Two popular Italian espresso brands, Gaggia, an espresso machine manufacturer and Illy, an espresso coffee producer, have teamed up to deliver the single-serve Gaggia for Illy Espresso Machine. The Gaggia for Illy is a fully automatic unit that uses Illy Iperespresso capsules to deliver what the manufacturers promise to be a “rich, balanced, aromatic espresso”. It is advertised as a convenient alternative to other more cumbersome espresso machines, while still delivering premium espresso. Manufacturers will always embellish the quality of their products, so naturally, we had to give the Gaggia for Illy a test run and report back on its virtues and vices, so you can make the best choice when shopping for a home espresso machine.
- Stainless steel boiler
- 15 bar pump
- Programmable cup-volume
- Fast-loading capsule container that automatically injects used capsules and can hold up to 12 spent capsules
- An integrated Pannarello steam wand
- 1-liter water tank
- Mavea Water Filter to purify tap water
- Hot water dispenser
- Dimensions: 8.5 inches wide x 10.5 inches high x 13 inches deep
- Weight: 10 lbs
- 1-year Gaggia warranty
- Energy saving modes
- It is very easy to use and requires no skill whatsoever to make a decent shot of espresso. Simply pop in a pod, push the start button and you will have delicious espresso in 30 seconds. This machine is a great option for beginner home barista.
- It is quite affordable with a reasonable price tag ranging from US$200 to $250.
- Clean up takes very little effort with this machine. Your only concerns are descaling the machine every two months or so, which is a requirement of all espresso machines, emptying the spent capsule catchment when it is full and wiping down the steam wand after using to froth milk.
- It is lightweight and won’t occupy too much real estate on your kitchen counter.
- The attached Pannarello wand is a nice feature, which can froth milk reasonably well.
- It is easily programmable for you to control the strength of your espresso shot
- The water heats up quickly, in only about 90 seconds.
- The in-built water filter allows you to use tap water without any concerns.
- The hot water dispenser proves useful for making tea, or even instant coffee if you’d like.
- The energy-saving mode allows you reduce energy consumption
- The Illy Iperespresso pods contain Illy’s world-famous premium quality coffee grounds, perfect for making great espresso
- The pull of espresso is consistent giving rich, flavorful espresso with nice cream on top every time.
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- It only works with Illy capsules, which you have to order online or get from a specialty store. They are a bit on the pricier side, averaging about US$0.70 per capsule.
- The capsules only come in five varieties, which limits the flavors you can get from this machine.
- The pods are not reusable or recyclable, which is not very environmentally friendly.
- The design is okay, but the plastic finish gives it a cheap look.
- The water reservoir is small, so you will have to refill frequently.
- The Pannarello wand is plastic, and rather flimsy, which doesn’t suggest that it will last very long.
The Gaggia for Illy espresso machine is a solid unit that will deliver rich, strong, flavorful espresso with nice thick crema, even if you have zero experience with pulling espresso. It is highly convenient, especially considering you wont have to bother with grinding your beans, temperature surfing, or other functions that are required of the home barista with other espresso machines. Simply insert your pod, wait a bit, and voila, you have perfectly pulled espresso!
It does have its limitations however, as nothing can compare to freshly ground beans in a more high-end espresso machine. The steaming wand works adequately to provide microfoam for your cappuccinos and lattes, but not of the smooth silky quality that a more expensive machine may produce. Still, as a fairly priced capsule machine the Gaggia for Illy will give you great espresso and decent frothed milk, without requiring any know-how whatsoever.
Though you have very little control over your final espresso, this machine will deliver consistent results that will impress you every time. Be sure to stock up on the Illy Iperespresso capsules whenever you can, as the machine is not compatible with any other brand of espresso coffee pod.
We rate the Gaggia for Illy Espresso Machine a respectable 3.5 out of 5 stars and the reason behind that rating is the limitation of using the machine with capsules only otherwise the rating would have been 4.5 stars.
Have you bought a Gaggia for Illy espresso machine recently? Or are you a long-time owner? Do share your experience in pulling espresso from the Gaggia for Illy and leave your comments below. We want to hear from you!