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Gaggia Classic or Breville dual boiler or ???

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  • Gaggia Classic or Breville dual boiler or ???

    Hi all, looks like I'm out of work and stuck at home for a while thanks to COVID-19, so I figured I should at least be well caffeinated. I've been using a Breville "The Infuser" on and off for years and when I travel for work I use either a aeropress or a wacaco minipresso. But its time I got a half decent machine at home. I generally like to make a strong flat white, usually two cups a day. I have a Porlex hand grinder which I hope will suffice for now. In future I will get a decent electric grinder.

    I have a budget of around $800-900 and I was just about to pull the trigger on a Gaggia Classic, I don't have a lot of space and it seems to be a fairly compact and simple machine. But I've noticed there are several versions available some of which are apparently not very good, and I can't seem to find out which versions are available in Australia and if they are the versions to be avoided.

    On the other hand, the Breville BES920 seems to be well regarded, and although the price seems to vary wildly, HN has it on their website for $899. I don't think the dual boiler is really necessary for my needs, but I suppose it would be nice. I would have to order it in as my local store has no stock, but I would have had to order the Gaggia anyway.

    Or is there another good option in my price range that I have missed?
    Thanks

  • #2
    Welcome mate....

    For that sort of budget, I'd actually recommend that you look at the range of Lelit espresso machines.
    High quality build and fully serviceable by the owner if you're so inclined.
    Check out the range here at our site sponsor's JetBlack Espresso webpage...
    https://www.jetblackespresso.com.au/...ffee-machines/

    Mal.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Dimal View Post
      Welcome mate....

      For that sort of budget, I'd actually recommend that you look at the range of Lelit espresso machines.
      High quality build and fully serviceable by the owner if you're so inclined.
      Check out the range here at our site sponsor's JetBlack Espresso webpage...
      https://www.jetblackespresso.com.au/...ffee-machines/

      Mal.

      Thanks Mal. The PL41LEM looks good and the price is right. Is it worth stretching the extra $150 for the PL41LEMD? Either way I do like the idea of a machine I can fix and service myself. I'm an electrician and a tinkerer at heart so no stranger to that sort of thing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by LeonKompowski View Post
        Thanks Mal. The PL41LEM looks good and the price is right. Is it worth stretching the extra $150 for the PL41LEMD? Either way I do like the idea of a machine I can fix and service myself. I'm an electrician and a tinkerer at heart so no stranger to that sort of thing.
        In that case, fed safe water, (no scale or chlorides), the Breville might bore you, only requiring the occasional o-ring replacement and re-sealing of the steam valve. Of course the espresso will be sublime. But it’s not much of a machine for a tinkerer except on rare occasion. In eight years, I’ve replaced a handful of o-rings, replaced the steam valve once (before I knew it was serviceable), serviced it once, and paid for Breville service once, (they sent me a new machine). If you enjoy tinkering you might want to look elsewhere. Then again, it’s pretty easy to modify too. Mine is plumbed, and has a rotary pump, and full blown flow control. Those are some pretty easy and worthwhile tinkering projects, though pretty easy.

        -Peter

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        • #5
          Don't know which Breville machine you're referring to but in a general sense, your experience goes contrary to that of many one time owners of Breville around here...
          That's not to say that there are no exceptions, of course there always are.
          Lelit machines being used with appropriate quality water and with the application of simple regular maintenance, are able last for several decades of regular usage.

          I would always prefer a genuine high quality European manufactured machine, over an appliance machine, every day of the week. Appliance machines do have their place of course and as entry level machines to enter the wonderful world of espresso, they're great.

          Mal.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LeonKompowski View Post
            Thanks Mal. The PL41LEM looks good and the price is right. Is it worth stretching the extra $150 for the PL41LEMD? Either way I do like the idea of a machine I can fix and service myself. I'm an electrician and a tinkerer at heart so no stranger to that sort of thing.
            The addition of PID Control to this machine does make it a much more stable and enjoyable machine to use, no doubt about it and if I was in the market for a similar machine, I'd definitely go with the PL41TEMD...

            Mal.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pcrussell50 View Post
              In that case, fed safe water, (no scale or chlorides), the Breville might bore you, only requiring the occasional o-ring replacement and re-sealing of the steam valve. Of course the espresso will be sublime.
              -Peter
              Well sublime espresso is the priority here, more so than tinkerability. The main thing is that it is repairable to at least some extent, and parts are available. The Breville is still looking like a good option.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LeonKompowski View Post
                Well sublime espresso is the priority here
                Achieving this is more to do with the quality of coffee being used and its freshness.
                The rest comes down to the technique and experience of the user.

                I realise the term "God Shot" gets bandied about quite a bit but with my Lelit/Imat machine of many years ago, I have never been able to pull a better quality shot of espresso on any of the machines I have owned since (high quality HX through to Double Boiler jobs). Mine also had a PID Controller installed (by me) so brew water temperature was ultra stable and when using Steam, this was plentiful and dry as a bone; texturing milk was a breeze...

                If possible, would definitely be worth your while to visit your nearest reputable specialist retailer (check out our Site Sponsor list) and get some hands on demos. Don't know how many would also stock the Breville BES920 but there might be a couple, so you can compare.

