Newbie and New machine advice

space

New member
Dec 2, 2006
1
0
Hello! Im new to this forum and love coffee, espresso, but I reckon im making them all wrong. I had a cheap £40 espresso maker that i used but its packed in and now I want to get a really good machine but have no idea as to makes, spec etc

Can some one give me advice or point em in the right direction for getting a espresso mker that makes really good espresso (like in shops) I was looking at a Graggia (??please xcuse if not spelt right)

Are they good? What's the 'in' machine at moment

Thanks Chris
 

Palpitation

New member
Nov 22, 2004
12
0
I'm a Gaggia Espresso owner of two years. No previous espresso experience before that. Provided you use the right coffee it makes a delicious cup of espresso. Accordingly to my Italian boyfriend my espresso is better than any of the cafes round here though admittedly round here is a small rural Irish town so not exactaly coffee central.

Downsides are that it did take a bit of practice before I got it right, and even after two years I still have the odd unexplainable duff shot. It also it a bit more fussy than a normal coffee maker and the first time I had to give it a proper clean I was running around confusedly with screwdriver for about two hours. Though it was embarassingly easy once I figured it out.

Tips.

1. Even though a lot of devoted coffee sights will say freshly ground coffee is a must, I personally would go against all that say start off with pre-ground just so you *know* at least that part is right and you can work on the tamping and timing of your shots. When you have that right and still money in the bank you can get a grinder knowing your technique is right and you have a feel for the fineness of the coffee.

Make sure the coffee you but is espresso ground. I note this because sometimes coffee will say "espresso" but it refers to it being a dark roast and the ground is way too course. So make sure it actually says on the packet it is suitable for espresso machines. The exception is if it is Italian coffee. For that you can -mostly- go from the assumption that is suitablefor your machine if it says "espresso".

2. If you do buy or use a grinder a whirly blade grinder will not do the job and will leave you very frustrated. You need a burr grinder and they will not come cheap.

3. I think a lot of the Gaggia non-professional home espresso machines are more or less the same on the inside. There are some small differences but mine is one of the cheapest they make but I found it does everything I need it to do (espresso, steam and hot water) and neither is it flimsy. So with the more pricey machines you are mainly paying for good looks. As some are gorgeous machines that will look great in a chrome designer kitchen I think that can be worth paying for but I don't think you need to from a coffee point of view.

So that's it, just a few notes from experience. My Gaggia is my favourite bit of kitchen equipment I ever bought and I would recommend it provided you don't mind putting in a little bit of effort.

Also apologies if I assumed less knowledge than you have and you knew most of it already.

Good luck.
 

mrgnomer

New member
Jan 22, 2006
149
0
Canada
space said:
Hello! Im new to this forum and love coffee, espresso, but I reckon im making them all wrong. I had a cheap £40 espresso maker that i used but its packed in and now I want to get a really good machine but have no idea as to makes, spec etc

Can some one give me advice or point em in the right direction for getting a espresso mker that makes really good espresso (like in shops) I was looking at a Graggia (??please xcuse if not spelt right)

Are they good? What's the 'in' machine at moment

Thanks Chris

Gaggia's are spoken of well as capable, reasonably priced espresso machines.

I don't think it's quite true that higher cost goes into curb appeal. For machines that lure buyers by looks and promises maybe but for capable machines like the Gaggia line or the Rancilio Silvia (in the same design catagory) it's not true. The Silvia is a better machine by virtue of her parts and design. More brass, commercial grade boiler with replaceable thermostats, good three way valve and now an adjustable over pressure valve gives the Silvia excellent temperature stability, very good steaming capability, an adjustable pump pressure and over all greater durability.

For espresso extraction potential a good Gaggia and a Silvia are close. For a first machine that makes good espresso but doesn't break the bank a Gaggia is probably one of your best choices especially if you think you'll be upgrading to a better machine sometime soon.

Beans, grind and the hand of the barista are more important to good espresso so the kind of machine isn't as much of a factor in the cup if the machine is capable, I think. I've seen and had the espresso from a Gaggia and it was good. For your money, the Gaggia gives a better bang for the buck but the Silvia would be more robust, easier to modify and cheaper to maintain over time. The Silvia's higher resale value reflects it's higher quality.
 
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