If you’re in the market for a reliable home espresso machine, the Gaggia Classic Pro is worth an in-depth look.
A lot of homebrewers dream of making cafe-style coffees in the comfort of our own home. But, most don’t know that the secret to this is in the espresso.
The specs of the Classic Pro definitely fall into what I would recommend in an espresso machine. In this review we look at how this brewer could help to enjoy coffee at right at home.
Gaggia Classic Review 2021: Is the Pro any good?
The Gaggia Classic Pro is described as a machine for bringing home the barista-cafe experience. On the outside, it is so simple that it looks like a chunk taken out of an actual shop espresso machine. The inside is made up of premium parts that allow home brewers a better chance to pull good espresso themselves.
It’s good to note that this is the case with many espresso coffee maker brands out there! Simple exteriors can hint at good internals. Most of the time, but not always.
This, however, is your semi automatic classic. Gaggia had the most important espresso principles in mind when they created the Classic Pro.
The boiler keeps your brew temperature honest and consistent. In parallel, the professional steam wand has 2 holes for maximum control. Ensuring your milk heats up faster than most home machines.
It also comes with a well-designed 3 way solenoid valve to seal your machine as it brews! A major problem for lots of alternative options at this level is how well the portafilter and the group head lock and seal in place. The last thing we want is having hot water spew all around us during those quiet mornings and chill afternoons.
- Great for newbies
- Dual hole steam wand
- Solenoid valve for perfect pressure
- Not great if you want advanced features
- Not super budget friendly
As you activate different parts of this espresso machine, it seems to have been created exactly for home baristas right from the water tank to the drip tray. And as a result, in my opinion, it’s one of the best options at its price point.
For this reason, the Gaggia Classic Pro is perfect for beginners. It does the job as good as any espresso machine, so you can focus on understanding coffee principles and sipping on a great brew.
If you’re used to pre-ground coffee, you can also try switching brew baskets in your portafilter to see which ones work best for each bean type you use! Although, I’d always recommend using freshly ground coffee beans for the best experience.
A common theme that will come up with the Gaggia Classic Pro is how it’s good enough to be a professional machine, except that it was created to be used at home.
It uses a 58mm filter basket in its portafilters.
Why is this important? Most cafe coffees are hard to replicate at home because of ratios. Even if you ask how much milk your friendly neighborhood barista uses in your latte, your homemade one will taste different because of the espresso.
Smaller brew baskets usually come with home espresso machines. Gaggia created the Classic Pro to help home users brew better. The result? You’re one step closer to getting the correct ratios. If you use the same equipment, the math to replicate coffee shop drinks becomes a lot simpler.
But does the Gaggia Classic Pro brew well? Good question!
It uses the traditional boiler for temp stability. This is the primary job of espresso machines: precise brewing temperatures and the consistent application of pressure. Thankfully, the Classic Pro does both to higher than expected standards.
Upgraded machines are great, but my personal take on the semi automatic espresso machine is that they all do the same thing. They only vary on how well they do these things.
The power and capacity that commercial machines have aren’t worth the extra spend for home brews. In fact, by using decent machines, you’re focused on mastery more instead of relying solely on your equipment.
In terms of build quality, the name suits the Gaggia Classic Pro. It comes in a brushed stainless steel body that is timeless and easy to maintain. Just a quick wipe with a damp cloth, immediately followed by a dry cloth. and you’ll keep it looking brand new.
Gaggia makes its machines in Italy, which explains the premium pricing for this coffee maker. They focused on a couple of things I regard as most important in espresso makers: the boiler, the group head, and the steam wand.
The classic boiler gives the machine potential to execute the 15 bar world-renowned Italian espresso. As mineral water passes through the Classic Pro, it ends up bursting through the group head and into your portafilter.
15 bars of pressure are no joke, which is why Gaggia designed the 3-way solenoid valve. This locks the water in while brewing and helps it purge entirely after that.
Lastly, the professional-grade stainless steel wand was created with 2 holes to make aeration smoother. With double the holes the steam wand is able to create a whirlpool better than most alternatives.
Milk skills are often underrated, but we forget that espresso with milk options contain way more water than coffee. Doing your milk right will make a world of difference in perceived sweetness and overall texture!
This is why most home machines have burnt espressos, watery milk, and bubbly lattes: they lack the boiler pressure, sealing, temperature consistency, and milk wand stability.
There are many types of steam wand tips available. Most home machines have one hole, but you can get up to 2, 3, and 4 holes. How are they different?
The more holes you have, the more avenues there are for the steam wand to let steam escape. 1 hole can be too slow (hence the reputation of most home semi automatic espresso machine options. The most common are the 2 and 3 hole options, and these allow you to stretch and aerate your milk at a good pace.
With great control of your milk, you can make anything from flat whites to lattes to cappuccinos! Remember that the aim is to achieve microfoam that is silky and smooth in your mouth.
Steaming milk to its ideal temperature makes it easier for the tongue to perceive. Aside from this, it brings out a natural sweetness. In terms of the foam, your latte art patterns hold together longer when you steam right. This also acts as an insulator for your hot drinks—improperly steamed milk results in a faster cool down for your coffee.
Since the Gaggia Classic Pro comes with a single boiler, a 2.1L water tank capacity, and a 2-hole steam wand, you have enough time and space to work on your milk frothing for your latte art skills. You can’t steam milk while pulling an espresso-like they do in cafes. But all you have to do is wait for your espresso to finish extracting, and you can get to your next house-masterpiece.
