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About garyk

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    Lightly Roasted
  1. Exactly what I was going to say! I still use them as my main scales, and in all other respects, they're great, but not being able to weigh in the portafilter is a PITA.
  2. Don't know with my current batch... I drew a shot when it first arrived, it looked 'about right', tasted great and so I didn't change anything. I know - heathen, right?! The earlier batches took a bit more effort to get a sensible yield (60g). Latest is 'there or there abouts'.
  3. Another member PM'd me asking how I was getting on with my Oscar 2, so thought I may as well give an update here as well. I'm really pleased with my Oscar 2 - it's a huge improvement on the Gaggia I had previously. We mostly drink cappuccinos and the microfoam it produces is as good as I've ever had, especially now I've got a technique down. I used to find it produces coffee a bit too fast, even though I have an OPD mod to dial the pressure down to 10 bar, although I don't notice this problem any more. Perhaps it's just more powerful than I was used to. Like Jon suggested, I've started dialling on weight rather than volume. I find it tricky mostly because the tiniest change on the Mazzer dial can result in huge changes in how quickly the shot is pulled. I also think I'm not yet consistently tamping, and perhaps that makes a significant difference; basically, I'm struggle to find which variable is making the difference in shot times. I guess it's all down to experience, though - I got my grinder and Oscar 2 at the same time and had only ever used pre-ground before then, so I'm learning as I go. The last two batches I've managed to dial in easily. I upped the dose to 18g which seems to have helped with the consistency. I use the timed shots at 27 seconds, and it's really nice to be able to press the button and forget about it while steaming the milk. Being an HX, it takes a good 15 minutes to come up to temperature, but I have it on a timer plug (something that wasn't possible with the Oscar 1 because you had to open the steam wand when powering on). I don't think there's anything else in this high-ish mid-range. It's a big step up from the Classics/Rancillios, but every other machine seems to be a grand or more, which I wasn't willing to spend. I highly recommend it. I bought mine from Gianni at Elektros because of the positive experiences listed here: http://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread...89-Elektros-it. He did the OPD mod listed on his site before sending it to me. His communication was excellent - we exchanged a few emails before I purchased. It arrived within a few days and I've used it every day since with no issues.
  4. I've spent the evening dialling in the grinder and pulling shots through the Oscar. It took me ages, mostly because I was initially making changes that were far too big on the grinder's dial, so was battling between not getting anything at all or pulling pints instead of shots. I eventually worked out the sweet spot, and my final shot pulled 70ml in 30 secs from a 16g dose. I was aiming for 60ml, but that's close enough for now. I do have a separate tamper and was using that tonight. I'm hoping I can make up something that will allow me to support the portafilter at the right height for both the doser chute and the grinder's integrated tamper. For now, I have something that works at least. Re: scales, they're Smart Weigh digital pocket scales: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smart-Weigh-Digital-Precision-Pocket/dp/B018GQS4YI
  5. My Coffee Corner is coming along nicely! One week ago, all we had to our name was a Cook's Professional coffee maker and a bag of pre-ground coffee. As of today, Coffee Corner looks like this: * Mazzer Major with TiN burrs * Nuovo Simonelli Oscar II with OPV mod * Grindenstein * 330ml pitcher * 100g/0.01g scales Also: * A subscription to hasbean.co.uk I haven't actually tried any of this out yet! The grinder only arrived yesterday and I'm making a few modifications... I've already removed the cut-off switches in the doser and fitted a camera hood hopper. I also plan to do the usual mods to reduce doser retention as I'll be putting individual doses through it. I also want to make some sort of lid for the 'hopper' that engages the safety switch behind the dial. I have little kids with wandering fingers and don't want to take any chances. Finally, I intend to make some sort of portafilter holder where it will be able to hold it in the correct positions for dispensing and tamping.
