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Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
|Price:||$359.30 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Coffee/espresso machine with 72-ounce removable water reservoir
- Stainless-steel housing; brass portafilters and grouphead for temperature stability
- 17-1/2-bar pump with high-voltage boiler; hot-water dispenser; frothing wand
- Single- and double-shot stainless-steel filter basket, tamper, and measuring scoop included
- Measures 14-1/4 by 8 by 9-1/2 inches
- Please refer the product videos, Quickstart Guide and the User Manual for any issues
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This item Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Cooking Depot||Huppins|
|Color||Silver||Grey and Black||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Item Dimensions||13 x 25 x 12 in||11 x 8 x 10 in||12.5 x 13.25 x 15.75 in||12.5 x 10.25 x 13.25 in|
|Material Type||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Steel||Stainless Steel|
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From the Manufacturer
Make Cafe Quality Drinks At Home. A True Classic Since 1991.
With humble beginnings as a cafe owner in Milan, Achille Gaggia's ingenuity and passion for coffee inspired him to invent a new way to brew espresso without the use of steam. That vision led to the creation of the Lampo device which produced the characteristic crema which has since become the hallmark of quality espresso.
Home Espresso Machine
The Gaggia Classic is a best selling model, loved by coffee aficionados worldwide. A commerical chrome-plated brass portfilter and brew group provide excellent heat stability while intuitive controls make the machine easy to opperate. Comes with both commercial and pressurized filter baskets to satisfy the barista and the beginner, a coffee tamper, and a 7-gram measuring scoop.
- Commercial components
- Cafe Quality Espresso
- Timeless Design Since 1991
3-Way Solenoid Valve
Commercial feature for drip free operation that leaves you with a dry puck that's easy to knock out.
Stainless Steel Housing
Housed in stainless steel, the Gaggia Classic achieves a clean and simple look that has persisted since 1991.
Pannarello Steam Wand
An intake hole siphons air directly into the milk, to create rich foam for specialty beverages.
58 mm and made from chrome-plated brass. Each Classic ships with three styles of portafilter baskets.
Top Customer Reviews
After 30 years, the boiler on my machine became pitted and started leaking. Since those days, they changed from a steel boiler to an aluminum one. I'm not sure if that's an improvement or not, but it does mean that I could no longer get replacement parts. So I got the latest model. Since I found that some changes were more than cosmetic, I'm adding this section to the top of the review. I'm also lowering my rating by one star. In some ways, the quality has gone down by several stars, but in some ways it has improved. However there's no negative effect on the quality of the beverages.
The first thing I noticed when I went to plug it in was the new cord. The old cord's design was similar to this Power Cord with the right angles. I can no longer place the unit it its old location and needed to move it several inches further from the wall. It's also a bit awkward having a thick cord sticking straight out of the socket instead of at a right angle, so I have a replacement cord on order. Another issue is that it comes with a two prong cord. The unit isn't grounded as well, and I noticed that I felt a slight tingle when touching the metal lightly. I read the difference in ground potential by holding one lead of a volt meter in one hand while touching the outside of the Gaggia with the other lead. I measured between -15 mV and 15 mV. It's not enough to be harmful, but I don't like touching appliances that feel as if they are leaking electricity.
The case itself is made of thinner metal than my old one. It also weighs less because of that. Aside from it being a cost cutting measure, it also means that when I go to twist the portafilter into place, the machine will move unless I steady it with my other hand. It also gets much hotter to the touch, but nowhere near burning hot. Other minor changes in quality are a lower quality tamper and scoop, and a lower quality tray insert. The top of the drip tray still uses a quality polished metal piece, but the piece under it is now plastic. That piece is far less visible, and none of these changes should make a functional difference. The pump is actually quieter than on the old model. Another up side is the price. If you adjust the original price of the Italian made predecessor to 2013 dollars, it was the equivalent of over $1,100 when I bought it. So this Romanian made model understandably needed to have a few shortcuts. Unfortunately, the drip tray also wobbles on my new one, making it feel like a lower quality machine.
