273 of 278 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2006
On returning from holiday skiing in Italy having enjoyed great Italian espresso, latte and cappuccinos, my wife bought me this Gaggia for my birthday. Incredibly generous of her, I had always lusted after a Gaggia.
I was 100% right to.
My wife had done plenty of research into which Gaggia to get me, and the Gaggia Classic seemed to consistently raved about. Now it's my turn to.
Really easy to assemble, though having to remove the chrome overflow pipe to remove the tank was tricky (it's screwing it back on that's tricky as you could lose the pipe you have to screw it onto inside - maybe it was a problem with my machine).
Anyway, with minutes, I had it set up, filled with water and switched on. The tank holds loads and is very easy to fill. There's spaced for a few espresso cups and saucers on top to warm, though if you do want them to warm up, and get really hot coffee too, I agree with the other reviewers that you need to leave it on a while to really heat up.
The filter holder is very sturdy, in fact the whole machine is so robust and well put together you can feel the quality. It comes with two filter cups, one and two cup, but you'll probably only use the two cup filter cup.
It is a bit noisy, but I don't care. It's a powerful machine and you get the impression it's very much function over form with this Gaggia. It does whatever it takes to get the best possible cup of coffee.
The espresso is superb. The milk frother takes a bit of getting used to but is really effective, creating a really good frothy cappuccino time after time - you will have to rinse the frother nozzle though after each use. the only criticism is that the nozzle is quite low to the level of your worktop so getting a cup under it can be tricky. Not a real problem though.
Everyone who tastes the coffee that it produces falls in love with it and wants a Gaggia - I reckon we've probably sold 2-3 machines for Gaggia so far. If you're reading this Gaggia, we'd like commission!
Seriously though, if you want a sturdy machine, built to last, that's great looking, but not just for design’s sake, that makes impeccable coffees, this is it.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2012
Well, let's start with the usual: Absolutely fantastic service from Amazon, delivered on-time and for free!
There are plenty of reviews about this item, so I will try not to focus on the product itself but instead the my experience with this machine since I got it about 4 weeks ago. This was an upgrade from a DeLonghi Icona, a very basic, entry level coffee machine. It lasted for a a few years and then it broke, so I decided to invest in something real.
I am still a learner in the art of making espresso, so I can't comment too much.
Let's start with the annoying bits:
- Just to clarify, this machine DOES come with two pressurised coffee baskets, a single and a double and the infamous plastic pin. Leave it out and the coffee will come out with such pressure that it will spray everywhere. According to Gaggia this is an improvement called "Crema Perfetta". Well, let's just say one thing: It is not crema, it is frothed espresso. Hardly crema and hardly perfect. Needless to say I used them once and ordered the replacement standard baskets (you do not need to use the infamous pin anymore) straight away from Happy Donkey dot co dot uk.
- Another "improvement" made by Gaggia is the "Turbo Frother" or as they call it the "Cappuchinnatore". Basically this is a plastic sleeve attached to the steam wand to froth milk. It makes a great cappuccino that is for sure, but if you prefer something different like a Flat White or a Latte, this is no good. The device basically sucks air in, creating a huge amount of foam with virtually no effort. After some research, there are solutions to this problem. One of them is to move the rubber O-ring from the spout down one level so it virtually blocks the holes for air intake on the outer sleeve. Although not perfect, I can now make Flat Whites and get micro foam.
- The steam wand can be rather short, specially if you'd prefer to use the bare wand to steam milk. Hence why I prefer the trick described above.
- The steam pressure dies out pretty quickly. This machine is not designed to steam huge amounts of milk.
And a few things that I have learnt:
- Understand the capability of your machine. It is not a commercial machine, so bear in mind what it can and cannot do.
- Making espresso is not all about tamping the coffee. Within those 4 weeks, I found that the freshness, size of the grind and the distribution of the coffee in the basket are far more important than tamping.
