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Gaggia Classic - Grant Watt's Review
Posted: May 7, 2005, 3:45am
review rating: 7.0
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 668,733 times (updated hourly).

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

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.6
Manufacturer: Gaggia Quality: 7
Average Price: $449.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $400.00 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Myer Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 3 years Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Rancilio Sylvia
Bottom Line: Good machine but not truly great.
Positive Product Points

Good Looking
Large Water Tank
Nice solid portafilters and baskets

Negative Product Points

leakage from steam wand is a feature
frother assembly can blow off
aluminium boiler is corrosion waiting to happen

Detailed Commentary

I have just recently traded this for a Silvia.  Today in fact.

I'm not bagging the Gaggia altogether.  It is generally a well built product that can produce espresso equal to any other machine.  

I went in to get it serviced (leaking around the top seal).  All machines need servicing and the seals do play up on all machines.  I suppose what was playing on my mind is that I know the boilers do corrode.  Really the best material is brass which is what they use on all marine equipment including scuba diving equipment as it lasts pretty well forever.

It started to leak from the steam wand pretty well after the first two weeks.  It is annoying as it makes a mess.  I could have had it fixed but it seems most of the Gaggia's do this.  It is one of the less pleasant facts of italian engineering that form takes place over functionality but then The Silvia is watertight except when the valves are opened!  

I have also got covered in mlik (once) when I didn't replace the frother properly and it blew off into the jug and then out all over me.  

The other complaint is that the way the dripper tray is located it tends to allow some leakage around the edges so it is common for there to be a small puddle at times under the machine.  The reason is that the tray sits in the frame and against the water tank.

The last grizzle is that you have to remove the steam relief pipe in order to get the water tank out and it is fiddly to replace.  On the Silvia it is hidden  in the frame and vents directly into the drip tray.

So is it rubbish?  No.  I have had some great espressos.  The most important factor for espressos is freshly baked beans (from grean beans - use a popcorn popper- magic) and then freshly ground.  This is much more imporant than the machine you use.  Obviously operator technique comes into this as well as having the correct grind.

The other thing with the frother is that it is a consumer gadget designed to substitute quality of the froth for simplicity of operation.  Having said that I got meringue like froth off the Silvia first time, it then took me another four attempts to repeat the performance after reading up on how to do it right (every time hopefully).  Anyway it generally worked well although it is a pig to clean.  Again a simple steam nozzle like on the Silvia is VERY easy to clean in comparison.

The other thing which perplexed me about this machine is that sometimes I got heaps of steam and other times it just seemed to die.  I never figured out why but it can be a problem.

So there you go a post mortem on three years of ownership.  A good machine but not a great one.  If they could change some of the points I have raised they could have a great machine and not a good one!

The other thing is the water tank.  On the Silvia it just lifts out and can be washed all in a matter of seconds.  This is to me a basic hygiene requirement.  Oh, well.

Thank you Gaggia Classic for making many so wonderful coffees over the years and sayonara...

Buying Experience

Bought from a department store (Myer).  The staff knew nothing about coffee, it was just an appliance.  Fortunately I got a good machine.  Just Luck.

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review rating: 7.0
Posted: May 7, 2005, 3:45am
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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