That's correct the Gaggia Espresso has no 3 way or a OPV, It is a good learning machine, with fresh beans it does work, I have one and looking to move on to something better. I wondered myself if even the Gaggia classic was a step up, but basically they are the same machine with those two exceptions. And then there are decisions to make, what a world to play in.
Gaggia espresso is a automatic coffee machine. A stainless steel lined brewing boiler and additional steaming boiler; 15 bar pump 60-ounce water reservoir; built-in conical burr grinder; 18 adjustable grind settings are some of its features.
Don't think you're talking about the same machine the OP referenced. Are you thinking of the Brera or one of the newer machines?
The internals of most of the small Gaggia's are pretty much the same ( except for the OWC, as I found out yesterday. Cracked open an old crusty copy yesterday and realized it was a different beast than I was expecting. Layout and boiler was completely different than the classic, and sort of a mess to work on.)
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