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Cup_of_Joe

Advice on gear for a newbie please :)

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Hi

I am excited to get into the coffee world. My budget is around the £550-£650 mark but I can be flexible either way. I am detail obsessed (lawyer!) but also a complete newbie to the world of good coffee.

I like to drink espressos as well as milky drinks like flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos.

I have narrowed my choices down to two, very different options and would be grateful for anyone's input. My thoughts are also below and I would be grateful for anyone's comments on them too in case I am way off! 

Option 1) Gaggia classic refurbished w/ PID, Rancilo Wand (£350 offered by Faircycler who will rebuild an old machine and mod to order) and second hand Eureka Mignon Grinder (expecting to pay around £200). 

- Pro's: Seems like proper kit. Makes good coffee. Should hold its value. Flexibility to learn. £100 cheaper than below option 

- Cons: The risk of second hand kit breaking and being out of pocket, need to learn skills to do decent milk, I know nothing about electrics so could not mod this myself if there were issues. Harder to Maintain.. 

Option 2) Sage Barista Touch. £650 (Costco)

- Pro's: Supposed to be amazing for milk. Costco offer amazing warranties so any issues I will be covered. Self maintaining. Built in PID. Built in Grinder. 

- Cons: Concerned about how good the coffee aspect of this machine is e.g. baskets are pressurised. Grinder not as good? 

Thanks in advance for your help.

Edited by Cup_of_Joe
Typo

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Option 1. For all the reasons you mentioned. And if the Classic breaks it can be easily repaired, all parts readily available. But the main reason is the grinder and upgradability.


GS3 MP, Ceado E92 and E37s, Feldgrind. Niche.

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Plus 1 for option one mainly as you will have should needed good upgrade route


La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi 2. Eureka Mignon. Sage dtp

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Also Option 1, I started with the Classic and it's a great bit of kit to learn on!

I would buy a new one and forget about PID for the moment...

Edited by NikonGuy

Current:  La Marzocco Linea Mini | Mahlkönig EK43S (Loan Unit) | 25g VST Basket | Torr TI G5 TF SE 58.55mm Tamper

Past: Rocket Appartamento | Eureka Olympus 75E w/ Titanium Mythos Burrs | 18g VST Basket | Torr Classic 58.4mm Tamper

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Yea to option one... although I had a classic/ mazzer setup to start for much less than 550!

One major pro is if you learn maintenance and system flow on a classic you can upscale that knowledge to a lot of other machines

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

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Thanks all for your advice....

would you spend the 350 on getting a fully serviced classic with pid etc or should I save the cash and head to eBay? 

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I own a barista touch, good machine for a beginner, you do get both pressurised and Unprssurised baskets. Is good for milk, downside is its not good to practice manual milk steaming

I would imagine option 1 will give you better technique in the long run.

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18 minutes ago, Cup_of_Joe said:

Thanks all for your advice....

would you spend the 350 on getting a fully serviced classic with pid etc or should I save the cash and head to eBay? 

Why do you want to go to ebay? Find a proper store and enjoy the after sales service if you need it.

Just buy a new one, they are not expensive and you have a full warrenty.

Edited by NikonGuy

Current:  La Marzocco Linea Mini | Mahlkönig EK43S (Loan Unit) | 25g VST Basket | Torr TI G5 TF SE 58.55mm Tamper

Past: Rocket Appartamento | Eureka Olympus 75E w/ Titanium Mythos Burrs | 18g VST Basket | Torr Classic 58.4mm Tamper

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19 minutes ago, Dalerst said:

I own a barista touch, good machine for a beginner, you do get both pressurised and Unprssurised baskets. Is good for milk, downside is its not good to practice manual milk steaming

I would imagine option 1 will give you better technique in the long run.

What’s the quality of the coffee like that you get? 

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35 minutes ago, Cup_of_Joe said:

What’s the quality of the coffee like that you get? 

Its spot on,  i use freshly roasted beans which make all the difference.

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1 hour ago, NikonGuy said:

Why do you want to go to ebay? Find a proper store and enjoy the after sales service if you need it.

Just buy a new one, they are not expensive and you have a full warrenty.

 

Edited by FairRecycler

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Just now, FairRecycler said:

New ones lack the ability of pressure optimization, they run on a fixed 15bar pressure.

Old ones works for years without any service, as long as they maintained properly (descale + back flush).

image.thumb.png.40517b961850dfd19ea2b351924dc5f2.png

  • Sad 1

Vesuvius + Niche Zero // V60 + MBK Aerspeed

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Buy a classic because it will break... And you'll be able to fix it. I had my second hand one for six years and carried out a range of little fixes without much problem.

