"Gaggia Espresso Machines and Coffee Grinders; Constantly evolving tradition…"
Italian pioneer Achille Gaggia has been hailed as the Father of the Modern Espresso Machine. He invented the first lever piston espresso machine in 1948, forever changing the world of espresso brewing.
He was driven by passion and inspiration, and the current developers at Gaggia are no different. Their dedication to their craft has allowed the renowned Gaggia name to dominate the market and retain its position as the number 1 manufacturer of home espresso machines in Italy.
With its well known history of invention, Gaggia has perfected all of its espresso machines including Super Automatics such as the Gaggia Titanium and the New Gaggia Platinum series and semi-automatics such as the Gaggia Classic and the Gaggia Baby Twin.
Whole Latte Love is your authorized Gaggia repair center
Made from the top selection of the most exquisite Arabica coffee beans from Middle and South America, the Gaggia Arabica blend is superbly balanced with a rich creamy flavor that is valued in espresso. Available in whole bean, ground or in E.S.E. pods, the Gaggia coffee line offers variety as well as superior taste.
A combination of the finest Middle and South American Arabica beans and spiced with a hint of monsooned Indian Robusta, this coffee has enhanced tone and personality. Whether whole bean, ground or E.S.E pod form, the espresso from the Gaggia Intenso blend is a bright full coffee, perfect for those looking for character and spice.
Green coffee beans are usually shipped in 132lb bags, (60 Kilograms) and world-wide production statistics are compiled on the number of bags.
World production for 2012 includes 88,818 bags of Arabica and 62,440 of Robusta.
To give you perspective on worldwide coffee production and the rarity of some highly prized regional coffees like Hawaiian Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain that make up a tiny fraction of all coffees, here are statistics for 2012 compiled by the US Department of Agriculture.
Brazil leads the world in total production again in 2012 with 40,200 bags of Arabica and 15,700 of Robusta for a total of 55,900 bags or 7,378,800 lb.
Vietnam is second for total production with 850 bags of Arabica and 24,150 of Robusta for a total of 25,000 bags or 3,300,000 lb.
The United States, mostly Hawaii, (100/0) and Mexico (4,500/200) make up North American production of 4,600 bags of Arabica and 200 bags of Robusta.
Central America produces 14,605 bags of Arabica and 10 bags of Robusta from: Costa Rica (1,600/0), El Salvador (1,475/0), Guatemala (3,840/10), Honduras (5,800/0), Nicaragua (1,800/0) and Panama (90/0).
South American countries including Bolivia (4/150), Brazil (40,200/15,700), Colombia (7,500/0), Ecuador (415/190), Paraguay (25/0), Peru (4,800/0) and Venezuela (880/0) combined to produce 53,970 bags of Arabica and 15,890 bags of Robusta.
Caribbean countries produce 920 bags of Arabica from: Cuba (125), Dominican Republic (475), Haiti (300) and Jamaica (20).
Middle East coffee comes from Yemen at 150 bags of Arabica.
Papua New Guinea, 1,100 bags of Arabica and 50 bags of Robusta, represents Oceania’s total production.
South Asia contributes 1,650 bags of Arabica and 3,685 bags of Robusta from: India (1,640/3,660) and Sri Lanka (10/25).
Sub-Saharan Africa contributes 9,243 bags of Arabica and 7,580 bags of Robusta from: Angola (0/30), Burundi (225/0), Cameroon (100/700), Central African Republic (0/15), Kinshasa (200/165), Cote d'Ivoire (0/1,800), Ethiopia (6,500/0), Ghana (0/90), Guinea (0/425), Kenya (850/0), Liberia (0/5), Madagascar (25/500), Malawi (25/0), Nigeria (0/30), Rwanda (250/0), Sierra Leone (0/70), Tanzania (500/300), Togo (0/650), Uganda (650/2,800), Zambia 10/0) and Zimbabwe (8/0).
The Coffee Grinder – we have discussed coffee grinders here in the past and defined what a weight measuring coffee grinder can do. Now I’m going to tell you a seldom revealed astonishing fact; the quality of the coffee grinder directly affects the taste and crema of the espresso!
