* Prices may differ from that shown
I love my coffee, in fact that is probably an understatement! Therefore I can not survive a day without my caffeine fix. When my mother in law came to know how much I love coffee, she very kindly gave me her Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine as a gift. I felt a bit bad at first, and insisted I couldn't possibly take her expensive Espresso machine, however when she persisted and stressed how she no longer even drinks coffee, I thought well...in that case why not!
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By the looks of the machine I could tell it was expensive, but I wasn't quite sure how much it actually retailed for. Looking online now, however the Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine retails at a very high price of £300! Amazon are currently selling this at a sale price of £199.99 which a good saving of £100. Other prices are listed as follows:
*Captain Cooks online store: £220
*Electricshopping online store: £234.99
It is worth checking online auctions on eBay as you may be able to find this espresso machine at more reasonable prices.
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* The Gaggia Classic coffee machine comes with coffee filters for 1 and 2 cups of ground coffee, and a special filter for ESE (easy serve espresso) pods
* Professional chromed brass filter holder and ring, as used in Gaggia's commercial machines--ensures a consistent temperature throughout the coffee making and dispensing process
* Panarello steamer attachment rotates for easy access to froth milk in seconds, plus delivers hot water for tea and other hot drinks
* Solenoid valve delivers a widespread shower through the coffee, eliminating 'hot spots' which can burn the coffee
* Precise pressurisation ensures no drips and leaves drier coffee grounds after brewing
* The Gaggia Classic is a powerful 1300 watt machine with 15 bars of water pump pressure, removable water tank and stainless steel body.
The above specifications are from http://www.amazon.co. uk/Classic-RI8161-Machine-Professional-Stainless/dp/B0000C72XS
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The first thing I noticed when my mother-in-law placed the espresso machine on my kitchen worktop (with the help of my partner) was its weight. It is made from metal material and therefore it is very heavy in weight, and it is also slightly bigger than other more modern espresso machines. It comes with a filter basket, a measuring spoon, a filter tray, two cups, and a tamper. There are three buttons located in a row at the top of the machine, the first being the power button, second being the steam button, and third being the brew button.
It weights around 8-9 kg and measures 24 x 23 x 38 cm in size. I have a black and silver coloured version and looks very similar to the ones you would find at Costa or Starbucks, and I would definitely say it looks how much it costs which is very expensive. It's a very sophisticated machine that looks modern and powerful, and as you can imagine when I saw first saw it I couldn't wait too see what it could do!
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LETS MAKE COFFEE:
It is advised to prime the machine first before use, which basically means a test run without any coffee in the machine, just the water. It's aim is to help the machine get ready to make coffee and to get it in the right mood per say!
I couldn't wait to get started, its simple to get running, just plug in the power cable into the mains and switch the power button which is the first button on the top of the machine. There is a water tank located at the top of the machine where you fill it up with water to the desired level which is clearly marked so you know how much the limit is.
We then placed a pod into the filter basket, put a cup underneath the coffee dispenser, and then pressed the third button on the top labelled as brew. I personally love that I can place larger cups underneath the dispenser, as my older machine only allowed me to use small cups. This makes it ideal for coffee lovers like me who like large cups of coffee, instead of those stingy small cup servings! The process was very quick and within minutes there was hot coffee pouring out the dispenser. Once the cup was filled to the desired level I then manually press it off on the machine to let it know to stop pouring. And there it was my first coffee from my new best friend!
It has a handy drip tray located underneath the cups so it allows it collect any excess spillage, which is always a plus for me as it means less wiping and cleaning. However if you are using larger cups this tray would have to be removed, which is not a major issue as it just means you might need to do a quick wipe once its done.
PIPING HOT HOT...HOT!:
What I really love about this espresso machine is not only does it make tasty hot drinks but it also makes sure that the drinks are piping hot. This is mainly due to the fact that majority of the machine is made of metal so it literally ensure that temperature of inner pump stays at the right high temperature. This includes the top water tank which can also act as a heat up feature too keep your drinks nice and hot.
The results were amazing, the coffee tasted just like the coffee you get from well-known coffee shops but instead you can have them at home any time you want. It makes coffee from ground coffee/pods, or tea from tea bags, it can make great hot chocolates and cappuccino too thanks to its excellent frothing feature.
TURBO FROTHER FOR CAPPUCCINO, HOT CHOCOLATE, LATTES :
The froth is made from a circular part that is attached to the inner area of the holder as well as the added turbo froth feature that swirls the milk at high speeds which also helps the machine to produce lattes, and hot chocolate drinks. To make the froth you turn on the steam button, and wait a few minutes for it heat up, once it is ready the light indicator will flash. Place some milk under the steam dispenser and simply turn the knob button to trigger the release of steam. Once done it produces really good amounts of froth, and in only about 10 minutes which is not bad at all.
