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Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
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mariog7
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Mar 2011
Posts: 210
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano
Grinder: Vario
Posted Wed Dec 28, 2011, 1:42pm
Subject: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

Ok, after experiencing real espresso at a local Italian cafe, I got the urge to be a home barista.  My first go round was purchasing a used Rancilio Silvia v2 + Rocky Grinder.  I learned from this forum that the most important aspect of pulling a good shot was fresh beans.  Found some great resources for beans on this forum, and tried for about a month.  My first attempt was always hit or miss; extremely intermittent.  Some days I can pull a good shot, and other days horrible.  Too sour, too bitter, channeling, too fast shot, too slow shot, etc.  Ms. Silvia was a very temperamental woman.

After quickly becoming frustrated with Ms. Silvia's intermittent and fussy attitude, I bought a super-auto (don't laugh).  Yeah, it made consistent shots, but consistently crappy.  The Saeco went on ebay fast, and this was an expensive lesson to learn.

Next, I bought the Gaggia Classic with Baratza Preciso grinder.  This was over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I am ecstatic at how easy it is to get consistently excellent shots!    It's actually really hard to screw up.  I have been dosing 14g (using a .1g resolution digital scale), tamping, and pulling the shot right when the ready light comes on.  That's all their is too it!

So for those of you considering a first machine, I hope you can learn from my lesson and unbiased comparison.  Take it from someone that had both - In my opinion, the Gaggia Classic (paired with Baratza Preciso grinder) is a better choice for beginners because:

- Better temperature stability (less thermal swing)
- Less fussy
- Less time to heat up before use
- For latte / cappuccino, you can go from boiler to shot mode faster (because the boiler is smaller)
- Much cheaper

Disadvantages (compared to Silvia)

- Silvia steam wand is better.  However, I purchased the Silvia steam wand for $30 and watched how it can be retrofitted on youtube.  This made a tremendous improvement in steam capacity with the Gaggia.
- Smaller boiler

I hope this helps.
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thepixie
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Nov 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Dec 28, 2011, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

This is really helpful, thanks!  I've been trying to get a sense of which machine (Rancilio Silva vs. Gaggia Classic) would be best, and so your description is quite illuminating :)

I spoke to a sales associate at a local cafe (that also sells machines), and he highly recommended the Rancilio Silva, but couldn't give any reason why it was better than the Gaggia Classic (he said that it had better pressure, but he didn't explain what that meant, given that they both post 15 bars in their specs).  The steamer wand on the Rancilio definitely seemed better than the Gaggia, though, and that for me was a strong reason to choose the Silva over the Gaggia.

When you say that the Silva was temperamental, what do you mean?  Just that it requires more attention and more adjustment to produce consistent quality?
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mariog7
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Mar 2011
Posts: 210
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano
Grinder: Vario
Posted Wed Dec 28, 2011, 4:16pm
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

Glad it helped.

The Rancilio Silvia will not produce a good shot if the grind is not dialed in perfectly or doesed / tamped perfectly.  Don't get me wrong - these parameters need to be dialed in with any machine, however the Gaggia is known to be more "foregiving" than the Silvia.

I would recommend checking out wholelattelove.com.  They typically advertise coupon codes for the Gaggia on their home page, and you can also get the Rancilio want, which fits on the Gaggia - http://www.wholelattelove.com/Rancilio/silvia_steam_pipe.cfm
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dman777
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Dec 2011
Posts: 236
Location: austin
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia- No PID
Grinder: Compak k3 touch
Drip: french press
Posted Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:25pm
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

Did you figure out why you were getting sour shots with the redbird beans? Have you tried other beans besides starbucks and redbirds? I would like to know if this machine does not agree with some beans and if so how much of a problem that could turn into.
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Jsolanzo
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 39
Location: SLO
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Mypressi Twist?
Grinder: Hario Mini Mill, Mazzer...
Drip: Chemex 3 Cup, Aeropress,...
Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011, 2:46am
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

I don't think certain blends or SOE's could not be brewed in the G classic or any other machine.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,041
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 Thu Dec 29, 2011, 3:10am
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

mariog7 Said:

... My first go round was purchasing a used Rancilio Silvia v2 + Rocky Grinder....After quickly becoming frustrated with Ms. Silvia's intermittent and fussy attitude, I bought a super-auto (don't laugh).  Yeah, it made consistent shots, but consistently crappy.  The Saeco went on ebay fast, and this was an expensive lesson to learn...Next, I bought the Gaggia Classic with Baratza Preciso grinder.  This was over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I am ecstatic at how easy it is to get consistently excellent shots!    It's actually really hard to screw up.  I have been dosing 14g (using a .1g resolution digital scale), tamping, and pulling the shot right when the ready light comes on.  That's all their is too it!...

