Great first espresso machine- reliable and a good performer!
Positive Product Points
-lovely little entry espresso machine- my first real 15 bar pump espresso machine --great internals like all other Gaggias-brass group and portafilter -reliable and great quality -easy to use- perfect for espresso novice -made excellent espresso -on par with other Gaggias and other higher end machines -love rocker switches
Negative Product Points
-did not like ABS plastic body too much -no solenoid -turbofrother
The original Gaggia Espresso which I have owned for 4+ years was and is a lovely little entry starter machine for the espresso novice. It makes excellent espresso on par with more expensive Gaggias and other higher end espresso machines. The Gaggia Espresso had the same internals as other Gaggia espresso machines such as the Classic making it a great little machine that achieved similar results. A great brass group and portafilter as well as a 58 mm double basket give it a rugged, reliable and professional feel. Drip tray was able to hold quite a bit of water and was easy to clean and remove. Large water tank is very handy- holding a lot of water. With no solenoid- there was a lot of cleaning to be done because of wet coffee everywhere- no dry puck. However this is not a critical shortcoming for the beginner. A fair-sized aluminum boiler with large water tank meant steaming and foaming was great but microfoam harder to do especially for the novice with the Gaggia turbofrother. One usually got coarse foam from it as a beginner. Later I found that using the long inner tube of a Saeco panarello made finer foam but then again I was just a beginner at the time having used a stovetop and steam machine prior to purchasing the Gaggia Espresso. The Gaggia Espresso was not hard to clean especially if you picked the one with a black ABS exterior because it would not show stains as much but as on my other espresso machines such as the Classic I painstakingly cleaned it and thoroughly after each use including taking apart the Gaggia turbofrother and cleaning it and wiping down the short chrome wand. My espresso machines will easily last me a lifetime! The Gaggia Espresso was also easy to open with a phillips screwdriver if necessary and easy to put back in working order. As with most machines you had to wait about twenty minutes for the Gaggia Espresso to warm up before using it but once you waited the requisite time everything was hot and at the right temperature for making excellent espresso. The rocker switches on the front of the Espresso were easy to see and use and were of great quality as was the rest of the machine. Before you knew it you were making excellent cafe style espresso like everyone else!
All in all, the Gaggia Espresso was a great little entry espresso machine with Gaggia`s trademark of reliability, durability, long-lasting and great espresso! It is far better than the new Gaggia Espresso which does not have a brass grouphead but an aluminum grouphead etc. The original Gaggia Espresso was also easy to use and removed the mystery of espresso- making quickly and surprisingly. The Gaggia espresso was a joy to use and I practised my espresso making and cappuccino making skills on it for several years before purchasing my next great Gaggia espresso machine the Gaggia Classic. With a lot of practise on the Gaggia Espresso for a few years I was then ready to enjoy and use my first espresso machine with a solenoid and a stainless steel no-nonsense exterior in the Gaggia Classic- a must for every espresso enthusiast.
I sometimes miss the relative simplicity and modest elegance of the Gaggia Espresso which taught me almost all that I know as I now use the Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia and Gaggia Baby Twin- all of which I have reviewed on this site with great pleasure as well.
I bought the Gaggia Espresso my very first real 15 bar pump espresso machine from Espressotec in Vancouver. Overall the buying experience with Espressotec was good and Reg was helpful. My Gaggia Espresso at the time arrived by DHL courier which Espressotec does not use anymore and it arrived like all Gaggias double-boxed and well packaged for the long trip from Vancouver to Toronto. However I find lately that customer service at Espressotec has been lacking.