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For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > For $200-$300...  
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rcooley
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: My Computer
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 5:49pm
Subject: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

Hi. I'm looking to buy my first espresso machine in the 200-300 dollar range. The one I've been looking at is: the Gaggia Espresso Pure.
I would probably not buy a grinder if I bought this machine. Is that a good choice? In my 200-300 dollar price range, getting a decent espresso machine would mean no grinder. I'm not much of a connoisseur, so I don't think the difference between espresso brewed from coffee ground at a coffee shop (or from pods) and coffee I grind myself is even worth it.

So, my question(s) are:
  1. At my price range (200-300), it makes sense to put my money into a good espresso machine, instead of in a grinder and a bad espresso machine, right?

  2. At my price range, is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best machine?

Thanks,
RC
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xxguitarist
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Oct 2009
Posts: 81
Location: Southern OR
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale MiniVivaldi II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 6:23pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

The opinions I've picked up on here are that grinders are just as important as the machines. Personally, I'm just starting too so I can't vouch for it.
I'm about to order a hand grinder from orphanespresso.com, which seems to come well recommended. They have several models in the $75 range.
You might be able to pick up a machine used in the buy/sell area on this forum, saving a few $$ in the process.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 7:00pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

Ryan --

While there is no doubt that $200-$300 is a lot of money, sadly it's not very much money in the "Wonderful World of Espresso" IF one speaks of new equipment.  You will get more for your money if you can find a good deal on a used machine, rather than spending all your money on a new machine.  To that end, Ryan, Andrew gave you some great advice: check out the Buy/Sell/Trade forum.  One of the great advantages here is that you know (or rather, are reasonably assured) that the person selling the machine has cared for it, and is probably selling it because they are upgrading.  But eBay, craigslist, garage sales, thrift stores and the like are also good sources.

Ryan AND Andrew --

Definitely check out Orphan Espresso, and CALL/EMAIL THEM:  tell them what you are looking for, what you need.  Doug and Barbara are very good about telling you which hand grinders are great for espresso, and which are are better for more coarsely ground methods of preparation . . . not all hand-grinders are created equal!  

You will hear it said that "An espresso machine is just a water delivery mechanism; it's the grinder that makes the espresso."  (Or variations to that effect.)  Do not underestimate the importance of a grinder.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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rcooley
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: My Computer
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 7:45pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

Thanks for the great suggestions! I will definitely check out the site you listed and the Buy/Sell/Trade forum.

I forgot to mention one other thing:
I will mainly be using this machine to brew espresso for mochas, maybe some other flavored drinks, as well as the occasional latte or cappuccino. I will probably almost never drink straight espresso. So, if the chocolate/other flavors of these drinks, along with the milk, will mask the partially-stale flavor of an espresso pod or beans ground at the coffee shop, that would be fine with me!

Thanks!
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 7:53pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

Good advice so far...

Yes, in that price range, speaking of New Equipment, the Espresso Pure is a good choice.  But, without a grinder, NO machine is a good choice.  Pre-Ground coffee isn't going to always work.  Simply because, there is no "espresso grind".  A shop won't be able to grind coffee how YOU need it ground.  You need to tailor your grind to YOUR specific situation.  From one day, to the next, it changes a bit.  So, maybe you go to the shop one day and get your coffee ground.  You take it home, and the shot pulls decently by some miracle.  Well, a couple days later, the shot won't pour the same with the same grind.

We don't suggest buying a better grinder then your machine, or to spend at least as much on your grinder as on the machine(in this price range) purely to be coffee snobs.  We suggest that, simply because, you asked for advice on an espresso machine, and we tell you plainly, It isn't going to work without a grinder.  Getting the coffee ground at a shop, or buying pre-ground isn't going to cut it, and we want you to know that before you spend money on a machine, and possibly regret it because the shots aren't pleasing.  Just because you don't consider yourself an Espresso Aficionado, that doesnt mean you will enjoy lesser quality espresso.  Have you ever tasted a poorly prepared espresso?  Its pretty terrible.  Bitter, Hot, Thin, Gross.

OrphanEspresso is THE place to go for a hand grinder under 100 bucks.  Add to that a used machine of decent quality(somethign similair to your Gaggia Choice),and you'll be able to make good espresso, granted to use fresh coffee.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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xxguitarist
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Oct 2009
Posts: 81
Location: Southern OR
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaziale MiniVivaldi II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Posted Tue Oct 13, 2009, 9:19pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

Jason, I talked to Barb today by email, and thats how I came to the conclusion of a Zass grinder.

Ryan, a fairly poor espresso shot (one I wouldn't drink straight, but not miserably bitter) will easily make a cappuccino that I can enjoy, with somewhere in the 8 oz of milk range. I imagine your syrups etc would mask the espresso even further.
This is about where my machine is at, pre-upgrades. Hopefully in a week or so I'll be able to drink the espresso straight and enjoy it! When it's well made, it's quite tasty.

