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Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,383
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Mon Nov 25, 2013, 8:36pm
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?

Posted November 24, 2013 link

No.  It's the biggest DISadvantage to an SBDU (Single Boiler, Dual Use) . . .

Both HX (Heat eXchanger) and DB (Double Boiler) machines let you pull a shot and steam milk at the same time.

globetrotter Said:

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

"Nice and hot" is not the same thing as reaching a state of thermal stability.

globetrotter Said:

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.

Posted November 24, 2013 link

I used a Coffee Gaggia for 25 years -- it's the same as a Gaggia Classic, but without a 3-way solenoid.  Most people who are not Coffee Geeks or Home Baristas live with them. But the more serious people get about their espresso, the more likely they are to move to an HX or DB machine.  My excuse is that, when I started, there was no internet and I didn't know any better.  Since coming here in December 2005, I have purchased four espresso machines, five grinders, and a number of tampers, knockboxes, and other accessories . . .

Keep the Classic for now and upgrade your grinder!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
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, 10:13pm
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

But the more serious people get about their espresso, the more likely they are to move to an HX or DB machine.

Posted November 25, 2013 link

Agreed. For me, I decided to get something much more capable and left the consumer segment completely. It certainly is a different experience pulling a shot on a machine
which is an HX or DB as opposed to an SDBU. It also was very important to me to have a machine which could steam and produce lots of hot water. My Silvia was limited
in all of those areas. Although, for me as well, going from temperature surfing to a PID controlled machine also gave me more consistency as well, which was very
important to me. I wanted to know that I could pull a shot at 201 F instead of "hot enough."

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Keep the Classic for now and upgrade your grinder!

Posted November 25, 2013 link

Could not agree more. The Gaggia MDF is an entry level grinder. Focus on upgrading to something which is much more capable. Check the Buy n' Sell forums here. Fortunately,
grinders really are not complex machines, they grind or they don't... Once you have upgraded your grinder and you see how much of a difference it makes, THEN focus on the machine!

I do agree with Jason's post in that if the Gaggia does everything you need it to do, I don't see any need to upgrade and there's no sense in "upgrading" to a more capable
machine that may not be as reliable. (BDB Owners, please don't flame me!)

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,076
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 Tue Nov 26, 2013, 7:37am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

Hmm I guess I'm paranoid when it comes to the energy bill thing.   I didn't realize that it's really just the heat up time that consumes the most power.  This changes things for me.. lol

globetrotter Said:

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.

Posted November 25, 2013 link

A triple basket is an aftermarket 21g basket you can get for some machines out there.  58mm triple baskets are easier to come by than other smaller baskets for other machines.  You would also need a bottomless portafilter for the triple basket to fit.

Triple basket
Bottomless portafilter

I found triple shot's to have more flavor than the doubles and arent as overpowering as some may think.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,383
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Nov 26, 2013, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

calblacksmith Said:

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.

Posted November 25, 2013 link

A BIG +1

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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gophishin
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ecm technika iv profi
Grinder: baratza vario
Posted Tue Nov 26, 2013, 10:06am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

+1 on the grinder upgrade being the biggest or most appreciable factor.  I think that is definitely your first move.

I will put my $.02 in the ring though.  Although I am still new to this, I have taken it upon myself to read/research/watch just about everything I possibly can to educate myself and cut down on the learning curve, which I think I have done fairly well.  I'm really happy with my Classic and Vario setup, and I can easily see it making great espresso for years to come.  With that said, over the weekend I helped a friend dial in and learn how to use his quickmill anita (I know, it must be rough for his first foray into espresso to be on that level of machine...) and now I cannot wait to get a nice HX machine or similar.  

Using the same beans, the results in the cup were noticeable.  The crema had a more consistent texture and remained better in tact, the mouthfeel was much improved, and the process itself was just easier.  No temp surfing, no having to wait back and forth for steam, didn't have to worry about refilling the boiler, refilling the water reservoir, or emptying the drip tray, everything was just easier.  These are all conveniences that I could certainly live without, but I think the saying "lots of little add up to much" applies here.  So, I don't know if it's a case of outgrowing a machine or not, but appreciating the finer things, maybe.  

Also, espresso parts includes the triple basket with the naked PF http://www.espressoparts.com/G_59B
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adie
Senior Member
adie
Joined: 25 Nov 2013
Posts: 7
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Nov 26, 2013, 11:37am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

I think I steamed first with my le'lit- it's been a while since I've used it as my grinder is on the blitz- but it seems like I watched some you tube videos showing different methods-
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,219
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Tue Nov 26, 2013, 12:26pm
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

Kevin,

You're still very much a "beginner," when it comes to making espresso.  I don't think you've outgrown your Classic so much as you're coming to the realization that it was the wrong machine to begin with.  

The BDB is a very user friendly machine -- it's not only convenient but allows the user to shape shots without worrying about compensating for the idiosyncracies of the machine -- since it doesn't have any worth mentioning.  While it helps flatten the espresso learning curve about as much as a machine can, it is by no means perfect.  

There are other machines which are better built and will probably significantly outlast a BDB.  However, you won't find one nearly as feature laden nor as friendly without spending significantly more money.  By and large the espresso machine universe is filled with equivalences at just about every price range, and there are very few stand outs in terms of shot quality for the buck.  The BDB is one of the very few.  

There is one machine which is almost as friendly, a little bit cheaper than the BDB, but compromises on steam and doesn't seem better built than the BDB -- and that's the Crossland CC1.  And really, at the price you're talking about for the BDB, a CC1 doesn't make much sense.

