If you’re like me, then you likely can’t function in the morning without a steaming hot cup of coffee in your hands. I’m not talking about that instant stuff, either; I mean good old-fashioned drip coffee from a French press or a percolator.
That said, not everybody wants to spend time every morning grinding coffee beans and cleaning out the old ground from their percolator, which is where a good coffee machine can make a world of difference.
For many years the Gaggia classic was heralded as the king of coffee machines, but it may have been recently usurped from its throne by Gaggia’s latest product, the Classic Pro.
This machine has all of your favorite features from the old Classic but with a few awesome extras that makes it even better for coffee enthusiasts.
If you own a Gaggia Classic and are considering an upgrade, or just looking to replace your old coffee machine, then the Classic Pro is very worth considering.
In this guide, we will be taking a look at both of these premium coffee machines and showing you the difference and similarities between both models.
By the end, you will know all the reasons why the new classic kicks the old classic’s ass and is a worthy successor to this prestigious coffee machine.
Who Is Gaggia – Company History
Gaggia was founded in 1930 by Achille Gaggia, who was working in his families’ coffee bar when he recognized that a more advanced coffee extraction system was needed to keep up with the customer’s demands.
Together with his partner Antonio Cremonese, the two set out to find the perfect espresso.
The Lampo And The Piston Lever
In 1938, Achille and Antonio patented their Lampo extraction method, which used hot water pressure instead of steam to extract flavor from the coffee. The result was less bitter espressos that had a rich layer of Crema Naturale sitting on top.
The Lampo was an excellent system, but due to the way it was designed, it was very difficult to implement into existing coffee machines that still relied on steam.
To tackle this problem, Achille decided the best way to work around it was to build machines that already utilized the Lampo rather than trying to retrofit older systems.
It wasn’t until after World War II that the pair started making coffee machines. The Tipo Classica was the first coffee machine to utilize not just the Lampo extraction system, but also Gaggia’s patented piston lever.
This invention pushed a piston through the coffee filter to pressurize the water as it passed through the grounds.
The result was a sweeter coffee with a much richer flavor due to the higher pressure. These levers are now commonplace on most coffee machines, and their design was reportedly inspired when Gaggia saw the piston engine of an American army jeep.
After gaining popularity in Italy, Gaggia eventually made their way over to America in the 1950s. Teaming up with the engineer Armando Migliorini, Achille made a large selection of commercial machines for espresso bars and cafés.
In 1952, they released their first domestic coffee machine called the Gilda. This machine and its successors the Tipo Iris and Tipo Gilda 54 were all activated by piston pressure to produce high quality coffee in a matter of minutes.
Another thing that made these machines so popular was that it allowed the barista to face the customers.
The back of the machine became an excellent place for company branding, allowing establishments to communicate with their customers. In many ways, Gaggia invented the modern coffee shop that we are familiar with today.
With these iconic machines, Gaggia quickly became one of the most popular brands of coffee machines in the United States. In 1961 Achille passed away, leaving the company to his son and Migliorni who continued to try and improve Achille classic designs.
In the early 1990s, Gaggia decided to take on the challenge of creating a more modern coffee maker than what had come before.
As such, they created the Gaggia Classic, a domestic coffee machine with a sleek stainless steel body that produced beautiful espressos at the push of a few buttons.
Released in 1991, the Classic remained a favorite of coffee enthusiasts for many years, and many people today still love this awesome machine.
In 2007 Gaggia was bought by a Dutch company called Royal Philips Electronics, who recognized the brand’s potential, and made investments to try and improve certain machines.
These modifications were met with a mixed reception from customers, as you will discover later on in this article.
The Basic Anatomy Of An Espresso Machine
Before we take a look at the Gaggia Classic and Classic pro, we thought we would tell you a bit about how coffee machines work.
If you already understand the inner workings of these machines, then you can skip straight to the next section to read our reviews and comparisons.
However, if you don’t know about the different components that make a coffee machine, this section will help to clear up some of the terminology that gets thrown around when discussing them.
Below is a list of the main components required for an espresso machine and what they do:
This is the chamber that holds the espresso machine’s water supply. It feeds water into the boiler, so it can be heated up and passed through your coffee grounds.