- According to research, the Gaggia Classic have an aluminium boiler, so take note of this when de-scaling the machine with pure citric acid as apparently aluminium reacts with citric acid causing corrosion. Some de-scalers although based on citric acid have buffers or other agents which will inhibit the corrosion.
- Do buy a decent tamper. The one that comes with the Classic is made of plastic and not good.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because of the frother and the pressurised baskets which now come as standard. I suppose it is an attempt by Gaggia to ensure that everyone can make an espresso/cappuchinno no matter the means used.
Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase. I very capable and stylish machine overall, at a very competitive price.
If you understand the points above, go for it: You will not regret it.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
I came back from a holiday in Italy in 2004 and found myself back in miserable, grey Glasgow. I craved an espresso machine to transport me back to the sunshine of Lake Garda, so we went searching. Sadly for us, my wife made me buy a Morphy Richards Roma, which gave us 18 months of, um, unpredictable results.
Present Day. I could stand it no longer, so I decided to shell out on this Gaggia, the machine I really wanted in the first place.
First impressions were slightly disconcerting: it actually feels slightly less substantial, and lighter than the Morphy Richards machine. The drip tray is lightweight plastic, as opposed to the Morphy's heavyweight metal tray. The steam nozzle feels a bit 'shoogly'. There's also less room on top for the cups. And yes, there is one piece of random black plastic in the box that clearly serves no purposes. Still, if you're an afficionado of all things Italian, you take this with a pinch of salt. After all, it does look fantastic on the worktop.
Fire the beast up, wait the requisite 6 minutes for all the bits to heat up, pack it with Illy espresso and simply press the button. Compared to my last machine, this works like a dream...absolutley no mess, no dripping, no scalding water spraying out the sides of the filter holder. And, most importantly, a fantastically rich espresso with the creamiest of cremas. The 'turbo frother' is great too, making the milk really frothy, and getting it nice and hot quickly, unlike Morphy.
To sum up, think of it as the Alfa Romeo of coffee machines: beautifully stylish, great performance, and an impressive heritage. You just have that nagging feeling that a German machine might be put together that little bit better...
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2015
I purchased the Gaggia Classic as an upgrade to my previous model, the Gaggia Cubika. I'd always desired a Classic due to it's elegant and some may say timeless design and also starting a new job working with a £6000+ Faema machine really reignited my passion for coffee.
Before I talk about the machine I do want to very quickly take a moment to recommend a few crucial upgrades for this machine if you are serious about the quality of coffee you want this machine to produce.
First off is the baskets in the portafilter, as standard Gaggia supply the machine with pressured single and double baskets. What these pressured baskets do is force the espresso shot through a single hole at the bottom of the basket and past a small plastic widget which introduces air and produces a fake crema (The creamy, light coloured layer on top of a shot of espresso). Crema naturally appears from in the most basic terms using the right grind on the coffee beans, an even and firm tamp on the coffee grounds in the basket and the heat and pressure supplied by the machine when you pull a shot, there are other small factors which can influence the presence of crema in your espresso but I won’t bore you with all of those. The quality of the crema is a good gauge for the quality of the espresso shot you have made, the main problem is that with the pressurised basket it is faking this element of the espresso which means that you would have no sort of indication that anything is wrong with your coffee until you drink it and then you may find it sour or bitter. Some users may then criticise the machine itself for poor results and bad tasting coffee when the real issue is that the not so well prepared coffee has been masked by the beauty of the faux crema.
So this leads to my first recommendation, please consider purchasing an double unpressurised basket (58mm is the size of the baskets for this machine and remember to remove the plastic widget under the basket in the handle as well). It will take a few tries and probably a bit of stress to obtain that real layer of crema on top of your espresso, but the difference in taste will be well worth it in the end. It’s worth noting if you have no interest in the mess and hassle of grinding beans yourself I can preach for the quality of ily pre-ground coffee, I use the medium roast espresso grind (250g in a red and silver tin) and the grind works well on this machine and produces a good crema and has a overall very nice taste.
