GEE ESPRESSO MACHINE REVIEW
GEE Espresso Machine *RRP $940
Equipment provided by Talk Coffee
Review Date: *2 October 2010
Reviewer: *Robin Yong (CS name ‘Faddy’)
Unboxing the GEE - what’s included
- GEE Espresso Machine
- Portafilter with a single and double filter basket
- Blind filter
- Plastic tamper
Box of [s]Glee[/s] GEE
GEE Espresso Machine from the front. A clean, simple and minimalist front. *I have to say though, that the machine’s exterior build quality doesn’t feel as ‘solid’ as compared to the Rancilio Silvia.
Drip tray is sufficient in size. *Easy to remove and clean.
Here’s what’s included – the expected single, double and blind filters. And what’s that * :o– a plastic tamper that actually looks like a tamper!
Pulling some shots
Let me try to explain how the GEE works. *The GEE tries to make it as simple for the user as possible to pull shots by incorporating a timer system. *The concept is this: *Give the user two presets – 1 cup and 2 cup options. *The timer on the 1 cup preset has a longer time duration compared to the timer on the 2 cup preset. *Longer time duration equals longer time the pump is switched on equals more volume of water pushed through. *After you select your 1 cup / 2 cup option, the timer starts and once the set time (say 25 seconds) has been reached, it shuts the pump off and your extraction stops. *
You can quite easily adjust the timer in the settings. *I had to increase the set times as the factory settings weren’t quite long enough. Furthermore, if you set a longer time, you can always have the option of manually stopping the extraction when you feel the need to do so. *
On the flip side of things, I can see how this function is helpful for a beginner trying to make sure they keep their total shot time under say 25 to 30 seconds, while they explore other variables such as grind settings, tamping pressure, different beans, extraction temperature, etc. *However, I think I speak for many fellow CoffeeSnobbers that we would prefer to be in control and manually stopping the pour when we want to! *
I ground up some of the Shed Shandy blend provided from Talk Coffee through a Rancilio Rocky into the double basket and locked it in. *I selected the ‘1 cup’ setting and waited. *It ‘pre-infused’ for a few seconds before extraction started and before I knew it, that was it! *It seems like the factory default settings on the 1 cup timings were too short! *I barely even extracted a ristretto! *
I then tried pulling another shot, this time adjusting my grinder a touch finer and selecting the ‘2 cup’ setting (for a longer total ‘brewing time’, again so I can manually shut the pump when I want). *When the brew cycle started – preinfusion again, then brew pressure but this time, I manually stopped it at around the 32 second mark. *Not a bad pour but my shot still seemed to blonde a tad quickly. *A quick taste test and it was a bit under extracted. * We’re almost there, I can feel it, or rather taste it!
Tried one more time, adjusted the grind another touch finer again to hopefully produce an even tighter pour. *I removed the preinfusion function in the settings as I didn’t like the way it blasted water into the coffee before applying brew pressure.
Success – the pour looked good. *Extraction time closer to 40 seconds but that’s okay, it all looks and tastes fantastic. *Chocolate and nut notes were more pronounced in this shot.
First few shots through the GEE. *Trying to get the shot a little tighter. You can see its pretty capable of producing a nice thick dark and rich crema.
Another shot. *This time without the pre-infusion pulled a bit tighter.
Decent double ristretto as a base for a flat white. *Had a sip and I was quite surprised – smooth mouthfeel, medium acidity with notes of chocolate and nut. *The coffee used was Talk Coffee’s Shed Shandy roasted 29 September 2010 which was still a little fresh but definitely very drinkable.
To get the GEE’s steam function ready is pretty easy. *All you need to do is to turn the right knob (no, seriously the knob on the right hand side) and select “Steam”. *The LCD then displays “Steam ready” when the GEE is ready for us to start texturing some milk. *Its all pretty quick – under 1 minute for the GEE to change from brew temperature to steam temperature.
Purging the steam wand is essential as there is a bit of moisture. *After that, the steam is fairly dry and powerful.
I got out my 350ml milk jug and started texturing without much problem. *Its surprisingly easy to get microfoam and the pressure seemed to hold until the end.
The steam function of the GEE is quite comparable with the Silvia. *It starts off quite powerful so you need to be a bit careful as you texture
The result - milk appeared to have a smooth and shiny texture and I even poured a decent rosetta on my first go on the machine! *GEE, that’s not bad huh?
- Easy to use with the LCD
- PID – temperature read out simplifies things and there is no need to ‘temperature surf’ or guess
- LCD display tells you when the steam is ready
- Ability to change brew temperatures
- Good steam pressure for a small milk jug
- Unit’s exterior not as solid as the Silvia
- Preinfusion function is not true preinfusion (as you would expect on a machine that’s not plumbed in). *Personally, I think blasting water on the coffee and letting it ‘preinfuse’ for a few seconds does more damage than good. *It can promote channelling especially if your distribution and tamping techniques aren’t solid.
- Steam pressure gets pretty weak if you’re doing anything more than 2 cups at one go
Call me shallow but if I could change anything I wanted in the GEE, it would have to be the name! *GEE what a name! *GEE what a shallow reviewer – its just a name! *Otherwise, this is one solid machine and for under $1k, the simplicity and performance would be a tough one to beat.