Every now and then, I come across a product that looks like the quintessential product on the market. When I think about stand mixers, I imagine a KitchenAid. When I think about sports cars, I imagine a Porche. So, on my hunt for the perfect espresso machine, I’ve seen a lot of styles that are almost there, but not perfectly imagined. They’re either too round or too big or they just don’t look like they have the right life in them.
The Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine, however, looks just like I would imagine the perfect espresso machine to look, and it offers the professional perks I got used to with the espresso machines I used at the shop I ran. You’re certainly going to pay for the extra quality with this machine, but I think it might be worth it.
A Little Higher End
At more than $300, you’re definitely paying for the professional grade Italian brand appearance. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, but you have to be prepared to shell out the extra bucks. You also have to drink a heck of a lot of expensive coffee drinks for this thing to pay for itself with any sense of speed.
My husband and I really do spend way too much on coffee, so it could make a big difference for our budget, but that certainly doesn’t go for everyone.
Seriously, though, you can get a lot of espresso out of this machine without having to refill the water tank. Professional machines have a water line that connects to the back so the tank doesn’t have to be continually refilled, but if you’re not ready to shell out that kind of cash, your next option is one of these, with a water tank that holds up to 72 ounces. That’s a big deal. I could make a lot of drinks in a week before having to fill up this bad boy.
Drinking At The Coffee Bar
In espresso machines, pressure is measured in units called “bars”. Most consumer models have 15 bars of pressure. This one has 17.5. That means it provides more heat and more speed in the water that goes through the grounds. The faster the water moves and the hotter it can get while it does, the more authentic and rich the flavor of the espresso. A lot of people don’t realize the flavor of your drink relies on much more than just the coffee beans.
Two At A Time
One of the things I’m really looking for in an espresso machine is the ability to get drinks ready for both myself and my husband at the same time. Buying two machines would completely negate the amount of money we would save by making our own drinks, which is the reason for buying a machine in the first place. This machine fits the bill with a spout that lets you make two drinks at the same time by pouring into two cups simultaneously. I may need to fix the milk separately, but at least it saves on brew time.
Doesn’t Quite Flow
The water tank that holds so much water is, unfortunately, not the most reliable part of the machine. The problem isn’t actually with the container, but when the water is pulled out of the tank to be pushed through the grounds, there are times the tubing and connectors hamper the water flow.
There’s no way to predict when it will happen or even if it will happen, but if it does you know it’s time for a proper clean. If the water doesn’t flow in correctly, it cannot flow out correctly, and this can leave you with less espresso and possible more concentrated espresso.
Serve Up Coffee. Don’t Get Service.
I try to stick with companies which support their products and trust their customers. I like to know that, if there is a problem, the company will take care of it. Sadly, this company doesn’t have a great reputation for standing behind its products, which really stinks. While I don’t anticipate problems with the machine I decide to buy and I don’t want to have to use a warranty, I want to know that if I do have to use it, the company will honor it. I once had a bad experience trying to get a company to honor the warranty I bought on some furniture, and that’s made me extremely wary. This could be the best machine in the world, but I would still want it to be supported by the company that makes it.
I’ve seen a lot of mixed messages regarding these machines. They are supposed to be really great machines and I’ve seen many reports that say they will stay with you for decades, but there are also indications that they may barely stay with you for a year. I don’t expect this to be the case, but given the somewhat questionable support I just can’t justify spending this much money on something that might not be reliable. Even if it does have a whole lot of perks I really like.
It’s Not About The Money
It seems to me that more expensive machines should be more reliable as well, but I’m not getting a crystal clear picture of that with this one. I know there are a lot of people who love this machine and have had great experiences with it, so I can’t say to stay away from it.
The people who have these machines and love them, really love them. So, if the look of this and the power that it brings are enough to get you interested, and you’re willing to give this possibly great machine a try, don’t let me stop you.