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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 8 December 2007
I have wasted a lot of money on coffee makers in the past.

However this Gaggia Baby makes one of the best cups of coffee I have tasted.

It feels well machined and solid from the moment you ease it out of the box. It has a large easy to fill water tank, a cup warmer and looks good as well.

The coffee it produces is superb, good crema layer, (from Gaggia beans ground in a Gaggia grinder!)

I release some hot water to warm the cup before making the coffee.

The milk frother is awesome, creating a nice dense but light foam and heating the milk.

The resulting cappuccino is full of flavour and nice and hot.

It takes almost no cleaning, a rinse of the coffee holder and a wipe of the milk krother is all that is required.

I was so worried about spending so much on a coffee machine, but it is worth every single penny!
22 comments| 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 March 2008
This is a good looking and solid machine. Generally the external engineering is well thought out, everything fits well without any of the awkward fiddling or necessary wiggling about of components that I have found on cheaper coffee makers. Apart from the frothing wand, that is - what were Gaggia thinking? It may seem that it only needs a wipe but when I removed the plastic attachment of the wand and went to the nail breaking effort of pulling off the little washers to check the cleanliness within, oh dear. I don't mean just the plastic extension of the wand that is inserted into the milk as this comes off easily, but rather the retainer that this screws onto. It involves removing two tiny plastic/rubber washers and drop these on the floor at your peril, they are tiny - I have no idea how easy it would be to get replacemts for these. This is the only way to be sure the whole plastic section of the wand is free from milk residue. Ick, is all I can say, thick and sticky, brownish residue in abundance. This spoils an otherwise good coffee maker. Since it is not a cheap item and Gaggia are a reputable manufacturer, surely attention to simplicity in maintaining the hygiene of their machine should have been a design feature.
It does make great coffee, good crema and temperature. Although there is improvement, I am still struggling to get a milk froth that isn't like a dry meringue but from everything I have read about the art of milk frothing it is likely that my lack of expertise is to blame rather than the machine.
Lastly, this is not Gaggia's fault but I got my Baby Class via Garraways and although the external packaging for posting was sound, the Gaggia Box had clearly been opened, was battered and ripped in places and resealed with sellotape, presumably by a four year old as it was so messy and looked awful. This has left me wondering if it had been on display or perhaps been returned by a previous buyer. Since it was a lovely gift from my father I have not made a fuss about this but I would think twice about buying from Garraways in future. In fact, I wouldn't think of buying from them at all if they thought it acceptable to foist this upon a mail recipient.
If a good Espresso is your goal, though, the Baby Class is up to the challenge.
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on 22 December 2009
I've had a Gaggia Baby Class (stainless steel) for nearly a year. Out of the box, one of the buttons on the machine was broken but it was quickly fixed by the Gaggia repair centre. The machine itself is well built, except for the steam/water buttons which are quite flimsy and plasticy considering the price.

Once fixed the machine was a dream. I made really really good coffee by following some simple guidelines: use recently-roasted beans, freshly ground in a burr grinder, preheat the machine, portafilter and chinaware properly and tamp the coffee with a consistent pressure. Then with a lot of practice (and a slight caffeine addiction) you'll be able to almost-consistently make good coffee. The machine itself is also perfectly capable of steaming a small quantity of milk, but try and do too much and you'll struggle to get anything other than huge bubbles, far away from the fine, textured microfoam you'll find in italian espresso bars.

I would recommend this machine except for one thing: don't buy it and expect support should it go wrong. Philips recently bought Gaggia UK and now run the service centre for broken machines. Sadly my machine developed a leak in late October and I've been struggling to get it repaired for two months - after sending it back for an initial repair the 'repaired' machine still leaked, then I spent three weeks getting it returned again for a re-repair. Now, despite calling many times a day I'm often unable to speak to anyone, or am promised phone calls I never get. So, I'm still waiting for my machine to come back. I'd never ever buy another Gaggia as despite making great machines, for the money you'd expect a much better level of service. Their 2 year warranty is not worth the hassle. Next time I'll get a Rancilio Silvia.
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on 30 December 2012
There are several different versions of the "Gaggia Baby" (they look almost the same, but aren't) and some of the reviewers have misidentified this machine (they reference features and problems that are different to those found with this model - they could be trying to talk about the Twin or, most likely, the Gaggia Baby Class D. They aren't the same machine). The Gaggia Baby gets revised editions every few years. This version is the Gaggia Baby 06 (or look for the more common reference no.RI8157/40).

