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Thread: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

  1. #1
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    Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello,
    Feel a little shy (my first post) but I need advice. My husband has lost the use of his right arm due to a stroke. Previously, he loved making a daily latte with our Gaggia Classic, but now its just too tricky for him to manage with only one hand. (I work fulltime otherwise Id be happy to be his private barista!!)
    Would anyone out there know what machine (mid-level+ range) might work for him?
    We just bought a beautiful Ascaso i-Mini (from Di Bartoli) so the grinder side of things is good to go.
    Sheila (in Brisbane)

  2. #2
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Welcome Sheila! :)

    Sorry to hear about your husbands stroke, heres hoping things will improve with rehabilitation. The simplest solution would be a super-automatic where you just push a button, but it can be tricky getting consistently good results from these machines. Presuming you dont want to go down that path, I reckon I could make a latte with one hand on a manual machine if I had to - the workaround points would be:

    1: holding the portafilter level while you tamp - recommend something like the Bumper stand (I think Di Bartoli have these, otherwise Coffeeparts have some stands)
    2: locking the portafilter onto the Classic - being a light machine youd probably need to hold the machine in place (solution: a more expensive, heavier machine such as those in the $1500+ bracket that wont slip and slide)
    3: Starting to steam the milk - normally you hold the jug at the right spot and open the steam valve with the other hand (solution: go for a machine with a ball-jointed steam wand that will allow the wand to be immersed while the valve is opened, then pick the jug up to do the milk, then put it back down to close the valve).

    I reckon with those you should be set. You should have a look at the Information about Machines thread in the Brewing Equipment (non-machine specific) area and see if theres anything in your budget (which is....?). While you dont need a heat exchanger machine per se, theyll be heavier than single boiler machines and its probably the weight that will help you out.

    Good luck!
    Greg

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Great advice from Greg
    Our motto is will help fellow coffee lovers ;)

    Some positive points come to mind
    First is that if certain movements can be incorporated in the coffee making process that will be great rehabilitation
    He will be doing something he loves and getting his exercise at the same time

    Second point is cost you have a good set up now so all you need to get is the Porta filter stand but get one with handle stabiliser to keep it level and allow one hand operation

    KK

  4. #4
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Hi if your husband can still manage making a shot then a Cappuccinatore milk frother attachment for your current Gaggia Classic. might be a possibility. This is a Saeco one below that may fit the Gaggia. Basically the jug sits on the bench and you just turn the steam on and off as required. It may not be as good as a normal wand but better than instant ;)




    To assist him in tamping the coffee into the portafilter then a tamper stand like this one might do the trick. edit :I think this is what Greg and KK meant.




    Best of luck with it all. As you already have fairly reasonable gear it might be worth buying and trying.


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    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Following on from Greg & KK, I thought about what the right hand is needed for in the coffee making process. Certainly tamping, as was covered pretty well above. Auto or semi-auto machines (ie push button once or twice) rather than lever. And turning the steam on and off. In this regard, maybe you could investigate machines with "toggle" switches, rather than traditional types which can require a fair degree of right hand agility.


  6. #6
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Colwellis

    I am secretly in hope for a quick recovery (please wish him well)

    The tamper stand picture above is good
    However you will need to place a block of something to rest the handle on for one handed operation

    KK

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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Many thanks to all for these great ideas! I had no idea that there were such things as tamper stands or milk frothers. The photos are very helpful, too!
    And thanks for the good wishes - weve been on a interesting journey together and although the official rehab is over, Jack keeps progressing in little but significant ways.
    Greg P was right about the Gaggia - alas! - it is too light for one-armed use we have found. And the steaming set up really does require two hands.
    So I am going to read more in the Information about machines section - clearly there is a lot I dont know ! Greg, about budget - something under $1200 if possible would be ideal. Jack has a big birthday coming up in two months so I thought a new machine would make a great gift.
    Thanks again for all the kindness - very much appreciated
    Sheila

  8. #8
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?


    Here is an idea
    Contact Dennis at Cuppacoffee by PM
    He has a near new Fully Auto Jura coffee maker (commercial quality)
    For less than $1000
    KK


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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Hi Shelia,

    Happy the grinder was well received and that you liked the look of it!

    Great advice from Greg. Weve had a previous experience with few of our customers who were able to use only one hand for coffee making, and we were able to reach with them a satisfactory solution, which may not have been ideal but suit their routine well and provided them control over the variables. Im happy to share some observations with you if that would be of help:

    1. Tamping stand would definitely be the first accessory Id be looking at, as itll free your husband to level the coffee and tamp without needing to hold the handle.
    2. The i-mini grinder will allow him simply to press the switch button with the handle, without having to also press an on/off switch with the second hand (like in Rocky case..), being also a stable grinder, he would not need to support it with his other hand while grinding.
    3. Machine wise, I would suggest to look at one that features cool-to-touch and long steam arm. He can place even a 400ml jug on the drip tray after filling up the jug, then turn on the knob enough to generate pressure for the milk to create a whirlpool in the jug. At the same time his hand is on the knob, he can lift and lower the steam arm as he pleases (he will not get burned with a cool-to -touch), thus gaining control *over the depth of the arm in the jug, and achieve a different milk texture for the different coffee types.

