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View Full Version : Gaggia Classic - upgrade to what???



MrShades
16-02-10, 10:57
I've got a Gaggia Classic that I've had for about 10 years I guess... still going strong and being used for a handful of shots every day. I've modded it slightly (pressure reduction mod, and silvia steam wand) but am now thinking that I might treat myself to something newer and better...

So - any thoughts? I've got just under 18" of worktop height, which any new machine MUST fit under, and I guess around 10" or so of width (so single group) - and it needs to use tanked water and a standard 13A wall socket... so serious commercial stuff is out (this time ;) ).

Just to complete the picture, sat next to my Classic is a Mazzer SJ (sans hopper, so it fits into the 18" of height!) and my lovely wife bought me an Espro tamper for Christmas (so ideally any new machine should use 58mm portafilters - otherwise I'm right in the mire!). I only drink espresso.... though on the odd occasion that I prepare latte and cappucinos for people I'd like quick and easy access to a good steam wand...

Budget....? Don't really care... (ideally <1000 but I'll entertain any good ideas).

Any and all help or advice appreciated. The choice is huge, but I'm not really sure what to even start looking at...

Many thanks

Shades

PS The Rancilio Epoca ST1 looks ideal.... but it's just slightly too tall at about 19"! Damn thing...

MrShades
16-02-10, 11:34
Any thoughts on Isomac Zaffiro??? Reading reviews now, but looks promising...

MrShades
17-02-10, 12:36
Izzo Alex MkII????

or Izzo Alex Duetto MkII????

BanishInstant
17-02-10, 09:34
I do like the look of a couple of machines at myespresso but I have no idea how good they are:

http://www.myespresso.co.uk/product.php/390/fracino-cherub-one-group-
http://www.myespresso.co.uk/product.php/26/isomac-millennium-two-semi-automatic-espresso-machine

feef
17-02-10, 01:21
Any thoughts on Isomac Zaffiro??? Reading reviews now, but looks promising...

I've had the Zaffiro for a few years now and haven't had any problems with it whatsoever. The only thing I sometimes regret is not getting a dual boiler model That being said, unless you're planning on doing more than 2 coffees at a time that require the use of the steamer wand, then you can work out the timing so you don't let the shots cool too much while it's heating up for steam.

The E61 group head does mean that there's no shortage of spares or accessories for it.

I also confess that I've been taken in by it's relatively old-school shiny stainless steel and chunky mechanical switch looks.

a

RisingPower
17-02-10, 07:54
Izzo Alex MkII????

or Izzo Alex Duetto MkII????

Aren't those a little too wide?

I think the zaffiro looks like a good option, if it's mainly for espresso, was considering it as a replacement for my classic. Only thing which concerned me is how easy it is to get parts like the thermostat.

I think the space definitely sounds like the limiting factor, is there a commercial one group that may fit into that space ? I think it'd be hard enough finding many prosumer models which would fit in that space.

Maybe an expobar leva/expobar leva with the dual boiler? Izzo vivi may be a bit larger but not as large as alex.

LeeWardle
17-02-10, 09:06
For that budget I would be looking at an entry level commercial machine. The problemwith having the one boiler and changing the temperature for espresso/steam makes it much harder to achieve a consistant brew temp. A dual boiler makes life so much easier.

You can buy a 1 group tank fill commercial machine for that money and of course this has a commercial setup I.e a boiler with a heat exchange for the espresso. Iberital make some tank fed one groups. Have you thought about a second hand/ recon machine? You would get a cracking little machine for a grand.

Speaking from a machine engineers stand point please please please don't buy a used macho efrom eBay or privatly. They will be a whole heAp of trouble. Speak to a reputable machine distributer in your local area. Service will be so much better should you have a fault. The last thing you want to do is pack or all away and send it to get repaired!

I have an early kitchen aid artisan in my kitchen. That was about 550 and has two boilers. All the insides are gaggia too and come with a com
ercial brass porta filter rather than an Ali which does t hold the heat well.

Hope that helps!

Lee
p.s. Apologies for any typos. I'm using my iPod touch and the letters are only ikkle!

MrShades
18-02-10, 04:57
Having considered a great deal, including available cash and counter-top space... the fog is clearing.

I think I've decided to move my Mazzer SJ (that currently stands right next to the Classic) to make more space available - and fit something 'Izzo Alex' sized in the space.

