Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine Review

gaggia-classic-espresso-machine

gaggia-classic-espresso-machine

Introduction

Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine is one of the bestselling machines in the semi-automatic category. Designed and manufactured by Gaggia in Italy, a leading brand in the espresso machine marketplace, this 14101 model stands for function, durability and most of all, consistent shots of espresso that would please the savvy espresso lovers with perfect aroma, mouth feel and thick crema.

It is equipped with a commercial group, portafilter and handle. The unique heating element design contributes to the longevity, efficient heat conductivity and the ultimate taste test. Let’s find out how:

Table of Contents
(jump ahead!)

1. Introduction
2. Features & Benefits
3. Brewing
4. Steaming
5. Display & Control
6. Additional Features
7. How to Clean
8. Accessories
9. Power & Cord
10. Dimensions & Weight
11. Warranty
12. Pros & Cons
13. Consumer Reviews
14. Price
15. Summary

espresso-machine-amazon-buy-button

 

Features & Benefits of Gaggia Classic

(Back to Top)

  • Brass Portafilter and Group Head: Perhaps one of the most distinct features is the marine-grade brass with chrome-plating portafilter and group head. Brass is an alloy consisting of copper and zinc. It is an excellent material with its corrosion-resistant property and more importantly, the heat stability and retention. The portafilter is 58mm in diameter which provides a large surface for even water distribution.
  • Unique Heating Element Design: The Gaggia boiler is made from aluminum that’s highly conductive. The two heating elements were affixed onto the sides of the boiler which prevents the corrosion without direct contact with water. This feature also makes it very conducive to heat transfer as the entire boiler is used as a heating element. With 1370 watts into the boiler system with a low volume boiler (only 3.5 ounces), it yields excellent temperature stability and quick heat-up.
  • 3-Way Solenoid Valve: The pressure is released immediately when the pump is turned off. The water from brewing is redirected to the drip tray resulting in drier puck and less cleanup as a side benefit. This eliminates the need to rinse out the portafilter and thus destroys the optimal temperature should you need to pull another shot. Less wait time for the temperature to rise for brewing, more stable temperature = better espresso!
  • Removable Water Reservoir: 72 fl. oz water reservoir can be refilled from the top.
  • Housing: The Gaggia 14101 is improved with brushed stainless steel housing from the previous nickel-plated carbon steel finish for high-end appearance and durability.

Brewing

(Back to Top)

At the risk of sounding “repetitive” from my other reviews, a good espresso shot relies firstly on the brew temperature consistency. The smaller the fluctuation from shot to shot, the more likely you’d be brewing a great shot. The Classic is the best for its price point, not quite as good as a prosumer model, but it doesn’t cost as much either.

The second variable is the coffee grind. This machine is sensitive to the particle size as a great espresso machine would. This also creates the fun if you’d like to experiment with one variable at a time while holding the rest constant. Once you get your favorite coffee grinder dialed in, then you can continue with the rest of adventure such as tamping and brew pressure.

It’s very important to preheat the machine properly. Don’t be impatient. The recommended time is 7 minutes. Run a shot without coffee to warm up the portafilter, the group head and the cup. The shot comes out in one hole and then split into two channels evenly flowing into the cups.

Both coffee grounds and ESE pods can be used in this machine.

Steaming

(Back to Top)

There is about 35 seconds wait time to be able to steam. It can’t be compared to a double-boiler machine with no wait time, but in the grand scheme of things, half a minute is not a big deal. It takes 96 seconds to steam 8 oz. of milk. The ultimate test is the creamy froth which the Gaggia Classic is able to achieve without much fuss or knowledge. The wait time might be a minor annoyance if you are hosting a party and there are 6 guests waiting for their lattes at the same time.

Display & Control

(Back to Top)

The Classic retains its classic look with a rocker style Display Panel with the Power switch on the left, followed by Steam and the Brew switches in the middle and on the right. An indicator light will be illuminated when the boiler reaches operating temperature.

Additional Features of Gaggia 14101

(Back to Top)

A passive cup warmer with 7 x 5 inches in dimensions can hold 5 espresso cups on top. The residue heat is generated from the boiler. The cup clearance is 3.25 inches in height which only allows lower espresso cups or shot glasses.

