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Hi,

 

I've been browsing your forums for a while (very informative!), and now I'm looking for some advice...

 

I'm about to buy my first espresso machine, (a joint Christmas present between myself and my girlfriend for eachother).

 

We have a modest budget, especially by you lot it seems! (tbh, getting "into" coffee has been a relatively new thing for us), and I had earmarked the Dualit espressivo (here) @£135. Seems to get good reviews etc and I had budgeted around £150.

 

However, going into comet last night to try and get a look at one, they didn't have it. I compared a delonghi (looked/felt too cheap) and the Gaggia baby (here) @£260. The Gaggia really felt (and looked, important as it will bea focal point due to our small kitchen) the business. Really was a massive step up in terms of quality. I said at the time "the delonghi doesn't look like it's worth £130, the Gaggia looks like it's worth £260".

 

I didn't even contemplate it at that price, but when I got home I found it was £199 on the John Lewis website and included a 2 year warranty.

 

Now i'm completely confused! £200 is a lot of money to us, and I feel I need some reassurance before taking the plunge!

 

I imagine a lot of people will recommend the Gaggia classic, but that has been vetoed in the looks department (the buttons mainly). How does the Ivory Baby model compare?

 

Any help/guidance on either model would be massively appreciated!

 

Thanks,

 

Rob

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Hi Rob: Great first post. Welcome. If you've only just started getting into coffee your caution with finance is no bad idea. It's great that the two of you are able to share the experience, and I think that most of us (however big the budget) know that the appearance of the coffee-making kit almost invariably plays a part in whatever choices you make.

If you've browsed around for a while you will probably have realised that the grinder is much more important than the machine in making acceptable coffee. Please take it from me that this just can't be understated - it isn't just geekdom!

Good fresh beans + good grinder + cheap machine = a chance at making really good coffee.

Pre-ground beans + very expensive machine = no chance!

Don't worry if your budget won't stretch to an extra £100+ for a good grinder, but try to find the extra that you will need to buy a good hand grinder, even if that means buying a cheaper espresso machine. If you are in a hurry now and again, then no-one will hold it against you if you use pre-ground (or even ESE pods), but believe me, you will soon tell the difference between freshly ground and pre-ground.

If your money will stretch to it, the Gaggia represents a better buy than the Dualit - because if you get into coffee in a big way and end up wanting an upgrade, the Gaggia will be able to sell on. It will, as you have sensed, have a heavier and better build quality - just remove the portafilter from each machine and weigh them up against each other!

In many ways I think that coffee machines are like cars - the one that I really want always costs that much more than I am prepared to spend!

I am sure that others will jump in with alternative machine recommendations, but now that you've joined us, please keep in touch as we will all be genuinely interested in what final decision you make, and why.

Edited by vintagecigarman

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Welcome Rob

 

The Gaggia Classic at £225 from Comet is a good buy

http://www.comet.co.uk/p/Coffee-Makers/buy-GAGGIA-CLASSIC-RI8161/40-Coffee-Maker/412414

 

Looks are important but even more important is the drink quality

An example:

A Francis Francis X1 looks lovely but is difficult to get a decent extraction from

 

Although the Gaggia Classic is boxy it will serve you well

See if you can get some compromise on looks

 

The £29 Hand Grinder from CoffeeHit http://www.coffeehit.co.uk/PRD_ProductDetail.aspx?cid=3&prodid=1072&Product=Hario-Mini-Mill-Slim- or even better, the new Porlex Mini for only £10 more is a great option http://www.coffeehit.co.uk/PRD_ProductDetail.aspx?cid=3&prodid=1291&Product=Mini-Porlex-Hand-Grinder


Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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+1 from me on the Classic - at that minimal price differential it's a no-brainer to choose one over the baby. I know that you said it's been vetoed on looks, but it's a machine that will provide you with years of service, and can readily be re-sold if you upgrade, or (heaven forbid) lose interest!

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Thanks vintagecigarman, I had noticed the volume of chat on "which grinder" was higher than "which machine". Your advice is definitely noted.

I had decided that I'd buy the machine first, use pre ground (i do have a crappy grinder at the moment, but I think I prefer the pre-ground tbh) and then look into what I can get in the new year (hopefully in the sales). As it's pretty much the only christmas present we're getting eachother this year (it's been a bad year for many reasons) the machine is more of a "shiny" gift if you knwo what I mean?

 

I am leaning towards the Gaggia, I just don't want to be dissapointed!

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Rescued by Philips/Saeco with little effect to the end consumer and still being produced and sold as Gaggia (it was only Gaggia UK that fell over - they were more a distribution channel than producer)


Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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Rescued by Philips/Saeco with little effect to the end consumer and still being produced and sold as Gaggia (it was only Gaggia UK that fell over - they were more a distribution channel than producer)

 

Thanks Glenn, that clears that up without too much googling later!

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If you want to make your money buy more you could always try an auction site such as ebay. Another alternative are the CaffeShop branches around the country which used to be Gaggia UK. If one is fairly close I recommend a visit since you can see the machines in action, and they sell reconditioned machines. I would ignore their grinders on the whole since those in your price range will not have the tweakability to make great espresso.


Still learning on... Gaggia TS, Cunill Tauro, PTM Tamper, Motta Tamping Stand and Knock Box, Gaggia Milk Jug and fresh beans!