At time of writing the price of this thing has shot back up to £350. The reason? An especially glowing review in Which? magazine. I got mine for £200 from another retailer (who have now added an extra £50 to their "sale" price) just after the review came out.

I've traded up from a decent Delonghi machine (that I was actually pretty happy with - this was a gift), but there really is a huge difference in performance. It seems to draw more flavour from beans (better, more reliable, pressure I'm guessing) and the frother is quick and powerful. It's a very handsome machine and I would have to be trying quite hard in order to make a bad cup of coffee with it.

There are two niggles, but they're small things.
1. I wasn't a huge fan of the buttons. At first they seemed a little cheap and clunky, but I don't dislike them so much now. Some people won't like them, some people won't think twice about them.
2. There's a little spatter from the nozzles. I suspect I can do something about this by adjusting the tamp/grind.

On the whole though it's elegant in both looks and performance and it delivers a reliably great cup of coffee.
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on 12 July 2010
This is a great machine. I've had it for two years now and it's makes great coffee. You do need to experiment with coffee beans, frothing milk - it's just about getting it right and there is plenty of help on the internet.

One thing that needs to be pointed out though is DESCALING..... This is the most important maintenance item that you need to do on a regular basis. I do mine about once a month as I live in a very hard water area and you will notice the difference in flow and ultimately in your coffee. It also ensures a longer life of this machine.

Mine has just started leaking and after trawling the internet and doing some basic cleaning, unscrewing etc. the filter seal needs to be replaced. This is also a learning point as I didn't know that these had to be regularly replaced anyway.

The problem with making coffee at home is that it can be soooo rewarding, but be prepared to learn from your mistakes along the way and don't blame the coffee machine (unless there is a fault ofcourse). A lot of patience and perseverance is required, but if you don't want to master the art of coffee making, don't buy one. And oh yes..... read the manual, lots of good information in there.

This coffee machine makes life a bit easier. It is well build, easy to operate and produces good coffee.
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on 18 February 2011
Followed the instructions, cranked it up, pressed the start button, and scalding coffee shoots out at 90 degrees to the left and right all over the kitchen. Nice. Tried five more times (different grind, different tamping), same result. Called Phillips' customer line (Gaggia is now owned by Phillips) who weren't remotely surprised. The pump in this model has apparently been made more powerful in order to work with coffee capsules, but the increased pressure is so great that with ground coffee it simply blows the espresso at high velocity in all directions other than towards the cup. Terrific. Anyway, they sent me a little plastic thing (a bit like the top of a toothpaste tube) to jam into the metal filter. Impressed? Er, no. The other thing anyone thinking of buying this machine should know is that, in the flesh, it looks and feels like a 1970s Fisher Price Activity Centre. Unbelievably for a machine of this price, the big operating buttons are made of loose-fitting plastic, as is much of the body. If you're still thinking of buying one, then the good news is with the toothpaste tube cap device in play, it makes a lovely espresso.
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on 21 February 2013
It makes excellent coffee. The milk frother is good and easy to clean.

I am less impressed with the switches. In particular the main on/off switch is at the back of the device and because the indicator lights are rather dim (green) it is quite easy to forget to turn the device off (if like me you are of a certain age). The two switches on the front are a little more flimsy than I would like. Other wise the materials used in construction are good.
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on 16 March 2009
I've had my Gaggia Baby Class 74830 Coffee Maker Stainless Steel for about 4 months now. Before that I had only ever had espresso-based coffees in coffee shops, but my Baby Gaggia has transormed my coffee experience.

