HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Entry Level Espresso (24 msgs / 698 lines)
1) From: Tom Maynard
I have it narrowed down to (essentially) two machines:
 * Saeco Via Veneto
 * Gaggia Coffee/Espresso
Which would you choose, and why?  I'm making my first foray into espresso
(beyond the $4 SB/CC/IC/.../you name it).  While I realize that neither of this
is a Racilio Silvia, which seems better to you for the first strike?
Thanks,
Tom.

2) From: Eddie Dove
Tom,
Gaggia Espresso / Carezza ... read this review of the the Saeco (click
here)...
especially "The Final Word" at the end.
Hope this helps ...
Eddie
On 11/25/06, Tom Maynard  wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: Tom Maynard
Eddie,
I have seen that site -- and read that review (several times, in fact).  The
note that at $50 the Saeco would get a 10/10 review was not lost on me --
unfortunately (alas) there is no corresponding review of the Gaggia
Coffee/Espresso.
I'm not sure it's fair to assume that the GC/E would maintain its rating
regardless of price -- and that's the reason for my original post.  If they
could be had for the same price, would the Gaggia be the preferred machine?
Thanks,
Tom.

4) From: Eddie Dove
In my opinion, absolutely yes.  The Espresso / Carezza appear to win at that
price point.  Check out this
linktoo.
Eddie
On 11/25/06, Tom Maynard  wrote:
<Snip>

5) From: Eddie Dove
I have been beating this one up for a while, too.
Eddie
On 11/25/06, Tom Maynard  wrote:
<Snip>

6) From: Tom Maynard
Eddie,
<Snip>
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  The Carezza is outside my budget at
this time, but the comparison to the Espresso(/Coffee) is valid, and I'm
focusing my attention on the Gaggia line.  They do seem to garner the highest
praise -- at each and every price point.
Thanks again, and good coffee to you!
Tom.

7) From: Eddie Dove
Maybe I'm not being helpful, because I have misinterpreted something ...
Which of the Gaggia's are you focusing on?  I think the Gaggia Carezza and
Gaggia Espresso are the least expensive in their line.  Isn't the Gaggia
Coffee even higher?
I'm sorry if I'm being more of a hindrance than a help.
Eddie
On 11/25/06, Tom Maynard  wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Tom Maynard
Eddie,
You're being helpful, indeed.  My budget is limited to about USD 100 for an
espresso machine.  That puts me in the "last generation" (or earlier) turf. 
The Gaggia Carezza (gotta love that name!) is simply too new to be cheap enough
for my  paltry budget.  I'm restricted to the Coffee and/or Espresso units from
several years back.
I'm reasonably sure that there aren't any substantive differences between these
models (none have the 3-way pressure valve, e.g.), and they all utilize
essentially the same boiler, etc.
It's like shopping for a Mercedes with a $10,000 budget: you already know the
brand, now you just have to find the year/model that matches your purse
strings!  It's definitely (at this point) Gaggia for me -- now I just have to
determine how far back into their past I must go to match my wallet.
Thanks for all your input -- it's been helpful, to be sure!
Tom.

9) From: Sandy Andina
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I'd go for the Gaggia. The Via Veneto is flimsy and doesn't even use  
a standard portafilter.
On Nov 25, 2006, at 8:14 PM, Tom Maynard wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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I'd go for the Gaggia. The Via =
Veneto is flimsy and doesn't even use a standard =
portafilter.
On Nov 25, 2006, at 8:14 PM, Tom Maynard =
wrote:
I have it narrowed down to = (essentially) two machines: * Saeco Via Veneto* = Gaggia Coffee/EspressoWhich would you choose, and = why? I'm making my first = foray into espresso(beyond the $4 = SB/CC/IC/.../you name it). = While I realize that neither of thisis a = Racilio Silvia, which seems better to you for the first = strike? Thanks,homeroast mailing listhttp://li=sts.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo change your personal list settings (digest = options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go to http://=sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings = Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-271--624664498--

10) From: Eddie Dove
Ah!  Now I understand completely and ... Sorry ... I made an assumptive
leap.  I think if you can find a decent Gaggia in your price range, I would
definitely select that one.
And, what Sandy said about the portafilter.  The Gaggias use a standard
commercial 58 mm.
Eddie
On 11/25/06, Tom Maynard  wrote:
<Snip>

