What’s the buzz about the Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine? Why has it been the talk of the town for many years now?
We have examined the machine up close and have come up with some interesting points about it. Featuring the durability of stainless steel and the cheapest of most of the espresso machines of this type, it certainly looks good on the paper.
The machine has a small footprint so it won’t take much space on your counter, and doesn’t weigh much either. It boasts a range of attributes like fast heat-up, better pump mounts, commercial portafilter, and steam wand.
If you have a household with avid coffee consumers, then perhaps this is the best option for you. However, it’s too big if you are the only coffeeholic in the house.
Does it deserve the attention it’s getting? Let’s find out!
Should you choose a semi-automatic espresso machine?
A semi-automatic espresso machine gives you a great amount of control over making your shot. You won’t feel satisfied with an automatic machine when you have a nuanced taste in espresso.
As you are the one who is controlling the pump, you can decide how much water content each of the shots should have. A super or fully automatic machine doesn’t provide you with such freedom.
Several semi-automatic espresso machines come with an inbuilt coffee grinder. Some don’t have this feature, and you will have to buy a coffee grinder separately.
When you don’t have time to prepare coffee, a fully automatic espresso machine can save you time. Everything will be automatic, and you won’t have to do a thing. It might be a blessing for some avid coffee drinkers. But true coffee aficionados will raise their eyebrows over it.
|Features||Gaggia RI9380/46||Breville BES870XL||Rancilio Silvia|
|Taste||Less flavorful and robust.||Balanced taste.||Balanced taste.|
|Brewing Capacity||9 cups||13 cups||14 cups|
|User-friendliness||Gauge, rockers, knobs, and commercial steam wand.||Gauges, buttons, knobs, and easily accessible steam wand.||Knobs, buttons gauges, and easily accessible steam wand.|
|Design & Materials||Stainless steel body with plastic drip tray.||Stainless steel body with plastic accents.||Stainless steel body featuring chrome-plated brass.|
|Cleaning & Maintenance||Easy but requires some practice.||Easily descalable.||Easily descalable.|
|Frothing||Commercial-grade steam wand.||Swiveling angled steam wand.||Swiveling angled steam wand.|
|Grinding||No grinder.||Automatic and manual grinder.||No grinder.|
|Additional Features||Single boiler, pressurized and non-pressurized filters, 3-way valve (solenoid), dual heating elements.||Double boiler, multi-user programming, auto-shutoff, and water tank indicator.||Single boiler, multi-user programming, and water tank indicator.|
|Value for Money||Meets the value.||Slightly expensive.||Expensive.|
The Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Review:
The first and foremost factor of any espresso machine is to get the perfect sip of coffee. It is something that you can’t judge by the looks of a machine, so we have tried all three of the machines here.
The Classic Pro’s aroma and the taste are right up there to cafe-quality. It produces a rich and bold taste and also produces crema that is decent enough to soothe your taste buds. However, you’ll notice a certain degree of lack of flavor and robustness.
The taste is there, but you don’t have any control over temperature and pressure. You can only control the grind coarseness and the type of coffee beans. Milk steaming also doesn’t live up to the reputation of the proclivities of brewing machines. However, it does make some serious amount of foaming.
In comparison, the Breville BES870XL lets you choose the grind size, control temperature, and pressure. A lot is going on here that you can control on your own. Similar is the case with Rancilio Silvia, as you can control the pressure and use various multi-user programming to alter the taste of your cup.
In terms of taste, you are not going to make a shot like a professional barista with the Classic Pro. But it is not all disappointment either because the entire coffee-making process becomes less technical. And if you are in a hurry to grab your cup, then it might turn out to be a more fruitful option.
The Classic Pro comes with a good amount of brewing capacity (2.13L or 72 fluid ounces) is much appreciated by coffeeholic. It means that the espresso machine can produce up to 9 cups in one fill. So you’ll only end up refilling it about twice a day based on your coffee consumption patterns.
On the other hand, the Breville BES870XL Barista can produce close to 13 cups, and Rancilio Silvia can produce one more cup than that. So if there are many coffee lovers around you, then these two will certainly serve them well.
