Buying Guides

Best Gaggia Espresso Machine: Why Go Gaggia?

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Best known for carrying some of the top entry level espresso machines for people who actually care about how the coffee tastes, Gaggia has been one of the #1 names in espresso since their founding. Today, we are taking a look at their lineup to find the best Gaggia espresso machine for your shot pulling needs. 

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Gaggia Espresso Machines

best gaggia espresso. machine

Quick Summary: The Best Gaggia Espresso Machines

Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid, Brushed Stainless SteelClassic Pro Espresso Machine
  • The new steam wand brings this already competitive machine up a notch
  • The rocker switches and indicator lights make for an even more straightforward interface
  • It’s still accessible to relative novices as far as usability
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Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine in Silver. Pannarello Wand Frothing for Latte and Cappuccino Drinks. Espresso from Pre-Ground or Whole Bean Coffee.Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Competitively priced for an entry level super-auto
  • It’s compact, thoughtfully designed, and easy to operate
  • Reasonably flexible for an automatic brewer
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Gaggia Carezza De LUXE Espresso Machine, SilverCarezza De LUXE Espresso Machine
  • Hands-on shot pulling without being overly complex or intimidating
  • More comfortable price point than other Gaggia machines
  • Pre-infusion and 18-gram commercial-style portafilter baskets make for better shot pulling
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Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable OptionsGaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine
  • The programmability is appropriate for the price point and the machine pulls a great shot
  • Significantly better price than the other Anima models for a strikingly similar machine
  • Slim profile makes it perfect for home use
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Gaggia Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine, Stainless SteelVelasca Prestige Espresso Machine
  • Impressive customizability options in comparison to other comparable Gaggia models
  • Incredibly simple maintenance makes it perfect for people who prefer to be hands-off
  • Simple, one-touch interface and quick heat up
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Why Go Gaggia?

Gaggia is an Italian small appliance company founded in 1947 that specializes in coffee and espresso makers. They are owned by Saeco (which was in turn sold to Royal Phillips Electronics in 2009) but have a separate line of espresso machines and coffee accessories.

The story goes that Achielle Gaggia is responsible for patenting the original, modern steamless espresso machine in 1938. The result is that Gaggia essentially changed the espresso game, and their line of machines are responsible for the prestige associated with crema.

Common Features

With Gaggia, you can count on a time-tested reputation for quality espresso. Additionally, the company has great customer support services and all of their grinders and machines are covered by a one year parts and labor warranty. 

Furthermore, because Gaggia got their start in the commercial world, you can count on some pretty great build quality. They are dedicated to performance driven machines that brew consistently great drinks. Also, most of their machines are designed and made in Italy.

Top 5 Gaggia Espresso Machines

New Classic 

Also known as the Classic Pro, this machine is the 2019 update on an old fan-favorite machine, the Gaggia Classic. Long considered the perfect beginner’s espresso machine, the reboot thankfully kept the user-friendliness and usability while making some subtly, but much needed changes to the machine. 

For starters the Classic Pro is now 100% Italian made. With the new manufacturing comes some pretty exciting updates including an updated frame, streamlined controls (rocker switches for power, brewing, and steam), and improved pump mounts (makes for a quieter machine). However, the news that many original Classic fans were stoked to hear is that Gaggia took note of the consumer feedback on the steam wand.

They switched out the sub-par steam wand for a commercial style one that can actually produce good microfoam. So rest assured you may actually be able to get some latte art out of this one. 

As far as things that have remained the same, you can still count on the rapid heating boiler, 3-way solenoid valve, and 58 mm commercial chrome-plated brass portafilter. This thing is ready to go in about five minutes and switching to steam takes sixty seconds.

Finally, the included accessories are a plastic tamper, a single and double shot commercial basket, and a pressurized double shot basket and two-way pin. 

Highlights

What we like:

  • The new steam wand brings this already competitive machine up a notch
  • The rocker switches and indicator lights make for an even more straightforward interface
  • It’s still accessible to relative novices as far as usability

What we don’t:

  • The update came with an updated price tag, which means this machine is going to bat with some mid-range powerhouses instead of other entry-level machines

Who’s it for?