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This is a perfect espresso machine for any person that seriously loves their hot drinks. It is very diverse, it makes coffee, tea, lattes, cappuccinos, and hot chocolates therefore there is something for everyone. It is quite expensive and this is the only downside to this item, however if you frequently visit expensive café shops, than this could actually save you some money on the long run. It is a very high quality machine that lasted my mother in law many years and is now still going strong for me. Therefore I would rate this espresso machine 4/5, losing a rating simply because of its high price tag.
This Espresso Maker is absolutely brilliant. Me and my fiance are both coffee lovers and this was a fantastic gift when we moved into our new home.
Its sits perfectly on the worktop and doesn't take up much space at all. Very stylish and classy looking which I love.
It is so easy to use too and providing you get a decent coffee, it works a treat. The instructions are so helpful also, it comes with a step by step guide and once you have done it once, you are flying. The milk steamer is fabulous too. Froths the milk up to temperature within seconds. We learnt that you need to have the right kind of jug to ensure the make froths correctly, so we bought a stainless steel jug with a pouring lip so if on a weekend you are feeling a little adventerous, you can create all sorts of cool designs and really show off your barista skills.
The espresso takes little time to make and is perfect for an early morning "wake me up" when you are on a hurry. Or to enjoy a lovely cappucino or latte on a lazy morning.
Easy to clean also and comes with a machine cleaning kit so it is always looking its best.
Just so smart and classy. Love it!
We have had one of these fantastic machines for about four years now. Sorry I can't remember how much we paid for it, but is was farily expensive at the time. We love it and use it every weekend to make delicious cafe style frothy cappuccino.
The machine itself is neat although quite heavy - not taking up too much space on the kitchen worktop, it is very very easy to clean, with all the parts coming to bits to enable easy washing, and it is extremely easy to use, once you have mastered the technique, which only takes a few attempts!
I would recommend using a milk thermometer and not allowing the milk to get above 80 degrees as if it is allowed to get hotter this seems to detract from the flavor of the coffee. Also an aluminum jug for heating the milk is a big advantage, I don't know why but this seems to heat and froth the milk better that a china or glass jug and it also keeps it hot longer!
Coffee that is suitable for filter machines is the best to use, i.e fairly finely ground.
Coffee cups are not supplied with this machine, but these can be easily purchased. One disadvantage is that yo can only make two cups at a time, although the water reservior holds water to make many more.
I have had Coffee Gaggia espresso machine for the past 23 years! This the predecessor to the Classic and looks identical in every way but color. On average I have used it almost every day for those 23 years and only last month did it need servicing. They replaced an internal fuse and replaced the 23 year old group gasket. It is now back home and brews perfect shots every time. I would absolutely recommend this machine as an incredibly durable workhorse and a quality machine.
I will give it less than 5 stars for ease of use, because I find myself playing with the texture of my grind. It turns out this is my fault. For years I would grind it too fine and accept that my shots would take forever to drip through or I would grind it too course and find myself trying pound the tamper into the coffee to make up for the coarseness. I now use a consistent grind from a quality bur grinder, don't over fill, tamp to 30-40lb, and time my shots to 25-30 seconds. If I am not in that time frame I will adjust my grinder setting. All of this you will need to do for every semi automatic machine, so it may not be fair to say the Gaggia is any harder to use than any other semi automatic machine. Regardless of what machine you get, you need to study the following article so you can get the best results out of it. And by best I do mean better than Starbucks!
We have just been given a Gaggia Classic as a wedding present as my wife is rather fond of a good cappucino in the morning.
The machine looks good, however, we also have a problem with the nozzle becoming detached every time you make a coffee and hot milk being sprayed everywhere requiring cleaning up.
Gaggia really need to address this as it is dangerous. For this price we would have not expected to encounter issues like this.
Although we have had a coffee machine for several years now (albeit not Gaggia's) we have also found it difficult to control the strength of the coffee. The manuals in this repsect are a little lacking.
So, on the whole we are not happy with the machine and will not be buying another Gaggia (or recommending one) based on our experience thus far. We shall in fact be looking to exchange it for something else unless Gaggia can advise on how to stop the nozzle flying off.
Not bad at all.
I've had this machine for over 7 years and it's served me well.
Practice makes perfect and after a few weeks you can produce cafe-quality coffee. One thing to note is that pre-ground packet coffee (eg Lavazza) isn't ground fine enough for this machine, get a grinder & use the finest setting or get it ground when you buy - I use Whittard's After Dinner and it's excellent in this machine.
