Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Vs Classic: 2 Best Entry-level Options For Home Espresso

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Both Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic are the best entry-level coffee machines for home espresso. Both machines have their own distinct advantages, and  if you were to ask me which one is better, my answer would be “Both!” 

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe impressed me with the pre-infusion feature that is often found in high-end machines. Along with pressurized brewing, it makes quite good espresso and is remarkably beginner-friendly. Additionally, the automatic shut-off and auto-rinsing functions are valuable bonuses that add to the overall convenience of the machine.

Gaggia Classic doesn’t have the pre-infusion like its counterpart, but with some tips and its additional regular standard commercial filter basket, trust me, it can make even more exceptional espresso than the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe. In addition, it has a more sturdy and convenient design with a polished steel frame and higher water tank capacity. 

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: Comparison Chart

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Gaggia Carezza De Luxe Espresso Machine, 47oz, Silver
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Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker. 72 ounces, Pannarello Wand for Latte and Cappuccino Frothing. Brews for Both Single and Double Shots.
Model
Gaggia Carezza De Luxe
Gaggia Classic
Dimensions (W x H x D)
11 x 12.75 x 12.5 in
8 x 14.2 x 9.5 in
Frame Material
Plastic + Steel
Steel
Weight
13.2 lbs
20 lbs
Built-in grinder
User Interface
Buttons + Indicator lights + Knob
Buttons + Indicator lights
Portafilter Diameter
53 mm
58 mm
Filter Basket Type
Pressurized
Commercial Style or Non-pressurized + Pressurized
Water Tank Capacity
1.4 liters
2.1 liters
Milk System
Pannarello Steam Wand
Panarello steam wand
Heating System
Thermoblock Stainless Steel-Lined Aluminum Boilers
Single Aluminum Boiler
Heat-up time
40 seconds to 1 minute
5 minutes
Pre-infusion
3-Way Solenoid Valve
Automatic Shut-off
Automatic Rinsing
What I Like
Price
$299.00
Price not available
Tie
Image
Gaggia Carezza De Luxe Espresso Machine, 47oz, Silver
Model
Gaggia Carezza De Luxe
Dimensions (W x H x D)
11 x 12.75 x 12.5 in
Frame Material
Plastic + Steel
Weight
13.2 lbs
Built-in grinder
User Interface
Buttons + Indicator lights + Knob
Portafilter Diameter
53 mm
Filter Basket Type
Pressurized
Water Tank Capacity
1.4 liters
Milk System
Pannarello Steam Wand
Heating System
Thermoblock Stainless Steel-Lined Aluminum Boilers
Heat-up time
40 seconds to 1 minute
Pre-infusion
3-Way Solenoid Valve
Automatic Shut-off
Automatic Rinsing
What I Like
Price
$299.00
More Info
Tie
Image
Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker. 72 ounces, Pannarello Wand for Latte and Cappuccino Frothing. Brews for Both Single and Double Shots.
Model
Gaggia Classic
Dimensions (W x H x D)
8 x 14.2 x 9.5 in
Frame Material
Steel
Weight
20 lbs
Built-in grinder
User Interface
Buttons + Indicator lights
Portafilter Diameter
58 mm
Filter Basket Type
Commercial Style or Non-pressurized + Pressurized
Water Tank Capacity
2.1 liters
Milk System
Panarello steam wand
Heating System
Single Aluminum Boiler
Heat-up time
5 minutes
Pre-infusion
3-Way Solenoid Valve
Automatic Shut-off
Automatic Rinsing
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: Differences

It was a close battle, resulting in a draw with a final score of 2-2. The Gaggia Classic impresses with its exceptional coffee flavor and sturdy, user-friendly design, while the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe shines with its superior milk system and utility features. Let’s explore the ideal fit for our preferences and coffee brewing requirements.

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System 

The Winner: Gaggia Classic

The Gaggia Carezza Deluxe and Classic are not ‘bean-to-cup’ machines, requiring a more hands-on approach to the brewing process. You must manually handle grinding, dosing, and tamping, which might present a learning curve for newcomers. Nonetheless, the effort is well worth it, as it leads to a truly excellent espresso on par with your favorite café’s offerings.

It’s essential to highlight that both machines lack a built-in grinder, requiring buying a separate grinder for coffee preparation. Personally, I don’t mind investing in a high-quality grinder, recognizing that the coffee grounds play a pivotal role in determining the overall coffee quality. 