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I would second Banish's suggestion of eBay. Just after Christmas there will be quite a few "unwanted gifts" making their way onto the site and you will probably be able to grab a bargain.


Fracino Cherub, Malhkonig Vario, Espro calibrated 58mm tamper, Espro jug, ACF cups and Costa lover.

Twitter @MrsSKRobinson

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Hey Rob, fresh coffee will change your life (well at 6:30am anyway)

 

I was in a similar predicament to yourselves (my gf and I being recent graduates) I first had the DeLonghi machine you''ve looked at...STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE AND PUT YOUR WALLET AWAY...With much help from the guys on this forum I ended up going through CaffeShop and buying a Gaggia Baby Class, it was a reconditioned machine at around the #200 mark (plus delivery) when it arrived it was covered in the blue protective plastic, everything was unmarked and looked like it had never been opened, more importantly it has warranty with CaffeShop (2 years I think, but don't hold me to that).

 

Unfortunately I embarked on this journey before I knew of this site and could have saved much time and effort by coming here first. The decision I took was to play the long game and spend money on a decent machine now, get the local coffee shop to grind a weeks worth of beans, so deteriorate over the course of the week but better than vac-packs. Now a year later I'll be getting the much anticipated grinder for Christmas (IberItal - Thanks for the advice Gelnn et al)

 

One final thing, if your gf and yourself drink milk related coffee's then you'll need to pay attention to the steam wand (or it's modification potential) The more experienced guys on here will guide you in that respect.

 

BTW - I think the Classic is...well...Classic, mainly due to it's buttons, but my gf won over and insisted on the Baby Class (as I insisted on a metal construction)

 

Good luck!

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Thanks for everyone's input.

 

Standard issue, interesting idea about the coffee shop. There's a very nice one near us that roasts their own beans, however they're twice the price of other cafes... But I imagin worth it.

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Congratulations. I also admire how cool you are in being able to wait to get it into action!

 

Haha, i'm now frantically reading through the forum trying to gain as much knowledge as possible, but the more I read the harder it sounds to get a good espresso!

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Keep reading and keep learning - we all are. It is a fun, occasionally frustrating, hobby/lifestyle but well worth it when you are in the groove.


Still learning on... Gaggia TS, Cunill Tauro, PTM Tamper, Motta Tamping Stand and Knock Box, Gaggia Milk Jug and fresh beans!

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Rob

 

I'm a newbie to real coffee, and have to endorse other posts, fresh roast, fresh ground, is the way to go. I believe they are the 2 most important factors in brewing a good espresso. If you have a local coffee shop selling these, even if it's 'twice the price', so what, you will be so pleased with the result you will know that it was money well spent.

 

Enjoy!

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I'm new here, but just to say I also recently acquired a Gaggia Classic (bought as 'almost new' on eBay). I actually quite like the way it looks, and it seems pretty robust (years ago I had a Gaggia Baby and the enamelling eventually just flaked off). One thing I did find was that the temperature seemed far too low on it. I replaced the thermostat (very easy to do) which solved the problem, then bit the bullet and fitted a PID control on it. That seems to me to conquer the major failing of the Classic - keeping consistent temperature. With a PID control you can also experiment with different temperature until you find on that works great for you.


Londinium I, Mazzer Mini E, Claris Everpure, Aeropress, Cafétière.

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As much as Rolo is right in that a PID will help regulate the temperature very effectively, it's overkill for when you're first learning (leave that for later!).

 

Some things to think about for now:

- Does your Classic have a 'pressurised portafilter'? This is a portafilter that ships on newer Classics I believe that will make your shots look better but not taste any better. There are places online that will sell you a regular portafilter if this is the case.

- Do you have a proper tamper? Getting an even distribution of coffee in the basket is pretty essential for good espresso and doing this without a good tamper is pretty difficult (throw away the plastic one that comes in the box, it won't fit the basket properly).


Roy & Alex & The Maestro & Herman ze Hausgrind

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Hi Rob, I've survived almost a year on pre-ground (I found Illy to be the best from supermarkets anway) but I've almost exclusively drank milk based drinks lattes etc. I found pre-ground not great for a straight espresso but if you've got a newbie pallet like me it won't hurt and will make you appreciate it even more when you can afford a decent grinder. It's definitely a chicken and egg situation. Everyone says a grinder is most important (which it kind of is) but without an espresso machine it's obviously useless. I preferred to do as you are planning and just buy a decent espresso machine and then wait until I can afford a decent grinder (I've finally ordered one). I didn't want to buy a cheap version of each only to have to upgrade the whole lot later (plus at the time I didn't realise how important a grinder was) I now have upgraditis anyway but that's what happens when you hang around on here all the time :)


Rancilio Silvia V3 | Compak K3 Touch | Reg Barber 58.5mm | Grindenstein knockbox | Synesso Double Ridgeless

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I now have upgraditis anyway but that's what happens when you hang around on here all the time :)

 

How true ;)


Still learning on... Gaggia TS, Cunill Tauro, PTM Tamper, Motta Tamping Stand and Knock Box, Gaggia Milk Jug and fresh beans!

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It didn't take long did it, MonkeyHarris? !!


Fracino Cherub, Malhkonig Vario, Espro calibrated 58mm tamper, Espro jug, ACF cups and Costa lover.

Twitter @MrsSKRobinson

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