Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Need advice on upgrade from aeropress

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Need advice on upgrade from aeropress

    Hello,

    I'm thinking of getting a descent coffee machine. I've been looking at a Gaggia Classic and a Rancilio Silvia. My budget is less than $500. I already have a Baratza Encore so I wouldn't need to upgrade my grinder, right? I'll be using it for making cappuccino's and maybe even espresso's if I get the right blend. There's a few Gaggia Classic ads in gumtree for $150. Would that be my best choice? I'm located in Perth.

    Cheers,
    Brad

  • #2
    Hi Brad,
    I was in the same shoe as you were not long ago... It was a toss up between a classic and a Silvia, but I went for a Silvia because I was told it has a bigger boiler and have a longer steam capabilities compare to the Classic. But then the classic would take less time to get to the right tempreture due to the smaller boiler size. So I guess the Silvia might be the better option. Thats not saying the Classic is bad either as some members here love their classic.

    The ad on Gumtree listed at Kardinya for the Classic with grinders was previously advertised much lower and she was happy to sell it less than $200 then... maybe you can bargain down with her on it...

    if you want to try and play with a Silvia, let me know and you can try mine

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi okitoki,

      Thanks for your advice. I will only be making one cappuccino at a time so the boiler in the Classic would be big enough, right? The lady in Kardinya hasn't replied to my text so I think it's sold. Can used machines be problematic if the owner hasn't taken good care of it? I'd rather buy a new Classic but that would set me back another $300. Which suburb are you from?

      Thanks again,
      Brad

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm based at Bentley if that's close by...
        I rang the kardinya lady before, and she seemed nice enough to offer a demonstration previously... maybe give her a call tonight instead...

        When I first picked up my Silvia, the previous owner told me her son had not used it for a few years, and has been left in storage for awhile... I followed the general cleaning instruction from reading everywhere (and watching youtube); back flushing and descaling with commercial products... I did see that my water were kind of cloudy and bits of white stuff were coming out... but after a few flush the water coming out were pretty clean.

        From what I have read, the classic and Silvia are actually very basic machines, and parts and replacements can be found pretty easily... if there are no rust, pump is working and water is heating up... not sure what else to look out for... maybe the experts out there can explain better?

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi okitoki,

          I've changed my mind and now want a Rancilio Silvia after I had a look on youtube. Would gumtree be my best bet on getting a cheap Silvia in Perth? There aren't any cheap ones on gumtree right now but I can wait a week or so.

          Cheers,
          Brad

          Comment


          • #6
            your guess is as good as mine mate... I was pretty lucky to find one cheap when I looked... otherwise, keep an eye open on the forum's hardware sale section... you might find a good one there for sale locally...

            one thing though... you need to make sure your Encore is up to the task of grinding fine enough for a Silvia as she can be a very unforgiving girl if your grinding, dosing and tamping is not right

            Comment


            • #7
              If you are going to install a PID (can be had for $40 plus crimps/cable/etc), the Gaggia is by far the better machine by my reckoning, due to the boiler size and construction it should be able to maintain control and temp stability better than the Silvia.

              Stock, I found it to be a dog of a thing to get consistently right.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Dragunov21,

                Where can I find a Gaggia Classic PID for that cheap? I had a look and the lowest was $200.

                Cheers

                Comment


                • #9
                  well, if you are handy with electrical stuff and DIY, you can pretty much source out the parts and get it setup at that price...
                  I'm pretty bad at both... so I ended up getting a PID kit from a site sponsor and had it installed in myself in around 2 hours (Good way of spending a Sat morning)... was simple plug and play...

                  Temp surfing is one thing you will need to put up with with either machine if you don't have a PID installed. It's not hard to get the hang of it and get farely consistent result... but having a PID just makes life easier... even getting a temp sensor installed can be helpful too...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've had a bit of electrical experience in the past so it shouldn't be hard. Are there any threads which have info on the parts I'll need for the PID and how to wire it up? I had a quick look but couldn't find anything.

                    Cheers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well... either way, my offer still stand with testing out the silvia if you like... probably good idea to bring the beans you like and bring your grinder along to see if it is suitable for the Silvia.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for your offer, okitoki. I'm still waiting on my green beans to arrive so once I've roasted them, I'll consider your offer. Thanks again for being so kind and sharing your knowledge.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BradG View Post
                          I've had a bit of electrical experience in the past so it shouldn't be hard. Are there any threads which have info on the parts I'll need for the PID and how to wire it up? I had a quick look but couldn't find anything.

