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Jenn312
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 6:27am
Subject: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

So I am taking the plunge on a Gaggia classic today because its on sale for $350. Yes I plan on getting a grinder now also.

My question is what kind of a tamper do I need, also do I need to buy a knock box now also. It's hurts to spend so much money in one shot, so I am looking for items I can wait to buy in a month or two. Are there any other accessories I will need in the future.

Finally are there any good bean distributors online or do I have to buy locally?
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,123
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 7:25am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

congratulations!  Glad to hear we got through to you on the grinder.

check this out for online roasters... Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

I've tried a decent number of them. Many people start with Red Bird.  It's about as cheap as you will find for anything worth buying - especially if you get a 5# bag.  you might want to read about bean storage too.  There are many threads on it...and long debates on whether to freeze or not, and if so, how to do it properly (without ruining your beans).

regarding the tamper...well, something with at least the base made out of metal is best (IMO).  They come in different materials, each with different weights.  Unfortunately, it's hard to find a place to explore what style and what weight feels good in your hand.  Perhaps there's a local cafe where you could go to see what they use?  Most places have several different tampers, and some baristi even have their own personal ones (I'm not talking about *$$ here). I'd be shocked if they didn't let you hold them in your hand for a few seconds to see what they feel like. I'm not the best guy to help you find the cheaper ones, as I kind of splurged on custom designed from Reg Barber.  His tampers are great, but there are certainly more affordable options.  

You will definitely need somewhere you can knock out your pf.  Do you need to buy a dedicated knock box for that? Well, maybe not. As long as you have a place to bang it, where the grounds will fall out into a container (instead of all over the floor or counter), you should be good for a while.

I'm guessing you've already decided on a frothing pitcher and cups?

Other accessories to consider:  gram scale (to 0.1g resolution - about $20-40); shot glasses; pitcher thermometer; cleanup towels...?

At some point, you'll probably want to upgrade to steam wand to the Silvia one (there are threads on this), but it can certainly wait.

now...go read article 12 on www.espressomyespresso.com Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home.  It'll give you a little head start and something to do while you wait for your machine to arrive.  :)

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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ddubick
Senior Member


Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 146
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Appia 1Gr
Grinder: OE Pharos, Macap M5, Nuova...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 7:39am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

I've seen so many posts where we tell people to get a good grinder and they come back saying they bought a Breville Smart Grinder or some other mediocre grinder not capable of espresso because it was at their local big box store and it was the most expensive one they had.

Please let us know what kind of grinder you are considering.
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Jenn312
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

emradguy Said:

congratulations!  Glad to hear we got through to you on the grinder.

check this out for online roasters... Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

I've tried a decent number of them. Many people start with Red Bird.  It's about as cheap as you will find for anything worth buying - especially if you get a 5# bag.  you might want to read about bean storage too.  There are many threads on it...and long debates on whether to freeze or not, and if so, how to do it properly (without ruining your beans).

regarding the tamper...well, something with at least the base made out of metal is best (IMO).  They come in different materials, each with different weights.  Unfortunately, it's hard to find a place to explore what style and what weight feels good in your hand.  Perhaps there's a local cafe where you could go to see what they use?  Most places have several different tampers, and some baristi even have their own personal ones (I'm not talking about *$$ here). I'd be shocked if they didn't let you hold them in your hand for a few seconds to see what they feel like. I'm not the best guy to help you find the cheaper ones, as I kind of splurged on custom designed from Reg Barber.  His tampers are great, but there are certainly more affordable options.  

You will definitely need somewhere you can knock out your pf.  Do you need to buy a dedicated knock box for that? Well, maybe not. As long as you have a place to bang it, where the grounds will fall out into a container (instead of all over the floor or counter), you should be good for a while.

I'm guessing you've already decided on a frothing pitcher and cups?

Other accessories to consider:  gram scale (to 0.1g resolution - about $20-40); shot glasses; pitcher thermometer; cleanup towels...?

At some point, you'll probably want to upgrade to steam wand to the Silvia one (there are threads on this), but it can certainly wait.

now...go read article 12 on www.espressomyespresso.com Easy Guide to Better Espresso at Home.  It'll give you a little head start and something to do while you wait for your machine to arrive.  :)

.

Posted April 30, 2013 link


Thank you

I already have a frothing pitcher, a thermometer, and a scale. I am narrowing down my shot glass options. Thanks for recommending to change out the wand in the future.

There are so many different tampers I got confused but I would prefer to stay in the $20 - $30 range so hopefully whichever one I pick will do.
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 857
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 7:50am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

Plus 1 to all that Ron said but let me add a couple thoughts. I  use Redbird as the "house blend" or "table coffee" still. I keep a second grinder for artzy-fartzy play time. I love my RB tamper and the longer I am at this the more strongly I prefer my short handle. It allows me to place the ball of the handle in the palm of my and still allows my short little sausage fingers to reach the the edge of the base which helps me with an even tamp. You  don't have to have a knock box but you really want one if you or the wife are neat freaks. I would go with the tubby to try to control the mess.

IMO the importance of cups cannot be overstated. Get the heaviest chunk of a cup you can. I love my ACFs but they are no longer made so in time I will have to switch to something else like Inker or NP.

