The Gaggia 14101 Classic is a 72-ounce coffee and espresso maker with a sleek design and a relatively small footprint. Equipped with all the accessories a beginning coffee connoisseur will need, this machine turns your morning routine into an experience.
For those who are used to a traditional drip coffee maker, it should be noted that an espresso maker does require a little more initial setup time – but this time investment allows you to brew an excellent cup that will make your mornings feel indulgent. Don’t you deserve a little pampering?
When coming up with this new machine, Gaggia took a few obvious shortcuts – but none of them impact the quality of the drink you end up with. If you’re new to making espresso at home and want a unit that has been tailored to beginners, the Gaggia 14101 Classic can’t be beat
In-Depth Gaggia 14101 Classic Review
Gaggia is a name that’s been in the coffee business for almost 80 years. You don’t keep a business running that long unless you know what you’re doing, and that’s something that Gaggia coffee and espresso makers have proved, time and time again. The Gaggia 14101 Classic is based on a design that has served its customers well for decades.
Unlike the machine that the Classic was based on, which was designed and manufactured in Manila, this update was made in Romania. This resulted in a number of features being lower quality, but the changes were primarily cosmetic – this machine still produces an excellent cup of coffee.
There were a number of improvements when the Gaggia 14101 was designed. One such improvement is the steam nozzle. The new steam knob is easier to turn, due to its larger size. Unfortunately, they moved it to the side, which means that you will have to operate it with your right hand. For most people, this is the hand they’d use anyway, but with the older version you could easily hold the pitcher with your right hand and turn the unit on and off with your left. This is a very minor inconvenience, and we feel it’s worth it for the improvement.
The newly redesigned portafilter shows improvements as well. In the new design, holding the basket in place is much more intuitive. No messing with a locking piece – the basket is held firmly in place with tension. The new basket is heavier than the old model, which we feel made it seem higher in quality. Unfortunately, the basket itself won’t sit flat on a counter when you’re cleaning and filling it, but like the knob placement, its impact on your overall experience is very minor.
Back flushing your machine couldn’t be simpler – the Gaggia Classic will do it automatically when you steam milk. The manual advises against attempting to flush it on your own. This semi-automatic self-cleaning function makes up for the lack of balance with the basket, as far as we’re concerned. Anything that makes the unit easier to clean helps keep the morning coffee experience more pleasant!
The brewing experience itself was phenomenal. As all coffee lovers know, the four requirements of a good cup of espresso are water temperature, pressure, the coffee itself, and the time for brewing. This system makes the temperature and pressure completely automated. The included scoop also measures the precise amount of coffee you should be using. This leaves you in charge of the coffee’s quality and the time spent – as it should be.
If you are new to espresso, you should know that the coffee needs to be a finer grind in order to flow through the machine in the proper amount of time. It should only take around 15-30 seconds to brew a single or double cup, so if your espresso isn’t as strong as you expected, try using a smaller grind.
This machine definitely stuck out to us as a beginner’s machine, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. While more experienced users might be put off by the no-frills frothing wand, beginners will quickly learn that swirling your milk after using the steam wand will help create that coffee shop microfoam you’re looking for.
The filters can take a bit of adjustment as well, especially for those who are used to dealing with non-pressurized baskets. This machine boasts excellent pressurized filters, which are much easier to use, but the quality of your coffee can be improved by learning how to manage it precisely. This machine comes with two pressurized filters and one non-pressurized filter. Inexperienced home baristas will want to become familiar with grind, measurement, and tamping before attempting the traditional brew basket.
The changes that were made between the previous design and the current design were definitely aimed toward newer users. Those without extensive cappuccino- and espresso-making experience will love that the Gaggia Classic makes fine coffee available to everyone.
More experienced users will probably want to invest in after-market accessories. Thankfully, the lower initial price of the Gaggia Classic means that true coffee lovers can tailor their machine to their exact desires. The areas we think have the most room for improvement include the steam wand, the scoop, and the tamper – as well as the tray insert. None of these should affect the quality of your coffee.
Should you buy the Gaggia 14101?
Overall, this machine is a great value for those who are serious about their coffee. The brand has a wonderful reputation for quality, and there is no shortage of customization that can be done to make this machine perfect. Whether you want one indulgent cup of coffee each morning or routinely host parties and get-togethers, the Gaggia 14101 Classic is an excellent investment that will blow you away.