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Found 9 results

  1. I have recently decided I would like to try some home espresso, and after lots of reading around, I often found myself on these forums!! The general consensus over the years seems to be that fot a starter budget espresso machine, the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia is the best way to go. Is that still the case in 2017? I am looking to spend up to £200, and after lots of research, decided that a used, pre 2015 Classic would be my choice. But then I came across a few images of how badly the aluminium boilers can corrode, and I started to question whether a used old style Classic would really be a good idea. Do the older aluminium boiler take a lot of looking after? Is excessive corrosion inevitable, or avoidable? I live in an area with hard water, although I could switch to a filter. I was quite keen on the stainless steel boiler of the 2015 Classic, but not so keen on the looks, the lack of rockers switches and also the 3 way solenoid. I work on electrical machinery day in, day out (CNC and automation), and can see this is a step backwards- but can also understand it from a manufacture and service sense. This may be a silly question, but is it possible to retrofit a ss boiler into an older classic? Is the 2015 Classic still considered to be that bad, even without the 3 way solenoid and OPV? Likewise, it seems that years ago, the Silvia was more expensive, but looking at used prices the Classics and Silvias are similar now - does that still make it a case of either-or, or is the Silvia a better option at a similar price? The build looks better on the Silvia to my eyes, and the brass boiler a plus - but I have read it can be a tricky machine to master compared to the Classic? I currently have a Krups flat burr grinder that I have been using for drip and aeropress - I am more than happy with it for that, but can see that it will not be consistent enough for espresso use, so plan on buying a used Iberital MC2 or similar, and use that for espresso only. Other than the Classic and Silvia, are their other options at this budget worth considering now? I have seen a Francis Francis X1 advertised close to me at a fair price, but have read more bad than good about that particular machine. The Sage Duo Temp looks good also, but out of my budget unfortunately. So if anyone can help a newbie out with a little advice, that would be much appreciated
  2. Hi, my first post so hopefully it's in the right place. I inherited a Francis Francis X1, first generation with Aluminium boiler. I'd really like to use this machine but am concerned about the aluminium boiler and possible health risks so would like to find out about converting it to a brass boiler. I had seen mention of it on a thread in the forums by Hizerkite http://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?15058&p=147085#post147085 I have already sourced what I believe is a 2nd generation X1 machine (which was sold as spares) so now have the brass boiler, chrome plated shroud and coffee handles. I plan on cleaning the boiler, fitting a new element and seals/gaskets. Wondering if anyone could shed some light on whether it is possible based on the pictures of what I have, and what I would need to do as the main issue I can see is that there are more wires/connections for the aluminium boiler than for the brass boiler. So I'm not sure on the compatibility or if I just need to alter something first? Aluminium Boiler: Brass boiler: Thanks for any suggestions. Jonty
  3. As some of you may recall from an earlier thread of mine (a few months ago), I got frustrated when fitting the PID (to my Classic) because I couldn't find a suitable, nice looking enclosure. In the end I "made do" with a black plastic one, and then had to take a dremel to it and hack it around. Everything else I could find was too small, too big, too ugly, too - but just wrong. So - I started the quest to help others in my situation... as these PIDs are 1/16DIN (45mmx45mm) and there just seems to be NOTHING that is currently made (even on eBay or AliExpress, or anywhere) that will allow you to take a PID and drop it into a premade enclosure. Now, after a few months (and even obtaining quotes from factories in the UK that wanted about £100 [seriously] to make these in reasonable quantities), I think I'm there. So - here is my custom PID enclosure, in silver anodized aluminium, with 45mmx45mm cutout in the front and a 10mm hole with rubber grommet in the rear. I'm supplying them with the "stupidly super sticky' double-sided tape to stick them to your machine of choice (or anywhere else you want to stick them!). Some pictures from my iPhone.. I'll try and get some better ones soon... And here's the tape: You can buy something v similar from Auber in the US, for about $25 - but then you have to add shipping, duty and VAT - and you're at around £40+ to get your hands on one in the UK - which is bonkers. So - these are £20 delivered to Coffee Forums UK members. They include the rubber grommet and two strips of double-sided tape (but obviously not the PID shown in some of the photos). I'm happy to quote for International delivery if anyone from anywhere wants one, drop me a PM. This enclosure will allow you to mount the PID using the clips if you mount the case vertically (with the PID inserted as shown in the pic). The PID will obviously fit in either horizontally or vertically, though the clip won't fit - so if you want to mount the case horizontally (for some reason) then you can use tape or velcro or some other fixing method to hold the PID inside the case rather than the clip. If you're truly enterprising, and brave, then it MAY be possible to modify or shave a few mill off the clip (or case) to get it to fit - but I can't recommend that! Anyway, the PID slips straight in and the clip holds it beautifully when it's vertical - which is my preferred way to mount it anyway! If you'd like to order one, then drop me a PM and I'll send you payment details. I have an initial order of "a few" in stock ready for quick delivery. Shades
  4. It annoyed (and still annoys) the heck out of me that it's not easy to find an enclosure to fit the REX C100 PID into easily - and off the shelf (being a DIN fitting you'd think it would be simple!). So, I've started looking at getting some aluminium ones made - but before I delve into the depths of production costs, minimum order quantities, etc. etc. I wanted to see if this was the sort of thing that people would be genuinely interested in buying for their own DIY PID project. I've sized the enclosure to fit a REX C100, as at 100mm it's probably the longest of the generic ones. The enclosure would have a 10mm hole in the rear, with rubber grommet, and a 45mm x 45mm cutout in the front for the PID. Due to the position and size of the panel mounting clip on many of these PIDs, if you wanted to retain the mounting clip (rather than using an alternative fixing method) then you'd have to use it vertically. Anyway - here's a quick mock-up of what I'm looking to get made: Selling price point that I'm aiming for would be around £18-£20. (For the avoidance of doubt - I've potentially got a manufacturer lined up that can produce these, like this, and I could sell them at this price - if there's interest). Thoughts? Do you think this would be of interest to anyone? If you have PID'd your Classic, or will be looking to do so - do you think that this box at this price would be (or would have been) attractive to you? Would you prefer a £8 Maplins plastic box that you have to cut to shape yourself, or another DIY solution that costs less than a tenner? If no-one thinks it's useful then I won't bother... but if it's generally seen as something that would or could be useful then I'll embark on the project (really just to cover my costs - not to make any real money out of, just to try and help people!). It's a bit like the Pt100 RTD sensors that I produce - the only alternative is Auber, at higher cost, lower quality and a significant wait. I make them to help UK folk out, and I think my version is better quality than the Auber one. Hopefully the boxes would be much the same.