So, yes- you could probably be satisfied with grocery store/coffee shop "espresso" ground coffee, and a $100 pump machine with a pressurized PF.  From my readings, PPFs will give consistently mediocre results, while non-pressurized baskets will open up the doors to good quality, they are also less tolerant of the wrong grind/tamp/bean quality.

My question would be, why not spend your allocated budget to make a better drink, by buying the machine used & getting one of the hand grinders, and using a non-pressurized PF? You could likely do this within or only slightly above your budget. You'll need a proper tamper also, to do this well, rather than the plastic unit that will likely come with the machine.

This thread may be worth a read also. "I want to make mediocre expresso"

Again, I've only been in this a week more than you, so understand that the others in this thread have a lot more experience, I'm just trying to offer some insight from a beginners perspective.
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Wed Oct 14, 2009, 1:02pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

rcooley Said:

I'm not much of a connoisseur, so I don't think the difference between espresso brewed from coffee ground at a coffee shop (or from pods) and coffee I grind myself is even worth it.

Posted October 13, 2009 link

You really don't need to be anything close to a connoisseur.  Beans must be ground just prior to use.  There's a significant difference between relying on stale pre-ground beans that won't be the proper grind for your needs and grinding just prior to use.

For any coffee (not just espresso) grinding just before brewing is critical.
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rcooley
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Location: My Computer
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 14, 2009, 2:41pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

Just one other thing: The Gaggia Espresso Pure has a non-pressurized portafilter. Will it be hard to make even a mediocre shot without fresh ground coffee without a pressurized portafilter?

Even with pods, will the espresso taste bitter and gross? (I'm not expecting it to be great when coming from a pod, but will it be drinkable?)

Thanks,
RC
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davethebrewguy
Senior Member
davethebrewguy
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 1,228
Location: The Brewery
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Fiorenzato Bricoletta,...
Grinder: Compak K-6, Baratza Maestro...
Drip: Saeco Renaissance
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 14, 2009, 4:31pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

rcooley Said:

Even with pods, will the espresso taste bitter and gross? (I'm not expecting it to be great when coming from a pod, but will it be drinkable?)

Posted October 14, 2009 link

That depends. Is your definition of "drinkable" the same as mine?
You can get "decent" (not great, or even good, merely OK) espresso from high quality, fresh pods. These may be hard to find since most pods are not that fresh and many are filled with mediocre coffee. If you do manage to get good pods that are fresh, use them up before they get stale.
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Wed Oct 14, 2009, 4:57pm
Subject: Re: For $200-$300 price range is the Gaggia Espresso Pure the best choice?
 

POD espresso isn't Undrinkable.  I would rather drink a Pod Espresso, then an Espresso made with pre-ground coffee... Personally.

Pod espresso to me.. Is lacking flavor that the coffee could have had.  There isn't as much body, and there is more bitterness, then bittersweet-ness.  For milk drinks, it ain't bad.  As espresso, well, it's pod espresso.  For me, it tends to taste more like a generic "coffee" flavor, then anything else.  I tried some POD shots at a William Sonoma Store, from some Pod-Only machine I hadn't seen before.

What I would do, if I was using PODS, I buy PODs from reputable roasters.  SOME roasters sell thier espresso blends in PODS.  Supreme Bean comes to mind.  That is probably you're best chance at getting the best shot from a POD, I would think.

Now that Im thinking of it, Chris' Coffee actually used to sell a POD machine.  I can't remember the name, but maybe someone else will.

You know what else you might consider, POD wise.. IS a Nespresso machine.  In the world of Capsules/Cartridges/Pods, the Nespresso seems to be the most reccoemend.. I personally have never tried it.  Bear in mind, with a NEspresso machine, there is NO option of making real espresso.  Its a Nespresso Capsule machine... No portafilter.

SeattleCoffeeGear.com sells some Nespresso models, among other places.


Honestly.. What I think would be your best bet.. Is an OrphanEspresso hand grinder, and a used machine from Ebay or on our Buy/Sell/Trade forum here.  That, along with Fresh, Artisan roasted coffee, and you can make some good espresso.  You dont need to spend a lot of money for good espresso, but there is a bare minimum to get you going.  Going used, you POTENTIALLY could get a Grinder/Machine and Tamper for under 200 bucks.  Figure ~$100 shipped, for the HAnd Grinder, Figure ~$30 for a decent tamper, and 70-100 bucks, IF you're patient, for a Used Gaggia machine.  I was able to find a Gaggia Classic, for 200 Bucks.  It IS doable, but patience is key.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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