Gaggia Classic Pro Review 2023: Do Classics Ever Go Out of Style?

After working as a professional barista for many years, Arne Preuss founded Coffeeness.

Here’s a list of things that have been around at least thirty years: the Batman franchise, brain surgery and the Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine. Now, I’m not much of an expert on those first two but I feel fairly well qualified to conduct a Gaggia Classic Pro review.

Here’s a list of things that have been around at least thirty years: the Batman franchise, brain surgery and the Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine. Now, I’m not much of an expert on those first two but I feel fairly well qualified to conduct a Gaggia Classic Pro review.

Gaggia introduced their first Classic Pro in 1991. Although the manufacturer has made plenty of improvements since then, you’re still looking at the same basic home espresso machine.

That’s a long time for any espresso machine to be out on the market, especially one that’ll set you back $443.16 on Amazon. With that in mind, there’s one question I want to answer: is the Gaggia Classic Pro still relevant or is it time to retire this machine?

Italian Classic

Gaggia Classic Pro

Still going strong!

Extremely reliable

Durable construction

Easy to use

Professional steam wand

Rather heavy

Awkward water tank design

Gaggia Classic Pro Review Overview

As it happens, I ordered one of these beauties to test out for you. I’ll share my observations later in this Gaggia Classic Pro review. In the meantime, I’ll give you the CliffsNotes. For starters, Gaggia considers this to be one of its best entry level semi automatic machines, and it’s not hard to see why.

The water tank has an impressive 72 ounce (2.1 liter) capacity, and with a heavy chrome finish, it’s little surprise this machine weighs in at 20 pounds (9.1 kilograms). This latest version includes a redesigned stainless steel frame as well. That probably doesn’t help lighten things any, but it does make it easier to access the removable water tank.

If frothing or steaming milk is your forte, you’ll definitely appreciate the commercial steam wand on this machine. There are two holes in the nozzle, so your dream of creating microfoam could become a reality!

Although you’ll have plenty of control over the brewing process, the user interface on the Gaggia Classic Pro is simple and intuitive. Anyway, I’ll get deeper into that later in this Gaggia Classic Pro review.

Dual heating elements on this machine also ensure you’ve got hot espresso in your hands within five minutes and steaming capability in under a minute. The commercial style portafilter and three way solenoid valve are also impressive updates to this machine. So far, I’d say there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet!

Gaggia Classic Pro Features

Thus far, my Gaggia Classic Pro review has shown me that there’s a lot to love about this single boiler espresso machine. Let’s continue by taking a closer look at the machine’s more notable features.

Stainless Steel Housing

A tape measure showing the Gaggia Classic Pro's compact size.

If there’s one thing that always rings true, it’s that you can’t go wrong with a stainless steel build. Although the new Classic Pro has an aluminum boiler, the housing is made from attractive and durable stainless steel.

I have to say I was immediately impressed by the Classic Pro’s rugged construction, and its weight surprised me as I lifted it out of the box. Plus, all that stainless steel just looks gorgeous. So far, so good!

Colors

I wouldn’t blame you for sticking with the stainless steel finish. As it happens, that’s the version I ordered to test out. However, you should know that the Gaggia Classic Pro includes several different color options.

In addition to the original stainless steel finish, you’ve also got Cherry Red, Classic Blue, Industrial Grey, Polar White and Thunder Black to pick from. I guess it looks like there’s a color option to match any kitchen.

However, it’d be unfair if I left out the coolest option of all  – the painted steel of the Gaggia Classic Pro Limited Edition. You’ll notice that the Limited Edition has an illustration of an acrobat drinking espresso. That’s there to celebrate the machine’s 30th anniversary.

If aesthetics and design are your thing, you might have a hard time passing up this particular model.

User Interface

Closeup of the Gaggia Classic Pro user interface.

As I mentioned earlier in this Gaggia Classic Pro review, the user interface on this machine is very straightforward. I’d say that’s definitely an advantage if you’re a beginner who’s trying to get your head into the semi automatic espresso machine game.

The controls have actually been updated from the previous Pro model. You’ll find three chunky switches: one for power, another for brewing and one for steaming.

There are also handy indicator lights to tell you when the machine is on, finished preheating or ready to create some steam. As for operating the commercial wand, there’s a knob for it on the side that you won’t be able to miss.

Removable Water Tank

As robust as this machine is, I’d be pretty disappointed if the water tank wasn’t removable. I mean, nobody wants to lug 20 pounds (9.1 kilograms) of espresso machine to the sink every time it’s time to refill the water reservoir!