11) From: Jeremy DeFranco
I would definitely go for a Gaggia w/a "Real" Portafiliter. I beleive all
Saecos have a "crema enhancer" that is simply a layer of rubber at the
bottom of the portafilter, through which the espresso is forced through at
high pressure. This creates what I call "pseudo-crema". That little rubber
layer in my opinion is a POS. With it, you can never make true espresso.
Crema will no longer result from great technique or age of beans, it will be
the same, regardless! It's terrible! (I know, because I have a Saeco Magic
Cappucino machine) [i.e.- it takes AWAY from a proper grind and/or proper
distribution and tamp, and it may produce much higher pressures than what is
optimal for great espresso; There is no way to tell if you've been using
proper technique, because the rubber layer has a tendency to make all shots
look nearly the same]. Having a 58mm "real" portafiliter is priceless in my
opinion, and should not be underestimated. Having a machine w/one of these
is definitely the best way to work on technique, as every shot will hinge
upon your very technique, grind, and beans, and NOT the POS rubber layer,
which produces consistantly inferior results no matter what. Another great
thing about having a real portafilter is that you can ultimately upgrade to
a bottomless portafilter, which will really allow you to work on technique.
I don't beleive you can find a bottomless portafilter for Saecos. Finally,
having a "real" 58mm portafilter (w/out the rubber POS) will allow you to
practice for when you upgrade to a better machine further down the road
(which will also contain a "real" portafilter). This is really priceless, as
you will always know you will be improving your technique for a better
machine someday. Practice w/a Saeco might throw you off the "golden path",
as you'll be using a "crema enhancer" and different size portafilter, both
of which you will never see in a higher quality machine (atleast the crema
enhancer, for sure).

12) From: Derek Bradford
If you're into used gear, you can sometimes find deals on eBay.  I
bought a Gaggia Classic for 40 bucks a while ago.  It's still in the
mail, so we'll see if it's in good shape when it arrives.  If you
aren't in a rush for a machine, I'd watch eBay closely, especially
just after Christmas when the market dips.
--Derek
On 11/26/06, Tom Maynard  wrote:
<Snip>
-- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth

13) From: Brett Mason
Tom...  Take a peek at the machines that Sweet Maria's sells.  Get the
Gaggia...
Regards,
Brett
  Former owner of Saeco (Starbucks Barista), Silvia, and lots of steam
toys...
  Now owner of UNIC Diva and loving it
On 11/25/06, Tom Maynard  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

14) From: Sandy Andina
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On Nov 25, 2006, at 10:51 PM, Jeremy DeFranco wrote:
<Snip>
However, you can buy an aftermarket non-pressurized portafilter from  
Saeco or Starbuck's--it lacks the rubber layer (I think it's 53mm),  
is heavy stainless steel and can make halfway decent crema--at least  
on the original Saeco Rio Vapore/Estro Profi/Starbucks Barista  
Classic machines.
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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On Nov 25, 2006, =
at 10:51 PM, Jeremy DeFranco wrote:
I beleive all = Saecos have a "crema enhancer" that is simply a layer of rubber at the = bottom of the portafilter, through which the espresso is forced through = at high pressure. This creates what I call "pseudo-crema". That little = rubber layer in my opinion is a POS. With it, you can never make true = espresso. However, you can buy an aftermarket non-pressurized portafilter from = Saeco or Starbuck's--it lacks the rubber layer (I think it's 53mm), is = heavy stainless steel and can make halfway decent crema--at least on the = original Saeco Rio Vapore/Estro Profi/Starbucks Barista Classic = machines. Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-272--611634243--

15) From: Sandy Andina
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I'd also like to add that not all Saecos are superautos like the  
"Magic;" with a plain portafilter and proper grind and tamp, they can  
make good espresso (though their steaming power doesn't do good  
microfoam).
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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I'd also like to add that not =
all Saecos are superautos like the "Magic;" with a plain portafilter and =
proper grind and tamp, they can make good espresso (though their =
steaming power doesn't do good microfoam).
Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-273--611502159--

