Three important things required for this machine 1) Fine grind on the coffee (low end burr units don't measure up) 2) 30 lb tamp 3) proper scoop of coffee per serving
Negative Product Points
single coffee basket shallower than it should be. I've since read an article somewhere about using the small end of the plastic tamper that came with the machine. I compresses the coffee into that tooney sized depression. Since then I've pulled consistant single shots.
I was using a Delonghi Model for about 6 or 7 yrs. and it was getting on its last legs. So I read a few reviews here and at other espresso sites and decided that the Gaggia Classic would get the Nod.
After some adjustment on my part specific to different coffee beans, grind settings and Tamp style I was able to get a top quality ristretto in the 22 to 25 secon range.
As my experience increases(ie different types of beans, coffee load and tamp pressure) I'm certain that this machine and I will continue our cafe' tasting experiences for a very long time.
Three Month Followup
Still going strong. Now I have my wife and eldest daughter hooked on Lattes. Nothing like a good shot with a my favorite Grappa in my favourite Juve tazzina. Ciao
One Year Followup
3 shots a day 7 days a week. and Juventus won their 28'th Scudetto. What else could you ask for? Finally bought the MMF grinder and have been experimenting with various bean types.