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.