Having a large reservoir is useful because it means you can make multiple drinks without having to constantly refill it. That said, it is a good idea to regularly refresh the water in your machines’ reservoir, to prevent it becoming stagnant and giving your coffee a bad taste.
This is the tank that heats up the water for making a steaming hot cup of coffee. A good coffee machine will only take a few minutes to properly heat up and boil your water.
Once the water has boiled it needs to be passed through the coffee ground at around 9 bars of pressure, or 15 for most Gaggia machines. This is the job of the pump, which takes water from the boiler and pressurizes it before passing it through the filter.
Porta – Filter
The porta-filter holds your coffee grounds and is located near the nozzle of the machine. It is often removable to allow you to easily empty it out and refill it with fresh grounds.
To get the perfect cup of coffee, it is a good idea to let your filter heat up with the rest of your machine before you load it up with ground coffee.
The Group Head
This is the device connected to the nozzle that carries the hot water from the boiler, through the porta-filter and into your cup.
Older Gaggia machines made use of a three-way solenoid valve. This component is used to remove pressure from the group head after making a brew.
It helps the filter holder to have complete control of the water pressure in the machine and makes the machine easier to clean. Without a solenoid valve, you get sloppy, wet pucks of used grounds which are difficult to knock out of the filter.
The steam wand is a hollow tube made from metal or plastic attached to the side of a coffee machine. It has two holes at the tip for channeling steam from the boiler through the wand and into a jug of milk.
If you hold the tip of the wand just beneath the surface of the milk, it will make it frothy and suitable for making Latte art as well as other specialty drinks.
The Gaggia Classic featured a simple design that was exceptionally intuitive and easy to use, which is why it was a popular machine since its release in 1991.
The polished stainless steel design still looks very professional and is highly durable to ensure this machine lasted for a very long time.
It also had a reasonably compact footprint that made it easy to fit on most kitchen countertops. This machine had three separate coffee filters, so you can brew single or double espresso with fresh coffee grounds or brew Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods.
As such, it was a versatile coffee machine that could be used to make all of your favorite drinks. With a 2.1 liter reservoir, you could brew two cups of coffee simultaneously thanks to the forked brew head.
Alternatively, this feature could be used to make a large Americano instead of an Espresso. A funnel was also located at the top of the machine, which made it much easier to refill the reservoir.
Why Was It So Popular?
Part of the reason for this machine’s incredible success was its great build quality and innovative design. There are also lots of other amazing features that made the Classic one of the most successful coffee machines Gaggia which we will cover in this section.
One thing that made this machine so easy to use was the three button control panel with rocker switches for turning the machine on, heating up the boiler for a brew, and activating the steam function for using the steam wand.
As well as being simple to navigate, the rocker switches were satisfying to push and added to the overall high quality feel of the machine.
The Solenoid Valve
Another successful feature was the three-way solenoid valve. This component helped to release pressure from the machine’s group head, which helped to dry out the puck of used coffee grounds in the filter.
Not only did this increase the machine’s longevity, but it also made it easier to clean out, since the dry puck could be simply knocked out to be refilled with fresh grounds.
The porta-filter was 58 mm wide and made from polished chrome, which made it easier to clean out. Its large size also helped the filter to hold its heat for longer and improve the taste of your brew.
Like most of the components on the original classic, this porta-filter was highly durable and built to last a very long time.
Older versions of the machine had an aluminum boiler, with the heating elements located on the outside to prevent them calcifying. This made the machine much easier to maintain since you didn’t have to open up the boiler and descale the heating elements.
One of the great features about this boiler was that it could heat up in 45 seconds, meaning you wouldn’t have to wait ages for your morning espresso.
Another great aspect of the Gaggia pro was that it was incredibly easy to disassemble for repairing or replacing certain components. Thanks to the aforementioned solenoid valve, it was simple to back flush the machine and clean it out with a descaling solution.
As well as all of the above features, the Gaggia Classic also featured a steam wand located on the side of the machine for texturing milk.
You could control this wand with the knob on the side of the machine, which opened the valve for channeling steam from the boiler through the wand.
This feature allowed you to create awesome drinks worthy of a professional barista, from cappuccinos to flat whites.
