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It was in Italy, years ago, that I first fell in love with espresso, so it seems suitable somehow that my semi-automatic Gaggia Baby Class Espresso Maker came from Italy itself. Its brushed stainless steel is gorgeous in my kitchen, and I like to imagine a little Italian sunshine when I fire up my machine in the morning. I’ll say up front that this is a machine for the coffee aficionados who are really serious about their espresso.
But a look at the price tag alone would tell you that. To put it in a different frame of reference, though, if you buy just one espresso a day at a coffee shop (which you probably do if you’re serious about your espresso), this machine will pay for itself in a mere matter of months–after which you’d be saving money. The Gaggia 12300 Espresso Maker comes with a one-year warranty, but it’s also built to last like a coffee-shop machine, so you’ll likely be enjoying its services for years to come.
Gaggia 12300 Product Features:
Gaggia already had a winner with its Baby semi-automatic espresso maker, but that didn’t stop the company from kicking things up a notch with the redesigned and improved Gaggia Baby Class. It’s industrial-grade in its quality, with commercial-quality components, but designed for the home kitchen. The commercial level portafilter is a solid item, nearly a pound of brass, chrome-plated, with twin spouts, compatible with the E.S.E. (“easy serving espresso”) pods that make brewing a breeze.
You’ll have the option, though, of using the pods, or using espresso grounds directly in the same filter, without having to switch out the equipment. The three-way solenoid valve on the espresso machine manages the water and steam pressure, keeping the flow consistent between the two spouts, and of course powering the Turbo Frother, the ultimate luxury in a good espresso machine.
The double-boiler design on this espresso machine is unique in that the heating elements don’t come in direct contact with the water, but instead heat the entire boiler, which is made of a highly conductive metal, allowing the entire boiler unit to work as a single heating element. The design heats the water faster, and keeps the temperature stable–just one of the many innovations of the machine.
You don’t have to understand all those internal workings, though, to appreciate the espresso that comes out of the machine. From a user perspective, the controls on the espresso maker are easy to use and easy to understand, with lights to alert you when the machine is ready to brew, and indicate when the machine is turned on. You can use separate thermostats to control the water temperature and the steam temperature, and there’s a safety shut-off that would prevent overheating if the boiler malfunctioned.
One more feature of the Gaggia Baby Class espresso maker is the built-in cup-warmer, designed to heat five demitasse cups at a time, so when you pour your espresso the heat won’t be conducted out of the drink by a cold cup. With the sixty-ounce reservoir, I can brew several cups in a row when I have guests over, or it’s a simple matter to brew a single cup for myself, especially with the no-mess E.S.E. pod.