Espresso Gear

Looking at the Gaggia Baby and Tiamo HG0086 (600N?) grinder. Is this a good buy? Any other suggestions?

Thanks! … tsrch=srp3

Not a particularly good deal. That MIT grinder is available under several brand names around town for $2500 (e.g. at Costco), so you’re basically paying 17,500 for the baby, which sells for anywhere from NT$8000-14K on Amazon USA, or as low as $14,900 on Yahoo/Ruten auctions.

Three years ago, I got one of these Electrolux EES200’s, a thermoblock model, which is the same machine as this Ariete (tons of reviews on Amazon). It’s about $4500NT, and I recall seeing it at RT Mart or Carrefour recently (they used to sell it at Costco). I’ve probably put about 2-3000 shots through it over three years and it just started to leak in the last few months so we sent it in for fixing for $1600 (replaced the entire grouphead). If you want to go cheap, the EES200 is okay. I use it to make lattes and cappuccinos mostly, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a hardcore espresso aficionado. However, the New Baby is probably not much better.

What Tiger Mountaineer said about the grinder is correct. It’s made by Yang Chia, but there are other manufacturers of a similarly designed grinder, one being Flying Eagle. You’re basically paying an extra couple hundred NT because it says Tiamo on the side. (But, I’ll be honest, I’m not so sure it would be a great espresso grinder. French press, manual pourover, syphon: yes!. Espresso: not likely. I say that as an owner of one, but I don’t use it anymore.)

I’d stay away from Electrolux espresso machines. They don’t have a good reputation among espresso people. Unfortunately, Taiwan is not the place to be for good home espresso machines. Tiamo is the importer of Gaggia and, while Gaggia is a good entry-level machine, they’re all ridiculously priced here. I searched high and low when I was buying my espresso machine. Even the Rancilio Silvia is overpriced relative to the US and European markets. The only machines that seem to be reasonably priced are La Pavoni lever machines, but those are lever and not pump (I bought a 110v Pavoni and had it shipped from Italy, but I’m not sure if it was cheaper than just buying it locally).

Basically, you’ll have to overpay for something imported or else buy a lever machine. There is also the made-in-Taiwan Gee Espresso Machine, which has been redesigned for the US market as the Crossland CC1. It gets decent reviews by serious espresso people (plus Bill Crossland is an engineer that worked for La Marzocco in Italy and, apparently, worked on their high-end machines), but I’m not sure if the redesigned CC1 is available here in Taiwan or if it’s just the original Gee.

Thanks for the info. I’ll keep an eye out for a used machine. Only way to get something decent at a fair price.

I didn’t mean to discourage you from buying one. If you’re comfortable paying that price, go for it. You may want to budget for a better grinder, though. Very few people realize this, but the grinder is actually more important than the espresso machine.

Not discouraged at all. After a few days of research, I am definitely not comfortable paying that price. There are a few second hand Rancilio Silvia/Rocky combos floating around for 21000NT. Seems like a better value.

I bought my little Bialetti for under US$20!

Just came across some of your work on coffeegeek. Seems you’ve been at this coffee in Taiwan thing for a while. What setup would you recommend for $21000nt or less?


FYI, I’m really intrigued by the GEE. PID included? I think this is top of my list right now. Combos with a 900n for 23000NT.

I’m looking for an industrial meat grinder. Anyone know where I can get a used one? I’m in the Taipei area.

Hey Slowrain, how would you tell the difference between the CC1 and the Gee? The ones listed locally online look pretty much the same. Also, are there any decent locally available grinders that aren’t a rip off?

I’m a little busy with work at the moment. I’ll try to reply maybe this weekend. For the moment, you can try as an excellent online espresso resource (it’s a much less vile place than CoffeeGeek, and the people are more knowledgeable). Just make sure you spend the first week reading before posting anything.

No rush. After all, I just got my admittedly hai hao Elextrolux back. But I was intrigued to hear of a premium MIT home machine, since previously when I’ve looked at going upmarket, I’ve always been put off by the 30% markup on the Italian machines. I’m more interested to pick your brain on what’s available here since you’ve obviously done your homework and I’m guessing most of the posters on the coffee sites you mentioned are not in Taiwan. Cheers!

There are a couple possible answers. It all depends on how good you want your espresso and cappuccinos to taste and how much fiddling you want to do.

21,000TWD is a little over 700USD. For that price, you couldn’t even get a Gaggia Classic and Baratza Vario back in the US–and that setup is kind of regarded as one of the lowest entry-level espresso machines people should be considering. Most people start out with a Rancilio Silvia because of the dealer support, available modifications, and ubiquity, but that’s more expensive.

You can:

  1. Raise the budget. Let me know if you want more information regarding this option, but I’ll leave it for now as it seems unlikely based on your previous posts.

  2. Consider a hand grinder like the Orphan Espresso Pharos, but that may be a bit fiddly for first-timers, especially right away in the morning. Watch some of the videos so you know what you’re getting into. For what it’s worth, this grinder has a good reputation over on, and it’s the one I use.

  3. Consider a hand grinder like the Porlex. I used to use this one. It does a surprisingly decent job with just a very simple modification. I like my Pharos better, but this is a good option for a starter on a budget.

The problem with #2 and #3 is that hand grinders are slower, fiddly (especially the Pharos), and require patience. Not that an entry-level espresso machine is a speed demon either, but hand grinders become more of a hassle or chore if that isn’t already part of your personality. Fortunately for me, I like things of a more manual nature.