Chrome-plated drip tray catches drips from espresso and dry coffee grounds.

How to Clean

(Back to Top)

Follow the Gaggia cleaning instructions for cleaning routine after each use and for periodic descaling and such. With the heating element on the outsider of the boiler, the mineral buildup should be minimal. Quite a few customers said they only descaled the machine once or twice in all those years they had owned the machine. But the manufacturer recommended once every two months. If you use filtered or bottled water, the deposit will be less.

Accessories

(Back to Top)

Included Accessories

A single and double shot filter basket, coffee tamper,  and a 7-gram measuring scoop.

Optional Accessories

Can’t emphasize enough to consider investing in a quality coffee grinder if you are serious about making espressos at home. The included tamper is useless per many customers so you might want to buy a quality one by Rattleware. It costs less than $30 on Amazon. It will make a difference in the outcome.

Power & Cord

(Back to Top)

  • Input Power (W): 1450
  • Voltage/Frequency (V-Hz): 110
  • Cord length (inches): 44

Dimensions & Weight

(Back to Top)

  • Dimensions (W x D x H inches): 8″ x 9.5 x 14.2
  • Weight (lbs): 20

Warranty

(Back to Top)

1-year

Pros & Cons

(Back to Top)

Pros

  • Stable brew temperature and stability with commercial-grade brass portafilter and group head ensure you get consistent espressos day in and day out.
  • The 55-watts pump is powerful to pump water for brewing and steaming with less wait and recovery time.
  • The rocker style switches minimizes problems often occurred in push-buttons.
  • The two-piece heating elements are very efficient in heat transfer and retention while eliminating potential corrosion caused by water.
  • The Gaggia Classic is built to last with quality materials and well-design mechanics. Many customers reported decades of happy ownership.
  • The flexibility of using coffee grounds or pods allows you to pull a shot in a pinch or refine your barista skill from scratch.
  • The stainless steel casing makes it easy to fit into a kitchen with such appliances with style and durability.

Cons

  • It’s not the most aesthetically appealing design. It has a commercial feel and look to it.
  • Gaggia is short on making the user experience flawless with their Instructions and Marketing materials. There are so many versions of User Manuals and bits and pieces of information everywhere. Wish they could consolidate the information and make it easy for the end-users.
  • The steam wand is short with only 3.75 inches usable length and the swivel is limited. Plus it takes longer to steam 8 oz. of milk.

Consumer Reviews

(Back to Top)

4.0 out of 5.0

There are two opposing camps of online reviewers on Amazon. In the “happy” camp, 76% of the people have given it 4-5 stars. They’ve raved about the functionality and durability. They are impressed with so many features in this machine that could rival much more expensive commercial models. This machine has passed the test of time and is capable of brewing perfect espresso.

On the other hand, the “not-so-happy” customers complain about the boiler made from aluminum and are concerned about the potential corrosion and descaling issue. In fact, a heated debate was launched among a few espresso enthusiasts about the pros and cons of an aluminum boiler (See the Heating Element feature for more explanation). Other minor things are the shorter steam wand and lower cup clearance.

Price

(Back to Top)

The Gaggia Classic is really a bargain considering the prosumer features it packs and the great espressos it’s able to produce.

Summary

(Back to Top)

This would be a viable option for those who have experienced a bit in making espressos at home and have acquired some knowledge of what it takes to refine the art. If you are a college student who just wants to drink some straight espresso and could care less about the subtle nuances, this may not be the best investment for you.

It’s hard to go wrong in choosing the Gaggia Classic over another brand or model as it is made by Gaggia where espresso machine was invented and perfected over many years. Many customers have owned this unit and have got good use out of it for decades.

 

For current price information, click on the button below.

espresso-machine-amazon-buy-button

(Back to Top)

  1. Michele says:

    any reviews on the delonghi dedica ec680?

    • DE admin says:

      This is one we haven’t yet taken a look at. On first look through and just on customer feedback I’d say it’s very good machine. Read the reviews of the customers that going to get you the best current feedback right now: Reviews for Delonghi EC680

line

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This