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Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Have you...  
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globetrotter
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Sep 2013
Posts: 4
Location: San Diego
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Nov 24, 2013, 11:02pm
Subject: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

I have been using my GC for 6 months and is my first machine. I like everything about it except that I have to wait a minute or two when switching from brew to steam. I guess this is the biggest advantage of having a double boiler, right?

Is there any way to improve the GC so the wait time is less when switching functions? I let it sit for 15 minutes before using it so it's already nice and hot.

Do you think most people live with this, or do they move on to double boilers? I was looking at the Breville900XL - it seems really nice. I can get it new for $830, which is almost $400 cheaper than amazon. Is this too good of a deal to pass up? Will my espresso be far better tasting with this machine? It already is really good, so I'm trying to rationalize buying this but not sure if the results are going to be that much better.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 646
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 1:33am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

globetrotter Said:

I like everything about it except that I have to wait a minute or two when switching from brew to steam. I guess this is the biggest advantage of having a double boiler, right?

Posted November 24, 2013 link

I used to have a Silvia. Waiting on the machine was my biggest motivation for upgrading. Waiting to steam, flushing to brew and temperature surfing.
I had my Silvia for about 6 months before I moved on to a DB machine. Other than that, my Silvia was fine for the workload I was putting on it.

SBDU machines are great for low workload and if you don't mind waiting for steam, but they suck if you have company over.

Any heat exchanging or double boiler machine has the significant advantage of eliminating wait time. You can pull shot after shot and steam pitcher after pitcher as long as the boiler can handle it.

globetrotter Said:

Is there any way to improve the GC so the wait time is less when switching functions?

Posted November 24, 2013 link

Not that I'm aware of. The smaller the boiler, the faster it'll heat up, but the less temperature stability you have. One prosumer SBDU machine (Like the Bezzera Unica) has a high wattage
heater which lets the machine come up to steam temperature quickly. IMHO, it's better just to consider a prosumer class machine instead. Trying to upgrading your existing Gaggia would be like
beating a dead horse with a stick, not much point to it.

globetrotter Said:

Do you think most people live with this, or do they move on to double boilers?

Posted November 24, 2013 link

It depends on the person and the demand they plan on placing on the machine. There was one member on this forum who had his Silvia for nearly 20 years before he moved on. Is your Gaggia
handling everything you are throwing at it or do you want something which is more capable? If so, then I would consider a DB machine an upgrade in that regard.

My main motivation for moving away from a SBDU was that my little Silvia couldn't handle what I was throwing at it when I had company over. Wait for steam, Wait for temperature surfing...
All in all, switching over to a DB machine shaved off 6 minutes off my workflow per shot, which is pretty incredible.. and I'm not even a professional barista!

globetrotter Said:

I was looking at the Breville900XL - it seems really nice. I can get it new for $830, which is almost $400 cheaper than amazon. Is this too good of a deal to pass up?

Posted November 24, 2013 link

Well, there are a few issues I have with this:
  1. Is the place you are buying it from willing to provide you with support in the event that the machine breaks down? (ie. Exchanging it)
  2. Can the place you are buying it from service and/or repair the machine?
  3. If it is "Too good to be true", it probably is. There is a reason why it is cheaper, The question is, Why?
  4. Is the unit you are buying a refurbished unit or a new unit? Just because they say it is new doesn't mean that it is.
  5. What other things does the place you are buying it from sell? Do they understand coffee?

$830 is a great savings, but if you could be buying someone elses problem or you could just get ripped off. It's better to consider spending the extra money and getting the support you
need from a proper retailer than taking a chance on something that expensive. $830 could go towards buying a really nice grinder.

globetrotter Said:

Will my espresso be far better tasting with this machine?

Posted November 24, 2013 link

Yes and no.

Think of an espresso machine as an amplifier. The espresso machine amplifies any imperfections you put into it. A better espresso machine will only serve to more accurately
amplify the imperfections in the way how your grinder produces the coffee puck. Start with a decent grinder and a decent machine will make it shine.

