Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Review: Ideal for Beginners

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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There are so many home espresso machines on the market these days, it’s hard to know which models are worth your cash.

There are so many home espresso machines on the market these days, it’s hard to know which models are worth your cash.

That’s why I’m writing this Gaggia Carezza Deluxe review. Budget-friendly espresso machines that can actually produce quality espresso are far and few between, but I’m optimistic about this model. Let’s get into it!

Affordable and approachable

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe

Ideal for novice baristas

Compact and durable

Retro design

Straightforward operation

Pre-infusion function

Great value

Only includes pressurized baskets

Overview: Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Review

The Gaggia Carezza Deluxe is a budget home espresso machine from a classic brand.

As it happens, Gaggia espresso machines have been around for decades. The trusted Italian manufacturer offers a wide range of home espresso machines, semi automatics and super automatic espresso machines.

Incidentally, the Carezza Deluxe straddles the line between a manual espresso machine and a semi automatic, thanks to its pressurized portafilter, ESE (Easy Serve Espresso) pod compatibility and optional auto-frothing pannarello steam wand.

In short, the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe is a simple yet versatile beginner espresso machine from a trusted brand. And for only $299.00, it represents very good value for money.

The design of the Carezza Deluxe isn’t anything fancy, but that’s only to expect with a budget machine. It comes in black with silver accents, and features a stainless steel cup warmer, a removable 47-ounce (1.4-liter) water tank and a removable drip tray.

What’s more, this Gaggia espresso machine has a boiler and a 15 bar pump with an optional pre-infusion function. Together, these features will help you make espresso with thick crema. The pressurized portafilter gives you a boost in that regard as well.

I’ll admit, in terms of looks the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe isn’t the prettiest home espresso machine. Still, there’s nothing off-putting about the aesthetics, either. It’s just a compact, unassuming hunk of plastic and mixed metals.

Maybe that’s not the nicest way to put it, but I truly don’t mean that assessment as a diss. All in all, this espresso machine is just fine – nothing special, but not much to complain about either.

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Features

Now that you know the basics of this Gaggia Carezza Deluxe review, let’s break it down further.

Size and Design

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Size and Design

The Carezza Deluxe was designed and made in Italy. Its design materials are a mix of aluminum, stainless steel and plastic. Incidentally, this budget machine is available in only one colorway: Blackboard Black and Silver.

Like many Gaggia espresso machines, this machine has a boxy and modern aesthetic. It has a simple, vaguely retro look. I’ll admit that it looks like a budget macchine, thanks to the plastic panels, buttons, knobs and portafilter handle.

Incidentally, the Carezza Deluxe is a fairly compact espresso maker. It’s just under 12 inches (30 centimeters) tall, with a width of 8.3 inches (21 centimeters) and a depth of 11 inches (28 centimeters).

That said, it weighs in at a pretty hefty 13.2 pounds (5.8 kilograms). Truthfully, I’d expect it to be lighter than that because of the large amount of plastic in the design.

Still, I won’t complain about the plastic body too much. This is a budget espresso machine, after all – Gaggia needed to keep the price down somehow. Plus, the 1-year warranty should help ease any fears around the plastic bits breaking early on.

Anyway, the body features a non-corrosive ABS plastic, mixed with stainless steel panels. What’s more, the Carezza Deluxe features a stainless steel cup warmer and a plastic and stainless steel removable drip tray. The water tank is also removable, but I’ll get to that later.

User Interface

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe User Interface

On the surface, the user interface of the Carezza Deluxe seems simple enough. It’s got a temperature gauge, four buttons and a steam wand dial on the front panel. In other words, there are no flashy lights or touch screens to fiddle with.

That said, in practice the Carezza Deluxe seems to involve a bit of a learning curve. If you’ve ever used a Gaggia Classic Pro, you’ll be familiar with this Gaggia quirk.

The four buttons on the Carezza Deluxe have symbols above them that aren’t super intuitive, and the user manual isn’t much help.

On that note, the instructions and user manual are hard to follow. This is especially true if you’re trying to prime the pump, descale the machine or turn on and off default settings.

But again, the Carezza Deluxe is not meant to be superautomatic with an intuitive user interface. If that’s what you’re looking for, consider the Gaggia Brera. The Brera espresso machine is still budget-friendly, but has an extra level of simplicity that makes it a breeze to use.

