Customer Review

149 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tips for the newbie espresso snobs; Gaggia vs. Breville, October 12, 2007
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This review is from: Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel (Kitchen)
I bougt the $200 breville ESP8XL when I started my bean habit and was considerably satisfied. With the breville I learned just how tempermentle espresso can be. The grind, the tamp pressure (with a twist) as well as the temerature of every item the coffee contacts in the pull will effect the taste of your espresso. (To warm up cups fast, fill them with water and put them in the microwave for a minute and your set.)
I learned alot in 2 weeks and now considered my capucchino concoction worthy and much better than chain coffee houses. I use Lavazza preground espresso coffee and love it, its smooth satisfying and has an excellent crema. I'm considering a grinder but with the Lavazza (black can) I'm putting it off for a while.

I ordered the Gaggia Classic on impulse due to a sale hoping to improve my pulls with the presumably better machine. Which is better, well the short story is I packed the Breville up for return 2 days later.

The Gaggia arived well packed but after setting it up the pump didnt work. Disapointed but not wanting to give up on it. I opened the top easily with a screwdriver and found that the rubber gromet around the pump had loosened from its mount and pulled a wire (with slip on connector) off its termination point. I slid the motor gromet back into place and remedied the connection easily. From there the machine operated perfectly.

Gaggia Pro's: Better portafilter. Filter is easier to clean larger in surface area and the used coffee pucks come out easier and much drier. Also the espresso comes out of one hole in the middle and is then seperated into channels that flow into the 2 cups you see in the picture. The Breville has a smaller portafilter that is harder to get in place without looking and has 2 holes in the bottom. Most of the time the majority of the water came out of 1 side catching up at the end of the pull.
The plastic turbo frother steams faster, drier and is much easier to clean than the stainless tube provided on the Breville. The milk froth, adheres like paint to the metal tube and has to be scraped off with a knife or a brillo pad. Steam control and overall heat temperature is better on the Gaggia.

Breville pro's: easier to fill with water, drip tray is easy to handle. Dont think this doesnt matter. If you want your espresso hot, you need to run water thru the portafilter to heat it up and not lose temp. The excess water goes in the drip tray. You want this to be easy access!!! The gaggia's works fine but the Breville's fits better and is easier to handle.

If your considering this machine but are concerned with the cost, get the Breville ESP8XL For $200, it makes a nice espresso but use a quality cofee thats properly ground. If theres no concern go for the Gaggia. I got it here for $400 and feel the extra $$$ was worth it.

Update: September 2010
My Gaggia is still going strong. Temperature and pump strength have not varried at all. I've paired it with a Rancilio Rocky Burr-Grinder which was well worth the investment. I buy local italian roast coffee for $7.50/lb and make Espresso better than any Starbucks around. I've seen other's indicate that the plastic frother is poorly designed and falls off. I've had no problem with mine but I clean it thorouhly after every use. I admit I don't use it as much as when I first got it but it is always available for a mid afternoon espresso or an after dinner capachino. My only complaint is with the design of the water tank. You can fill it through the top but you will have to take it out at least weekly to clean as the standing water will attract bacteria after a while. Removing the tank requires the disassembly of a few parts. It's a trivial complaint but worth noting, fore if you dont clean the tank you can probably damage the pump.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 17, 2009 9:25:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2009 9:26:07 PM PDT
Publius says:
I made the exact same transition from Breville to Gaggia and agree with you. The Breville is a fine machine, but the Gaggia is the next level up. It takes a little more time to learn how to use it though. The one thing I'd recommend is that you invest in a good burr grinder and seek out freshly roasted beans. You're not doing the machine justice by using the pre-ground beans.

Posted on Jan 12, 2011 5:40:15 AM PST
olddigger says:
Good review. What is the name of the Italian roast coffee that you are buying? Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2011 7:31:11 AM PST
wjs1820 says:
I like espresso vivace dot com's vita & dolce blends. They're reasonably priced for online ordering. Otherwise, I go to Stew Leonards in CT or Fairway Market in NY for fresh Italian roast beans.

Posted on Aug 2, 2014 12:55:35 PM PDT
Thank you!! When mine arrived, it wouldn't work either. But, thanks to you, I took off the top, put the pump back where it belonged and re-attached the power leads to the plug. Soon after, I was enjoying a lovely espresso!

Posted on Apr 29, 2015 8:54:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 29, 2015 8:55:57 AM PDT
_blank_ says:
I really enjoyed your review WJS!
Has your setup & procedures changed with time?

I'm really debating between this and the Cuisinart EM-100 []

and the DeLonghi EC155:

I am getting back into espresso & cappuccino and not sure if I would notice the $200 difference.
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