Advice on which bean to cup machine

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Advice on which bean to cup machine

Postby SteveS » Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:05 pm

Hello

I'm after some advice. I want to get a bean to cup machine (I think - I'm after something as easy as possible) and I want to spend as little as possible. I also fancy a milk frothing attachment.

The machines I've been thinking of are:

Gaggia Trevi Exclusive (recon from Gaggia - £300)
Gaggia Syncrony Logic (again recon - £250)
Saeco Vienna Deluxe (same as the Trevi exclusive???)
Or possibly something a bit more expensive like a Titanium or Syncrony Digital - but this would mean waiting longer and I need some decent coffee soon!

Any contributions are welcome, but I'd at least like some views on the following questions, if possible:

1. I've seen some evidence of a "cappuccinatore" attachment which froths the milk automatically. I've emailed Gaggia twice to ask them about it but they haven't replied. So, are they any good, where can you get them and which machines do they fit?

2. Are the machines I'm thinking of okay? I think the Syncrony Logic only has one boiler, but is this of much significance?

3. My water is pretty hard - is hard water better or worse for the taste of the coffee, or doesn't it matter? Should I soften the water or just descale the machine periodically - do the machines do this automatically?

4. I've read some things in the forum about aluminium boilers and think I'd rather avoid them if possible, but which of these machines has one and which doesn't, or are they all aluminium?

Any advice appreciated, even if it's "you don't want to get a bean to cup because..."

Thanks

Steve

PS

For the record, I've currently got a Braun Espresso Cappuccino Pro E650 3063 – a strange machine – have a look here if you want a laugh: http://63.230.9.155/braun/Srv_Man/HOUSE/3063.pdf
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Postby phil » Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:41 pm

I won't comment on the bean to cup machine because me being purist on that subject won't help you. If you want something easy and don't mind having to settle for highly mediocre results as part of the transaction then that is your call to make. Our member tisri seems very happy with his Synchrony or whatever it is. I don't know how he'd feel after tasting some absolutely top notch shots from a world class machine - but then he does drink a suspension of soot so who knows! :lol:

Oh gosh I guess I just did comment after all. Ah well.:roll:

I actually started typing because I wanted to comment on the water issue. You can if you wish read the water FAQ elsewhere on the net (Hugh was kind enough to post the url recently - use the forum search to find it). Water that is too soft is bad because your coffee will over-extract. Water that is too hard will knacker your machine and you'll have to keep descaling it. The optimum is IMO around 50ppm of hardness as Ca. I achieve this by using bottled mineral water, in the hope that most of the other nasties (notably the particulate ones) will have been taken out.

I think most of the Gaggia low-end machines have ally boilers. Commercial machines and many domestic machines starting at the Silvia seem to have copper ones. Whether this is an issue probably depends on whether you think aluminium gives you Alzheimers. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Do you want to take the risk. Gee, what was the question again... and who are you anyway?

Sorry I guess I'm in a daft mood Steve. Hope this helps even if just a little, and maybe someone more sensible can help by commenting on the machines. Jim maybe?
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Postby tisri » Mon Nov 15, 2004 11:24 pm

Er... thanks for the intro Phil... (I think)

I use a Syncrony Compact Digital that I've had since December last year. I won't argue with Phil about comparing it to a world class dedicated espresso maker because it probably isn't as good. Then again, I can make a cup of freshly ground coffee faster than I can make a cup of instant, which is a major factor for me. I'd recommend the digital over the non-digital because you get a display that tells you what's going on rather than trying to work it out based on which lights are flashing. You also get a timer in the digital machines so you can tell it to go to sleep overnight (i.e. shut off the boilers so they cool down) and then wake up again in the morning so it's ready when you are.

I don't know how high in the range you have to go before you stop getting an aluminium boiler.
Even the lower-end machines have a steam wand for milk frothing. If you want one that does it automatically I think you need to be looking at the Titanium or higher (£640 or so).

The single boiler is only an issue if you regularly switch from making coffee to frothing milk and back. If you're doing that then having two boilers is a plus. If you aren't then it won't make a lot of difference. The compacts have two boilers, I think the standard Syncrony Logic and Syncrony Digital have only the one.

