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Gaggia Classic Pro Review (2023) – Still Good or a Dying Relict?

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The Gaggia Classic Pro has long been the go-to espresso machine for those in search of a bargain. Its reputation for producing great espresso while remaining relatively cheap has seen it become a cult favourite of espresso aficionados worldwide.

However, with the first Classic Pro being introduced more than three decades ago, it’s fair to ask whether this legend of the home espresso world still has what it takes to keep pace with today’s machines.

In this Gaggia Classic Pro review, I’ll be taking a closer look at the iconic machine, examining its features and performance, and answering the ultimate question: is it still a relevant choice for the discerning home barista, or has this classic machine finally reached the end of its useful life?

Gaggia Classic Pro Review Overview

SPECS

  • Single boiler
  • Dual heating
  • 72oz removable tank
  • Removable drip tray
  • Single/double shot
  • 58mm portafilter
  • 15 bar pump
  • Steam wand
  • Plastic tamper
  • Multiple colors
  • Hot water spout


PROS

Superb build quality

Makes great espresso

Beginner-friendly machine

Excellent frothing ability

Easy to clean and maintain

CONS

Overheats easily

Heavy for its size

Plastic tamper

Gaggia Classic Pro Overview

Right at the bat, I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the Gaggia Classic Pro. As an entry-level semi-automatic machine, it’s definitely packing some serious features.

But it also has some drawbacks, which I will be discussing throughout my Gaggia Classic Pro review. For now, here is a rough overview of the machine and my impressions.

For 30 years and counting, this machine has been designed to provide users with the perfect combination of style, functionality and delicious espresso.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Gaggia Classic Pro is its sleek and stylish design that hasn’t changed much over the years. This machine is made of high-quality stainless steel, giving it a premium look and feel.

Not only does it look great, but it’s also built to last. In other words, the Classic Pro is a durable machine that’s built to withstand regular use.

In terms of functionality, the Gaggia Classic Pro is extremely easy to use. The machine features a simple interface with intuitive controls. It also has a commercial-style 58mm portafilter that allows for easy insertion and removal of the coffee grounds.

When it comes to making espresso, the Gaggia Classic Pro doesn’t disappoint. The machine comes with a dual heating system that allows it to maintain a consistent temperature.

However, since it is a single boiler machine powered by a 15-bar pump, it tends to overheat. This means that you will have to practice temperature surfing to achieve a perfect brewing temperature.

Don’t worry, I will share more details about this a bit later in this Gaggia Classic Pro review so keep on reading!

I have to mention that the Gaggia Classic Pro also features a commercial-style steam wand that allows you to froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos. It performs great!

As for the capacity, the Classic Pro features a 72oz water tank, which comes down to a little more than 2 litres. You will notice that the tank is removable for easy cleaning and refilling. It’s also got a removable drip tray for even easier cleaning.

That said, whether you’re a novice or an experienced barista, this reliable espresso machine is sure to impress. In the rest of my Gaggia Classic Pro review, I will take you through each feature one by one so keep on reading!

Main Features

Design & Ease of Use

When I first saw it, I was immediately drawn to the Gaggia Classic Pro, and its design did not disappoint. The sleek stainless steel finish is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also gives off a professional vibe that makes you feel like a master barista.

But what I like most about this machine is the option to choose a colour that matches your kitchen. With choices like Cherry Red, Classic Blue, Industrial Grey, Polar White, and Thunder Black, this espresso machine is quite stylish.

In terms of ease of use, the Gaggia Classic Pro has a user-friendly interface that anyone can navigate. The interface features three switches for power, brewing, and steaming that pretty much speak for themselves.

Gaggia Classic Pro Design & Interface

As for the milk frothing, you will notice a large knob on the right-hand side that allows you to control the steam pressure with a slight turn of the knob.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that the ease of use, the build quality, combined with a great brewing performance, which I will discuss later in this Gaggia Classic Pro review, are the three main reasons why this machine endured this long and is selling so well.

Build Quality

As I mentioned earlier in the review, the Gaggia Classic Pro’s housing is constructed with high-quality stainless steel material that not only looks sleek but is also rugged enough to withstand daily use without succumbing to wear and tear.

This heavy-duty construction ensures the machine’s durability over the years. You don’t have to worry about their machine breaking down. And even if you manage to break it, every single espresso machine repairman in the world will know how to fix it.

I like the attention to high-quality material standards employed by Gaggia. The portafilter and grouphead are also made of stainless steel, providing heat stability and consistent temperature control during the brewing process.

Boiler

Although it doesn’t have dual boilers, the single boiler does a pretty solid job. It heats up quite fast so you don’t have to wait longer than five minutes to brew your espresso.

On the downside, the single boiler setup means that you can’t brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way.

It also means that you’ll have to learn how to temperature surf in order to lower the brewing temperature after steaming milk or brewing back-to-back espresso shots.

In my opinion, this is the most significant downside of Gaggia Classic Pro. However, if brewing espresso is the main reason why you’re considering this machine, then there’s absolutely no need to worry.

