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Machine advice for domestic use

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Hi everyone,

I have been a coffee enthusiast for a long time with a very basic setup at home that consists of a bodum grinder and a v60 and I have decided to take my passion to the next level. 

What I am looking to achieve is to make good quality espressos at home which will allow me to have americanos, flat whites & cappuccinos rather than just filter coffee. Depending on how I find the process I'll decide if this is something I want to invest more time into.

Based on the useful information and guides in this forum I understand that I will need to get an entry-level espresso machine and a decent grinder.

For the espresso machine I am in between the Gaggia classic and the rancilio silvia which seem to retail at about £400. 

Which one of the two would you recommend?

For the Gaggia classic, is it worth splurging on the latest 2019 model or should I just go for the previous model that retails for half the price? It seems that the model before that was better made but you can't buy it new and not sure if I trust myself to find a good quality 2nd hand one.

Open to other suggestions for espresso machines of course. 

What would you recommend in terms of grinders? Someone in this forum recommended Iberital MC2 as a good entry-level one. A knowledgeable friend also recommended the silvia rocky.

Keen to stay under £500 if possible. 

Very grateful for any advice and guidance as I have to admit I am very new to this!

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Personally I’d have a very serious think about buying a secondhand setup. You can get good quality used items on this forum or set up some searches on eBay for items and be patient. Your money will go further and when you inevitably want to upgrade if you buy right you will get your money back.


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Welcome.  I started where you are about five years ago.  A second hand Classic will be fine, especially if you buy it from a Forum member (which is what I did) and they are relatively easy to repair if anything does go wrong (often the solenoid).  I'm not technically minded yet I managed to fix this - and there is an abundance of Forum help. I would also aim for a Mignon - I haven't used the MC2 but my impression is the Mignon offers more and it's what I got to go with my Classic.  I hope this helps. 

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Whatever you do, I wouldn’t buy the previous (2015-2018) model of Classic - it’s just a bodge job in a Classic case.

The current Classic is bonkers expensive - but great if you have deep pockets!

The usual rule with Classics is that the older ones are better... so I’d look for either a well looked after pre 2006 “pre-Philips” model, which has the better solenoid valve - or a good pre 2015 one.

They’re easily maintained and easily repaired with all parts readily available should anything happen - so 2nd hand is a great option.

Oh, you can mod them quite easily and massively improve them as well!


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Lots of everything: machines, grinders, roaster, beans, tampers, baskets, blah, blah

However - Too much is never enough!

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Nice one just come up in the for sale section. £130. Makes no sense buying new for £400.


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Hello and welcome :)

To view the for sale section you need to get your post count up a bit, you will be glad you did as there is likely to be something that may interest you. If you don’t fancy second hand then keep reading round the forum and gather as much info as you can before diving in.

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Also if you buy a pre-2015 classic you'll have much more room in the budget for a better grinder :)


LR, ZM

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I had and recently sold the Gaggia Classic 2015-2018 dreaded Romanian build machine. Never had an issue with it. Performed as advertised. Actually, if it didn't sell for my advertised price I would have kept it as a back up. 

I didn't budge on price and it sold quick enough. 

Nothing wrong with that era machine if looked after and serviced/cleaned.


Rocket Appartamento, Compak K3 Touch. Kalita Wave SS when on the move.

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I had and recently sold the Gaggia Classic 2015-2018 dreaded Romanian build machine. Never had an issue with it. Performed as advertised. Actually, if it didn't sell for my advertised price I would have kept it as a back up. 
I didn't budge on price and it sold quick enough. 
Nothing wrong with that era machine if looked after and serviced/cleaned.


It’ll make espresso...

It shouldn’t really be called a Classic - and all other model year Classics are better in many regards.

It’s not where it’s built that’s the issue, it’s the components and design.

IMHO


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Lots of everything: machines, grinders, roaster, beans, tampers, baskets, blah, blah

However - Too much is never enough!

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That was the only model I used........suppose I cannot compare but it was fine for me as a beginner machine. Made decent espresso but not / never too hot.


Rocket Appartamento, Compak K3 Touch. Kalita Wave SS when on the move.

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Just buy the one that@coffeechap has just listed in the For Sale section for £130

It looks stunning and immaculate and is fantastic for the price.

Be quick, it won’t hang around!


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Lots of everything: machines, grinders, roaster, beans, tampers, baskets, blah, blah

However - Too much is never enough!

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I’m in the same boat as you! Looking at options now, there’s so many to choose from I’ll be following this carefully!


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Thanks to everyone for the helpful advice. 

Didn't realise there was such a good variety of second-hand machines in this forum so will definitely consider this option.

What are your views on grinders? So far my only recommendations is @Phil104's who suggested a Mignon.

 

 

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17 hours ago, LJA said:

I’m in the same boat as you! Looking at options now, there’s so many to choose from I’ll be following this carefully!


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Nice to see I am not alone and welcome!