Only gripe is the milk frother nozzel attachment - too fussy and once you've removed it you get less to clean. Mine came with a wierd rubber disc that the instructions didn't reffer to - I called gaggia (I found them fine on the 'phone) and they explained it was an extra and not needed! Only half an hour wasted trying to work out where it fitted.
Making loads of cappucinos is a bit of a faff but that's the issue of a single-boiler machine
Take care not to remove the little cable tie that loops out of the machine through the little vent at the top on the reverse - I thought it was transport packing but actually it holds all the piping together inside!
I've seen them in Costco @ around £80 less then the 'UK' price so may well be worth checking out
I've just had my machine serviced by Gaggia. They offer an excellent service where they clean the machine, replace seals and the shower head for £75 which includes postage of the heavy machine both ways (I calculated the shipping alone at £30 total).
It's as good as new (bar my scratches) and they even included a free steam nozzle.
It took about 3 weeks but it was worth it.
This is by far the best espresso machine you could have for your home. Easy to use, resulting in excellent coffee, just the thing to start your day !
I have had this machine for 6 weeks now and really can't fault it. The most important thing is to buy the best ground coffee Java Santos, great strength and Crema.
You'll never want to turn back to filter or instant once you've started with such good coffee.
Not a bad product, but not that great either. Only makes warm coffee - not hot. Gaggia Helpdesk are poor. If you can get through to them you will find that no information is held about invididuals or units, so they won't know who you are. A little bit rude on the phone also.
Well, I just bought one and IT'S REALLY GOOD! After 6 coffee's and two days I am making flat whites the way I like them, strong-ish, thick with crema and warm (not hot) - as good as a good cafe could make. About the milk frother: you must be using the 'panarello' attachment, which is a bit useless anyway, you can leave it off completely to no ill effect. Also, if you look closely at that attachment it is made of about 5 seperate parts - re-read the manual (or look at any extra notes included in it, as mine was on a sheet of paper!) you'll see there is a detachable plastic screw at the top of the panarello assembly, which is tightened around the metal frothing tube, then you fit the rest of the plastic attachment onto that tightened nut. It is very tight and secure around the metal tube then and can't just fall off! I can't pull it off with my fingers.
The mystery plastic thing the reviewer mentioned is made to fit UNDER the metal drainage tray, it slots in and sits over the waste water reservoir. Maybe just gives the cup above it extra support, it's probably seperate so you can take it out to clean it all.
As to the things about weight and force needed to tighten the group head, etc, that is a big positive, as the amount of pressure this machine produces to make it's good coffee means you need a well made all-metal chassis and a good seal to keep the water and steam in. It will last longer than a light weight plastic based machine and makes much, much better coffee than any crummy filter machine. I haven't fouind any probelms cleaning it, it sounds to me like this pertson is a bit anal about dust, too - just wipe it down!
I am rapt so far, and if you look around at other reviews you'll see that this is a great machine, I read the manual before I used it, and so don't be put off by this persons (well meaning) but slightly uninformed assessment.
After a long day's shopping in Nottingham recently our final port of call was House of Fraser and the wonderful smell wafting around the shop floor led us to the Gaggia display counter.
The barista immediately asked us if we would like a drink and it seemed a shame not to, so black coffees were produced for hubby and myself and a hot chocolate for the grandson.
The salesman/barista was passionate about his products and told us all about them at length and our eye was caught by one particular model, the Selecta, which was on promotion at half price. For a limited period this machine was on sale for £134.99 instead of the usual, double priced amount.
The beauty of this machine is that as well as being able to take the pods which we still had left from another machine, it also makes tea from bags or loose leaf tea, ground coffee, froths milk for chocolate drinks, as well as many different varieties of teas and coffees which can be purchased directly from the Gaggia website, www.gaggia.uk.com, if you don't happen to have a department store available where you live from which to buy them. You can also register your product online for the 24 month standard guarantee. This will also enable you to get discounts for their coffees and accessories and once you've spent £50 they will extend your guarantee to 36 months, so they must be fairly confident that we will be getting a product which will stand the test of time and last well.
My husband is a salesman's dream and it wasn't long before money had exchanged hands and a very large box passed over to us.
