Best quality-price ratio for small Stainless Machines and Best quality of coffee in Price range
Positive Product Points
Most massive brewing head in its class and commercial style filter-holder for great temperature stability (hense a restaurant quality infusion at home). Makes really great froth with turbo system and even better when you learn how to do it yourself (Quick Tip: don't use restaurants' techniques as a reference). Just the fact of having a machine like this saves me a bunch: when I got out to eat I take my coffee once I'm back home (save about 2,50 $ or more everytime). It's better than theirs 4 out of 5 times anyway ...
Negative Product Points
You have to be careful not to tighten the steam knob too much because it could wear out and start leaking constantly (metal body in metal axis inside). I had to bend the steaming wand outward a bit because it doesn't leave much room for the frothing pitcher I use (not a huge problem, easily solved).
Well the product points I put in pretty much say it all. The coffee is the greatest for a machine that price. I like having the selenoid valve and the stainless steel look even though the Gaggia Coffee or the Espresso models give the same performance. The only downside is I have the older series of the Classic, which means the finish is a chrome (not real stainless steel). It's already starting to rust a little under my drip tray. Don't worry if you're thinking of buying one these days, the new ones don't rust and the finish is even more attractive. I'm thinking of upgrading to a high-end commercial grade machine for home-use sometime soon, but I value the services of my Classic still today.
Gaggia is for sure the best value for your money in small home machines.
Funny fact: Where did I first hear about Gaggia ? - Well, actually, the first time I heard the name Gaggia was in the movie "Dante's Peak" starring Pierce Brosnan. My research later led me to find out that Gaggia is the inventor of the modern espresso machine (pump). Check out their site www.gaggia.com
Got it as a gift a few years back. Don't know where it came from ...