Let me know once you reach your own conclusion :)

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I'd stay away from the Rocky if you can. I started with a Rocky and quickly realised its limitations.

It's not a dreadful place to start but you can do far better.

A second-hand Super Jolly would be great place to start!

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7 minutes ago, Gavin said:

I'd stay away from the Rocky if you can. I started with a Rocky and quickly realised its limitations.

It's not a dreadful place to start but you can do far better.

A second-hand Super Jolly would be great place to start!

Thanks @Gavin for the input. 

 

I'm guessing the SJ would do a good job at both grinding beans for an espresso & filter?

 

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20 hours ago, MrShades said:

Whatever you do, I wouldn’t buy the previous (2015-2018) model of Classic - it’s just a bodge job in a Classic case.

The current Classic is bonkers expensive - but great if you have deep pockets!

The usual rule with Classics is that the older ones are better... so I’d look for either a well looked after pre 2006 “pre-Philips” model, which has the better solenoid valve - or a good pre 2015 one.

They’re easily maintained and easily repaired with all parts readily available should anything happen - so 2nd hand is a great option.

Oh, you can mod them quite easily and massively improve them as well!


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Thanks @MrShades that's super helpful!

Does this listing qualify as a good pre-2015 model? Appreciate your expertise on this.

 

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Nice to see I am not alone and welcome!
Let me know once you reach your own conclusion

Just seen your post about the Classic! Apologies! It was a toss up between Coffeechaps or The one at £160! Both look great machines. Now we need to consider Grinders!


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Just seen your post about the Classic! Apologies! It was a toss up between Coffeechaps or The one at £160! Both look great machines. Now we need to consider Grinders!


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Both look like crackers! Up to you which you go for... or whichever is left if you take your time deciding.

Both@hasi and@coffeechap are very well respected members of CFUK who know their onions - and you should have no problem at all with a machine from either of them, and both machines look spotless and as good as new. They just need a PID to make them perfect ;-)




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Lots of everything: machines, grinders, roaster, beans, tampers, baskets, blah, blah

However - Too much is never enough!

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Grinders are more important than the espresso machine in many ways - a great grinder with a Classic will give some great coffee - whereas a rubbish grinder with ANY espresso machine will give awful coffee.

Spend whatever you can on the grinder, and use the change from your budget for the Classic.... don’t skimp, your tastebuds will thank you.

Mazzer SJ with 64mm flat burrs should be a basic starting point - bigger and better if you can afford it, but if you buy smaller/cheaper you’ll be upgrading soon. Should be able to get a good one for £200 easily. Mod it for single dosing, don’t use the doser.

On-demand and single dosing grinders are very popular these days - but usually, for even a used one, you’re looking at £400-£1000


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Lots of everything: machines, grinders, roaster, beans, tampers, baskets, blah, blah

However - Too much is never enough!

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Grinders are more important than the espresso machine in many ways - a great grinder with a Classic will give some great coffee - whereas a rubbish grinder with ANY espresso machine will give awful coffee.

Spend whatever you can on the grinder, and use the change from your budget for the Classic.... don’t skimp, your tastebuds will thank you.

Mazzer SJ with 64mm flat burrs should be a basic starting point - bigger and better if you can afford it, but if you buy smaller/cheaper you’ll be upgrading soon. Should be able to get a good one for £200 easily. Mod it for single dosing, don’t use the doser.

On-demand and single dosing grinders are very popular these days - but usually, for even a used one, you’re looking at £400-£1000


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I'd also have a Mazzer Mini B lying around there's images in my valuation thread...!

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15 hours ago, Hasi said:

I'd also have a Mazzer Mini B lying around emoji56.png there's images in my valuation thread...!

Put it up in For Sale section now... just sayin'!

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I'm guessing the SJ would do a good job at both grinding beans for an espresso & filter?

I'd recommend not trying to use an espresso grinder for filter (especially a Mazzer as the adjustment mech might drive you nuts going round and round between espresso and filter, more so than other grinders). You'll waste a ton of coffee dialing in back and forth. I used to have a Mazzer mini and the dreaded Iberital MC2. Avoid the iberital. Mini, Super Jolly or Mignon are good places to start, but use a hand grinder or whatever you currently use for filter. (for example I have a ceado e37s for espresso and an Aergrind for aeropress or cold brew.

 

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On 12/09/2019 at 16:27, Flamingo said:

Thanks @Gavin for the input. 

 

I'm guessing the SJ would do a good job at both grinding beans for an espresso & filter?

 

I'll put my two pennies in too, separate grinders for different uses is a way to go. I tried using one for both filter and espressos but that meant I couldn't achieve any consistency in neither of drinks. 

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Thanks all for you advice. 

I have went for the Gaggia classic + Niche Zero, both bough from @Hasi

Will report back once I have made my first couple espressos!

Next item on the list is to learn how to pull a proper espresso :)

On a related point, do I need to get a coffee grind bin or should I not bother? Is there anything else obvious that I might be missing to complete my home set-up?

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