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Gaggia Classic - Jeroen Vriesendorp's Review
Posted: April 20, 2000, 8:13am
review rating: 7.7
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Gaggia Classic Machine
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More About This Product
Arrow The Gaggia Classic has 79 Reviews
Arrow The Gaggia Classic has been rated 8.04 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Gaggia Classic reviews have been viewed 655,594 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Daryl Cross 9.00
A C C 9.00
John Anderson 8.85
Patrick Sloane 8.00
Dan Pohl 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.2
Manufacturer: Gaggia Quality: 8
Average Price: $449.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 year Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: n/a
Similar Items Owned: Not entered
Bottom Line: Probably the best home espresso machine in its price range
Positive Product Points

Easily makes 25-30 sec ristrettos
Heavy brass components
Powerful pump
3-way valve
Visible water level
Visually appealing chrome body

Negative Product Points

Smallish water tank (2 liter)
Smallish aluminium boiler
Aluminium shower head
Bit sloppy finish

Detailed Commentary

Dutch price is around Dfl 700 ($ 300), while the Syliva costs some Dfl 1100 ($ 475). Given those figures, I'd say the classic is the best machine in its price range.

At first glance, the machine is "just" pretty, nice chrome finish all over, and some people care about that. Fortunately, there's a good machine underneath the chrome. It's easy to get started with. Just read the instructions, make a few cappas to get the hang of it, then throw the booklet away. It's useless, and you'll get more and better info elsewhere.
Also, get rid of the plastic frothing-thingie and would-not-be tamper (buy a decent one). A philips-screwdriver and an allen-key for (dis)assembling the group head would have been more practical.

However, the single shot basket and "crema enhancer" are actually quite useful, together they'll make a good pseudo-blind filter, for backflushing and doing the "Portafilter Waltz". The classic has a 3-way pressure release valve, making it easier to quickly remove the filter without getting hot grounds sneezed in your face, but it has to be backflushed every month or so.

After pulling a shot and emptying the filter, I usually run the pump a few secs to get rid of grounds on the shower head. This routine, and a daily "Waltz", uses a lot of water, making the 2 liter tank seem rather small. The water level is clearly visible, though, and the tank can be refilled without removing it.

However, care must be taken when refilling, as water spilled on the "cup heater"-plate may leak into the machine and cause damage. A bit sloppy from Gaggia?
The machines guts also look a bit messy and ill designed, with the wires from the switches actually touching the boiler…

Another slightly annoying thing, is the alu shower head. The gruppo should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week, but many cleaning agents will corrode the alu. I would have preferred brass.
A larger boiler, made from brass, would also have been better. However, this would significantly affected the price, and, on the whole, the boiler performs well and quickly recovers after a shot.

Apart from these minor details, the classic looks good, and feels good. It's build like a tank, and pretty much forgiving in operation. Tamp as hard as you can, the machine will still survive. The pump is probably strong enough to blow the safety valve to pieces, long before conceding.

Given a decent grinder, fresh coffee and adequate tamping, you can easily and consistently get 25 to 30 seconds shots with the classic. It's a good machine and you won't regret buying it. Not one moment.

Buying Experience

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review rating: 7.7
Posted: April 20, 2000, 8:13am
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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