The fact that there are still lots of 1991 Gaggia classic models in circulation is a testament to the durability of this incredible machine, however that didn’t stop some minor changes being made over the years.
How The Machine Changed
After Gaggia was bought by Royal Philips Electronics in 2007, customers started to notice some changes being made to their favorite coffee machine. The 2015 version of the Gaggia classic had a few minor modifications that received a mixed reception from customers.
One addition was adding a new pannarello steam wand, which on the one hand was considerably more difficult to use than the previous version. However, once you got the hang of the Pannarello wand it could be very effective at creating very creamy coffee.
The steam knob on the side of the machine, for channeling steam from the boiler through the wand, was also changed.
While the older Classic had a knob that was fully adjustable, allowing you to feather the steam by turning it on and off, the newer one was a simple open and shut valve.
This lack of control was another thing that made the steam wand on the 2015 Classic more difficult to use.
The changes that drew the most criticism was the use of cheaper parts in the 2015 model. These alterations included replacing the sturdy rocker switches with buttons, and removing the 3-way solenoid valve found on the 1991 model entirely.
Many of these changes had a negative impact on the longevity of the machines and made them generally less satisfying to use.
Many customers complained that the 2015 machines felt cheaper and lacked the sturdy build quality that Gaggia had built its reputation around.
Not all the modifications were bad, though. The aluminum boiler was replaced with a stainless steel one that still had the heating elements on the outside to prevent them becoming calcified.
However, even though it offered some slight improvements, the 2015 version of the Gaggia Classic was generally regarded to have lost most of the features that drew people to it back in 1991.
- The boiler heats up in 45 seconds.
- Heating elements located on the outside of the boiler to prevent calcification.
- A three-way solenoid valve makes cleaning out the porta-filter easier.
- Included steam wand for frothing milk
- Built to last from durable, high quality components.
- Three filters for holding fresh grounds or Easy Serve Espresso pods.
- Can brew two espressos at once.
- Large reservoir that is easy to refill thanks to the funnel at the top.
- Large 58 mm porta-filter is durable and offers great heat dissipation.
- Compact footprint that fits on most kitchen countertops.
- Not as sleek or stylish as some other coffee machines.
- Doesn’t come with a milk jug or inbuilt grinder.
- The 15 bar pressure pump is too powerful.
- Later versions of the machine made after 2015 saw a notable drop in the quality of the components.
The Gaggia Classic Pro was originally going to be called the Gaggia Classic 2019, since it was originally going to be released three years earlier.
It sports the same compact footprint as its predecessor, but with many of the unpopular changes seen in the 2015 Classic removed.
The three-way solenoid valve has been returned to provide dryer pucks and the ability to back flush the machine.
Gaggia have also replaced the stainless steel boiler on the 2015 Classic with the original smaller aluminum version. This boiler is made from anodized aluminum to prevent it corroding and increase the longevity of the machine.
Instead of the buttons found on the 2015 version, the Classic Pro reverts to the old rocker switches, which are more durable and satisfying to use.
The pressure of the machine has been lowered slightly to 12 bars, and if you want to lower it further to the standard 9 bars, then you can do so with a few simple modifications.
Furthermore, the 2015 Classic has a plastic brew head that was less durable and just looked worse than the pre-2009 version which was metal.
Thankfully on the new Classic pro, the brew head is once again made out of metal, and many of the plastic components have been similarly switched out.
For instance, the drip tray is once again made from pure chrome just as it was on the pre-2009 Classic, and the locking mechanism for the porta-filter is similarly made from all metal.
Just like its predecessor, it is very easy to disassemble the Classic Pro and access its internal components.
This makes performing basic repairs and regular maintenance very easy, and provided you look after it, the Classic Pro should last you a very long time.
So What’s Actually New?
So far, you may be forgiven for thinking that all the Classic Pro has done is reverted to the old pre-2009 version of this machine. As you can see, in many respects the Gaggia Pros main innovation was going back to the design of the Old Classic that people loved.
After all, it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, and Gaggia has made a very good decision by unfixing their iconic machine.
However, there are a few alterations that have been made to modernize this famous espresso maker and upgrade it for the modern age, which we have covered below:
The New Steam Wand
The biggest of these improvements is the new steam wand. Gaggia seems to have caught onto the fact that the most common modification made to their machines was replacing the pannarello steam wand with a more professional model made by Rancillo.
