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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 29 November 2013
We bought this (a bit in haste) to replace our Francis Francis X1 that finally bit the dust after 8 years of daily use (see my review of the X1). My impression of the Gaggia is therefore inevitably coloured by the experience of the X1, which is maybe an unfair comparison, as the X1 is more than twice the price of the Carezza and a much more "manual" machine, which depends more on the operator's skill than on the technology of the machine (the Carezza is the opposite).
In use, the Carezza can make a pretty decent espresso or cappuccino, but not, in my opinion, as good as you get with the X1. I think this is due to the fact that the Carezza gives you very little control. To consider the espresso first, you can vary the amount of coffee you put in the holder, and how long you pump the water through, but the design of the holder (a bit of technological wizardry from Phillips, who seem to own Gaggia, that puts the grounds under pressure - but there's no way to control the pressure) means that you can't tamp the coffee down, so you lose control of that variable. The espresso from the Carezza seems to me more bitter than that from the X1 (using the same beans and grind), as if the water temperature is too high. The Carezza also uses the system of running some water into the grounds and letting it sit there briefly before continuing the water flow, which some other machines also use, and this might slightly over-brew things, in combination with the pressurised coffee holder (just a theory).
Foaming the milk for cappuccino is also a bit sub-optimal. The steam control knob is marked as if you can vary the flow of steam, but in practice it is an on or off affair. The end result is very foamy and expands the volume of the milk enormously, incorporating a lot of air. The first few times I did this I found the milk overflowing the jug before it had become sufficiently hot to use; a larger jug solves the problem, but the end result is a mix of froth and flat milk (as per big-chain coffee shops) rather than the velvety smooth, gently foamy milk that would be best.
There are a few practical things about the machine that I don't really like, as well. First, that pressurised coffee holder. There's a note included in the packaging that warns you against removing the holder (e.g. if you want to refill it to make a couple more espressos) before a warning light stops flashing - as it is under pressure there is a risk of being splattered with hot grounds if you do. This is not a problem with simpler machines. Also, you can remove the coffee basket for emptying and cleaning, but I'm not sure how you're supposed to clean the rest of the holder. Finally, having made your coffee, rather than the dry, compacted grounds you get (after making cappuccino at least) in most other machines, you have a wet sludge that is harder to dispose of.
My other dislike is the rinse function, which aims to get the machine primed and up to optimum temperature for brewing before you start making coffee. To use this (and it is set to come on automatically, although to be fair, you can disable it) means when you turn the machine on you need to put a mug or other receptacle under the outlet, before you put the coffee holder on, and as the machine warms up it runs about 150 ml of hot water through. This seems to be meant to both warm up the machine and clean it out, but to me it seems like a bit of a nuisance and I'm not sure of the value of the cleaning - I can't see it reducing the descaling required, for example.
One last dislike is that the temperature gauge turns off when you turn off the machine (or when it also turns itself off, as a power-saving measure, if you leave it a few minutes without using it); this is unlike the one in the Francis Francis machines, which shows you when the machine is still hot even when the power is turned off.
This all probably sounds a bit more negative than it should be, so now for some positives. Using this you'll certainly be able to make yourself a better cappuccino than you can buy in the big 3 coffee chains. I'd recommend using a fairly lightly-roasted, not too rich, coffee, though: using dark-roast (as usually sold for espresso) or Java or Sumatra beans will probably produce a brew that is far too bitter. The water tank is very easily accessible for filling (from the front of the machine). It's also quite a nice-looking machine, and fairly compact, and good value at around the £200 mark. I think my main issue with it is that you could do better with some other machines that let you have more control over what you're doing, and would deliver better coffee and be a bit simpler to use.
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on 29 September 2014

I bought this item for my Birthday Present and i have been using it now for 8 months. The overall quality of the item is very good. The build quality is good and very robust. I use the item pretty much everyday and it makes great coffee. The coffee maker is maybe a little noisy when pumping the water but apart from that it is very good and very minor draw back. Good size water tank on it but have to take the drip tray off to put big tall coffee cups under it again only a small problem.

The milk has to be fresh to get good frothing but think that is common with most of the machines. If you live in a hard water area like i do then the unit may need de-scaling a bit more than usual.

