HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Espresso machine on a very tight budget (25 msgs / 591 lines)
1) From: Brian Fowler
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Just wanted to get some input on some of the low end machines.  I had =
intented to purchase a silvia/rocky combo but have had some unexpected =
expenses have come up. With this new developement in mind, I am looking =
for something in the low end that will make decent/good espresso.  I =
have a Bodum Antigua grinder that I use for press coffee but still plan =
on getting the rocky.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 

2) From: Brett Mason
Check out the Gaggias that Tom offers on Sweet Maria's...  They are
good values for the money!
On 3/2/07, Brian Fowler  wrote:

3) From: Brian Fowler
I was thinking about the Gaggia Espresso as one option.  Anyone have any 
experience with this machine?

4) From: Carole Zatz
This is exactly what I did. I just got the Gaggia Espresso and the
Rocky grinder (this week). Definitely recommend this combination. The
only negative to it at all is the short wand you end up with on the
Gaggia (no one recommends using their frother to make microfoam).  You
just need to use a 12oz. frothing pitcher and all is well. My other
grinder was the Bodum Antigua and I ended up having to use it for 2
days (the espresso machine arrived but the grinder was 2 days later).
It simply was not up to the task. The Rocky grinder came this morning
and it was a revelation. Worked like a dream. You will love them!
Takes some playing around to get the feel of the Gaggia but I think
that's true of all espresso machines. i am very much a novice but
still my early shots taste as good – no make that better than – most,
if not all, of the coffee shops around. It's great fun and you're in
for a treat. Now, if only I could get some sleep :) What do they say
... sleep is overrated anyway!
On 3/2/07, Brian Fowler  wrote:
ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>

5) From: Tim TenClay
I have the Gaggia Espresso http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.gaggia.shtml)It's a great machine, I'd recommend it to anyone!
My fav parts are:
  - Produces great espresso
  - Warms up quickly
  - Makes a nice foam for caps
  - Powerful steamer (it's very comparible to the professional machine
I used to use in a coffee shop.)
  - The portafilter mechanism is solid and heafty -- I like that.
  - The water resivior is big..I never run out.
My least fav parts:
  - The foaming wand is a littleshort (I don't have the plastic
thingey attached)
  - After pulling a shot, I have to wait a little while for the
steamer to heat up enough to steam milk for a latte/cap -- it's not
long and doesn't bother.  But you should be aware of it.
A couple of things...I don't use the extra gizmo that's supposed to
help with crema and get plenty.  I also don't use the extra addition
that's supposed to help foam the milk - don't need it.  I also never
use the single shot portafilter...The double is perfect for everythign
I do (it probably doesn't help that I don't seem to get as good of a
shot from the single one.)
If you've used a store-bought home-style machine you'll e overwhelmed
by the amount and power of the steam this baby gives out....
If you have any questions about the machine I'd love to answer what I
can, feel free to drop me a note (teejtc).
Grace and Peace,
The content of this e-mail may be private or of confidential nature.
Do not forward without permission of the original author.
Rev. Tim TenClay, IAPC, NATA #253
Dunningville Reformed Church (www.dunningville.org)
Personal Blog:http://www.tenclay.org/blog

6) From: raymanowen
"I have a Bodum Antigua grinder..."
Hang on to the grinder, Brian. The ONLY DIFFERENCE between the Solis Maestro
and the Bodum Antigua is in the spelling of their names. They both look like
ducks and sound like ducks.
I have had them both, and Completely (as in, Totally) dismantled the Solis
Maestro.I didn't do an autopsy on the Bodum, but from the minor physical
exam I did on it, they're both ducks!
If you have already suffered financial woes, plug the hole Now. You have an
ideal coffee setup as it is. You can tune it to peak performance with a new
set of burrs for the Bodum. I wouldn't fritter away any money until you can
plan on getting the best grinder you can find.
After you possess your Ace of Spades grinder, then you can enjoy the Great
Leap Forward in flavor of your favorite brewing methods and beans. Tom
doesn't sell Low End Beans. You think you roast them well now --- They'll
really whistle Dixie and you'll discover unimaginable flavors if you are
very careful how you grind them.
Don't mistreat the Best Beans on the Planet with any kind of Low End
process! The grinder is both the Gateway and the bottleneck to further
brewing methods. If you couple Low End grinder with Low End brewing, the
best your coffee is going to be is Low End... starting with a finite supply
of the Best Beans.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
How to apportion the planet's Best Beans to Low End Coffee - by plan...

