Falling Flat With The Gaggia Color
Lowest In Price, Lowest in Durability
While the Gaggia Color is a beautiful machine, it’s not built for longevity. This semi-automatic espresso maker produces an excellent shot and steams milk capably, but it may only do it for so long before wearing out. Its parts are not the highest grade, probably to keep the price low. For example, you’ll find aluminum construction where chrome plated brass should be, and stainless steel construction where aluminum should be.
Still, better than many other makers of introductory machines, the Gaggia Color (Check Price on Amazon.com) is best for the occasional espresso drinker who wants the lowest cost machine available with a good reputation. With a straightforward user interface, a delicious, high-quality espresso drink can easily be achieved.
Is It Worth Your Money?
Not really… not when there are better options within the Gaggia line at just a slightly higher price.
The only consumer we would suggest purchase this machine is one who’s shopping on a very tight budget, someone who doesn’t drink espresso all that often, but wants it for the now and again when an espresso sounds good.
Yes, the price is attractively low, and it’s not a low-quality machine per se. But, you can easily spend just a tad more for another unit with upgraded parts that translate directly into a longer lifespan.
Review & Breakdown
If you’re a consumer looking for the most affordable, occasional use machine, then you are one of the lucky few that can use the Gaggia Color. This espresso maker has all the right components for making quality espresso, such as the 58mm chrome plated brass portafilter with three different basket types.
The baskets accommodate pre-ground coffee, freshly ground coffee, and ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) pods. Each basket is commercial size and grade. The brew head is styled in the same manner as commercial espresso machines, so the brew is even and adequately pressured.
The quality portafilter construction promotes consistent water flow and temperature as the espresso pulls. Although the hot water recovery time is relatively long (52 seconds), if you’re a patient person, then this machine will perform very well.
The steam wand puts out sufficient steam for a quality milk-based drink. Using the Pannarello steam wand makes steaming milk an simple, almost automatic process. You don’t have to worry about technique with the Pannarello because it evenly creates fine bubbles in your milk without any work on your end.
- 1100 Watt, 9 oz stainless steel single boiler
- 14” height
- ABS plastic casing
- 58 mm chrome plated brass portafilter
- Three different portafilter baskets based on coffee type
- Top mounted steam knob
- 42 oz back-mounted water reservoir
- Plastic tamper and scoop
- Pannarello steam wand
Ease of Use & Reliability
The Gaggia Color is just about as easy to use as any other semi-automatic espresso machine. The control panel is pretty straightforward, consisting of two buttons, two status lights, and a steam dial.
The button on the left starts/stops the pump. The button on the right tells the boiler to heat the water for steam. The lights indicate when the pump is ready and working, and when the steam wand is ready to be used. The rest is up to you.
You’re in control of the type and amount of espresso that goes into the portafilter basket. You’re in control of the amount and temperature of the steamed milk. You can even remove the Pannarello wand if you want to, and go wholly manual in the milk steaming process.
- Commercial chrome-plated portafilter baskets
- Pod brew ready with appropriate bucket
- Pannarello steam wand makes milk steaming easy
- Small size for easy countertop fit
- Decent size water reservoir
- 1100 watt, 9 oz stainless steel boiler with inside positioned elements… as opposed to a higher grade boiler with outside positioned elements to avoid corrosion
- Aluminum group head… as opposed to chrome plated brass group head (means less temperature stability)
- Plastic encasement and parts means quicker wear and tear – and a lighter, flimsier machine
This espresso machine is one of the lowest priced Gaggia machines on the market. It’s super affordable but not the most durable. If you are looking for an occasional use machine with a quality name at the lowest cost, then the price is just right.
Although like all Gaggia machines the Color is built with quality in mind, to keep the price at the lower end of the semi-automatic range, compromises had to be made. The result is flimsier parts that won’t have the longevity slightly more expensive Gaggia machines will have.
This machine is not a pick for anyone looking for a long-lasting product, or for anyone who drinks espresso on a regular basis. This machine is a decent choice for anyone who just wants to enjoy an espresso every once in a while.
Just keep in mind, you’ll need to be patient while using this machine. It can be slow with hot water recovery. That being said, this machine will produce a fine espresso drink.
Other Options Worth Looking At
We strongly recommend looking at the Gaggia Classic, even if you are the occasional espresso drinker only. For just a slightly higher price, you will be rewarded with upgraded parts that will guarantee a long shelf life.
The Gaggia Classic has been around for decades and has proven the test of time. It is constructed with heavy stainless steel and chrome plated brass, resulting in a robust, heavy frame. The Classic also won’t make you wait as long as hot water recovery takes a fraction of the time compared to the Gaggia Color.
Are a regular espresso drinker? If we could, we would demand that you spend a little more money on an upgraded machine like the Gaggia Classic or a super automatic unit such as the Gaggia Brera.
You don’t want to be disappointed in your purchase by an inevitable breakdown occurring from overusing a machine meant for widely spaced, occasional enjoyment.