Italian Style For A Mid-Range Budget
The Gaggia Classic espresso machine could be a great option both for an experienced barista and for an espresso lover looking to buy his first machine. The price of this model is in the neighborhood of $600 which is the middle of the road as far as espresso machines go. There are some good quality machines that are available for a slightly cheaper price, and some excellent machines that you can pay much more to own. If you are looking for a quality, Italian-made espresso machine with a few extra perks, check out this classy machine.
User's Favorite Features
- Quality of espresso
- 3-way solenoid valve
- Heavy duty portafilter
- Classy appearance
- Instructional CD
- Reasonable price
Common User Complaints
- Turbofrother steam wand is gimmicky
- Makes loud noises
- Steams milk slowly
- Small water boiler
One of the differences between the Gaggia Classic and a couple of the more inexpensive Gaggia machines is the presence of the solenoid valve. Some users think that this attribute alone is worth the few hundred dollars extra that you would spend to buy a Classic. The solenoid valve basically pressurizes the ground espresso after you are through pulling your shots. Clean up is much easier because the spent grounds will come out of the portafilter in a compact puck that you can toss straight into the garbage can. Without the solenoid valve, the used grinds may end up a soupy mess that drips all the way across your kitchen counter and requires rinsing in the sink to clean out of your portafilter.
Another thing is the looks. Some of the cheaper machines are made of plastic and have little style. The Gaggia Classic machine is brushed stainless steel and offers a simple beauty that would subtly compliment any kitchen setup. It may not wow guests who enter your culinary commode, but the Classic looks classy.
Gaggia Classic has small aluminum boiler that allows it to heat up relatively quickly. However, this small boiler also means that it is difficult to make more than 1 or 2 drinks at a time - that can be a problem if you are entertaining. The quality of the espresso the Classic can produce is really good with great crema. The machine also seems more forgiving than Rancilio Silvia, which may be a good thing for a beginner. Probably the most common problem is the turbofrother - a device that makes it easy to produce foam but compromises its quality. Most users get used to the frother - but for those who don't, removing the plastic sleeve helps. If you are really unhappy about the steam wand, it is relatively cheap and easy to replace it.
For beginners who may consider this machine, you will be happy to hear that it comes with an instructional CD that you can watch on your computer. This CD will tell you everything you need to know to brew top-notch espresso and steam milk for cappuccinos and lattes. However, if you are the type who never reads directions, this feature will not help you, so make an exception with this machine and study up before you jump in and start making horrible coffee. You want to do your new purchase justice.
Overall, the Gaggia Classic espresso machine is an excellent option for an espresso aficionado operating on a mid-range budget. It has some handy features and Italian styling that may make it worth a little more than some of its cheaper compatriots, while pulling espresso of equal quality to far more expensive espresso machines. As usual, if you decide to buy this machine make sure you read the Gaggia Classic customer reviews first.
Further ReadingGaggia Espresso Machines