7) From: Ed Needham
The Gaggia Espresso and a quality grinder can make incredible espresso.  And 
occasionally you can find them very cheap.  Years ago I found three of them 
at a Big Lots store selling for $99 !!!  I considered buying all three, but 
only got one.  It worked good, but I really didn't have a good grinder.  I 
upgraded to a single group commercial machine and a commercial grinder and 
the Gaggia went into the basement.  One day I took it out, cleaned it up and 
pulled some shots using my commercial grinder.  I was amazed at how 
wonderful the shots were.  The machine performed like a champ with a quality 
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)

8) From: Eddie Dove
Just to echo the sentiments of the others, I have a Mazzer Mini for the
grinder and a Gaggia Carezza (same as espresso) and it is quite the capable
setup.  Of course, I have noticed that the quality of the espresso is highly
dependent on the loose nut behind the portafilter handle.
Docendo Discimus
My Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 3/2/07, Brian Fowler  wrote:">http://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/On 3/2/07, Brian Fowler  wrote:

9) From: Tim TenClay
As a grinder note: I have a hand-grinder (Zass) and would recommend it
to someone with a limited budget.  It creates an incredible grind for
a much lower price than the good electric ones and doesn't take any
time at all to grind enough for a shot of espresso (or a batch of
drip, for that matter).
Grace and Peace,
On 3/2/07, Tim TenClay  wrote:
The content of this e-mail may be private or of confidential nature.
Do not forward without permission of the original author.
Rev. Tim TenClay, IAPC, NATA #253
Dunningville Reformed Church (www.dunningville.org)
Personal Blog:http://www.tenclay.org/blog

10) From: Lynne Biziewski
I love my Zass - only I want to mention, if someone has arthritis, bursitis,
or any similar - it can get painful after awhile.
I didn't mind it at all during the first few months (and it does make such a
fine cuppa!) - perhaps it's just that I'm worse during the winter. At any
rate, I'm thinking of putting mine on eBay because of this.
On 3/3/07, Tim TenClay  wrote:

11) From: Brian Fowler
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
If you do decide to sell please let me know I would be interested in it. =
 I've not gotten arthritis, in my hands/arms yet anyway.

12) From: Michael Wascher
AFAIK they were all made to be functional.
If you do get one that was used for decoration then the burrs should be in
good condition.
On 3/3/07, Jim Carter  wrote:
"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but
planning is indispensable." --Dwight D. Eisenhower

13) From: Branden Byers
Seems like there have been plenty of replies to this already, but I
want to second the Gaggia Espresso. I used it for well over six months
and it was a great learning experience along with my Zass grinder. It
worked better for me to cut the portafilter bottomless instead of
using the plastic pour spouts. The machine was an excellent trainer on
technique and I've had some really great shots from it.
Having just received my new Quickmill Alexia and Mazzer Mini grinder,
my Gaggia will now be passed down to my parents. I'm glad I went with
the Gaggia first but I knew I would upgrade eventually, I just didn't
know it would be so soon! I also knew how good the Monkey Blend was
with the Gaggia, but I had no idea it was as good as it is now with
the Alexia!!!
On 3/2/07, Brian Fowler  wrote:

14) From: Ed Needham
Mine didn't have plastic pour spouts.  Must be a recent change.
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)

15) From: Derek Bradford
Are you guys really getting espresso that good from the Gaggias?  I
have a classic I picked up on eBay, but even after dozens of shots
with (and lots of wasted coffee) I never got decent shots.  It was
hard to stick with since my Europiccola was sitting beside it, and I
knew what I could get with it.  I haven't plugged the Classic in for
quite a while now.  There's nothing wrong with my machine; we just
don't seem to get along.
On 3/3/07, Ed Needham  wrote:
-- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth

16) From: raymanowen
Read carefully. It's not the fault of the espresso machine that you can't
get dynamite shots- or superlative drinks with any other coffee brew method=
[Note to Self- Why do folks disbelieve that the Grinder Is The Prime
Factor?] My honey even agreed to our getting a Mahlkönig ($4Big) after sh=
saw the grounds with just a 10X inspection loupe! "But we'll have to hang o=
to the Bronco..."
miKe commented on some Mazzers on he saw on eBay, and saved me from the
Guns/ Butter quandary. Guess what? The eagle flew off, so I still have the
damn Bronco. The Mazzer with a new set of burrs has opened up a whole new
world of flavor I would never have believed could exist in that little seed=
I kinda thought things would improve when the grounds no longer looked like
I ground them with a hammer under 100X magnification. Flavor failures and
disappointments can't be blamed on the origin, roast or brewing method so
much as the pinko grinder. The coffees that tasted good when I first starte=
roasting now taste Fabulous, and the flavors and aroma just don't quit.
If you have the wherewithal to upgrade, absolutely nothing will give as muc=
increase as the grinder. You'll wonder what in the world possessed you to
throw away all the endless flavor before.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
If you don't have enough leg room, you're sitting in the wrong pew...
If you're learning the piano, please get it tuned and regulated first, and
keep it in tune.
On 3/4/07, Derek Bradford  wrote:
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Might=
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