That’s why the Gaggia Classic pro saves you the effort and comes with a professional grade steam wand that is made entirely from metal. This steam wand is easier to use and can help you to craft perfectly creamy lattes and cappuccinos at a moment’s notice.
Another new feature that wasn’t included on the original Classic is that you can buy the Gaggia Classic Pro in a range of different colors. This makes it easier to find a machine that matches the decor of your kitchen and allows you to buy a machine that feels more personal.
Different Filter Baskets
One of the things that makes the Classic Pro a machine for both home baristas and casual coffee lovers is that it comes with two different types of filter baskets.
These are made from chrome just like the porta-filter that they fit into and are very easy to clean thanks to the return of the three-way solenoid valve.
The pressurized baskets use an internal screen to filter the coffee into a small holding area with a single hole at the bottom. As the pressure builds up, the coffee is forced through this hole.
Pressurized filter baskets are much easier to use than the standard variety and work well for people who like to use pre-ground coffee.
When the coffee is forced through the small hole, it is aerated in the process. This produces a ‘fake’ crema on the top of your coffee, which looks nice, but isn’t the result of a perfect extraction like a natural crema.
As such, if you are a bit more particular about your morning cup of Joe, then you can grind your own coffee and use the traditional baskets instead.
The non pressurized baskets brew directly into the cup, which means you need to grind your coffee, so it is not too fine, and not too coarse.
You also need to be more careful about when you pull the shot to make sure that the water is neither too cool nor too hot. As you can see, the traditional baskets require a bit more skill to use, but the result is a perfectly pulled shot of coffee with a natural crema over the top.
Gaggia includes both kinds of basket in the box to make the Classic Pro suitable for all skill levels of coffee brewers. Meticulous home baristas will find the traditional baskets great for experimenting and trying to draw the perfect shot.
Meanwhile, the pressurized baskets will make it easier for less fanatical coffee lovers to make a perfectly decent espresso from pre-ground beans.
Does The New Classic Kick The Old Classic’s Ass?
With the addition of a more professional steam wand, the new Classic Pro triumphs over the old Classic in every way. However, if you can find a pre-2009 original Classic, you probably will find that the superior steam wand is the only notable difference.
Most of the ‘new’ features on the Classic Pro are simply undoing the changes that came with the 2015 model of the original classic.
However, just because Gaggia have returned to an old design, doesn’t mean the Classic Pro is a step backwards by any means. Replacing the plastic components with metal ones goes a long way towards improving the over look and feel of the machine.
The new Classic Pro is the kind of high quality machine that coffee fans have come to expect from this prestigious company.
The old steamer knob has also returned, which can be left partially on, unlike the 2015 version that could only be set to open or closed. This makes it easier to temperature surf with this machine and get the exact right temperature for your brew.
So while the original Classic was a formidable machine in its day, we would say that the Classic Pro is an unqualified improvement.
It is the kind of upgrade that customers have wanted for a long time, adding a few modern features while retaining all the things that people loved about the original.
However, it should be said that Gaggia could have done a little more to bring this machine up to date.
While the Gaggia Classic Pro is significantly better than the 2015 Classic, it still has a few issues with heat instability, much like its pre-2009 predecessor. This can make it difficult to draw the perfect shot, since there are still no PID temperature controls built into this machine.
That said, if you dedicate a bit of time towards learning how to temperature surf (which we will cover later on in this article) then you should be able to work around these shortcomings.
The Gaggia Classic Pro is a machine that you have to learn how to use if you want to get the best results from it. Those who aren’t interested in training to become a home barista, will probably not notice the slight difference in taste caused by the machine’s temperature instability.
Next to the 2015 model, there is basically no comparison, and the fact that this iteration of the Classic was such a step backwards only makes the Classic pro look even better.
Over the next few sections we will share a few tips for getting the most out of your Classic Pro, where you can buy one, and how it stacks up compared to other popular coffee machines currently on the market.
- Returns the solenoid valve, aluminum boiler and numerous other features from the original pre-2009 Classic.
- Adds a modern steam wand that works much better than the old Pannarello version.
- Now available in several different colors.
- More durable build quality than the 2015 Classic.
