Today an in-depth look at the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe. The Carezza Deluxe is in a class of machines that brew using a pressurized filter basket. These machines simplify home and office espresso brewing because they can work with pre-ground coffee and Easy Serve Espresso pods. The benefit with either of those? Well, you don’t need a grinder or barista training to get good results.
In this article we’ll take a look at how to brew on the Carezza using pre-ground coffee and ESE pods, cover milk frothing, and take a look at key features that make the Carezza in my opinion the best available machine in its class.
So let’s get right into those breakout features. First is pre-infusion. It’s something you usually only find on higher-end machines or done manually by a barista. Pre-infusion wets the coffee briefly prior to full pressure brewing. Doing that causes the coffee to swell and results in a deeper more complete extraction of flavor. It’s an advanced feature you don’t find on other machines at this level.
Second are those filter baskets. While competitor’s machines often accommodate only about 12 grams of coffee the Carezza’s double basket holds as much as 18 grams. Now 17 to 18 grams is pretty much the standard these days in most good cafes. The 12 grams in competing machines, yeah, they make for a weak and watery espresso.
Third are the commercial style filter baskets. These are completely different and far better than what you’ll find in competing machines. So in most pressurized machines what you’ll get is a filter basket with a little tiny hole like this one. That single tiny hole is what builds up the pressure that defines the espresso brewing process. The Carezza’s baskets on the other hand look just like what you’d find used in regular commercial espresso machines. It has hundreds of holes. Then in the bottom section of the portafilter there’s a restriction. This setup is unique and in combination with pre-infusion and higher coffee dosing you get a fuller extraction of the coffee making for a much better finished espresso than is possible on competing machines.
Let’s take a look at how to use the machine. With the portafilter locked in turn the machine on. As it heats up it will run a short pre-heat rinse cycle. From turn-on to read- to-brew, again, only about one minute. Once the brew light is on solid the machine is ready for use.
Brewing with ESE pods is simple just place the pod adapter into the portafilter and then place the pod filter basket on top. Insert a pod and attach the portafilter to the machine. Press the brew button and brew about 1 ounce or 30 milliliters.
To use preground coffee, make sure the pod adapter is removed and place the double shot filter basket in the portafilter. Fill to the rim with pre-ground espresso coffee and level off. Attach the portafilter to the machine press the brew button and allow 2 ounces or 60 milliliters of espresso to brew.
To make a latte or a cappuccino, brew an espresso into a suitable cup. Then press the steam button. The machine will take a few seconds to reach steam temperature. While the machine is heating fill a steaming pitcher with 2 to 3 ounces of cold milk for a cappuccino or 3 to 6 ounces for a latte. Once up to steaming temperature the steam light will stop flashing. Before steaming milk turn the steam knob to purge residual water into the drip tray or another container. Once only steam comes out close the knob and place the tip of the wand below the surface of the milk in the pitcher. Open the steam knob. The auto frothing pannarello wand automatically mixes air into the milk while heating it. For a cappuccino style froth continue heating in this position until the outside of the pitcher is just getting uncomfortable to hold due to heating. For a less frothy latte style milk once the outside of the pitcher starts to feel warm position the wand deeper in the milk to the point of covering the air intake hole. Covering the hole with milk stops air injection. For a cappuccino or latte continue heating and swirling the milk until the outside of the pitcher is just starting to get uncomfortable to hold which indicates a temperature of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit equal to 60 degrees celsius.
When your milk is up to temperature turn off the steam, remove the pitcher and then open the knob again to purge any milk in the wand. Following that wipe down the wand with a clean cloth. Finish your drink by pouring the milk over your espresso.
For milk frothing a couple of optional accessories are available for the Carezza Deluxe a cappuccinatore which froths automatically into your cup and the gaggia latte art pannarello wand which lets you froth manually to an extra fine microfoam capable of pouring latte art. The cappuccinatore uses a pickup tube. Place it in milk, turn on the steam and that’s it. Froth is delivered to your cup. It doesn’t get any easier than that. The latte art wand can auto froth like the standard wand, but remove its outer sleeve and now you have a manual frothing wand. This allows you to froth milk like a barista. With a little practice you can create the super fine microfoam required for pouring latte art. That’s really cool and a capability you don’t get on any other machines in this class.
The Carezza Deluxe features a retro Italian aesthetic. Size wise it’s eleven inches wide by twelve and a half deep and twelve and three-quarters high. So compact and no problem fitting under eighteen inch overhanging cabinetry. On top of the machine there’s a heated metallic cup warming surface.
From power on to ready to brew is about 1 minute. That’s fast and you don’t have to worry about turning it off. That happens automatically after 9 minutes of no use.
On the front panel are a temperature gauge, buttons for power, brew, water and steam, and that knob for turning on steam and hot water.
The water reservoir slides out from the front of the machine and has a clear window for monitoring level. The reservoir accepts the Mavea Intenza plus water filter which removes chlorine and softens hard water to improve flavor and prevent scale build up. A large drip tray slides out from the front for easy emptying.
With features like pre-infusion and commercial style filter baskets which accommodate commercial size coffee doses the Carezza Deluxe is in my option the best available machine for those looking to get into espresso and milk based beverages without the hassle or expense of a grinder. It’s attractive, compact and quick. Ready to brew in about one minute and no worries with the automatic shutoff.
That’s the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe. It’s available now at Whole Latte Love. Have any questions about this machine or anything coffee use those comments and I’ll get you the answers. Come back soon for more of the best on everything coffee brought to you by Whole Latte Love.