For instance you can experiment starting with a very good espresso machine like the Gaggia Classic. Make espresso shots using grounds of the same coffee from various coffee grinders like a low end burr grinder, then go up in quality to a better home burr grinder, then to a prosumer-commercial burr grinder and on to a high end commercial conical burr grinder. You will actually notice how much better the espresso is using coffee grounds from each coffee grinder!
In keeping with the spirit of our espresso-as-science experiment and the ability to be consistent, we had talked about the very good Baratza Vario-W Coffee Grinder.
The next step up, in my opinion, would be a prosumer-commercial grade machine like the Ceado E37 Coffee Grinder, which is a programmable dosing grinder that has amazing burrs and will give you a better espresso because of the burrs and the design of the grinder. It also lets you program the dose electronically based on grind time. So again you can be consistent in the amount of coffee you use. Here is a link to learn more about this amazing grinder. Ceado E37 Coffee Grinder.
The next step up to a commercial grade machine may seem like a little much for home use; however, a great choice would be the Mazzer Kony as it has conical burrs and it is also available in an electronic version for producing consistent doses of coffee grounds. This coffee grinder or any commercial conical burr coffee grinder would permanently end any further need to upgrade your coffee grinder. A coffee grinder like this will absolutely give you the best chance of making a truly superior espresso.
Looking at the coffee grinder as one of the controllable variables in our espresso-as-science experimenting we find that selecting the best grinder we can afford is one thing we can change and get a predictable result. That is, if we keep everything else the same, tamp, amount and type of coffee, and the size of the shot, then adjusting the grind and tasting the shot results will determine what grinder and grind fineness will give us the best tasting results.
For most people the grinder and grind settings would be the variable that would give them very noticeable results quickly.
The Espresso Machine – So far we have looked at many of the variables involved in making great espresso. Another variable is the espresso machine. Many espresso aficionados consider the espresso machine to be the most important one. I do somewhat agree that the machine is an important part of producing quality espresso.
With the correct machine you have the potential to make a great tasting shot of espresso. I say potential because so many factors go into making a great espresso. Many of these factors are going to be based on the user’s knowledge and skill at crafting an espresso from what they have to work with. Again if we look at this as a science experiment one of the factors that can be controlled if you have the proper machine is the brewing water temperature.
Espresso coffee taste will vary considerably when brewed at different temperatures. I always tell people about wine and how to relate wine temperature and how it affects wine almost the same as coffee. Actually wine and coffee have many similarities as far as how they are cupped, tasted and have different characteristics based on where they are grown and even how good or bad the growing season was.
Back to temperature and wine; If you order a really good bottle of white wine somewhere and it is kept in the beer cooler at near freezing you know when you get that wine it will only taste cold. It is not at the proper temperature for the wine to let you in on all the nuances and flavors the vintner has worked so hard to get in that great bottle of wine. As the wine warms up and gets to the proper temperature for serving then you start to notice the flavors of the wine such as oaky, fruity, flowery, and all the other great descriptions of the wine.
Coffee is the same way. Temperature plays a very large roll in how exactly the espresso will taste. The whole idea of looking at this as a science experiment is to learn how you can control many of the variables in making espresso. Having a machine where you can control temperature is a huge advantage at being able to make an espresso that may be the best you have ever had.
Spending your money on the right equipment will give you the potential to make an espresso shot that is downright amazing. The ability to control temperature is going to let the espresso have different tastes. You may be able to pick out chocolate, berry, caramel, fruit and also something like currants. Notice the similarity to wine descriptions.
If you invest in a machine that allows you to control the brewing water temperature, like one of my favorites the Expobar Brewtus IV Espresso Machine, and you keep all the other variable parameters consistent, you will get to the point where you know exactly the temperature that will yield the best tasting espresso coffee.
Having an espresso machine that will brew at exact temperatures will certainly help us in our quest to make the perfect shot. Since our love of espresso coffee and our ability to be scientists should have a goal and a plan to get there I will discuss how this all ties together in part three of espresso as science and perhaps reveal what this all means!