The good news is that the 72 ounce (2.1 liter) water tank comes out. The bad news is that removing it is kind of tricky. Fortunately, all you need to do is fill the reservoir via the top of the machine. There’s a removable lid, and I found it easy to use a pitcher to add water. There’s a nifty maximum level indicator, and the water reservoir is transparent, so you should be able to fill it fairly accurately.

Boiler

Closeup 0f the Gaggia Classic Pro cup warmer.

If you’re expecting dual boilers for heating steam and hot water, the single boiler in the Gaggia Classic Pro might feel like a disappointment. While you will have to wait for the boiler to reheat sometimes, the new-and-improved aluminum boiler on this machine guarantees a shorter preheating time.

Unlike other machines, the Gaggia Classic Pro doesn’t force you to wait 10 or 15 minutes for your first espresso shot. In fact, you can have delicious coffee drinks in your hands within five minutes. To be honest, I didn’t time how long the Classic Pro took to heat up, but I’d say the machine was ready to go in around two minutes.

Portafilter

Side view of the Gaggia Classic Pro portafilter.

Thanks to its 58mm portafilter, you can feel confident pulling single or double espresso shots from the Gaggia Classic Pro. I’ve lost count of how many espresso machines I’ve tested, but I can’t remember ever seeing a portafilter as nice as this. Seriously, this thing is well balanced and really heavy — it reminds me of a portafilter from a commercial machine.

What’s more, the new Gaggia Classic Pro is equipped with a three way solenoid valve. This feature helps remove pressure from the group head, meaning you can remove the portafilter immediately after extraction. Your used puck will be nice and dry and you won’t splatter water and coffee grounds all over the place.

Tamper

As with most budget machines, your purchase will include a plastic tamper. The included tamper is just about better than nothing, but it’s more than a little flimsy. Once you get the hang of this machine, I’d definitely recommend upgrading to a stainless steel tamper for more even results.

Steam Wand

Steaming milk with the Gaggia Classic Pro.

I guess Gaggia includes “Pro” in the machine’s name because of its commercial steam wand. If you’re used to the traditional steam wands on small manual espresso machines, get ready for a big step up.

The previous version of the Gaggia Classic Pro included a paranello steam wand, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to create a lot of microfoam for latte art. Although the professional steam might involve a learning curve, once you’ve gotten the hang of it you’ll definitely be getting the most out of your milk.

I will say that I was a little surprised by how flimsy the steam wand feels — you’ll need to be careful not to break it. What’s more, the wand isn’t mounted on a ball joint, so its movement is kind of limited. With all that said, I couldn’t have been happier with the Gaggia’s steam pressure during my testing. The steam wand is really powerful, and the rotating dial allows you a lot of fine control.

Cup Height

Profile shot of the Gaggia Classic Pro showing the cup height.

If you’re worried about being able to fit tall latte macchiato glasses under the spout, the Gaggia Pro doesn’t have any nasty surprises. The cup height is pretty standard for espresso cups, and if you need the extra room, you can just remove the drip tray grille.

Removable Drip Tray

I wouldn’t expect anything less than a removable drip tray on an espresso machine like this, so the Classic Pro doesn’t disappoint. There’s a sizable plastic drip tray that’ll catch any extra dribbles, and once it’s full, just slide it out and empty it.

Incidentally, the drip tray grille is made from shiny stainless steel, which only enhances the machine’s good looks. You should know that the grille comes coated in a thin protective covering that you’ll need to peel off. At first I thought the grille had been (badly) spray-painted and I was rather disappointed. It wasn’t until well into my testing that I realized I needed to remove the coating!

Warranty

The Gaggia Classic Pro warranty.

If you’re used to one year espresso machine warranties, Gaggia’s two year warranty will come as a pleasant surprise. Say you need replacement parts within that timeframe or notice any glaring defects, you can contact the manufacturer for a replacement.

How To Use the Gaggia Classic Pro

A dosed portafilter ready to be inserted into the Classic Pro's group head.

Even if you’re a beginner at making espresso, learning to use the Gaggia Classic Pro isn’t as intimidating as you might imagine. As part of my Gaggia Classic Pro review, let’s talk about how to use this machine:

  1. Fill your water tank to the MAX line, making sure the tubes are still submerged.
  2. If you’re using the machine for the first time you’ll need to prime the circuit. Simply put cups under the brew group and steam wand, open the steam knob, then flip all the switches. Allow water to flow for a few seconds then close the steam wand and turn the steam and brew buttons off.
  3. Now it’s just a case of letting the Gaggia Pro heat up. The machine has an indicator light to let you know when it’s done preheating.
  4. Use freshly ground beans in your filter basket and use the included tamper or one of your own to tamp down.
  5. Lock the portafilter into position in the brew group, then flip the brew switch on. Ideally, you’ll have around 2 ounces (59 milliliters) of espresso after 25-30 seconds.
  6. Turn the switch off and enjoy your perfect espresso!

