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Thread: Buying my first kit

  1. #1
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    Buying my first kit

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi - Newbie to the forum........

    Ok need some advice to ensure I am on the right track - basically for me needs anyway - I was looking at the Gaggia Classic Machine and the Iberital Challange grinder.

    This is from the Di-Bella factory so paying more than the norm for the items - but all come with training which is a bonus.

    Anyway any help or suggestions here apprecaited........

  2. #2
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Good choice, I think.
    Others would be the Sylvia of course and dont discount the Sunbeam EM6910,
    I am very happy with this model, should perform very well with your choice of grinder!

    Regards

  3. #3
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Hi Scollops,

    Firstly welcome to CoffeeSnobs where "Our name says it all" ;)
    Difficult to comment on how well the suggested machines will meet yor needs until you can define your needs for us, however,
    I can definitely support your decision to buy from a supplier who will give you some training, its worth the extra.

    The priorities for good coffee are,
    freshly roasted beans,
    then grind just before brewing,
    then barista skills, hence the benefit of the training,
    the last priority is the machine itself.

    Having said that, the Iberital Challenge and Gaggia classic are both well regarded as being capable of producing proper espresso.

    If however you will be making a lot of milk based drinks, you might find the relatively small boiler in the Gaggia is a limiting factor, and depending on your budget, a Imat or equivalent, Silvia or Botticelli all have bigger boilers that can easily steam enough milk for 4 drinks...
    (I hear the Imat Mokita is currently hard to get, there is another version of the same machine that has different name but I cant remember the name just now, somebody else will be sure to know)
    And the Sunbeam 6910 unit is popular here too.

    Regards
    Bullitt

  4. #4
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Thanks I hear the Silvia come up a number of times - where else can I get a machine and training ?

  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Di Bella is in QLD I see.

    Maybe Serge at http://www.gonebarista.com.au/ can help.

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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Hey Thanks - Had a good chat to Serge, hopefully sort out something for Christmas me thinks. Thanks Thundergod

  7. #7
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    You wont go wrong with either combination, and as an entry level thats even more the case: Gaggia/Iberital or Silvia Iberital.

    But--at the risk of offending all the satisfied Gaggia users, the Silvia does have the edge with a better, bigger boiler.

    Robusto

    PS: noticed this post by one of our colleagues selling a used Gaggia classic: [url]You wont go wrong with either combination, and as an entry level thats even more the case: Gaggia/Iberital or Silvia Iberital.

    But--at the risk of offending all the satisfied Gaggia users, the Silvia does have the edge with a better, bigger boiler.

    Robusto

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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1166662628/0#6 date=1166680341
    You wont go wrong with either combination, and as an entry level thats even more the case: Gaggia/Iberital or Silvia Iberital.

    But--at the risk of offending all the satisfied Gaggia users, the Silvia does have the edge with a better, bigger boiler.

    Robusto

    PS: noticed this post by one of our colleagues selling a used Gaggia classic: [url]You wont go wrong with either combination, and as an entry level thats even more the case: Gaggia/Iberital or Silvia Iberital.

    But--at the risk of offending all the satisfied Gaggia users, the Silvia does have the edge with a better, bigger boiler.

    Robusto
    And its boiler is brass not aluminium- remember while Gaggia boilers are quick to heat they also have a very short life span due to corrosion- this alone limits their cost effectiveness (ugly phrase in coffeesnobs, but one reason why Sivlia, botticelli, Quaha/Imat,faema family etc are great- they last).

  9. #9
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    (I can see an eruption of that blood-boiling warfare:
    Gaggia v Silvia)

    Wont go there. Once burned, twice shy.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Buying my first kit

    I have prepared 4 coffees with the classic with no issues at all.

    I think that is a great combo - especially with the grinder.

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    Re: Buying my first kit


    If youre here in Brisbane, then also chat to Chris at Barazi. Hes been a long time and relatively quiet site sponsor and sells Silvias, Rockys, ECM Giottos and Bezzeras of all types. They also service all the machines they sell and are pretty nice to deal with.

