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Thread: New starter looking at Via Venezia

  1. #1
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    New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,

    Ive recently found this forum and am absorbing as much as I can as fast as I can.
    Weve been using a plunger for many years at home and are about to take the plunge (ahaha) into getting an espresso machine for the first time.

    Theres a few criteria were trying to fit within...

    Its just for the two of us, making a few cups a day. We also want something with a small footprint since we live in an apartment and I guess a grinder will take up even more bench space.

    Our cups are also moderately tall (just over 3" high) so that rules out the small Gaggia.

    After hunting about, were close to settling on the Saeco Via Venezia.
    No idea on a grinder yet.

    My only concern is that people here seem really down on the pressurised portafilter that comes with it.
    Oh and the rumours that Saeco are phasing out the model...

    1. Is converting the PF really as easy as some people in other posts say? Is cleaning a converted PF a pain?
    2. Ive been told that the VV does not come with a tamper. Which size will fit?

    P.S. We are in Brisbane so if we have to buy a non pressurised PF, has anyone found a place to get them?

    cheers!

  2. #2
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Hi CliveD,

    Weclome to CS!

    The VV is a good little machine that will do just fine for two people. To get good results you will definitely need to depressurize the portafilter. This is easy. Search this forum to find out the details (basically unscrew the bottom, pull out the plastic mechanism and poke the false floor out of the top half...screw the base back on).

    You will then need a decent tamper. I sent my basket to Greg Pullman in WA (one of the site sponsers) and had one made to fit...and excellent piece of equipment but you can get cheaper ones. Youll need one thats about 53mm in diameter. Check out other site sponsers <-------

    Another option is to check out the second machines in the "for sale" section of this site. I think Flynnus might have a gaggia for a good price. Are you really that attached to the cups?
    Second hand Silvias also pop up regularly for around the $500 mark. They are a superior machine to the VV.

    As others will no doubt mention...a good grinder is the limiting factor. It doesnt matter if you spend $2000 on a machine. If you buy pre-ground coffee, your results will be poor. You should consider spending more on the grinder than on your low end machine. Decent grinders start at around the $300 mark (I think that there are a couple of good ones in the for sale section as well...Iberital challenge, Ascaso Mini, Rocky, etc.) A good quality grinder (and fresh beans) will get good results from an entry level machine.

    Enjoy the plunge, and feel free to post further questions,

    sd

  3. #3
    oro
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Hi CliveD

    Welcome to CS!

    Dont be scared to put up with a pressurized PF for a while, or supermarket pregrind. Yes, were all snobs, but its a bit of a myth that pressurized = poor and pregrind = poor. In my experience, pressurized/pregrind has more chance of being poor than non-pressurized/fresh beans, but you can still get thoroughly drinkable results (better than some of the stuff youll pay for in cafes). The trick with using pregrind is to steer clear of the stuff out on special, get the more expensive stuff specifically designed for home espresso machines, and understand that the best shots will come from the time you first open the packet.

    By all means, prioritise a decent grinder, but dont be scared of a pressurized/pregrind combo as an interim measure - the coffee can be excellent, and youll certainly learn a lot about making coffee (even if its how to avoid making the bad stuff).

    hope that helps :)

  4. #4
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Thanks for the feedback, its all useful.

    As for grinder, i pulled out a delonghi KG100 we had at the back of the cupboard (an unopened gift).
    I managed to break it before even turning it on for the first time (sigh) which i posted about in the grinder section.

    Madam was not impressed hahaha.
    It will have to suffice for now until times are more amenable. ;)

  5. #5
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Hmm ive just come back from the shops.
    Both Myers and HN had a VV machine in stock.

    What confused me is that they were the same machine but with different button layout.
    Different iterations maybe?

    The VV at myers had white buttons, two on the left and one on the right.
    The VV at HN had black buttons, one on the left and two on the right.

    Whats the deal?


  6. #6
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Probably one is an older model than the other, r just a different model. For example, the Gaggia Baby is available in different configurations: Classic, Dose and Twin

    Check the V V that was sold on CS in 2007 at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1167802103

  7. #7
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    I have the VV with the black buttons, ours is over 5 years old.

    Have had a good run with it. Have replaced the element once, about a year ago, blame this on not refilling the boiler after extensive steaming tho so wouldnt blame the machine. Removed the sleeve on the milk frother for better microfoam, and have made minor adjustments to the steam valve. Like the build quality, switches are good, we have it on a timer so its warmed up ready to go when we get up.

    Id agree with the comments above re the pressurised PF & preground, that was fine for us for years. Progressed to buying a cheap burr grinder & buying roasted beans, then started home roasting & upgraded grinder & depressurised PF.

    My only frustration with this machine is that it takes a while to make more than 2 milk based coffees, due to the limited steam output of the smallish dual purpose boiler. This is not uncommon with this class of machine; need to spend a fair bit more to get a HX type machine that will make steaming go way faster.


    Good luck...........cheers...............Sean

  8. #8
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Hi CliveD

    Ill second what Oro and Scooter have said about the pressurised/unpressurised basket issue.

    We started with a Via Venezia and it gave 7 years of excellent service. *After a few weeks learning I was able to get better coffee from the std pressurised basket than from most cafes. *

    The most important variable Ive found with the VV is freshness of beans. *Buy fresh quality beans weekly, store them properly and its almost impossible to go wrong with the Via Venezia and its std pressurised basket.



  9. #9
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    I bought a non PF sometime ago but I did not get a basket with it? Suould I have? When I used coffee went everywhere

    I emailled Saeco but they dont know.


  10. #10
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    Hi Balattack

    Im a bit confused by your post. *A PF is an abbreviation for a portafilter, or in other words the group handle that the basket (pressurised or non-pressurised) fits into. *

    Do you mean that there was no basket inserted into the PF when you tried it? :-?

  11. #11
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    SOrry, I should have said Non PPF (pressurised Portafilter). I did not get a basket for i to put coffee in. When I try and use it coffee spurts everwhere.

    Can anyone offer any assistance?

  12. #12
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: New starter looking at Via Venezia

    I would hope that the basket from the original portafilter would fit the non-pressurised version.

    You must have a basket to retain the grounds! Its only that the standard VV portafilter has a restrictor system that produces false crema at the expense of taste. The basket is usually OK.

    Greg



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