Open opening the box you are greeted by a fairly substantial in weight, though compact in size, machine. It doesn't take up any more room on the counter than its predecessor, the Senseo, in fact being straight lines and no curves like the Senseo, it probably takes less. The machine is mostly silver in colour with a black trim and quite a pleasure to behold. Included with the machine are a filter holder, a filter basket to make one or two cups, a tamper to make sure that you get your ground coffee as level as possible before attaching the filterholder to the machine and a measuring spoon, which for some reason they call a "tab" (must be an Italian thing). Inside the holder is fitted a disc which apparently enables the machine to produce the perfect Crema which I take to be the layer of froth on top of the finished product There is also a turbo frother steam nozzle to blast the milk to get your froth to mix with chocolate or to make your own capuccinos and lattes. A 20 page instruction leaflet is also inside the box. The first 10 pages devoted to the mother tongue, Italian and the second best English version follows on the next 10. I don't know what you would do if you spoke neither language, perhaps have a word with the barista and get him to advise as to where to get a translation into your language of choice.
The Gaggio works on the principle of rapidly forcing water which is heated to the correct temperature, through the ground coffee and according to them the heart of the Gaggia machine is a precision engineered pump. Neither engineering nor pumps being one of my strong points, I'll just take their word for it.
At the top of the machine is a covered water reservoir which you fill to begin the coffee making process. There is a max. line printed on the side of the clear reservoir to prevent over filling. The instruction book also advises to use bottled water but I find good old tap stuff does the job OK for us.
Before you can begin making the coffee you need to prime the pump, which is listed in the leaflet as being self priming, so it must need a bit of help first before it can start doing it itself.
To do this just put an empty cup on the drip plate situated below the two nozzles from which the coffee shoots out from and press the hot water/coffee switch. After a few seconds the pump will begin to work and water will appear from the brewing head. As soon as the cup is filled the coffee switch needs to be set to "off" and the machine is now ready for action, using real coffee after the trial run with water has got it in the mood.
There are only 3 buttons across the top of the machine, so nothing too complicated. The first is the on/off switch, the centre one is the steam switch and the third is the hot water/brew switch which operates the pump.
Right, primed and ready for action we gave the machine a test drive using one of the pods left over from aforementioned Senseo machine. This was placed in the filter basket, which was hooked to the machine by pushing into place and turning, the brew switch pressed and with great excitement we witnessed our first coffee appearing from the nozzles. Oh, I forgot to mention, put a cup underneath or you will have a nasty mess in the drip tray below. The pump continues to operate until you press it off so you can gauge when the cup is full and stop it. Unlike other machines, this doesn't measure the amount dispensed and leave it up to you to stop it when necessary. The drip tray lid can be removed so that you can put larger cups in and if you're really greedy and want a gigantic cup the whole of the drip tray can be removed and you can stand your cup straight on the bottom of the machine and do away with it altogether.
We were given a goody bag upon purchasing the machine with various tea and coffee bags which can be used in the machine and I haven't found one that I dislike yet. The lemon tea is to die for, not like the instant stuff you buy in jars which is always too sweet for me, the fruit teas are bursting with flavour, much more intense than just pouring hot water into a bag in a cup.
If you fancy a capuccino then make the coffee in a wide cup and leave space to add the frothed milk afterwards.
Frothing the milk is simplicity itself and the turbo frother will produce an abundance of froth.
It is advised to use low fat milk as this will produce denser frother and it won't collapse quickly.
To get the froth you just press the middle switch (steam) to the on position and wait approximately 15 seconds and a temperature ready light will come on. Stick the milk jug under the steam nozzle so that the tip is just under the surface of the milk and slowly turn the steam valve knob anti clockwise to release the steam. The more you turn the knob, the greater the steam pressure, so go steady. Then just spoon the wonderful froth onto the coffee and there you have it, perfect. I don't have the sprinkled chocolate on mine but at this point you could dust with your chosen topping, ie. cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate gratings or cocoa.
Another beauty of this machine is the flat cover over the water reservoir. You can sit your cups on here to warm until you're ready to make the coffee.
If you want the technical specs, I couldn't find any on the instruction leaflet, so I suggest a visit to the website for those who want to know more.
Although this is listed under the category "Gaggia Classic Coffee", the machine in the picture is the Gaggia Selecta and this is the one I'm writing about.
Im a difficult person to buy presents for, so when I mentioned to my husband last summer that I liked the idea of an espresso machine it was inevitable that one would appear on my birthday. He went for what seemed to him to be the best of the domestic machines the Gaggia Classic - as its a well-built basic machine with none of the frills which rarely get used and have the potential to cause problems. It will also make a cappuccino, but not a filter coffee. The Classic is also one of the most powerful domestic machines water is forced through the ground coffee with 17.5 bar of pressure. To give you some idea of how powerful this is, my central heating operates at 1.5 bar.
