A good entry level machine that will thrill the new comer and satisfy seasoned veterans with a few minor modifications.
Positive Product Points
Appearance and Price
Negative Product Points
Crema Enhancer, Power switch on back side of the machine.
I recently bought a brand new Gaggia Baby Dose online. This is the second Gaggia baby that I have owned. Although I am generally happy with the new machine, Gaggia has made one very perplexing decision: The traditional filter baskets on all new machines have been replaced with pressurized filter baskets (crema enhancers). Although it is possible and not very expensive to replace these with the old style filter basket, it is an additional and unexpected expense and the Gaggia website still lists these as "Optional". I highly doubt that a newcomer to the world of proper espresso would go to the trouble or expense of finding and buying replacement filter baskets, especially if they have never tasted the difference it makes. In my opinion, this small change makes this machine an over engineered version of much cheaper machines that are on the market.
Design wise, this is one of the nicest looking machines that I have encountered. It does not try to look like a miniature professional machine nor does it try to look like a piece of art. It is also quite compact, which is critical in my kitchen. Simply put, this is a consumer grade espresso machine that has the ability to make an extremely good espresso. Furthermore, the machine heats up very rapidly, meaning that the time from getting the urge for a good espresso to drinking one can be very short.
I have read many complaints about the steaming wand on this machine. However, I have found that the standard wand does a perfectly adequate job for my purposes and produces a far finer foam than you get at most coffee shops. Adding a proper wand, or at least an optional replacement wand, would be a positive improvement to this machine, but for my purposes it is not necessary.
There are a few minor design aspects that could be changed to make this a better machine. For some reason Gaggia has decided to put the power switch on the back side of the machine. It must not have occurred to them that people might want to put this device against a wall. The catchment area for water runoff (where you place the cups when making an espresso) comes off as one giant piece rather than having an easily removable bin like my old machine. However, these are both minor gripes which should not affect your buying decision.