Gaggia Carezza Espresso Machine
A Great Starter Machine
The Gaggia Carezza espresso machine offers something unique to would-be espresso machine owners, it is available to purchase for less than $250. Gaggia is one of the most well known and respected brands in the industry. It is understandably surprising yet intriguing to some shoppers to find that this company manufactures a machine that is priced so reasonably. Could this actually be an affordable espresso machine that is easy to use and pulls good quality shots? We shall see.
One of the reasons that the Carezza machine is priced so much lower than some other Gaggia models is that the housing is made out of plastic. It is not an ugly machine, but it will not provide your kitchen with that glowing centerpiece that you will be dying to show off to all your house guests. Even though the outside is plastic, the guts of the machine are commercial grade and made of the highest quality materials. We are talking about an Italian made product, so this should come as no surprise.
As far as operating the machine goes, it is a semi-automatic model. This means you will be responsible for grinding coffee, filling the portafilter, pressing buttons to begin brewing and turning off the machine when the shots are pulled. OK, let's have a look at what users think of Carezza.
What users like most
- Heats up quickly, about 2 minutes
- Chromed brass grouphead and portafilter keep the temperature stable during brewing
- 58mm basket in the portafilter holds as much coffee as a commercial machine
- High wattage that can produce a lot of power going through the steam wand
- Pulls good espresso shots without a lot of fuss
Common user complaints
- Plastic tip on the steam wand makes it difficult to produce perfect foam
- Steam wand's placement on the machine is too low
- Drip tray is too small and may easily overflow
- Pump can be quite noisy
The main complaint is really the steam wand. It you drink only straight espresso or cappuccino then it should not be too much of an issue. For lattes it can be a bit annoying. Some people actually put the machine on a stand to make fitting the pitcher under the steam wand easier.
Overall, many Carezza owners found that they could cope with a few quirky annoyances for the benefits of owning a quality Italian machine for such a low price. Most beginning baristas should find the Gaggia Carezza to be an excellent starter machine. Some owners of this machine reported that they were able to pull good espresso shots on their first try, rather than playing around with the machine for weeks to get just the right combination of grind, pressure, tamping and goodness knows what else.
The Gaggia Carezza espresso machine is a good bet even for newbies who are not at all confident about their espresso making ability. It comes with two portafilters - one is for ground coffee, the second one is for ESE pods. I would not recommend you using the ESE pods on a regular basis (they don't make the best espresso + they are expensive). But for when you are just starting out, you can first practice making shots with ESE pods to gain a bit of confidence before switching to ground coffee.
All in all, Gaggia Carezza is a great starter machine. When you practice and up your level of coffee snobbery, you can always upgrade to a more impressive, higher end Gaggia espresso machine.
Further ReadingGaggia Espresso Machines