Water Tank

As I mentioned earlier in the overview of the Gaggia Classic Pro review, it boasts an impressive 72-ounce (2.1 litre) water tank, which is removable for convenient cleaning and refilling.

Gaggia Classic Pro Water Tank

One feature that really stands out here is the maximum level indicator, which ensures that you never overfill the water tank. The transparent design of the water reservoir also allows you to monitor the water level with ease.

Portafilter

The portafilter is an integral part of the espresso-making process, and the Gaggia Classic Pro certainly does not disappoint in this regard. Its 58mm size is ideal for maintaining consistency in extraction, ensuring that each shot is of the same quality.

I really like the fact that the Classic Pro is now improved with a three-way solenoid valve, which provides optimal pressure regulation and helps prevent messy and inconsistent puck extraction.

The valve also allows for quick and easy cleaning of the portafilter after brewing, making maintenance a breeze (more about cleaning and maintaining a bit later in my Gaggia Classic Pro review).

As for the design, the portafilter’s ergonomically designed handle makes it easy to grip and manoeuvre, even for those with smaller hands. The heavy-duty construction ensures durability, longevity, and excellent espresso extraction.

Steam Wand

The upgrade to a commercial steam wand from the previous model’s Panarello steam wand is a welcome addition to the Gaggia Classic Pro.

Gaggia Classic Pro Steam Wand

What does this mean for your latte art you ask? Well, the two holes in the nozzle now allow for the creation of perfect microfoam milk for latte art that you have never been able to achieve with the previous model.

It’s truly impressive how quickly and efficiently it can froth milk for espresso drinks. The rotating dial gives you a lot of fine control over the amount of steam that is released, allowing you to customize the texture of the milk according to your preference.

Drip Tray

What I like the most is that the spacious design of the tray on Gaggia Classic Pro allows for a decent amount of liquid to accumulate before it needs to be emptied.

You should know that the top of the tray is made of high-quality stainless steel, which makes it durable and long-lasting. The bottom container is made of plastic.

Another thing that you need to know is that the drip tray is removable. This makes emptying it and cleaning it incredibly easy.

Furthermore, the tray is designed in such a way that it prevents any spills or drips from occurring when it is being removed or emptied. This is a great feature as it means that the machine and surrounding area remain clean and dry.

Tamper

As the last feature that I will discuss in this Gaggia Classic Pro review, I have to say that I’m fairly disappointed to learn that you get a plain plastic tamper with your purchase.

Gaggia Classic Pro Tamper

Just a note, the Classic Prestige model (about $100 more expensive) includes a professional tamper made from stainless steel. Not only that, but other parts such as the portafilter and brew group are made from brass for even better performance.

So if you are in love with Classic Pro, but need a step-up, the Prestige might be it.

Brewing Performance

I must say, the Gaggia Classic Pro is capable of making great espresso shots. With its user-friendly design, even if you are a beginner espresso enthusiast, you can pull decent shots consistently.

First things first, fill up the water tank with fresh water and flip the switch on the left-hand side to turn on the machine. Give it about 5 minutes (or less) to heat up, and you’ll be ready to brew espresso.

While you wait for it to heat up you can grind your coffee. For a single shot, you’ll want to grind around 7-10 grams of fresh coffee beans. If you’re looking for a double shot, aim for 16-18 grams.

Next, tamp the coffee grounds down to make sure they’re nice and even. If you want the best results, I suggest using a professional espresso tamper instead of the plastic one that comes with the Gaggia Classic Pro.

Now that your machine is all heated up, it’s time to start brewing. Insert the portafilter into the brew head, ensuring it’s locked tightly, and hit the brew switch (the one in the middle).

The Classic Pro will do its thing and start brewing the espresso using its 15-bar pressure. Although 9 bars are technically enough, this machine goes a little above and beyond.

Just a heads up, though. Like other espresso machines in this price range, temperature control can be a bit unpredictable with the Classic Pro since it only has one boiler. To avoid any overheating issues, I recommend purging some water through the group head before pulling your shot.

Overall, with a bit of practice and experimentation, you can easily become a pro at using the Gaggia Classic Pro. There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be able to pull some delicious espresso shots with this machine.

Gaggia Classic Pro Brewing Performance

Milk Frothing Performance

Once again, I’m impressed with its milk-frothing capabilities. As I said in my Gaggia Classic Pro review earlier, it has a commercial-style steam wand that can produce high-quality milk foam, ideal for latte art and other espresso-based drinks.

One of the main reasons for this is that the wand has two holes for steam flow, which allows for better milk texturing and consistent froth production.

To start frothing, hit the right-hand side switch and wait until the machine is ready. The light below the switch should turn on and you should be ready to froth some milk.

While you wait for the Classic Pro to get ready, fill the milk pitcher with the desired amount of milk. I recommend using a stainless steel pitcher if you want to get the top-notch micro-foam.

Before placing the wand in the milk, purge the excess water. Then simply insert the steam wand into the milk pitcher and turn on the knob on the right-hand side of the machine.