My second recommendation applies for those of you that enjoy milk based drinks such as latte, mocha and cappuccino. As standard the machine comes with a steaming wand called a panarello wand. What this does is pull air into your milk through small holes at the top of the wand while you steam the milk and from experience you’ll most likely end up with loads of large bubbles which will not give you that smooth silky, almost creamy texture you get from drinks such as lattes in the coffee shops. The panarello wand is another cheat device, it attempts to fake the texturing of the milk and does a pretty poor job at it. I choose the most popular modification to the machine which is the Rancilio Silvia steam wand, you can purchase it on Amazon from Edesia Espress in a pre modified form which means all you have to do is unbolt the current wand from the machine and replace with the new Silvia one.
The benefit of the Silvia wand is that it delivers the steam from a single hole at the bottom of the wand, similar to that of commercial machines and it does not constantly let in air giving you a big jug of froth every time. Again like the unpressurised basket it will take a few tries to master, to give you an example for latte milk what you want to do it have the tip of the wand on the surface of the milk and open the steam valve, it will make a noise that is similar to the opening of a frizzy drink, a ‘pfffffff’ sort of noise is what you are looking for, not a high pitch screech. Do this for a few seconds (I was trained three seconds) and then submerge the tip just under the surface of the milk and angle the jug slightly until you find the perfect place and the milk begins spinning in the jug. What this does is incorporate the foam you created in the first few seconds into the rest of the milk, this process creates that silky smooth thickly textured milk called ‘microfoam’. Carry on steaming the milk until you reach 140°F or 70°C if you have a milk thermometer or without one feel the base of the jug with your fingers and palm and when it just begins to feel like it’s just about to burn your hand cut off the steam and remove the want from the jug. Wipe the wand with a damp cloth quickly or you’ll end up with dried milk on the wand. To finish the milk tap the jug firmly down, this pops the big bubbles and swirl the milk in the jug until it takes on a shine similar to glossy photo paper. It all sounds horrendously complicated and quite involved but once you’ve practised a few times this entire process of steaming the milk will only take you a few minutes and you’ll get fantastic results.
These two modifications cost around £10 at the most for basket and about £20 for the steam wand. So for £30 you’ve already massively improved the quality of the drinks you’ll get from the machine, sure you’ll have to work a little harder but if you really enjoy coffee than that little extra effort will be well worth it.
Finally we reach the overview of the machine, out of the box you get the machine itself which comes with a drip tray and clear water tank, a chrome plated brass portafilter, single and double baskets (those nasty pressurised ones I’ve mentioned above), a plastic tamp, a coffee scoop and the power cord.
The machine is finished in flawless brushed stainless steel with a flush front which curves around the sides that extend outward towards the rear of the machine to the back which is also a flush finish, this means it fits nicely against a wall without a massive gap between the machine and your wall . The front of the machine has three switches, one for the power; this turns on the elements and heats the boiler to prepare for brewing temperature, the second is for steam; flicking this switch lets the boiler heat to a higher temperature in order to produce steam and the third switch is for brewing; this pumps hot water through the grouphead for pulling a shot of espresso. The only other control on the machine is the steam valve on the right hand side which you turn to release steam from the steam wand, the more you turn it the more steam comes out. The power and brew switch have orange indicator lights, the power light illuminates to show that the machine is powered on and the brew switch light illuminates when the boiler was reached the correct temperature.
Filling the machine with water is simple, there is a black cover on the top of the machine lift this off and you just pour water into the hole. The water level can be easily viewed from the front of the machine where the tank is showing with the clearly shown max fill mark. When preparing to use the machine leave the portafilter in the grouped at all times, even when there isn’t any coffee in it. The reason for this is that you want to have an even temperature for when you pull a shot, if the portafilter was cold then the water would begin to cool down as it hits the portafilter and this may leave you with a bitter or sour espresso shot. So, leave the portafilter in the machine locked in place and leave it to heat for at least 15 minutes. This allows enough time for everything to heat up, the boiler, the grouphead and the portafilter. Rather than explaining the process of making espresso I’d recommend visiting Youtube for some tutorials on pulling espresso shots and texturing milk if you are completely new to this, there are people out there that have created some very well explained how-to videos which will take you step by step through each process in an easy to learn manner.