Of course, that’s not the whole story if you want to prepare a milk based espresso drink. To make a cappuccino or latte macchiato, you’ll need to buy a stainless steel milk pitcher. By the way, remember to always use fresh, cold milk for the best results.

Angled shot of the Classic Pro showing the steam dial.

To create milk foam, press the steam button and wait 15-20 seconds for the indicator light to turn on. After purging the manual wand of any excess water, lower the tip just below the surface of the milk. Next, slowly turn the steam counter clockwise until you’re happy with the steam pressure that’s being generated.

As I already mentioned, it’ll take a little trial and error to get good results. However, learning to steam milk this way is totally worth it!

Gaggia Classic Pro Observations

The Gaggia Classic Pro extracting a beautiful shot of espresso.

During the testing phase of my Gaggia Classic Pro review I decided to only use the included tamper. After all, it’s what most beginner home baristas would use after ordering this machine.

However, if you are considering buying the Classic Pro, do yourself a big favor and order a decent tamper at the same time. That way, you can unbox the machine and immediately put the included tamper where it belongs — in the trash.

After setting up the machine and priming the boiler, I dialed in my shots using the larger of the single-wall filter baskets. I started with an 18 gram dose, but quickly realized I’d need to increase that to 20 grams and use a slightly finer grind size. The resulting shots were just okay — the machine produced beautiful crema, but the taste was kind of one-dimensional.

I also found my espresso to be way too hot. So, I’d recommend always purging the group head for a few seconds before pulling a shot. Eventually, I was able to pull some fairly convincing double shots with a dose of 22 grams. Clocking in at around 28 seconds, my shots were full-bodied and complex, although still little too hot for my taste.

While the Gaggia didn’t impress me as much as I’d hoped, I think I’d have a better experience using a good tamper.

Incidentally, if you were wondering about pre-infusion, there’s a hack for that. If you open the steam wand knob slightly before pressing the brew button, the flow rate at the group head decreases. That way you can moisten the puck for a few seconds, then turn the steam wand off to start full extraction.

Ultimately, I’d say the Classic Pro is easy to use, but it’s a little finicky. You’ll need to learn the ins and outs of this machine to get the best out of it. With that said, I see no reason why a beginner home barista shouldn’t invest in this machine.

Gaggia Classic Pro Cleaning

Parts of the Gaggia Classic Pro to Clean

Along with my overview of how to use the machine in this Gaggia Classic Pro review, I should probably talk about cleaning it. As it happens, this is most everyone’s least favorite part of owning an espresso machine. That said, it doesn’t take much to keep the Classic Pro in tip top condition.

With a machine like this, it’s ideal to descale it every two months, especially if it’s getting used every day. Unsurprisingly, the manufacturer recommends only using its own Gaggia descaler.

Certain components of this machine, like the brew head, pressurized basket, steam wand and steam valve should be cleaned much more regularly than that. In fact, I’d say take care of those after every use.

You’ll want to make sure there’s no leftover coffee grounds in the portafilter basket once you’re done operating the machine. While you’re at it, keep a damp cloth handy for cleaning off the steam wand after every use.

In short, as long as you can keep up with regular maintenance, you can expect the Gaggia Classic Pro to last a good many years.

Gaggia Classic Pro Specifications

Gaggia Classic Pro
Manufacturer

Gaggia

Model number

RI9380/46

Product category

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Chrome, White

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Portafilter size

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.3 in / 8.4 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

No

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

Weight

18.7 lb / 8.5 kg

Dimensions

14.2 x 9.5 x 8.0 in
36.1 x 24.1 x 20.3 cm

Warranty

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: Tamper, Coffee scoop, 4 x Filter baskets, Instruction manual.

Current price on Amazon

$443.16

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Other Espresso Machines

I wouldn’t be able to finish my Gaggia Classic Pro review without first comparing it to a few other espresso machines. Let’s take a look at how the Gaggia Classic Pro measures up to the competition!