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, NikonGuy said:

Also Option 1, I started with the Classic and it's a great bit of kit to learn on!

I would buy a new one and forget about PID for the moment...

 

Edited by FairRecycler

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I have an new to me old classic without a PID and the temperature is a bit all over the place, am trying to learn surfing but there are a lot of other things to learn at the same time too (prep, grind, tamping), it would be nice to know temperature was almost a fixed/controlled variable. Dont forget (I did), that you need a few pennies for a tamper, knock box, baskets, naked portafilter, scales to name few and beans :). Its a bit addictive. Worst case it all tastes good with milk.


Gaggia Classic 2006 @ 9 bar. Feld 47 Travel, Motta competition 58.4 tamper

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With that budget, definitely option 1.

Tho you could go with option 1a if you're technically inclined, which is pick up a used unmodified pre-2015 classic and fix it up and mod it yourself, which will let you buy a newer grinder.


Gear:

Gaggia Baby 2001, Gaggia Color 2007, Delonghi Dedica, Severin grinder, Marcfi badged Compak K6 2004

Sent from my grinder using smoke signals.

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The Sage Barista Pro seems to be going down well with people who buy it even an ex classic owner :) that doesn't surprise me but they are popular machines and most owners soon want to fit PID. I did explain one other method of obtaining a more constant brew temperature flow - might be the person who mentions temperature surfing.  Personally I wouldn't pay the extra for touch on the Sage machines especially given the way most people finish up brewing coffee at home. Beginners have another problem other then temperature flow - other factors can have an effect on what comes out.

In the past it was common for people to avoid the Barista Express and buy a Duo Temp Pro along with a Smart Grinder Pro mainly because of grinder step size changes. The newer machines with grinder have the same adjustment as the Smart Grinder. The Oracle even uses the same set up. I've used a BE and the SGP. Grinders are a bit of a problem costs escalate to get into what is seen as the really good grinder area or people modify large commercial grinders invariably weighing doses of beans into them.

Functionally all of Sage's machines internally seem to be the same other than the dual boiler models, even the Bambino. These are shipping with both styles of filter basket now. Another option along with a separate grinder. Some pretty experienced people have gone that way, not many and their grinders probably cost more than the machine. They and the others may need certain actions to  maintain the same starting conditions that may not be mentioned in the manual. This sort of thing isn't unusual on all machines one way or another.

In some ways given that a grinder will handle espresso one of the main advantages of having a separate one is that it's easier to upgrade.

When buying a machine people need to consider how hard their tap water is. Scale can be a problem on all of them. One pretty clear advantage of Sage over many is that they are easy to descale. Some use brands of bottled water as it's the best option above some degree of hardness. Problem depends one where people live, how often filters are changed etc.

Most people using this range of Sage machines probably are brewing at 15bar even though Sage intend it to be lower and set by the grinder and dose of grinds. I have certainly brewed a lot of coffee at 15bar and now use 9, There is a slight difference that might not even be noticed and 9 looks to need a bit more coffee. It's a hard area to define really as taste is largely set by shot time and the ratio of grinds of coffee in and grams of shot out.

Sage do have diy repair issues. Engineer repairs cost more on all machines so in some respects this depends on what people are prepared to do. All machines are likely to need attention of some sort eventually.

Problem with buying gear for the first time is that the more people read the worse it gets. :)I probably haven't helped with that.

John

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In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A,. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

SageBanner_v01.jpg.a45786743a4eb401969788b45ae7f893.jpg

 

 

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Buy an old Classic with no mods fitted (Pre-2015 models only!) 

Then do all the mods yourself so you can learn and slowly start to taste the differences that each mod makes.

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2 hours ago, Gavin said:

Buy an old Classic with no mods fitted (Pre-2015 models only!) 

Then do all the mods yourself so you can learn and slowly start to taste the differences that each mod makes.

Agree with doing the mods's yourself, very easy and fun.

I did not know there was a difference between 2019 vs 2015 models, I defer to members with more knowledge on this one!

  • Sad 1

Current:  La Marzocco Linea Mini | Mahlkönig EK43S (Loan Unit) | 25g VST Basket | Torr TI G5 TF SE 58.55mm Tamper

Past: Rocket Appartamento | Eureka Olympus 75E w/ Titanium Mythos Burrs | 18g VST Basket | Torr Classic 58.4mm Tamper

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Option 1 or alternatively a good used Ranchilio Silvia (or new!).  I went with a new Silvia for various reasons and got what I think was a good deal from Bella Barista on one, and I don't regret it and despite some shortcomings such as the puny drip tray, don't regret it for a second.  I have checked for temperature consistency when temperature surfing using a thermometer.  With practice, I'm surprised just how close I can get most times now to the same temp (93 degrees plus or minus a few degrees each way) providing that the group-head is warmed up and that you pull a cup of hot water through it before allowing the thermostat to trigger the boiler to reheat again.   Then, I open the brew tap until the steam flash over just stops before fitting the portafilter for the shot.  I'd imagine you use a similar technique with the Gaggia.  A PID I think is a nice to have for extra control but not an essential if starting out.  I don't yet feel the need for one but that may change as I gain more experience with it.

