Gaggia Classic Review: The ‘Big Head’ Chic Espresso Machine

When talking about different semi-automatic espresso machines the most famous ones are by Breville and DeLonghi. However, no one forgets Gaggia. Why? It has to do with the Gaggia Classic espresso machine – especially because of the design.

The first thing you have to decide if you want to go through the whole Gaggia Classic review and it has everything to do with style. Italian style, mind you.

The Gaggia 14101 Classic espresso machine has a unique design. Almost whole of it is covered in fine stainless steel (and some experts call it chic) but what gives it it’s legendary look is ‘The Big Head’.

I find it amazing – it’s the only espresso machine in this price class that could fit right in a coffee shop. What is more, one thing is for sure: this Italian espresso machine makes an incredible coffee. We can talk the design left and right, up and down, but one taste of the espresso from the Gaggia Classic and we’re speechless (yes, it’s that good).

As I’ve put in the Gaggia Classic review below there is one thing I can call this semi-automatic espresso machine – it is truly special. Just look at it:

gaggia classic espresso machine review
Do you notice ‘The Big Head’ and chic design? That’s the Gaggia Classic machine.

The Gaggia 14101 is a mid-range espresso machine (that’s anywhere from $150 and $500) that’s been designed for ease of use and speed, both things that we’re looking for when buying a new espresso maker. If you master the Pannarello wand that comes with the machine, you can even make cappuccinos and lattes.

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. Needless to say for this Gaggia Classic review – this is Gaggia’s best-selling espresso machine of all time!

Overall Score: 4.2 out of 5 stars

It does lack complex features that some baristas might use. But if you just want to create a great espresso with no extra fuss, the Gaggia Classic 14101 is the right machine:


Gaggia Classic Review Of 14101 Model

The Gaggia has given the 14101 a classic home espresso maker look, packed full of high-quality stainless steel. In fact, the whole of the ‘Big Head’ is made out of stainless steel. None of the Keurig machines, for example, can brag about that.

The great thing about stainless steel is that each button, knob and finish is obviously been designed to withstand many years of hard use – that’s why they if you check the Gaggia Classic reviews, they also offer a 1-year hassle free warranty. Not many companies are confident enough in their espresso machines to do that.

You can check out similar espresso makers to Gaggia Classic – do they have a warranty as well?

Easy To Use Control Panel (Only 2 Buttons)

With some of the more expensive espresso makers, you’ll see they have a bunch of buttons. That does enable you to fine-tune the espresso you’re getting but it’s a complex thing to manage.

The Gaggia Classic, however, was designed to be easy to use and control panel is a good proof of that. You only have two buttons:

  • ON/OFF switch.
  • ‘Make me an espresso’ button.

That’s it. People who want to make a doctorate from making coffee will miss the additional buttons but guys who just want some coffee will love the simplicity.

Gaggia Classic Best Feature – Double Speed

Yes, you won’t find a ton 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.

How does it achieve such speed?

The dual heating element. If you look at Gaggia Classic vs most of the espresso makers, they usually only have a single heating element and are slower. Double the heating element, double the speed of heating, right?

We timed how quickly you can brew an espresso. The result for the Gaggia Classic review?

65 seconds.

That’s one of the fastest sophisticated espresso machines.

Now get this – while most espresso makers brew one cup at once, the Gaggia 14101 model can make two espressos at the same time.

gaggia classic two espressos at once
Gaggia Classic can make 2 espressos in 65 seconds. Need I say more?

Well, the natural thing you’ll need if you’re making two espressos at once is a big water reservoir. The Gaggia Classic comes equipt with a big 72 oz. tank. For comparison, the biggest tank that Keurig K575 holds up to 80 ounces.

You can easily make 8 espressos without the need to refill the water.

The Design Of Gaggia 14101

In one word – timeless.

The Classic Gaggia espresso maker was designed in 1991. It’s an Italian design and if we know anything about Italians is that they have style.

Fortunately, it doesn’t end with fashion and luxury sports cars – the Gaggia espresso makers are designed with the best chic style in mind as well.