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Gaggia Classic

The biggest difference between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Gaggia Classic is the way in which they create milk foam. The Pro includes a commercial steam wand, which works a little bit better than the Classic’s pannarello wand. Still, both machines are capable of frothing excellent milk for cappuccinos.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Classic Pro Limited Edition

I already told you about the Gaggia Classic Pro 30th Anniversary Edition Espresso Machine for $549.00. Still, what do you get for that extra cash outlay? Besides slight differences in water tank sizes, the Limited Edition has a fancy illustration on the front. So, if you’re into aesthetics, you may want to check it out.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Bambino Plus

Arne with the Sage Bambino Plus.

Costing $499.95, the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine has a lot in common with the Gaggia Classic Pro. So what’s different?

Actually, you’ll be upgrading to a way faster heat up time, a pre infusion function and volumetric shot control. If you’re someone who can’t stand the 10 minute preheat time involved with most espresso machines, you may want to check out the Bambino Plus.

Check out: Breville Bambino Plus Review

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Others Comparison Chart

Gaggia Classic ProGaggia ClassicBreville Bambino Plus
Manufacturer

Gaggia

Gaggia

Breville

Model number

RI9380/46

14101

BES500BSS1BUS1

Product category

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Chrome, White

Black/Silver

Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

64.2 fl oz / 1.9 l

Number of boilers

1

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.3 in / 8.4 cm

3.3 in / 8.4 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

No

No

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

1450 W

1560 W

Weight

18.7 lb / 8.5 kg

20.0 lb / 9.1 kg

3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

Dimensions

14.2 x 9.5 x 8.0 in
36.1 x 24.1 x 20.3 cm

9.5 x 8.3 x 14.4 in
24.1 x 21.1 x 36.6 cm

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

Warranty

2 years

2 years

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: Tamper, Coffee scoop, 4 x Filter baskets, Instruction manual.

Included Accessories: Tamper, Coffee scoop, 4 x Filter baskets, Instruction manual.

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

Current price on Amazon

$443.16

$399.99

$499.95

BUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZON
Gaggia Classic ProGaggia ClassicBreville Bambino Plus
Manufacturer

Gaggia

Gaggia

Breville

Model number

RI9380/46

14101

BES500BSS1BUS1

Product category

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Chrome, White

Black/Silver

Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

64.2 fl oz / 1.9 l

Number of boilers

1

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.3 in / 8.4 cm

3.3 in / 8.4 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

No

No

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

1450 W

1560 W

Weight

18.7 lb / 8.5 kg

20.0 lb / 9.1 kg

3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

Dimensions

14.2 x 9.5 x 8.0 in
36.1 x 24.1 x 20.3 cm

9.5 x 8.3 x 14.4 in
24.1 x 21.1 x 36.6 cm

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

Warranty

2 years

2 years

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: Tamper, Coffee scoop, 4 x Filter baskets, Instruction manual.

Included Accessories: Tamper, Coffee scoop, 4 x Filter baskets, Instruction manual.

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

Current price on Amazon

$443.16

$399.99

$499.95

BUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZON

Verdict: Gaggia Classic Pro Review

Italian Classic

Gaggia Classic Pro

Still going strong!

Extremely reliable

Durable construction

Easy to use

Professional steam wand

Rather heavy

Awkward water tank design

If my Gaggia Classic Pro review has proved anything, it’s that this is a fantastic espresso machine for anyone just starting their home barista journey. I guess I’m not that surprised by how cool this machine is. After all, Gaggia takes espresso very seriously indeed. In fact, the company founder pretty much single handedly invented a way to produce espresso’s crema.

With a commercial steam wand to froth milk, pressurized basket and plenty of other awesome features, I think this espresso machine shows that the classics never truly go out of style.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Gaggia Classic Pro review. I’d love to hear what you think of this affordable espresso machine, so keep the comments coming!

Gaggia Classic Pro Review FAQ

If regular milk isn’t your style, plant based milks are a great substitute for use with your Gaggia Classic Pro. Oat milk, soy milk – they all work just fine. We’re a little less enthusiastic about almond milk, since most of the world’s almonds are grown in drought-ridden California. But that’s an article for another day.

The Gaggia Classic Pro is made in Italy.

While it may not have all the fancy features that some semi automatic machines do, the Gaggia Classic Pro is a great option if you’re looking for an espresso maker that’s simple and reliable.

The Gaggia Classic Pro is made to last for several years, as long as it’s well taken care of. That said, the warranty only covers the first two years of ownership.

As long as you’re using a quality coffee grinder and freshly roasted coffee beans, you’ll be able to make fantastic espresso with the Gaggia Classic Pro.

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