I have a few tips for newcomers: Tip 1 - try different espresso coffees, they make very different drinks. I prefer Costa's, available from Morrison's and Costa shops themselves. Tip 2 - de-scale every couple of months to keep the flows and pressure right. I use a standard liquid one, and just pump it through bit by bit over an hour, then flush. Tip 3 - keep your coffee well sealed and in the freezer, once pened. I use a plastic clip sealer across the top of the packet. Tip 4 - buy some good quality, traditional espresso/americano coffee cups. It makes a difference, even if just psychological! Tip 5 - enjoy the experience of the making, it's as enjoyable as the drinking.

If you think the machine's expensive - well, it's saving me a fortune in coffees bought out. I prefer coffee I've made myself, and usually forgo a coffee in a restaurant/cafe and head home for a far tastier one. I also enjoy a delicious coffee in place of my evening wine (glass, glasses or bottle...).

I shall never go back!
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on 20 November 2010
I had a Gaggia Tebe for some ten years, but it finally wore out. Obvious choice to replace it - another Gaggia. I chose the Baby Class, a solid metal machine (apart from the switches). Six weeks after I bought it, it stopped pumping water. The repair took nearly two months, but it was returned working. One year later, it's now leaking water from the group head and doesn't deliver any steam pressure. We'll see how long the repair takes (and how much it costs). When this one wears out, I'll pay more and, I hope, get something more reliable.

Update... this is developing into a saga. Philips handle Gaggia repairs: the collection and return were efficient, except that when I rang their service number, I was passed on three times and had to repeat the same information each time and the machine was away for about two weeks. When it came back, the leak was fixed but still no steam pressure - so it's on its way back.

Next update... like another reviewer, the re-re-repair took a great deal longer and the collection/delivery arrangement, though smooth, insists on sending a complete new set of packaging each time - I now have three! The machine was finally returned and is working, though the steam pressure isn't fully back to where it was and the steam valve feels as if it's grating a little each time I turn it.

November 2010 - I've lost faith in the machine: I imagine it'll only be a few months before it breaks again. Given the chaotic nature of the service arrangements when Philips took over, I'd assumed they repaired it free to retain my goodwill. I've since read the instructions(!) and discovered that it has a two year guarantee. I'm a bit apprehensive about what it'll cost when the guarantee runs out...

Further update Sept 2011 - it's now showing the same problems again: leaking water from the casing and very poor steam pressure. It has one month left on the guarantee and I'll get it repaired again - and try for a replacement as this will be its fourth repair in less than two years.

Somewhat to my surprise, Philips agreed to replace the machine without any fuss and the new machine was with me in three days. So well done Philips customer service: this goes a long way towards making up for the problems of the last two years. I've upped my rating to four stars which reflects the performance of the machine and I hope I've just written the last chapter in this saga!

Further update April 2012 - broken again. This time it doesn't heat up so no hot water or steam. Philips customer service courteous and efficient and it's on the way for another repair. As the replacement is less than two years old, the repair will be free. All credit to Philips for standing by their product, but one that just keeps working would be preferable!
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on 1 September 2012
Have owned this machine for a couple of months and still making beautiful espresso. It's the 5th pump pressure machine I've owned and easily the best. It's the only one that I've ever got to work with Illy ground too. Beautiful coffee with great crema every time. Build quality is good in my opinion although the drip tray is a bit irritating (well built but tends to bump when you pull it out spilling stuff). I can't comment on the frother as don't use but pricier gaggias tend to pretty well rated here.

Owning a Gaggia has been a bit like having an Italian car in days of yore. Looks great and wonderful performance but reliability means you really want to be lucky to get a good 'un. However Philips take over may have improved reliability and they come with a 2 year warranty now (to be honest 2 years isn't too bad for an espresso maker anyway). Oddly my last (sub £100) Gaggia lasted over 5 years so I've no complaints. If you get beyond that period and are mechanically minded you can pick up many parts on ebay (try that for other manufacturers). For any machine the key to a long life is making sure you do your best to stop it clogging up (I only use filtered water, regularly descale even though the water hardness isn't an issue, declog/chemically clean filter plates etc)

As with all cup warmers this one's work but you'll need to leave the machine turned on for hours for this to make a difference (if you understand the basic physics involved this ain't surprising)

At full price it's cool. I managed to bag one that had been used as a company demo and was beings old with full warranty for half price (I can live with the tiny chipped paint that took me a week to notice !)
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