Product Type: Gaggia Philips Saeco
Newest Review: ... removable water tank, which is plenty. It's relatively easy to refill this. The Gaggia Baby D can make two cups of espresso at once, and... more
Baby love, my baby love
Gaggia Baby D
Member Name: christianfilm
Gaggia Baby D
Advantages: A lot of control over your coffee
Disadvantages: Not room for bigger cups
The Gaggia Baby D is quite a strange looking machine, not really because of the styling but at around 40cm tall and 20 cm wide, it looks a bit top heavy, although it is very secure and would take a good whack to knock it over. The machine is constructed out of plastic and chrome and is basically silver in colour. All the panels feel very solid and although get hot whilst in operation, do not get to the point where you cannot touch the machine.
Across the top front of the machine is the control panel, which has 6 chrome plated buttons, but no form of display.
One of the nicest things about the Gaggia Baby D is that it comes with a Portafilter handle which feels very solidly constructed, nearly to the standard that comes with professional espresso machines.
The nice thing about this machine is that you have 2 programmable brew buttons so that you can decide the amount of coffee you want to brew at a time. Programming of these buttons is done through a simple menu system which takes no time at all to use. The machine also comes with an improved milk frothing system, which I must say was very easy to use and unlike some machines where you really have to have the knack to use them, this machine can be used by anyone. There is also the option to have extra hot water for when you are making a longer drink such as an Americano rather than an Espresso.
As mentioned earlier, the portafilter handle is very well constructed and comes with a double basket for making two drinks, and a single basket for one drink. The single basket is also designed so that it will take E.S.E. style Espresso pods, such as the ones from Illy.
Ease of Use
The Gaggia Baby D is remarkably easy to use. On the top of the machine is the water reservoir which takes 1.3 Litres and can be filled even whilst the machine is in operation. The buttons on the front are all labelled and laid out in a very logical order. The first button is the power button, then you have the two programmable brew buttons, next is the hot water button which allows you to dispense hot water through the milk frothing arm, then the steam button which heats the machine to steam temperature and finally the menu button which allows you to programme the machine but can also be used to manually control the brewing if you so desire.
Swapping the baskets from single to double in the portafilter handle is very easy and takes seconds, plus the addition of being able to take pod filters is an added bonus. The machine also comes with a separate tamper so that you can compact the coffee into the handle as well as a measuring spoon for filling the basket. As long as you don't over fill the basket, then the handle easily twists into the holder underneath the dispensing mechanism.
Once you have made your drink, the handle easily twists out, and the used coffee can be easily knocked out into a bin. Part of the reason why I like this machine is that it uses components which are used in professional machines and one of these is in the dispensing mechanism. Once the coffee has been made, the mechanism inside the machine completely switches off the flow of water so that it doesn't continue to drip through the portafilter, therefore making less mess when you remove your cup.
Ease of Cleaning
As long you wipe over the machine after each use, the machine will stay operational for a long time, especially the milk frothing arm otherwise it can be encrusted and blocked with calcified milk. The enclosed manual does give detailed information on further cleaning which needs to be done, such as detanning the machine (basically removing coffee staining from the brewing mechanism) and all of these instructions are very straight forward to follow.
I would also recommend using filtered water in the tank as this helps prevent scaling of the boiler, which will cause the machine to eventually lose temperature whilst heating.
I honestly have only one negative when it comes to this machine and that is the gap between the base of the unit and the brewing mechanism. You are unable to vary the distance, so if you want to make a long coffee you will need to brew the coffee into smaller cups first and then pour into a larger cup.
Although the Gaggia Baby D mainly comes in silver you can also pick it up in red and I have also seen one in blue, but whether this was a custom paint job I am not sure. Although the machine uses ground coffee and pods, it doesn't come with a coffee grinder, so if you really are after the freshest coffee you will need to buy a separate grinder.
Price and Availability
The Gaggia Baby D can be purchased at www.italy-outlet.co.uk for around £210 pounds, which although is more expensive than many domestic machines, does allow you to have more control over your coffee.
Although the Gaggia Baby D costs over £200, you really are paying that little bit more for a machine which not only has great build quality, but allows you to take control of how you have your daily shot of coffee. With my only criticism of the machine being the annoyance with getting a larger cup under the brewing mechanism, I really can't complain about this machine. Even someone who has not worked in the coffee industry will find the operation of this machine very easy and the instructions which come with it are plain and simple.
So does it make a good cup of coffee, well for me yes, but to be honest having the right machine is just a small part of getting a nice cup of coffee and more to do with getting a blend of beans or coffee which you particularly like.
© Christianfilm August 2006
Summary: Top quality domestic espresso machine
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