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Drc
22-01-14, 02:20
Following on from my post in the introductions forum I have a few questions around the starter setup I want to get together. While I've checked out lots from the forum and run through search I haven't quite found answers to all of these and hoped I could ask for eminent advice from you all.

Quick recap:

Love coffee but previously have always just slung rubbish instant in a cup. I was recently given a handle down kenwood espresso machine which has opened up a fascination with the process I now want to develop. I'm expecting to make 2-4 drinks a day with more at the weekends split between espresso and Americanos for me and latte / cappacino for the better half.

inital plans are to buy a used gaggia classic for something nearish 100, get a decent second half grind that will last through to at least the next machine upgrade which is likely to be 6-12 mths off and prob having 600-1k available for that one.


Things I need to get are grinder, machine, tamper, scales, non pressurised baskets, naked portafilter

Questions:

1). Of the accessories like tamper / scales / baskets etc. Are these wise things to economise on and get cheapest available to learn on or is it generally a good idea to buy better up front if you seriously expect to upgrade machines etc in the next year?

2). When buying a gaggia classic the key options / points of note appear to be added PID, Silvia wand swap, opt mod and mention of being a " pre Phillips" machine. I think PID is out of my price range but for the other 3, are these considered a positive thing for a second hand machine or is it better to go purely on condition?

3) would you recommend starting with a naked portofilter from the very start of ever using a non pressurised basket, or is this something to bring in to refine technique later in?

Cheers

The Systemic Kid
22-01-14, 02:29
Questions:

1). Of the accessories like tamper / scales / baskets etc. Are these wise things to economise on and get cheapest available to learn on or is it generally a good idea to buy better up front if you seriously expect to upgrade machines etc in the next year?

2). When buying a gaggia classic the key options / points of note appear to be added PID, Silvia wand swap, opt mod and mention of being a " pre Phillips" machine. I think PID is out of my price range but for the other 3, are these considered a positive thing for a second hand machine or is it better to go purely on condition?

3) would you recommend starting with a naked portofilter from the very start of ever using a non pressurised basket, or is this something to bring in to refine technique later in?
Cheers

1. Have a look at Made by Knock tampers - extremely good value and excellent quality. It's technique rather than price that matters with tamping. Initially, stick with stock baskets - you can always buy an upmarket one like VST later. VSTs and the like can be tricky to set up and will expose poor technique unmercilessly. Jewellers scales can be bought for around 7-8.
2. Rancilio steam wand is a good investment if you want to foam milk - stock Gaggia wand is not good.
3. Naked portafilter is a good tool for checking evenness of extraction and technique - good investment.