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In-law coffee machine recommendation....

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Hi all,

Since I've got into this hobby in a big way and shared the fruits of my labour, my relatives and friends are asking me for recommendations on coffee machines (or asking me to sort them out with something). 

Specifically in this case my in-laws who are retired. I've got 2x Gaggia Classics (and a 'Gaggia Coffee') as well as a Fracino Piccino, but I think these will be too involved for a beginner to learn without wanting to put lots of time, effort and beans into. 

Do you have any recommendations for halfway house machines? I briefly had a Delonghi ECAM 23.460 one touch machine, it gave what I would call good 'office' coffee and was pretty impressive from a technical point of view. But I think it's a bit too automatic/expensive.

I'd look at the Sage machines, but ideally I'd like to buy something that needs repairing to keep costs down. Seen a few non-working DTPs and Barista's that go for peanuts, but I believe the reason is you can't get parts.

Any help most appreciated!


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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, NitJay said:

But I think it's a bit too automatic/expensive.

I'm interested in following the discussion as well. 

I think the issue is that this can highly depend on the type of person you're making the recommendation for. I honestly would not recommend a semi-automatic for older people, for instance; my retired parents like their fully automatic machine. For a colleague who likes to 'tinker' I recently recommended the Sage Barista Express, which he bought full price from John Lewis (even knowing that it can be obtained for cheaper used). At least then you get a nice evaluative period where you can return it. But this person was fairly well off financially and had the right spirit. He was eager to watch some videos, use a scale, etc.

I think the semi-automatic crowd is quite a niche crowd. There's a lot of effort that goes into configuring grinders and tamping and so forth, and I wouldn't wish this on most people. I mean, the ultimate truth is that most casual coffee drinkers just like a simple Nespresso machine (despite its environmentally unfriendly issues). A simple drip machine or a french press is what many people will use as well. Aeropresses are also nice recommendations. 

Out of curiosity, what do you do with so many Gaggias?

Edited by phario
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Very good points @phario my concern is I can already imagine the messages coming through to me 'my coffee tastes horrible, I can't get the milk to work properly, it's a bit messy, I just want a cappuccino in the mornings' which I'd rather not deal with as there were points when I never thought I'd get the hang of using these semi auto machines, but perseverance is key.

On the Gaggia's I get them not-working or for parts and then I'm supposed to move them on (there's no money to be made in it, but I enjoy the work and people seem interested in the pictures). However, What invariably happens is I never get round to listing them on eBay :classic_biggrin:

The Fracino, I'll probably keep for my own use. But I'd like to get to know all the different machines you're likely to see in the 'prosumer' segment.

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