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Recommendations?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Recommendations?  
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tsiu6
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Apr 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Atlanta
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 10:35am
Subject: Recommendations?
 

Hello!!  

I am a new member!  I suppose a brief intro- My name is Trevor, I am a college student here in Atlanta.  I have loved coffee for sometime now, but recently acquired a Gaggia Synchros Digital Espresso machine from goodwill.  I came home, it had the ventilate message, so I took it apart, took off the intake tube from the water reservoir, and used a turkey baster to manually prime the pump.  Took about two hours and a leaky turkey baster (it needed a lot of pressure), but it works!!  Cleaned all the filters in the brew unit, and have done a through cleaning on the machine.  So that brings me to the end of my introduction and beginning of my questions.  

  1.  As it is an "older" Machine (1767 cups made by the counter on the computer), I would like to descale it (also because I don't know when it was last serviced...it was at goodwill after all).  I was thinking about the Durgol swiss espresso decalcifier, thoughts?  I am used to brewing chemex, french press, vacuum press stuff- first toe dip into the wonderful world of espresso!  

  2.  Beans.  Any recommendations on some good starter espresso beans?  I am just using a few roasts I have at home in the grinder, but they are by no means espresso beans.  Where should I start?  

  3.  Any tips?  I am completely new to this, so any tips to pass on to an eager, caffeinated beginner?  :)

Cheers!
Trevor
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
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 Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:07am
Subject: Re: Recommendations?
 

Question #1: You should be able to use any coffee machine descaler...or even food grade citric acid.  I think most of us get our descaler from places like espressoparts, SeattleCoffeeGear, WholeLatteLove, Chris's Coffee Service, 1st-line.com, and a few others. I get mine from Orphan Espresso, as they sell small bags of citric acid.

Question #2:
I typically recommend starting with Red Bird espresso.  Get yourself a 5# bag.  It's like $52 and really good too.  A 5# bag will get you on the right track, and then you can branch out and play around with other beans/blends if you want.

Question #3:
a) So, you haven't said anything about a grinder.  I'm hoping you have a good one.  If not, it should be the first order of business towards being successful in this new realm of the coffee hobby/habit/addiction.
b) read the Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home; article 12 under "how to" on www.espressomyespresso.com

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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tsiu6
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Apr 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Atlanta
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:12am
Subject: Re: Recommendations?
 

Ill definitely check out Red bird!! Thanks!

I have been using the grinder in the gaggia, as it is a super automatic- is that good enough for a starter?

Cheers!
Trevor
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,846
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014, 6:20am
Subject: Re: Recommendations?
 

Sorry, no. But that is one of the many trade offs with a Super auto. Along with a marginal grinder, they suffer from lack of the ability to adjust the many variables for the shot. They are mostly designed for people who are not interested in doing what is needed for great shots and they will produce average at best espresso. If you did not pay much for it, it is a place to start.

The built in grinders are marginal at best for the machine they are installed in, they suffer from WAY too large steps and not near enough adjustment.

A hand grinder can be purchased for about $100 but anything with a motor starts at $350 for a bare bones, basic and marginal for espresso grinder and then they range into thousands. Unless this machine has a way to add ground coffee to it for use, then this paragraph is not much help to you. If the machine DOES have a way to add ground coffee per shot, then that MAY help get better results from it.

Fresh beans are mandatory. Espresso is not a roast level rather it is a way to make coffee. ANY bean can be used for espresso. Espresso is a very harsh way to make coffee and more times than not, a blend of beans designed to complement each other in this process are a very good way to go. Many here also enjoy a SO shot. These are beans all from the same farm and the same type. Taste can be all over the map from Cocoa and chocolate to very bright and citris notes.

As a starting point for not much money then with some work on your part and FRESH beans, you most likely will be able to get better than what you can buy from Starbucks (a pretty low bar in reality) and for now, that may be enough to keep you happy!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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tsiu6
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Apr 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Atlanta
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014, 6:56am
Subject: Re: Recommendations?
 

It actually does have a place to put grounds in and skip the hopper/grinder in the machine.  I'll have to save up, but a good grinder sounds like a  good idea.  One of the downsides to being a college student, I'm afraid.  haha, luckily i didn't pay much for this machine- $30USD to be exact.
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,427
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014, 8:47am
Subject: Re: Recommendations?
 

Most super automatic espresso machines use aluminum thermoblocks. These tend to not like some descaling chemicals. Check the Gaggia website or a Gaggia reseller for the best descaler to use.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,846
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014, 2:19pm
Subject: Re: Recommendations?
 

That is a wise caution above, I neglected to mention the thermoblocks and alum.

For that money if it works, you did not get hurt and it is indeed a place to start.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
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 Mon Apr 7, 2014, 3:24pm
Subject: Re: Recommendations?
 

yeh, sorry.  I should have looked up your machine.  I didn't realize it was a super-auto. Good to see Randy was watching out!

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