The Gaggia 14101 is a mid-range machine that’s been design for ease of use and speed, both things that the average user loves to hear when looking for a new espresso maker.
This is one machine that unapologetically snubs the enthusiast crowd and wants to serve up coffee too as many average homes as possible!
Gaggia really has ticked the boxes with the 14101. It measures 14 x 9 inches, making it a very small machine and well-proportioned for a small to medium size kitchen. It’s also got some great features not commonly found in its price range
As we’ll discover, not everything is perfect with the Gaggia and some people will snub it. However, it’s aimed at a specific market segment who should fall in love with it!
Design & Quality
Gaggia has given the 14101 a classic home espresso maker look, packed full of high quality metals and plastics. The front is pure aluminium with a base made up of satin black plastic.
As we’ve come to expect from these machines within this price range, quality is very high and each button, knob and finish has obviously been design to withstand many years of hard use.
The control panel system is very easy to use, almost a design statement in itself that the 14101 wants to be loved by the average coffee drinker. You won’t find a tonne of options available to tinker with; however, you will discover a super quick brew time and a heat up process that’s much faster than most espresso machines.
This is thanks to a dual heating element design that’s design to heat the water from both sides of the boiler; we timed our brew to 1 minute and 5 seconds.
That’s super quick!
Would the Gaggia fit into a designer kitchen? We’re not 100% sure on that, although we feel Gaggia don’t actually have the premium customer in mind for this machine.
What we have here, is a pure, nuts and bolts coffee maker that’s design to serve a coffee lovers need quickly, easily and with no fuss whatsoever.
There’s no gloss, no glamour and no shiny bells or whistles; however, it’s this fact that allows the little Gaggias true strengths to shine through.
We were in two minds whether to leave this machine in the office or allow a member of the team to take it home. After much thinking, we figured that there’s no test like 20 coffee hungry members of staff, so we set it up in our canteen.
The first thing we noticed, and actually love is the basket size. It’s the exact same diameter and depth as a commercial coffee machine basket.
As we mentioned in the introduction, the brew time and warm up speed is unbelievably fast. This allowed the tiny Gaggia to easily keep up with our team’s coffee needs, regardless of its small size.
As far as brew quality goes, it’s about on par with most DeLonghi and Kitchen Aid machines in the same price range. The puk appears completely used up post brew and is left nice and dry, enabling you to tap out the contents easily.
The water tank is a respectable 72 ounces and easily changeable from the front. Gaggia have spent some time making the 14101 easy to use – and it really shows! The drip tray and basket are also easy to take apart and all catches appear to be made of solid metal.
Over our two-week trial, the little Gaggia kept up well with our coffee needs and didn’t put a foot wrong. Not bad at all for a machine at this price tag , it aimed squarely at the home market!
Keeping It Clean
As we just mentioned, the drip tray is easy to take off; handy because the nature of the tray means you really do need to take it off to empty it out and give it a wipe down.
On a happier note, puks are always left dry and compacted after a brew, making a simple tap out all that’s needed to get ready for the next brew.
All brackets, snaps and catches are made of solid aluminium which gives us some confidence that this Gaggia has been designed to give many years of useful service.
The Gaggia is not difficult to clean at all, although we would love to have been a slightly more intelligent drip tray design. Not the end of the world though.
We think Gaggia have done something interesting with the 14101. It’s a simple, easy to use machine that’s overtly designed for the user in mind. In the constant clamour to create coffee machine as style statements, it’s often easy to forget that some people actually use their coffee machine, every day!
Gaggia haven’t forgotten those people, they’re exactly who the 14101 is aimed at.
We loved the basket size and also like the fast heating time. If you tend to become impatient when waiting for a kettle or coffee machine to boil, then this Gaggia is the machine for you. We also loved the strength of coffee that this machine puts out, adding a full size commercial basket is a masterstroke from Gaggia.
Pump noise is about average and no harsher than comparable machines. It’s also not particularly quiet so you might want to look elsewhere if you require something that won’t wake people in the morning.
During our test, we learned to love the design and appreciate it for what it is, a no-nonsense coffee machine. It does lack that “coffee house” design style but unlike some machines that are made to “look the part” – the little Gaggia actually serves up some features that many of these pretenders could do with!
Gaggia Classic Review : Our Verdict
So the big question is, should you buy it? Well, if you genuinely use your coffee machine every day and need something that gets the job done, then the Gaggia 14101 is the machine for you. It’s speedy warm up time, decent water tank and brew strength should keep you happy for many, many years to come.
Build quality is sky high too, those many, many years of use a solid prospect!
However, if you’re purchasing a machine for looks and want that café machine style, you’ll be left wanting. The Gaggia is a superb machine that however cannot keep up with machines like the Breville BES840XL or the Mr Coffee at the lower end of the price range.
However, if you’re really into your coffee and want a machine that “just gets on with it”, then the Gaggia is perfect for you.
It’s not sexy, won’t win any design awards and is unlikely to find its way into too many barn conversions! Then again, this is part of the appeal of the Gaggia, unpretentious and for the genuine coffee lover, not the part time poser!