Since joining Whole Latte Love I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with semi-automatic espresso machines while learning a great deal about brewing espresso. And my coffee journey has also taught me a bit about myself as well. At the end of the day, I really just want to push buttons. This week, my wish was granted as I was re-united with the simplicity of super-automatic espresso machines when I spent some quality time with the Gaggia Titanium.
Something that struck me right away that was notably different from all of the other super-automatic machines I've used is that the Titanium has a steam wand. The Jura-Capresso machines I operated previously used automatic milk frothing systems so I was surprised to find that the Titanium gives you the choice between manual or automatic milk frothing. It comes packaged with a Pannarello wand, a specialized steam wand which I'll discuss momentarily and a Cappuccinatore, which is an auto-frothing attachment, so it's really up to you how you want to froth your milk.
For the most part, my experiences with manual frothing have ended in disaster, but I've always wanted to give a Pannarello wand a try, so I did. Now, some people refer to the Pannarello wand as the “turbo frother,” and for good reason. All I really had to do was stick the wand into my pitcher and turn the steam on. Like any wand, it won't work if it's too close to the surface of the milk or the side of your pitcher, but other than that, it's pretty foolproof. If however, you'd like a bit more info on frothing with the Pannarello wand, Todd made a fantastic tutorial video which you can find here.
To be honest, I'd say that the Titanium is built for steaming and frothing milk with its set of dual thermal block boilers, one aluminum and one stainless steel and its robust 60oz water reservoir.
The buttons on the Titanium, aka, my favorite part of any super-automatic machine, are made of polished metal and labeled with icons. There are three programmable one-touch drink buttons, as well as buttons for the bypass doser and hot water.
In terms of niceties, the machine sports a number of features that I found to be very attractive. Cased in stainless steel, the Gaggia Titanium is equipped with an active cup warmer and rests on a turntable, making it easy to rotate as needed. It has a cool electric blue display and a float in the drip tray that tells you when it needs to be emptied. It also has an adjustable coffee spout to accommodate different cup heights.
When it comes to brewing, the Titanium uses a 15 bar vibration pump, which I found to be a bit noisier than the commercial rotary pumps of the Rocket Espresso machines I've used, but it brewed fast and the crema was excellent.
For me, the Titanium really had everything I could want in a machine. It was easy to use, like all super-automatic machines, but it was all of the extra features that elevated it above and beyond the norm. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to buy an ergonomic super-automatic espresso machine.
The weekend is usually a time to kick back and relax, but, if you're like me, it's also a perfect opportunity to experiment with some new recipes! As the dog days of summer close in, cool off with a refreshing caramel frappe, or liven up your nights this weekend with an espresso martini!
You can find frappes almost everywhere these days, but nothing beats the comfort of your own kitchen. For the Caramel Frappe you're going to need:
Combine your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Top with a swirl of whipped cream, and drizzle with caramel for an icy treat to beat the heat!
Our next recipe comes from Whole Latte Love's very own Dan Moraldo. Coffee really does mix well with just about anything, so a martini is an excellent choice! For the Espresso Martini you're going to need:
When you make this drink, you're going to want to do a few things ahead of time:
Combine the espresso, vodka, and liqueur with the ice and shake vigorously. When they're fully mixed, strain into your chilled glass. As a finishing touch, add three coffee beans (one for health, one for wealth, and one for happiness) and enjoy!
Working in a company like Whole Latte Love that encourages you to test the products it sells is a wonderful experience. Especially if you like using the products! Customers get great information and opinions from actual hands on testing, and I get to enjoy some of the finest coffee drinks anyone can make for free! I really like and crave coffee, so being able to try all kinds of brewing equipment is a wonderful perk.
One machine that has steadily gained my favor is the Super Automatic Gaggia Brera. I use it about 5 times a day. Several co-workers have blogged about its features and the technical aspects of its boiler, grinder adjustability, brew group, etc. I am not going to blast you with more of the same; however, I do want to make a few points about the usability and performance of the Brera.