Posted December 28, 2011 link

Personally I don't think that the change from Rancilio Silvia to Gaggia Classic made the difference, but the switch from Rancilio Rocky to Baratza Peciso, which IMHO is the better grinder for making espresso. The steps of the Rocky are rather wide, which can sometimes leave you stuck in between two steps for proper extraction.

Both, the Silvia and the Classic are SBDUs capable of delivering great shots.

 
***
"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)
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mariog7
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Mar 2011
Posts: 210
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano
Grinder: Vario
Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011, 6:32am
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

Dmann,

It was my stupidity, freezing a big jar of Redbird, opening the jar letting air in, then freeze again.  It was the "spoiled" beans.  All other fresh beans I have used since them work perfectly.
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 968
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011, 9:09am
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

mariog7 Said:

The Rancilio Silvia will not produce a good shot if the grind is not dialed in perfectly or doesed / tamped perfectly.  Don't get me wrong - these parameters need to be dialed in with any machine, however the Gaggia is known to be more "foregiving" than the Silvia.

Posted December 28, 2011 link

For anyone shopping this is an extremely common comment regarding the Silvia and should be easily uncovered if you're doing your research.  I guess it might be overlooked a lot by newbie shoppers because the comment is typically made by people upgrading from the Silvia to another machine (i.e. how much easier it is to get good results with the new machine versus the Silvia).

NobbyR Said:

Personally I don't think that the change from Rancilio Silvia to Gaggia Classic made the difference, but the switch from Rancilio Rocky to Baratza Peciso, which IMHO is the better grinder for making espresso. The steps of the Rocky are rather wide, which can sometimes leave you stuck in between two steps for proper extraction.

Posted December 29, 2011 link

The Rocky certainly doesn't help but even after 9 years I occasionally miss with a pull on my Silvia -- even paired with a Super Jolly.  Silvia seems to prefer what probably seems like a slight underdose and if dosing by volume as I do it's fairly easy to get it wrong in either direction and I would guess that this is exaggerated if you're just starting out with espresso.  I don't find tamping to be all that critical and its importance seems overstated in many cases even with other machines.

NobbyR Said:

Both, the Silvia and the Classic are SBDUs capable of delivering great shots.

Posted December 29, 2011 link

Both are certainly capable but the mano of the 4 M's is much more important with the Silvia and that is, again, a common sentiment.
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midwestnowaves
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Aug 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 9:06am
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

I was going to buy a Gaggia Classic for $349 (new, on sale at Whole Latte Love) and the Virtuoso Preciso. But after reading comments on this forum and elsewhere I am concerned about the potential corrosion issue with the Gaggia boiler.

I know everyone has their fave between the two machines, but I'd like to get some expert feedback just on durability. I can't afford to make a costly mistake. So here's my question: If you were going to buy a machine that would last for years (and I won't be upgrading, not handy enough to be swapping out boilers etc) would you buy the Classic or the Silvia V3 and why?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 9:54am
Subject: Re: Why I Love My Gaggia Classic - A Perfect Choice for Beginners
 

midwestnowaves Said:

I was going to buy a Gaggia Classic for $349 (new, on sale at Whole Latte Love) and the Virtuoso Preciso. But after reading comments on this forum and elsewhere I am concerned about the potential corrosion issue with the Gaggia boiler.

I know everyone has their fave between the two machines, but I'd like to get some expert feedback just on durability. I can't afford to make a costly mistake. So here's my question: If you were going to buy a machine that would last for years (and I won't be upgrading, not handy enough to be swapping out boilers etc) would you buy the Classic or the Silvia V3 and why?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Posted August 8, 2012 link

Long as you take care of it and descale etc, I wouldn't be worried at all about corrosion, plenty of people with Classics going on 5+ years with no issues. If you don't take care of it by descaling periodically and back-flushing and you have hard water, then yeh the aluminum could deteriorate vs brass of Silvia.
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