresso, I found cold brew to be smoother and I still use it for trips and camping.  You let coffee steep over night or 24 hours and put that in a travel thermos to use as a coffee concentrate.  Add it to hot water, cold milk or hot chocolate depending on what I am making. Cold brew is used for the star buck frappicinnos you see in the bottles.

However, once you get moka pot down you will probably want to move to an espresso machine but you don't have to.  Espresso gives you very strong flavor, if you do it correctly it is not bitter but it is intense.  But even though my drinks are much better I can't seem to get it smooth enough for me to drink without any sugar.  I have had a few espresso pulls I could drink without sugar but those were on lever or pressure profile machines that I hope to upgrade to one day.

 
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
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RoyceRuiz
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Mar 2012
Posts: 116
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 10:06am
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machin
 

Jenn312 Said:

Sorry I have a Hario. I thought I mentioned it earlier. I have this model which I ordered from Amazon Click Here (www.amazon.com)


I know I am going to sound dense but since I am making milk drinks. If I end up being able to make decent coffee in the moka pot will my latte taste as good as say Starbucks. Would I use only have the coffee in my moka pot. The moka pot makes a lot of coffee and aren't lattes generally more milk. I can only add a splash of milk to the coffee if I use the entire pot. Sorry I have a sweet tooth and I needs lots of milk and some caramel in my drinks.

Posted April 24, 2013 link

The Hario Skerton can grind fine enough for espresso but should be modified to be step-less, otherwise you can't dial it in.  It should work great for a Moka pot but you need to learn the right grind size and you need fresh, not over roasted beans.  You should be able to make a much better fake latte than anything you can buy at Charbucks but you need the right beans, technique, and practice.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,217
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 10:18am
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machin
 

Jenn312 Said:

Sorry I have a Hario. I thought I mentioned it earlier. I have this model which I ordered from Amazon Click Here (www.amazon.com)


I know I am going to sound dense but since I am making milk drinks. If I end up being able to make decent coffee in the moka pot will my latte taste as good as say Starbucks. Would I use only have the coffee in my moka pot. The moka pot makes a lot of coffee and aren't lattes generally more milk. I can only add a splash of milk to the coffee if I use the entire pot. Sorry I have a sweet tooth and I needs lots of milk and some caramel in my drinks.

Posted April 24, 2013 link

Taste like Charbucks, why would you want to aim for that?? They've got the worst tasting coffee around, let alone latte's, like drinking a burnt log as they roast their beans to a burnt crisp, and their beans are long since stale by the time you buy them.

The Skerton is ok, I've got the Hario Mini which is a bit better for espresso, however the Skerton will easily grind awesome for Moka. If you off on the grind moka, or any coffee, will suck. Reason I said to pick up a cheap brick of Pilon or Bustelo so you can see what the grinds should generally look and feel like for Moka. That way when you grind you can see if your in that range. If you were to switch to an espresso machine right now you'd be even more frustrated as espresso extraction will magnify all the flaws making it even worse. Heck I guarentee you if you use the Bustelo or Pilon itself you'll have better tasting coffee then Charbucks lol.

You need fresh roasted beans and the right grind, get those two down and you won't be beating your head against the wall lol. Moka makes awesome/delicious coffee when done right. You've also got to make sure your filling the Moka up with the correct amount of grinds, if your over/under it won't work right, there's generally a line inside to mark... or if you check some vids you can see. As there are difference "cup" sizes for Moka, and each has it's own requirements for X amount of grinds.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 10:21am
Subject: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine.
 

Starbuck recipes are not classic espresso volumes, you can find copy cat starbuck recipes on line. 1-2oz of coffee to 12oz of milk is where they start I believe.  I bought a poster of this:

Click Here (www.thefancy.com)

To put on my fridge next to my espresso machine. (I have no wall space in the kitchen)  These are the recipes I am trying to follow.
I got it from:

Click Here (www.cafepress.com)

I am getting 1.5-2 oz of espresso out of 18g and I am putting just under 4oz of steamed foamed milk in it.  I have old 1960's dinner coffee cups that holds ~7oz at the rim.  I am pouring latte art on them. It is very tricky steaming 3-4oz of milk to be latte foam and pouring in a cup that small but I do it right more often than not.

 
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
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 12:56pm
Subject: .
 

