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Topic: Entry level espresso setup question (8 msgs / 176 lines)
1) From: Derek Bradford
Hi All,
A friend asked me about getting into espresso.  They understand the
grinder/machine relationship and just want to do it right.  My initial
thoughts are a Silvia and a grinder in the 200-350 range.  Are Silvias still
regarded as highly as they used to be?  Are there any other machines that
are worth looking into, except for maybe the Gaggia Classic?  Levers are
out.  Also, what grinders are currently in that price range that he could
look at?
I know, I know...search the archives and all that.  I have, and I'd just
like a few yays or nays on some grinder models.  Rockys are always fine I
suppose, but they're pushing the envelope for him I think.  No need for
explanations really; if you've heard of or have had good experience with a
grinder, just mention the model and I'll do the research from there.
Thanks much,
--Derek
-- 
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2) From: Joseph Robertson
Your on the right track. Too bad levers are out. If your talking home use
the clasic lever is so way cool. I can't wait to own one. Grinder first,
always grinder first.
JoeR
On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 11:47 AM, Derek Bradford wrote:
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3) From: John Borella
If he has $200-$350 to spend on a grinder tell him to watch Ebay & Craig's 
List for a used Super Jolly or Major. He'll be set for many years with 
either one of those.
John B.

4) From: Maxwell Heathcott
Are you saying that the Gaggia is out?  Personally, I would start with the Gaggia, rather than the Silvia. Your friend'll save some coin, and if s/he gets to where s/he's really into the sport (?) of espresso, then upgrade-itis will inevitably hit. It would also be worth checking over on the Gaggia group on Yahoo to see if anyone has a Pid'd Gaggia up for sale, as it would likely be no more expensive than a new Silvia. Just a thought . . . . . 
--mh
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5) From: Joseph Robertson
Great advice John,
JoeR
On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 3:57 PM, John Borella wrote:
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6) From: Sandy Andina
Rocky, Gaggia MDF or Baratza Virtuoso at a minimum (the latter a very  
bare minimum) for the grinder; either a Silvia or Gaggia (w 3 way  
valve) for the machine. Newest midrange Gaggias have stainless boilers  
if aluminum creeps you out.
Sent from my iPhone
Peace & song,
Sandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com
On Nov 4, 2009, at 1:51 PM, Joseph Robertson   
wrote:
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7) From: Derek Bradford
Replying to all thus far:
Joseph, levers are out mainly because they're too expensive.  The
Europiccolas (the post-millennium ones) are over-priced, and the Elektras
have gone even further out of control.  The pre-millennium Europiccolas just
aren't as good as the later models.
John, that was one of my considerations, too.  I'm always on the lookout for
that stuff, since you never know when someone is looking for one.  I've
given away quite a few grinders over the years, some quite good ones.  The
issue with used gear on eBay/CL is that they go fast, usually before a
newbie really has a chance to evaluate the deal.  Us veterans snap 'em up.
Maxwell, Gaggias aren't out.  I was thinking along the lines of Silvias
having better quality parts in them, and generally only costing an extra
hundred dollars.  Thinking of the overall company, Gaggia has been sliding
progressively downhill over the years, while Rancilio seems to be working
hard to improve their gear.  Still, the Gaggias with 3-way valves are good
machines.  Question: Do Gaggias benefit as much from PIDs as Silvias?
Sandy, the Rocky and MDF were two I was thinking of recommending.  As you
imply, I'd stray away from the Baratza.  I'm also a fan of the Pavoni PG
series; I've had one myself and given two as gifts, and they're quite
espresso capable.  Slow and noisy, but that's the name of the sub-$400 game.
I appreciate the advice guys.  It's funny though; it's been a couple years
since I've looked at this level of gear and I guess I expected to see some
new players in the grinder arena.  Are there really no new options, or is it
just that the Rocky and MDF have long track records?
--Derek
On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 8:12 PM, Joseph Robertson wrote:
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8) From: Maxwell Heathcott
(On grinders, I just cannot recommend doing anything less than a Mazzer Super Jolly. One possible exception for a super value would be trying out one of the Cunill's. I was fairly happy with a beater of a Brasil that I got on Ebay for under $100.)
 
Yes. I think that a Gaggia with a PID is a phenomenal machine that will (for a shot or two at a time) beat the pants off of $1000 machines as far as ease of use goes. Now--once you get into making a couple of 20 oz. lattes, the limits will quickly become apparent, but for making espresso, a PID'd Gaggia (or Silvia) is the only thing that I would consider for less than a grand . . . . 
 
Sincerely,
Someone who tried desperately to do things cheaply and found out the hard way
MH
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