For the best results, the wand tip should then be just below the milk’s surface to create a swirling motion that aerates the milk and produces a creamy, velvety texture.

You can adjust the steam pressure by turning the steam knob clockwise or counterclockwise to suit your preference.

You should know that the steam power may take some getting used to, but with practice, you can achieve latte art-worthy foam with Gaggia Classic Pro great for your latte art and even delicate flat white if you are like me.

Here is also a useful video guide on how to steam milk with Classic Pro:

Shoutout to Coffee Kev for this tutorial!

Cleaning & Maintainance

Maintaining the Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine is essential to ensuring that it continues to produce high-quality espresso shots every time. Here is a short overview of what you should do on a regular basis:

  • Daily Cleaning: you should clean the portafilter, group head, and steam wand after each use. I usually use a damp cloth to wipe away any residual coffee grounds or milk residue from the espresso machine.
  • Backflushing: Once a week, you should backflush the machine with espresso machine cleaning powder. Backflushing ensures that any coffee oils are removed, and the shower screen is kept clean.
  • Descaling: Every three months, you must descale the machine using a descaling solution. Descaling is essential because minerals in water can build up and damage the machine if not properly removed.
  • Lubricating: you should also apply a food-grade lubricant to the brew head and steam wand threads once a month. Regular lubrication ensures that the machine’s moving parts continue to function smoothly.
  • Water Tank Cleaning: empty and rinse the water tank daily and give it a thorough cleaning with a brush and hot, soapy water once a month.

By following these simple maintenance steps, you can ensure that your Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine is always in top condition for years and even decades!

Who Is Gaggia Classic Pro For?

I can confidently say that the Gaggia Classic Pro is a great choice for those who are looking for an espresso machine that delivers exceptional results without breaking the bank.

Even if you are an espresso newbie, Classic Pro is the perfect starter machine because it is easy to use, reliable, and won’t require extensive knowledge of espresso-making.

Furthermore, if you have had enough of the cheap, unreliable models that fail or give inconsistent results, the Gaggia Classic Pro is the great next step due to its quality and durability.

For home baristas keen on creating latte art, the Gaggia Classic Pro has an added advantage as it is capable of producing velvety microfoam, giving you the capability to create intricate and beautiful latte art designs.

Who Is Gaggia Classic Pro Not For?

For those in search of an inexpensive starter espresso machine, the Gaggia Classic Pro may not be the ideal choice. Admittedly, this is because it leans towards the pricier end of the spectrum.

Therefore, it may not be the first preference if you are trying to cut costs. Instead, it would be more suitable to direct efforts towards espresso machines under $200.

Furthermore, if are looking for a mid-range, semi-automatic that can offer a plethora of modern features that aid in the customization of your espresso shots, the Classic Pro might not be an appropriate option.

Through advanced technological features like PID control and volumetric control, the Breville Bambino Plus allows for more precise and consistent espresso shots.

Gaggia Classic Pro Review – Conclusion

After summarizing the Gaggia Classic Pro, I have to say that it is one of the best espresso machines around for beginner baristas.

From its high-quality stainless steel housing to its steaming wand with commercial-grade tip, it has everything you need to get started making delicious espresso drinks.

Best of all, its price tag is very reasonable for what you get.

As a result, I highly recommend the Gaggia Classic Pro as an affordable and dependable option. If you’re looking for a great espresso machine at a mid-range price point, then this is definitely worth considering.

Gaggia Classic Pro Review Overview

SPECS

  • Single boiler
  • Dual heating
  • 72oz removable tank
  • Removable drip tray
  • Single/double shot
  • 58mm portafilter
  • 15 bar pump
  • Steam wand
  • Plastic tamper
  • Multiple colors
  • Hot water spout


PROS

Superb build quality

Makes great espresso

Beginner-friendly machine

Excellent frothing ability

Easy to clean and maintain

CONS

Overheats easily

Heavy for its size

Plastic tamper

Thanks for reading my Gaggia Classic Pro review! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. PS. Credits to Gaggia’s product page for images.

Gaggia Classic Pro Review – FAQs

What are the dimensions of the Gaggia Classic Pro?

The machine measures 9.5 inches wide, 8 inches deep, and 14.2 inches tall.

Does the Gaggia Classic Pro have a built-in grinder?

No, the machine does not feature an integrated grinder, so you will need to purchase a separate grinder if you don’t already have one.

Does the Gaggia Classic Pro have an automatic milk frother?

No, the machine does not have an automatic milk frother, but it does feature a steam wand to manually froth milk for your cappuccinos and lattes.

What kind of warranty does the Gaggia Classic Pro come with?

The machine comes with a one-year warranty covering defects in materials or workmanship. Extended warranties are also available for purchase.

Photo of author

Author: Ivan Brozincevic

Ivan fell in love with everything about espresso while he was in college back in 2010, so much so that he decided to quit his education and pursue a career as a barista. Today, Ivan has extensive knowledge about espresso, espresso gear, and everything else related and loves sharing it with others who share his passion.

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