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So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

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  • So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

    Hi everyone, first post here, though I have been spending a few happy hours browsing through the site. Many things have become clearer, though some still remain murky...

    Before getting to my question, here is my background. I have been using a french press for home use for many years. I thought I had reached the pinnacle of sophistication years ago when I gave up on shop bought ground coffee and began to grind beans as I needed them - with a blade grinder. My research has now shown me that this is all wrong, and the blade grinder is worse than useless. Unfortunately I can appreciate that my press coffee tastes, well, like mud, to be frank. This feeling has been confirmed by the purchase of an aeropress, which even with the blade chopper produces results far superior to the press. So I have resolved to start the journey to home coffee nirvana, whatever it takes  I hope to dump the press and move on to expresso, but I need to take it in steps.

    I have read a lot about grinders here, and appreciate that that is where I need to start. But which to pick? Opinions here seem to be as clumpy as the results from my blade chopper.

    Here is where I am. I dont want to spend more than $500, as divorce is expensive. I am havering towards a Breville smart grinder (I have read all 18 pages here) or a Rocky or a Compak K3. Then I saw that the Gaggia MDF could be had at a great price, half of what it used to cost. Reviews seem good elsewhere, but to be honest there doesnt seem to be a lot of flag waving for it on CS. To my reading it seems to be a pretty solid piece of kit, on a par with the much more expensive Rocky, and currently much cheaper than the Breville. To be honest I have slight misgivings about the Breville, given all that electronic digital frippery that to me seems to be just another thing to wrong, if previous purchases of fancy electronic controlled gadgets are anything to go by. In my heart I would prefer something beautifully made and simple, with as little as possible to go wrong.

    I am prepared to go to the end of my budget if I have to, but before I do, is the MDF a gift horse whose mouth I should avoid?

    Thanks in advance for any insight from all you knowledgeable coffee lovers!

  • #2
    Re: So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

    i used an MDF for the better part of 5 years (paired witha gaggia classic) and aside from breaking the spring-lever in the doser (which is a $15 part from flea-bay) it never skipped a beat. It was more than capable of grinding for espresso within a point or 2 of the ideal set point and then any slack could be taken up by a slightly weaker or stronger tamp.

    i think its not talked up as much as others as its not a spectacular grinder and it has historically always been priced at or around the same pricepoint as the rocky which is a better grinder and offers dosed or doserless options.

    if however, you can source one for a good deal less than the rocky or the k3 and you only plan to use it for press then i think youre on to something. on the other hand, if you see yourself moving on to a decent espresso machine then i would think that jumping in the deep end with something like a k3 or better would be smarter - a bit more investment now will land you a grinder that will survive more upgrade cycles before it becomes the weak link...

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    • #3
      Re: So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

      Hi Humanbean,
      Youll probably notice more difference between the K3 Push and the MDF(who thought of that acronym?) if you (eventually) drink your coffee as an espresso. The K3 Push is stepless, the MDF is not. My limited experience suggests that within this range, the diff b/w grinders is not as obvious in the cup when drinking lattes etc, but is still there. This is based on comparing taste in the cup from my mates Rocky and my K3 Touch, using same beans, adjusting grind/tamp to get similar extraction time.
      Id be tempted to go for the K3, particularly if you plan on getting a good quality espresso machine, but everyone weights the various relevant factors differently.
      BOSW

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      • #4
        Re: So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

        Thanks Barry and early_morning. You both make good points. The key is that I cant see myself staying with press once I have hopped onto this conveyor belt. I would like to learn more and make great expresso in due course. So if that is the case perhaps the upfront investment for something like the k3 is worth it.

        Would be happy to hear other views...

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        • #5
          Re: So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

          K3 Touch ordered from one of the site sponsors.....
          Will no doubt be back here for advice once it arrives 

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          • #6
            Re: So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

            Originally posted by 5559595A5F530407360 link=1328500611/4#4 date=1328915993
            K3 Touch ordered from one of the site sponsors.....
            Will no doubt be back here for advice once it arrives  Cheesy
            Sounds like a sound long-term move.
            Cheers
            BOSW

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            • #7
              Re: So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

              The Compak has arrived and it is an absolutely fabulous piece of kit. Am loving it already, though the wife nearly had a heart attack when she saw the size of it (20 yrs of whizzy bean-chopping blade machines do not prepare you for the magnificence of a proper grinder!). I was also pleasantly surprised at how quiet it is (in comparison).

              I won her over a little by showing her a comparison of the grind from the compak compared with the dust and boulders from the whizzer. I then won her over a whole lot more with the taste of her press coffee. At this rate I might be able to move to an espresso machine sooner than I thought...  ;D

              Thanks Chris for great service  8-)

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              • #8
                Re: So whats wrong with the Gaggia MDF?

                I used an MDF for years before I got a Mini Mazzer. It looks cheap and plasticky but never failed and was quicker to grind than the Mazzer (which could be a good or bad thing). On the other hand the Mazzer is built like a tank, but the doser spring broke. Bottom line - MDF great value

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                • #9
                  I felt I should add a postscript to this post. I have the K3T and still love it. It is rock solid.
                  However we are lucky enough to have a little old beach shack and after being spoiled at home with good espresso I was starting to get twitchy about drinking blade-ground press coffee there. So when I saw an MDF they were selling off at a great price in Merlo I bought one (I think I paid $130). For the money it functions superbly. The quality of the grounds for the press and aeropress are excellent (I haven't used it with an espresso machine yet). However compared to the Compak, because it is set up as a doser, it is messier to use. I have found the trick is to just grind the precise amount of beans needed for the press and then dispense all of the grounds from the doser.

                  I have a feeling the MDF will outlast any super electronic offering costing <$300

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