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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Jenn312
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 7:52am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

ddubick Said:

I've seen so many posts where we tell people to get a good grinder and they come back saying they bought a Breville Smart Grinder or some other mediocre grinder not capable of espresso because it was at their local big box store and it was the most expensive one they had.

Please let us know what kind of grinder you are considering.

Posted April 30, 2013 link


I am hovering between the Baratza Virtuoso and the Preciso. I am trying to decide if the extra $80 for the Preciso is worth it for me and my needs.
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gophishin
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2013
Posts: 65
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ecm technika iv profi
Grinder: baratza vario
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 7:53am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

Congrats, I just got my Gaggia Classic last week and I've been super happy with my decision.  I'm guessing you are ordering from WLL?  If so, they have a rosewood handled stainless steel 58mm tamper that isn't listed on their website, but they were willing to give me for around $25, it looks good, fits well, and feels to be of nice quality, especially given the price.  

As far as everything else goes, pull up comparable or same items from SCG or other sites and give WLL a call, they were very flexible in price matching with me, often times beating the prices of others.  Although I was thinking about making my own, I picked up the modern knock box, which I like very much and I love and use my rattleware 3oz shot glass pitcher everyday - it has been very helpful in being able to see the different color in the shots and obviously gauging the volume I'm getting out.  You could probably get away without some of the other stuff, but I kind of figured if I was going to buy it eventually I would take advantage of the free shipping and no sales tax so I also picked up a 20oz rattleware frothing pitcher, a thermometer, some durgol decalcifier, and the rancilio silvia steam wand.  The only thing I wish I had also picked up would be the blind filter basket to backflush with.  They price matched or discounted everything I purchased except the steam wand, and were very nice to work with over the phone.  

If you have any other questions, I'd be glad to help where I can.

EDIT:  after reading the replies, and your grinder choice, I think it's obvious after any bit of time spent on here or HB that the preciso is the right choice between those two, and worth the additional money.  I was set on buying a refurb preciso, but was lucky enough to get a refurb vario as a gift and couldn't be happier with it.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,123
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 8:11am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

Jenn312 Said:

I am hovering between the Baratza Virtuoso and the Preciso. I am trying to decide if the extra $80 for the Preciso is worth it for me and my needs.

Posted April 30, 2013 link

You may not realize it, but I think if you were to try both, you would find the Preciso is worth the extra cost.  You might also want to consider waiting for Baratza to put a refurbished one up for sale on their website ($239).  They come with a full year warranty and all the great service advice you get with a brand new one.  Baratza updates the website Thursday mornings to showe current availabilty, and it's first come, first served on refurbs.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Jenn312
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 8:28am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

gophishin Said:

Congrats, I just got my Gaggia Classic last week and I've been super happy with my decision.  I'm guessing you are ordering from WLL?  If so, they have a rosewood handled stainless steel 58mm tamper that isn't listed on their website, but they were willing to give me for around $25, it looks good, fits well, and feels to be of nice quality, especially given the price.  

As far as everything else goes, pull up comparable or same items from SCG or other sites and give WLL a call, they were very flexible in price matching with me, often times beating the prices of others.  Although I was thinking about making my own, I picked up the modern knock box, which I like very much and I love and use my rattleware 3oz shot glass pitcher everyday - it has been very helpful in being able to see the different color in the shots and obviously gauging the volume I'm getting out.  You could probably get away without some of the other stuff, but I kind of figured if I was going to buy it eventually I would take advantage of the free shipping and no sales tax so I also picked up a 20oz rattleware frothing pitcher, a thermometer, some durgol decalcifier, and the rancilio silvia steam wand.  The only thing I wish I had also picked up would be the blind filter basket to backflush with.  They price matched or discounted everything I purchased except the steam wand, and were very nice to work with over the phone.  

If you have any other questions, I'd be glad to help where I can.

EDIT:  after reading the replies, and your grinder choice, I think it's obvious after any bit of time spent on here or HB that the preciso is the right choice between those two, and worth the additional money.  I was set on buying a refurb preciso, but was lucky enough to get a refurb vario as a gift and couldn't be happier with it.

Posted April 30, 2013 link



Yes I am ordering the Gaggia from WLL but I planned on getting the grinder and accessories from SCG because when I called for help SCG was very helpful while WLL was borderline rude to me. I would have prefered to order everything from SCG but they don't sell Gaggia :(. I will take your advice and get the filter basket and decalifier now. I honestly forgot about maintenance products, I am glad you reminded me.

I know deep down I should get the Preciso but I just need to convince my frugal side  that the extra $80 is worth it.
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Jenn312
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013, 8:30am
Subject: Re: Dumb Questions about accessories
 

emradguy Said:

You may not realize it, but I think if you were to try both, you would find the Preciso is worth the extra cost.  You might also want to consider waiting for Baratza to put a refurbished one up for sale on their website ($239).  They come with a full year warranty and all the great service advice you get with a brand new one.  Baratza updates the website Thursday mornings to showe current availabilty, and it's first come, first served on refurbs.

Posted April 30, 2013 link

Thanks I will do this, I love to save.
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