Gaggia Classic Pro – A Worthwhile Investment?

The Coffee Folk is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Gaggia Classic Pro is a timeless espresso machine that has been around since 1991. In 2019, after Phillips took over Gaggia, it underwent some design updates and recently in 2023 the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro was released. In this article, we will review the Gaggia Classic Pro and consider whether it is a worthwhile investment for those looking for an entry-level espresso machine.

Gaggia Classic Pro

The Gaggia Classic Pro is an affordable, entry-level espresso machine. It is known to be an absolute workhorse that will last for years with a bit of TLC. It is also able to produce a decent shot of espresso. However, the lack of features may put some espresso lovers off.

Gaggia Classic Pro

Gaggia Classic Pro Review


Classic Evo Pro

Features:

  • Single Boiler
  • 72 oz. Reservoir
  • Three-way Solenoid Valve
  • Commercial 58mm Portafilter
  • Commercial Steam Wand

Design Updates

Over the years the Gaggia Classic has had several iterations.

  • 2019- The Gaggia Classic Pro was released. This model introduced several helpful features including a new commercial steam wand (instead of a Panarello-style one) and a solenoid valve to produce a dry puck. Additionally, the machine had larger control switches and was offered in a variety of colors further enhancing its aesthetic appeal.
  • 2023- The Gaggia Classic Evo Pro was released. The most notable improvement on the Evo Pro is that it ships with a 9-bar OPV spring, eliminating the need for modifications. The portafilter is now crafted from solid stainless steel, complemented by a brass group head. Internally, the machine has undergone updates to improve its durability and serviceabilty. Finally, the boiler also features a non-stick, anti-corrosion coating to prevent scale build-up.

For those considering the Gaggia Classic Pro, we recommend opting for the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro model, as it offers added features for a similar price.

What’s To Love About the Gaggia Classic Pro?

Shot Quality

If you are thinking about investing in an espresso machine, this is one of the key features you need to consider. How good a shot does it pull? So how does the Gaggia Classic Pro fare? And the answer is fairly well! The Gaggia is capable of producing some decent espresso shots with a rich body and mouthfeel and thick crema. 

It uses a commercial-sized 58mm portafilter and comes with both pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets. For the best-tasting espresso, we would recommend using the non-pressurized baskets or even investing in a VST filter basket which aids in getting uniform extraction.

While the Gaggia can produce a decent shot, it does have a few quirks.

Gaggia Classic Pro

Brewing Pressure

It was a well-known fact that the Gaggia Classic Pro was set to 15 bars of pressure rather than the desired 9 bars. This was to cater to those using pre-ground coffee, which produces a better shot at a slightly higher pressure. However, if you wanted to use freshly ground coffee, you needed to buy an OPV mod (basically a selection of springs at either 9, 6.5, or 5 bars of pressure) and install it to achieve the desired 9 bars.

The latest iteration, the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro is set to 9 bars of pressure straight out of the box, so this is the best model to opt for if you want to use freshly ground coffee.

Temperature Control

The next thing to consider is temperature control. The Gaggia Classic Pro has a small boiler (120ml) which allows it to heat up quickly. However, when it comes to temperature control, it does struggle to maintain a stable brewing temperature as it does not have a built-in PID. This means that you may have to do a bit of temperature surfing to ensure your shot is brewed at the ideal temperature. If you are a coffee geek, you may want to install a PID kit (Auber kit) which allows you to tightly control the brewing temperature, but these are pretty expensive.

Temperature Surfing- This technique involves timing the espresso shot with fluctuations in the machine’s temperature to ensure that the water used for brewing is at the ideal temperature range. When the machine gets hot, you need to flush out the extra hot water by dumping it in the drip tray and pull the shot as the machine reheats and the water is at a better temperature.

