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Gaggia Carezza - Dan Hamilton's Review
Posted: April 21, 2004, 3:47pm
review rating: 6.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Gaggia Carezza Espresso Machine
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More About This Product
Arrow The Gaggia Carezza has 27 Reviews
Arrow The Gaggia Carezza has been rated 7.51 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 2, 2003.
Arrow Gaggia Carezza reviews have been viewed 169,754 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Dr. Robert Case 8.89
Greg Kaan 8.17
Brent L 8.00
Matthew Hall 8.00
Robert Seidlitz 8.00

Previous Review Next Review
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.4
Manufacturer: Gaggia Quality: 9
Average Price: $229.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $189.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Aabree Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 1 year Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Briel, Capresso
Bottom Line: It's easy to spend more  and get less. It's easy to spend a lot more and get more, too, but I'd rather blow the savings on exotic coffee.
Positive Product Points

Beefy internal parts, strong pump, heavy portafilter

Negative Product Points

Tiny drip tray, vibrates a lot, reservoir awkward to put in place when full

Detailed Commentary

I had an old Gaggia for nearly two decades and after it died I went through a bunch of crummy low-cost machines such as Briel and Capresso. My wife finally said why not get one good one, so I went back to Gaggia and can't understand why I ever "strayed."

I gave the Carezza a slightly low rating for ease of use because it does require experimentation to find the right grind, tamp and coffee amount to produce good shots. It's not that the machine is hard to use; rather, it requires some learning and effort. People who want the machine to think for them should buy something else.

The plastic body is less appealing than my trusty old metal battle-axe Gaggia, but has no negative effect on function. The drip tray, however, is tiny, meaning you have to have various containers handy for flushing and brew group cool-down afer steaming -- the tray will never hold enough for these functions. Not a big flaw, but odd considering Gaggia has had huge "buckets" to catch drips in their past models.

This machine seems to prefer very finely ground coffee, so only if you are willing to buy a decent grinder (I got a Solis Maestro Plus to replace my worn out Capresso), will it deliver excellent shots. And it does it for a surprisingly low price. Its compromises to meet that price point seem to be 1) plastic (no problem); 2) no three-way valve (very slight inconvenience when emptying the portafilter between shots with hot water still in it); 3) small boiler (fine for home use).

Bottom line: you'd have to spend a lot more money to get a substantially better machine, and "better" in this context might be beyond what anyone really needs for a home setup.

Buying Experience

Aabree was fast and easy. No problems with the machine, so I didn't  get to test their customer service.

Three Month Followup

- none -

One Year Followup

After a year of use, the drip tray turns out to be a non-issue. The ease of use has gotten even better as I get used to how run this rig. It's like setting exposure on a camera: you can adjust grind, amount and tamp pressure to aim for the perfect shot, using one or two of the variables to make up for a third that may be temporarily out of whack (like press harder if you use less coffee or it is getting a tad stale).

No breakdowns or problems after 12 months. I still highly recommend this machine as a great value for the money.

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review rating: 6.3
Posted: April 21, 2004, 3:47pm
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