I have two outstanding choices to assist you in your grinder selection: the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, perfect for budget-conscious individuals, and the Baratza Sette 270, a more professional choice.

Should you prefer not to invest in a separate grinder or need a quick cup of coffee on a bustling morning, both machines offer convenient alternatives. You can easily utilize pre-ground coffee or ESE pods, ensuring a hassle-free coffee-making experience to suit your time constraints and preferences.

Portafilter and Filter Basket

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Gaggia Classic 
Portafilter MaterialStainless Steel + Plastic Chrome Plated Brass
Portafilter Diameter53 mm58 mm
Filter Basket TypePressurizedCommercial Style or Non-pressurized + Pressurized

The portafilter of the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe is a 53mm pressurized portafilter that incorporates some plastic elements. So I feel it is slightly light and cheap. In contrast, I find myself drawn to the Gaggia Classic’s 58mm chrome plated brass portafilter due to its sturdy, comfortable feel and it has higher quality.

Both of these machines allow you to brew using pressurized filter baskets, which is also the only type the Carezza has. This user-friendly and hassle-free feature is particularly beneficial for beginners since it eliminates the need for tamping and allows for more forgiving grinding consistencies. However, I discovered that a light tamp and a consistent grind can significantly improve my shots.

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe's pressurized filter basket
Gaggia Carezza Deluxe’s pressurized filter basket

Take a more closed look at the pressurized filter basket of the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe. It has a unique design, bearing a resemblance to a regular standard commercial filter basket (also known as non-pressurized one), featuring multiple holes in its wall. Meanwhile,  the pressurized filter basket of the Classic just has one tiny hole at the bottom like any other machine. 

After a period of experimentation and honing your skills in espresso brewing, you’ll naturally aspire to a more professional process, and more control over the quality of your drink. This is where the Gaggia Classic stands out, offering a regular standard non-pressurized filter basket, while the Carezza lacks this option

With that filter basket, a quality grinder, and some skills, we are unlocking the ability to craft a superior espresso, resulting in excellent shots that remain out of reach with a pressurized basket.  Reflecting on my experience, I find the Classic can produce a better espresso than the Carezza.

Boiler

Right from the start, I never expected these machines to feature 2 boilers, as they are considered affordable entry-level models. Indeed, their heating system relies on a single boiler. Consequently, you cannot produce both espresso and milk froth simultaneously. Before texturing the milk, the machine requires heating up to steam temperature. It takes under 1 minute to complete. 

Do you know that the material also affects the performance of the boiler? In the US market, you’ll find the Gaggia Classic (pre-2009 Gaggia Classic) has an Aluminum boiler. Aluminum is ranked as the second-best thermal conductor, just after copper. This exceptional property of aluminum significantly contributes to the Classic’s ability to heat up rapidly.

The advertisement highlights the remarkable brewing time of Gaggia Classic is just 5 minutes. Considering the Gaggia Classic’s heating system isn’t a thermocoil or thermoblock boiler, that’s quite noteworthy. However, in my experience, I prefer to give it at least 10 minutes to warm up, sometimes even more. Upon waking up, I switch on the machine and use that time to take a shower.  When I’m done, it’s fully prepared and waiting for me to brew a perfect cup of coffee for the morning. 

Nonetheless, Gaggia’s aluminum boiler does come with a drawback – it is relatively susceptible to corrosion. That’s why Gaggia Carezza Deluxe chose to line its Thermoblock aluminum boilers with a layer of stainless steel. Thanks to that, it not only facilitates swift heating but also enhances the machine’s ability to resist corrosion.

Regarding the machine’s heating speed, the Carezza outshines its counterparts, going from turn-on to ready for brewing in approximately 40 seconds to 1 minute, and achieving steaming temperature in just around 30 seconds. During this brief waiting period, I usually take the opportunity to grind and tamp the coffee.

Pre-infusion 

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe, despite being an entry-level machine, comes equipped with an advanced feature that’s typically associated with higher-end models or done manually by a barista – pre-infusion. It’s not something you encounter often at this level, and I’m excited about the opportunity to experience it in this Carezza machine. 

This process involves briefly wetting the coffee puck before the actual brewing, leading to a delightful swelling of the ground coffee that allows the coffee to “bloom” all the flavor, resulting in a deeper and more complete flavor.