- The variable steam knob makes it easier to temperature surf.
- Still no temperature controls or inbuilt grinder.
- 12 bar pressure is still too high.
- May need a few modifications if you want to make the perfect espresso.
Comparing The Classic Pro To Other Popular Brands
Naturally, there are lots of amazing espresso machines that you can buy online, some of which have features that the Classic Pro doesn’t.
In this section, we will compare the Classic Pro to a few other popular coffee machines to see how this old school veteran holds up against the more modern competition.
The Classic Pro VS The Breville Bambino Plus
The Breville Bambino Plus is another popular domestic espresso machine that has all the modern bells and whistles you don’t get with the Classic Pro.
For a start, it has a more sophisticated control panel with LED lights that tell you when the water is hot enough to draw your shot.
The steam wand is the same quality as the one on the Classic Pro, and it is very easy to use to create a delicious micro-foam.
With a boiler that can heat the water up in 3 seconds and PID temperature controls that ensure the shot is pulled at precisely the right temperature, this is a very easy machine to use.
However, for some it may be a little too easy to use, especially if you want to take up a hobby as a home barista. The Breville Bambino Plus is a tool of convenience and as such, its best espresso won’t really compare to a perfectly pulled shot from the likes of the Gaggia.
By the same token,the temperature controls make it much easier to get a standardized shot from the Bambino. Overall, if we are talking about pure performance, the Bambino is a pretty great coffee machine that produces excellent results with minimal effort.
However, the Gaggia Classic Pro definitely has the upper hand when it comes to durability. The Breville Bambino is a modern machine, which means many of the parts and components are made from plastic and other cheap materials.
While it may last you a good few years, you are unlikely to have it for as long as some people have had their original pre-2009 Gaggia Classics.
Its modern design and more intricate array of functions also means that you can’t take the Breville Bambino apart as easily as you can with the Gaggia. This not only makes it harder to repair if anything goes wrong, but you also can’t modify it as extensively.
For casual coffee fans who aren’t interested in pursuing the perfect espresso, the Bambino will probably be significantly better than the Gaggia Classic Pro.
However, if you want something durable that is going to last a long time, and that can be modified and tweaked, then spending a bit more on the Gaggia will be a very worthwhile investment.
The Classic Pro VS The Delonghi EC680M DEDICA
If you’re looking for something even more sleek and compact than the Gaggia Classic Pro, then the Delonghi Dedica may be just what you are looking for. This model has a simple two button operation with a third button for controlling the steam wand.
However, just because it is simple doesn’t mean it is lacking in functionality, and by holding down some buttons you can unlock the programmable features.
These include setting the brew temp at low, medium or high, altering the size of your shot, and setting the time limit for the machine to automatically turn itself off.
As you can see, these programmable features offer you a bit more control for your average coffee maker than the Gaggia Classic Pro. It also has a higher pressure of 15 bars compared to the 12 bars produced by the Classic Pro.
In theory, more pressure is a benefit, as it will help to extract the flavor from the beans much faster. However, speed isn’t everything, and some home baristas actually modify their Gaggia Classic machines to lower the pressure down as far as 9 bars.
This is because when done properly, a slightly slower extraction can be much better for getting the most out of your beans.
One thing that some customers have complained about is the steam wand on this machine. It often produces quite inconsistent results, with some jugs of milk coming out perfectly with a delicious microfoam and others being a little flatter.
You can probably find a way to buy a new steam wand for this machine, although out of the box it won’t deliver the kind of creamy micro-foams that the Gaggia Classic Pro can produce.
Much like the Bambino we looked at above, the Dedica is not the most durable of machines, and it can’t be as easily disassembled and modified as the Gaggia Classic Pro.
Once again, the Dedica is great for anyone looking for a convenient and easy to use coffee machine that won’t break the bank. However, for the added durability and customization options, the Gaggia Classic Pro is worth the slightly higher price.
The Classic Pro VS Rancilio Silvia E V6
Unlike the other two espresso machines we have compared to the Classic Pro, the Rancilio Silvia E V6 is very durable and built to last. Most of the components are made from polished metal, and the control utilizes the satisfying clunky rocker switches that Gaggia also uses.
