Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 3,014 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 10:46am Subject: Re: Advise on low end equipment
Yes, the hand grinder is good enough. Added advantage it can be a travel grinder when you upgrade. It is hard to wrap your head around but a good grinder is key. You can make good espresso with a cheap machine and a 2k grinder but you can't make good espresso with a 2k machine and a cheap grinder.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 11:06am Subject: Re: Advise on low end equipment
As already covered, you need an adequate grinder. As to the Gaggia you mentioned.
Any idea if this a gaggia labeled "vintage" http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Gaggia-Classic-Espresso-Machine-/160988833785?pt=Small_Kitchen_Appliances_US&hash=item257baea7f9 is different enough from current ones to disqualify it from being a good buy?
It will be the same basic machine as the new Classics, so the desired stuff of adjustable OPV and 3 way solenoid valve. Look closely at the pictures as it is a bit scratched. I only note that because you mentioned finish of chrome of stainless. It has the older 2 spout portafilter and steam wand fitting, so fairly vintage. I would ask the seller to look inside and confirm that there are no leaks or residue from leaks noted. The price looks decent even if you have to change a few things and replace gaskets and O rings. OTOH, perhaps it is good as is. It has good bones to start with. This diagram is your friend if you go that direction.
alterview Senior Member Joined: 18 Feb 2013 Posts: 18 Location: Eugene Expertise: Just starting
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 12:58am Subject: Re: Advise on low end equipment
A Hario grinder paired with a Aeropress makes a great inexpensive combo. I have had many nice cups from them. From there you could save up for a better grinder (I am loving my new Pharos which is a great deal) then on to saving for a machine to fit your needs and budget.
As far as good quality espresso in concerned, it is difficult to do very well when starting with nothing and a budget much less than $1000 (buying used can help). It is nice that you can break it down into several smaller purchases though. Just remember that the grinder is the backbone of the whole system.
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