Consistently makes very good espresso. Looks great - sturdy, serious. Easy to clean.
Negative Product Points
Short Steaming Wand
Cheap plastic tamper
After reviewing many of the products on this site and others, I decided to get the Gaggia Classic. Got a great price from Best of Italy. Prior to this, my only espresso machine was a Krups Bravo. I was frustrated that the espresso it made tasted nothing like what I got from a good restaurant. As a beginner, I was concerned that the Classic would be overwhelming, but it was easy to set up and learn. It took me about a week to get the grind, tamp and timing correct, but now I can make consistently good espresso. My wife is now hooked on cappucinos, and the Classic does a great job of steaming and frothing milk. Wish the wand were a bit longer though.
The Classic was a big step up from my prior machine, but I am glad I went for it. It would have been easy to take small incremental steps, and ended up spending a lot more money.