    Suggested models with this feature, considering low end heat exchangers price mark, would be the Isomac Tea. With a lower budget, Id consider also the Ascaso Duo Professional, since its easy to operate: you can brew and steam at the same time (duel-water heating device), and rather then turn a knob, hed need only to press a button to generate steam. The catch is, that in order to create a whirlpool while the jug stands on the tray, hed need to use the 600ml jug, and if require milk for only 1 cup, that may result in a bit of a waste...

    Please feel free to call me / PM / emal for further advise. Ofra *

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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    everyones suggestions have been great.
    one more if i may - is (and this prob wont work for your current gaggia)

    is get a portafilter (group handle) with an angled handle (like marzocco make). im sure pedro from coffeeparts and other spondors could help you with this.


    looking forward to hearing your husbands routine!

  11. #11
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    There are some suggestions in a previous thread.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1208640606;start=all

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Hi Sheila, encourage your husband to try and master his machine one-handed, a few days after I had my shoulder operation I managed to work out a system to make a reasonable espresso and milk drinks, it was a bit messy but at least I was able to make a decent coffee. I have the bumper tamper stand and I used to rest the portafilter handle on the edge of a tray with the pf sitting in the tamper stand and was able to give a good even tamp.
    Good luck with it
    cheers
    gm

  13. #13
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    There may well be options to stop the Gaggia from moving when locking in the portafilter. My first suggestion is rectangle of wood with holes for the Gaggia feet. Glue some of that grippy pad stuff on the bottom of the wood.

    Any decent occupational therapist should be able to problem-solve with you for this. Id be checking with the rehab unit in the hospital.

    Greg


  14. #14
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    If youre machine has an articulated steam wand that can clear the side of the machine, then a laboratory jack would allow your husband to position the milk jug steadily at the right height and texture with control of the nob. The picture below is an example of such equipment. Even thinking about it now I think it is more reliable than a steady hand!


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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Good suggestion for this case JPRM (in the absence of a ball-jointed steam wand), but what you lose with that is the ability to react quickly if the whirlpool suddenly picks up speed and the surface level drops.

  16. #16
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    Re: Best machine for disabled latte lover?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Gday Sheila,

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs..... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    I had to contend with similar issues several years ago after a series of strokes and have never fully recovered my previous strength or dexterity but can still pull a mean espresso ;D....

    All of the suggestions above are all very helpful and I dont know that I can add much more. I guess I just devised ways and means via the use of leverage and friction pads, etc that would allow me to do most things that I needed to do, but with one hand/arm. Learnt over time to texture milk in jugs from 300ml up to a Litre (the Litre jug was a bit of a struggle though). Made up an extension for the Steam Knob that looked kind of like a Wheel Nut Spanner that I could manipulate On and Off using my Chin (of all things :P). It was made of wood though and the hollow section that fitted over the Steam Knob I lined with friction material. Mostly it did the job; sometimes it fell off if I didnt fit it on properly but that was just a matter of learning the ropes really.

    For the espresso machine... I made up another lever device fashioned from wood again that was kind of shaped like an upper case F but with an extended lower leg that overhung the bench by about 150mm. The inside of the top of the F was once again lined with friction material and was made to be an easy fit around the front and the back of the espresso machines legs/feet. When I was ready to lock the PF into position, just used to brace the leg of the F against my hip while I locked the PF in. Unlocking the PF just meant reversing the F to the other side of the espresso machine and then bracing in the opposite direction. All of this soon became an efficient routine until such time as I had regained enough strength in my right arm/hand to do without the aids. It is still difficult for me to do all this without the aids but I dont let on ;)....

    For tamping (and not being aware that specialist devices existed) I just knocked up a tamping block from (yep, you guessed it) a piece 30 x 60mm timber framing pine that held the PF level and secure and which also had some more friction material glued to the bottom to stop it slipping and sliding around on the benchtop. I have subsequently bought myself a Bumper Tamping Stand, mentioned by some of the guys above, and I find that quite easy to use. This friction material I keep referring to is just those small perforated rubber sheets that you can buy in Woolies, BigW, Coles, etc for enhancing the grip when undoing jam-jar lids, etc (I just happened to have a few of those lying around ::)).

    Hope that some of this has been helpful Sheila, if for no other reason than to germinate a few ideas that may help with your husbands specific needs. Its all about leverage and friction... ;)

    All the best, :)
    Mal.



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