We’d say go with the Classic if you were a fan of the original and are looking to get a newer machine that you won’t need to mod as much to suit your needs. Additionally, if you are newer to the espresso machine scene but know you definitely want a semi-automatic machine with a good milk frother, the Gaggia Pro definitely deserves to make your shortlist. Plus, even with the hiked price, it’s still under $500. 

Brera

Moving on to another favorite entry level machine, except this one is a super-automatic. The Gaggia Brera‘s design has you in mind from step one. It’s easy to use and easier to clean thanks to the three color LED display. 

Some of the highlights of this machine include the programmable espresso brewing, rapid steam technology, ceramic burr grinder, and water filter compatibility. Additionally, the Optiaroma function lets you customize the of your drink strength with light, medium, and strong settings. Also, the espresso and lungo volumes programmable, and the machine will save your preferences.

Furthermore, the burr grinder has 5 different settings, meaning the Brera is actually pretty flexible as far as your grind goes. And if you happen to have pre-ground, you can still utilize the integrated bypass doser without any hassle. 

Highlights

What we like:

  • Competitively priced for an entry level super-auto
  • It’s compact, thoughtfully designed, and easy to operate
  • Reasonably flexible for an automatic brewer

What we don’t:

  • Plastic components will probably need replacing after a couple years of heavy use, shortening the overall lifespan
  • The plastic-based, steel coated pannarello wand is known to be a little flimsy

Who’s it for 

This machine comes in at the same price point as the New Classic with a similar target audience as far as experience. However, this machine is best suited for people who want a simple, straightforward machine that isn’t too hands on (read: not a semi-automatic). 

Carezza DeLUXE

While the styling of the Carezza Deluxe may seem a tad kitschy, it actually. does pull consistently great shots. Coming in at the lowest price point of the entire Gaggia line, you seriously get some bang for your buck with this semi-automatic machine.

This model features a pre-brewing system, boiler temperature gauge, stainless steel cup warmer, and double-walled “Crema Perfetta” filter holder. Overall, the components of this machine come together to pull some pretty impressive shots.

While there is some learning curve to this machine in the grind department, it is actually pretty user friendly. The Pannarello wand helps remove the guesswork from basic milk steaming and is removable in case you want to go coffeehouse style for some latte-worthy microfoam.

Highlights

What we like:

  • Hands-on shot pulling without being overly complex or intimidating
  • More comfortable price point than other Gaggia machines
  • Pre-infusion and 18-gram commercial-style portafilter baskets make for better shot pulling

What we don’t:

  • A good bit of hands-on maintenance, including cleaning the portafilter and milk pitcher after each drink
  • Design components can be a little frivolous (eg. there’s a temp gauge, but you can’t control the temperature)

Who’s it for?

The Brera is perfect for the aspiring home barista on a budget who isn’t afraid to roll their sleeves up a bit to get a good cup of espresso. If yo udon’t need to tweak every single component. of your espresso, but still like to be hands-on, this could be. the semi-auto for you

Anima

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The Gaggia Anima is the base model of the Anima trio and, honestly, our favorite of the three. It’s super slim at just 8.5″ and even though it is rather tall at 18″, it’ll still fit under most cabinets. Plus, with the height, you get the  luxury of brewing into your travel mug. 

Classified as one of their Automatic machines, the only thing you’ll have to put much effort into with this machine is steaming your milk. And even that is super simple. You can brew espressos and lungos to your personal specifications with just a press of a button. From the programming menu, you can choose your temperature preference (3 options), grind size (5 options), and coffee strength. 

Furthermore, the Anima features an Adapting System ceramic burr grinder and integrated bypass doser, so no matter how you like your beans or grounds, it’s got you covered. Also, it includes the Optiaroma brewing system, automated cleaning and maintenance functionality, and water filter compatibility. 

