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Gaggia Baby Twin - Aaron Walls's Review
Posted: January 25, 2008, 3:25pm
review rating: 8.3
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Gaggia Baby Twin Espresso
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More About This Product
Arrow The Gaggia Baby Twin has 18 Reviews
Arrow The Gaggia Baby Twin has been rated 6.13 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since June 29, 2007.
Arrow Gaggia Baby Twin reviews have been viewed 201,308 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Bear Lemley 10.00
P-J De Boer 9.00
Michael Smith 8.60
Aaron Walls 8.25
Jaap Bruinsma 7.67

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.2
Manufacturer: Gaggia Quality: 8
Average Price: $429.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $699.00 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Williams Sonoma Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 2 weeks Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: If superior shot quality, convenience, and aesthetics are important to you, then this is the machine.  If you have dreams of being a latte artist, then look elsewhere.
Positive Product Points

Aesthetics rule this machine.  Gaggia's new Baby line is without a doubt beautiful - as if Apple were to make an espresso machine.  The shot quality and ease of use are this machine's highlights.

Negative Product Points

The steam wand.  For a $700 machine, at least give me the option of having a real wand.  The "Turbo Frother" is a poor substitute for a standard wand that is essentially a piece of metal with 3 holes in the tip.  Gaggia, you make the biggest mistake by pricing the machine out of the beginner's reach, yet cripple prosumer adoption by including a toy steam wand.

Detailed Commentary

The Gaggia Baby Twin is designed with convenience in mind.  The programmable buttons are a plus, and the preinfusion cycle does have a noticeable impact on shot quality.  Even though they claim to have "Twin Boilers", the Baby Twin has the standard 3.5oz aluminum boiler that all Gaggias have, but this one also includes a little thing called a thermobloc. The thermobloc is an aluminum block that is heated, and water gets pumped into to create steam.  To this extent, it does its job well.  With little down time (5 seconds or so) between shots and steam, it is better than all of Gaggia's other consumer offerings.

Unfortunately, they give you the "Turbo Frother" attachment to use this wonderful thermobloc with.  This supposedly makes it easier to froth (see coffee geek's detailed guide to milk frothing with a froth assister for more info).  That may be the case, but as a former barista, I find this crippling.  There's no chance of making microfoam here.  With removing the turbo frother, you can get better results, but it's not ideal (and for $700, I don't know about you, but I expect the ideal).

What is ideal however, is the supreme temperature stability of this machine.  I am not sure how Gaggia changed the internals of the Baby Twin from other models (namely the Classic), aside from the thermobloc, but the temperature range in the PF is much tighter and higher than all other data I could find on the Classic (182F-190F).  Using the styrofoam cup test, the Baby Twin ranged from 194 to 202 F over the course of 10 tests.  The higher end (199-202) always occurred immediately after the boiler clicked off, where the lower end (194 - 196) occurred all other times.  

I've read that this machine could be an HX alternative.  It is not.  If you are on the fence about an HX machine, just buy the Expobar Pulsar, its only $100 more than this and you will be infinitely more happy.

If superior shot quality, convenience, and aesthetics are important to you, then this is the machine.  If you have dreams of being a latte artist, then look elsewhere.

Buying Experience

Williams Sonoma is wonderful, and if you have a chance to buy a machine from them, please do!  They have a lifetime return policy, and that is a lifesaver for anyone who has upgrade fever!

Three Month Followup

I eventually returned the Gaggia.  I found a great deal on a much more capable machine (Brugnetti MC-1).  The Gaggia Baby Twin is not for the professional nor the enthusiast, and the "twin boiler" (eg. 3.5oz boiler and thermobloc) is no replacement for a truly capable machine.  The setup is better than any of Gaggia's other consumer offerings, but it is just that, a consumer espresso machine, and don't expect it to be anything more.

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review rating: 8.3
Posted: January 25, 2008, 3:25pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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