  5. I've bought some Puly "Cleaner/Descaler" to descale my Gaggia Classic. Bought it from Happy Donkey, who sell it as "Puly Baby" and sells is as "not a citrus based descaler". However, the ingredients are: "citric acid, malic acid, sodium citrate". Does anyone have long-term experience whether this causes problems with the aluminium boiler? Would Gaggia own-brand descaler be better? (recommended by the instructions booklet; no surprise) Does anyone know whether that is essentially the same thing as the Puly, or is it based on different chemicals? Thanks
  6. Earlier today, a friend posted a picture on social media showing a large pile of Nespresso™ style capsules she had been given to try. What she undoubtedly saw as good coffee, I saw as an environmental disaster, and I said so. Her reply was 'they're aluminium' as though that made everything right, because they could be recycled. That took no account of the energy required to produce the aluminium in the first place. As a scientist, it got me thinking. It seems that each Nespresso™ capsule contains 5-6g of coffee and 1g of aluminium. Given that my regular mug is made with 28g of coffee that's the equivalent of five capsules just for one drink. And I'll typically have four of those a day, sometimes more. If I were to use Nespresso™ capsules rather than fresh beans, I would end up with twenty grams of aluminium per day for recycling. That may not sound much, but when I buy 500g of fresh beans, the paper bag only weighs 15g, and that lasts four to five days. Paper also doesn't need anywhere near as much energy to recycle as aluminium. The product to packaging ratio for the capsules is abysmal. CSIRO, the Australian government's scientific research body, published a report; Energy use in metal production [pdf]. Aluminium is the least energy efficient common metal to produce. Each kilogram of aluminium expends 211.4MJ of energy during mining, smelting and other processing. That's 211.4kJ per single use capsule just in production of the raw material, before it's shipped around the world and formed into coffee pods. We can ignore that for the moment and look at what 211.4kJ actually means in everyday terms. A measure of energy usage which people can more easily relate to is the kilowatt hour (kWh) - a one kilowatt electric heater running continuously for one hour will use one kilowatt hour of energy. 211.4kJ is equivalent to 0.0587kWh. That doesn't sound like a lot but it's about sixty watt hours; the amount of energy used by a sixty watt bulb running for an hour. Just for one coffee capsule, and just for the raw aluminium. I would use five capsules in a mug so that's three hundred watt hours in one go. A four times a day habit takes the total up to an hour and ten minutes of running a one kilowatt electric fire - every single day. If that isn't a scary way of looking at the environmental impact of these coffee capsules, I don't know what is. The producers try to tout their environmental credentials by promoting their recycling schemes but the material isn't environmentally friendly in the first place and producers don't yet have the capacity to recycle all the capsules they produce. Even when they have, consumers will still throw vast numbers away with general waste. Given that there's no likelihood of regulatory action to ban these products, consumer awareness of the environmental impact is the only way forward.
  7. So, I've just made a small aluminium foundry. I plan on casting a doser/funnel for personal use. If I'm successful, I'd happily make a few more for you lot. I really dont want this to seem like I abandoned the forum for ages, then came back on to sell things. I'd only pass it on for a few quid on top of postage, say £7 posted or something like that. You guys helped me out massively when I first got into coffee, I'd love to do something like this as a thanks. If this seems as some sort of sale and dash, it's not. If you register your interest and I'll get round to you sometime. If this fails, sorry. I have a rough idea of how to do it, but I'm thinking about the methods of casting.
  8. OK Well things are going pretty good (bearing in mind i'm a novice) I've set up the Iberital MC2 (thanks for the guide Glenn) and the Gaggia Baby is turning out some nice espresso with a a nice thick crema. Looks like a minature pint of guinness so pretty happy with that for now.... The wife likes Capuccino and Cafe Latte's, I have a straight sided aluminium jug and getting froth seems fine but i'm struggling to get the milk hot enough without burning it.......I seem to get it too cool and the drink isn't piping hot. Would you guys recommend using a thermometer? or any other tips Latte seems trickier than Capuccino
  9. Hi, comparing a few machines and the Silvia and Classic both seem to be very praised machines. Classic is £200 cheaper but the only concern I have is the aluminium boiler. I've heard this is prone to corrosion (as it's coupled to the brass brew head) particularly in soft water areas, which I live in. Anyone have any experience of this either way? Also, other than the boiler, the Gaggia classic seems to pretty much match the Silvia (except for frothing) but is a heck of a lot cheaper. Are there any significant differences in performance? thanks
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