Some very good news came in the mail a few weeks ago. One of our most established semi-automatic espresso machines, a legend in its own right, the Gaggia Classic has earned some well-deserved accolades from a respected source. Also, honorable mentions went out to machines from Krups and DeLonghi.
Consumers Digest, an a review-based, consumer-interest magazine, has named the Gaggia Classic the Best Buy for the Premium Espresso Machine Category in its August issue. The Krups 5220, whose updated version is the XP5240 Pump Espresso Machine with Precise Tamp, was named the Best Buy for the Mid-Range Category. Rounding out the pack, the DeLonghi EC155 was awarded the Best Buy designation for the Economy Selection.
Machine features, ease of use as well as drink and construction quality were all taken into account for the Consumers Digest Best Buy Selections. All three award-winning machines can accommodate ESE pods and ground espresso; they also come with single and double-shot filter baskets. In addition, the Classic, 5220 and EC155 all feature 15-bar pumps and durable construction. So, with all due fanfare, let’s take a look at what the experts at Consumers Digest had to say about these standout machines...
Premium Best Buy - Gaggia Classic
The Gaggia Classic has been with us, at Whole Latte Love, since our company was founded in 1997. The Classic is a mainstay on the espresso scene. It has been praised by Consumers Digest, and countless others, for the innovative aluminum boiler, equipped with two powerful heating elements—allowing the machine to warm up quickly and maintain consistent brewing temps. In addition, the Classic is outfitted with a number of other features not commonly found in a consumer espresso machine including a three-way solenoid valve, as well as a large 64-ounce removable water reservoir.
While not mentioned in the Consumers Digest article, the Gaggia Classic also comes with a chrome-plated 58mm brass portafilter and brew group. These are professional-grade components that help to create a controlled, temperature-stable environment for better espresso extraction. As with most Gaggia semi-automatic machines, the Classic features a Pannarello steam wand for easy steaming and frothing. An intuitive interface and durable stainless-body help the Gaggia Classic earn high marks with the experts and Whole Latte Love customers alike.
Midrange Best Buy - Krups Precise Tamp System Espresso 5220
The Krups 5220, which has since been upgraded to the XP5240 model, was praised for its user-friendly Precise Tamp System. Tamp pressure is automatically applied, to ensure that you get the proper extraction every time. The XP5240, the successor to the model mentioned in the Consumers Digest article, has a modern stainless-steel body as well as a powerful 1400-watt thermoblock boiler that heats up in less than a minute. Consumers Digest considers the 5220 a mid-range machine; we would recommend versions of this model to beginners looking for a hassle-free brewing experience.
Economy Best Buy - DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Machine
It’s rare to find a pump-driven espresso machine under $100, but that is exactly what the DeLonghi EC155 offers. As mentioned by Consumers Digest, this DeLonghi semi-automatic machine has two autonomous thermostats—one for brewing and the other dedicated to steaming functions. A self-priming pump also helps the EC155 stand out from the rest of the economy class. Although, a largely ABS-plastic exterior makes it appear slightly less formidable than the Gaggia Classic. A longer warm-up cycle, clocking in around 10 minutes, is also reason enough for some to consider upgrading. But, all in all, the DeLonghi EC155 is a solid option, if you’re looking a no-frills espresso machine.
We’re proud to represent all three brands mentioned the Consumers Digest Best Buy index. We believe all of these machines can more than hold their own in their respective categories, but tell us what you think. Did Consumers Digest hit the nail on the head or did the experts miss the mark?