tinybean Senior Member Joined: 7 Aug 2012 Posts: 5 Location: nj Expertise: Just starting
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 11:26am Subject: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
I'm buying an Espresso Machine for the first time (anniversary gift for my husband), and thanks to the detailed guidance on this site, I've narrowed down to either the Gaggia Classic or Gaggia Baby Class. Now I just have to buy it!
Would appreciate your help on 2 things:
1) Where to buy the machine (Whole Latte Love has the best price, but the reviews on their customer service is not great - anyone with experience buying from here?, Costco no longer sells Gaggia)
2) If you recommend the Baby Class over the Classic. Apparently the inside is the same on both, but I haven't seen enough reviews on the Baby Class (I do like the easy to remove water reservoir and stainless drip try).
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 11:58am Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
Welcome to CG, sound like you have been reading.
I have no experience with WLL so will not comment on that part. That is a great sale price with free shipping.
I favor the Classic. I like the old style switches, probably more reliable in the long run. PartsGuru notes more leak problems on the Baby Class, you can read it your self. Of course that is one opinion.
If the machine is under a cupboard, then filling can be difficult in either. Mine is under a cupboard so I pull the tank forward enough to fill and do not use the top fill. Easy and I do not lift the machine. Also it is a good time to empty and clean the tank, not every fill, but I am used to sliding the tank forward.
You did not mention a grinder, so you should know that the grinder is more important than the machine. I believe many now recommend the Baratza Preciso and up, not less.
sgemmett Senior Member Joined: 7 Oct 2010 Posts: 8 Location: San Jose CA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Mini Vivaldi II Grinder: Mazzer Mini E Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 12:02pm Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
Between the baby and classic I would go with the classic. I think it was $350 at WLL, that is a pretty good deal.
I don't know on the customer service side, never purchased anything from them but one would hope that this not break anyway so not sure how much a factor that would be in my decision to buy from them or not. For me, if something breaks I go on to sites like this and find out how to fix it myself, it's part of the fun.
tinybean Senior Member Joined: 7 Aug 2012 Posts: 5 Location: nj Expertise: Just starting
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 12:47pm Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
Thanks! I am now leaning towards the Classic. Appreciate the tip on the grinder - am planning to upgrade our Cuisine Art Burr Grinder as well. Will look in to the Baratza Presico (trying to stay under $150 on this).
Are there any other places you recommend for making a purchase, or trying the machine?
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 12:58pm Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
The best buy I found on the Baratza Preciso was a refurb directly from Baratza.com. You have to look early on Thursdays until one comes up. They claim to have installed all of the latest upgrades and fixes. Price is $239 plus shipping. You might beat that used or bundled, but it will not necessarily be upgraded. You may be offered a bundle with a different grinder, but check it out here on CG first. Many Espresso Grinders are not! You need the extra steps in the Preciso, or stepless. Unfortunately you may be unhappy with the Gaggia until you have a capable grinder. Many of us have tried that route.
I know that's what the video on the WLL website says, but I believe it's incorrect. The OPV valve on the Classic is adjustable, whereas it's fixed on the Baby. That fact gives the Classic the edge, imo.
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 2:57pm Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
I was not sure about the Baby OPV and knew that I had seen something on it. Here is the fix of the valve and it is a rework, clear implication that the one it comes with is not adjustable, as Calendar noted.
MJW Senior Member Joined: 25 Jul 2012 Posts: 179 Location: Silicon Valley Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 3:45pm Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
I just went through this. I agree that the Classic is a better buy. There are some things I don't like about it, but it has a better OPV than Baby, and I think the draw tubes and return system is more reliable than the Baby's valve.
I would not recommend WLL. Overall, I think they are good folks who are doing their best. But, they have a 15% restock fee on all returns, and if there's any problem at all regardless of whether it's your fault you'll get charged -- at least at first. I bought a New Baby from them, and tried so hard to make it work and got really sour shots. I had 15 days to return it, and after returning it they charged me the 15%. They felt the machine worked fine. But I know now that the machine was on the edge of being fit for purpose. It at least had a marginal thermostat. Eventually they withdrew the 15% charge, but I think it was because of a review I wrote.
I would take a look at Amazon, especially the Used section. "Amazon warehouse deals" is for some reason selling new or mostly new merchandise for more than half off. I got a Classic and a Zojirushi bread machine that way, it was brand new with protective stickum still on it. It's a little risky, you don't know what you're going to get. Amazon has a liberal return policy, and I rarely receive defective or damaged merchandise from them.
If you're still willing to consider other machines I'd look at the Delonghi EC270. It is a pressurized machine meaning it's easy to use but doesn't make quality coffee & require a boss grinder like the Gaggias do.* Not without modifications, which are trivial to make. The Gaggia is superior in many ways, but again to take advantage you'll need a great grinder.
For unpressurized, traditional espresso, a good grinder is more or less necessary. The Preciso is good, the Baratza Encore ($129) can work, might need an internal adjustment but that's easy, but I'd also look at Orphan Espresso's Pharos hand grinder. It is very fast for a hand grinder (a double in 20 seconds), and its grind quality is unmatched. If your husband likes hand tools I'd strongly recommend it. I believe it's $250.
*Gaggias come with pressurized baskets too, I doubt they work well but the Gaggia is better for traditional espresso making.
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 3:41am Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
My experience with WLL comes in as this. I ordered a 57mm tamper. 3 days later I received a 58mm. They told me that it was not feasible to send back, thus I could keep the 58 and they sent me the 57 I originally ordered. I also ordered a Gaggia grinder around Christmas with a free shipping special. I got two day shipping for free I assume so I could get it faster (due to deliveries delayed due to time of year). You may suffer from the order, but I have nothing but good things to say about them. Only thing is I wish they would list the Expobar parts on their site so I could order without a phone call. Good luck with your order.
MarkJackson Senior Member Joined: 25 Oct 2007 Posts: 29 Location: Rochester NY Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Rancilio S-24, Expobar... Grinder: Ranc Rocky, Mazzer Mini
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 7:07am Subject: Re: Where to buy a Gaggia espresso machine?
A correction you bought a refurbished machine. You do have 15 days to return that. That is our policy on refurbished machines. Our policies on new items are different as far as return policies. We even sent you an elabel to get it back to us. You also did get a full credit. We have had tremendous luck with the Gaggias. It has earned a a good reputation and rightfully so. Let me state our policies. You have thirty days to return a NEW product. If you buy something of equal or greater value you get a full refund. I see we worked things out with you and I am sorry for any aggravation. But I wanted people to know our policies are not what you stated in order to be fair.
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