Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine

Last updated date: February 15, 2019

DWYM Score
8.1

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We looked at the top 1 Espresso Machines and dug through the reviews from 4 of the most popular review sites including Top Ten Reviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Trusted Reviews and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Espresso Machine you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 43 expert reviews, the Gaggia Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine placed 5th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 12, 2019:
Checkout The Best Espresso Machine for a detailed review of all the top espresso machines.

Expert Summarized Score
7.4
4 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.5
751 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
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.
- Top Ten Reviews
March 21, 2018 | Full review
With that in mind, it’s a great choice for tinkerers and enthusiasts who don’t mind spending a bit more time with their machine in the interest of achieving an excellent espresso.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Gaggia 14101 is an excellent low cost classic espresso machine, ideal for domestic brewing of your favorite coffee.
- Know Your Grinder
June 11, 2016 | Full review
It’s a mostly-metal design, with a stainless steel outer part that makes it feel a lot higher-end than something like the Krups XP5620, a handy and serviceable machine but one that still uses a lot of plastic.
- Trusted Reviews
October 6, 2016 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Unfortunately, this was the noisiest home espresso machine we tried, with the sound level measuring 93.8 decibels.
- Top Ten Reviews
March 21, 2018 | Full review
The Gaggia’s clunky steam wand also failed to produce a good thick foam in our pitcher of milk, no matter how many times we tried.
- New York Times Wirecutter
One thing that is important to know is that the Gaggia Classic espresso machine does not come with a built-in grinder and tamper, as some of the more expensive models do.
- Know Your Grinder
June 11, 2016 | Full review
It’s a touch inflexible in parts, but the Gaggia Classic makes terrific coffee.
- Trusted Reviews
October 6, 2016 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

The Gaggia Classic presents a strong entry-level semi-automatic espresso machine, made from quality commercial components and built to last. The stainless-steel housing is solid, with heavy-duty rocker switches for controls. The chrome-plated brass brew group and portafilter are commercially styled, with the portafilter enjoying a 58 mm diameter, the standard for commercial machines. The pressurized portafilter basket makes brewing easy, able to extract a crema from just about any coffee without trouble. For more control, you can switch out for the included commercial-style basket and develop your technique. Frothing milk is made easy with the Turbo-Frother steam wand attachment, making cappuccinos and lattes a fun, effortless experience. Finally, the three-way solenoid valve keeps coffee pucks dry in the portafilter when you are ready to discard, a feature typically only found in more expensive, commercial machines.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Breville Infuser Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 3
2. Breville Barista Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 7
3. Saeco Intelia Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 3
4. Rancilio Rocky Doserless Coffee Grinder
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 4
5. Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 4
6. Baratza Vario Espresso Grinder
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 4
7. La Pavoni Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 2
8. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 4
9. DeLonghi Pump Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 7.4
Expert Reviews: 5
10. Mr Coffee Espresso Machine
Overall Score: 6.6
Expert Reviews: 3

An Overview On Espresso Machines

A good cup of coffee goes beyond merely helping you wake up in the morning. For many, it’s an indulgence. Whether you rush through the Starbucks drive-thru on the way to work or meet up with friends once a week at your favorite indie coffee shop, few things can compare to the taste of a freshly-brewed gourmet cup of coffee.

But high-end coffee doesn’t have to come from a café. There are now espresso machines on the market that will brew up that perfect cup of coffee in your very own kitchen. But espresso machines vary just as much in features as they do in price. It can feel overwhelming as you read up on these seemingly complicated machines, but they’re generally built to be easy to use.

One thing to think about as you consider espresso machines is whether you want the beautiful latte art you see at your favorite coffee shop. The key to creating hearts and other random shapes is in the steam wand, which you can buy separately. However, some espresso makers include an attached wand, which will keep it all in one place. You’ll still need to practice to keep up with professionals, but at least you’ll have the tools necessary to get started.

Price is also a consideration. You can find a bare-bones espresso machine that’s very affordable or splurge on a top-of-the-line model. The goal should be to find the espresso maker that fits your own preferences and decide if the extras are worth spending more.

Among the features that are most important to coffee lovers is the ability to control the beverage that comes out. Some machines will allow you to adjust the strength of the shot in each cup, while others build in temperature control to give you precisely the warmth you need. If you want to make specialized drinks like cappuccinos and macchiatos, you’ll need to look for a machine that offers that feature as well.

