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3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
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fabchef
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Posts: 75
Location: mtl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 9:47pm
Subject: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

Hi everyone, i'm still in looking around for our next machine. Not too sure if it will be a new machine or used. saw the new gaggia classic in a store today (around 560$), but then was thinking of buying a used one and spending some some more on a good grinder, as that is key! the older ones are the gaggia "coffee" machines (tall with horizontal switches and know on side)..i know they don't have the 3 way, but is it really necessary? i know you will avoid the coffee "Shower" sometimes when opening PF..other then that? fabs
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,009
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:13am
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

"How to Buy an Espresso Machine"

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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MARIOBARBA
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MARIOBARBA
Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 126
Location: MONTREAL CANADA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Ascaso DUO Prof TRONIC
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 4:15am
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

I had an Avanti for a year (no 3 way) and an Ascaso now (3-way).  I could never go back to living without one.  It's fine if you use the same coffee, same grind all the time.  It becomes a real pain when dialling in a new bean. You either have to wait 1-2 minutes for the pressure to dissipate or deal with the portafilter sneeze if you want to pull another shot right away.  Also, forget about making espresso for more than one guest.  If I were you, I'd look at a newer Gaggia or find a way to go south of the border where the classic sells new for under 400$.
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,823
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 2:53pm
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

I have to agree with mario, I would never go back to not having a 3 way.  Two reasons, it's messier and back to back shots aren't as convenient.  That being said, the espresso will not be dependent of a 3way solenoid.  And machines without are cheaper, so it also depends on budget.  

And good thinking on the grinder ;)  No 3way solenoid will make up for that lol.  Do you have a budget in mind?  

If you haven't read the link provided by noobie, I'd highly suggest reading it before continuing.
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fabchef
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Posts: 75
Location: mtl
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

Hi Joel..ya i know my old gaggia espresso often makes a mess when i open up the PF...I know that grinders are key..i was looking at a rancilio rockey the other day, read good things on it. I also saw the baratza grinders but don't know much about them. I would have like to use the old used rossi grinder we had at our store, but it's really tall and uses 220V..Oh well
fab
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coffee_no_sugar
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Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 352
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: pavoni pub, brasilia club
Grinder: mazzer sj, mdf, infinity
Drip: melitta clarity
Roaster: popcorn
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 5:56am
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

Can't you open the steam wand a little bit to relieve the pressure?

Anyways I never found the 3-way value to be a must have.  Temperature stability is more important as I refuse to temp surf.  I also really like 10+ oz boilers in order to provide hot water for americanos, tea and hot chocolate.
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peterkub
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peterkub
Joined: 1 Aug 2011
Posts: 22
Location: Granger, Indiana, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Espresso
Grinder: Compak K3 Touch
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 7:07am
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

coffee_no_sugar Said:

Can't you open the steam wand a little bit to relieve the pressure?

Posted April 28, 2012 link

Yes, you can, but the valve in the group prevents all pressure to be relieved so unless you wait a while there always is some spill. When you make just one drink it's fine, you can leave it in until the pressure dissipates, but if you need to make a few drinks it's a major pain.
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MARIOBARBA
Senior Member
MARIOBARBA
Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 126
Location: MONTREAL CANADA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Ascaso DUO Prof TRONIC
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 8:17am
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

coffee_no_sugar Said:

 Anyways I never found the 3-way value to be a must have.  Temperature stability is more important as I refuse to temp surf.  I also really like 10+ oz boilers in order to provide hot water for americanos, tea and hot chocolate.

Posted April 28, 2012 link

Any machine with these characteristics will almost certainly have a 3 way valve.  These days it is only really entry level machines (sub 300$) that don't have a 3 way valve.  Any machine over 300$ without one is grossly overpriced IMO.
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coffee_no_sugar
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 352
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: pavoni pub, brasilia club
Grinder: mazzer sj, mdf, infinity
Drip: melitta clarity
Roaster: popcorn
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 9:54am
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

MARIOBARBA Said:

Any machine with these characteristics will almost certainly have a 3 way valve.  These days it is only really entry level machines (sub 300$) that don't have a 3 way valve.  Any machine over 300$ without one is grossly overpriced IMO.

Posted April 28, 2012 link

The old Solis SL90 was volometric, had electronic temperature control, brass boiler and did not have a 3-way valve.  Not entry level and cost much more than $300.

The old Gaggia Coffee was about $300, didn't have a 3-way valve and seemed fairly priced for the mid-range model.  ($100 more than the plastic bodied Gaggias and $100 less than the stainless steel Classic.)

Many espresso machines share the brass boiler and group of the Le'Lit.  Many of these machines do not have a 3-way valve and I would be surprised if you could find such a new machine for less than $300.
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SteveRhinehart
Senior Member
SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 855
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Hario Skerton
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop 3-cup
Drip: Chemex, CCD, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Flavorwave/Stir Crazy
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:00am
Subject: Re: 3 way solenoid..is it really a  "must-have"???
 

MARIOBARBA Said:

Any machine over 300$ without one is grossly overpriced IMO.

Posted April 28, 2012 link

Don't tell that to the lever heads!

I've never had a 3-way valve on a machine at home, and while I've certainly fallen prey to the dreaded Portafilter Sneeze a few times, I've never found that brewing shots back to back was all that difficult. My approach is to loosen the portafilter after the shot just enough that I can tilt it and release the pressure. This is sometimes accompanied by a bit of water, maybe some grounds, but for the most part, it's 5-10 seconds of steam and hot air blowing out before you can remove the pf and proceed as normal. That may be too much effort for some, I suppose, but it's hardly a chore.
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