Ease of Use
I’ve always been a fan of classic espresso machines. They fit in with almost any type of interior design, and they’re super simple to use. The best coffee is made with simple practices done exceptionally well. It’s not something that improves as it becomes more complicated. This is a principle I apply in all facets of coffee and life.
The Gaggia Classic Pro comes in a brushed stainless steel body and some rocker buttons that look nostalgic and awesome. It just feels good to touch something and feel it turn on. You’re more connected with the machine versus touch screen options. However, that is a preference of some as well.
With a couple of intuitive switches, you’re good to go. A manual for operating the machine is less critical than a guide to making the perfect espresso. If you decide that this Gaggia coffee maker is your next purchase, I suggest investing in espresso-making coffee books next. It will help you appreciate and maximize this coffee maker much more.
Upon unboxing, just fill up the water tank, switch on, wait a bit, and start pulling shots! I suggest complimenting the brewer with a good burr grinder and finding some tasty espresso roast beans to maximize your coffee making machine.
Old school espresso maker setups looked simple, but their designs weren’t the easiest to clean. What’s great about these updated, modern versions is that some small details are rethought and iterated.
The drip tray is often overlooked in a machine. What we tend to forget is that it dictates which espresso cups are compatible as we extract. On powerful machines, the drip tray also tends to fill up faster, so it would serve you best to find well-designed ones.
What makes it well-designed?
Once full, you should still easily detach it and be able to carry it a short distance without spillage. Gaggia’s drip tray fits this capability quite well. Although, as any good barista will tell you, always be aware of water levels in your water tank and in your drip tray. Milk levels in your chiller are totally different, but essential as well.
When it comes to descaling, how often you have to do it depends on usage. I like to run machine detergent every 100 cups, while I like to descale once a year for home machine options and twice a year for coffee shop options.
There are lots of resources online in case you need assistance. Keep in mind that these simple good habits can extend your machine’s life by a lot, making your investment even more worth it.
As briefly mentioned earlier, it’s such a straightforward machine that you probably won’t need help figuring out how to switch it on. The three rocker buttons with images on them are pretty straightforward, and they feel so satisfying to press!
During extractions, the design and execution have also been upgraded compared to it’s older brother – the Gaggia Classic. It’s quieter than the Classic, which works better in a home setting. The buzz and hum of an espresso machine work okay in coffee shops but not in a quiet kitchen at 7am. It’s good to invest in equipment for keeping the peace at home and not disrupting it.
Lastly, perhaps the most critical bonus feature for me is the 3-way solenoid valve. One problem with other semi automatic machine picks is the leaking that occurs after you pull out the portafilter. This puts chaos on your kitchen counter to a whole new level, sometimes adding to milk spills and coffee stains.
The special valve minimizes any direct leakage because of the grouphead, and makes it easier to maintain a clean workspace.
The Gaggia Classic Pro Isn’t For You If…
Each machine is designed and created to satisfy a specific chunk of the coffee loving pie. From the brew basket size to the milk steaming capabilities, it’s quite simply for you, or it isn’t. The Gaggia Classic Pro coffee machine isn’t for you if the following points describe the type of brewer you’re looking for:
…You want something that grinds and brews all in one
This Gaggia coffee maker is just a brewer. For all of its good points, you simply can’t have it all.
I usually prefer non-2-in-1 combos because I trust more work was put into designing a machine when it’s left to do fewer tasks independently.
It’s similar to my beverage principle. When you do coffee right, it should stand better on its own.
…You like advanced features like programmability
As a barista trainer, as much as possible, when I get consulted for equipment purchases, I don’t recommend programmable machines.
Owners forget the passwords as soon as everyone from your first batch of hires leave. Baristas start taking shortcuts and focus on speed over quality. Programming based on time when it comes to coffee means nothing! This is why you have to calibrate daily. Get to know your bean freshness. Your ideal parameters based on roast type, origin, and roast date.
This Gaggia coffee maker is simple, just the way I like it. It makes you watch each espresso you make. During this time, it would serve your barista career to watch the shot, take note of the smells, and remember the subsequent tastes resulting from your sensory observations.
…You’re in the market for a super budget machine
Budget coffee makers are good as far as wanting to test the waters of a particular brew method. I do this myself to gauge if a particular method is for me.
But if you’re sure about a particular way of brewing coffee and want to do it well at home, the level above budget picks is most ideal.
Especially for specialty coffee drinkers out there, we know that quality is not the area to be sacrificed after these amazing coffees make their way to us.
And for milky-coffee connoisseurs, even choosing a coffee maker with a good steam wand should be the bare minimum. Nonetheless, if your feeling the crunch on your wallet check out our budget espresso maker review.
The Final Verdict
Now that you’ve gotten to the end of this Gaggia Classic Pro review, it would be good to think about your priorities for your next (or first) espresso maker.
Here are some things to think about:
Do you just want espresso? Does it have to be good espresso? What’s your budget like? Can it accommodate a good espresso maker and grinder? Do you like milk drinks? Do your finalists have decent steam wand features?
These are only some questions you should ask yourself. Focus on knowing your preferences better, and find an espresso maker that fits those perfectly.
The Gaggia Classic Pro could be a great pick if you want cafe-style espresso at home, at a fraction of the cost of commercial espresso machines. It’s a space saver, and it has a look and feel that is easy to like and get used to.