Other changes have to do with the steam nozzle. The steam knob is now bigger and more robust than the ones on the original machines. That makes it much easier to turn off from a full on position and vice versa. The down side is that the old one was on the front and this is on the right side. With the old configuration, you could hold the pitcher with your right hand and operate the knob with your left. You also had the option of using the opposite hands, but on this one, you have to control the pitcher with your left hand unless you want your hand twisted backwards to use the knob.
The portafilter has also changed. The current one is thicker, heavier and more robust. It seems like an improvement in quality. The old one had a pivoting piece that could be pushed forward to retain the basket when you hit it against a knock box to empty it. With the new one, the basket is held firmly in place by an inner ring with the proper amount of tension. This is also more practical when using the new "perfect crema" baskets. The old model was able to sit on a counter with the basket level, while the new one isn't, but that's true of virtually any on the market these days. The newer design seems nicer overall, but on the old one, taking the basket out for cleaning took zero effort.
Overall, there are shortcuts in quality for things that don't directly affect the unit's ability to make a good quality coffee drink. And there are improvements in areas that do directly affect the quality of the drink. So it's worthy of four stars, but despite the shortcomings, the improvements might result in making better beverages with a much smaller learning curve for new users.
I wasn't getting the results I hoped for with the steam wand. I figured that it would be a good wand for a beginner and that pretty much describes it. It takes lots of experience to get good microfoam with a traditional steam wand so this one should help a beginner. The foam has much larger bubbles than what you might see at a coffee house, and if you swirl the steamed milk afterwards, it will be closer to what you expect.
I researched it and found that there's a chrome version of the Pannarella attachment that makes much better steamed milk. I ended up buying a "latte art Pannarella wand" that can work much as a traditional steam wand, and it attaches the same way as the original. It's great for those with experience who found the included wand disappointing. Look for an on-line video that compares the wands I mentioned and you will have a better notion of what to expect and how to use it.
I also found that the pressurized portafilters that come with this machine do a good job, but the traditional baskets might be slightly better. However, the non-pressurized baskets are more finicky, require you to learn the exact ground you need, the exact quantity, and how to tamp things right. The pressurized baskets will satisfy all but the most critical.
Ultimately, all this means that the changes are a good advantage to new users, and not a major problem for very experienced users, who may prefer to get accessories.
When I got my Gaggia several decades ago, it was not yet called a Classic. It was called a Coffee Gaggia. About 20 years ago [this was based on my original review date], some minor changes were made, and the unit was renamed Classic. The new "Coffee Gaggia" is not the same as this machine.
This machine has a robust build, and high quality parts. Its tank heats the water quickly, and to a proper temperature, and the pump is powerful enough to do the job properly. I would strongly recommend using filtered water, especially with a low mineral content, so that deposits do not build up in the tank.
My version has an all metal frothing wand, which does as good a job as the skills of the operator will allow for. The newer versions have a "turbo frother," and an optional milk frother that will take the guess work out of frothing and place foamed milk directly into the cup. I can't comment on these newer features, but perhaps they will allow a better job to be done by those with less experience.
The newer models are brushed stainless, while the original models had an appliance enamel finish. Since the old finish allowed water to penetrate under any scratches or imperfections in the finish, this was a particular problem near the portafilter holder and underneath the drip tray. The new version should retain its finish far longer, although the old one still does not show any wear in places that are visible with the machine assembled.
Minor differences are that the new machine has a more robust looking steam knob that was moved to the side, and the thermostat light, which indicated that the unit was heating, has been replaced with a "ready" light that is integrated into the coffee switch and signals the opposite.
In the time that I've had my machine, I've had only minor problems with it. My steam thermostat needed to be replaced once, and the light on my power switch stopped working. These were larger issues before the Internet made it easy to find parts, as these items are hard to find locally. The other problem is that if the unit is not used for extended periods, and the tank is allowed to dry out completely, and the water used was hard, then some parts are subject to clogging. The troubleshooting steps in the manual are not helpful for these sorts of problems. The machine can be disassembled for cleaning by somebody who is mechanically inclined, but unless you feel comfortable with appliance repair, you are better off avoiding the situation by using filtered water, and/or descaling regularly, especially before any long term storage.
