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Gaggia Classic - John Derby's Review
Posted: April 12, 2003, 10:03pm
review rating: 6.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Gaggia Classic Machine
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More About This Product
Arrow The Gaggia Classic has 79 Reviews
Arrow The Gaggia Classic has been rated 8.04 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Gaggia Classic reviews have been viewed 667,643 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
A C C 9.00
John Anderson 8.85
Patrick Sloane 8.00
Daryl Cross 8.00
Dan Pohl 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 5.8
Manufacturer: Gaggia Quality: 4
Average Price: $449.00 Usability: 7
Price Paid: $350.00 Cost vs. Value 5
Where Bought: ??? Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: Intermediate Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Gaggia Baby
Bottom Line: be aware of common concerns with this machine
Positive Product Points

Good espresso, easy froth, simple to use

Negative Product Points

Motor problems twice, two broken portafilters, leaks steam, hard to re-establish suction if run dry, slow, cannot make consecutive bev's, filter baskets stick in grouphead, and must be pried out every use.

Detailed Commentary

If you are upgrading from a Krups and only plan to use this a couple of times per week, and clean this regularly, and really know your stuff...you should be happy. I suspected I would need something more powerful, and I was right. If you are serious and want a machine that can handle two or more drinks daily, get something better.

I have two Gaggias, and both share some of these problems, which suggests to me, at least, that they are commonplace. The Classic gets more use, and has been more problematic. First, a laundry list of minor complaints, which would be major if not for the actual majors (below). Out of the box, the steam valve leaked. I sent it in for repair, and it was not fixed. The chrome began chipping off one of the filters after a few months. It takes an unreasonable amount of time to steam more than one latte's worth of milk, so entertaining, which I do very little of but have attempted, will be a disaster. About once a year I have inadvertantly run the machine dry, and cannot get the suction to initiate. Literally, I have to pull the hose out, fill my mouth with as much water as I can, and "feed" the hose. Not fun. (If you have this machine, try running a pull through the steam wand before this measure--sometimes it will work.) One of the handles has completely broken off. The plastic part can be replaced for $20, $45 for the complete filter.

The two main problems, though, keep me from being satisfied with the machine. The motor has died twice--not completely, but enough that shots cannot be pulled--and repair is expensive, at least $100 each time. I have been told this is because I do not clean the machine enough (my water is quite hard), and that is probably a fair rebuttal. The other problem is that the filter baskets, which I suspect have become deformed, stick in the head. Every time. Sometimes they have to be pried out with a flathead screwdriver.

For a $400 machine, I feel these issues are extensive, and not indicative of quality. I make one or two drinks per day, most days, and do not abuse my machine in any way, other than lack of decalcification. I don't think I got a lemon, because many of these problems exist on my Gaggia Baby. If you are nuts about espresso, you need to do what I am about to: shell out a grand on a truly high-end model.

Buying Experience

I don't remember...I bought this via mail order in '98

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review rating: 6.3
Posted: April 12, 2003, 10:03pm
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