I think if I went for an Alex MkII I'd be constantly annoyed by cooling flushes and lack of a PID (you can't beat a good tweak!) and would always be wishing it had dual boilers and PID...

So - I'm going to Bella Barista tomorrow to have a good look at an Alex in the flesh, but I think it'll be an Izzo Alex Duetto MkII that ends up in the space that my Classic now occupies.

The wife thinks I'm crazy....

RisingPower
18-02-10, 06:35
Having considered a great deal, including available cash and counter-top space... the fog is clearing.

I think I've decided to move my Mazzer SJ (that currently stands right next to the Classic) to make more space available - and fit something 'Izzo Alex' sized in the space.

I think if I went for an Alex MkII I'd be constantly annoyed by cooling flushes and lack of a PID (you can't beat a good tweak!) and would always be wishing it had dual boilers and PID...

So - I'm going to Bella Barista tomorrow to have a good look at an Alex in the flesh, but I think it'll be an Izzo Alex Duetto MkII that ends up in the space that my Classic now occupies.

The wife thinks I'm crazy....

Yummy. The alex is gorgeous, you going to possibly look at an expobar leva dual boiler also? :) Aren't they out of stock of the duetto?

LeeWardle
18-02-10, 07:27
I would avoid exobar. I know them very well. :(

MrShades
18-02-10, 07:57
Yes, RP, I was also planning to have a look at the Expobar Dual as well - which would probably come a close 2nd in my choice list - lack of steam boiler on/off is the main down side, and build quality is apparently nothing like the Izzo.

But, alas, yes... they are also currently out of stock of the Duetto (according to the website) - but I'll be happy to buy on-line later once I've played with any Alex and checked out the build quality / finish... and the SIZE...

If I'm spending 1600+ on a coffee machine I want to see and touch something like it before I part with hard cash.

Exciting stuff.... the Duetto just looks like the ultimate prosumer machine....

RisingPower
18-02-10, 08:11
Yes, RP, I was also planning to have a look at the Expobar Dual as well - which would probably come a close 2nd in my choice list - lack of steam boiler on/off is the main down side, and build quality is apparently nothing like the Izzo.

But, alas, yes... they are also currently out of stock of the Duetto (according to the website) - but I'll be happy to buy on-line later once I've played with any Alex and checked out the build quality / finish... and the SIZE...

If I'm spending 1600+ on a coffee machine I want to see and touch something like it before I part with hard cash.

Exciting stuff.... the Duetto just looks like the ultimate prosumer machine....

Awesome, I'd be very interested to hear how it goes and what you think of the alex.

sandykt
18-02-10, 08:44
Wow, keep up all updated on what you get. Have fun tomorrow.

MrShades
19-02-10, 06:59
There's a large, heavy cardbox box in the back of my car... and it looks like I've got an interesting user guide to read this evening... ;-)

Remember - When a website says "Out of stock" and she-who-updates-the-website has gone ski-ing for the week, sometimes fresh stock can arrive that doesn't show on the website....

What have I done?

LeeWardle
19-02-10, 10:24
What did you buy? Not the xpobar?

Glenn
19-02-10, 11:24
Oh, intriguing, which model?

sandykt
19-02-10, 11:31
My word, you are going to have a good weekend:)

RisingPower
19-02-10, 11:38
There's a large, heavy cardbox box in the back of my car... and it looks like I've got an interesting user guide to read this evening... ;-)

Remember - When a website says "Out of stock" and she-who-updates-the-website has gone ski-ing for the week, sometimes fresh stock can arrive that doesn't show on the website....

What have I done?

A very heavy cardboard box. Sounds like fun.

MrShades
20-02-10, 12:05
Well....

... I had a good look at the Alex on display (just a MkII) and a Vivi PID, but there were no Expobar Office Leva Dual jobs for me to compare to (out of stock).

Twiddling the steam and water knobs of the Alex, and generally admiring the size and construction (and sheer amount of stainless steel in it) whilst slurping on a very nicely poured double-espresso from a commercial MyWay machine in the showroom made me realise that whatever I ended up with really would have an Alex badge on it.

A bit of general chatting about machines and the compromise of single boilers, HX machines, non PID, etc. (see where I'm going here) continued to drive me in the direction of the Duetto... but oh.... was I shocked to hear that the website hadnt been updated this week and a couple of Duettos had come into stock on Monday this week.

