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Thread: Views on Via Venezia / IMAT/ recond Gaggias

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Views on Via Venezia / IMAT/ recond Gaggias

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im new to this game and am looking for a machine but have quickly realised from reading sites such as this and CoffeeGeek that you get what you pay for.

    Does anyone have any view on the Saeco Via Venezia as an entry level machine, say compared with the Gaggia Classic? Seem reasonably similar exepct VV has steel boiler and pressurised pf (which I understand should be avoided)

    There a quite a few reconditioned Gaggias on e-bay at the moment - does anyone have views on whether these represent good value or should be steered clear of?

    Ditto Via Venezia - theres a 12mth old machine available for $200 (currently!) Good value?

    Imat appears to be a lesser known machine but gets good comments from Coffeeco and the combi machine seems like pretty good value at around $700.

    If only I could stretch to a Silvia!! :(

    Chris :)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Re: Views on Via Venezia / IMAT/ recond Gaggias

    From my experience, the non-solenoid, plastic bodied Gaggias are very good machines for the money - far better than any Saeco - and the recon models seem like a steal. The Carezza is my pick of the recons as the cheaper Gran has a cheap Al PF (as does the metal bodied Cubika) while the more expensive Evolution has push buttons that are more likely to fail (the ones on the Baby seem prone to this) compared to the simpler rocker switches on the Carezza. The Al boiler of the Gaggias can be a problem in ares with acidic water but I took mine apart after using it for 18 months and there was no trace of corrosion - caveat: I always use a Brita filter to fill my Gaggia. The boiler is rather small (but still bigger than a Saeco) but it makes the machine cycle very quickly so if you only normally make a couple of drinks at a time, it is an advantage.

    For new machines, the Imats are great value if you think you really need the 3 way solenoid valve and have a larger brass boiler so it is a better machine if you are often making more than 4 lattes at a time or you know your water is acidic.

    Alan Frew has an excellent article on home machines on his site. Also, I sent someone to see Alan for an Imat and Alan was more than helpful, spending an hour to go over the machine and to make sure they got the model that suited them best (Combi since they intend to use it sometimes in a caravan).

    A good grinder is essential and the MDFs on aBay seem good value. Them or a Lux are the minimum in my book.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Re: Views on Via Venezia / IMAT/ recond Gaggias

    With the Cunill I actually unscrew the burrs and take it out and give it a good vacuum, and use a brush to loosen any stuck grounds.

    I used to have a Gaggia as well, and used brita filtered water. Not only is it good for the machine, it tastes better as well!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Re: Views on Via Venezia / IMAT/ recond Gaggias

    Personally Id avoid the Saeco, pressurised portafiler and relatively expensive for the quality of results you get. The IMAT and Gaggia will give you identical results (I have a Quaha Napoletana II, currently called the IMAT/Mokita Combi) but the IMAT is cheaper and the brass boiler is generally considered to be less problematic than the non-brass gaggias.

    The IMAT will give you nearly identical shot results as a Silvia, at a significant saving, so is great value for money. The only compromise compared to Silvia is the 57mm portafilter rather than 58mm.

    If I was buying again, the only change I might have made would be to get the Junior (or whatever the IMAT/Mokita version is called without the built-in grinder) and a separate, slightly higher quality grinder. But thats only because I now intend to upgrade to a commerical machine and will have to buy a grinder as well unless I keep the other machine around just to grind! Depends on how likely you are to upgrade within the life of the grinder in the Combi (which is stepless by the way, a big advantage over some of the standalone ones in the price range).

    I second the recommendation of Alan Frew, a very knowledgable and helpful guy.



  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Re: Views on Via Venezia / IMAT/ recond Gaggias

    I think as opposed to concentrating too much on attaining machines, we should be increasing our knowledge of coffee and improving our technique. Knowing what you are doing with the coffee stays with you through your machine upgrades.

    I am quite sure that if you know what you are doing, considering limitations and strong points of your machine/grinder, you can adjust your technique accordingly, and pull great shots.

    At the end of the day, we just want to enjoy the coffee.

    Having the best equipment does not necessarily equate to the best espresso. There are many coffee affecinados who enjoy their coffee, and probably make great shots using their Gaggias, Sunbeams, Saeco as well as people who use their Isomacs, LaScala, Boemas, etc.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Views on Via Venezia / IMAT/ recond Gaggias

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    i had a little saeco via venezia which i gave to my son
    i still think it was a great little starter machine- stainless steel boiler, ok not copper or marine brass, but doesnt corrode badly either
    the pressurised protafilter doesnt allow really fine espresso control, but man, in the hands of a beginner it delivers good espresso- better than most cafes which isnt saying much
    in my experience the crema is ok even if a bit bubbly- u can get that with off the shelf ground lavazza etc, whereas on a gaggia, theres the issue of the need to match the grind to the machine, practise tamping etc- and not with the plastic one supplied
    all good things to learn, but i think good basic coffee isnt such a bad thing
    that saeco is about 7 or so years old now i think, and is about to have its first service- for a stripped shower screen screw and leaky steam arm valve- easy fixes
    i know id rather have coffee from an inexperience user from the saeco than from a machine with conventional portafilter and tamping- (as an aside re good machines, bad technique- i recently had a coffee in Forster where the cafe owner was making 3 second espressos on a beautiful 2 group machine- put a teaspoon of coffee in the handle, wait till the water is boiling and shoot- not a good flavour, particularly as she was putting half a cup of coffee in each each cappucino)

    all the best
    u can get a non pressurised portafilter, but im not sure about a good tamper for such a small portafilter

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