  6. Progress update: I saw jonc's restored Mazzer Major in the For Sale threads and bought that. It should be delivered tomorrow. That will be a grinder for life, I reckon! I've bought a little camera hood hopper and the idea is I'll replace the doser with a funnel, then grind on demand. Regarding the machine, I did a lot of reading into modding my Gaggia to add a PID, then saw MrShades' modded Gaggia with PID, preinfusion, shot timer etc. and decided I'd have a great time retro-fitting those mods to mine, following his guides. However, when I showed it to my wife, she was downright horrified! "It looks like Frankenstein's monster; far too many digits and dials to deal with; why can't we just press a button and get a coffee?" There seem to be surprisingly few options between the Gaggia/Rancilio that require some skills to get consistently good coffee and machines that costs a grand... Some research later, the Oscar II seemed to be the best match. HX, timed shots, looks good, well reviewed, can be had for around £550... I bought it from Gianni at elektros.it because he has good vendor reviews on here, and replied to a few questions I had really quickly. He fitted an OPV to reduce the machine from 15 to 10 bar. I've put it on a timer so it comes on first thing and is ready for breakfast! I have also signed up to a fortnightly subscription at hasbean.co.uk. Very excited and hoping to be knocking out some very nice coffee by the weekend!
  7. I never met him, but knew of him via vx220.org.uk. Small world. Very sad.
  8. Yeah, I am aware of those limitations, and have had a dial ready for adjusting the OPV since purchasing the Gaggia, I just never got around to doing it. Of course, being aware of the limitations and being able to understand/appreciate the difference is something else... I'm fine tweaking and trialling, but my wife wants to power on a machine and have perfect espresso five minutes later; not sure there's anything out there that will do that...
  9. Thanks for the advice everyone. I've purchased a used Mazzer Major from the for sale section, and will stick to the Gaggia for the coffee for now! Clearly people are able to get good results from the Gaggia, so I'll focus on getting decent beans rather than spending vast sums on a new machine. In a lot of respects, the Gaggia is ideal for our needs - it's compact and heats up relatively quickly. We almost never make more than a couple of cups at a time.
  10. I found it a while back when first learning how to make a decent coffee! I failed then but am now determined to give it another go!
  11. I've just joined but lurked for a while a couple of years back when trying to get a decent cup of coffee from my Gaggia Classic!
  12. I guess my overall budget is max £1000, but I was thinking that was for a machine and a grinder...I've completely stripped down my Gaggia to descale and all looked OK, but I've never had a decent coffee out of it. Might be a case of garbage in, garbage out; I don't know. Also, we mostly drink cappuccinos and although I did the Rancillo steam wand mod, I've not had much success there either! Unfortunately, I can't see the for sale section yet - I have to blather through a few more posts yet
  13. Thanks - that's certainly food for thought. It hadn't occurred to me the amount of coffee left behind to go stale in the grind. I'm happy to go second hand, and always happy to mod things, so maybe I'll look into those options as I don't have thousands to throw at this. Is there a general consensus on how best to split the money between the espresso machine and the grinder? The Gaggia cost me £70 second hand... Is the Gaggia capable of making good coffee assuming fresh grounds are used?
  14. Hi! I've lurked briefly in the past, but have finally decided to join at last to get some advice. My wife and I were visiting London at the weekend, and we got a cappucino each from Nude in Spitalfields... It was a life changer! For both of us, it was the single best coffee we'd ever had, and by a long way; it was so completely different, with so much depth of flavour and fruity tang... When I lurked here previously, I was trying to get my Gaggia Classic to produce good coffee, but I've never succeeded. Much of this may well be down to the fact we use supermarket pre-ground espresso coffee, but we honestly get better coffee from our £30 Cooks Professional machine using the same coffee and although originally bought as an upgrade, the Gaggia has long been relegated to the cupboard. I think Nude gave us a taste of what it is like to use freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee, and we're looking to invest in some new kit to see if we can finally nail down good really coffee at home, so here I am, looking for advice on where to start. I did a lot of reading before buying the Gaggia and failed so any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
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