At that point I'm sure I felt my wallet quake gently as this revelation struck home, and two minutes later I heard the wife quake similarly on the other end of the phone as I explained what I was about to do...

15 minutes later I was heading home.

With serial 721 "Izzo Alex Duetto MkII" in the back of the car...

Right now I'm reading through the setup and hints'n'tips manual that Bella Barista usefully supply - and tomorrow morning I need to decommission the Classic and move my Super Jolly to afford the space for this beauty. So hopefully by late morning I'll have my first shot poured, and by mid afternoon I'll be bouncing off the ceiling.

Will report back again tomorrow if I get chance, but right now I'm a very happy - but 1629 poorer - chap!

Shades

PS It's amazing how 10 of flowers on top of the box can work wonders when you walk into the house with a new expensive toy!

sandykt
20-02-10, 10:51
You are very fortunate and your machiine looks beautiful. Interested to hear how you get on. Have fun!:drink:

BanishInstant
20-02-10, 06:57
Sweet. And cool move with the flowers.

MrShades
20-02-10, 08:01
Just had the first extraction...

Setting it all up, running through initial clean/setup on the Duetto and generally checking everything took quite some time - combined with the fact that I was "left holding the baby" all morning (my 11 week old daughter, as my wife went out for the morning - I couldn't really complain!)... but now, at about 6pm this evening I have pulled the first double espresso from it.

...and very impressed I am too (I've got to say that though haven't I?).

I'm using the same beans and grind that I was using in the Gaggia - so I need to spend some time dialing the grind in for the Duetto - but as the first shot (a "seasoning shot" really) was still very very drinkable and better than anything I've pulled on the Gaggia (largely down to the exact temp and stability of it I think)...

Tomorrow is another day - and I'll grab a few more espressos tomorrow morning and see how I get on. Some joker is going to ask me for a latte or cappucino soon and I'm going to have to do battle with that beast of a steam wand.... It makes the Silvia one on my Classic look like a joke.

So - all good news so far. Will try and post some pics tomorrow if I'm allowed!

Shades

sandykt
20-02-10, 08:06
Hope you are allowed to post pics and interested to hear how you get on with the steam wand.

Admin
22-02-10, 12:16
Pictures are both allowed and encouraged.
If you have any issues please PM me and I will sort them out for you

MrShades
22-02-10, 01:21
Let's just see if these quick snaps work (sorry about the quality, taken with my iPhone for simplicity):

Picture 1 - So - here it is! It's....hmmmmmm..... larger than my Gaggia Classic. Previously my Classic and my Mazzer SJ fitted in the space next to the TV (which is a 19" Samsung if you're interested in scale)

16

Picture 2 - A wider shot...

17

Picture 3 - A close-up... The badge seems quite nice now, but is just stuck on - we'll see how long it lasts.

18


I had one of the best Americanos I've ever tasted out of it last night - and I still havent dialled the grinder in for it yet, so that was with some old(ish) beans (bottom of the bag) and dial set for the Classic (with a firmer tamp to compensate).

Shades

BanishInstant
22-02-10, 01:48
It looks like a nice machine - very envious.

sandykt
22-02-10, 03:31
I agree, it does look a nice machine. Now all I have to do is convince my husband.....

MrShades
22-02-10, 03:42
I agree, it does look a nice machine. Now all I have to do is convince my husband.....

Not sure my flower trick would work.... ;)

MrShades
23-02-10, 11:21
Hahahaha....

Tonight I made the wife (who doesn't normally like any coffee based drinks) a cappuccino.

Well - the steam wand is a little different to the one on my Classic (even though I'd gone with a Silvia one) and I went from a jug with cold milk in it (fridge cold milk and jug, semi-skimmed organic milk) to a jug with gorgeous hot micro-foam in it, in probably around 10 seconds.

Frothing milk with this thing (it's got a two hole nozzle) is just laughably quick, easy and effective - and the end result was the best capp that the wife had drunk for a long time (her words!).... even though it pained her to say it.

I'm now looking at options to plumb the Alex in - and am reading up a great deal about in-line water filtration in order to do so. I think I'll start another thread about it as the options for filtering are as many and varied as the options that I was facing for a new espresso machine last week! The new Brita Purity C kit anyone???

RisingPower
24-02-10, 12:12
Crrikkeey, if that's how small your worktop makes the duetto look, it must be massive.

Looks gorgeous though.