An espresso coffee is so-called because it comes from the Italian for express. Its meant to be brewed and drunk within a matter of seconds minutes at the most - and the water used is generally not as hot as you would use if you were preparing a normal filter coffee. There is an art to preparing an espresso: some would call it a science. This is not just a question of making a small shot of strong coffee on a regular basis and practice is needed before you get the coffee to your taste.
As youll see from the picture the Gaggia Classic is a big machine and requires a large footprint on the working surface. Its also very heavy and not something you should move without thought. Because the water tank can be filled from the top its unwise to place it under a wall unit and youll need approximately 40cm from the wall to the front of the machine because of the holder for the ground coffee. The width is not so critical at around 25cm but do remember to make allowance for the fact that youll need some extra room towards the right if youre intending to use the milk frother.
Unpacking and setting up the machine was occasionally frustrating, but the type and amount of packaging was appropriate to a machine of this type. As with every Gaggia machine that I have encountered there is one piece of equipment in this case a piece of flat plastic which is not covered in the instructions and for which there seems to be no purpose. A year later it is sat behind the machine in case inspiration strikes.
The instruction manual comes in seven languages and I found the English version clear if not always as concise or well-ordered as I would have liked. I have one quibble from a safety point of view and that is about an illustration of someone using the milk frother with their fingers seeming to rest against the side of the jug. This could cause a nasty burn as the contents get very hot very quickly.
The first problem that I encountered was filling the water tank. I like fresh water each time I make coffee so the tank has to be taken out, emptied and refilled each day. Looking at the picture, the tank is directly behind the cups. To remove the tank its necessary to take out the steel tube which carries excess water from the boiler, remove the drainage tray and then pull out the water tank. The boiler is filled via two silicone tubes which rest in the water and there is a knack to flipping these out of the tank and back in when its replaced. Unfortunately this knack isnt easily mastered by someone who has problems with her hands and has been the cause of more than a couple of tantrums. On one occasions we ended up with a lot of water on the floor and two cups of tea.
The tank can be filled from the top if you simply want to top up during the day. This is not difficult if you are reasonably tall, but I find it difficult to see where Im actually pouring the water.
Freshly-ground coffee is loaded into the coffee holder and tamped down. A measuring spoon and tamper are provided. I wish the machine provided somewhere sensible to store these as they are slightly too large to slot into my cutlery drawers and sit round on the top of the machine. There is a choice of two cups to fit in the holder depending on whether you want to make one or two cups of coffee. Make certain that you have the correct cup in place before the holder is heated as you will find it impossible to change once it is hot.
The holder and coffee need to be inserted into the brew head. This is not easy as the holder needs to be precisely placed and firmly turned. I have thought that it was in position only to find that coffee grounds and hot water were being spread around the kitchen. They make quite a mess.
As the water used to make an espresso is cooler than that used for filter coffee its essential to warm the cups before they are filled. This can be done by placing them on the top of the machine where they will gently warm. This area has a rim right round and once it collects dust is difficult to keep completely clean. It will hold several cups if theyre carefully stacked and they *are* warmed effectively.
The drip tray empties and cleans easily, but to remove the tray from the machine youll first have to remove the stainless steel tube which carries excess water from the boiler. This isnt easy to remove or replace and unfortunately doesnt line up correctly with the hole in the drip tray.
Your choice of cup is crucial as the clearance between the top of the drainage tray and the bottom of the coffee holder is only 6.5cm, or just over 2½ inches. This isnt a problem if youre having an espresso, but Ive found that most people who like a cappuccino like a rather larger cup.
The steam nozzle froths the milk well and its easy to make an excellent cappuccino. I have two problems with the nozzle though. Firstly theres insufficient clearance above the working surface and away from the machine to twirl the jug effectively as the tip of the nozzle should be just below the surface of the liquid. Ive got round this by resting the machine on an old bread board but it shouldnt be necessary. The second problem is more frightening if not dangerous. When Ive been frothing, the nozzle has parted company from the steel tubing and Ive been left with steam billowing from the tube and the nozzle somewhere in the milk. This has happened on countless occasions and I would regard this as a real problem. Ive never been scalded, but it frightens me every time it happens.
I have to get up early each morning to feed one of our dogs and before getting this machine I had visions of making myself an espresso and reading for a while before the business of the day started. Unfortunately this machine is noisy its not unlike someone vacuuming in the house and Ive had to settle for a much quieter filter coffee.
The coffee produced by the machine is good. It takes a little practice to get the quantity of coffee to your taste but the process isnt difficult. With its stainless steel finish it looks impressive in the kitchen. Its currently on sale for around £250 and for this sort of price I think the design problems should have been eliminated before it was marketed.