However, Gaggia Classic lacks this advanced feature. As I explored the espresso community, I came across some resourceful DIY-ers who have ingeniously modded their machines or other clever hacks, allowing the machine to achieve pre-infusion. However, I’m aware that such modifications risk damaging the machines, and not everyone may possess the necessary skills to undertake such modifications.

In my quest for achieving pre-infusion without modifying my machine, I stumbled upon a nifty tip that perfectly mimics the process. Here’s what I do – I position a second cup or container below the steam wand (of course, the portafilter holding coffee has been inserted). Then I deftly slightly open the steam knob a quarter turn and quickly press the brew switch

This brilliant trick reroutes some water to the steam wand instead of sending it all to the brew group. I usually perform a 5-second pre-infusion and then simply close the steam knob, allowing all the water to flow directly to the group for the remainder of the extraction.

3-way Solenoid Valve

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe does not have the 3-way solenoid valve, while the Gaggia Classic does (note that the Gaggia Classic 2015 has removed this particular gem).

To be honest, I find that this feature doesn’t significantly impact the flavor of the coffee, but it works wonders for the machine’s cleanliness and experience. Essentially, this valve releases the pressure from the group head, so I can remove the portafilter immediately rather than letting it sit there for a while.

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: Coffee puck
Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: Coffee puck

Furthermore, the Gaggia Classic drains the water used for brewing into the drip tray, ensuring the coffee pucks are left neat and dry. With a simple knock against the sink wall, all the coffee grounds effortlessly fall away, making cleaning the portafilter simple. Conversely, the coffee puck in the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe is slightly wetter, so I have to tap it multiple times to completely remove the coffee grounds.

Design & Usability 

The Winner: Gaggia Classic 

Dimensions, Weight & Build Quality

Gaggia Carezza DeluxeGaggia Classic 
Dimensions (W x H x D)11 x 12.75 x 12.5 in8 x 14.2 x 9.5 in
Weight 13.2 lbs20 lbs
Frame MaterialPlastic + SteelSteel

Both Gaggia Carezza Deluxe and Classic come with a space-saving and compact design. They effortlessly fit under my 18-inch overhang cabinetry. Remarkably, they are lightweight at only 13.2 lbs and 20 lbs, respectively. I can easily move them around on the countertop if needed. But I think people will leave them fixed at one point, not move it constantly, right? 

The Gaggia Carezza Deluxe caught my eye with its delightful retro Italian aesthetic. However, I couldn’t help but notice that its housing is predominantly plastic, contributing to its lighter design. This does lead to a minor inconvenience, as I have to hold the machine steady whenever I insert or remove the portafilter

Holding the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe to insert the portafilter
Holding the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe to insert the portafilter

On the other hand, the Gaggia Classic beautifully balances a sleek, minimalist design with modern sensibilities while maintaining a hint of Italian art deco charm. It boasts an all-metal housing, making it a sleek appearance and heavier than its competitors, but I appreciate that it’s durable and long-lasting.

Water Tank

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: Water tank
Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: Water tank

Let’s talk about the water tank in the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe. It’s designed to hold 1.4 liters of water, which should be sufficient for daily use. However, being a household of two coffee enthusiasts, each enjoying two cups every morning, I constantly ran low on water.

This is mainly because the machine uses a significant amount of water for the auto-rinse and a blank shot to preheat the portafilter. To address this, I decided to turn off the rinse mode with a simple button press, which also means I lose the benefit of preheating the portafilter. 

Thankfully, the water reservoir can be removed for filling, sliding out from the front. However, there’s a bit of a hassle because every time we need to fill the water, we must remove the drip tray. In addition, the tank has a clear window to check the water level. Nonetheless, unless I place the machine in a well-lit area, it’s difficult to see the water level through that window. 

Gaggia Classic water tank can hold 2.1 liters. I find myself needing to refill it less frequently compared to the Carezza. Filling the water is also a breeze on the Classic. We can choose between directly filling the water to the tank by removing the drip tray or easily filling it from the top by removing the lid. 

I initially thought its clear plastic water tank would make it a breeze to check the water level. However, my expectations were let down when I realized it’s actually tinted plastic, and its placement behind the brew group and inside the machine makes it quite challenging. 

Milk System

The Winner: Gaggia Carezza Deluxe

Their milk system both use the Panarello steam wand.

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe's milk system
Gaggia Carezza Deluxe’s milk system

On the Carezza, you can use the steam wand for auto-frothing or remove it for manual frothing.