                          Cheers
                          I'll flick you some info; can't post commercial links here.

                          Originally posted by okitoki View Post
                          well, if you are handy with electrical stuff and DIY, you can pretty much source out the parts and get it setup at that price...
                          I'm pretty bad at both... so I ended up getting a PID kit from a site sponsor and had it installed in myself in around 2 hours (Good way of spending a Sat morning)... was simple plug and play...

                          Temp surfing is one thing you will need to put up with with either machine if you don't have a PID installed. It's not hard to get the hang of it and get farely consistent result... but having a PID just makes life easier... even getting a temp sensor installed can be helpful too...
                          PIDs aren't just about convenience and shot-to-shot consistency. With the Classic moreso than the Silvia (hence my recommendation) it results in a much more stable intra-shot temperature than with a thermostat. The Silvia does have a larger boiler to begin with though, and I haven't seen intra-shot discharge-water temp plots for the Silvia.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You know what? This took too much time and effort for a PM; might as well throw is out there for the benefit of anyone else interested. Essay incoming =/

                            Please, unless you have an comprehensive understanding of electrical safety and are willing to take complete responsibility for testing/verifying your modifications, don't attempt this work. This is written from the perspective of a licensed electrician and common sense isn't common if you don't have any background in electrical work. All care, no responsibility, if in doubt, get a sparky/competent friend to test it before you plug it in.

                            Remember to reconnect the earth to the top cover before screwing it back down.

                            Hi Brad,

                            The PID I use is a Sestos D1S, aka "A Set Dual Digital PID Temperature Controller OMRON relay & 25A SSR & K Sensor" on eBay

                            It comes with thermocouple and SSR, is self-tuning and has a full set of features (vastly more than required for our purposes)


                            You'll need to carefully cut the thermocouple fitting off the sheath, which will leave the thermocouple bead bare (if you damage it you can always re-twist/solder)

                            The thermostat you'll be replacing (situated down the side of the boiler, not the steam thermostat on top) is M4 threaded, so get some "10x Brass Standoff Spacer M4 Male x M4 Female - 10mm"

                            Drill a small (2-3mm diameter, I think?) hole down the centre of the stand-off, with the aim being to come out the other end.

                            Do yourself a favour and take the four allen-bolts out of the grouphead to give yourself enough room to move the boiler around when fitting. Better yet, take the whole boiler out completely if you can be bothered.

                            I filled the threaded hole where the TStat was mounted with some spare heat transfer compound, but it's probably not necessary, then inserted the bead through the brass standoff and bent it slightly to the side, so that when screwed in, the standoff would press the TC bead against the inside of the threaded hole. Use your judgement about how hard is secure without breaking the bead. you can secure the sheath in the other end of the standoff with some high-temp silicone if you want but once again, not strictly necessary.

                            As far as the wiring goes, you'll want to piggyback the switched active, which is (looking at the switch-set from the connector side) on the far right, second from the top. Go to Jaycar and get some 6.8mm piggyback spade crimps and a cheap ($5-$10) crimper, unless you have something suitable at home. Run this to one of the AC power terminals of the PID(terminals 9 & 10).

                            The neutral, you'll want to take from the topmost terminal of the IEC socket at the back of the machine and run to the other power terminal of the PID.

                            When you disconnected the thermostat, you'd have had two connectors to detach. those will be wired to the two switched terminals of the SSR (marked 24-240V AC). Once again, use the 6.8mm spades, since you don't want to be cutting up your machine for the sake of five bucks and might want to sell it stock one day). Probably goes without saying, but wire one connector to one terminal and the second connector to the other.

                            Wire the thermocouple leads to terminals 3 & 4 (3=blue, 4=red).

                            Last bit is to wire the SSR power terminals (marked 3-32VDC) to the SSR terminals on the PID (6 & 8). These are polarity conscious, so match them according to the markings on the SSR/PID. + goes to +, - to -.

                            Once all that's done, double-check your wiring and fire it up. If you want a dry run, disconnect the connectors supplying the elements, making note of which goes where, then turn it on and check the operation of your PID and SSR.

