Gaggia Classic Pro – A Worthwhile Investment?

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. 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


Design Updates

With Phillips taking over the company, they recently released an updated version of the Gaggia Classic in 2019. The so-called pro version has several updates which have improved on the original design.

  • Design: We all know a key selling feature of espresso machines these days is the aesthetic appeal. The Gaggia Classic Pro has a timeless, retro design and is now available in a range of colors- brushed stainless steel, matte white, and thunder black to name a few. They have also installed larger, more sturdy controls switches. 
  • Steam Wand: Probably one of the best updates has been the addition of a professional steam wand with two holes. Previously the Gaggia Classic had a plastic Panarello steam wand, which was easy to use but unable to produce microfoam. The updated steam wand allows much better control over your milk steaming.
  • Solenoid Valve: This is a handy addition that is typically found on more expensive models. It is basically a valve that helps flush excess water out of the puck, producing a dry puck that is far easier to clean up.  

Gaggia Classic Pro

Features:

  • Single Boiler
  • 72 oz. Reservoir
  • Three-way Solenoid Valve
  • Commercial 59mm Portafilter
  • Commercial Steam Wand

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. The machine does not have the best brewing pressure, which may require a bit of tweaking.

Gaggia Classic Pro

Brewing Pressure

When it comes to brewing pressure, it is a well-known fact that the Gaggia Classic Pro is set to 15 bars of pressure rather than the desired 9 bars. This is to cater to those using pre-ground coffee, which produces a better shot at a slightly higher pressure. However, if you want to use freshly ground coffee, the high pressure can make it challenging to achieve an even extraction- not to worry though there is an easy fix. You can buy an OPV mod which is basically a selection of springs at either 9, 6.5 or 5 bars of pressure which are easily installed to achieve the best extraction pressure. Be aware that playing around with this will void your warranty though.

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. If you are an espresso connoisseur, it may require you to do a bit of temperature surfing- basically, when the machine gets hot, you need to pull out the very 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. If you are a coffee geek, you may want to invest in a PID kit (auber kit) which allows you to tightly control the brewing temperature, but these are pretty expensive.

Milk Frother

We mentioned above that the steam wand was one of the critical 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 an 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 their 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.

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.

Gaggia Classic Pro

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