As part of the team at CoffeeCrew, one of the many privileges is being able to test and review the latest and greatest equipment (a daunting task, I know!). The latest Gaggia machine was provided by the team at EspressoTec here in Vancouver.Looks: At a first glance, the new Gaggia Baby Dosata certainly looks removed from the classic Gaggia lineup; the red passion colour is a vibrant addition to any kitchen, where most other appliances are white, black, and silver. During the time I had the Gaggia, it acted as the centerpiece of my kitchen and drew plenty of attention. The Baby-D is an addition to an already extensive lineup of quality pump driven machines from the Italian manufacturer. Fresh out of the box from Milan, the Baby was my first pump-driven machine to test for CoffeeCrew, previously testing the Bellman Cappuccino and Nespresso pod-coffee maker. The look and finish of the Baby are right up there with the rest of the Gaggia lineup, with a mix of plastic and metal materials that make it a snap to clean off the espresso grounds.
Getting Started: Once removed from all packing materials, the Gaggia is quick to set-up. After a read through of the manual to familiarize myself with all the parts, I was ready to start pulling quality shots of espresso!
Controls: The one area of the Gaggia manual that is not covered in the red passion is the control area; finished in a attractive stainless steel the control panel is well-laid out. There are six buttons, including separate short and long shot controls. Another feature is a menu setting, allowing for greater control on the volume of water to flow for the short and long settings. However, I kept with the standard settings as this seemed to be adequate. Although the hot water and steam controls are on the front face, the steam knob is located on the top which seems to be a fine location.
Results: Once the Baby has been heated up, with a quick "flush" of the system with hot water, the Gaggia is ready to pump out multiple espressos.
Although I usually keep the water tank filled near the top, it is easily visible directly behind the portafilter. Although the machine comes with both a "single" and "doppio" portafilter, I always stuck with the double. Although I do not have a grinder at the moment, I have my espresso beans freshly ground to a standard "espresso" grind at my local JJ Bean. The results are fantastic!
Running a double shot was about 25-30 seconds, although I had to get feel for the tamp pressure and amount of espresso the portafilter could hold. Once I figured these two out, combined with freshly ground beans, I was producing shots that would make any pro barista proud! Although I did not thoroughly test the frother, I did use the unit to warm my cups, and as expected, this worked great once the machine was heated. Compared with other machines, I prefer where the steam control is located: directly on top, as opposed to the front on most other manual machines.
Parting Thoughts: If you can swing the extra few bucks to get into the Gaggia Baby-D, and add some spice to your kitchen with its bright color, I highly suggest this machine. Combined with its build quality, 2 minute warm-up (a signature feature of all Gaggia's), and creature features, this machine is tough to beat for home use. I'm not particularly superficial, but in the case of this machine, I would buy it on looks alone! For further technical information, please click here.
Dave Reimer lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia. When he is not in his office, chances are he is on Commercial Drive or Main Street at one of the JJ Bean locations.