The Gaggia Brera is very compact and has easy access to the water reservoir and the dredge drawer from the front of the machine. But, when push comes to shove, does any of that really matter when you wake up in the morning craving a great cup of coffee? I personally am only thinking “I want my cup of coffee and I want it now!!!!”
The Brera helps me to get that first cup easily. I can set my cup under the brew spout, push a button and walk away knowing when I come back the brewed coffee will be the same quality as the cup I had earlier or the day before. Typically the first three trips to the Brera are for a normal cup of black coffee (Café Crema). Later I will usually make two cappuccinos using the Brera to brew the shots of espresso.
Now with all the different espresso machines I have access to you might ask why I am using a super-automatic. It comes down to one simple explanation. It is one of the easiest espresso machines to use. So if you’re looking for a machine that is easy to use, produces great espresso coffee consistently, get a Gaggia Brera. I am confident you won’t be disappointed.
Stay tuned! I will continue to write honest opinions about the machines I test. If I don’t like it you will know!
When I found out that some customers were having difficulty with their Gaggia for illy machines I knew I had to do something about it. People who drink coffee brewed with iperEspresso capsules expect it to be a quick and hassle free experience. That's exactly how it should be. In this blog I'd like to address the issue some customers have had with priming their machines before brewing.
The Gaggia For illy Plus Single Serve Espresso Machine is similar to other coffee machines that use capsules, cartridges, k-cups or E.S.E. pods in that it can't brew without first priming its water system. This simply means that it needs to take a bit of water from the reservoir before it can brew. You will know that the machine needs to be primed if the hot water and brew button lamps on top of the machine are flashing.
If your Gaggia For illy needs to be primed, simply follow these steps to get it ready to brew again:
|Ready to steam|
|Ready to brew!|
If you want to use your Gaggia for illy to make steam, follow these simple instructions:
|dial in steam position|
|Purge into empty cup or drip tray.|
|Switch clicked to off position.|
If the steam or espresso button lamps are ever blinking on your machine, it is important that you either turn it off or prime it. While the button lamps flash, the machine's boiler is heating up and if left unattended, it can easily blow a fuse if allowed to do so for too long. Also, to ensure that the water you are using is fresh, whenever you are finished using the machine, remove and empty the water reservoir and purge the remaining water in the boiler through the steam wand.
By following these steps, you can keep your Gaggia for illy machine brewing without a hitch.
Things I Like About This Machine
- Stylish & Appealing
The Accademia has a sleek look and style. It would look magnificent in any situation. The overall design and stainless steel and steel construction is impressive and beautiful. This machine would fit very nicely in a kitchen that has stainless steel appliances.
- Ease of Use
Nothing is easier as a one touch machine and as a bonus this machine will also let you steam milk with the added steam wand if you prefer. You can dial in things such as strength, temperature and size of drinks. It allows you to create drinks exactly as you like and then by pushing a button you will to get the same drink every time. Programming is very easy as well as intuitive through the programming menu. So whether you prefer an amazing espresso or a delicious latte the wide array of programming options will get you exactly the taste you are looking for. As a side note, I also find the display on the Accademia fun to watch as the drinks are being made.
- Quality of The Espresso
Having used the Accademia in our office for the better part of a year I am constantly impressed by how good the espresso is. The ceramic burrs really do great job of cutting the beans evenly and finely enough for espresso. They also are much quieter as an added bonus. In addition, the grinder is situated directly above the brew group giving you fresh coffee with every brew. You can also dial in the grinder settings as well and dosage (amount of bean ground).
- Easy to keep clean
This machine really does a nice job of helping you keep it running smoothly. You will want to use the Mavea water filter that will soften your water by removing Lime and Calcium as well as giving you better tasting water. It also has built in rinsing and cleaning cycles that will happen automatically or the machine will let you know what you need to do via the control screen. The milk container actually does a rinsing cycle after every drink to keep things sanitary, so not really a lot to deal with as far as cleaning milk lines.
Things I would Improve:
- It would be nice if the water tank would come out of the side of the machine instead of the top.
- It would be nice if you could fit just a little taller glass then four and three quarters under the coffee spout.