                Mal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dimal View Post
                  Don't know which Breville machine you're referring to but in a general sense, your experience goes contrary to that of many one time owners of Breville around here...
                  That's not to say that there are no exceptions, of course there always are.

                  Lelit machines being used with appropriate quality water and with the application of simple regular maintenance, are able last for several decades of regular usage.

                  I would always prefer a genuine high quality European manufactured machine, over an appliance machine, every day of the week. Appliance machines do have their place of course and as entry level machines to enter the wonderful world of espresso, they're great.

                  Mal.
                  Breville Dual Boiler

                  Well, by that kind of statement it certainly sounds like you have done your homework to back it up. Can you name anything that routinely fails on the BDB that is not caused by:

                  (1) Abuse from bad water (look at the good water/bad water pics): https://www.home-barista.com/espress...9.html#p689950

                  (2) Abuse from neglecting to replace o-rings when due. (See the snaps above and you can see not only the scale and corrosion from bad water, but in the background you can see the evidence of what happens if you ignore the o-rings when due for replacement.

                  (3) The odd pump controller failure (which I mentioned in my comprehensive list of issues over eight and a half years), which for me, resulted in Breville sending me a brand new machine for the cost of the basic fixed fee service.

                  (4) Servicing the steam valve when due (this doesn't cause any damage to the machine, but nobody likes a slow drip)

                  The OP deserves to know, if you have anything specific to share. And of course so would the rest of the BDB community.

                  -Peter

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Agreed. The main reason that Breville Dual Boilers (and the better Sunbeams to an extent) die is the type of people that buy most of them. They are an excellent and very capable machine that will last many years if you do a couple of very simple things like clean it. It still blows me away how many people don’t clean their coffee machines properly INCLUDING so called coffee snobs.

                    To the OP - the Breville Dual Boiler and the Lelit PID are both great options and I’d definitely recommend them over a new Gaggia Classic. I think a Gaggia Classic would give you similar results to your current machine.
                    The Breville DB is on the larger side and while it looks ok on my bench it still has that appliance type look so if bench space is at a premium and you prefer shiny stainless then the Lelit might be the way to go. Both brands are well supported in Australia so parts and servicing should never be an issue.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a soft spot for the Gaggia Classic. My first espresso machine was a s/h Classic and I still have it, though it hasn't been used for years. I also refurbished one for my grandson. He is still using that one. With a little TLC and ocasional replacement parts they will literally go on for decades.
                      They can make very good espresso, BUT they need quite a bit of operator input to do so. Steaming power is marginal and rather slow, also needing some user input to minimise the time it normally takes.
                      The latest version, introduced very late in 2018 combines the best features of previous models, so if you do go with the the Gaggia you want to get one made in 2019 or later. Stay away from any that were made between 2015 and 2018. They were not well received by many users.

                      I also have a BES920. I bought a factory second from a Breville outlet store for $650. It cme with a reduced warranty, but at that price I was prepared to take the risk and do my own repairs if it became necessary.
                      It is very user friendly, and when fed with good beans, makes excellent coffee, with minimal user input. But if you want to fiddle, they can be tweaked by altering various presets in the menus. My only reservation is it's longevity. They feel rather lightweight and flimsy compared to most european made machines, and there are both good and bad stories here and on other forums in regard to their reliability. However, as Peter and Leroy said above - many of the bad ones may well be user related.

                      I can't comment on the Lelit's as I have never owned or used one.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pcrussell50 View Post
                        The OP deserves to know, if you have anything specific to share. And of course so would the rest of the BDB community.
                        There's no shortage of relevant information to be found by doing some diligent searching on this and several other sites. I'll leave that up to the OP to research that for him/herself...

                        No matter how you want to paint it, the Breville is still an appliance machine which is both marketed and sold to appeal to that market. Just so happens I am not one of those people...

                        Mal.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I just bought a BDB and I have to say, I love it. It is easy to use, the steam is great and bang for buck you can't beat it. I had a Gaggia classic and it was ok, waiting for a single boiler so you can texture milk is a pain(to me). The Breville is big though, takes up a lot of bench space.
                          I too read a lot of bad press regarding the dual boiler, but they sell millions of them, there are bound to be some duds. Also, if you look through this site there are plenty of machines worth more money that have issues. Depends how you look after it. They have a 2 year warranty which is good. I don't want this machine to last forever, so I'm ok if I get 5 years out of it as I live near the beach and everything rusts.
                          A mate of mine has one and nothing has gone wrong with it.
                          All that being said, mine had a sticker price of $1700 or something. I wouldn't pay that for a Breville but I got mine for $827.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I do get what you and "pcrussell50" above are saying and from all reports the BDB does a great job and is probably best in class for an Appliance Machine. However, given that a significant proportion of CSers eventually get the urge to upgrade to something else, the Lelit, Silvias and other similar entry level specialist European manufactured machines will return a value significantly closer to their original purchase price, making it less expensive to pursue that upgrade machine in the future.

                            That's probably more the direction I'm coming from as the coffee quality from all of the above can be exquisite, so long as all of the important criteria are observed...

                            Mal.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have the Lelit PL41TEM and I think it’s a great machine. The PID and compact size are big factors for me. I roast my own beans and use a good grinder (Vario) so my good espressos are the net result of all that. I think self roasting and good grinder are maybe more impactful than the choice of espresso machine.

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