                            Pressing the up or down buttons will let you change your setpoint, holding "set" will open up the menu (which you want to leave alone for now), pressing "set" quickly will toggle between displaying the setpoint and displaying the output (0-100% heating)

                            Here's the cool/tricky bit. Where most people run PIDs to hold an exact boiler temp, what we're going to do with the Classic's tiny boiler and low process lag is purge the boiler a little to cool the too-hot boiler and group, then grind/dose/tamp and then pour our shot while the boiler is still in recovery. The shot will start at the correct brew temperature (when the setpoint is dialled in correctly for your thermocouple and prep-time) and the PID will hold the heating signal relatively steady while cool water is entering the boiler, keeping the discharge water at a constant temperature.

                            I would suggest setting your temperature at 111.5 to start with, then operating the machine as following:

                            Turn it on, fill the boiler and leave it until it's had time to heat up. A good guide is that the left-hand side of the top section of the machine will get warm and the PID output will settle at a range of 3-9% (as the metal components aren't sucking all the heat from the boiler housing).

                            Hit the brew switch and watch the PF. With a naked PF you'll see the water bubbling out in a steaming cone, then the flow will stop, then start again with more uniform dispersion. With a regular PF you won't see it, but should notice that the flow stops and starts. Let it flow for ~2 seconds after the flow starts again (or until you've pulled 40-60ml of hot water, total) then turn it off. Great way to preheat your glass/cup, by the way. Unseat the PF just enough to let the remaining water drain from the basket then do your thing (weigh/grind/dry-PF/dose/tamp). It takes me one and a half minutes, which is what my variables are optimised for. If it takes you substantially more/less time, pull more/less water through in the purge to compensate (don't mess with it too much though unless you're able to measure your brew temperature at the puck).

                            Lock your PF in and brew, then remove your shot and portafilter and give the brew-switch three quick bursts to clean the shower-screen. If you want more shots before steaming just repeat the process, grinding/pulling back to back, with no purge. The grouphead/water temp shouldn't vary more than a degree as long as you leave 1.5-3 minutes between shots.

                            If you're steaming milk, hit the steam switch, bleed the water out and wait until the boiler temp hits ~150 before doing your thing. This will vary between machines/users; the idea is to leave it as late as possible without the steam thermostat tripping and cutting power to the elements (at which point the temp will drop massively before the TStat resets). Because the alarm contact on this model of PID is dry (no voltage) it's not possible to bypass the steam thermostat without using a discrete power supply to power an extra relay/SSR (do NOT try and switch the elements directly using the PID's internal relays).

                            After steaming and cleaning your wand, hit the brew switch, wait for the gush of steam to give way to the regular trickle of water (once again, the flow should stop, then start again at a trickle) and you're ready to go again (or walk away, knowing your machine's boiler is full).

                            Once you have your shot-weight/time sorted, then you can adjust your temperature setpoint to your taste/TC/climate, I'd suggest one degree at a time. Once you've worked that out, you can program in an offset (SC in the menu) and if you like a hi-temp alarm to let you know when to start steaming). My offset is -18.5°C, which results in my setpoint matching my initial brew temp (which in my case rises half a degree, then drops one and a half degrees over the course of a double shot).

                            If you don't have access to a calibrated thermocouple/meter, just get it to a point where it's tasty then make your offset -x°C, where x is the difference between your "tasty" temp and 94°C. Set your setpoint to 94°C, which will be close enough.
                            Just a disclaimer - unless you're tuning your parameters to your particular machine/thermocouple/house/astrological sign combo, this isn't an exact science. I got my values after a couple of hours testing and tweaking while measuring with DIY'd Scace, using sponge in the portafilter to simulate a coffee-puck dropping the flow-rate down to match my shots. The values I've given for purge amount, recovery time between shots, TC offset and the like will not be perfect for anyone else's situation. That said, they should be in the ball-park and should produce noticeably better coffee. If you want the best results possible, you'll have to do the testing legwork for yourself with the correct measuring equipment or simply buy a more capable machine.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I ended up buying a Breville Dual Boiler today as it was on special. The shots that I've been pulling are tasting sour and don't have any flavour notes. I'm using a Baratza Encore on grind setting 5. If I have it any lower, I end up with clumps and the water doesn't even pour through the basket. The beans are 3 days old and tasted better with my aeropress. I'm using the default settings on the BDB (7 second pre-infusion and 25 second brew time). Does this mean I'll need a better grinder? Also, tamping is so hard ahaha.

                              Cheers
                              Brad

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X