16) From: Jeremy DeFranco
The Magic is a semi-auto, but yes I'm sure all Saecos would make good shots
w/out crema enhancer and w/good technique. I guess the trick is to find a
plain portafilter. Then, after that, is there really a big price difference
between Saeco and Gaggia? I would still go with the Gaggia, just because its
got that nice 58mm portafilter (not the "Saeco size"), and the entry level
Gaggia has most of the same high quality internals as the higher priced
Gaggias. The Saecos just seem to be designed for use with the rubber layer,
not for true non-rubberized portafilters. I don't like the small diameter of
the Saeco basket, either- probably pretty tough to go bottomless, unless you
are a skilled metal worker. The Gaggia, on the other hand is designed for
use with the true 58mm portafilter in mind. I think it's a good entry level
machine, because if you upgrade in the future, you'll already be used the
58mm portafilter, and, if you want to spend the extra $$ on a bottomless
58mm portafilter in the future (for the Gaggia), you can have room to get
some real good technique down with a very inexpensive machine.
---I'd also like to add that not all Saecos are superautos like the
"Magic;" with a plain portafilter and proper grind and tamp, they can
make good espresso (though their steaming power doesn't do good
microfoam).
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
---However, you can buy an aftermarket non-pressurized portafilter from
Saeco or Starbuck's--it lacks the rubber layer (I think it's 53mm),
is heavy stainless steel and can make halfway decent crema--at least
on the original Saeco Rio Vapore/Estro Profi/Starbucks Barista
Classic machines.

17) From: Derek Bradford
On 11/26/06, Jeremy DeFranco  wrote:
<Snip>
I'm a little confused.  Are you saying that the person would already
have experience with the 58mm pf, or that the Gaggia pfs are
interchangeable with other machines?
--Derek
-- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth

18) From: Sandy Andina
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  I used to own a Saeco RIo Vapore and then an Estro (Starbucks'  
precursor to "Barista" as their rebadged Saeco) Profi. I got very  
good espresso from both till the pump and burrs finally croaked on  
the Estro.  FWIW, when I went to replace it, I wanted to upgrade to a  
Gaggia (Rancilio was not availiable in Chicago at the time and  
Internet marketing was in its infancy); only thing that kept me from  
getting a Gaggia was that the shop owner (a master roaster and  
barista whose judgment I trusted) had just himself bought a Capresso  
Ultima and was raving about it.  In retrospect, had I stuck with my  
original intent and bought a Gaggia, I might never have discovered  
the Silvia and gone straight to an HX machine like my Livia 90A when  
upgrade fever eventually struck.
One other factor that is different today:  apparently, the quality of  
available non-automatic Saecos has nosedived, but the cost of Gaggias  
has plummeted without compromising quality. In 1998, there was no  
Gaggia available under $500 (more like $700). Today, you can score a  
Gaggia Carezza brand new for $200 or so--$150 less than that Capresso  
Ultima I bought (a superautomatic sans grinder that looked like R2D2).
	
On Nov 26, 2006, at 2:18 AM, Jeremy DeFranco wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
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I used to own a Saeco RIo =
Vapore and then an Estro (Starbucks' precursor to "Barista" as their =
rebadged Saeco) Profi. I got very good espresso from both till the pump =
and burrs finally croaked on the Estro. FWIW, when I went to replace =
it, I wanted to upgrade to a Gaggia (Rancilio was not availiable in =
Chicago at the time and Internet marketing was in its infancy); only =
thing that kept me from getting a Gaggia was that the shop owner (a =
master roaster and barista whose judgment I trusted) had just himself =
bought a Capresso Ultima and was raving about it. In retrospect, had =
I stuck with my original intent and bought a Gaggia, I might never have =
discovered the Silvia and gone straight to an HX machine like my Livia =
90A when upgrade fever eventually struck.
One other factor that is = different today: apparently, the quality of available non-automatic = Saecos has nosedived, but the cost of Gaggias has plummeted without = compromising quality. In 1998, there was no Gaggia available under $500 = (more like $700). Today, you can score a Gaggia Carezza brand new for = $200 or so--$150 less than that Capresso Ultima I bought (a = superautomatic sans grinder that looked like R2D2). = On Nov 26, 2006, at 2:18 AM, Jeremy DeFranco = wrote:
The Magic is a semi-auto, but yes I'm sure all Saecos = would make good shots w/out crema enhancer and w/good technique. I guess = the trick is to find a plain portafilter. Then, after that, is there = really a big price difference between Saeco and Gaggia? I would still go = with the Gaggia, just because its got that nice 58mm portafilter (not = the "Saeco size"), and the entry level Gaggia has most of the same high = quality internals as the higher priced Gaggias. The Saecos just seem to = be designed for use with the rubber layer, not for true non-rubberized = portafilters. I don't like the small diameter of the Saeco basket, = either- probably pretty tough to go bottomless, unless you are a skilled = metal worker. The Gaggia, on the other hand is designed for use with the = true 58mm portafilter in mind. I think it's a good entry level machine, = because if you upgrade in the future, you'll already be used the 58mm = portafilter, and, if you want to spend the extra $$ on a bottomless 58mm = portafilter in the future (for the Gaggia), you can have room to get = some real good technique down with a very inexpensive machine. = ---I'd also like to add that not all Saecos are superautos = like the "Magic;" with a plain portafilter and proper grind and = tamp, they can make good espresso (though their steaming power = doesn't do good microfoam). Sandy www.sandyandina.com www.sass-music.com ---Howeve= r, you can buy an aftermarket non-pressurized portafilter from = Saeco or Starbuck's--it lacks the rubber layer (I think it's = 53mm), is heavy stainless steel and can make halfway decent = crema--at least on the original Saeco Rio Vapore/Estro = Profi/Starbucks Barista Classic machines. = Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-282--586002877--

