Let's face it; one of the biggest perks of working at Whole Latte Love is the coffee. No more burnt sludge from a coffee maker that has clearly passed its prime! The moment I signed on at Whole Latte Love, I signed off on bad coffee. As you can imagine, the espresso flows freely here, as do the lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, Americanos, and what not.
You know how "fashionistas" salivate at the mere thought of the Vogue shoe closet? Well, we've got the espresso enthusiasts' version right here—a brew room, filled floor to ceiling with every super, semi, manual, coffee maker, single serve, grinder, and frother imaginable. I know, I know, I'm bragging...
Oftentimes, we get machines way before they are available for retail, so that our tech and customer service reps can familiarize themselves with the products and offer educated advice from day one. It was in the brew room that I found the Gaggia TS on arrival, surrounded by excited Whole Latte Love staffers. We had gotten word that a Gaggia prosumer was on its way and the anticipation had been building for months. This is one of the few machines that get even the espresso veterans buzzing. So, naturally I was curious and pulled the "I'm-the-writer-let-me-test-the-machine" card. With the Gaggia name attached to a prosumer machine, I knew this was bound to be good...Just how good, I was about to find out...
At first glance, the Gaggia TS is an unassuming piece of machinery—almost dwarfed by the big commercial machines surrounding it. But, for the regular user, the TS is perfectly proportioned for the average kitchen counter. This semi-automatic has an understated silver powder-coated body and stainless steel panel that gives it authoritative look, one that says, "I know exactly what I'm doing and I don't take espresso lightly." Yet, switch- and knob-based controls make this sophisticated prosumer machine very consumer friendly.
From a cold start, the Gaggia TS requires minimal warm-up time before it gets brewing. I've found that I can switch it on when I first enter the building and in the time it takes for me to get into the office and start my computer, the TS is more than ready to brew.
With entire Whole Latte Love arsenal of espresso machines to choose from, I've been a bit spoiled, to say the least. My preferences trend towards semi-automatic machines with true commercial capabilities. The Gaggia TS does not disappoint. Chrome-plated brass brew group and 58mm professional-grade portafilter? Check and check. Commercial steam wand? Make that a four-hole, heavy-duty commercial steam wand. The TS even sits above the counter, on stainless-steel legs, so that if I have an early morning spill, the cleanup is virtually pain-free. Checkmate. I was already impressed and that's before we even popped the hood.
The Bells and Whistles
As a true prosumer machine, the Gaggia TS is particularly focused on delivering carefully controlled temperature stability. The machine does it a number of different ways; first with a horizontally mounted 2.3 liter boiler and powerful 1500-watt heating element. Top it off with a thermostat-operated, electronically heated brew group and state-of-the-art heat exchanger...What you've got is a recipe for great espresso.
Brewing with the TS leaves nothing to be desired. All the meticulous attention that Gaggia has paid to temperature stability enables this machine to deliver truly remarkable espresso, with an even flow and a nice layer of crema.But, for me, being a morning latte drinker, it's not just about the espresso. I need something that can steam and froth as well as it brews. The Gaggia TS seems to be just the ticket.
I need a commercial steam wand. Let me emphasize...this is not a want, it's a need. For those of us who enjoy a dash of milk in our espresso, there's nothing worse than a puny steam wand. Turn the steam knob on full power and any doubts about the Gaggia TS's frothing abilities will be erased. The four-hole commercial-style steam wand has the oomph necessary to get a good rotation going and evenly infuse the milk for the perfect texture and consistency. Aside from its frothing prowess, the TS also has a dedicated hot water dispenser for tea, oatmeal, and Americano. Color me happy.
As with most espresso machines, the littlest things can mean the difference between a dud and a fan favorite. Gaggia has really made sure to cross the T's and dot the I's with the TS. To help keep the machine in brew-ready condition, an electronic water sensor has been integrated into the removable reservoir. This unique feature will turn on the low-water indicator light, located on the front panel of the machine, if the reservoir needs to be refilled. And, as a matter of convenience, a cup warmer lets you preheat multiple espresso cups to ensure they're ready for use.
Simply put, this machine has the brawn and finesse necessary to put it in contention for the "Semi-Automatic of the Year" title. We've been getting to know the TS for a while now, and we can't wait until you get your chance to experience it for yourself. This machine will blow you away.