You should be focusing on upgrading your grinder first before considering upgrading your machine. Only then, once you are using a better grinder, should you consider upgrading the machine.

I noticed far more of a difference in the quality of my shots when I went from a $300 Rocky to a $1100 Mazzer Mini than I did going from a $600 Silvia to a $2500 Alex Duetto.

Your Gaggia will probably be more reliable than the BDB and easier to service too... but IMHO, if you were considering upgrading, don't upgrade just because "You saw a good deal."
It could come back to bite you back in the rear. Upgrade because you legitimately want better shots.. Make sure to plan and budget on upgrading both your machine and grinder at the same time.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,474
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 6:36am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

HI
SBDU machines are GREAT to start with and for many, they are all that are required. It really depends on workload and what you want from the machine as to if you will gain much by moving up the chain.

DB machines are fine, so are HX, both will let you steam and pull shots at the same time. Due to more parts, a DB machine is more expensive than a HX all things equal in quality. I would question why a BDB is about the same price as a SBDU with a PID (Sylvia) now the Sylvia is a tank of a SBDU and the PID improves it, in todays market though it is a little over priced. As to the BDB, quality has been the shortfall of that machine. Many members here have had at least one replaced under warranty and as many as 4 under warranty to the same person has been reported.

You completely skipped over the HX, the quality in the cup is the same between the HX and the DB, methods of operation are slightly different but both are much more able machines than a SBDU. Why have you counted them out? What is it that they did not enter your thought pattern?

As Qualin said, the grinder has a huge affect on the shots. A better machine will require a better grinder in most cases.

Don't just shop with price in mind, yes there are some TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE deals out there but as the old saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

15 minutes to warm up is on the short side for a lot of machines, you probably can get away with it when you have a SBDU but even on my Sylvia I give it minimum of half an hour and often an hour when I use it on vacation. A HX or DB will REQUIRE a minimum of half an  hour warmup and will benefit from a longer warm up time.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,011
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 7:03am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

calblacksmith Said:

15 minutes to warm up is on the short side for a lot of machines, you probably can get away with it when you have a SBDU but even on my Sylvia I give it minimum of half an hour and often an hour when I use it on vacation. A HX or DB will REQUIRE a minimum of half an  hour warmup and will benefit from a longer warm up time.

Posted November 25, 2013 link

Yup.. Not to mention saving on the energy bill.  I love my Silvia for many reasons and I can easily look over the wait time when brewing to steaming with company over because.. 1. I don't have enough company over to justify moving up to an HX or DB. The extra energy consumption and longer warm up time will drive up the energy usage.  The Silvia only has a 700W element with around a 20-30min warm up.  A 15A HX or DB machines usually have 1200-1500W elements with at least a 30min warm up time.  For me the Silvia is about the best fit I can get for my situation.  

If you have the dow, the company, the upgrade bug and inclusive hydro go for a big machine. :P  I recommend sticking with the Gaggia if your just bothered by 1-2min.   Just wondering tho.  Have you tried making double the amount of steam with the Classic? I know my Silvia can handle 12-14oz of milk in one steam. This is enough for 2 drinks. That and an overdosed triple can make 2 lattes in one brew and steam cycle.
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 217
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, '84 La Pavoni Pro,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario, La Pavoni PGC
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

Burner0000 Said:

Yup.. Not to mention saving on the energy bill.

Posted November 25, 2013 link

Normally, one would think that running a machine for a shorter period of time would yield quite a bit of energy savings, but it's not always the case.  I use a power meter to watch my power consumption from time to time.

I have a La Pavoni Professional that takes about 160W+ in 10 minutes to come up to temp.
I also have an NS Oscar that takes 40 minutes to heat up, but only takes a little over 200W to come up to temp.