The Rancilio Silvia E V6 is the closest you can get to a commercial grade coffee machine without buying something that will take up most of your kitchen counter.
With a boxy design made from high quality stainless steel, this machine looks very similar to the Gaggia with a few notable differences that set it apart.
For a start, the steam knob is located on the front of the machine rather than the side. It also has a brass boiler instead of an aluminum one, and the brew head is similarly made from solid brass to improve its heat stability.
Overall, this is a very high quality home barista machine that will allow you to draw perfect shots of espresso with just a bit of practice. However, this machine doesn’t really have enough features that the Gaggia doesn’t have to justify being almost double the price.
The sturdy nature of this machine may also lead to some confusion when first using it, especially if you are used to more modern espresso machines. For a start, the steam wand can be very powerful, so it is worth exercising caution when opening the steam valve.
There is a lot to love about the Rancilio Silvia, but if you are on a budget, then you will definitely find the Gaggia Classic Pro to be of equal quality and slightly easier to use.
Who Is The Classic Pro For?
The Classic Pro is a great choice for anyone who wants a reliable espresso maker that produces consistently good results. If you want a machine that will last you for years, then the Classic Pro is about as durable as they come.
Furthermore, if anything does go wrong, then this machine is much easier to disassemble than other comparable brands.
This not only makes it easier to repair, but also much easier to modify, and thus we see who the Classic Pro is really built for.
While casual coffee fans will get a damn good shot of coffee from this machine, it will work best for home baristas and coffee enthusiasts who want to take their brewing skills to the next level.
The Classic Pro is a great option for those who like to experiment with their coffee drinks to try and make the perfect espresso.
With a few minor modifications, such as tinkering with the pump, you can easily slightly lower the pressure that the machine operates at, which will enhance the flavor of your beans.
This is also a good machine for learning how to temperature surf without having digital controls to tell you the exact temperature of the water in the boiler.
As such, using the Classic Pro will definitely make you a better barista, and if this is a hobby that interests you, this machine comes highly recommended.
However, even if you don’t want to make coffee your hobby, this is still a great manual coffee machine for everyday use.
Where Can I Buy The Gaggia Classic Pro?
If you can, it is best to buy this machine from Gaggia Direct which is based in England. While your order may take slightly longer to arrive, and may cost a little more, you will be rewarded with an excellent after sale service.
If anything has gone wrong with your machine, or you receive a defective unit, then the friendly staff at Gaggia direct will be more than happy to help you.
You may be able to find the Classic Pro for a cheaper price on other websites, but before you buy it, it will be a good idea to read a few reviews first.
After all, if you are going to spend $400 plus on an espresso machine, you want it to arrive in working order and for the customer service to be helpful if that isn’t the case.
Below we have included links for buying the Gaggia Classic Pro from Gaggia Direct as well as a few other online retailers.
Special Editions And Bundles
As with any popular product, the Gaggia Classic Plus has had a few commemorative special editions over the years. The most popular one is the Acrobat edition that was released to celebrate the Classic’s 30th anniversary.
This edition was mostly the same as the regular Classic Pro but with a decorative casing sporting beautiful illustrations drawn by Pierpaolo Gaballo.
The decals feature an acrobat with three pictures, intended to represent three aspects about Gaggia as a company and the products they produce.
The acrobat on the front represents agility, while the one wrapped around the steam knob is intended to symbolize strength, with the third acrobat on the side denoting balance.
Together the three acrobats show the versatility of Gaggia’s Classic machine as well as the strong yet balanced coffee they can produce.
Only 3000 of these machines were made, so if you like the style and want one it would be better to buy it sooner rather than later.
You can also pick up the Gaggia Classic Pro as part of a bundle that also includes an automatic Nemox Lux grinder. This is a useful piece of kit for quickly grinding up your fresh coffee beans and speed up your morning espresso ritual.
This grinder is made from high quality stainless steel, with durable components that make it an excellent companion for the Gaggia Classic Pro. Provided you look after them, both devices will be making you high quality coffee for many years to come.
One issue is that the Nemox Grinder isn’t the best for true espresso connoisseurs, since it has a stepped adjustment system.
This makes it great as an all-purpose grinder, but those that want a more precise grind for crafting the perfect espresso would likely prefer a grinder with a worm dial adjustment instead.