The other "parts" issue is that the gasket for the filter basket should be considered a consumable part, and should be sold (but isn't) by every dealer as an accessory, rather than just by repair facilities. The machine really should have included an extra one since this is the only part that will definitely wear out with regular use. It might take a few years or longer, and is easy to replace, but it will wear out.
Overall, this is a well built machine that should last you many decades. Although it seemed expensive when I bought it, it has averaged out to about 6 cents a day to own it, which was well worth the price, and I'll probably get another few decades out of it.
If you have used cheaper espresso makers, you will appreciate the robustness and quality of this unit. Features such as the three way solenoid controlled valve might be transparent to the user, but the lack of them become clear when you use a cheaper machine. This one just keeps going and going.
Both are well-made heavy duty units that are used to make 5-6 cups of espresso a day, and the occasional capuccino. The machine does this flawlessly.
Those of you who know espresso making know that a good cup of espresso requires these four things:
1. Temperature: Water temperature a bit below boiling; about 190F is right.
2. Pressure: Of upto 200 psi (about 15 atmospheres or bars)
3. Amount: You need 7 grams of coffee per espresso cup. The included scoop should give you the exact amount.
4. Time: About 25 seconds for enough water to flow through the coffee grounds to make one or two cups
The Classic does 1, 2 and 3 perfectly. By definition, you, the barista, are in charge of 4. This you achieve through grinding the coffee to the right degree of fineness and tamping it with the right amount of pressure. It is this you need to learn with just a bit of trial and error. But you must buy a burr grinder for your coffee to do this right.
A burr grinder does not have to be expensive. I have two (a Krups and a Capressa) at home that each cost less than $40. I have been using them for years without a problem. If they develop one, easy and inexpensive enough to replace.
When you start, try out three or four different levels of grinds, generally at the finer settings of your grinder. The grind should be about the consistency of table salt. Then try out three or so levels of tamping the grounds in the portafilter. Pretty soon you will zero on the combination that provides the right degree of resistance to the water pressure to take about 25 seconds. I found that a rogher grind with very high pressure, or the right grind with medium tamping presssure and a very fine grind with little or no pressure all do the job. Obviously, the right grind with medium pressure is the optimum. If the water flows out too quickly, the coffee will be weak and will not have any of the crema that is the mark of a well-made cup. If it takes too long, the coffee will be bitter and the crema will will be dark brown. I have also found that as I switch from one kind of beans to another, or even from one batch to another, I sometimes have to fine tune the grind setting.
In my experience it is very difficult to buy preground coffee, or have it ground by the seller, such that it makes good espresso in my machine. I suspect you will find the same thing. An alternative around this is to use ESE pods, which Starbucks and others sell. These pods have the right amount and grind of coffee sandwiched between two pieces of teabag paper. All you do is pop one in the machine and you get, mostly, a good cup of coffee. But pods are expensive, at about $0.50 a cup, compared to about $0.15 per cup from beans.
My old machine had a plain steel wand for frothing. Took a little skill and experience to learn how to froth, starting with high steam flow and with the wand-end almost at the bottom of the steaming cup, gradually reducing the steam flow and moving the end of the wand closer to the surface of the milk. Worked like a charm with a little experience. Cleanup was easy; a wet sponge to wipe off the milk residue and a squirt of steam to clean out the inside. My new machine has a new-fangled plastic gizmo with many internal parts that slips over the metal steam wand. Now my dog could likely make perfect froth with this, except that it is a pain to clean. I find the easiest thing to do is slip off the gizmo from the metal wand right after the frothing is done, run warm water on/through it in the sink and slip it back on. Seems to stay clean and does not require disassembly of the internal parts.
I don't do much maintenance of my machine. I descale it twice a year and replace the silicone gasket/seal every few years, when the old one wears out and water begins to seep from it. You can find details for descaling elsewhere. All I do is run two cups of water with two tablespoons of citric acid crystals (bought at a baking supplies place) dissolved in it through my heated machine, as if I was making coffee but without grounds.
The Classic is well made, feels substantial, and works flawlessly. Are there other machines out there that are as good or better? Who can tell, without using each of them for some time. All I an say is that the Classic has been more than meeting the requirements of this picky engineer and coffee lover for over a decade.