However, if you’re open to a bit of sleuthing, I still consider the Carezza Deluxe to be an entry-level budget espresso machine. Plus, it has some default settings intended to help a beginner out. These include a descaling alert, an automatic power-down after nine minutes and an automatic rinse cycle when the machine turns on and off.

Although you can disable the rinse cycle, I wouldn’t recommend it. Professional baristas know that it’s good practice to rinse and warm up your portafilter and grouphead before use. What’s more, rinsing after use helps keep the shower screen and portafilter clean on a daily basis, making deep-cleans much easier to manage.

Removable Water Tank

The removable water tank has a limited 47-ounce (1.4-liter) capacity. Incidentally, that won’t last you long, especially if you’re steaming milk and brewing tea in addition to pulling shots.

Fortunately, the water level is visible from a vertical window in the tank, so you always know when it needs a top-off. Plus, removing the front-loading tank is a breeze – and you won’t have to worry about hitting any overhead cabinets.

For what it’s worth, I’d recommend keeping a close eye on the tank’s water level. If you run out, you’ll have to re-prime the 15 bar pump before pulling a shot, which is really a pain. 

Oh, and I’d recommend only filling the water tank with filtered water. Conveniently, the Carezza Deluxe is compatible with the Mavea Intenza water filtration system.

While this is an extra cost, filtered water is really worth it to keep your espresso machine running smoothly for years to come. The Carezza Deluxe will let you know when it’s time to descale the tank and brew unit, but it’s best to avoid limescale buildup as much as possible.

Boiler

Though thermoblock heaters are common in many budget espresso machines, I’m pleased to say that Gaggia has kept to their standards and included a boiler in this machine. What’s more, the boiler is made of durable stainless steel.

The Carezza Deluxe even has a stand-by function, so you’ll be able to make your mid-morning cappuccino lickety-split, with little time waiting for the water to heat up. In fact, the boiler can bring water up to temp in as little as one minute, which is very fast for a boiler. 

Still, it’s good practice to let the machine heat up for at least 10 minutes before use. Otherwise, you’re risking a sour and under extracted shot.

As I mentioned, the Carezza Deluxe has a helpful temperature gauge to check the water temperature in the boiler. This is ideal for a multi-purpose machine that uses only one boiler. After all, you’ll want different water temperatures for pulling shots, brewing tea and steaming milk.

Unfortunately, there are no PID controls on this machine, so beginner baristas will need to learn how to manage the boiler temperature to pull some quality espresso. That said, the pressurized portafilters will give you a hand in that regard.

Portafilter

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Portafilter

The Gaggia Carezza Deluxe comes with an aluminum and plastic portafilter. The basket can fit 18 grams of coffee, perfect for a double shot of espresso. As far as espresso accessories, it also includes a plastic scoop that doubles as a quasi-tamper, though I’d recommend buying a steel espresso tamper.

Now to the bad news – or good news, depending on your barista skill level. The Carezza Deluxe only includes a portafilter with pressurized baskets.

Hard-core espresso fanatics will shiver at the very thought of a pressurized portafilter basket. And while I agree that they don’t produce espresso with as much nuance as a traditional non-pressurized basket does, I can’t write them off outright.

Besides, some folks are looking for an entry-level espresso machine that’ll let them pull decent shots without any formal barista training. Pressurized portafilter baskets make that dream possible.

Still, you won’t be surprised to hear that I have a qualm with the portafilter setup of this espresso machine.

Since the Carezza Deluxe doesn’t come with a traditional non-pressurized basket, there’s not much room to grow with it. New baristas that want to level up their espresso game will have to invest in another espresso maker after they outgrow the Carezza Deluxe.

Still, I’m not sure that fancy barista skills are a priority for Gaggia with this machine. They have plenty of other models that challenge users to become better baristas, namely the Classic Pro.

Rather, the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe comes equipped with two pressurized baskets: one for ground espresso, and one for ESE coffee pods. I’ll get to the ESE pods in a second. Both of these basket options are beginner-friendly, allowing even a novice barista to pull a perfect shot with thick, syrupy crema.

ESE Coffee Pod Compatibility

Since the Carezza Deluxe is a budget machine, this espresso maker would be best paired with a budget espresso grinder like the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.

That said, unlike with most espresso machines, you could choose to use pre-ground coffee or ESE pods instead of fresh coffee grounds. Again, this is all thanks to the pressurized portafilter baskets.

