Noob Alert: So many options, so many questions.
Have looked at this site a number of times in the past when looking for information but never delved too deep as it was becoming overwhelming.
Now however with our little Breville machine dying and the wife and myself getting 'toey' for a new machine I thought I should do some investigating before buying willy nilly like we did last time. We generally drink flat white with the occasional espresso made for me and friends who visit.
Firstly I looked here for the consensus on 'beginner' machines and came up with 3 that were mentioned over and over again. Gaggia Classic, Saeco Via Venezia and the Rancilio Silvia.
Have found numerous offerings on Ebay for these machines and thought the Via Venezia would be the pick for the dollars, looking to spend up to $400 (machine and grinder)
I am a great procastinator on these sorts of things and usually sit on the decision for a while to avoid impulse buy and buying sight unseen due to being Tassie I tend to be cautious.
Anyway today I found a Rancilio Lucy local to me, has anyone got feedback on these machines? From what I can tell they were a bit of a oddball in the Rancilio range and probably not given the best possible selling position when released compared to the super popular Rocky + Silvia combo.
A gentle (or firm) nudge in the right direction from those who know better would be most appreciated.
Are you handy enough to fit a PID yourself and are you open to 2nd-hand options?
Yep, familiar with PIDs from building my home brewery.
Second hand is what we are looking at.
For that money, 2nd-hand Gaggia Classic with a PID as per here
Then keep a close eye out on gumtree and save for a bit longer until you find a decent grinder that costs the amount of money you have saved up.
It'd be a stretch but should be doable, just.
[QUOTE=Dragunov21;503730]For that money, 2nd-hand Gaggia Classic with a PID
+1 for this. I have three classics of different vintages, in various stages of restoration and I'm a big fan of these little machine.
I am impressed by the simplicity, the rugged construction, and the availability of parts - not that I have needed much other than seals.
The only down-side is their limited steaming ability, but that can be worked around if you only make one or two caps at a time.
Currently waiting for a couple of PID's to arrive from HongKong. One for a popper, and one for one of the classics.
Meanwhile I am consistently pulling good shots using a very simple basic temp surfing routine.
I have no experience with any of the other machines, so I can't comment on them, but I'm not keen on their idea of built-in grinders.
But, avoid ANY machine that has a plastic collar, or a plastic insert in the collar - metal to metal is the only way to go.
Agree with above.
Until a couple of months ago I had 3 classics and a coffee deluxe kicking around. Only have one now.
Really easy to work on and maintain, they are like old cars = lots of space and everything is over engineered by todays standards.
With the pressure adjusted to around 9.5 - 10 bar, a PID a good grinder and some well roasted fresh beans, you can knock out some really fantastic tasting shots.
The classics steaming ability is not the best, BUT if you get a silvia steam wand and remove the steam thermostat and connect the wires (only if you know what your doing)!! You can monitor the temp on the PID while steaming. As long as you don't let it get above 165 its fine and the length of time you can steam the milk becomes indefinite or when the boiler runs dry, which would only happen if you steamed flat out for about 10mins. So plenty of time to steam enough milk for to small caps or lattes. 2 x Piccolos are quick and easy on the classic and my drink of choice.
Always prime the boiler after steaming! so your not risking heating a dry boiler. Even though the classics elements are on the outside, which makes them harder to fry, they have ceramic insulation that can crack if continually exposed to such treatment.. plus you can BLOW YOUR THERMAL FUSE which would be a bid fiddly to replace if your not competent with wiring.
Just to throw a spanner in everyones helpful posts. Trawling the local Gumtree today and a Saeco Via Venezia has been listed for $120!? Deal or no deal?
Yeah quite a capable starter machine!
Originally Posted by hyjak
Depends how its been treated though? I dont know how serviacble they are inside?
Fairly sure they have a small SS boiler which = quick heat up time.
There is a few threads around here on them, mods that need to be done to the pressurized PF system and you definitely will want to upgrade the steam wand.
EDIT: HEre you go, quick google http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...zia-usage.html
Eh. Depends how soon you must have a machine. Classics tend to go for as little as 150 and should be a better machine.
Originally Posted by hyjak
So ended up getting the local Lucy, space is at a premium in our kitchen so a combined machine has lent itself well to our limited space. Although the wife still freaked out at the size when I walked in the door with it!
I love the thing, the wife..... not so much. She has had numerous tries and has made a couple of decent coffees but she is having trouble with a 'burnt taste' (her words) I think I have narrowed it down to 3 things that I think she is doing.
She is over extracting, overdosing or tamping too hard possibly a combination of the three.
My approach has been grind until the basket is slightly heaped, tap to collapse the basket (top up if neccessary) then tamp fairly lightly so the coffee is level with the ridge in the basket.
Anyone have some fail safe guidelines on getting the best out of the Lucy/Silvia without having to Eff around too much? We have 2.5 year old twins so spending 10 minutes stuffing around to get a coffee is not an option for my wife most days.
Congratulations hyjak on your new toy. When you make coffee for your wife does she still think it has a "burnt" taste? Where do you get your beans from and when were they roasted? do you get 30ml in 25-30 seconds from your grind, dose and tamp method...does she?
Originally Posted by hyjak
No when I make it she can't perceive a 'burnt' taste, beans are from a local roaster. I can't tell you the roast date as there isnt one on the pack however I work close by the place and they roast flat out for maybe 2-3 days a week and I know they supply a number of cafes as well as having there own cafe in a busy Gov't office complex.
I have not measured the shot when I do it, will make an effort to do so in the AM. Guesstimation would put it at 30ml in about 20 seconds, not sure though.
Hers are never the same, she tried 3 times today. First one took ages for anything to extract, the other two 'exploded' apparently, I was at work so not sure what she did.
One thing I was going to try was gettng some 100% arabica beans from a local roaster to just see if it makes any difference compared to the beans we currently have.
I would be surprised if your current roaster is not already 100% arabica. If your grind setting is correct then the main thing for consistency is the dose and tamp. try the 5 cent test or the rice test to get the right dose and tamp level. see if that helps.
Originally Posted by hyjak
Have you got some kitchen scales? If so you could measure the tamp pressure you use and then get her to try what she does. Seems to me that's the more likely variable - if she was getting reasonable coffees before it's hard to see how she would suddenly be overdosing on this machine. I'm presuming she isn't changing the grind?
I don't know the machine so something to check is whether she is maybe extracting at too high a temp? If it requires temp surfing maybe she is 'missing her wave'?
The tamp pressure will have very little effect (unless one of you is doing handstands and the other is only waving the tamper in the general direction of the coffee), if you both do a tamp about as firm as leaning on the bench, it really won't make any difference. The most likely suspect (assuming you leave the grind alone) is the dose. Get some scales and compare yours and hers.
Well after some tutoring this morning, she has made herself good coffee. I am fairly certain it was the dose, going to crack out scales in the morning to compare.
Tryin to express that consistency is key for this machine especially compared to what wr had before.
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