The machine has a very clean design and is functionally easy to use. Internally, it is very easy to clean, refill beans, refill water, and adjust grind and dose settings. The base also allows for the entire unit to rotate for easy access to the reservoir and for cleaning. Gaggia did a good job designing this brewer for ease of use.
Setting up machine functions via the control panel is easy as well. Through this panel, it possible to determine output water temperature, select water hardness (which determines how often machine is to be de-scaled), select sleep mode and other features.
Negative Product Points
Drip drawer cover has bumps which cause cups to tilt (this is nothing to my wife, but really bugs me). Machine leaves a mess of grinds under brew area, which requires wipe up every time the dregs drawer is cleaned. The bean hopper has a lid which seals very, very, very well. This keeps beans fresh but makes it difficult to access the hopper to pour more beans in, or when the beans get stuck and don't slide into the grinder (a pretty common occurrence).
I bought the Gaggia Titanium after a few months of agonizing over which machine to buy. I was leaning towards a semi-automatic but my wife choked at the idea of grinding, pressing, feathering the pressure and all the "chemistry" that goes into making a single shot of espresso. So I gave her the option of buying a fully automatic, with the knowledge that it wouldn't be like the local barista shops. She agreed and after even more research, we chose the Gaggia Titanium and bought it through Whole Latte Love. We called on the phone and placed the order quickly. In two days the machine was on our counter and ready to go.
Unpacking the machine and setting up is easy, but the directions must be followed. There are certain parameters that must be entered in the digital control panel that determine how the machine best functions for water hardness, water temperature and sleep mode.
After a couple of weeks of use, I was going to write a review but decided to wait. It has now been about one year. I write this with much experience with the Gaggia Titanium.
The Control Panel: This is one of the best features of the Gaggia Titanium. It tells you everything: when to refill the reservoir, refill the beans, clean the dregs drawer, and when to de-calcify. The brewer will not function until you've performed the required command and over the last year has not failed to tell the truth. Sample read outs: "Refill Tank", "Descale", "Refill Beans", "Clean Dredgedrawer", "Sleep", "Flushing".
The bean hopper: It appears to hold about 1/2 lb. of beans. It needs to be refilled frequently if you pour double or triple shots. The beans also stick to the sides, requiring me to manually settle the beans towards the grinder.
The Grinder: The internal grinder is adjustable and we set it on the finest grind possible. It produces very fine grind, but not the same as a "pro" espresso grinder. The grinder produces a consistent volume and fineness of grind every time, as measured by the size of the puck (yes, I poke at them to see what's inside). It's loud, but no louder than any other grinder.
The Reservoir: The water reservoir contains enough water so that once it is empty, the dregs drawer must also be emptied. This is based on single shot cappuccinos, not espressos, double or triple shot drinks. Refilling the reservoir is based on the amount of water left in the container.
The Brew Group: The brew group is plastic and metal. It slides out easily for easy cleaning. This should be checked every time the dregs drawer is emptied. This is where many people get turned off on this machine. Gaggia spent plenty in design and looks, but seemed to skimp on the brew group. Could it have been better? Yes, but the dang thing is already very expensive.
The Coffee: There are three selections available: small, medium or large. What this varies is the amount of water pushed through the coffee. The coffee does not vary in volume with this setting. The only way to increase the amount of coffee is with a knob located in the grinder area.
With a "small" setting, a standard shot is poured. It is nothing like a "pro" shot, but it has a good flavor and good kick. When the other two settings are used, the coffee tastes watered down. This is actually a good thing when someone want to add cream and sugar (i.e., not an espresso drinker).
The Steamer: The steamer works very well and cleans very easily. Once a shot has been poured, the steamer is immediately available because this machine has two boilers.
Final Cut: This machine is perfect for the person who doesn't want to fuss over their cappuccino making. Everything about it is easy to use. It will not make pro-barista quality shots but it will make very good cappuccino.
My wife serves cappuccinos to her weekly gals' gathering and everyone enjoys the coffee from this machine. Last week I offered to sell it and get a "pro" machine and she said "No". She likes the simplicity and is satisfied with the quality of the brews. 'nuff said.
We bought it through Whole Latte Love. We called on the phone and placed the order quickly. In two days the machine was on our counter and ready to go.
The phone sales rep knew what additional items we needed to get us up and brewing quickly.