What’s more, the Carezza Deluxe includes a pressurized portafilter basket specifically designed for 44-millimeter ESE pods.

You know I don’t like single-use coffee capsules, but ESE pods are different. 

ESE stands for “Easy Serve Espresso.” In short, they are composed of finely ground coffee that is compressed into a puck and wrapped in biodegradable paper.

To brew an ESE coffee pod, simply place it in the pod-compatible pressurized basket and pull the shot as you normally would.

Now, don’t expect the resulting coffee to taste like freshly roasted and freshly ground espresso.

For starters, ESE pods are not fresh by any means. But the intention behind these pods is convenience and ease of use, not an exquisitely dialed-in shot. Different intention, different intended consumer.

In other words, an espresso fanatic won’t be impressed by these pods, but a casual latte lover will likely be satisfied.

Pre Infusion Function

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Pre Infusion

If you’re a serious espresso drinker and you’ve been a bit disappointed by the previous two features in this Gaggia Carezza Deluxe review, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Carezza Deluxe features a pre-infusion function.

The Carezza Deluxe has a pre-infusion time of a few seconds, allowing for a more even extraction.

Incidentally, this default setting is optional and can be disabled. That said, pre-infusion really does make a difference in the quality of your shots.

Pannarello Steam Wand

I’ve stated this many times in this Gaggia Carezza Deluxe review, but the machine is very beginner-friendly. Another Carezza Deluxe design feature meant for beginners is the pannarello steam wand.

Pannarellos are stainless steel covers over steam wands that are common in super automatic and beginner espresso makers. Incidentally, they make it easier to steam milk without any training. In fact, Gaggia claims that their pannarello steam wand is “auto-frothing.”

That said, if you’re a latte art aficionado you’ll be disappointed by the pannarello’s capabilities. They create big bubbles in the milk, as opposed to silky microfoam.

Fortunately, the pannarello piece is removable for those who want more control over their milk texture.

What’s more, the pannarello steam wand also dispenses hot water for tea, americanos and preheating your espresso cup.

How to Use the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe

Operating the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe is pretty similar to other simple, no-frills manual espresso machines.

Since it’s not a semi- or super-automatic, you’ll first need your own espresso grinder, coffee scale and tamper. On the other hand, you could just buy some ESE pods, though those aren’t quite my ideal cup of joe.

As with any new coffee appliance, be sure to wash and thoroughly dry all removable parts. Then, plug the machine in and fill the tank with water. I’ll allow the user manual and coffee YouTube to teach you how to prime the pump, since it’s a wee bit too complicated to describe here.

Once the pump is all primed, press the button farthest to the left to turn the machine on. Within one minute, the water will be up to espresso brewing temperature, around 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe How to Use

That said, I’d recommend waiting at least ten minutes to allow the portafilter and grouphead to get all nice and toasty. Preheated materials are essential to a well-extracted shot of espresso.

When you’re ready to pull a shot, grind 18 grams of espresso into your portafilter basket, then distribute and tamp with even pressure.

Next, place your portafilter in the espresso machine and turn it all the way to the right. It’ll snap back to the center, part of Gaggia’s portafilter locking mechanism. Quickly place a scale and tared espresso cup on the drip tray, then press the button second to the left to begin brewing. If you’d like, you can start a timer at this point too.

You’ll have to press that same brew button to stop the shot when it gets to your desired shot time or weight. If you want steamed milk, press the button all the way to the right to start steaming.

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Cleaning

I’ve got a whole guide to cleaning and descaling coffee makers, so I’ll save you that spiel for now. Instead, I’ll focus on some preventative maintenance.

Fortunately, Gaggia programmed automatic rinse cycles into the Carezza Deluxe. Regularly rinsing out your portafilter and grouphead is key to preventing coffee residue build up. Plus, it’s easy and keeps your espresso tasting fresh. Why skip it?

Same goes with purging some steam through the steam wand before and after steaming milk. It’s also important to remove the pannarello piece after each use to wipe it out and clean the steam wand with a damp microfiber towel. After all, no one wants milk solids gunking up their steam wand.

As long as you rinse your portafilter and wipe down your steam wand after each use, the Carezza Deluxe will stay in tip-top shape for years to come. And when it’s time to descale your machine, the convenient descaling alert will give you a nudge to remind you.

