A tremendous value for the home espresso lover! Solid performer.
Positive Product Points
- Capable of EXCELLENT espresso with minimal practice (even better with cooling flushes by running pump without portafilter to cool brew group) but keep in mind you can't be a sloppy barista and expect great espresso. However watch your technique and this machine shouldn't be the weak point in your espresso making.
- Large heavy 58mm portafilter...like larger commercial machines
- Looking at price vs. espresso shot quality this machine becomes one of the best values for the home/small office
- Reliable and repeatable performer
- Decent at frothing milk
- Smallish boiler however this gives good heating rebound for sequential shots/steaming
- Fast heat up, but best to let heat up for 15 minutes or more
- Nice sized water reservoir given this machines typical espresso output
- Attractive looking and easy to use
- Simple controls all within reach
- Elegant design looks nice on the countertop
Negative Product Points
- Smallish brew group makes the machine a little less temperature stable than larger boiler machines
- Vibe pump like most every vibe pump can be a little noisy (but not too bad)
- Smallish boiler somewhat restricts the steaming power, can steam enough milk for two shots, does even better with less milk (but hey you can only pull one shot at a time right?
- Drip tray a little small, may need to remove (easy to do) to drain during long espresso sessions
- Not the machine for doing large parties (but then again what single boiler espresso machine, especially in this price range is)?
- Plastic froth adapter of the Deluxe model useless but easily removed without any tools
- Passive cup warmer basically useless, but most are arenít they?
I am not going to use this review to teach you how to make espresso or tell you how I do it. Rather I'd like to discuss the Gaggia Coffee Deluxe (the same as the Coffee but with a plastic froth adapter for the steaming wand).
I have had this machine for a year and I love it. It is a very reliable machine. The espresso I have been able to make has been excellent. This machine is capable of making espresso shots that rival much more expensive machines. Using a good grinder and fresh beans are a must (but you knew that right...wink...wink).
This machine has easy to use controls and making a shot is easy with this machine. Clean up is easy. Using this machine is a real joy. There is very little that I don't like. Sure it could use some upgrades, but that would raise the price too. At this price level this is one fantastic value. I highly recommend this machine (or any other Gaggia as they are all very similar). Great espresso with a modest investment (save that extra money for the grinder).
I feel my pros and cons above describe my feelings best. Beyond that it's barista technique and practice. So grab one of these machines and get to it! Truly great espresso at home for a great price! What are you waiting for?
The proof using my homemade bottomless portafilter:
I thought I would update my review with some more thoughts and comments. In short I really like this machine. I got mine for $225 and that makes it a great value, I'm unsure if I would have paid $350 for this machine (probably would have went with a Silvia then).
What I like best about this machine is its ability to produce truly excellent espresso. GET A BOTTOMLESS PORTAFILTER. Its pump is good and strong for getting good crema (brew pressure is determined by size of grind, finer grounds restrict the passing water more creating higher brew pressures) because of this I find this machine best for straight doubles. Ristretto's are a little trickier because the pressure goes up and may produce a bitter crema. Mind you I have had some lovely ristettos with this machine, but I would suspect it might be subject to the bean/blend being used for best results.
With the Gaggia you can't be sloppy, but this goes for any espresso machine. You have to develop a good technique (using a great grinder and fresh beans) to get the most out this or any espresso machine. Many overlook that and worse many newbies order a great set-up them lament that they can't get good espresso and wonder if it's the machine. No, with this machine it shouldn't be an issue. This machine should not hamper the budding home barista for quite some time. I'm an espresso purist and this machine truly delivers. You have to get to know it and it's quirks, but this is what a barista has to do with any machine in any price class. This level is no different. However become a good barista and the Gaggia Coffee can deliver, every time. Truly is a solid performer. If I do everything right the machine will reward with a couple ounces of pure liquid heaven. If I mess up the machine makes it immediately apparent. Be on top of your game and hone your technique, this machine should not let you down.
I don't feel the need for a 3-way solenoid. Seriously, some machines have them and that drives the price up. I have never been making espresso and thought that I would ever benefit from having one at least at the additional cost it would mean. The pressure when making doubles dissipates on it's own in maybe a minute or two and then you can remove the portafilter and begin cleaning/flushing for your next shot. I'll make a shot, enjoy it and then remove the portafilter. I them run the pump with the portafilter removed to rinse the shower screen clean (a light brushing may be needed, I use a toothbrush).
Water tank capacity and drip tray capacity seem ok. Sure with my long cooling flushes (my machine must run a little hot) the drip tray can fill up quickly, but it simply sits in its location and removing it is easy for quickly dumping it into the sink. Less than 5 seconds and I'm ready for my next shot. The water tank I can run out after 5 or 6 shots, but mind you I run very long cooling flushes and use the pump to clean the filter screen, so most of my water isn't used for espresso making, but rather cooling and cleaning.
All in all I am very satisfied with this machine so far.
Bought the machine refurb from wholelattelove.com. Arrived on time and in perfect working order. Couldn't be happier!