Gaggia Espresso Equipment

Gaggia has made espresso equipment since forever ... in fact modern pump espresso machines were a Gaggia invention! I started pondering the merits of the Gaggia home equipment when I checked over their machines at the Specialty Coffee Association of America trade show (in fact I had been eyeballing the machines for years at the shows). What made me start to test them in my lab was the fact that their "low end" machines, starting at just $229, had a no-gimmick full-size commercial coffee handle, a pump that produced 17+ bars of pressure, and could make true 2 ounce double espresso with bucket-loads of crema. (Gaggia discontinued their low-end machine in fall 2007.) I could also get a fine ristretto from the machine modifying tamp and grind. And I had heard good things from our home-roasting customers who own a Gaggia, and their merits for those people who don't have $1300 for an Andreja! So I ordered and tested the Espresso, the New Coffee, the Baby and the Classic (Models have since changed - again since fall 2008). All the machines have a solid basic unit - the Baby and the Classic have notable features but you pay for the upgrades. Let's look at the Gaggia components, then ...

Gaggia: 63 Years of Coffee History
In 1938 Achilles Gaggia patented the process to outfit an electric pump on an espresso machine, revolutionizing the the espresso extraction process.

In motorcycles and espresso machines, vintage singles are very cool ...

... here are two vintage Gaggia commercial single-group machines. No, we don't have these for sale (I wish we did)!

All Gaggia models have the same commercial-sized 58mm chrome-plated brass portafilter handle. I wish the grip was a little rounder, but that's just me being fussy. A heavy, brass coffeehandle is very important since it needs to hold heat (to prevent heat loss during espresso extraction). This puppy is 16 ounces in weight.

The Gaggias all have the same forged, marine-chromed, solid-brass group head, another example of having good metal mass to store heat for proper good espresso results.

Gaggias have an easy to replace shower head that screws into the group head, just as your commercial machines have. It's easy to change and to remove for cleaning purposes.

All Gaggias have the same high-capacity boiler. The machine is ready to go in 5 minutes or less. With the heating elements outside of the water tank, corrosion and calcium buildup are prevented. Dual heating elements are rated at 1370 watts, one of the highest among home machines. The only maintenance is to use a descaler in the aluminum tank periodically. The Gaggia design is a smaller tank with a powerful boiler. This means it gets water up to temperature fast if you use a lot in a short amount of time, and there's less water to flush through the system for cleaning. It makes it a better machine for home, for making a few espresso, and not for a shop. But if you are buying a Gaggia, you probably aren't needing 12 espresso in 5 minutes, eh?

The 3-Way Valve: this does cost more. Do you need a 3-way valve to make perfect espresso? No! But it means the machine automatically releases high tank pressure so the "puck" is drier after extraction, and you can clean the machine by backflushing. Note that Gaggia USA does not officially support backflushing because it may splash hot water out the release valve into the drip tray. This is a legal concern - you can backflush but you do it at your own risk.

Gaggias have a really nice quality, high-output 55 watt pump that produces over 17 bars of pressure. A good pump is why this small machine can use a commercial-sized 58mm, no-gimmick (no "crema enhancer") portafilter handle. According to Ernesto Illy, you need 9 bars to make great espresso, but you want to be using a machine capable of more, and these Gaggias are.

Also: All models have manual milk frothing or a slip-on "turbo-froth adapter" for better steamed milk. All have cup-warming feature. All have removable water reservoirs for easy filling. All have lighted switches to indicate on-off and that the machine is at temperature to use.
Okay, so what do I think are the drawbacks of the Gaggia machines? Well, they have aluminum boiler tanks, not brass. This isn't too significant except that you should run a cleaner like Urnex's Dezcal Descaler or Urnex's Cleancaf through the tank, not Cafiza espresso machine cleaner. (Use Cafiza to clean the filter baskets and coffee handle). I think Gaggia's score a little low on initial impressions/appearances: I want to confess that I am a little underwhelmed when opening the box for the first time at the material surfaces. Even the incredibly functional coffeehandle has a little rippling to the surface (it's cast/chromed brass) and the machine badges are sort of silk-screened on. This ain't no Pasquini, where every surface is mirror smooth. It's also not $1300! But I am being fussy in these complaints ... in fact I always gripe when a coffee machine has put money into appearance and not function. Here we have solid, high-quality internal components, and a bit of cheapness on externals. But it's the quality of the espresso that we are after, not fetishizing the appearance of the machine. If you want a machine just to look at, buy a Francis Francis! I have read the online praise and criticism of Gaggia machines, and find it amazing that even those who have had to replace a pump, or after time upgrade to more expensive machines, still say that the Gaggia was solid and made great espresso! Our machines are backed by Gaggia-USA/Importika. In the past, there was not a single repair/parts/tech source backing these machines. Now that there is you can be assured that technical advice, parts and warranty service are close at hand . Oh yes, all machines are backed by a 12 month manufacturers warranty too. -Tom

