Review: The Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine

The Gaggia Classic is a Perennial Top Seller

Most espresso machine retailers will tell you that the Gaggia Classic espresso machine is one of their all-time best sellers. That’s because this machine is so well-built and delivers such a good cup of espresso that it has a great following and a great reputation.

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Design of the Gaggia Classic

  • This machine was designed and built by Gaggia S.p.A. in Milan Italy. Gaggia is without question one of the most respected makers of espresso and coffee machines in the world. The Gaggia Classic is made exclusively in Milan, Italy, by Italian craftsmen and craftswomen.
  • If you are looking to purchase your first home espresso machine this is a great choice. It is modestly priced, it is easy to set up and easy to use. It cleans easily and the brushed stainless steel finish looks great in the kitchen. But best of all, and most importantly, it makes a delicious espresso drink topped by a thick, rich créma.
  • The popularity of this machine is due in part to it’s durable construction and the inclusion of many commercial grade machine features.
  • For starters the Gaggia Classic’s  portafilters and grouphead are made of heavy-duty marine-grade brass with chrome plating which help stabilize the water temperature during the brewing process. The filter basket measures 58 mm in diameter like on commercial espresso makers.
  • Its commercial-grade construction includes stainless-steel housing, a powerful17 bar pump, and a quick-heat boiler.
  • One more commercial-grade feature is a three-way solenoid valve which allows immediate pressure release from the grouphead once an espresso shot has been completed which allows the portafilter to be removed and the next shot to be prepared without having to wait.
  • The Gaggia Classic also works extremely well with ESE coffee pods and is designed to make two espresso shots at the same time.

Here is a summary of some special features of this wonderful machine:

Features – the Gaggia Classic

  • Heavy-duty brushed stainless-steel housing with outstanding durability
  • 1425-watt boiler with two external heating elements – heats up with quick efficiency
  • Commercial grade brew group with chrome-plated marine brass portafilter
  • 17.5 bar commercial strength pump provides ideal temperature and pressure
  • 3-way solenoid valve results in a dry puck – makes for easy clean-up
  • Large 72oz water reservoir – Allows you to make several of your favorite drinks before having to refill
  • Simple rocker-switches control power, steaming and brewing
  • Easily accessible, removable water reservoir – easy to fill at the sink
  • Large removable drip tray – easy and quick clean-up
  • Cup warming tray – passive system for warm, ready-to-use cups
  • Pannarello Turbo Frother – mounted on a ball joint which articulates in any direction or angle
  • Dual-function filter holder – lets you use ground coffee or espresso pods
  • Includes single/pod and double stainless steel filter baskets, plastic tamper, and coffee scoop
  • Temperature ready light for added ease of use
  • Interactive instructional CD included
  • Made in Italy

The Portafilter

Commercial PortafilterThe portafilter is designed like those used in commercial machines and works in the same way. The size of the portafilter is also the same as a commercial machine, 58 mm in diameter which distributes the ground coffee over a wide surface area to maximize the extraction of the aromatic and flavorful coffee oils from the grounds. The beefy chrome plated brass filter holder keeps the temperature stable during the brewing process.

Commercial Quality Brew Group

The portafilter locks into what is called the brew group. On the Classic it is made of chrome plated marine brass that provides a superior brewing environment through maximum heat stability.

The Rapid Heat Boiler

The Gaggia boiler system is made of highly conductive aluminum with two heating elements which are embedded into the exterior sides of the boiler, providing even heat distribution. The embedded heat elements will not corrode like immersible heating elements found in most espresso makers.

Commercial Quality 3-Way Solenoid Valve

3-Way Solenoid ValveThe three-way solenoid valve is a great feature and typically found only on commercial machines. The valve relieves the water pressure within the brew group when the brew switch is turned off. This allows you to unlock the portafilter immediately, so you can begin making your next drink, without having to wait for the pressure to reduce by itself.

Rocker Arm Switch Controls and Temperature Ready Light

The Gaggia Classic contains three rocker arm switches. The left switch is the main power switch. It has an indicator light built into it that lights up whenever the machine is turned on. The middle switch is the steam switch. When you flip it on it will heat the boiler up to steam temperature. The switch on the right is the brew switch and it operates the pump. There is an indicator light built in that lights up whenever the boiler reaches it’s correct operating temperature. When you’re ready to start the brewing process just flip on the brew switch and when you have reached your desired volume you then turn off the switch.

An Improved Frother Steam Wand

The Gaggia Classic comes equipped with a new Turbo Frothing steam wand. The new design
makes great froth every time with no problems. Use the frothing wand to steam and foam milk for your lattes and cappuccinos.

Easy-fill Removable Water Reservoir

The large removable 64 oz reservoir can conveniently be refilled from the top any time during the brewing operation.

This Machine Can Use Ground Coffee or ESE Pods

You can use ground coffee beans, or you can use ESE coffee pods. Pods are single serve prepackaged shots that are designed to be quick and clean. Just use the single shot filter basket with Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods.

For the most part the Gaggia Classic gets very few complaints. The complaints heard most frequently have to do with the frothing wand, and mostly because it works so well at foaming milk, even though you may just want to steam some milk to warm it up. And some people have reported  that there seems to be some very slight leakage from the wand even when you don’t use it and the steam knob is closed tightly. And occasionally, when frothing milk, the steamer readiness indicator light occasionally goes off.

Small problems for a machine that delivers so much at such a great price.

Before you pay $5 for another espresso drink just order your own espresso machine right now. Don’t you think you deserve to spoil yourself every now and then?  Well, if you do, I hope you will enjoy it and take great pleasure in it, just as I have!

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Technical Info & Specs – the Gaggia Classic

  • Country of manufacture: Italy
  • Power output: 1425 watts
  • Pump or steam:  Pump
  • Maximum pump pressure:  17.5 bars
  • Color:  Stainless Steel
  • Timer:  No
  • Display Indicator Type:
  • Removable Water Tank:  Yes
  • Water tank capacity:  72oz
  • Built-in grinder:  No
  • Brew Temperature Control:  No
  • Steam wand:  Yes
  • Brew and Froth at Same Time:  No
  • Espresso pod adapter:  Yes
  • Self-priming pump:
  • Height:  14 1/4 inches
  • Width:  8 inches
  • Depth:  9 1/2 inches
  • Weight:  20 lbs
  • Digital Display:  No
  • Housing Material:  Stainless Steel
  • Drip Tray:  Stainless Steel
  • Drip Tray Cover:  Stainless Steel
  • Boiler Material:  Stainless Steel
  • Pump Type:
  • Heater Location:  2 External
  • 3-Way Solenoid Valve:  Yes
  • Brew Group Material:  Chrome Plated Brass
  • Switches:  Rocker switches
  • Programmable Settings:  No
  • Auto-Extraction:  No
  • Pre-Infusion:  No
  • Ready Lights:  Yes
  • Thermostats:
  • Back Pressure Relief Valve:
  • Burn Out Protection:  No
  • Cup Height:
  • Cup Warmer Size:
  • Cup Warmer Actively Heated:  No
  • Portafilter Material:  Chrome Plated Marine Brass
  • Portafilter Handle:  Plastic
  • Portafilter Diameter: 58 mm
  • Filter Basket Material:
  • Filter Baskets Included:  Single/pod & double shot

Warranty

2-year limited warranty; second year covers parts only

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