The machine features a three way solenoid, what this does is remove the excess water from the grouphead after you have pulled a shot. This is a good thing as it leaves the ‘puck’ of used coffee grounds dry and easy to remove from the portafilter with a light tap rather than a wet mess of used grounds which you’ll always get from machines without a three way solenoid. Using the included plastic tamper and an unpressurised double basket I have no issues pulling a double shot with a decent crema. A metal 58mm tamper is an ideal upgrade to make the process a little simpler but not essential, the included plastic tamper (as always with any machine) is slightly too small for the basket which means you have to go around the edges manually as it doesn’t completely cover the coffee grinds in a single press. It’s not useless but for £20-30 you can get a massively improved flat based metal tamper which allows you to tamp in one push and makes much less mess.
The machine does also dispense reasonably hot water on demand (while in brew mode, just the power switch on and steam switch off), this is performed by opening the steam valve and turning both the steam and brew switches on at the same time and again in reverse to turn it off. This produces hot water straight from the steam wand, perfect for making an americano for making a cup of tea. For steaming milk the machine has impressed me in terms of pure power, compared to the professional machine I use at work. I have no issues steaming a jug of milk for one large latte so I’m sure it wouldn’t have any issues making enough for two small cups but I wouldn’t push it any further than that as you might damage to boiler by drying it out
The machine is highly versatile, with the combination of espresso shots, hot water and milk you can create, americanos, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, flat whites, macchiatos and even hot chocolates using just the steamed milk. I’d say this is an ideal machine for someone that loves coffee and wants to learn more about the process behind a good cup of coffee or perhaps the aspiring home barista that wants to step-up their current coffee skills. If you want a machine that makes no mess and requires no effort and you don’t want to learn about the skills required to produce a great coffee then this probably isn’t the machine for you, maybe a Tassimo or a Nespresso pod based machine would be better suited in that case. The machine does take ESE coffee pods but if you plan to use only these then you are honestly better off to save your money and spend much less buying a dedicated pod machine.
Overall I highly recommend this machine for the sturdy build quality, great tasting coffee and huge community of support from other coffee passionate people on various coffee forums for standard machines and modified machines. A two year warranty is supplied so you may wish to wait until this runs out before performing warranty voiding modifications such as installing a PID or adjusting the over pressure valve (OPV mod) to get the perfect 9 bar pressure when pulling a shot but the usability of this machine as standard is absolutely adequate and should keep me happy and well caffeinated for many shots to come.
If anyone does happen to have a questions about this review or the Gaggia Classic in particular please feel free to leave a comment on this review and I’ll get back to you as soon as a can. Please do keep in mind I am a beginner barista so some of the terms and techniques may be slightly incorrect or explained in a odd way as I have tried to make the technical details of processes as simple as possible so that (hopefully) everyone can understand, so please do excuse any errors due to this. People do tend to have different ways of making coffee which often end up in the same results and I have explained here the methods I have been trained on to date. With some trial and error you’ll find your own way of producing great tasting drinks that you will feel comfortable making, just give yourself plenty of time and a good bit of patience as just like any other skill you are unlikely to fully master it on the first go.
77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2006
I never ever drank coffee, its not that I disliked like it, its just that I could not bear the insipid freeze dried stamped on by a chap in size 12 boots while wearing a white paper shower cap variety produced in a facory somewhere in ultra sterile conditions, about as far from the bean as its possible to imagine in my mind.
Then I discovered this machine. OK it definatly looks good, not a machine to hide away in a cupboard after a couple of uses, not something to kick yourself once a week for buying, not once you have tasted the coffee it produces. Now I have people calling in for coffee and I can tell its a pleasure because a second cup is seldom refused, I am almost never asked for tea. My machine is on all day just longing to be pressed into service.
