highly capable of producing very very good espresso. pretty darn durable and long-lasting for the most part.
Positive Product Points
-makes great coffee -built well (minus a few details) -makes really really great coffee
Negative Product Points
-crappy portafilter handle... breaks -has developed some leaks over the years -location of the water tank can allow coffee grinds to fall in
The machine is red and says "Coffee Gaggia" on the front... so it's kind of an old one but as far as I can tell, it's identical to the newer ones which have "classic" written on them. Though I guess that mine did not include a 3-way solenoid since I have had a number of puck explosions happen.
A rummage-sale purchase. It took quite a lot of cleaning and flushing to get this thing operational.
A good grinder and fresh beans make the biggest world of difference with this machine. It will reward you for careful attention to detail. I've used pre-ground Illy beans (desperate, out of beans on a Sunday when my main supplies are closed) and got decent results for the first few shots... Kind of how it goes until the Illy-vacu-fresh magic wears-off (can be stretched almost to a couple of hours).
Using a proper jug for steaming milk also makes quite a noticeable difference with this machine.
The way the water-tank fits into place means that there is small opening at the top, near the group-head, where coffee-grinds can sneak in to the water supply. Had to use some duct-tape and paper to cover that.
Some of the lights have burned out, but you don't really need them if you are familiar with the machine.
Couldn't be bothered to get a new handle for the portafilter when the cheap-o square one that it came with eventually broke. Decided to use a different pf which I happened to have, but had to file down the locking lugs to fit... perhaps a silly thing to do, but it works great now and actually makes a better seal than the original one did. (too fine coffee could induce some dribbles)
There is some rust as well as bubbled and flaked off paint due to some small leaks (I guess the new stainless-steel models have no problem with that). I didn't open the boiler yet, but I'm sure that the day will come... needs an full overhaul soon if it wants to continue its career. I'm curious to see how much aluminum gunk may have accumulated in the boiler. The last few times I flushed the machine, it took way too many litres of water until crap stopped rinsing out... then the crap quickly returned to cause some valve clogs... I know, I really need a water softener, but it seems a bit too much.
Will see what happens with the overhaul.
Saw it on the ground next to some other yard-sale (sitting in a cupboard for years) stuff... offered €5, the guy said, "okay", done deal, lugged it home.