I am very happy with my Gaggia Classic..... I only wish that I had bought one sooner...
Positive Product Points
1) Makes very good espresso 2) Easy to see water level 3) Consistant shots 4) Durable stainless steel body
Negative Product Points
1) Panarella frother takes time to clean 2) Occasionally the frother comes off during steaming process 2) Plastic splash guard in overflow tray warps slightly
I just want to start out by saying I am very happy with my Gaggia Classic even though I realize that there are a few things that would make it better.
This is my first machine so there was a little trial & error- It took me about a week to get the right coffee, grind, amount per shot and proper pressure (tamp) to pull a very good espresso shot. Now I pull at least 10 to 12 shots a day (for the last 6 months).
At first I tried using Starbucks and Whole Foods espresso grind coffee for the machine but I could not get the right grind and most of the time the shots ran out like water. About a week after purchasing my Gaggia Classic I bought a Gaggia MDF grinder. After that getting the right grind was a breeze. Now I ship in freshly roasted beans once a week and grind to order.
I use filtered water (brita) and this works well for me. I get the taste that I desire but am able to filter out some of the minerals that over time can harm the machine.
I start each morning by turning on the switch to heat the boiler. And let it go about 12 to 15 minutes before use (portafilter attached). The ready light will activate within a couple minutes but I ignore this and wait the full amount of time before brewing my first shots. If the boiler is not hot enough I tend to get sour smelling and tasting shots. Nothing worse. Blah….
When I hit the brew button I let it run for about 23 to 25 seconds.
I am not too worried whether I have (double shot) an ounce in each (2) shot glass, or slightly over just that the espresso looks like a nicely poured Guinness and has the nice brown crema on top.
I read where some people have a problem with the recovery time (smaller boiler) but I don’t have this problem. I use mine mostly for latte’s and cappuccino’s so by the time I draw 3 double shots for 2 cups then I need to prepare the foam. By the time the foam is ready then the boiler is hot enough to produce more shots.
What I would change- The steam wand is too short with the panarella attachment removed. I wish it had a regular size steam wand without the attachment. Although the attachment can make pretty good micro foam, it has too many little parts and sometimes blows off the wand and creates a terrible mess.
Cleaning with this machine is very important….. I clean trays daily, replace filtered water every three days, screens about once a week, backflush once a month, and make sure I brush the filter basket with a nylon brush to remove any excess espresso grounds after each use, and as a result continue to have great tasting espresso.
I purchased the machine at Whole Latte Love.....a refurbished unit that looked and acts like it is brand new. I doubt it had ever been used.
Three Month Followup
My machine is still working great. Not much else to report
One Year Followup
This review is a little over a year but I thought I would give an update on the Gaggia Classic. My machine is still working and making a great cup of espresso. I have had to replace a couple parts. 1) an internal fuse blew out about 6 months ago, it took me a while to get it ordered as the supplier ran out of them and had to have them shipped from Italy (6 weeks or so later it arrived). I replaced the part and the machine was up and running again. 2) About 2 weeks ago I replaced the grouphead gasket when water started to leak from the portafilter while drawing shots. It was easy to replace and the leaks are gone.
The quality of my shots are the same as when I bought the machine.... I couldn't be happier.