Highlights

What we like:

  • The programmability is appropriate for the price point and the machine pulls a great shot
  • Significantly better price than the other Anima models for a strikingly similar machine
  • Slim profile makes it perfect for home use

What we don’t:

  • All plastic exterior is a bit disappointing at a mid-range price
  • Steam wand doesn’t allow for more manual interaction, which is a bummer for some users

Who’s it for?

This machine is perfect for anyone looking for a mid-range priced super automatic machine. If you don’t mind putting in a tad of effort for steamed milk, this is a great alternative to the other, pricier Anima models, since the biggest difference between them is the milk frothing. However, if you DO want the machine to take care of it for you, check out the Deluxe or Prestige options. 

Velasca Prestige

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Now it’s time to take a look at the big kid machines. The Velasca Prestige has 3 more pre-infusion settings and 5 more grind settings than its closest Gaggia competitor, the Anima Prestige. But that’s not all there is to this machine. 

This one touch espresso machine can brew and froth your drink of choice with just a press of a button. Plus, it’s impressively fast with negligible wait time between brewing and steaming. The  coffee is also adjustable across five strength settings and three temperature settings. So you’re just a touch away from the perfect espresso or even a cappuccino with this machine. 

What’s more is the Veslasca Prestige is incredibly easy to maintain. It alerts you to its own maintenance needs.  Additionally, it comes with a with its own water filter, automated descaling functionality, and a “Carafe Quick Clean” feature to rinse the milk circuit. 

Highlights

What we like:

  • Impressive customizability options in comparison to other comparable Gaggia models
  • Incredibly simple maintenance makes it perfect for people who prefer to be hands-off
  • Simple, one-touch interface and quick heat up

What we don’t:

  • Price is a little high, especially when competing with other powerhouse brands that offer similar functionality for less

Who’s it for?

The Velasca is for the die-hard espresso fan who doesn’t have the time to work with a semi-automatic, but still wants top-notch espresso. Go for this one if you have a bigger budget and are looking for something easy and reliable. 

Things To Consider

Automatic vs Manual

One of the first considerations when buying an espresso machine is the level of automation. Espresso machines can range anywhere from totally manual to super-automatic, so knowing which kind you need to work for your lifestyle and experience level is a vital part of buying a machine. 

As a general rule, people who are serious about their espresso tend to prefer semi-automatics. These machines allow for more hands-on customizability with some modern luxuries of automization to streamline the brewing process. Additionally, semi-automatics tend to come with more manageable price tags, so you can often get more bang for your buck.

Contrastingly, people with less time or motivation to fiddle with their machines tend to go for super-automatic machines. These tend to come with steeper prices, but compensate for it in convenience. Plus, if money really is no object, you can invest in a machine that is almost as customizable as a semi-automatic. 

As for Gaggia’s machines specifically, they offer 12 machines in their Automatic category and 9 in their Manual section (aka semi-automatic). We’ve pulled 2 of the semi-autos (Classic pro and Carezza Deluxe) and 3 of the super-autos (Brera, Anima, and Velasca Prestige) for this article. 

Grinder

The three super-automatics listed here all have built in grinders while the two semi-automatics require you to grind your own beans. So which style is better for you?

Built-in grinders tend to mean less effort on your part, as you can just program the grind on the machine and you can go from bean to cup with minimal effort. On the other hand, if you already have a grinder, this functionality can be a little redundant.

Additionally, some built-ins don’t have very many grind-size options, so you may get more customizability with a separate one. 

Milk Frothing

Next, you should consider how involved you want to be in the milk frothing process. Most of the options we have included here have the Gaggia Pannarello steam wand, which hits a middle ground between manual and automated steaming. 

However there are a few nuances to the milk frothing options here. Some models have the option to remove the Panarello attachment for a more manual frothing experience. The New Classic has a more commercial grade wand that gives you that capability from the get-go. Contrastingly, the Velasca Prestige has an automatic milk frother that takes care of it for you. 

As a general rule, many. at-home baristas prefer the experience of being able to brother their own milk to perfect the texture. However, novices may prefer the assistance that the Pannarello  provides. And people who like to sit back while the machine does its thing may prefer something completely automated. 

Wrapping Up

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