19) From: miKe mcKoffee
<Snip>
Gaggia's use standard 58mm size PF but are NOT interchangeable with other
brands espresso machines, different locking lug pattern.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.

20) From: Eddie Dove
But tampers and other stuff will ...
Eddie
On 11/26/06, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>

21) From: Jeremy DeFranco
Derek,
     I meant that a person w/a Gaggia (which has a 58mm portafilter) will be
gaining experience with the Gaggia 58mm portafilter. Therefore, if you
upgrade in the future, you will already be used to the 58mm commercial-sized
portafilter, which are also to be found on the upper-end home machines (and
commercial machines, for that matter). Gaggia portafilters are not
interchangeable with other machines, however, if you want to go bottomless,
there most definitely are Gaggia bottomless portafilters available (assuming
you are not a metal mechanic, and can do it yourself). Eddie also made the
great point that other accessories are more readily available for the 58mm
portafilter than the "Saeco size". This is key, because you want to be able
find good tampers that actually fit your portafilter correctly. This is not
too easy to do w/a Saeco (You're choices in tampers is much more limited).
Also, this kind of saves you some money in the long run. If you choose to
upgrade in the future, you won't also have to spend money to upgrade your
tampers, because the ones you use for a Gaggia will be the same ones you use
for an upper-end home machine. Bottom line IMO: Gaggia's are more
reminiscent of upper-end home and commercial machines than Saecos.
<Snip>

22) From: Michael Dhabolt
I recently obtained a Classic Coffee Gaggia and have been exercising it a
bit while doing some rebuilding, replacing the brew thermostat and minor
mods (bottomless PF).  I came across this machine at a give-away price at a
local thrift store...just couldn't walk past it.  It required complete
dis-assembly, some machining on the aluminum boiler flange, some new wiring
termination and a little rust removal/repaint.
I've recently acquired a Scace Thermofilter and a data logger so....I
started doing some shot pulling with different heating, heater switching an=
d
flushing regimes, focused toward being able to pull shots a consistent 200=
F
or so temperature.  I couldn't seem to get anything closer than 10 degrees
one way or the other.  I remembered a comment by Jim Schulman a while back
about the thermostats on these small machines needing replacement every few
years, so I purchased a new brew thermostat from EPNW for $17 (installed
with a little thermal compound).  So far the thermostat replacement seems t=
o
have tamed the machine and I've been pulling shots in the temperature windo=
w
I was looking for.  I've been surprised at how good the shots have been.
I lived for five years with two generations of the Barista (*$) branded
Saeco machines.  One with and one without the 'enhanced' PF.  My
relationship with these machines was terminated several years ago when I
acquired a single group Astoria HX machine.
Comparison between the Gaggia and the Saeco machines, in my experience,
leaves the Gaggia as a clear winner.  I was happy with the Saeco until I ha=
d
something to compare it to,  and I believe it is a serious step up from the
'steam toy' and other small pump machines.  It, however, never produced the
quality of shots that I have recently pulled with this Gaggia........my
level of knowledge, equipment necessary to analyze shot temps and other
variables could be considerations with respect to my conclusions.
Mike (just plain)

23) From: Derek Bradford
Thanks Mike.  That's what I figured.
On 11/27/06, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
-- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth

24) From: Derek Bradford
Thanks for the clarification.  Agreed on all points.
--Derek
On 11/27/06, Jeremy DeFranco  wrote:
<Snip>
-- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth


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