The barista at your favorite coffee shop makes it look so easy. They brew and froth and execute with ease, all with their giant, fancy, professional coffee machines.
Trying it at home can be overwhelming. Without the proper machinery, you’re often left with a mediocre drink. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
The Gaggia Classic RI9403 is a beginner machine that stands apart from other domestic coffee machines and has all the hardware to make your favorite drinks.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Gaggia Classic RI9403
The Gaggia Classic RI9403 is an automatic espresso machine, meaning that it can brew you a cup of espresso with minimal effort on your part. In addition, it allows you both the ability to use pods or a predetermined amount of coffee grounds.
As an entry-level machine, the Gaggia Classic RI9403 has all the accessories to make your favorite drink. In addition to the espresso-making, it has a frother and is quick to heat from its cold base temperature. Not only does it give you all the necessary tools, but it also incorporates an easy-to-use interface to help you learn the process.
Although the machine can be completely automated, it does also allow for manual maneuvering like a hand-operated machine. Therefore, if you want to experiment with tamping and longer extraction times, the device will allow you to do so. This option is great when you get past the beginner stage and want to start trying new techniques!
Another benefit to the Gaggia Classic RI9403 is the quiet brewing. Although some machines can be pretty loud when in use, the RI9403 has a design that allows for updated pump mounts with reduced brewing sound. Perfect for that early morning cup while everyone is still asleep!
Gaggia Classic RI9403 Brief Product Overview
The Classic RI9403 is a newer version of the original Gaggia Classic coffee machines. Created to fit changing European Union standards, the RI9403 model has a unique crema basket and pin and lower wattage.
Additionally, this model uses a mechanical valve in place of a solenoid valve. The new valve style allows for less clogging, which was common in the original model. In addition, mechanical valves allow for less descaling maintenance and easier cleaning.
Lastly, the RI9403 has a new and improved steam valve. Necessary for frothing drinks, the steam valve is a critical component of the Gaggia Classic. However, on the original model, there were copious complaints of leaking after extended use. Therefore, the RI9403 has incorporated a short turn valve that reduces leaking but still provides high-quality frothing.
Things We Like:
- Higher quality crema pin with less potential of losing it
- Mechanical valve for easy cleaning and maintenance
- Short turn valve for frothing
Room For Improvement:
- Delayed boiler heat up time by an additional 30 seconds due to lower wattage
- Plastic components within the machine
- No traditional basket for coffee grounds
Features and Benefits of the Gaggia Classic RI9403
The Gaggia brand is very well known and praised throughout the world for its high-quality machines. In this model, certain features were adapted to account for changing regulations. However, many remained the same or were improved on. Overall, it is considered a good beginner espresso machine.
Stainless Steel Body
When it comes to high temperatures, stainless steel is a safer option. It allows for less chemical leaking into the beverages and preserves the machines. The stainless steel design is part of the reason that Gaggia machines have an extended lifespan.
However, even with the stainless steel body, the Gaggia Classic RI9403 has plastic components within the machine. One of these parts is the piece to hold the filter in place correctly.
The use of plastic is different in this model, and although some customers are upset that perhaps the quality has gone down, it is still a decent machine able to produce quality results. Additionally, very little liquid comes in contact with this piece, so I feel comfortable in its use.
Stainless Steel Boiler
The previous model had an aluminum boiler. Although the material was a food-grade aluminum material, many customers felt concerned due to the unknown effects of aluminum over time.
The current model has a stainless steel boiler. This material helps alleviate concerns for the customers regarding health worries and provides a solution to the build-up and scaling issues that occurred with the aluminum material.
A critical component for good milk frothing is the steam valve. However, in the previous model, the valve would often leak after extended use. Due to the frustration, this caused customers, the RI9403 utilizes a short turn valve.
The benefit of this type of valve is the reduced likelihood of leaking. However, many customers prefer an extended arm steamer that allows for better ease of use.
The previous Gaggia Classic had a higher wattage of 1300. This level allowed the machine to heat to an appropriate level within seconds. However, with the changes in regulation through the European Union, the wattage levels needed to change.
The newer model has a level of 1050 watts. Although this can still adequately warm the machine, it does lengthen the process by about 30 seconds. This time difference isn’t a huge inconvenience, but it can be annoying for those used to it heating instantly.
Crema Pin and Basket
Instead of the traditional basket that contains coffee grounds, the Gaggia Classic has a crema basket. With the previous model, the pin would often get lost during cleaning due to its small size. As a result, the company’s support center fielded many calls for replacement on this part.
Because of that issue, the RI9403 has a different design with a more straightforward cleaning regimen. In addition, the pin has a more permanent fix, reducing the risk of losing it. Also, the new model is compatible with traditional baskets for those who desire to use them.
The previous Gaggia Classic model utilized a solenoid valve, although many other Gaggia models incorporated a mechanical valve. However, if users did not routinely descale the machine or used non-purified water, the solenoid or spring valve would become blocked.
Because of this issue, many customers were moving away from the Classic model and Gaggia brand. Therefore, the new model uses a mechanical valve like many other Gaggia varieties. With this change, the blockage has ceased, but the coffee quality has remained.
Included with the machine is a tamper. With this, you can determine the number of coffee grounds necessary for the best beverage. This can be adjusted based on personal preference.
The tamper allows the grounds to be pushed down to an appropriate level to allow for adequate density. Having the correct packing in the settings allows for quality and consistent taste throughout the espresso shot.
Removable Water Tank
Depending on where you keep your espresso maker, having access to the water tank can be problematic. In the case of the RI9403, the tank is removable with an easy-to-lift lid. This benefit allows you to deposit the water into the tank with ease.
Additionally, the tank is large in size, which allows for more time between refills. This is especially helpful if the machine is stored in an area with little overhead. I appreciate the ability to fill it and forget about it for an extended period!
To safeguard your machine and the area around it, a drip tray is included. This pan will catch any liquid that does not land in a cup. Using a drip tray allows the fluid to land safely in a compartment instead of having the possibility of damaging your appliance or home.
In addition to protecting against spills, it also decreases the chances of build-up on the machine and surrounding area. Over time the liquid can cause grime and residue to accumulate. With the addition of a washable drip tray, the fluid can flow into the dish and be cleaned routinely.
The Gaggia Classic RI9403 is a competent espresso machine for those just learning the ropes of espresso shots and frothing. It allows beginners the experience they need to get to a higher level and opens up avenues to explore – such as with the timing and tamper levels.
If this seems overwhelming to you, other options on the market have fewer features but are straightforward to use. For example, some models allow for manual espresso extraction but have automated processes to create specialized drinks.
Additionally, espresso machines come with varying price points. Although some are more costly than others, they all typically contain the same essential elements. The difference will be in the operation of those elements.
Yes, the barista at your favorite coffee shop makes it look easy, and trying it at home can be overwhelming. But with the proper machinery, you can do it. With some experience, you will be creating designer drinks just like your favorite barista!
Although there are many brands and models to choose from when selecting an espresso machine, it is worth noting that the Gaggia Classic RI9403 is excellent for beginners and will provide everything you need in your learning journey.