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Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Advice please!!...  
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Tashwoolley
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Bristol
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 12:11pm
Subject: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

I unfortunatley don't have much to spend on an espresso machine, but as my last one gave up the ghost this morning, I'm in need of a new one! Please can you advise me on the best machine to buy at around the 200 mark. I like dark strong coffee and buy and grind beans to suit - I do like good frothed milk, but it's not the deciding factor on what to purchase (I understand on a limited budget I'm not going to get everything!).
I'm currently looking at the Gaggia Classic.
Any ideas?
Thanks!
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Thecoffeenerd
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2013
Posts: 215
Location: N/A
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: N/A
Grinder: Baratza Encore, Bodum Bistro...
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Bunn Phase Brew 8 Cup, Hario...
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 1:19pm
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

I would go for a Phillips saeco Via Venezia semi-automatic espresso machine. This baby cost's about $300. It comes with a pressurized portafilter and a single boiler inside and can create up to 15 bar's of pressure. The machine also features a Pannarello Frothing Wand and a Hot Water Dispenser. Check It out at this link: http://www.wholelattelove.com/Saeco/via_venezia.cfm Its the Espresso machine I'm planning to get.

 
"You can't make good coffee, without good coffee" -Thecoffeenerd
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 1:41pm
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

Natasha, welcome to CG.

You ask a seemingly simple question though more information would help us answer.  You could add some of the info in the thread

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/620441

I assume that you are in Bristol, GB not Bristol in USA.  You will know your machine options at that price and you did not mention.  That is a good price for a new Gaggia Classic especially if that is in your house, shipped.

I use a Classic and it is the only Gaggia SBDU machine I recommend.  I am not sure what you know about Gaggia or espresso, so I will mention the 3-Way and OPV and hope that you understand the significance.  If not, you can ask.  

The Gaggia in US comes with pressurized "perfect crema" baskets and a double non-pressurized.  I am not sure that you get non-pressurized, and am not sure what you are using now.  Again I do not what to tell you what you already know, so hopefully you realize that you need an espresso capable grinder to use the non-pressurized.  If you have been using pressurized baskets, then you will probably need to continue until you are sure about the grinder.  The Classic comes with the brew pressure adjusted for pressurized baskets and if you go to non-pressurized, you will want to adjust the OPV.  That is not essential, but makes grinding, dosing, tamping and brewing less precise, as does the pressurized system to begin with.  That said, pressurized produces fake crema and not near the quality the machine is capable of.

If you steam much you will eventually want this wand,

http://www.espressoparts.com/R_1054?&search_id=2108420

a very simple bolt on replacement.  Again not necessary but nice.

All of the less expensive SBDU machines, probably including your old machine, will steam milk but not real quickly.  I do fine with Gaggia and generally steam about 4 - 6 oz when I steam.  the difficulty in SBDU is getting from steam back to brewing with temperature stability, presumably you are used to that, or steam at the end.

Is Gaggia Classic a good deal?  I think so, and it sounds like it will serve you well.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Tashwoolley
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Bristol
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

Hiya

Thanks for the responses so far - yes I'm in the UK. Which unfortunatley means the Phillips recommended is not available over here, and I think with shipping it's going to get pricey, thanks though 'TheCoffeeNerd'

It looks like the Gaggia might be ok based on your response (D4F) I was looking into adjusting the OPV and saw this: Click Here (coffeeforums.co.uk)(over-Pressure-Valve)-Gaggia-Classic
Does this sound about right? I am a little concerned over the idea of taking apart my new coffee machine!

I'm not sure what the 3-way valve is, please can you advise!

Thanks :)
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carlsilver
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Dec 2003
Posts: 231
Location: Portugal
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola/La...
Grinder: la Pavoni Jolly/Ascaso i...
Vac Pot: Normax
Drip: Melitta (manual)
Roaster: no
Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 2:26pm
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

There is no need to change the OPV. You just need to grind a little finer. I have a La Pavoni which comes with the brew pressure adjusted for pressurized portafilter and it works more than well with my non pressurized pf. Like D4F said you just need a good grinder.
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Tashwoolley
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Bristol
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 2:38pm
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

Sounds like I might need to upgrade my grinder.
I think the classic comes with pressurised baskets as standard, which on reading the reviews, it mentions a small plastic bung that is required to prevent the pressure causing the coffee to spray everywhere! Would it be worth buying a non pressurised basket do you think?
Thanks!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 3:02pm
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

What is your present grinder?

If you do not have a sufficient espresso grinder, then most would recommend that first - grinder, grinder...  You are already using something and sounds like your machine died so you needn't suffer caffeine/espresso withdrawal.  You need a non-pressurized basket when you have a good finely adjustable grinder, probably not before.  You will perhaps want to adjust the OPV only when you are ready to stop using pressurized baskets, as I believe that the pressure is set high to accommodate the pressurized basket.  

OPV adjustment can be done properly with the gauge and thread that you noted.  Again, not until you have a grinder and go to non-pressurized.  The device is simple to build, but some costs and the double spout is difficult to remove so that you can screw on the gauge.  I waited a few months, new machine as you mentioned.  the actual OPV adjustment is simple, take off the top or the machine, the top of the OPV (made removable), and turn an allen cap screw.  You do not need to worry about this.  Gaggias were used for many years without any of this, it just makes brewing a bit easier in the long run.  Most machines will have tricks to learn and things to tweak.  Most will also work as is.

A bit on the 3 Way

http://www.frcndigital.com/coffee/3way/intro.html

A great site in general, look at "how to" especially #12

http://www.espressomyespresso.com/

Keep reading and asking :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,953
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013, 3:46pm
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

Thecoffeenerd Said:

I would go for a Phillips saeco Via Venezia semi-automatic espresso machine. This baby cost's about $300. It comes with a pressurized portafilter and a single boiler inside and can create up to 15 bar's of pressure. The machine also features a Pannarello Frothing Wand and a Hot Water Dispenser. Check It out at this link: http://www.wholelattelove.com/Saeco/via_venezia.cfm Its the Espresso machine I'm planning to get.

Posted June 22, 2013 link

This is the first post I've seen on this site recommending a pressurized pf, 15bar pressure, or a Panarello wand. In general, you will see posts helping people overcome those deficiencies either through component or entire machine upgrades.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your 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 Sun Jun 23, 2013, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

Yeah, wouldn't recommend pressurized portafilter unless that someone owns an inadequate grinder and isn't willing to upgrade, wouldn't recommend panello wand, unless someone doesn't have and interest in doing it right. And wouldn't recommend a 15 bar machine to anyone.
That said, gaggia classic and a replacement if the wand occasionally, sounds like an ok idea... you can get non pressurized baskets or depressurize the standard ones, if they are pressurized. Ascaso could be worth taking a look at to. But if you answer the standard questions, then we'll be better suited to help you.
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Slowgrind
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 13
Location: Near Cleveland, Ohio
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jun 26, 2013, 5:24am
Subject: Re: Advice please!! What espresso machine for me?!
 

I have the Crossland cc1, nice machine for a beginner with temperature control.
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