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The Gaggia Classic is truly deserving of its name. It was first released in 1991 and quickly became one of the most popular domestic espresso options just before the turn of the century. It went through many iterations over the years, some that were popular, and others less so, but with the release of the 'Pro' version in 2019, Gaggia re-established this little beauty as one of the top choices for aspiring home baristas on a tight budget. Then, in 2023, Gaggia released the new 'Evo Pro', adding some subtle but significant upgrades to the already excellent Gaggia Classic Pro. Both versions share much of the aesthetic of the original Gaggia Classic but with lots of minor cosmetic improvements, and some pretty significant feature upgrades.
About the Gaggia Classic Pro home espresso machine
Although Gaggia has named both recent versions 'Pro', this is a bit of a misnomer. This Gaggia Classic, like its predecessors is squarely aimed at the home barista. However, it does offer some pretty serious features when compared to other machines in its price bracket.
Among these important features is a 3-way solenoid valve which helps to release pressure from the group head after pulling a shot. This is something that all higher end and commercial espresso machines have, but many entry level home machines lack. Lack of a solenoid valve can lead to sloppy pucks and lots of cleanup.
The biggest upgrade that the Pro version of the Classic received was an improved steam wand with a two hole tip. We can vouch for the fact that it provides pretty decent pressure for such a small machine, definitely enough to practice some latte art at home. Previous versions of the Classic were quite underpowered when it comes to steam, this makes a world of difference for the aspiring home barista.
With these important features, this new version of the Gaggia Classic also sports a brushed stainless steel finish (also available painted in other colours), while still retaining the compact and recognisable aesthetic of its predecessors.
About the new Evo version of the Gaggia Classic Pro
So what's the difference between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro, you might ask. Well, it boils down to a few mostly invisible, but important differences, which mostly have to do with improved materials. The portafilter head is stainless steel instead of chrome-plated. The grouphead, similarly, has a stainless steel exterior, but has also been upgraded to brass inside, for better temperature stability. The aluminium boiler has also received an upgrade in the industrial coating which should improve longevity and reduce limescale. Even the type of paint used has been upgraded!
All in all, this is the same Gaggia Classic Pro that has taken the world (and South Africa) by storm with some thoughtful fine-tuning from the manufacturers that should make it even more consistent and reliable.
Who is the Gaggia Classic for
We recommend the Gaggia Classic for aspiring home baristas on a relatively tight budget. The market is full of cheap kitchenware pseudo espresso machines, and many people regret purchasing them, because they just cannot produce real espresso-based beverages. The Gaggia Classic currently represents the most affordable way to make the "real deal" at home.
Because it has a three way solenoid valve and proper steam wand, you can make espresso-based drinks on the Gaggia Classic like you would on a higher end machine, including cappuccinos, flat whites and many others. Perhaps most importantly, the Gaggia Classic has a 58mm group head, like higher end and commercial machines. Not only does this mean that you can use readily available accessories like tampers and filter baskets on this machine, it also means that the dynamics of extraction are pretty similar to what you would get on other models.
Don't give into the pressure
One of the quirky things about the Gaggia Classic is that it comes both with pressurised portafilter baskets, like lower end machines, but also with a "proper" espresso basket that does not add pressure.
The pressurised baskets are designed to help you produce crema with pre-ground, stale, or too coarsely ground coffee. They allow you to skimp on the all important espresso grinder companion for your machine. We would recommend you put them in a drawer and forget you ever saw them. If you're contemplating doing espresso without a proper espresso grinder, then espresso may not be for you.
Luckily, Gaggia also provides a proper espresso basket with the Classic and because of the 58mm group head, you can purchase many other professional baskets that will fit with the machine. These baskets require you to use a proper espresso grinder and dial in your grind properly, but that is exactly what you should want to do if you want to drink proper espresso or espresso-based beverages!
Learn from the Classics
If you're ready to invest the time and energy into learning proper barista skills, but you need to be careful about how much you spend, then the Gaggia Classic may well be the machine for you. It will allow you to make great espresso and espresso-based beverages with practice, provided you also invest in a good espresso grinder and good, fresh coffee beans.
If you need advice on any of these items, or just want to chat about your options, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help you pick your ideal home setup!
Gaggia Classic espresso machine features
- Designed & made in Italy
- Professional-style 58mm group head and portafilter
- High pressure 2-hole steam wand
- 3-way solenoid valve
- Easy to use retro rocker buttons
- Indicator lights for each function
- Includes standard and pressurised portafilter baskets
- Stainless steel cup warmer
- Super compact design
Gaggia Classic espresso machine specifications
- 15-bar pump
- 2.1L water tank
- Brush stainless steel body (or painted if choosing a colour)
- Steel & plastic portafilter included
- Steel & brass upgraded grouphead
- Single, rapid-heating aluminium boiler with upgraded coating
- Plastic & steel drip tray with extra capacity
- Unboxed weight: 7.3kg
- Dimensions: 23 X 38 X 24 mm
- Voltage: 220-240V
- Power: 1100-1200W
We recommend using filtered (but not distilled) water in your Gaggia Classic (or any other) espresso machine. This will make sure that you're coffee tastes great and your machine lasts a long time by avoiding the buildup of limescale and sediment.