Description and Review
Gaggia Classic Review
As the steam free espresso machine inventor back in 1938, Gaggia has made its name synonym of coffee perfection. Born and raised in Italy, for almost 80 years, continues its tradition and equips cafés and homes with first class espresso machines. The Gaggia Classic model is consider one of the entry models built out of stainless steel case but comes with many professional traits. In fact the Classic is a true ‘classic’ as it is already in market for almost 30 years and trusted by a great amount of faithful users.
For starters a heavy coffee filter made of chromed brass ensures consistent coffee temperature. Matched with the 15 bars pressure you will get the optimum performance for creating the best espresso. A commercial grade milk frother or ‘Panarello’ in barista’s vocabulary can be easily rotated for making with flexibility Cappuccino or Latte Macchiato. On its durability is added a stainless steel boiler, three way solenoid valves and a 58mm portafilter. The latter comes with single and double shot basket plus pressurised baskets, which can be used for pre ground coffee.
Aesthetically pleasing design with an 72 oz. transparent water reservoir for visible indication of water level, which is removable from front. Just three switches on front are enough to control this artisan. From left to right you see the main power, the steam and the brew switch which also houses the thermostat indicator. At the right side there is the steam knob for steaming or for dispensing hot water.
We performed two kinds of tests with the supplied portafilter and baskets. The accompanying pressurised baskets were an opportunity to check them. We just inserted the pin in the bottom of portafilter and then coupled the pressurised basket into it. Subsequently we inserted the pod filter and attached all together straight into the machine’s sturdy socket. After putting the espresso cup under the portafilter we pressed the brew switch. In about 20 seconds the cup filled up with almost one ounce of fresh coffee.
In case you want to brew your own fresh ground you should use the proffesional double shot basket without the pin. After putting in the ground you press firmly with the tamper and attach the portafilter as before. The output was even faster with this method. We got almost 2 oz. in 20 seconds. If the output is slower than expected try to grind coarser to avoid bitterness also. If it is faster try to grind finer or use a pressurised filter.
Steaming is straightforward with Gaggia Classic too. You just press the steaming switch and wait for the indicator at right to turn on, meaning that the optimum temperature has been reached. Thanks to its 1050 watt heater, the water gets from cold to hot in only 30 seconds that is more than acceptable. Now, with the help of the adjusting knob and the auto frothing wand we were ready to froth. Soon we had with ease our fully creamed milk. Notably Classic’s high power along with the compact boiler of 3.5 oz. allowed for very low recovery time after steaming.
Nevertheless some weaknesses were frustrating. First the ‘Panarello’ wand is not so flexible at finessing the froth as it lacks adjustment. Furthermore, although it is perfect for a normal cup of espresso, if you prefer larger cups you may find it a little space limited. You may need to remove drip tray, which will give you almost 2 inches of added clearance. Finally if you need to clean the water tank you will have to remove the drip tray and a stainless drain tube, something not that convenient.
Built as a tank with several commercial grade parts and very suitable for novices. The long history of this model proves its success and continuously evolves with a strong support from the manufacturer. At its latest edition it has little to envy of higher priced competitors but has potential for improvement. Undeniably not the best espresso machine around but hard to disregard. Match it up with its brother Gaggia 8002 MDF burr grinder and you will have an absolute winning combo!
- Commercial Grade
- Short Cup Clearance
- Tricky Water Tank Cleaning