Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Return of the Gaggia Classic

This morning I'm absurdly happy - my Gaggia Classic coffee machine has just been returned by courier following a much needed service by Philips (who bought Gaggia UK a couple of years ago).

The Gaggia Classic is, err, a classic.  It doesn't have any stupid functions or electronic automatic options or any nonsense like that, it's just a really solid stainless steel chassis that knocks out first rate espresso (there's no x in espresso, you must shoot people who say expresso). Other models come and go with funny designs, colours, special options and all that, but the Classic has seen them all off; it's still made and still the best domestic machine you can get.  It also never changes in price, it costs £300 in the shops or £250 online and it's well worth every penny.  It's the only domestic machine in their range that uses the same internal parts as the commercial machines.  It's a workhorse.  You can spend loads more money on absurd machines with lots of daft automatic options, but please don't.

[caption id="attachment_323" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="New Brew Lights"][/caption]

Anyway, since I first got the machine about five years ago it's never been serviced and boy did it need some work.  The brew light had gone, the main seal was worn so it was leaking around the group head (the main bit where the coffee comes out), the steam knob no longer gripped the spindle and it was generally showing its age.  So off to service it had to go.  The service cost £100, which I grant you is quite a lot, but it's not a cheap machine and at some point you either have to get it sorted out or replace it.  I much prefer the fix it option in the increasingly disposable society we live in.

[caption id="attachment_324" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Spare Seals"][/caption]

As part of the service they send you a box to pack it in and you just have to call the pre-paid couriers to come and pick it up and they'll bring it back again about a week later.  They include up to £60 in parts which, so I'm told, is very rarely exceeded.  So for my £100 all the internal seals were replaced, as were the brewing lights unit and the steam knob set.  Plus of course it was all taken apart, properly cleaned and descaled.  They also threw in a couple of rubber ring seals at my request, so I can change the main seal myself next time it wears out.

So here I sit, drinking my first decent flat white since I sent the machine off a week ago. Now it's back in action and winking at me from the worktop looking and behaving like a brand new toy.  Perhaps getting the machine sorted out could be a tad cheaper, but all in all it's a good service that's well worth doing twice a decade.  Now I'm looking forward to spending the next five years with my favourite geek object.

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