the good thing about this machine is its ease of use. Quick too, 6 mins to heat up which is good. The machine seems to be fairly durable to have a mostly plastic body.
It does require some expertise to get a perfect shot. (Pods make it a little easier). It does produce fabulous shots and will last you a long long time if you care for it. It does require tinkering with the amount of coffee and setup but that's expected of any semi-automatic machines. The machine warms up quickly so I can get a quick shot right before I leave for work. Its also very stylish it blends in nicely in the kitchen.
The machine is not entirely dripless so have a cleanup cloth handy, especially after using the steamer: it tends to drip quite a bit. I usually just put a paper towel under it. For this price you are getting a lot of plastic, so handle with care.
Myself and my husband are self-confessed coffee snobs and would not want to be without our precious Gaggia machine. On return from our honeymoon six years ago, we were determined to try and recreate the wonderful espressos and cappuccinos we had savoured during our stay in Italy. Luckily, we had enough wedding gift vouchers to snap up the Gaggia Evolution (I think it was around £149 at the time).
Six years on and the Gaggia is still going strong! It is regularly pressed into service in our household and has never let us down. We chose this machine because of the reliability and quality associated with Gaggia. For example, all Gaggias have a high-output 55 watt pump that produces a maximum of 17.5 bars of pressure. The pump is regulated down to a brew pressure which is the same as a commercial machine (9 bar). Experts recommend that you need 7 - 9 bars of pressure to make a decent espresso. Whilst the exterior of the machine is designed for domestic use (plastic rather than metal), all of the vital fixtures (such as the basket holder) and internal components (pump, 1370 watt boiler, etc) are of a commercial standard.
The machine is very easy to use but do not expect quick results. It will take around 5-6 minutes for the machine to come up to temperature before you can get started making espresso. Remember - good things come to those who wait. The instructions we received were not brilliant (they had been badly translated from Italian), but they may have improved them by now!
Here are some tips to get the best results from your Gaggia machine.
First of all, make sure you use the best quality espresso coffee you can afford (we buy Starbucks espresso beans from Costco) - you really will notice a difference. You will get the best results by grinding your own beans, but if you do this you must use a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder (we use a Dualit burr grinder).
Secondly, prime your machine (the instructions explain how to do this) before you make coffee - this helps bring everything up to temperature.
Thirdly, look after your Gaggia. Clean it regularly and if you live in a hard water area descale the tank from time to time. We regularly put the basket holder, baskets and water reservoir in our dishwasher.
Don't worry if you don't perfect the art of frothing milk straight away - you'll soon be an expert barista! If you're having problems frothing milk, check that the internal nozzle is positioned correctly in the steam wand (if it gets knocked it can get pushed in). You can do this by pushing the end of a teaspoon down to ensure the nozzle is pushed out. This happened to us some time ago, but the Gaggia customer support helpline were very helpful and quickly worked out what was wrong.
I would definitely recommend the Gaggia Evolution to anyone who is serious about their coffee and is looking for a quality machine that will not break the bank.
We bought our Gaggia Evolution coffee machine around 2 years ago. We both love lattes and espressos and so wanted to invest in a good coffee machine that would last a long time. We had heard that Gaggia was a good brand and saw this make on an offer in House of Fraser, and so bought it for around £130.00. We liked the stylish design of this coffee machine and the black and silver colours.
We are now over 2 years on from then and the coffee machine is still as good as it was then and used regularly. This machine is really simple to use and looks good on your worktop. There is a large reservoir of water in a clear plastic container below the handle which you fill up first, and the machine comes with a milk frother (which works really well to create nice frothy milk for lattes) and coffee scoups. You simply place the ground coffee in the handle section and press the on button, and the machine does the rest.
The coffee tastes just as good as in any coffee house I have been to when it comes out of this machine, and the machine is great for entertaining or if a friend comes round for morning coffee.
The machine is easy to clean and maintain with lots of removable parts including the drip tray.
I would say that the only downside to this machine is that it takes time to use and you can only produce 2 espressos at a time, so if you are trying to make coffees for several people at a dinner party you may be best using a cafetiere which you can quickly make and sit around until it has brewed.