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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > espresso machine  
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cortarcafe
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Africa
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 8:00am
Subject: espresso machine
 

I know that this question is probably redundant on this website but after searching through the forum I couldn't find the exact answer I was looking for.

I'm normally a pour over/ french press/ drip coffee drinker (that's not to say I don't enjoy espresso) It hasn't been until working as a bartista and was trained properly at pulling good espresso that I became in need for a good espresso maker for college use.

While I would love a good quality espresso maker- I'm a broke college student. So I've turned to my parents for a espresso maker for Christmas and have been given a cap at 300 dollars. I was looking at Gaggia Carezza which overall has good reviews for it's price but my parents asked if any of these will do:
Gaggia  12300 Baby Classic

Gaggia  12101  new Baby Classic Manual espresso

Gaggia  14101 Classic Espresso

There all Gaggia's which I trust but to be honest I couldn't find out much about them. Sure I could see the amazon page and read a bit about the machines but there were no reviews and no quality advice I could get on these machines.

I already have a quality grinder- like I said I've been in the coffee scene for awhile now. And the espresso I usually use is either sweet maria's self roasted or counter culture toscano. As It's just me I don't need say more than four shots a morning and the steamer would be used for traditional macchiatos and cortados- but not for large capps and lattes.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 8:19am
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

Gaggia Classic.  Period.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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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 Fri Dec 7, 2012, 9:15am
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

Yep, Classic.  Much more solid casing, simpler, more reliable and more flexible internals (3 way valve, adjustable overpressure valve, minimal to no electronics to fail).

Obligatory Coffeegeek follow-up question:  What grinder are you planning on using?
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cortarcafe
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Africa
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 9:39am
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

A solis maestro plus- I know it's not the best for espresso but it has served me well in my pour overs/drip/press. It's the next thing I intend to do is buy a new one but that probably won't be happening until I work full time in the summer.
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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 Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:02am
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

cortarcafe Said:

I already have a quality grinder

Posted December 7, 2012 link

cortarcafe Said:

A solis maestro plus

Posted December 7, 2012 link

No, actually, you don't...at least, not for espresso. When you get the chance to upgrade the grinder, I highly recommend it.  You will definitely notice a huge improvement.  I don't mean to sound like a d#ck. Rather, I am speaking from experience, having started with that very same grinder.  I then moved to a Rancilio Rocky, and eventually to a Macap M4. The Solis is good, in fact very good for drip and press.  For espresso, the Rocky is passable, but requires a little expertise in modifying dose to adjust for it's inadequate control on grind particle size, while the Macap is a quality grinder in all regards.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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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 Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:19am
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

The Solis can do a good job with the pressurized portafilter baskets until an upgrade is possible, and might be able to grind OK for unpressurized baskets.  It'll get you going, and you'll get reasonably consistent results with the pressurized baskets, but not the full-on espresso experience.  For example, you will be able to get the hang of temperature surfing, accurate dosing etc. with the pressurized baskets.

I used a Solis 166 (UK spec sold under the Dualit brand) modified to grind a little finer for several years with my Classic and unpressurized baskets before I finally upgraded to the Preciso grinder.  Using home roasted quality coffee and temperature surfing I was able to get reasonable to good results (i.e. significantly better than a superauto or starbucks), but only rarely got superb results, when the beans and available grind settings happened to work together.  It's not a bad starting point, but an upgrade to an espresso specific grinder is a big step in consistency, and in getting consistent quality.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,009
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

Just use the pressurized basket till you get an upgrade.  And make that upgraded grinder the first priority.  Set yourself a tip jar by the machine and tip yourself for the drinks with your pocket change and put that towards the grinder.

 
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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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 Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:48pm
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

That's a great idea, Helen!  Where do you come up with this stuff?

Now that I think of it, I have two ceramic mustard crocks near my mnachine; in one goes all of my quarters and dollar coins, and in the other goes all of my other coins.  The latter goes into my 4 yr old's piggy bank when it gets full, but the former gets saved for coffee gear/toys.  Although, I must admit...I haven't been tipping myself, just emptying my pocket each day.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 2:15pm
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

emradguy Said:

That's a great idea, Helen!  Where do you come up with this stuff?

Posted December 7, 2012 link

+1 -- that's awesome!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,009
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012, 1:37am
Subject: Re: espresso machine
 

Thanks for the kind words, I wish I could say it was original.  However, change can and does add up and it can't hurt to have a goal.  Watching craigslist will not hurt either.  And if friends come over for espresso they can tip as well.

 
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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