Hi all, new member here so thanks in advance for welcoming me and for all your advice!
I’ve been a longtime pour over brewer with all the usual v60/ Aeropress/ Kalita Wave brewers and now decided it is time to get into the rabbit hole of home espresso making. I’ll mainly be the only one using it on a daily basis (OH isn’t really into coffee) and likely will be doing 3-4 shots a day, maybe with 1 or 2 being a milk drink. We don’t often have people round for coffee, in the last 6 months I bet I’ve made 2 cups of coffee at once less than a handful of times.
I’ve spent a while researching forums, reviews and YT video’s and although it sometimes feels like the more you read the harder the decision gets, I keep coming round to getting a Gaggia Classic Pro. I have about £200 of vouchers with work that I can use at “commercial” shops so I could get it from somewhere like Selfridges for about £250 - which feels like a bit of a no-brainier.
My only pause is whether I will end up outgrowing the machine in a year or so and wishing that I had got something that can grow with me longer. Although my espresso making skill and if I’m honest, likely my pallet and ability to detect differences in the coffee might mean that I never progress beyond ‘basic’ espresso I guess!
I know you can heavily mod the gcp, I’m not sure how I feel about doing some of them myself beyond the OPV. If i’m going to want to be able to regulate temperature, control pre-infusion etc in future, am I better off getting a machine from the start that can do that?
So I’ve also been looking at things like the Lelit Victoria or MaraX or the Sage Dual Boiler. All are a bit of an uncomfortable stretch beyond the budget (would like to spend £800 tops) although if I can get the SDB using my vouchers then it brings it down close to that figure.
The other option is second hand which I’m not against, if I am confident in the seller, but also that the machine can be reasonably serviced/ repaired when out of warranty. I’ve seen some SDB’s for around £500 which seems a good price if they are well maintained/ good condition.
Final thing to add is that I have a Comandante grinder already so I’m pretty set with that and don’t need/ want to save any of my budget for a new grinder.
Apologies for the long post but hopefully I’ve given enough context of my requirements/ thought process - apologies if it just turns out to be a random ramble!