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This guide should help you choose equipment in line with your budget that is suitable for producing an espresso based drink.

Prices and suppliers will vary so any references are recommendations only.
Prices were correct at the time of publication.

It is important that you set a realistic budget for your new hobby.

The most important item (that has the biggest influence over taste and consistency) is a coffee grinder

Under £100
Hand Grinder and Aeropress (approx. £60)

Whilst not technically an espresso – the Aeropress extracts coffee under pressure
A Rhino Hand Grinder and Aeropress combination can set you on the right path

If you have a budget of under £100 consider alternative brewing methods such as V60 or Clever Dripper

You should be able to afford a set of Scales. These will be vital as you upgrade
(Tip: get a set that reads down to 0.1g and can weigh at least 1kg)

Under £200
Gaggia Classic coffee machine and Hand Grinder (usually £150-£200)

A Gaggia Classic is an extremely capable home espresso machine
They are forgiving and perform better when paired with an electric grinder, but the Rhino Hand Grinder is capable of producing grinds suitable for use in a Gaggia Classic. This will be adequate until you save up for an electric grinder

Make sure you also buy a proper Tamper. The plastic tamper provided with your machine is not fit for purpose and should not be used. See below for Tamper advice

Under £300
Gaggia Classic coffee machine and Electric Grinder

In this price range you can buy a brand new entry-level electric grinder such as the Iberital MC2, or even a second-hand commercial grinder
At this price-point almost all of your budget will be used for the machine and grinder

Don’t forget to purchase a Tamper and Scales as these will be vital in helping you get the best out of your new machine

Under £500
This budget opens up more possibilities
You could consider a Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia or even a second-hand Fracino machine such as a Heavenly or Cherub.
In this price-range you will need an electric grinder (see above for advice)
Scan the Coffee Forums UK For Sale section for bargains

Did you know?
Once you have reached 5 posts you can participate in the Coffee Forums UK For Sale subforum

Where is the best place to buy a cheap Gaggia Classic?
Amazon Warehouse often has box-returns where the machine has been opened and may have been used (usually only once or twice) before being returned to Amazon where they are refurbed and/or repackaged and usually come with a limited warranty.
Most box returns are due to people not reading the instructions (or joining forums such as Coffee Forums UK) and getting frustrated that they cannot replicate their local café straight out of the box

What other items will I need?

  • Tamper (from £15-£150 – just make sure you choose a base that fits your basket (see below)
  • Scales (from £10 upwards - get a set that reads down to 0.1g and can weigh at least 1kg)
  • Milk Jugs (12oz and 20oz)
  • TempTags (Use 1 per milk jug for repeatable temperature (65c) every time)
  • Knockbox
  • Cloths
  • Cups
  • Different baskets

The stock basket included with your Gaggia Glassic is pressurised, and should be replaced with either an IMS basket or a VST basket as soon as possible
Your standard baskets are approx. 58mm wide and therefore a 58mm tamper will be required
IMS and VST baskets take a 58.4mm tamper (on average)

Grinders under £100
It is possible to buy a new electric grinder for under £100
Generally these are best suited for filter coffee as they often do not grind fine enough
Exceptions are Graef CM80 and Ascaso I-mini grinders which are often reduced to this price-point
As you upgrade your equipment you will need to upgrade your grinder also