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  1. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    13
    Wow, this has been so helpful. I think I'll go with a Baratza Preciso 685 for $299 and 440 distinct adjustments over the Baratza Virtuoso ($229) which has 40 distinct steps. (I was going to ask about this: "PANAMA" Coffee Mill - Stainless Steel, by Zassenhaus., but I know it doesn't have near the adjustments of the Preciso or even Virtuoso).

    Unless, of course, the Preciso is overkill for an inexpensive espresso machine?

    That just leaves selecting the model of Gaggia to purchase. I have to admit, I'm in love with the red color of the Gaggia 102534 machine, which is currently only $164 on Amazon. But, there are about a half a dozen Gaggia models in my price range, so I'm a bit stumped on which model to buy, although from what I'm reading, they all have the same basic "guts".

    Honestly, I expect the grinder to way outlast the Gaggia.

    I'm not in a huge huge hurry, so I welcome more suggestions.

  2. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    134
    The preciso is not overkill. It's the best bang for the buck grinder, and the grind quality may even be as good as $1k grinders. A good friend of mine bought her husband an astra pro and preciso setup for their anniversary, on my recommendation, and I just got home from dinner at their house. I made 25 shots or so using the preciso tonight, and do this fairly regularly. It's a great grinder. Baratza is a fantastic company to deal with, as well, if you ever need to.

    The virtuoso would probably work fine, but you'd have plenty of instances where the appropriate level of grind would be between clicks. Not ideal. The preciso has clicks as well, but there are so many, and there is a separate micro adjustment, it's a total Non-issue. With the virtuoso, you'd probably want to upgrade if you ever step up to a better machine than the gaggia; with the preciso, you probably wouldn't ever feel like the grinder was holding you back.

    As for the Gaggia, go for the pretty one, they're all the same. The $165 price is very good. The only thing you get with more expensive ones is a solenoid valve and stainless exterior. The solenoid doesn't change performance, or cup quality. It just prevents the oortafilter from spraying grounds if you remove it too soon after brewing.
    Last edited by poison; 07-06-2013 at 01:56 AM.

  3. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    134
    http://home.woot.com/offers/saeco-po...hine#read-more

    Has a vibe pump, like the Gaggia. It's a refurb, but it's only $90.

  4. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Michigan, US
    Posts
    1,802
    As you have said, you won't get the super shot from these crappy machines.
    I am not saying Silvia is only machine to buy. But it is safer choice for people who do not really know what they are getting into.
    That was my recommendation to this poster. I never implied Silvia was the best or the greatest. My thinking is without going over board or compromising the quality, used Silvia out perform any of the machine you have listed up there including my finding on Ebay.
    My recommendation was purely on durability, maintenance, and parts availability. As you know, most of the espresso machine will require some type of maintenance and parts replacement within few years. However most of the CHEAP machines will be difficult to purchase any or all replacement parts or find the way to do it yourself. Yes, 650 dollars Silvia would be very expensive, but if you get 350 for the 2 years old or less used machine, I would think that would be the best buy. That is what i was talking about. Also quality of the shots can very but I never had any problem pulling the great espresso shot from Silvia like you have implied it is almost impossible.

  5. #25
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    13
    Wow, did my SO ever surprise me. He came over and was acting just a bit "off", when lo and behold the UPS truck drives up and delivers 2 large boxes from Amazon: the Gaggia, which is a beautiful deep red color (the pictures don't do it justice), and a Baratza grinder. Unfortunately, it was the wrong one, as he had ordered the Preciso, but the correct one will be here Friday. AND, although he is not a coffee drinker, he had done enough research on his own to know I would need a good tamper. (Rattleware) It's excellent! What a guy!

    Thank you so much to all of you for all the help and pointers. It was very much appreciated!

    A last question, are there any blogs you might recommend that I could follow to learn from in addition to reading here?

  6. #26
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    134
    Outstanding gifts, and SO! He's a keeper! Congrats. Blogs? Try this:

    Damn, my phone won't cut and paste the url, for some reason. So, go to Home-Barista.com ? Espresso Machine Reviews, Coffee Grinder Reviews, How-Tos and Discussion Forums and scroll down on the first page to the home espresso guide. It should have everything you need.

  7. #27
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Michigan, US
    Posts
    1,802
    EsspressB,

    I am not trying to burst your bubbles but this Gaggia is known to have problem with their durability and temp of their espresso.
    Their heating unit is small and result in not very hot espresso. Also their product durability is very questionable. Some people have reported with machine they had to take it back.
    I am sure not everyone one of them have problems.

    Good Luck.

  8. #28

  9. #29
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeJunky View Post
    EsspressB,

    I am not trying to burst your bubbles but this Gaggia is known to have problem with their durability
    Good Luck.
    CoffeeJunky, you aren't bursting my bubble, I completely understand that the Gaggia machine I got is not a long-term thing. As a matter of fact, I told my SO that the Baratza will be a one-time purchase and should last for many years. I'm hoping for 2-4 years out of the Gaggia. I'm okay with that.

  10. #30
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    134
    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeJunky View Post
    EsspressB,

    I am not trying to burst your bubbles but this Gaggia is known to have problem with their durability and temp of their espresso.
    Their heating unit is small and result in not very hot espresso. Also their product durability is very questionable. Some people have reported with machine they had to take it back.
    I am sure not everyone one of them have problems.

    Good Luck.
    The Gaggia is designed with italians in mind. They drink espresso like there's no tomorrow, multiple times per day. The gaggias have small aluminum boilers designed to heat quickly: wake up, flip it on, and brew in 10 minutes or so, flip off. Silvia needs 20-30 minutes to fully heat, with the bigger boiler and much larger mass of the brass group. Again, it's much easier to brew better with consistancy with a Gaggia, than Silvia. And for the $160-200 price, you can buy 3-4 machines before you drop Silvia money.

    Silvia has way too many issues for a $650 machine.

 

 
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