Milk Frother

We mentioned above that the steam wand was one of the major updates with the Gaggia Classic Pro. And while the new commercial wand is a massive improvement from the Panarello wand, the steaming power is not exceptional. It takes a while to get the milk to the right temperature, and while it is ok at stretching the milk, it struggles with forming a vortex to texture the milk. Some users have also complained about the lack of flexibility in the wand mechanics when positioning the jug. All that being said, the wand is adequate and allows better control over frothing than the Panarello did. 

Pouring Milk

Ease of Use

The Gaggia Classic Pro has a well-thought-out design and is effortless to use. The machine has three rocker switches to control the Power, Brewing, and Steaming. A light indicates when the machine has warmed up, and then you simply switch the Brewing switch to pull a shot or the Steaming switch and turn the dial to steam your milk. The Pro version also has a new pump which makes it quieter when in use than the original version. The water tank can be accessed from the front of the machine and is easy to fill.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Unlike some other models, the Gaggia doesn’t have a clean me button to indicate when it’s due for a clean. However, cleaning it is relatively straightforward. You can easily remove the drip tray to drain it and clean it. The Solenoid valve also makes it easy to remove the puck and clean the portafilter without creating a mess. When it comes to long-term maintenance, the descaling is a bit more complicated. The process is time-consuming and cumbersome, involving the disassembly of some parts. However, as this doesn’t have to be done all that regularly, it’s not a deal-breaker.

In terms of maintenance, the Gaggia is very well-resourced. It is very easy to repair with a large range of spare parts available. There is a whole community of owners with information on hacks, upgrades, and accessories available.

Build Quality

The Gaggia Classic Pro has excellent build quality. It simply feels like a premium machine. It has a stainless steel body with a decent weight to it. The rocker switches are durable and easy to use. The only drawback is that the portafilter feels a bit cheap, and the plastic tamper it comes with needs a serious upgrade (but who uses the tamper provided by the espresso company anyway!) The Gaggia is widely regarded as a packhorse when it comes to performance, and it seems the company has made the wise decision of investing its money in a well-built machine rather than fancy features.

What’s Not To Like About The Gaggia Classic Pro?

Lack of Features

When you buy a Gaggia Classic Pro, you are purchasing a high-quality but basic espresso machine. It doesn’t have all the latest features like pre-infusion technology or PID temperature control. If you are a coffee geek wanting to tweak your recipe, this may not be the machine for you.

Single Boiler

The single boiler can be a bit frustrating, as it means you cannot brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously. You also have to purge a lot of water to get the machine down to a suitable temperature for brewing espresso, which means switching between brewing and steaming takes some time. However, you will be hard-pressed to find a dual-boiler espresso machine at this price point. We recommend steaming the milk first and then waiting for the boiler to cool to the right temperature before pulling your espresso shot.

Basket and Tamper

Both the basket and tamper are a bit cheap and flimsy and really need an upgrade. But this is a quick fix, and updating these will vastly improve the espresso shots you are able to pull from the machine. See our guide to the best espresso tampers here

Pros:

  • Excellent build quality
  • Holds value well
  • Quick to heat up
  • Pulls good shots

Cons:

  • Not great brew temperature and pressure
  • Few extra features
  • Single boiler
  • Requires separate grinder

Who Should Purchase the Gaggia Classic Pro?

The Gaggia Classic Pro is an excellent machine for the hobbyist barista who doesn’t mind tinkering around with different parts. With the addition of a few mods, the Gaggia pulls some amazing shots when paired with a quality grinder. Alternatively, if you are going to be using pre-ground coffee, the Gaggia is a great entry-level espresso machine to invest in. Overall this machine is well-built, has a timeless design, and holds its value well. It is an excellent option for someone looking for an affordable entry into espresso.

Gaggia Classic Pro-Final Verdict

If you are looking for an affordable entry into espresso, the Gaggia Classic Pro is an excellent option. While it does have some minor issues that may require tweaking, it is built like a tank and works like a packhorse. Most importantly, it is capable of producing decent shots of espresso. We recommend opting for the latest model, the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro which has a few helpful updates and is a similar price.

Gaggia Classic pro

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *