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Gaggia Espresso - Other - Paul's Review
Posted: August 14, 2000, 12:36pm
review rating: 7.4
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Gaggia Espresso - Other Machines
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Arrow The Gaggia Espresso - Other has 9 Reviews
Arrow The Gaggia Espresso - Other has been rated 8.16 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Gaggia Espresso - Other reviews have been viewed 64,328 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Alex D 8.00
Paul 7.37
Franck Pauly 7.00
Gary Kercheck 6.62
Ed 6.20

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.0
Product Reviewed: Gaggia Paros
Manufacturer: Gaggia Quality: 8
Average Price: Varies Usability: 6
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 6 months Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: Aficionado Would Buy Again: n/a
Similar Items Owned: Not entered
Bottom Line: Best home grinder/espresser combo value around. IMO, any additional features in a home unit (& some I'd like!) would not enhance espresso quality.
Positive Product Points

-Same grouphead, portafilter, and espresso-making innards as Classic, Baby, & Tebe
-Very high-quality, heavy-duty, true conical-burr grinder

Negative Product Points

-Greek look (pillars) takes some getting used to, although it is a conversation-starter, too.
-Don't care for the unattached plastic inserts that serve as covers for the bean hopper and watertank funnel.
-Although top is flat & becomes warm, the location of operating buttons and filler ports limits the utility of this space.

Detailed Commentary

I bought the Paros when I wanted to upgrade to a full-size portafilter, a 3-way solenoid, and get a 2nd grinder in 1 step. I didn't realize that it was an enormous enhancement in grinder quality, as well. This is a very heavy duty (for home use), true conical-burr grinder, and is different from any current Gaggia stand-alone home burr grinders, which all use flat burrs. My grinder came with its grinding range poorly calibrated (finest was too coarse), but it's very easily re-calibrated.

The design is for grinding directly into filter (no doser), though I grind into an extra espresso cup and then put grounds into filter. This gives better control over amount of coffee put into filter. The indicators marked Single & Double on the grinder's sliding timer switch are pretty meaningless; running on Double twice gives roughly the right amount for a double in my experience.

The attached tamper is the correct thickness to make it a great gauge for proper tamped coffee level, although its usefullness as an actual tamper is somewhat limited. I've learned to tamp well with it by bringing the filter alone up to it and squeezing with thumbs on top of tamper & fingers on bottom of filter. Thus, polishing is also possible.

The expresso-quality potential of this machine is the same as the other top Gaggia home units, that is, very high. I've never had a problem with temperature stabilitiy, though I rarely pull more than 4 shots in a row. The solenoid is a great feature for those who don't have patience to let the pressure dissipate after a shot. I also have grown to appreciate Gaggia's round-sided filter design. This design does not result in excessive flow around the sides of the puck, and knocks out very easily as compared to my LaMarzocco filter, which also fits the Gaggia portafilter (tightly).

Quick comment on cleanup: although I have a blind filter, I now forward flush through the hole intended for the chromed tube conducting waste into the driptray. With the Paros' open design, this tube is easily removed without tools, and water from a rubber irrigating bulb squeezed into this hole does the job (water comes out the 5 brew holes in the grouphead). I find this easy, and it protects the pump from the rigors of backflushing. Also, the 'jostle the portafilter while running the pump' method of cleaning the grouphead groove causes excessive shaking with this machine, although the pillars are very strong and the machine stable under normal espressomaking forces.

For tinkerers, the Paros disassembles very easily, again by comparison with other home machines.

Minor point: the Paros uses a 2-prong power plug, meaning that a cheapo power timer (for morning advance warmup) can accommodate it. My other 3 espresso machines use 3-prong plugs.

I paid $300 (!) for my refurbished Paros. (MSR=$600).

Buying Experience

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review rating: 7.4
Posted: August 14, 2000, 12:36pm
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