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  1. I've tried the new classic, went up to Gaggia Direct, to see what's what. Improvements - well it depends on which version you mean. It's a vast improvement on the 2015, IMHO. In terms of the original (the original classic was my first Espresso machine) I think there are some improvements too, although slight. The main improvement is that it comes with a pro steam wand so you don't need to mod it. It has the rocker switches, vs the push buttons of the 2015, although the power button has to be a spring loaded rocker which actuates a relay, thanks to the EU law which says it has to have an auto off, but the auto off with the 2018 is 20 minutes, and not 9 mins as with the 2015. It has the solenoid valve, vs the mechanical valve on the 2015. It has an anti burn cover thing on the over flow pipe which I think is a nice touch, saves the "ooh, ouch" moments when removing the pipe to empty the drip tray ;-). It doesn't have a plastic splitter on the portafilter, all metal. No plastic in the group, all metal again. Yes it's an Alu boiler, but it's anodized Aluminium, so the water shouldn't come into contact with the aluminium, unless the coating is damaged over time, which could happen due to limescale, which is a good reason to keep on top of descaling. The boiler size is back to the original size of 130ml. Yes it's a small boiler (2015 was 200ml stainless steel) but just keep in mind that the new classic is 1300w vs 1050w with the 2015, so smaller boiler & more power. I couldn't see any issues with steam power, but I'd need more time using the machine to be able to say more. For my full review see: https://coffeeblog.co.uk/gaggia-classic-2018-19-review/
  2. It took me a while to decide between the Europiccola and the Pro, the main reason I wanted the pro was for the pressure gauge - in the end I bought a restored millennium Europiccola with a pressure gauge fitted. It heats up in under 10 minutes, and I can produce two or three, maybe four Espresso and steamed milk before I need to turn it off and let it cool down before filling up again, so it's fine for me. I couldn't agree more re the quality of Espresso - the first Espresso I made with it straight out of the box before I'd even began the learning curve, was probably one of the best tasting shots of Espresso I'd ever made at home! I think going from no Espresso making experience to a machine like this may be a shock to the system, but personally, I haven't found it all that big a learning curve going from semi-auto to this. I had the impression from what I'd read online while deciding on whether to get one of these, that pulling a shot with a manual lever was some form of dark art ;-), actually, I've found there's a lot less to it than it seems, the biggest thing as with semi auto machines, is getting the grind right.
  3. I paid a bit more, from a guy in Germany who restores them (I found him via the La Pavoni users facebook group). I bought a very nicely restored 2005 model, with a brass piston and with an original La Pavoni pressure gauge (europiccola don't come with them as standard) for 355 Euro in total - plus 20 for shipping from Germany. It's pristine, I think I'm in love ;-) - even though I burned my arm on it a couple of days ago (just beware, the boilers are hot, if you're a muppet like me and you reach behind it, it will give you a love bite!) If anyone wants this guys details just PM me, he clearly knows what he's doing - he sent me photos of the restoration too so I can see what it looked like in bits before he put it all back together.
  4. I know this is an old post, but I was looking for this, so I thought I'd share that you can get these on Amazon uk for £1.91: https://goo.gl/1k1BXc just ordered one, last of the big spenders eh? ;-)
  5. I bought a 2003 model on eBay almost 2 years ago, £100, immaculate condition. I modded the wand, other than that the only other thing I did was swap the rubber group gasket after about 18 months as it was leaking quite badly. I swapped the shower screen while I was at it as they’re only about £6. I’ve got some serious use out of it over nearly 2 years. At times pulling shots then steaming milk 5-10 times in a row, for latte art training and to fuel my weekend blogging sessions ;-). So I’m mega impressed by the ones they made (in Milan I believe) in 2003. Saeco owned Gaggia since 99, but from what I can gather it was after 2009 (2010 I think) that production was moved out of Milan after Phillips bought Saeco. I don’t think they’re built to last as long these days, although some of the changes in the build may be improvements in terms of performance, bigger stainless boiler replacing the tiny Aluminium one for example. I’d have to spend some time using a newer one to develop an educated opinion, but my opinion of the pre 2009/2010 machines is they’re amazing for the used price (around £100).
  6. This was a brilliant event, some photos below. Adams & Russell are great - well worth a visit! Lots of lovely coffee - at wholesale prices to the public, really friendly folk very happy to give advice, and they stock lots of great coffee stuff too, brewers, accessories, cups, filters etc.
  7. I use Aeropress at work mainly, sometimes V60. I don't think the boss would mind me installing an espresso machine, problem is though if I did that I'd never get any work done, I'd be making coffees for everyone all day, which I'd be more than happy with, but I'm not sure that the boss would
  8. I've been lurking for a while, and keep meaning to say hi. I'm Kev, based in South Manchester, and I'm completely obsessed by coffee. I blog about it, and when I'm not doing that I'm making it, talking about it, reading about it, thinking about it or dreaming about it ;-). As I go along I'm improving my skills as a home Barista, and I plan to get some decent Barista training and then one day open my own coffee shop - one day! I brew with aeropress, V60, cafetiere (although not often now) and a pre 2009 Gaggia classic with a Rancilio Silvia steam wand. I've also tried the Sage Oracle, when Sage appliances UK sent me one to test for a week to review on my blog. That's one clever and pretty machine, it grinds, doses, auto tamps and auto textures the milk, so some would say it's cheating ;-), I really like the look of the Barista express and the dual boiler, which are very similar machines but without the cheating, but I decided to start of with a Gaggia Classic, and then work my way through various other consumer and prosumer machines, blogging about them as I go along. I've been using the Gaggia for a few months now, so the next on the list will be the Rancilio Silvia. I'm very, very impressed with the Gaggia, I think they're hugely underrated. Mine is a 2003 model, paid £100 on eBay, it looks like it's just been made! It produces very good espresso, and I'm happy with the steam too, using the Rancilio Silvia wand. I even used it (along side a 4 x V60 dripper station that I made myself from copper pipe) to run a cafe' at a charity event recently, really put it through it's paces, must have pulled a couple of dozen shots within a few hours, and steamed the milk to go with it, which is more than consumer machines are intended for, and it wasn't a problem. I grind with a Sage smart grinder pro. Prior to the smart grinder I was using a Hario Skerton with a hack to make it electric - literally just attaching an electric drill to the top of it and using a low power setting, works a treat. I love the smart grinder, I've not tried other grinders so I can't give any comparison, but it's perfect for me, really easy to get from one grind setting to another i.e. V60 to espresso, simple to dial in, and it's very small, which is handy when you have a kitchen you couldn't swing a hamster in, let alone a cat. So anyway, that's me, Hi :-) Kev
  9. I tried milk frothers too similar to aero latte, found it just as difficult and as hit and miss as with a cafetiere to be honest.
  10. So annoying when you see these people making it look so flipping easy! ;-) I've tried it this way in the past after watching Dritan's vids, and also with a battery powered frother, before I had an espresso machine with a steam wand, and these were the best I could manage. Having said that, when I made the upgrade from trying to do Latte art with a cafetiere to using a steam wand, the results initially weren't all that much better, it's taken me quite a lot of practice to get to where I am now, and my latte art still has a lot to be desired to be fair ;-). My latest, this morning:
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