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Evergreen88

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    Buckinghamshire
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    Cooking, brewing, coffee, cinema

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  1. As a fellow Gaggia classic owner with 1 year of experience with the machine, I am asking myself the same question. I think it all comes down to how much you are comfortable spending. The GCP at the moment retails for 450£, if you add the 200£ that are needed for the mods (opv+PID would be slightly cheaper than that,a boostbox around that amount), you get to 650£. I might be wrong but I don't think there is a machine that for 650£ is considerably better than a GCP with a PID and OPV. There are probably a few options that are 'as good as', or some other machines that are probably better for a slightly higher price (Lelit Victoria?) Personally, if I have to upgrade I would do it for a more considerable jump and for that we would have to stretch our budget to the 1k mark. At this level there are a few options that surely overclass the modded GCP, both single boiler and HX depending on your needs.
  2. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to use an espresso machine with pre-ground coffee. You need to factor in the cost of the grinder (200-300£ minimum for an electric one).
  3. Apart from better puck prep, you can try the pre-infusion hack with the steam wand knob. If you search on YouTube for 'gaggia classic preinfusion' you will find a few good tutorials.
  4. Welcome to the forum I also got a GCP, in 2020. Personally I gave up on the single basket, it never produces a great shot and it's too difficult to tune. When I steam milk just for myself I use a 350ml jug, when I want to do 2 drinks at the same time I use a 600ml one. Personally I don't get to the bottom of the jug with the wand so I never found a problem with it, but perhaps my technique is wrong! Also never had any problem with bugs, but I can see that the 'letterbox gap' is actually there.
  5. If you don't usually make more than one milky drink a day and you don't want to steam and brew at the same time, you could consider a good single boiler machine with a PID. I was thinking at a similar upgrade for the near future and I found the Bezzera Unica, ECM Classika and Quick Mill Alexia Evo some interesting options. Obviously you can't stand the wait to get the steam ready or you need to make multiple milky drinks back to back often you might want to consider something else.
  6. I was making some generic considerations based on some problems raised by the OP (frustration at weighting inputs/outputs, frustration with workflow, costs etc..)and not advising specifically on how to solve these, in fact I also specified that if switching brew methods using just a hopper grinder wouldn't be ideal (I didn't know what grinder the OP has). Neither I was suggesting on how much should be spent for a grinder or a machine, if that's the impression I gave I miscommunicated (English is not my first language).
  7. Let me explain a bit better. SB VS DB I do not have experience with dual boilers/ HX but I am not saying they are useless, not worth the money or anything like that. What I am saying is that a single boiler machine is more than capable of producing great milk-based drinks and as long as you don't need to make more than 2, the workflow is extremely similar. When I make 2 cappuccinos (a couple of times per week), I make the coffee first (double/triple shot, divided in two cups), switch the steam on. The steam requires exactly 30 seconds to get to temperature, in these 30 seconds I simply get the milk out of the fridge and pour it in the jug. It works for me, it's simple. I understand someone else would want to pull two separate shots or might need to make 6 milky drinks back to back, in these scenarios a HX/dual boiler would make the workflow more streamlined. Single dose vs hopper Again I understand some people might find convenient the single dose workflow and might want to switch beans/brew methods. Personally I only drink espresso, I don't drink decaf and I switch beans once a week. In my scenario the hopper is perfectly fine, my beans stay in the hopper for 3-4 days and I never find them stale. Measuring inputs/outputs Surely some origins and some roasts require greater accuracy, but I find a full city + brazilian incredibly easy to tune. I have a simple eureka mignon with a timer and I always get 14g +-0.5g. This accuracy is more than enough for what I brew and for most espresso blends or dark roasts. Same for measuring outputs. When I eyeball the output I always get 30-35ml. A 5ml difference doesn't make a potential good shot bad in my humble opinion. I am sure I don't make the best espresso of the forum, but I get consistent results that I enjoy and I find superior to the majority of bars/coffee shops I have tried. Other people might enjoy a different, more accurate workflow for more exotic beans and that's perfectly fine. I just don't think it's fair to readers to communicate that that's the only approach to make good espresso at home.
  8. I think it's important to find a workflow that works for you and don't necessarily follow the example of others that might have different taste and requirements. Looking at your frustration points: - You don't need to weight your inputs and outputs if you don't want to. Some beans/roasts are very forgiving and a timer based grinder or eyeball the quantity as you grind is enough - you don't need an expensive single dose grinder, hopper grinders work perfectly fine - you don't need a dual boiler machine to make 2 flat whites / cappuccino. Unless you are making 3 ore more the workflow is pretty much identical with a SBDU machine
  9. Yes it's definitely too cold. The water should come out at 80-90 degrees. Since it should be still under warranty you should check with the seller.
  10. Thank you for the clarification re the Barista Pro. When I said 80+ in the cup I meant water in the cup, not the actual coffee (I wouldn't put a thermometer in the coffee I am about to drink!).
  11. I never used the machine so I can't really say, but as for any other machine I suppose the group head and the portafilter need to be hot before pulling a shot. Try to let it warm up with the portafilter in for 15-20 minutes and check again if the temperature is any better. 50 is really low, if you measure in the cup you should get at least 80.
  12. How long are you waiting before pulling the shot? Do you keep the portafilter locked in during the warm up time?
  13. What's the issue in the cup? Bitter, ashy, sour, lack of body? What beans are you using?
  14. I am not sure how that integrated grinder works, I had a sage smart grinder pro and I had to adjust the burrs to grind finer because even on the lowest setting it was not grinding fine enough for certain beans. I would check if that's something that can be done on your machine as well.
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