The Gaggia New (2007) Baby

This is the original Gaggia home espresso machine in its newly redesigned Thermoset plastic housing. The Baby has been made for over 25 years and is a proven winner. It features the 3-way valve to release excess pressure, or to backflush-clean the machine (see note above about safety), as well as leaving behind a nice dry "puck" for easier cleanup. It has the same internals as the more expensive Classic model (which also has the 3-way valve), and a 64 oz. removable water reservoir. The good news is that unlike the other models, the water reservoir fills from the top! Overall this is a really attractive machine too (hey, looks count when it's out on your kitchen counter all the time). Along with all the other accessories, we also include our new top-of-the-line 58mm all-Stainless Steel Machined Tamper with the Baby (Gaggia includes a plastic tamper with the machine).


* Removable 64oz water reservoir
* Chrome-plated marine brass commercial-style portafilter for use with ground coffee or coffee pods
* Turbo Frother attachment
* 3.5oz boiler with two external heating elements
* 55 watt electric pump
* Three-way solenoid valve
* Stainless steel front panel and housing in ivory or black
* 1425 Watts - 120 Volts
* 15.7”H x 9.6”W x 10.4”D
* 14 lbs
* Accessories included by Gaggia: :
• Single shot, pod and double shot stainless steel filter baskets
• Coffee tamper
• 7 gram scoop

In Ivory or Black, including the Gaggia accessory kit (scoop, plastic tamper, single and double filterbaskets, turbo-froth adapter), our Plastic-bristle Group Head Brush, and 1 Lb. of fresh Sweet Maria's Roasted Espresso! We also include a 58 mm Stainless Steel Machined Tamper! Machine drop ships from our supplier.

Gaggia New Baby: $425 (+ 23 Lbs. Shipping)
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Gaggia Baby in Ivory

Gaggia Baby in Black

The Gaggia Baby Class

In a something of a combination of the Baby and Classic - Gaggia now has a new model - the Baby Class. It is based on the same Gaggia Baby with an all stainless steel housing and a few other special features like a multi-position frothing wand. Oddly enough, the water reservoir is slightly smaller than the New Baby. Is it worth an extra $100 for the all stainless steel machine? It is up to you...

* Brushed stainless steel housing
* Removable 60 oz water reservoir
* Three-way solenoid valve
* Chrome-plated marine brass commercial-style portafilter for use with ground coffee or coffee pods
* Turbo-frother mounted on a ball joint
* High wattage boiler with two heating elements
* 15 bar pump
* Passively heated cup warmer
* 1425 Watts - 110/120 Volts
* 15.7”H x 9.6”W x 10.4”D
* 17 lbs

In Stainless Steel, includes the Gaggia accessory kit (scoop, plastic tamper, single and double filterbaskets, turbo-froth adapter), our Plastic-bristle Group Head Brush, and 1 Lb. of fresh Sweet Maria's Roasted Espresso! We also include a 58 mm Stainless Steel Machined Tamper! Machine drop ships from our supplier.

The Gaggia Baby Class : $499 (+ 23 Lbs. Shipping)
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Gaggia Espresso Machine Warranty Information

Warranty: 2-year parts and labor through Importika. Any machines taken out of the United States are void of their warranty. 1st year warranty covers parts and labor; 2nd year covers parts only. A shipping and handling fee will be applied to all warranty repairs and replacement parts. Warranties do not extend to accessory parts or normal wear parts such as gaskets, portafilter handles, baskets, pannarello wands etc. Parts ordered through Importika by phone are final sales. Please have manual and part number ready. Please inspect packages immediately upon receiving. All claims must be issued within 5 business days. Please note most of the machines we sell are tested at the manufacturer and you may find residual coffee or water in/on new machines. Warranty questions can be directed to Importika at 1.888.389.4123.