Gaggia’s much-loved Classic has been around since 1991.It has developed something of a cult following thanks to its simplicity, style and – naturally – its ability to serve up a mean cup of espresso.
Almost three decades since its inception, Gaggia has given the Classic a bit of a makeover and it has returned better than ever.
Forget about touch-sensitive buttons, fancy LED lights and colour touchscreens – the Gaggia Classic is a stripped-down machine built to do one thing well: make great coffee.
It might lack the slick, curvaceous modern looks of some models, but this sharply chiselled, handsome machine has it where it matters. A single, potent boiler heats up within 45 seconds to make great espresso and also provides a jet of steam that makes some more expensive rivals feel a tad anaemic by comparison.
There’s no clever PID temperature regulation or volumetric jiggery-pokery here, though, so getting perfectly consistent results can take a little practise.
Put the effort in, though, and the professional-size 58mm portafilter and potent boiler are capable of eking out an immense depth of flavour from the finest espresso blends. And, yes, it also serves up a jug of finely steamed milk with a creamy microfoam – as ever, with a little bit of effort and skill on your part.
Features and design
Pull the Classic from its packaging, and it’s immediately clear that this is an entirely different beast to most affordable espresso machines on the market. Set against its modern rivals, the Classic’s brushed stainless steel exterior, reassuringly weighty chromed brass portafilter and clunk-click buttons make it both look and feel more like a semi-professional machine than a consumer model.
The build quality does feel rather agricultural, though. The all-metal body is reassuringly tough and unfussy – far more so than the many plasticky coffee machines on the market – but it isn’t the last word in refinement. The top metal plate doesn’t quite fit flush with the surrounding panels, and the water tank, top dust cover and drip tray lack the snug, millimetre-perfect fit and finish of rivals such as Sage’s family of machines.
The rather workmanlike construction continues throughout. The water tank just loosely slots into place and, when removing and replacing it, you need to take care not to pinch the two rubber hoses that hang down into the water. You’ll also need to take care to remove the exhaust pipe, which sits just in front of the tank. And since the drip tray sits just in front of the water tank, pulling both out is a bit of a faff.
Thankfully, that’s not something you’ll need to do too often: once everything is installed, you can top up the tank by pouring water through the spout in the Classic’s top panel.
You don’t get much in the way of accessories but the essentials are present and correct. You get a single pressurised basket, which is ideal for brewing pre-ground supermarket coffee (and is also compatible with ESE coffee pods), but Gaggia has now added a pair of unpressurised baskets for both single and double shots. If you’re using top-quality coffee, these make all the difference.
You do get a very basic plastic tamper, too, but this doesn’t fit the 58mm baskets snugly – it’s necessary to move it around the edge of the basket pressing down as you go. It works at a pinch, but buying a dedicated 58mm tamper is an absolute must in my opinion as it'll give far more consistent results.See full review at smallmediumbusiness.co.uk reviews...