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Technical Specifications

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe
Manufacturer

Gaggia

Model number

RI8525/01

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Plastic with stainless steel parts

Color options

Black/Silver

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

Portafilter size

53 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

47.3 fl oz / 1.4 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

Grinder

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1300 W

Weight

13.2 lb / 6.0 kg

Dimensions

12.8 x 11.0 x 12.5 in
32.5 x 27.9 x 31.8 cm

Warranty

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Coffee scoop, tamper, 3 x filter baskets, descaling solution, water filter

Current price on Amazon

$299.00

All specifications

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus Overview

I can’t finish my Gaggia Carezza Deluxe review without first comparing this espresso machine to another great beginner machine: the Breville Bambino Plus.

At $498.90, the Bambino Plus is significantly more expensive than the Carezza Deluxe. That said, the Bambino Plus features volumetric shot control and a PID controller, both of which the Carezza Deluxe lacks.

What’s more, the Bambino Plus includes both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets. If you want the opportunity to grow your barista skills with your machine, I’d say the Bambino Plus is worth the extra cash.

However, if you’re more interested in a purely entry-level machine, these two machines share the necessary qualities. Both the Carezza Deluxe and Bambino Plus have simple and compact designs. Plus, the two machines offer pre-infusion settings and both automatic and manual milk steaming options.

So if you’re only looking for a beginner machine, there’s no need to shell out for the Bambino Plus. The Carezza Deluxe has all the right features, and is quite a bit more affordable than the Bambino Plus.

See Also: Breville Bambino Plus Review

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Breville Bambino Plus Comparison Chart

Gaggia Carezza DeluxeBreville Bambino Plus
Manufacturer

Gaggia

Breville

Model number

RI8525/01

BES500BSS1BUS1

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Plastic with stainless steel parts

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Color options

Black/Silver

Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

Memo function only

Portafilter size

53 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

47.3 fl oz / 1.4 l

64.2 fl oz / 1.9 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1300 W

1560 W

Weight

13.2 lb / 6.0 kg

3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

Dimensions

12.8 x 11.0 x 12.5 in
32.5 x 27.9 x 31.8 cm

12.2 x 7.7 x 12.6 in
31.0 x 19.6 x 32.0 cm

Warranty

1 year

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: Coffee scoop, tamper, 3 x filter baskets, descaling solution, water filter

Included Accessories: Tamper, Dosing tool, Stainless steel milk jug, filter baskets, Cleaning supplies, User manual.

Current price on Amazon

$299.00

$498.90

Gaggia Carezza DeluxeBreville Bambino Plus
Manufacturer

Gaggia

Breville

Model number

RI8525/01

BES500BSS1BUS1

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Plastic with stainless steel parts

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Color options

Black/Silver

Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

Memo function only

Portafilter size

53 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

47.3 fl oz / 1.4 l

64.2 fl oz / 1.9 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1300 W

1560 W

Weight

13.2 lb / 6.0 kg

3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

Dimensions

12.8 x 11.0 x 12.5 in
32.5 x 27.9 x 31.8 cm

12.2 x 7.7 x 12.6 in
31.0 x 19.6 x 32.0 cm

Warranty

1 year

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: Coffee scoop, tamper, 3 x filter baskets, descaling solution, water filter

Included Accessories: Tamper, Dosing tool, Stainless steel milk jug, filter baskets, Cleaning supplies, User manual.

Current price on Amazon

$299.00

$498.90

Verdict: Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Review

Affordable and approachable

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe

Ideal for novice baristas

Compact and durable

Retro design

Straightforward operation

Pre-infusion function

Great value

Only includes pressurized baskets

Now that I’ve come to the end of my Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Review, I can say that this espresso machine would be great for beginner home baristas.

Again, I wouldn’t recommend this machine to anyone who wants to grow with their machine. After all, the pressurized baskets prevent you from really dialing in your espresso shots.

Still, for folks who want to make espresso at home but are content with the basics, this budget machine fits that niche market. Plus, the removable pannarello enables the latte art-curious to fine-tune their milk steaming skills.

Since the price tag on the Carezza Deluxe is so low, I really can’t complain that it’s missing any fancy features. Besides, Gaggia didn’t set out to produce a prosumer espresso machine this time around.

The Carezza Deluxe does what it’s meant to do: makes decent espresso and creamy milk without the exorbitant cost of more advanced home espresso machines.

What do you think about the Carezza Deluxe? How does it compare to your starter home espresso machine? Let’s chat in the comments section below!

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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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