Advice please ...

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Advice please ...

Postby kaz » Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:51 pm

For years I've been using a neapolitan stovetop espresso maker (my mum's Italian and that's all she uses). I've got 3, the smallest of which makes 200 ml of coffee. However, I'd like to upgrade and would like a machine that makes a ristretto and an espresso with crema. I've been looking at machines Gaggia, La Pavoni etc and have been getting more and more confused. Ideally I love the idea of a La Pavoni but read varying reports. My family and I don't drink masses of coffee so I don't want a machine with a large capacity water tank. Any ideas? Thanks.

Postby bruceb » Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:58 pm

Better give us an idea of how much you think you want to spend (we'll double it, anyway). If you are really thinking of spending the price of a new Pavoni you may be able to do better with a number of other machines. If you are familiar with ebay and want to go for something used you can probably get a fine machine for a reasonable price. Good luck. Why don't you join us if you like coffee? Image
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Postby Guest » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:12 pm

I'm actually watching a couple of La Pavoni machines at the moment on eBay (and have missed a couple) so I suppose my spend would be up to $250. I've also seen that I can buy a reconditioned Gaggia from their site. I've tasted coffee made on a Gaggia in store demos - OK but the Classic is too large. What other machines can you recommend? Might join ...

Postby Guest » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:13 pm

I meant £250.

Postby bluevalentine » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:35 pm

£250 doesn't get you into Pavoni territory and if Gaggia classic is too large your choice is likely to be restricted. I started off with a highly unfashionable Briel Chamonix and made reasonable espresso until it came unwelded after about 4 years hard use, certainly as good as I get from my Gaggia Paros.
A foodwriter friend who is also Italian swears by his Kenwood Cafe Retro (a badged over Italian Ariete) available here for about 160 euro.
That's all at base level.
For your money I'd say the Isomac Super Giada would be the best buy but check the size, it looks around the same footprint as a Classic.
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Postby bruceb » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:50 pm

I'm hoping someone from GB will jump in here and make some suggestions. I'm not familiar with prices in Britain, but I see that the Gaggia Coffee Deluxe new from HasBean costs less than that. A lot of people here are fond of the Rancillio Sylvia, however I believe they are at least one price class upwards of that.

The Pavoni is attractive and fun to use, however the results are often disappointing. Firstly, the basket is just too small. Secondly, the brew head has too little mass and tends to quickly overheat. With careful planning you can pull one or possibly two singles, but then you have to shut down and let it cool down before you can pull another shot or the next one will be burnt. If you really are going to only make yourself one espresso at a time then you may enjoy the Pavoni. In my opinion the price is too high for the results.

There is another lever machine that I have used that doesn't have the problems of the Pavoni and if you can find one used you might really enjoy that. It is from La Cimbali and is called a Microcimbali. They have gotten somewhat rare, but they do occasionally show up on ebay for about the same price as a good Pavoni.

Perhaps someone else has some ideas. I began using commercial machines a number of years ago and have almost no experience with newer home machines.
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Postby bainesy » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:26 pm

With respect to bluevalentine, there's a constant stream of Pavoni Eurpiccolas on ebay uk going for £257 inc p&p. I CANNOT vouch for or against the seller.

I had a very good experience with and my recon Gaggia Classic (£195) and you can get a recon Baby for £145 (which gives you the three way valve) or the standard Espresso (without three way valve) for £99.

Just to stress to OP "guest": the grinder is <deep breath> AS IMPORTANT IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE MACHINE <exhale>.
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Postby JulieJayne » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:38 pm

bainesy wrote:Just to stress to OP "guest": the grinder is <deep breath> AS IMPORTANT IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE MACHINE <exhale>.

Especially if you are going to be drinking ristretto and espresso!
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Roaster: Gene Cafe.
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Postby Guest » Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:02 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone, much appreciated and I take the point about the importance about having a decent grinder. While you were posting your replies I was on eBay and am now the owner of a 6-month old chrome Pavoni Europiccola (£165 so was within my budget). Hope I'm not disappointed and can actually make the coffee now ... Must join up.

Postby CakeBoy » Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:07 pm

Sounds like a good deal. You should join us :D
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