    It doesnt hurt to shop around and Chris and Jack have treated me very well indeed.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  12. #12
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Ok then.... found myself picking up the Silvia and Rocky - still not sure on what to pick up on when coffee is flowing - I guess when its watery or blonde ? I think the Grinder is almost there now took some time, but the creama has a dark brown and light brown effect is this ok ?

    As for Milk well - off to buy a couple of litres to play with - still not mastered the frothing action yet - its all way to hot before any foam takes place and then its only surface stuff. I hold the tip just under the milk and near the spout of the jug too. I guess practice - when I pour its still watery milk and and very hot..........

    Oh and thanks for the all the advice so far..........

    I vaguely remember seeing some silvia tips somewhere anyone have anything ?

  13. #13
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Good luck with your experimenting. In time youll pick up on patterns which will become second nature and you can make appropriate adjustments.

    Its all but impossible to eliminate some blonding from the extraction. Its normal to occur towards the end of the 30 seconds. But if its manifsting up front, you have problems: too cold, under-dosed, channelling.

    Normally, with the correct grind, dose, tamp and temperature, the first part of the pour will be very dark... and then it gradually changes. When its milky white, you should definitely hit the brew switch and stop.

    The variegated crema in the cup will be a combination of the darker early extraction, and the lighter one later on. Tiger-striping is good.

    Yes, it does take practice to get frothing right.

    Place the tip just below the surface, and turn the steam knob slowly so you dont blast the surface, producing huge bubbles.

    Youll have to listen for the characteristic noise which indicates youre doing it right.

    At this stage, youre stretching the milk, so keep lowering the jug as the level rises.

    When youve stretched enough, plunge the wand just about all the way, tilting the jug and ensuring the wand is near the side.

    Youll see the milk swirling rapaciously.

    When the temperature hits 60 degrees, stop steaming. How will you know 60 degrees? Use a candy thermometer at first. Youll soon be able to judge by feeling the bottom of the jug. If its scalding hot, thats too hot. If its very comfortable to the touch, its too cold.

    After removing the jug from the wand, tap it firmly on the bench to settle any remaining bubbles.

    Then swirl the jug round and round and you will see a nice glossy surface of microfoam.

    --Robusto


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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Quote Originally Posted by scollops link=1166662628/0#11 date=1166827235
    Oh and thanks for the all the advice so far..........

    I vaguely remember seeing some silvia tips somewhere anyone have anything ?
    I used this page when I started.

    http://www.coffeekid.com/archived/rancilio

    Its called "cheating Miss Silvia". It has some good tips.

    For the texturing remember that youre not looking for piles of foam as such. Proper microfoaming will look and flow just like the original milk, just a bit glassier and slightly thicker. When you are generating proper microfoam the volume of milk will just start to increase without any significant change in appearance (i.e lots of foam on top).

    I found the basic requirements for good microfoam on the Silvia are:

    - enough milk in the jug so when you insert the tip and hold the jug at an angle (to generate a swirl) the tip is below the surface. Otherwise you run the risk of having the tip pop above the surface and blowing big bubbles.

    - steam has to be ready. That means purging all the wet stuff after you pull a brew and maybe having to wait 20-30 seconds until the steam pressure has built. I flip the steam switch on when I start pulling a brew.

    - inserting the tip just below the surface and tilting the jug at quite a steep angle to get a swirl action going. Put the tip right in, tilt the jug and then very carefully lower the jug until you hear the slurping sound and see the swirl going. Dont go too far or else you will blow big bubbles.

    - I usually hold the jug against the wand (wand against the side of the jug), with the jug at an angle. And hold the jug with two hands, one on the side and one under the base. I find that I need two hands to hold it steady and avoid slipping and having the tip pop up and blow big bubbles. You only have to slip a few mm to ruin it.

    - If you get a good swirl going, the swirl action will introduce the right amount of air. Youll hear the slurping sound and notice the volume increase.

    - One the volume has increased enough, which may be around 2 times the original volume, plung the tip to agitate the lower section of milk. You wont need to do that for too long. Maybe 5-10 seconds as the temp will rise quickly.