Once you’ve squared away the functionality of an appliance, you’ll need to think about how it fits with your own home décor. In general, espresso makers can be fairly large, so make sure you measure the counter space and choose one that fits. You should also consider the color and style of the espresso machine and select a model that matches your existing design aesthetic. After you’ve taken all these factors into consideration, you’ll be able to narrow it down to the perfect espresso maker to fit your own needs.

DYWM Fun Fact

Espresso is an Italian word meaning “pressed out.” It’s an apt word for the drink since it’s created by forcing extremely hot water through coffee grounds. It was first discovered in the early 1900s by an Italian businessman named Luigi Bezzera, who was trying to find a way to speed up the process of making coffee. By adding steam pressure to his coffeepot, he learned that not only could he get caffeine in his system faster in the morning, but he also found that he enjoyed the taste. The express coffeepot was patented in 1905 by another businessman, who purchased the rights to Bezzera’s invention.

The Espresso Machine Buying Guide

  • Espresso machines can require a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re used to one-cup coffeemakers. But there are some machines that are better for novices. The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine is set up to be easy to use, with clear labeling for each button and instructions that are easy to read. The DeLonghi Pump Espresso Machine is designed for beginners, with a self-priming feature that offers coffee at the press of a button.
  • The Breville Barista Espresso Machine is a bit tougher to use, so you may need to keep the user manual close by while you get the hang of things.
  • The feature that makes the biggest difference is one you likely won’t see. Behind the scenes, your espresso maker will use a unique setup to provide delicious coffee. With the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine, low water pressure at the very start of the cycle ensures that grounds expand slowly, providing even extraction for better results. The Breville Barista Espresso Machine has a purge function to automatically adjust the water temperature. This ensures that when the espresso is extracted, it’s at the perfect temperature.
  • Unlike a basic coffee maker, you’ll need a few accessories to make delicious-tasting espresso. The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine has everything you’ll need outside of cups and ingredients. Included in the box are a coffee scoop, cleaning discs and tablets, a cleaning tool and a water filter.
  • One important element in making beautiful café-style beverages is the steam wand. The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine and Breville Barista Espresso Machine both have steam wands built in. You can start practicing your latte art right away.
  • It’s important to note that the velvety texture you find at cafés doesn’t come easily. The Breville Barista Espresso Machine builds special technology into its steam wand to draw in air, creating bubbles. This is essential to helping you create latte art fit for your Instagram feed.
  • If your espresso machine of choice doesn’t come with a steam wand, never fear. You can buy one separately for an affordable price.
  • If you own a coffeepot already, you know the convenience of auto shut-off. The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine goes into sleep mode after one hour of inactivity, then automatically powers off after three hours.
  • Chances are, you don’t want to waste valuable time cleaning your machine every morning. For those deeper periodic cleanings, you can remove the brewing chamber and run it directly under a faucet.
  • Sometimes you need a stronger shot than others. The Breville Barista Espresso Machine lets you program the shot volume and choose between one or two cups at the touch of a button. It features five different settings that include allowing you to adjust the temperature of your beverage.
  • Although the delicious concoctions you’ll make are the most important thing, this is an appliance that will become an important part of your kitchen aesthetic. One big benefit of the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine is that it comes in three colors: stainless steel with black, stainless steel with cranberry red and full stainless steel. The Breville Barista Espresso Machine is stainless steel, while the DeLonghi Pump Espresso Machine combines stainless steel and black.
  • Counter space is probably a concern, especially since any espresso machine you buy will take up more space than a traditional coffeepot. The DeLonghi Pump Espresso Machine will take up the least counter space, measuring only 8 x 10 x 11 inches. Make sure you measure the space before you buy and find the appliance that works best for your own kitchen.
  • Cost can vary dramatically from one espresso machine to another. Either way, you’re sure to find an espresso maker that fits your budget.
  • The key to truly delicious coffee is the freshness of the beans. You can purchase a separate coffee grinder, but that takes up additional counter space and costs extra. The Breville Barista Espresso Machine’s built-in coffee grinder delivers the perfect amount of grounds to the portafilter to make sure you have a fresh cup each time.
  • You don’t have to be a master chef to make delicious coffee. The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine and Breville Barista Espresso Machine both use temperature control technology to make sure every brew is just right. The DeLonghi Pump Espresso Machine has two thermostats that work together to keep water and steam pressure under control.
  • Think beyond espressos and lattes. With some models, you can make cappuccinos, macchiatos and more.
  • If you want the convenience of pod-based coffee, consider the DeLonghi Pump Espresso Machine, which lets you use either grounds or pods with its specialized filter holder.