Bah, I have a Rocky, it's fine. I won't say the Preciso isn't nicer, but if you see a used Rocky at a good price don't hesitate to get it. It's built like a tank and one thing you don't see about it here is a million threads saying it broke and had to be returned. Adjusting the dose a half gram to a gram one direction or another to make up for the less precise steps just isn't the end of the world.

I glanced through this thread and wonder about your (original poster's) taste in coffee. is there a chance you are using the Moka pot correctly and just simply don't like the style? you mentioned liking drip coffee I think? Maybe these other styles just aren't for you?

A note on frothing milk - sometimes I cheat and put milk in the microwave to get it to about 140 deg F and then hit it with a hand held frother like one of these: Click Here (www.amazon.com)  A Classic is fine for frothing milk for 1 or 2, maybe 3 people. But if you find yourself having to serve a larger group, it may be an option to use the frother gizmo instead. It's not the same, but if people are just thirsty and aren't going to nit-pick, it works well.
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Zevi
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Mar 2013
Posts: 112
Location: Ann Arbor
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 12:59pm
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machine
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

...  I bought a poster of this:
Click Here (www.thefancy.com)
...I got it from:
Click Here (www.cafepress.com)

Posted April 24, 2013 link

That's a great poster!  Thanks!
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strawberrykoi
Senior Member
strawberrykoi
Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 42
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3,...
Grinder: baratza vario, Hario...
Drip: chemex
Roaster: whirly pop
Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013, 3:08pm
Subject: Re: Is the Gaggia Classic still considered the best entry level espresso machin
 

Most people will tell you the Rocky is a less-than-great choice... I think no matter what, it's better than what you're using now, but I don't know why you would make it your top-choice unless it was a wicked good deal. It's near the bottom of the totem poll... I mean, since you aren't wanting to "waste" any more money, it seems to me that you would skip anything with low ratings of available options out there. Anything by Baratza is good for the price point... they've really left their mark on the coffee community, many people vouch for their products.

Jenn312 Said:

I know I am going to sound dense but since I am making milk drinks. If I end up being able to make decent coffee in the moka pot will my latte taste as good as say Starbucks. Would I use only have the coffee in my moka pot. The moka pot makes a lot of coffee and aren't lattes generally more milk. I can only add a splash of milk to the coffee if I use the entire pot. Sorry I have a sweet tooth and I needs lots of milk and some caramel in my drinks.

Posted April 24, 2013 link

The short answer - YES. Definitely. In fact, with good, fresh beans and a decent grinder, your coffee will taste better than Starbucks. My journey started out the same as yours... I drank Starbucks 1-2 times daily and promised myself I would learn to create my own. Guess what? I haven't went to Starbucks for a year, not because I can't, but because I enjoy my own lattes much more for much cheaper. There's nothing unattainable about Starbucks coffee products to achieve from home. HOWEVER, it takes good equipment, good/fresh coffee, and practice to reach the desired level of coffee making. I guess you could say, it's like a novice photographer with a new camera. If he gets a crappy camera, he'll never improve because he can't grow with inadequate equipment - But a novice photographer with a decent-good camera will grow and learn about his style and abilities through the vast opportunities provided through his means.

...So by that I mean, your coffee will taste better as you develop your skills and knowledge - whether it's with your moka pot or gaggia, or even better machines. You need to open your mind to the possibilities... learn about brewing temperatures, ratios, timing, frothing, etc etc... Try different devices and see which one meets your requirements/standards. If I were you, I would get the best grinder I could afford and play with the moka pot a littler longer.. you'll find that you love it after all, but want to upgrade (when you're ready, and appreciate what you already have).  

Might I also recommend trying different latte recipes with your moka pot? And do you froth the milk so it tastes like a classic latte? Since you probably do not have a steaming device, try putting the milk in a jar (with a lid) and shaking it as hard as possible, and give it a nice tap on the counter to eliminate some large bubbles.

You also might want to try different syrups or sweeteners, since you like Starbucks. I used to buy "Hershy's caramel" which is a little thick, but is so delicious.

Also make sure you aren't over-warming your milk. Microwave your milk untill about 160 degrees, or hot but still cool enough you can touch the jar.

...Again, there are so many variables. The only way you can reach your goal of coffee as good/better than starbucks, is to tinker with the ratios, equipment, and coffee/milk.
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