    -Feel for the temp (or use a thermometer which is a good idea - I still use one). If the jug gets too hot to hold as Robusto said you will have been frothing too long.

    When you pour good microfoam it will just look like slightly thicker milk with the same consistency throughout. No obvious separation between foam and milk.

    /me

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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Excellent thanks guys - I think the milk is getting far too hot as it takes so long to get the foam going, ok I started off with the jug at a slight angle sounds like I need to increase somewhat - what about steam pressure tun the tap all full on on just enough to get things going - I find things are too hot by the time things start happening so not sure.

    Anyone got pics on how to hold the jug and position of the tip ?

    Aaprt from that kind of enjoying the journey into good coffee making - well still tastes better than some places I can think of

  16. #16
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Steam should be on or off.
    No in betweens.

    Do some practice with water in the jug instead of milk so you can get the hang of creating a swirling / whirlpool effect.

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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Forgot to ask - there is a mod for to take the tip off the silvia Steamer nozzle for the gaggia - will this do any good for the actual silvia machine - I did take it off but not tried on milk - although the water experiment was interesting - very bubbly.

    Decided to take a break when things with the coffee went south - coffee was to slow, grind was way off from previous today by about 5 clicks or so - although been in the fridge all night so could of been that.

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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Quote Originally Posted by scollops link=1166662628/0#14 date=1166859367
    Anyone got pics on how to hold the jug and position of the tip ?
    Heres a quick photo. The angle is limited by the base hitting the side of the Silvia and the rim catching on the bend in the wand. Hopefully this may give you an idea and a place to start. The angle tends to change as I react to depth of the milk changing and the motion in the jug.


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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Matt - Excellent thanks for the pic thats what I was looking for - I had something similar just the spout near the steamer so in reverse to yours - well hopefully on the right track then just practice now then - and hopefully master the grind which I thought I did DOH !

  20. #20
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Quote Originally Posted by scollops link=1166662628/15#16 date=1166865754
    Decided to take a break when things with the coffee went south - coffee was to slow, grind was way off from previous today by about 5 clicks or so - although been in the fridge all night so could of been that.
    Most here would nbot recommend keeping your beans in the fridge.
    "Cool and dark" is best.
    I keep mine in a kitchen cupboard.

    How many beans do you have and how long does it take you to go through them?
    I usually only have a weeks worth on hand, two at the most.
    One ready to drink, the other ageing.

  21. #21
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    To save on milk wastage - try getting your swirling technique with water - this also enables you to see what is happening below the surface with the steam tip. And saves $$$$

  22. #22
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    I found having the jug as Matt showed really helped instead of spout first near nozzle - mind you Home Brand Milk is really watery so didnt help - off to buy something new for Christmas.

    Happy CHristams all .

  23. #23
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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Scollops, may your journey continue full steam ahead.

    To keep the milk getting too hot too quickly before its frothed, keep the stainless jug in the fridge along with the milk, of course.

    Remove both from fridge at the last moment, just after youve pulled the shot and turn on the steam switch.

    I forgot to mention in my previous post, that you must bleed the steam wand of unwanted water. When the boiler has finished heating to steam temperature, turn the knob and allow a few seconds worth of water to be delivered into a receptacle. Until only dry steam emerges.

    Then youre ready to steam.

    Silvias steam, I suspect, while strong and powerful and adequate, may nonetheless be on the wettish side.

    When steaming, I open the (steam) knob slowly to prevent making a splattering mess and to prevent blasting the milk surface with big bubbles.

    But having got over that immediate hurdle, open up wide and continue wide till the end.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Buying my first kit

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Be patient with the steam/frothing! Some find making great froth easy for others it is a real challenge. I have had my Silvia and Rocky for 2months. The froth is improving. I am not able to double the volume yet. I have changed milk and that helped. I have huge satisfaction using a commercial group head/portafilter and great dry steam.
    I wish I could find a 800 ml jug somewhere on the planet - that would really help as it would give more head room.
    All that said the expresso/creama from Miss Silvia is so-o-o-o good.


    Silvia, Rocky, Pullman Tampers.



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