The first thing you notice about the Gaggia Classic is the sturdiness and durability of its stainless steel and its high-quality components, such as its heavy and well-made portafilter. The water reservoir holds 72 ounces, which is more than any of the other espresso makers we reviewed.
During our testing phase, we brought in a professional barista to put this machine through its paces. She noted that you’ll definitely want to get a new tamper, because the one included with the purchase is plastic, which makes it difficult to get the tight tamp needed to make espresso properly. However, the plastic tamper is common among the espresso machines we reviewed. The only model that came with a metal tamper was our top pick.
The barista also stressed that you have to skimp on the grounds to push the portafilter into place correctly.
The swiveling steam wand is classic in its look, but our barista didn’t care for its design. She commented that it was poorly made and took a while to learn how to steam and froth with it.
Despite its flaws, this espresso maker makes decent coffee. In our taste tests, both our barista and reviewing team rated it a 7.5 out of 10, which is in the middle ground, compared to the other machines we tested.
With this device, you also get the convenience of a hot water stream for tea or other drinks. Unfortunately, this was the noisiest home espresso machine we tried, with the sound level measuring 93.8 decibels.
The Gaggia Classic stays hot for quite a while after use, and it takes some time to clean everything. The head can accumulate coffee grounds, so you need to wipe it off often or the excess grounds will fall into your coffee. And because of its stainless steel design, finger prints and other smudges build up fast, so you’ll need to clean it regularly.
The Gaggia Classic espresso maker is a mixed bag. While it makes adequate tasting espresso and has the largest water reservoir we encountered in our tests, it falls short when it comes to frothing quality and usability. If you’re not already familiar with how espresso machines work, it will take you a few times through the process to get it right.
Contributing Reviewer: Danny Chadwick