Let the La Pavoni run for a while and it quickly surpasses the Oscar for power utilization due to it's exposed boiler design, but if you power it on, set a timer, come back in 10 minutes to start prep, run your shots and steam your milk you can be done with under 200W consumed.  So the La Pavoni is more efficient than my Oscar if you don't mind the 10 minute timer, but if I were leaving a machine to run all day long so it's always at the ready the Oscar would be more economical I think.  I'm sure running more than 4-5 sessions in an 8 hour period on the La Pavoni would use as much power as having the Oscar on that same length of time.

I don't have a Gaggia Classic or Sylvia around to give you wattage consumed numbers though.  Since they have a tiny boiler and are enclosed they could be more efficient still.
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jonr
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 256
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 8:02am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

A major advantage of the Gaggic Classic over the Silvia is that you can get a declining temperature profile.  But maybe someone knows how to make a Silvia do it.

If you want very accurate temperature, most machines need a 45 min initial warm-up.  But this is about equilibration and has almost nothing to do with the heater watts.
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globetrotter
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Sep 2013
Posts: 4
Location: San Diego
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 8:24am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

qualin Said:

Well, there are a few issues I have with this:
Is the place you are buying it from willing to provide you with support in the event that the machine breaks down? (ie. Exchanging it)
Can the place you are buying it from service and/or repair the machine?
If it is "Too good to be true", it probably is. There is a reason why it is cheaper, The question is, Why?
Is the unit you are buying a refurbished unit or a new unit? Just because they say it is new doesn't mean that it is.
What other things does the place you are buying it from sell? Do they understand coffee?

$830 is a great savings, but if you could be buying someone elses problem or you could just get ripped off. It's better to consider spending the extra money and getting the support you
need from a proper retailer than taking a chance on something that expensive. $830 could go towards buying a really nice grinder.

Posted November 25, 2013 link

Thanks for your input! About the price of the machine- it is listed on Direct Buy, but I was using my friends log in subscription to see what Espresso machines they have. This is the only Semi auto machine they sell, the rest are full auto, but many are sold at wholesale prices.

I have a Gaggia MDF grinder right now. It sounds like I should upgrade the grinder first if anything since it's only a $200 grinder.

In the end, I think I'm convinced to stick with what I have right now. I'm going to try to do the steaming for 2 at the same time because before I was doing 2 separate cups. That will save me some time. I'm not sure what the "triple" is that was mentioned for 2 people, I only have the double shot basket that came with my kit.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 10:06am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

Qualin said: I noticed far more of a difference in the quality of my shots when I went from a $300 Rocky to a $1100 Mazzer Mini than I did going from a $600 Silvia to a $2500 Alex Duetto.


+1000000000 This is the hardest to grasp but is so important to understand.

 
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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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,474
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 11:07am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

Burner0000 Said:

Yup.. Not to mention saving on the energy bill. .

Posted November 25, 2013 link

Actually it does not cost all that much more, really, the vast majority of the power consumed is in the first 10 minutes or so, when the machine is warming the boiler to temp. Once the boiler is to temp, the heater only comes on for about 10 seconds a minute or so. This is true on all 3 of my commercial machines the Brazillia 2 gp, the ECM and the La Cimballi.

In fact, leaving the machine on all day costs less than turning it on and off 3 times in the same day per the Kill a watt meter I have on the machines. Even then, we are only talking about somewhat less than a dollar a day.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,878
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 8:32pm
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

globetrotter Said:

I have been using my GC for 6 months and is my first machine. I like everything about it except that I have to wait a minute or two when switching from brew to steam. I guess this is the biggest advantage of having a double boiler, right?

Is there any way to improve the GC so the wait time is less when switching functions? I let it sit for 15 minutes before using it so it's already nice and hot.

Posted November 24, 2013 link

There are Gaggia owners who have upgraded after many years with a Classic at least suggesting that 6 months is a quick outgrow.  Outgrown or upgraditis?  

I do not wait long for steam, as I add heat during the brew instead of letting the machine cool down from the incoming water.  With proper mods the Classic can work better.  It is more about usage pattern and particularly difficult to go from steam to brew with SBDU machines.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/571792

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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