A couple of other thoughts about the BDB.  Breville is coming out with a NEW and IMPROVED version, sometime in the very near future -- which is faster, more easily user serviced, and some other good stuff.  Also, since passing through an initial teething period of a few months, BDBs have held up very well and Breville factory service has been exemplary.  However... if you're buying a machine with the idea of keeping it forever, a BDB might not be a great choice.

BUT (and it's a very big butt), before you list your Gadj on Pimp's Craig's List and fire up your credit card:

GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER

I don't know what grinder you're currently using; but if you're going to up your espresso machine game to the level of a CC1, BDB, prosumer DB, or prosumer HX, it's important to have a good grinder.  You want something which (a) allows a lot of user control, and (b) has a good taste signature of its own.  You can live, but only adequately, with a grinder of Baratza Preciso ($300) quality; but you won't begin to live well until you're at the Baratza Vario level.  A new Vario goes for around $450, and a skosh under $400 refurbished.  

It adds up pretty quick, doesn't it?  

Even so, if I were buying a machine and grinder combination for either of my kids tomorrow, it would be the BDB + Vario.  

Good luck on this stuff and have a nice Thanksgiving too,
BDL
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
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 Tue Nov 26, 2013, 10:37pm
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

There are other machines which are better built and will probably significantly outlast a BDB.  However, you won't find one nearly as feature laden nor as friendly without spending significantly more money.  By and large the espresso machine universe is filled with equivalences at just about every price range, and there are very few stand outs in terms of shot quality for the buck.  The BDB is one of the very few.

Posted November 26, 2013 link

Couldn't agree more. The BDB is the cheapest double boiler machine on the market right now. The next cheapest double boiler machine is the La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi, which is roughly around the $2000 mark.

Between the price range of the BDB and the Mini Vivaldi, most of the other prosumer grade machines out there are all heat exchanging machines. So, if you're wondering what you get for the extra cash, it all
comes down to featureset and quality. For example, the Mini Vivaldi is a very proven and reliable machine which has been in the market for years. The BDB is earning its stripes and impressing a lot of people
on this forum with its capabilities.

boar_d_laze Said:

And really, at the price you're talking about for the BDB, a CC1 doesn't make much sense.

Posted November 26, 2013 link

Upgrading from a Gaggia Classic to a CC1 is certainly an upgrade, but I agree that for the cost difference it's kind of pointless, you might as well start in on a prosumer grade machine.

boar_d_laze Said:

A new Vario goes for around $450, and a skosh under $400 refurbished.

Posted November 26, 2013 link

The Baratza Vario and the Vario-W (Digital weighing) have been known to perform as well as grinders costing nearly three times as much. For home barista use, they're suitable and would provide for
grind quality which is leaps and bound over what you have now and is an relatively inexpensive upgrade. Well, inexpensive compared to actually buying a titan-class grinder anyway...

 
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: 7,734
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 Wed Nov 27, 2013, 7:22am
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

I must say that I have watched the whole BDB thing since the start. I started with hope that it would be an affordable entry level machine. I have watched the teething pains, the returned units, up to 4 times under warranty for one member. I have heard about how they were wonderful with customer service and that the "NEW" machine was coming out and "fixing" most of the initial issues.

The low price is a big draw for a lot of people but I would never invest any money in this machine for lack of quality reasons. Perhaps the NEW one will be better than the first. Perhaps they have worked out the bugs, Perhaps it will be a good starting point but I can not advise to buy one, not until the NEW one has proven to address the shortcomings of the first unit. There is a near cult following of that machine. If you are "one" it can do no wrong, no problem is too big, no issue that can not be glossed over. I do not fall into that camp. My PERSONAL advice to anyone is wait and see. A thousand dollars is a lot of money to pay to be a Beta tester.

If a person feels that it is a risk that is worth taking, may the winds of fortune blow on them and may there never be an issue. I really don't care one one way or the other, I do not have anything at risk but I can also not endorse the machine either. With your eyes open, if someone chooses to buy one, as I said, good luck, REALLY!

 
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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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 52
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Syphon
Roaster: Hottop+TC4C
Posted Sat Nov 30, 2013, 7:14pm
Subject: Re: Have you outgrown you Gaggia Classic?
 

gophishin Said:

+1 on the grinder upgrade being the biggest or most appreciable factor.  I think that is definitely your first move.

....I'm really happy with my Classic and Vario setup, and I can easily see it making great espresso for years to come....

Posted November 26, 2013 link

+1. Have the same set-up and I am very happy with it. I also added a PID to the classic, which also improved the taste of my shots.

Globetrotter, I know you mentioned that you realize that your next move should be the grinder up grade, but I just want to share my experience with the grinder upgrade.

When I was looking to purchase a grinder I was torn between the Baratza Preciso and their Vario. I ended up getting the Preciso, mainly because the price was lower and I heard it would do what I wanted it to do. I used it for 3 weeks or so and started to have issues with it. Long story short, I decided to forget the Preciso and put-up the extra cash to upgrade to the Vario. I could tell an immediate positive difference in the very first shot I used the Vario for. I mean, it was not even dialed in properly (it was kinda close) and the improvement in taste astounded me. I thought to myself, 'Wow I really should have bit the bullet and spent the extra money right for the beginning.' Well... I guess I would not have appreciated the quality of taste I am getting now if this did not happen, so I am happy that things worked out the way they did :~D

By the way, I bought the refurbished models of both the Preciso and the Vario. This was cheaper than buying new and the Vario preforms better than I imagined it would.
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