So I am looking into the Gaggia Classic as an option for a practice machine for both espresso and steaming. While I am on the lookout for a larger prosumer machine in the future I need a solid machine to practice on for the time being. I found the Gaggia Classic for $349 new.
It's got the OP valve, 3 way valve, 58mm portafilter and ball joint wand. My 2 concerns are the panerello wand and the boiler size, 3.5oz. I won't be making more than 2-3 shots at a time so 90sec wait is no big deal. I also see there’s a Saeco Panerello wand ideal for latter art frothing as well as the potion to install a Silvia V1/2 wand which I have on my Delonghi EC155. Has anyone had experience with temp stability with this machine? Should I look into buying a Classic or keep saving?
What is your goal? If it is to learn to make espresso in a coffee shop environment, this is not going to do it. It is a little like learning to drive in a GoKart when you want to learn to drive a cross country buss.
The Classic will be twitchy, unstable and not even close to the same experance yet it does have wheels on each corner and moves under it's own power same as the buss which is large, stable, consistent.
If your goal is to just make espresso for your home, it will work as a starter machine and many people are happy with them. If you are looking to buy one then instantly mod it, perhaps it isn't what you are looking for from the start and you should look for something that is closer to what you want.
Don't forget you need need NEED NEED! A good espresso able grinder and for new ones that have a motor on them, they START at your entire machine budget. If you don't mind turning a crank, you can get one for around $100 and up.
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Good call. Thx for the info. It was the low price point with a commercial portafilter that caught my eye. I use a commercial espresso grinder for my extractions. I Still have my eye set on an Oscar or La Cambali JR. I also read that this machine's shot's were comparable to the Silvia hence the dive.
A PID equipped Classic (after OPV adjustment), paired with a good grinder, and with a naked portafilter, would let you get a feel for how beans, grind, temperature and dose/tamp affects the taste of espresso. What it won't do is let you practice technique exactly as required for good espresso from a commercial machine, or practice steaming milk (there just isn't that much steam, so steaming would be very different on a good machine). The taste won't directly translate across either, as there is a particular temperature profile to the extraction that you can't do a lot about. Switching to a new prosumer/commercial machine would still be a big learning curve, but you might have tuned your taste buds a bit with the Gaggia. A PID'd Gaggia would still have some resale value though.
I have one for home use, but I'm looking to upgrade - mostly because mine is a 230V model, and the transformer required is ugly on my new worktop, although upgraditis is also a factor...
Yeah technique and feel is the must here. I am pulling bottomless right now as well as steaming ok but yeah technique and overall taste is what I am after. I should stick with a prosumer machine. I am brewing for home use mostly tho. I guess that's why it's hard to dish out 4 figures. I am grinding with a commercial machine so I am already tamping and dosing well I think.
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