Written on: 06/04/2013 by diffenthal (4 reviews written)
I don't want to put anyone off buying this machine, but let's be clear, most people in the UK don't actually like espresso that much - they seem to prefer the milky rubbish which the coffee chains like to pretend qualify as sophisticated drinks.
This is a semi automatic machine although several of the reviews here describe it as a manual.
Your espresso will require patience and practice to get to the point you are genuinely happy with the end result. Beans, roast, fill and tamping all have a part to play.
With practice you will be able to create an espresso with a deep thick crema topping entirely without the use of any 'perfect crema' devices which seem to proliferate on coffee machines these days.
The design isn't new but it has simplified over the years. Mine is plain stainless steel with a simple nameplate - I don't think it would look out of place in most kitchens. The portafilter comes with baskets for single and double fill as well as one for pods.
I'm delighted with the machine, but it is sensitive to hard water (as are all automatic and semi automatic machines) so regular descaling is a must, the portafilter is brass and will cool the water going through the head unless it is heated for quite a while first (Gaggia recommend 6 minutes). It's a tank-based machine so I suggest that you take out the tank weekly to wash and empty it. Leaving standing water in the tank allows flors and flocs to develop. Baskets should be cleaned periodically to prevent build up and blockage of the exit holes.
My own preferences are for an Illy fine ground dark coffee (if I'm making espresso in bulk) or fresh roast beans ground in a Baratza Preciso burr grinder if I'm just doing it for myself. Buy the Classic if you like espresso and you don't want to break the bank.
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