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Help with making a choice (beginner)
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mkdsl
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Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 18, 2014, 7:06pm
Subject: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

Hello everyone, first time here. I'm a student and looking to get my feet wet with brewing espresso at home.
My budget and choice are both  severely limited, but I looked around and judging by what I saw here, I THINK I'm going in the right direction with my starting gear.
I plan on grabbing Gaggia Evolution from my local dealer here. For start, I plan on using store-ground espresso from my local coffee shop ( I think I'll be able to persuade them to grind it for me, I'm buying their coffee after all) before I get my hands on the Gaggia MDF.
Now comes my question, since I'm a total noob about this things.
First off, how does Gaggia Evolution compare to Saeco Poemia? I can get the Poemia for a bit cheaper, and I can write a checkque (delayed payment will make my life easier, espresso machine is a big investment since I live in eastern Europe). As far as I can understand, they both have options for both pressurized and unpressurized portafilters - correct me if I'm wrong here.

Second, how do the grinders like Krups GVX 242 rank compared to Gaggia MDF? I can presume that the answer would be "not so well" or worse, but I'm on a strict budget here, and MDF is really stretching it.
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jliedeka
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jliedeka
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Posted Tue Mar 18, 2014, 8:11pm
Subject: Re: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

I am not familiar with either of the espresso machines you mention but as long as they are pump driven, you can probably get something decent out of them.  Other features like a three way solenoid and 58mm portafilter are nicer but you can live without them if you don't have the budget.

A decent grinder is really required.  I can understand going with pre-ground to start but it's not the best solution.  I know the Gaggia MDF is a decent, if entry level, grinder.  I don't know anything about the Krups GVX 242.  After a quick look, I would suggest that it's a waste of money.  My first burr grinder was pretty low end and, in retrospect, it wasn't any better than a mill grinder.  Save the $60 toward something better.  A cheaper alternative to the Gaggia would be the Baratza Virtuoso or even a Maestro Plus.

What you really want out of a grinder is adjustability and the largest burrs you can get.  Adjustability will help you dial in your shot better.  Larger burrs give a more consistent grind with fewer fines.  There really is a reason to spend more money on a grinder.  As you go up in price you get those features plus better motors.

    Jim

 
Cafe todo el dia, tequila toda la noche
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mkdsl
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Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 18, 2014, 8:57pm
Subject: Re: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

Thanks for the reply. I found it really useful regarding what I should look for in grinders. Unfortunately, I can't get my hands on either of those that you mentioned, as I've previously said, I'm severely limited in my choices here. I could barely get in touch with even one Gaggia distributor. Heck, it's gonna be a challenge even finding a tamper here! There are no specialized stores anywhere near!
As far as the machines go, to the best of my research, they none have the 3 way solenoid and both have 58mm portafilters. Gaggia does seem to win over as far as critics go, tho I couldn't find the two compared side by side.
Also, just to make it clear, I'm not exactly looking for "the perfect espresso shot and crema made from clouds of heavens themselves", I probably wouldn't know one even if I tasted it, my experience is based almost exclusively on coffee shops. I'm perfectly aware I have to fork out serious cash to get seriously good espresso. I'm merely looking to match the quality of those coffee shops or surpass it somewhat, seeing as some of the coffees I tasted were pretty bad, and also the coffee shops here tend not to service their machines frequently enough.
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CoffeeRon
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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 12:32am
Subject: Re: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

If you wouldn't mind grinding by hand you might want to start with a hand grinder. It's a good way to start on a low budget as you can get a grind quality that matches a far more expensive electric for a fraction of the cost. Just make sure to get one that's good for an espresso grind.
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mkdsl
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Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 7:56am
Subject: Re: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

I think the hand grinder would be the best choice for me by far, if only I could get my hands on a proper one... we only have those old school brass grinders here where I live. I also saw something like that reviewed on this site under "other hand grinders". Would those be any good? Also, what should I look for when I buy a hand grinder?
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takeshi
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takeshi
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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 10:29am
Subject: Re: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

mkdsl Said:

For start, I plan on using store-ground espresso from my local coffee shop

Posted March 18, 2014 link

I'd highly recommend against this.  First, it's going to be difficult to get them to grind it properly for your machine.  Second, ground coffee goes stale very quickly and you'll have all sorts of trouble trying to pull espresso with stale grinds.

mkdsl Said:

Thanks for the reply. I found it really useful regarding what I should look for in grinders. Unfortunately, I can't get my hands on either of those that you mentioned, as I've previously said, I'm severely limited in my choices here. I could barely get in touch with even one Gaggia distributor. Heck, it's gonna be a challenge even finding a tamper here! There are no specialized stores anywhere near!

Posted March 18, 2014 link

Where is "here"?  Do you not have any online sources available?

mkdsl Said:

I probably wouldn't know one even if I tasted it

Posted March 18, 2014 link

It's generally not too difficult to tell the difference between poor and good espresso -- even to the inexperienced palate.
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canuckcoffeeguy
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canuckcoffeeguy
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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 2:50pm
Subject: Re: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

mkdsl Said:

as I've previously said, I'm severely limited in my choices here. I could barely get in touch with even one Gaggia distributor. Heck, it's gonna be a challenge even finding a tamper here! There are no specialized stores anywhere near

Posted March 18, 2014 link

Where in Europe are you located? Perhaps our European members can point you to some online retailers, to increase your purchasing options.
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mkdsl
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 4:09pm
Subject: Re: Help with making a choice (beginner)
 

takeshi Said:

Where is "here"?  Do you not have any online sources available?

Posted March 19, 2014 link

As a matter of fact, I do not. I live in Serbia, even if I ordered something from Italy (it's actually not far away), the shipping rates and taxes would kill my budget. That's even if the company's willing to ship the product to me, which almost never happens.

So anyway, say I get a Gaggia Evolution and a hand grinder, one of those turkish brass ones. Those can be found easily here, and they're VERY cheap, and yes, they're adjustable. Is it gonna cut it in your opinion, for starters at least?
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