The machine feels good to use it is solid and heavy in a way that makes it feel like a proffessional machine and yet takes up little space on my work surface. Once you get the hang of it (and it is honestly not difficult) making coffee becomes a pleasure and I like the feeling of being in control that I probably would not get from a fully automatic machine, there is something pleasurable about tamping down the coffee and letting the coffee flow until you feel you have enough in the cup, great crema comes as standard if you use your coffee while it is still fresh in the pack. The milk frother produces superb results.
I use Illy coffee and while I did buy a grinder I seldom use it, I admit I am lazy but I find this brand of coffee is ideal in its grind and flavour and I love the airtight tin in comes in. If you keep this machine de-scaled, about once every 3 months in hard water areas, I recently discovered citric acid from the chemist (food grade) that costs around 79p a box which does the job quickly and effectively you should have no problems. Keep the shower head clean and give the steam attachment a rinse after use or the milk will clog it, then off you go.
I promise you will never look back, one bonus will be that as your kitchen fills with the aroma of fresh coffee and you take your first sip of the day you will be transported to a pavement cafe in Florence and that really is... priceless.
Amazon are offering these machines at great prices and ours arrived in two days, great service.
231 of 241 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2011
I just received my Gaggia Classic from an Amazon Prime seller who was selling it at less than £200. As my previous espresso machine finally bit the dust only a couple of days ago, and I ordered the Gaggia yesterday morning, that is pretty good going. I knew a fair bit about the possible machines in my price range as my old machine is very old and I knew that the next time it needed spares I would probably not be able to source them. The Gaggia was about the top of what I could spend, but it had the advantages of a good reputation, a truly classic build which has stood the test of time and for which spares will continue to be available and a large body of reviews both here and on Coffeegeek which let me know what the potential problems would be.
Oh, by the way, I was glad to have read somewhere that the mains lead is packed inside the water tank, otherwise I could have spent a long time searching for it in the box!
Apart from that, there are two main issues which I am really glad I knew about before I took it out of the box. One should be noted by anyone buying it, which is that the company now ship it with only what is known as a 'pressurised basket' for the filter. Instead of having lots of tiny little holes all over the base, if you look underneath it this has a single tiny hole in the centre and it MUST be used with what the original instructions call the 'optional perfect crema' accessory which is a tiny piece of brown plastic which fits loose in the filter under the basket and by all the laws of washing up is going to get lost in the first two weeks. (There are reviews from people who lost it in unpacking and had to buy another immediately!)
If the pressurised baskets are used without the widget, coffee and grounds apparently are likely to shoot out at 90 degrees and redecorate your kitchen for you. So not very optional at all then, unless you like brown streaks. It is a mystery why the company is shipping these as standard. The idea is that they make it more foolproof to get a good crema if you are using coffee that is incorrectly ground etc. However, I would have thought that the market for this machine is likely to be reasonably interested in doing it properly - there are enough good 'point and shoot' machines out there these days, after all. And quite apart from that, to have the whole operation of a £200+ machine dependant on one tiny piece of loseable plastic is just bizarre.
However, there is a far better solution which is to order the original style non-pressurised baskets from somewhere like happydonkey.co.uk. I ordered two yesterday shortly after ordering the machine from Amazon and they arrived just as I was setting up the machine so I was able to use them from the start and had no problems at all. The double basket was just under £6. I used my usual brilliant coffee from hasbean.co.uk ground in my usual OK but not superdooper burr grinder and got a fabulous cup of espresso first time out, much richer than I ever got from my ancient (but dearly loved) Krups machine.