User-friendliness involves the overall interface, automation features, and accessibility for the users. With the Classic Pro, brewing coffee is a very simple process. You don’t have to tackle the pressure and temperature controls manually, so the coffee extraction process becomes less of a headache.
But getting your coffee into the machine’s portafilter might be cumbersome. You’ll need a separate grinder for this coffee machine, and then you need to tamp it. The tamper that comes with the Classic Pro has a very flimsy structure, and it’s too small for the machine’s portafilter too. Therefore, you can’t tamper the whole coffee in one go evenly.
Steam wand construction is not the ideal one either. There is no swiveling design here, so frothing becomes a bit messy unless you have mastered the art.
In contrast, the Breville BES870XL Barista comes with various manual programs to deal with, and the same goes for Rancilio Silvia. These programs and settings might complicate your cup, but you’ll get the perfect cup of coffee.
Design & Materials:
One of the best features of Gaggia Classic Pro is the use of stainless steel in the construction. It’s not a very common sight in this price range, so durability is exceptional here.
The company has also used rocker switches to ensure that the controls never fail. It is a feature that most high-end espresso machine manufacturers need to rethink.
As compared to the Classic Pro, the Breville Barista BES870XL has a much larger footprint with a larger water reservoir. Likewise, the Rancilio Silvia is even heavier than the Barista, and you will find it difficult to move around.
Therefore, the Classic Pro is a much better option for you if you’re looking for a combination of quality materials and lightweight features coupled with a small footprint.
Cleaning & Maintenance:
Cleaning and maintenance of the Classic Pro leave you on a bit of a learning curve for the first couple of times. It won’t be a thing later on, but you will need to be careful about your first few tries.
The instructions manual is not going to be very helpful here too. It is especially the case when you are looking to descale the machine thoroughly.
Regular cleanup is not that difficult; it is the standard for all brewing machines. But there is a tiny plastic piece that is present in the machine’s portafilter that tends to hold onto some gunk. You have to be very precise with the entire cleaning process due to this single piece.
However, the Breville BES870XL Barista comes with a descaling indicator that eases your job when you need to descale your machine. The instructions manual also has all the details in it to clean it thoroughly.
Descaling Rancilio Silvia is straightforward. You can use a standard descaling formula for this machine. It’s all about getting used to the cleaning and maintenance techniques of the descaling.
As it is a single-boiler machine, you will have to decide whether to stem your milk first for frothing or brew your espresso first. Both methods have their pros and cons. If you steam milk first, you can create some latte art, while espresso will lose its taste if you allow it to rest.
Conversely, brewing your coffee and allowing the steamed milk to sit separate the milk from the foam. So the choice is all yours.
Rancilio Silvia is also a single boiler machine, so its working is very similar to the Gaggia Classic Pro. Nevertheless, the Breville BES870XL Barista is a double boiler machine. Hence, you can steam your milk and brew your coffee at the same time with all the pressure and temperature controls.
It puts you in the driver’s seat with your cup of coffee. But you need to have plenty of experience to bring all these manual controls under one umbrella and produce a fine tasting coffee.
Conclusively, a much simpler way of creating a good quality coffee is to go for a semi-automatic machine that does most of the job for you. And the Classic Pro is good at it!
If you happen to own a coffee grinder, then it will pair well with your Classic Pro espresso machine. As there is no inbuilt grinder, you’ll need a good quality grinder to work with your coffee machine. A good quality Gaggia Coffee Grinder will be a suitable option here because you can alter the course of the ground coffee with ease.
The Rancilio Silvia also doesn’t come with an inbuilt grinder, and you will need to buy it separately. A good choice for you to consider here is the Rancilio doserless coffee grinder. The grinder can create finer grounds which are suitable for espressos.
However, the Breville Barista BES870XL comes with an inbuilt automatic and manual grinder. The burr grinder that this machine features can keep the coarseness of the ground uniform. But it will also make your coffee-making process a bit longer.
The Classic Pro features a high-quality commercial-grade portafilter that can hold a right quantity of ground coffee. It is a good choice for those who prefer concentrated espressos.
There are single as well as double filter baskets. The single ones come with a capacity of 10g while the double filter has 22g capacity. Pressurized and unpressurized filters are also there. The pressurized filters are better for more extraction of flavor while the unpressurized filters are better for concentration.
