tallica710 Senior Member Joined: 24 May 2012 Posts: 1 Location: chambersburg, PA Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 6:46pm Subject: best pre-ground for gaggia classic
Hello everybody, this is my first post here, so I am hoping you could help me out. I purchased a gaggia classic about 6 months ago. Since I purchased it, I have used 2 different types of pre-ground coffee - alessi and lavazza in blu. with the alessi, its too course and pours too quickly (particularly with a double shot). with the lavazza, it is too fine and pours too slowly. I have tried multiple tamping pressures, and nothing seems to work. I know that i need a grinder, and expect 400 messages saying so. Overall, I dont mind the taste of the coffee, it just drives me nuts that I cant get a consistent shot. My question is, does anyone have a gaggia classic and has success with a particular brand of pre-ground? Or, do you know any way to find the grind courseness prior to purchasing another brand? If I could just find some kind of measurement for the alessi and lavazza, I would just need something in the middle and I would be golden.
Again, I know that the coffee wont be as good as if I grind it, but I just cant convince myself in spending another 500 bucks on something that will make the coffee taste marginally better/fresher...let alone the cost of constantly purchasing beans. So if anyone could just help me with a pre ground selection that will give me a nice consistant shot with this unit, that would be great. I really appreciate it!
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 7:20pm Subject: Re: best pre-ground for gaggia classic
Respectfully I must say you are most incorrect when comparing preground coffee to that of freshly roasted, freshly ground for espresso.
Around here, the mantra has always been GRINDER FIRST.
You will not get anything resembling the taste, crema and bouquet from prepackaged ground coffee, which may be many months old. In fact even if it was 2 WEEKS old, it would have lost 75% of it's potential.
BTW, it wouldn't matter whether it's your Gaggia, a $7k La Marzocco or, a lever. The results would be the same.
You do not have to spend $500. OE (Orphan Espresso) sells an incredible manual grinder called a Pharos, with 64mm conical burrs at less than half $500. A Baratza Preciso grinder can be had at their website as a refurb, with full warranty for $250 or less.
Even a Hario Skerton, or other low priced manual ESPRESSO grinder, paired with freshly roasted coffee (best after 5 days, good till day 14-15) would be immeasurably better than pre ground LaVazza.
Obviously, as you expect 400 posts....you'll get far less, as folks will tire of re-iterating the obvious, you must already know of what I preach.
Get with the plan. You have a fine espresso machine, with a true professional porta filter/basket. Also, don't forget good, on the softer side water.
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 7:53pm Subject: Re: best pre-ground for gaggia classic
I have a Gaggia Classic and did similar. I read the posts, and my problem was trying to stay within a budget. I used coffee roasted and ground in a local shop. I would come home and get a reasonable brew once or twice and then rapidly down hill. You will have 2 problems, the ground coffee will not be fresh for very long. 1/2 - 1 pound ground and brought home will give you only a couple of doubles, say one ounce of grind, of decent espresso. Oh, and that is if you are lucky. You could get the wrong grind and choke the machine and waste it all, or too coarse. I also found the the correct grind on day one was not the same in a few days after the grind dried and oxidized. I was fortunate to get by for a short time and decided to budget for the grinder. I looked long at used Rockys, and then ended up with a Baratza Preciso refurb for $239, directly from Baratza.com. I think that is the best deal, though you could do ok with a hand grinder or used. The Baratza is nice as it fits with the Classic in undercounter space.
NobbyR Senior Member Joined: 10 Jul 2011 Posts: 2,074 Location: Germany Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo Vac Pot: N/A Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 6:41am Subject: Re: best pre-ground for gaggia classic
The basic problem is that in order to get the right extraction, your coffee needs exactly the right fineness of grounds. The odds of getting pre-ground coffee just right are like winning the lottery. Plus that right fineness can change from day to day depending on factors like humidity. So even if pre-gound coffee might by chance fit one day, it can be all wrong the next.
You need a grinder!
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 7:20am Subject: Re: best pre-ground for gaggia classic
"Again, I know that the coffee wont be as good as if I grind it, but I just cant convince myself in spending another 500 bucks on something that will make the coffee taste marginally better/fresher..."
It's not that it won't be as good. it's the fact that you cannot make espresso without a suitable grinder.
The only significant variable you have to make an espresso shot with a 25s or so pour is grind fineness. If you can't alter the grind you cannot achieve this and no espresso. Tamping alone cannot make up for a grind that is even slightly off what you need.
Spending another $500 gives you a way to make espresso which you currently don't have.
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 9:14am Subject: Re: best pre-ground for gaggia classic
I have a couple of very good ($) grinders ... but I also picked up the Krups Conical Burr Die Cast grinder from Amazon for $100 to test it out. (I think the price has jumped since I bought mine - maybe $140 now). I can totally get top quality espresso shots using that grinder. It isn't quite as easy to adjust and it's noisier than my commercial grinders - but I found it to be a totally acceptable espresso grinder for someone who doesn't want to spend $500 (or $5000) on a high end grinder.
I think you would be much, much happier with that grinder and fresh roasted beans than with any pressurized filter basket and preground coffee.
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