Get a good price. If you do, you will find its one of the nicest pieces of equipment in your kitchen. A functional, quality and visually pleasing piec
Positive Product Points
All Brass components except the boiler (see below). Steam is very strong though takes a while to come up. Strong pump and has a mess-preventing solenoid valve.
Also very sturdy. Hit it with a cricket bat, then buy a new bat.
Negative Product Points
The Classic seems to have a small, irritating rather than fatal, leak from the steam wand as a shot is pulled. Requires a small plate of cloth to be placed under it to avoid local flooding. Otherwise, it's not a biggy. The steam takes a while to come up. After bleeding off the spluttery bits first, it may take a while to get up to full steam. It does get there in the end and the results are rather pleasing.
I paid AUD700 for my Gold Plated Classic after confirming the RRP with Coffee Mio in Melbourne. If you're buying in Sydney, beware! I was quoted by one very prominent retailer in Sydney's Inner West a price of AUD840. Worse still, i had seen the very same machine for over AUD950. This is crazy. But what got me most, the retailers honestly believed it was worth that much. Well, they're half right (if there was no such thing as a market economy).
The CLassic is a wonderful machine, but it does require patience. I find it necesary to tamp to perfection so the two shot basket runs evenly from each spur. Others have commented that the Rancilio Silvia (it's nearest competitor imo) requires the same level of attention in this respect.
It has a good strong pump. I was using a Krups Uno which was essentially a toy by comparison. I can grind about 3 notches finer on my Gaggia MM and still get a much more consistent run on my Classic than i ever could on the Krups.
The Gaggia has a solenoif valve. This is great. Many take advantage of this for backflushing. I do not. The distributor does not like that idea at all and insofar as warranties are concerned, they are God- i'm not going to argue. Having said that, the Solenoid is supposed to prevent dirps after a shot and quickly drain the filter basket. This it does, albeit not to perfection. The valve does however release pressure immediately after the shot is pulled, meaning i have not had the explosive experience i had once with my Krups.
The boiler is aluminium. Don't ask me what is better. The jury is still apparently out, and forever will be it seems. If your decision is between the Silvia for a brass boiler and the Classic for an aluminum boiler, read alt.coffee, post the questin, grab some popcorn, watch the ensuing debate, then realise it would have been faster and more certain to toss a coin.
Everything is brass or copper other than that. It feels heavy and it stays hot. That is a good thing.