As for water you don't want to be descaling every couple of weeks. I recently stopped using reverse-osmosis filtered water and now use standard softened water and the taste is definitely better. The taste is better still when you actually roast the beans before using them :)

If you want a Syncrony Compact Digital I think Gaggia sell them reconditioned for a whisker under £400 - check their web site if you're interested.

Hope that helps!

Cheers
John
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Postby tisri » Mon Nov 15, 2004 11:30 pm

Quick followup - if you want a recommendation on where you can get Gaggia machines cheaply (at least the cheapest supplier I've found) post an email address and I'll let you know. I won't post it here, since it's a non-commercial board.
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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:54 pm

Thanks Phil and John

I'm glad I didn't ask the "Nespresso" question now!

By chance, I discovered one of the companies on the web was based near me, so I went along. I very nearly fell for an Isomac Rituale, but ended up with a Gaggia Titanium. In the end John's remark swung it for me:

I can make a cup of freshly ground coffee faster than I can make a cup of instant


That certainly appealed - so here I am. One last question - is there such a thing as caffeine poisoning? Obviously I've had to play around with the various settings on the machine - the counter tells me I've had 18 so far and I feel a little strange! :shock:

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Postby phil » Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:32 pm

Should have had the Rituale!

Maybe next time.
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La Spaziale Lusso grinder (espresso),
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No partridge, no pear tree either
Conas, Zassenhaus hand grinder....
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Postby MKSwing » Wed Nov 17, 2004 1:01 am

Anonymous wrote:That certainly appealed - so here I am. One last question - is there such a thing as caffeine poisoning? Obviously I've had to play around with the various settings on the machine - the counter tells me I've had 18 so far and I feel a little strange! :shock:

Steve


Hey ! Of course it is, 18 coffees seem a lot to me. You should take a break.[/b]
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Postby tisri » Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:35 am

Anonymous wrote:I'm glad I didn't ask the "Nespresso" question now!


I dropped Nespresso from my list right from the outset, for the simple reason that I want more variety than will ever be possible if I'm dependant on manufacturers making pods for me. If I want to blend Indian Monsoon Malabar with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and drop in a touch of Brazilian Fazenda Cachoeira I can do just that, and vary the proportions until I'm happy. With Nespresso I get what I'm given.

By chance, I discovered one of the companies on the web was based near me, so I went along. I very nearly fell for an Isomac Rituale, but ended up with a Gaggia Titanium. In the end John's remark swung it for me:


OK now I'm jealous. I've thought about upgrading my Syncrony for a Titanium. Do you mind me asking where you got it and what you paid?

One last question - is there such a thing as caffeine poisoning?

Very much so. Aside from not sleeping for a week I recall a friend of mine from my university days ended up admitted to the health centre with suspected caffeine poisoning. He and I used to drink strong Blend 37 (we couldn't afford proper coffee on a student budget) and play backgammon into the small hours. After I graduated he took to dissolving Pro Plus in his coffee and drinking several cups over the course of an evening.

Despite the name of the forum I doubt many here would recommend drinking Too Much Coffee.
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Postby Guest » Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:53 pm

I've thought about upgrading my Syncrony for a Titanium. Do you mind me asking where you got it and what you paid?


Well, I don't know too much about the Syncrony Compact Digital, but I'm not sure how much of an upgrade it would be.

No, I don't mind at all - let me know what your email address is and I'll drop you a line (wouldn't want to break the rules on commercial posting :oops:

Part of me (my mouth) thinks I should've got the Rituale but the rest of me is satisfied.

Steve
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Postby tisri » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:12 pm

Hi Steve,

If you could send it to tisri@toomuchcoffee.com that would be great. I'm not entirely convinced there's a huge benefit in upgrading but curious to know what prices are out there. There's an £825 Saeca that looks quite impressive too, so if Santa brings me a nice Christmas bonus you never know...

Cheers
John
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Postby Guest » Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:54 pm

cool
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Postby wallisj » Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:56 pm

Just to add ... the syncrony compact and the titanium basically have the same innards anyway from what i understand ... not sure of the price justification for it ...
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Postby CakeBoy » Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:36 pm

Steve, the Spidem Trevi Automatica (called Trevi Silver in Germany) is basically the same machine and can be bought for under £200 from a number of German online firms. Just search in Google or on ebay. Whichever superauto you go for, make sure it has "Rapid Steam", otherwise you will be hanging about a bit during coffee production. Shout if you need any more info. Good luck.
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