Edited by Bica60s

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On 14/02/2020 at 12:40, ajohn said:

time

Hi John

 Hats off to you. 
You are a real gent and you contribute to the reputation of this forum so much. Such a detailed summary. Wow. 
I am not in the market for new gear (waiting a Vesuvius to land any day of the week) but the OP has everything they need to know to make educated decision. 
 

Cheers

John


Nothing succeeds as planned.

 

Nuova Simonelli Apia I 1 gr, San Remo 1 gr., Bezzera BZ35e, Fracino Heavenly, Saeco Via Veneto Combi de Luxe, Mythos Plus Nuova Simonelli, Anfim Super Lusso, Cunill Space, Gene Cafe

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8 minutes ago, John Yossarian said:

Hi John

 Hats off to you. 
You are a real gent and you contribute to the reputation of this forum so much. Such a detailed summary. Wow. 
I am not in the market for new gear (waiting a Vesuvius to land any day of the week) but the OP has everything they need to know to make educated decision. 
 

Cheers

John

I have my whoops at times, just did - all Sage machines aren't the same, the newer ones seem to be the same as far as brewing goes. The older BE and DTP use thermocoils rather than thermojets.

John

-


In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A,. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

SageBanner_v01.jpg.a45786743a4eb401969788b45ae7f893.jpg

 

 

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I don't think you'd go far wrong with a Gaggia Classic. The older ones have a higher wattage and are made in Italy.  Then they had a change and were made in Romania (and have smaller valves). You can properly back flush a classic as well.  Although the newer ones without the metal pipe going into the drip tray aren't as good. Some might say they are but they are mechanical and don't have a proper over pressure valve.

Another option is a La Pavoni. A steeper learning curve but the steam wand is far superior to a Classic, even a modded one. Also when you get it right you might just drop your cup in surprise. Easy to descale and look far better than most other machines (as well as being quiet) it would be my choice tbh.

As for grinders, once over (nearly) everyone cut their teeth on a Mazzer Super Jolly. These can be had for just over £100 but are a bit commercial looking for kitchen use. There are Mazzer Minis as well which are a bit smaller. Mazzer Majors are a tad bigger than the SJ's but have bigger burrs and are great grinders if you can find one. Easily modded for single dosing, I paired my Classic and then my La Pavoni with one for a long time. Then when budget allows, flog the Mazzer and buy a Niche. It goes perfectly with the La Pavoni or Classic.

Here's mine. I've had the La Pav for years and would never get rid of it.

 

PSX_20200217_162009.thumb.jpg.5ab860733cf371f2be0bebaf20aa350c.jpg

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Input: 'Terranovered’ Versalab M3  + Niche

Output: KVdW Speedster + V60 + AeroPress + Syphon + Bialetti Induction Moka Pot + Bialetti Mucka Express + jar of instant for visitors..

 

 

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I don't think you'd go far wrong with a Gaggia Classic. The older ones have a higher wattage and are made in Italy.  Then they had a change and were made in Romania (and have smaller valves). You can properly back flush a classic as well.  Although the newer ones without the metal pipe going into the drip tray aren't as good. Some might say they are but they are mechanical and don't have a proper over pressure valve.
Another option is a La Pavoni. A steeper learning curve but the steam wand is far superior to a Classic, even a modded one. Also when you get it right you might just drop your cup in surprise. Easy to descale and look far better than most other machines (as well as being quiet) it would be my choice tbh.
As for grinders, once over (nearly) everyone cut their teeth on a Mazzer Super Jolly. These can be had for just over £100 but are a bit commercial looking for kitchen use. There are Mazzer Minis as well which are a bit smaller. Mazzer Majors are a tad bigger than the SJ's but have bigger burrs and are great grinders if you can find one. Easily modded for single dosing, I paired my Classic and then my La Pavoni with one for a long time. Then when budget allows, flog the Mazzer and buy a Niche. It goes perfectly with the La Pavoni or Classic.
Here's mine. I've had the La Pav for years and would never get rid of it.
 
PSX_20200217_162009.thumb.jpg.5ab860733cf371f2be0bebaf20aa350c.jpg
Not sure why but I think I want an LP....

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