Would the Gaggia fit into a designer kitchen? We’re not 100% sure on that, although the Gaggia Classic does give off a good feel. If you have or are in process of making a stylish kitchen, you probably want a Gaggia on your kitchen top.

What we have here, is a pure, nuts and bolts coffee maker that’s designed to serve a coffee lover need quickly, easily and with no fuss whatsoever.

Testing Gaggia Classic In The Office

We figured that there’s no better test than to let 20 coffee hungry members of staff try to make their own coffee with the Gaggia Classic.

“It’s quite nice. I never thought I can make a good espresso myself.” (Bryan)

There were several similar comments and what I loved about it is that pretty much everybody knew how to use it. I mean, it’s just pressing a button, but good job!

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 – those are the ones baristas most often use.

As we mentioned in the introduction, the brew time and warm up speed of Gaggia Classic is unbelievably fast. This allowed the Gaggia to easily keep up with our team’s coffee needs, regardless of its smaller size.

As far as brew quality goes, it’s about on par with most DeLonghi and Breville machines in the same price range. The puck appears completely used up after the brew and is left nice and dry, enabling you to tap out the contents easily. That’s a big factor when you wonder how to clean the Gaggia Classic espresso machine.

The 72 ounces water tank and easily changeable from the front. Gaggia has spent some time making the 14101 easy to use – and it really shows!

The drip tray and basket are also easy to take apart. They are made out of stainless steel as well – nice touch.

Can You Make A Cappuccino With Gaggia 14101?

Over our two-week trial, the 14101 Gaggia machine kept working pretty well. Some of the guys tried to use the Pannarello wand (comes with the machine) to froth milk and make a cappuccino.

Some were successful, some weren’t. Making a cappuccino with the Gaggia Classic is, of course, possible but you have to master your milk frothing techniques first because this is a semi-automatic machine. The super-automatic ones make cappuccino

Making a cappuccino with the Gaggia Classic is, of course, possible but you have to master your milk frothing techniques first because this is a semi-automatic machine. If you want to learn how to make a cappuccino with any espresso machine, check the Coffee Academy article.

The super-automatic ones make cappuccino automatically, with semi-automatic ones (which are actually more expensive and brew better coffee) you have to have some skills with the frother.

How To Clean The Gaggia Espresso Machine?

When it comes to espresso machines, easy cleaning is important. You don’t want to spend a whole lot of time cleaning the Gaggia, right?

As we just mentioned, the drip tray is easy to take off; that’s handy because the nature of the tray means you really do need to take it off to empty and give it a wipe down.

On a happier note, pucks 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 the brackets, snaps and catches are made of solid stainless steel. Steel is wonderful to clean because the coffee doesn’t stick to it as much as to the hard plastic.

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.

Pros Of Gaggia Classic 14101 Model

  • Chic Italian design with the ‘Big Head’. Stainless steel makes all the difference.
  • Incredibly fast – it makes 2 espressos in 65 seconds.
  • Dual heating element shortens the heat up time nicely.
  • Very easy to clean – removable tray, pucks are dry and stainless steel is easy to wide down.
  • High-quality switches and moveable parts – the Gaggia Classic was made to last.

Cons Of Gaggia Espresso Machine

  • Some people find the ‘Big Head’ design funny. In a bad way.
  • Lack of options won’t impress the coffee connoisseur.
  • You have to know how to froth milk to make cappuccino.
  • At 22 pounds, it’s quite heavy.

Final Thoughts On Review Of Gaggia Classic

So the big question is, should you buy the Gaggia Classic?

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, big-sized water tank and brew strength should keep you happy for many, many years to come.

I would buy it because of the design. Yes, it does make great espresso, is fast and easy to use, but the design resonates with me the best. I feel like a barista using it, to be honest.



product image
Author Rating
Aggregate Rating
4.5 based on 2 votes
Brand Name
Product Name
Gaggia Classis 14101 espresso machine
USD 399.99
Product Availability
Available in Stock

Leave a Comment