17) From: Ed Needham
The thing that made all the difference was using a quality grinder.
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)

18) From: Carole Zatz
On 3/4/07, Ed Needham  wrote:
With my very limited experience – I sure second that!
I had to use my new Gaggia Espresso for two days with my old Bodum
Antigua grinder as I was waiting for the Rocky to arrive. Shots were
only drinkable. One main problem was that it's fine was not fine
enough and I'm sure it doesn't grind very evenly. The first shot using
the Rocky (which came on Friday) was immensely better. And I hadn't
started any fine-tuning yet. They've only gotten better since then.
I'm waiting until the better tamper I ordered comes (due tomorrow)
before I do too much more tinkering. I'm using the plastic tamper that
came with the Gaggia and it's not so good (understatement).

19) From: Derek Bradford
(In response to both Ray and Ed)
You guys are right.  My grinder's a Pavoni PGC.  It works for
espresso; in fact, it works quite well.  But it is what it is, and I
was aware of that when I bought it, and I'm still aware of that now.
But since I use the Europiccola, I can make adjustments during my pull
that I'm sure I'm now unaware of.
I've never bought a better grinder because they're too heavy to lug
around, and the voltages are different.  Shipping on one is $100+,
plus a step-up transformer at $50 (for an ok one), and if I'm lucky I
won't get nailed at customs (for another 100).  That puts my cost
beyond what I'm prepared to pay for a $400 grinder, so I'm waiting
till I get home.
I figured since I was getting good quality from my current grinder
with my lever that I'd get the same from the Gaggia.  Looking back, I
can see how that was flawed; my Elektra lever at home is
spring-assist, and the PGC makes lousy espresso with it.  It's clearly
the grinder.
For anyone following this thread and pondering the Gaggias, ignore my
comments, or take them in their entirety.  My grinder's not up to
snuff, and that's almost certainly the culprit.
On 3/5/07, Ed Needham  wrote:
-- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth

20) From: Brett Mason
Thanks Derek for clarifying!  Every post of yours is highly valued
here.  You're serving in another country, helping them succeed in an
international marketplace, and at significant cost to your own family.
Very highly esteemed and respected in my book!
On 3/4/07, Derek Bradford  wrote:

21) From: Eddie Dove
Yup!  Derek Rocks!
On 3/4/07, Brett Mason  wrote:

22) From: Aaron
I got an espresso brewer from the army / navy surplus store.  it's a 
little aluminum pot with a strainer basket and a spout / faucet on it.  
you put the water in the bottom, put the basket in, put coffee in, screw 
down the lid and put it on a stove, camp fire etc and it makes wonderful 
It cost me $9.97  so there.... you can't get any tighter than that

23) From: raymanowen
Plus, Koreans absolutely love coffee- I'd swear I smelled it roasting in
Osan, Taegu and other Asian cities almost 40 years ago. It was a Disneyland
of smells in Bangkok, Quezon City and Saigon- some of them may have come
from roasting coffee. I hope they did- I lived a few hundred feet from
downtown Angeles City in the Philippines.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
On 3/4/07, Eddie Dove  wrote:
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

24) From: Derek Bradford
Sadly, they were sold on instant coffee during the 80s and now drink
it almost exclusively, along with the rest of this part of Asia.
There's a resurgence of interest in quality coffee, though, and there
are roasters popping up around Seoul here and there...more people
looking for quality than there have been in recent years.  Also
driving the change is the people returning from their time abroad and
demanding the coffee they had grown used to having.
There are shops I can go to where quality coffee has been roasted,
in-house, within the past few days, and they are very popular.
On 3/5/07, raymanowen  wrote:
-- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth

25) From: Brett Mason
The Philippines is at least a Disneyland of Smells!  Talagan Masarap na Ayow...
On 3/4/07, raymanowen  wrote:

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