  1. I don’t have any first-hand knowledge about the GEE espresso machine, but I certainly would consider researching it more if I were you. I actually emailed the owner (Ewen) over the course of a couple of weeks back when I was deciding what to buy. The machine is designed by an espresso enthusiast who saw a market to go head-to-head with the Rancilio Silvia and Gaggia Classic, but offer better temperature control out of the box (the PID). He ticked off every point an entry-level machine should have. The only drawback was there was some concern about temperature stability–meaning the temperature varies greatly with each shot of espresso you make, and it’s never consistently predictable. This “research” was done by someone on a local website called Mobile1 (or something like that). It was in Chinese, so I could only get the gist of the pictures. However, that was a long time ago. It’s quite possible that 1.) the “research” was faulty, or 2.) the issue has been fixed by Ewen. You can contact Ewen and see what he has to say.

I seriously doubt the Crossland CC1 would be available here, even though it’s made here. The Baratza grinders are made in Taiwan and are wildly popular in the US, yet it’s only the last year or two that they’ve been selling them here. The CC1 doesn’t have that kind of following in the US, so it’s unlikely to be sold here right now. Plus, even though it’s based on the GEE and made here, I’m pretty sure Bill Crossland owns all the designs, trademarks, and patents to the CC1, so it only gets sold where he feels there’s a market for it. I think Ewen’s company is sort of like the OEM for the CC1.

  1. Or, don’t worry about espresso and cappuccinos, and just focus on flavored lattes. This, I’m guessing, will be the most useful suggestion for many people. You’re not going to get good espresso, or even good cappuccinos, from a cheaper setup, but you can sort of hide that fact by putting in lots of milk, sugar, and flavoring. It works for Starbucks and 85°C. In this instance, just buy one of the cheaper machines that doesn’t have too much plastic. I’m not even sure you need a grinder if you go this route, but you could consider the 600N if you want.

  2. However, if taste is important to you, but none of the above options seem appealing, you could consider other brew options. Right now people have access to some of the best tasting coffee ever in the history of coffee–even here in Taiwan. Buy a decent grinder and either a French press, AeroPress, syphon, manual dripper, etc. and get started with something delicious at a fraction of the cost (and frustration) of espresso.

As an aside, there are a few other things you should consider about owning an espresso machine and grinder: You’ll need some accessories like a tamper, steaming pitcher, brushes, and a few other things. A good digital scale will also be helpful. You’ll also need to clean the machines. Seals on the espresso machine wear out and need to be replaced.

I included my answer to the GEE/CC1 question in #4 above.

If it’s an espresso grinder you’re looking for, you could consider the 900-series of grinders from Yang Chia (aka Feima, but not to be confused with Faema). They are a knock-off of the Mazzer Super Jolly. In fact, many people buy one, then replace the locally-made burrs with original Mazzer ones as they are supposedly better. I heard one guy say there was a problem with the collar in the Feima grinders a while back but that it had since been resolved–but that’s just a rumor until more people chime in. And, even though I use the word “knock-off”, I think it’s supposed to be a decent grinder and one that you could research a bit more.

If any of you want, I can ask around if any of the things I’ve mentioned in here interest you and you want more information. Just let me know.

I appreciate your thorough reply and the time you took to help us. They key may be to find a way to get some product here from the States. Perhaps a coworker can luggage up for me in the near future. Another option is patience with the second hand market. Your’re correct that I am unwilling to pay Taiwan’s list price for something decent. Perhaps most valuable is being dissuaded from the GEE. The GEE may be a great machine, but I would be disappointed if I bought it thinking I was getting a rebadged CC1.

My options as I see them:

  1. Get something in from the States.
  2. Buy a quality kit second hand.
  3. Get the best grinder that I can and an economical way to create coffee.
  4. Drink coffee at your house.

Thanks again! You’re a champ.

  • M

Of those, #3 will get you up and running the soonest. (I discount #4 because I’m still learning how to roast my own beans, so you’d be surprised how bad the coffee is at my place. :blush: )

One thing that may surprise you is that some of those expensive espresso grinders don’t necessarily grind well for French press or other brew methods. In the 21st century, you’d think we’d have that licked, but that’s not the case. Besides, if you have an expensive espresso grinder all set up to grind perfectly for espresso, adjusting it to grind for some other brew method just loses your setting for espresso. You then have to waste several shots of espresso fiddling around to get the grind setting back to where it was originally. The 21st century hasn’t solved that one, either, although the Baratza Vario seems to be the closest in that regard. Most espresso people actually have two grinders: one dedicated for espresso and one dedicated for other brewing methods. The good news in all of this is that a decent grinder for normal brewed coffee doesn’t cost an arm and a leg–just a finger and a toe.

Thanks for taking the time to write that that exhaustive and informative summary Slowrain. If and when I do decide to get more serious, the Gee + something like a 900N looks like an economical choice in Taiwan, but there is quite a bit of vagueness around the forums concerning exactly what differs between it and the CC1. When I have time to parse through the Chinese, I’ll do some more reading on Mobile01 and the GEE forum, where there is a lot of active discussion about the specifics of the Gee machine, using it, grinders etc.

Here’s a post on Home-Barista where Bill Crossland talks a bit about the CC1. You can read through that entire thread, too, if you want. If you’re seriously interested in espresso and the CC1, you could register an account and read everything Bill has posted on that website, but I don’t think he only posts about the CC1.

Baratza Vario is on the way. Woohoo! Soon I will have a killer grinder to go with my newly acquired Tiamo french press.

Does anyone rent espresso machines? Perhaps I can try it out for a few months before dropping $30000nt.

:thumbsup: Did you order if from overseas? or locally?

Does anyone rent espresso machines? Perhaps I can try it out for a few months before dropping $30000nt.[/quote]

No, but my friend bought a smaller commercial machine from a place that I believe also rents… mind you, they don’t have small machines. These would all be at least two-grouphead heavy-duty machines that take a while to warm up.