That said, it is still a high quality grinder and a great extra to get alongside your Classic pro. If you take advantage of this offer while it is still available, you can get an extra year’s warranty on both machines.
If you are curious about this offer, then you can follow this link to have a look for yourself.
Tips And Tricks For Getting The Best Coffee From Your Gaggia Classic Pro
In this final section, we thought we would share some tips and tricks for getting the best espresso possible from your Gaggia Classic Pro.
None of this advice will make you a professional barista overnight, but it may help you to improve your espressos and get a taste for just what you can do with this machine and a bit of practice.
How To Temperature Surf
Temperature surfing is the practice of making small adjustments to the temperature of the water before pulling your shot of coffee. Getting the temperature just right is essential for drawing the perfect espresso.
If the water is too cold, you won’t get the full flavor from your beans, and if it is too high, then your coffee may taste burnt.
Some machines will have PID automatic temperature controls to make sure that water is just right before pulling a shot. However, the same temperature won’t work for different types of beans, and some may benefit from being brewed with slightly hotter or colder water.
The national coffee association states that the best water temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 °F and 205 °F. With a little tinkering and practice, it is very easy to get your water in this temperature range using a single boiler espresso machine such as the Gaggia Classic Pro.
If you suspect that your water is too cold and want to raise the temp, you can turn the steam function on for a few seconds. Doing this will trick the boiler into heating the water up more.
After a few seconds have passed, disable the steamer function and quickly draw your shot before the boiler can cool.
Should you wish to lower the temperature of your water, then you can do so by running the brew function without the porta-filter in place. This will cause hot water to come out of the machine, which will make the boiler draw in more cold water from the reservoir.
As you can see, it is very easy to adjust the temperature of your water without PID controls.
With a little trial and error, you will soon be able to work out how to get the perfect temperature for brewing your espresso. Yes, it may take a few attempts, but this is half the fun of being a home barista.
Grinding Your Coffee Beans
When using your Classic Pro, you want your coffee beans to be finely ground. If they are too coarse, then you likely won’t get the optimal extraction of flavor and aroma from your beans.
Ideally, you want your coffee to have the same consistency and texture as sugar after it has been ground. Again, finding the perfect grind for your beans takes a bit of patience and practice, but once you get it right you will definitely be able to taste the difference.
Using The Steam Wand
Steam wands can be quite difficult to use properly, but once you master them, you will be amazed at how much better your lattes and cappuccinos will taste. When frothing milk, it is best to use a 12oz pitcher that has been chilled and filled with cold milk.
Always purge your steam wand by turning it quickly on and off just before putting it in your milk. This will remove any leftover water at the tip of the wand, which may contaminate your milk.
On single boiler machines like the Gaggia Classic Pro, you can learn how long it normally takes the machine to get up to steaming temperature.
Once you know this, it can help to activate the steam wand just before the machine indicates that it is ready. This will keep the heating element active while you are steaming, which will help you to get a bit more air out of the wand.
Hold the tip of the wand under the surface of the milk. The closer you can get the tip of the wand to the surface while still keeping it submerged, the frothier your milk will be.
For a latte, you want to get as much air into the milk as possible before the pitcher starts to feel warm. For cappuccinos, you want to keep adding air for a bit longer after it has reached the right temp.
Your milk should be done once it is between 135° and 150 °F, any warmer, and you may end up affecting the taste of your milk. Once you think you have reached this temperature range, turn off the steam wand while the tip is still in the milk.
You can then remove your pitcher, and it is highly recommended to wipe down your steam wand and purge it one last time before pouring your milk.
Doing this prevents milk from being sucked up the wand where it will be difficult to remove and may cause serious problems for your machine.
And there you have it. You now know everything there is to know about the Gaggia Classic Pro and why it kicks the ass of the old Classic (well, the 2015 version at least).
You have also hopefully picked up a few helpful tips on how to make the most of your machine and get the best espresso possible.
While there are models out there that will produce equally tasty coffee with less effort, none of them are quite as durable or as satisfying to use as the Gaggia Classic Pro.
If you are a home barista, or want to become one, then this is a great machine for you that will help you hone your skills and learn how to draw the perfect shot every time.
Last update on 2023-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API