Their auto-frothing steam wand works the same way for both machines. It automatically injects air into the milk to create milk foam or steamed milk, depending on the positioning of the milk container relative to the wand.

A nice feature of Carezza’s milk system is that we can manually remove the Panarello wand and steam straight from the steam pipe with little skill. I really appreciate this ability. By steaming manually, I can create the super-fine micro-foam required for pouring latte art. 

Gaggia Classic's milk system
Gaggia Classic’s milk system

The Classic also offers the Panarello steam wand. It works automatically. I can remove that wand and froth manually, achieving finely textured milk, just like with the Carezza. However, the key difference with the Carezza is that if you want to switch between the two methods, you must purchase an optional accessory called the Latte Art Wand.

Utilities

The Winner: Gaggia Carezza Deluxe

User Interface

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: User interface
Gaggia Carezza Deluxe vs Classic: User interface

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe uses four buttons accompanied by indicator lights for power, brew, water, and steam functions. Personally, I have a slight issue with these buttons as they feel a bit cheap, and I would have preferred more durable rocker switches. Additionally, there’s a knob for turning on steam and hot water. Also, there is a temp gauge, but its purpose is quite limited—it only lets me know when the water is heated.

On the other hand, the user interface of the Gaggia Classic is much more simple. These 3 buttons are complemented by three indicator lights, making it easy to know when the machine has reached the optimal temperature for each specific task. However, we must press and hold the button for a few seconds before it stays in place.

Automatic Shut-Off

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe has a convenient automatic shut-off feature, which the Classic lacks. When I’m done using the machine, I don’t need to remember to turn it off manually. Instead, after 9 minutes of idle time, the Carezza Deluxe shuts itself down. It’s a small but helpful addition that makes my coffee routine even more effortless and worry-free.

Automatic Rinsing

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe comes with another handy feature: an automatic rinsing function. It is activated automatically every time it’s turned on. 

While it can be turned off if desired, I personally recommend leaving it as the default setting for hygiene purposes. The automatic rinsing helps ensure the machine is clean and ready to brew, providing a convenient way to maintain cleanliness and optimal performance.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Carezza Deluxe

Gaggia Carezza De Luxe Espresso Machine, 47oz, Silver
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of espresso extracted will vary depending on the grind size and amount and reprogramming may be needed when the size and amount are adjusted
  • FROTHING FOR MILK BEVERAGES: Pannarello wand frothing for cappuccinos & lattes. Wand doubles as a hot water dispenser for Americanos & tea
  • Brewing features: pressurized porta filter brews both ground Coffee and ESE pods. Pre-infusion function pre-wets grounds before brewing for rich, even extraction
  • AUTOMATIC POWER DOWN: The Carezze will power down after 9 minutes of inactivity to save energy
  • FRONT LOADED WATER RESERVOIR: Features a 47oz capacity and pulls out from the front of the machine, water level is visible, and the reservoir is compatible with the Mavea Inteza water filter system

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • It makes hot coffee.
  • Auto-rinsing makes cleaning and routine maintenance straightforward.
  • The thermoblock boiler heats very quickly.
  • It has a pre-infusion function, enhancing the flavor and aroma of the espresso.
  • Its milk system enables the creation of milk textures for both cappuccino, latte and even allows for latte art.
Cons
  • The water tank requires frequent refilling.
  • It includes only a pressurized filter basket.
  • It lacks a 3-way solenoid valve.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Classic

Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker. 72 ounces, Pannarello Wand for Latte and Cappuccino Frothing. Brews for Both Single and Double Shots.
  • Rugged brushed stainless steel housing
  • Commercial three-way solenoid valve
  • Commercial-style 58mm chrome-plated brass portafilter and Brew Group
  • Easy-to-use Turbo-Frother steam wand attachment
  • Easy-to-use Turbo-Frother steam wand attachment

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • It produces excellent espresso shots with good crema.
  • It has a sturdy and durable construction, making it a long-lasting machine.
  • Comes with both the standard commercial and non-pressurized 58mm portafilter.
  • The 3-way solenoid valve results in a neat, dry coffee puck for easy disposal.
  • The Panarello steam wand is powerful and effective, allowing for frothing milk for cappuccinos and lattes.
Cons
  • It does not have the pre-infusion feature (it can be done manually).
  • It heats up more slowly than its counterpart.

Product Video

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