About 26 seconds from when coffee starts to pour is good time for nice crema. I have been using either Taylors of Harrogate Espresso or Lavazza Red Espresso these two coffees are smooth yet full of flavour for everyday drinking in my opinion.
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on 2 December 2013
This replaces a Gaggia Pure machine that lost its steam function.
The first Carezza received from Amazon was very, very , noisy, sounding like a pile driver as it made steam.
The second one screamed as it made steam and ran consistently hot.
Thanks to Amazon's returns policy they went back swiftly and smoothly.
The third one is superb. Intense espresso, we use Cooper's of Jersey's Sumatra. The machine is much better than the Pure, and creates oodles of frothy milk.
Top tip, hold the frother, panarello, just under the surface of the milk as it makes froth. When froth is sufficient put the frother to the bottom of the steel jug to heat the milk, do not boil it.
Follow the instructions, If you want, but they are very confusing.
In a nutshell;
Put coffee holder, empty, in, it automatically rinses
When rinsed and the coffee light is steady, run off water through panarello, turn steam knob off
Fill holder with coffee, press coffee button, dispense to taste.
Wait until green coffee light is steady and then press the steam button ,wait until it has a steady green then start the steam for frothing. Always start with cold milk.
A lovely retro design, taking styling hints from its commercial cousins, the footprint is acceptable, the coffee holder is substantially made and the water holder is much easier to refill than the Pure.
We had similar quality issues. with the Pure, needing five machines before we got a good one. So persevere, when you a get a good one, relax, smell the coffee, and enjoy.
In short , a great , substantially made, machine with final quality issues.
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on 11 July 2013
I have been delighted for many years with my trusty Baby Gaggia but decided to finally replace it when the steamer seemed to be failing. I spent many hours researching all of the machines that are available and pouring over the reviews. Finally I decided that it had to be another Gaggia and this very stylish machine seemed to fit the bill.
I am delighted with my choice. The machine consistently makes superb espressos and heats up quickly and the steamer is superb. Having experimented with ground coffee I decided to try some ese pods. I was a little sceptical whether they would be as good as grounds but they were recommended by Gaggia and are a much easier and cleaner to use. Again I carried out a lot of research and decided to try a whole variety of pods supplied in sample packs from CoffeeRoyale. This has been great fun. There are regular and decaffinated pods to suit all tastes and preferred strengths. I finally settled on Caffe Karoma Classics - they are superb. Just hope that this machines proves to be as reliable as my old Gaggia.
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on 16 October 2014
Love this coffee machine it makes the perfect latte and whats more it makes a large cup not a tiny cup like some coffee makers , it is easy to work and easy to clean . would suggest this machine to eanyone wanting to buy a coffee maker
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on 27 November 2015
I've been using this for nearly a year now and have not regretted buying it. This was bought to replace a Cuisinart machine which we owned for 3 years and which was replaced 4 times under the guarantee - it made good coffee but was clearly a dudd design from a technical point of view.. This consistently makes good coffee. It's nice to use and looks good. However, other reviews are correct in that it has an apallingly rubbish instruction manual.

It took me a while to work out that after steaming your milk for a latte you then need to clear the steam in order to extract your coffee. This means pressing the 'coffee extract' button then removing the milk from under the wand, replacing it with another container, and then turning the steam knob to clear the remaining backlog of steam into your spare vessel. Then, when the 'extract' light stops flashing and turns a steady green, you can press the extract button and get your coffee. This is all fine and adds a bit to the performance of making coffee - which I quite enjoy - but none of it is explained in the instructions.

Come on Gaggi (Philips) get your act together with the instructions - I'm paying you over £200!
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on 16 January 2014
The machine makes great coffee once you figure out how to use it. It really is a case of trial & error. The instructions are difficult to follow because they been translated from Italian to very basic English. Otherwise we really like the machine.
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on 14 October 2013
This is my third Gaggia, Baby finally gave out, the Baby Dosa was problematic, this unit is brilliant. It makes the best espresso and the lattes are to die for. The drip tray surround had some rub marks form the box but Philips/Gaggia are sending me a replacement part without a quibble. First couple of days the water tank didn't want to seat properly and I had to push it home before brewing but now it is perfect. Worth every penny, trust me, I'm an engineer! Well done Gaggia.
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on 8 June 2016
I hade a mini gaggia before so is not new for me this type of coffee maker, I nearly by another mini but my good I'm glad to get this one, is by far the best expresso machine u can get without being a professional, I'm glad I spend time reading the reviews and the technical side of this product
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on 22 October 2013
i have tried different coffee machines until i settled for this one.
i love the milk froth it makes.

the machine i had before this one was the dualit espressivo which has very good reviews and few negative ones i've seen. on the outset it was leaking as in some revies have mentioned and other little niggles so within 2 weeks of having it, it was returned to the shop.

i then got this gaggia and the quality was very different... much much better.
in use, the gaggia is a bit tricky to use and manual wasn't too clear but once you get the to the routine it's all straight forward from there. if i worked with gaggia, i would put a video instruction on the web instead of the user manual. i even googled for videos but couldn't find any.
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