There is a triple-way solenoid valve present in this machine that guarantees the coffee-making process a lot easier and cleaner. It ensures that the coffee pucks remain dry by forcing out the residual water when you turn the machine off.
A dual heating element in the Classic Pro improves the heating time by a significant margin. The machine’s boiler is ready to brew within five minutes, whereas the steam wand is ready to use within 30 seconds. The machine also features high-quality rocker switches instead of buttons. So the control unit of the machine stays functional for a long time.
The Breville Barista and the Rancilio Silvia have their pre-set multi-functional programs. They come with water level and maintenance indicators. They also have stainless steel drip trays while the one in the Classic Pro is made of plastic. Though you might think that the steel drips trays are better, they also add to the overall weight of the machine. That is why the Classic Pro is much lighter than the other two.
Value for Money:
To begin with, the Gaggia Classic Pro has a solid stainless steel design. Gaggia has strategically used plastic in the construction of this machine. For instance, the drip tray is plastic. It trims down the overall weight of the machine and makes it easier for you to move it around. And as it is going to be exposed to water, you can be sure that it won’t rust or corrode over time.
For user-friendliness, when you use the Classic Pro, you won’t have to deal with any manual controls. Just turn the switch on and get ready for a delicious tasting coffee. There are no complications whatsoever.
As they say, coffee making is a process that you can complicate as much as you want. So you can go for other machines that come with manual pressure and temperature controls. The Breville Barista BES870XL is a good choice here.
And when we talk about durability, Gaggia has used high-quality steel as we have just mentioned. Therefore, this machine is a solid option for you to use daily. It also features rocker switches that can stand the test of time. And the best thing is that you don’t have to deal with any hefty price tags too. So the value for money is there.
Who should purchase the Gaggia Classic Pro RI9380/46?
The semi-automatic espresso machine is a top choice for personal use, especially for those who don’t have time to prepare coffee. If you are a caffeinator, then the 2.13L water reservoir will ensure that you don’t have to deal with the refills more than twice a day based on your drinking patterns. It is a good option for your office if you don’t want to share your espresso machine with colleagues.
If you have a larger office or household, then you need to go for the Rancilio Silvia or Breville Barista BES870XL or even bigger espresso machines.
When drinking coffee, if you are not too interested in the intricate details of a cup and just need a good flavorful coffee, then this machine is a good investment.
The Classic Pro is all about minimal footprint and lightweight features. You get to move it around easily, and it can fit into those small corners quite easily.
Who shouldn’t purchase the Classic Pro by Gaggia?
The Classic Pro isn’t the choice of a true coffee aficionado who wants to work as a professional barista. No manual pressure and temperature controls are available in this machine. If you want full control over your cup and are a heavy coffee drinker, then this machine isn’t the right choice for you.
FAQs for the Gaggia Classic (RI9380/46)
Descaling your Classic Pro is just like the standard procedure for any espresso machine. There is a descale indicator present on your Classic Pro, and it will tell you that it’s time to run the cleanup process.
You can use a normal degreaser product and place them in the filter basket to degrease your machine. Make sure to flush out the water multiple times. It’ll ensure no water softeners or degreasing tablets remain in the basket or on the inside of your machine.
The machine is semi-automatic, and it doesn’t come with an inbuilt grinder. It is always better to grind right before you brew. Also, use a larger tamper that suits well with the size of the portafilter of this machine. It will keep the tampering even and uniform. You can use the pressurized filter basket for a better-extracted coffee and the unpressurized one for a more concentrated flavor.
So is the Classic Pro by Gaggia greenlit or not? Well, when comparing it with the two other options, the Breville Barista BES870XL and the Rancilio Silvia, there are some merits and demerits.
You’ll notice that the Classic Pro has a smaller brewing capacity, but it’s perfect for personal use. The other two machines have some automated functions in them, but they also come with bigger price tags.
Despite being low in price, the build quality and user-friendliness of this machine are exceptional. The other two machines are better if you are looking for more brewing capacity. The Classic Pro makes the art of coffee making a lot simpler.
So the choice is yours for the making!