This machine is for those people looking for a great machine that is easy to use and maintain. Because of the one-touch features, it fits those with a busy lifestyle. Compared to many super-automatics, it gives an exceptional espresso to those who may not have thought a super auto could do such a thing. The ease of use also is great for entertaining as you can still have fun while being the barista for your party. This machine is something that will appeal to those who value their time when they have guests over.
Gaggia Platinum Vogue:
This week I was able to get my hands on the Gaggia Platinum Vogue. With its stylish design and great price point I was eager to pull some shots with it. After rigorous testing and lots of caffeine I have given the Vogue a worthwhile review.
What I liked about the product:
The machine has the E-Plus system. This allows you to speed up or slow down the rate of extraction. This is nice because it lets you customize your drink setting: faster flow for a full cup and slower for a small cup.
The ceramic burr grinder does a great job grinding the beans and does not alter the taste of the coffee.
The Vogue is very easy to use. With a press of a button it will grind, tamp and brew. The panarello wand makes frothing milk easy.
What I Would Change:
There is no bypass doser. Occasionally, I like to brew with a pre-ground coffee. This feature is also nice when you have company over and someone asks for decaf.
The control panel has a learning curve. When you run out of water or need beans a red light flashes. It would be nice if there was a display screen.
This is a great machine for someone who is looking for a quality machine at a good price. It will allow you to have the convenience of a super automatic with some flexible programming. It is easy to use and does not create a large mess.
Gaggia Platinum Vison Review
Things I like About This Product:
Touch Screen Display
Extremely intuitive and makes for very easy programming and initial set up. Also makes the machine very easy for guests to use. I suggest programming the first cup as a double shot of espresso, the second cup as an 8oz cafe crema, and the third to use as a double shot of espresso using the bypass doser. The touch screen also makes diagnosis of service easy, i.e.,messages that tell you to fill water reservoir, empty dredge drawer, descale.
Removable Brew Group
Makes for easy cleaning both of the brew group and inside the brewing area. Once a week I simply remove the brew group and rinse with warm water. I also like to use a small painters brush to brush out coffee grounds between the cracks inside the machine once I remove the brew group. I then wipe the area out with a paper towel. The removable brew group makes cleaning access very easy.
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Ceramic generally has a longer life than steel burrs. Ceramic burrs also keeps the coffee cool by limiting the amount of heat transferred from the burrs to the grinds. There is a noticeable difference in the reduced noise level produced by ceramic burrs as well.
Fresh Ground Coffee
As opposed to older Gaggia models and many other super-automatics, the grinder on this machine is positioned directly above the brew group. This means that each cup of coffee uses fresh ground coffee, not stored ground coffee like some other models. This is particularly important when you drink your first cup of the day to insure that you are not drinking stale coffee ground the day before.
The milk island is a wonderful accessory that makes milk frothing very easy. Simply fill the milk container up 1/3 of the way, turn the steam knob on the side of the machine and everything else will be done for you. From start to finish this whole process takes about a minute. We have a great video to watch that will give you an in-depth look at this machine.
Things I would improve about this product:
Not a one touch
Not stainless steel
Customer Match/Recommended Use:
As with most super-automatic espresso machines you cannot beat the convenience the Platinum Vision offers when making your espresso beverages. With the addition of the touch display and the milk island the Vision is great for users that want a good combination of ease of use and quality beverages with little mess. The machine works very well in entertainment situations when serving 10 or less guests.
As you’re enjoying the last rays of summer, consider that in a few years you could be lathering on the coffee to prevent skin cancer. Findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science suggests that chemicals commonly found in coffee have the ability to absorb UV radiation when applied directly to the skin. Researchers at Rutgers University genetically engineered mice to suppress the same enzyme that caffeine does in humans and have found that they were slower to develop skin cancer. Because of its ability to suppress ATR, the enzyme responsible for turning damaged skin cells cancerous, scientists have suggested that caffeine could be added to sunscreens to boost protection levels.
In a strange twist, caffeine molecules may also help you develop a nice tan in addition to protecting your skin from tumors and cancer. Caffeine has actually been shown to stimulate pigment cells, urging them to produce more color. So, a safer tan may not be too far on the horizon.