The second issue will only bother people who a) like cappuccino and latte and b) already know how to microfroth milk like a real barista. The steam wand on this machine is awful for this. The metal wand is very short so even with my smallest frothing jug it was hard to reach the milk. And the plastic easy-froth add-on produces what those add-ons always produce which is a big bubbled foam rather than a microfoam. However, I can see why they do this as the foam produced will satisfy anyone who just wants a foamy top to their coffee and as these things go, it works well. I just wish the wand itself was more useable without it - my old Krups came with a rubber add-on but once you took it off, underneath the wand was great and I could do latte art etc no problem.
However, forewarned is forearmed and a lot of people who care about this have replaced the Gaggia wand either with the Gaggia Panarello widget which is apparently better or else with the wand made for the Rancillio machines.
There is also an issue with steaming a lot of milk, apparently, but there is a trick on Coffeegeek to avoid running out of steam which I will try if it proves a problem. My husband likes his coffee with cream anyway so mostly I'm only steaming milk for one.
So altogether, so far I'm really pleased. If it wasn't for those silly pressurised baskets and the feeble little steam wand I'd give it full marks. I nearly did anyway, as those are soluble problems and it is a great little machine.
139 of 145 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2005
This is a brilliant coffee machine - other machines I have tried do not produce really hot espresso, but this one does. It froths the milk beautifully and I love the silicone pipes that you can see through the water tank. This tank comes out really easily so it's extremely easy to clean. The milk frother gadget is by far the easiest to keep clean of all machines I've had (and I've had a few, believe me). In addition, this is an incredibly sturdy, well built coffee maker. I know it's expensive but the expression 'you get what you pay for' certainly springs to mind here. Don't go for cheaper alternatives - they are not worth it.
116 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2006
I've been using a gaggia classic daily for about 6 months. Compared to the price of other espresso makers on the market you are getting a very capable machine for the money. Using fresh roasted and ground beans you can get a strong espresso with good crema every time. The point where the more expensive heat-exchanger and double-boiler machines score over a single boiler model such as this is on temperature stability. It is possible to time your shot to get close to a stable temperature for each shot but if you want serious temp stability then you have to pay 4 times as much. Steam performance is not bad for a machine this size. All in all good value for money.
89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2004
You never really know with gadgets - will you actually use them? Are they worth the money?
After two+ years, we can say with confidence that of all the gadgets we have bought, our Gaggia coffee maker has stood the test of time.
We drink a lot of coffee. Not sure if it was working in the US or Milan that started that one. I suspect it was the latter - our Milan MD swore that his treacle-thick espresso was safe to drink and had less caffeine than filter coffee ("Less time spent in contact with the grounds"). And American cars just dont seem to work without a bucket of coffee sitting in one of the ubiquitous cup holders.
So when I sheepishly stared at one of these in a shop window before Christmas, my wife caved in, took some advice, and bought me one (brushed steel, not chrome) .
We've used it every week, and pretty much every weekend day since I got it. It does really great coffee (so long as you use good beans or a freshly opened pack of pre-ground). Produces a great crema and the kitchen fills with the smell of a coffee shop (less the cigarette smoke, mind) in seconds.
A few gripes - the milk froths pretty well, but the nozzle is a pain to clean, even straight after use. I find myself making americano and espresso most as a result.
And it is rather noisy. Not in a swishy-swooshy-frothy way but in the ratatatat racket of the compression pump. I've nothing to compare it to to tell if this is better or worse than average.
On the other hand it heats up quickly, the water tank holds loads, the unit and its accessories are really solid (they take a real bashing), and the coffee is great - we love it.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2007
I got one of these @ Xmas and after using it for a fortnight I can safely say it is one my most cherished and frequently used material objects!
First off it looks as good as it runs. Beautiful simplistic design. It's a wonderfully solid little machine, nuggety and robust design and build. The tip is to master the basics with it and the coffee you will get from it is outstanding. Give it a good 10 mins to warm up, tamp well, use freshly ground fresh coffee.
I find semi-skimmed milk works perfectly with the frother. Key is to leave the forther just submerged below the surface of the milk.
Buy one, you will wonder how you got buy without it!!