Gaggia Espresso Evolution - brew head and portafilter

Gaggia has released a new espresso machine. Not a big deal. Manufacturers regularly release new models all the time.

However, what caught my eye with this one is the price: $250 USD.

The Gaggia Espresso Evolution, per Whole Latte Love, is “all-new” and despite its palatable price point doesn’t appear to skimp on features.

Coming in at exactly 50% the cost of the now legendary Gaggia Classic Pro ($499 USD), here’s some of the key features you get with this tiny little monster:

  • PID-controlled boiler
  • Pre-infusion
  • Accepts pods, pre-ground or self-grind
  • Preset brew times function
  • Backlit buttons

That’s pretty crazy. Especially PID. That means, so long as the feature functions as advertised, you’ll get stable temperatures at the brew heat. Long-time users of the Gaggia Classic Pro know this as a pain point and have shared numerous methods to stabilize temps when pulling a shot — most notably by “temperature surfing” which involves careful timing when activating the boiler. With the Espresso Evolution’s PID controller that shouldn’t be necessary. Time will tell, though, how well it works in reality.

Gaggia Espresso Evolution - Stone Black

Pre-infusion is welcome too, as it enables the puck to be momentarily soaked before the actual shot begins. In theory this can often result in better flavor. At the very least, it opens the door to experimentation when dialing in different beans and roast styles.

But, there are a few things to watch out for with the Espresso Evolution. Nothing major, but perhaps key shopping considerations.

For one, the portafilter is a non-standard 53mm size. That means a lot of standard accessories won’t be compatible with this machine. And note it’s made of plastic, which isn’t surprising at this price.

Also, the steam wand is of the pannarello variety which features a plastic cover meant to make it easier for beginners to froth and steam milk. More advanced home baristas will likely prefer a regular steam wand and all of the control it affords. Still, it’s no surprise. Clearly this is a machine focused on ease-of-use.

Finally, you won’t find a conventional boiler here. Instead, the Gaggia Espresso Evolution uses a thermoblock, which operates sort of like a flash water heater. On the upside, the unit will warm up very quickly, just like any other machine that uses a thermoblock configuration, so you’ll be able to get your morning coffee ready in a jiffy.

With a compact footprint (7.8″ W x 10″D x 11.9″H) this espresso machine will be easy to place on most kitchen countertops, or even tuck away on a rolling rack nearby for even less distraction. Weighing in at just over 8 pounds should make moving it around easy (many heat exchanger and single boiler machines can weigh well in excess of 50 pounds!). In fact it’s petite form might even make it a possibility for travel, RVs, second homes and the like.

All told, this is an impressive effort for an entry level machine. Just don’t expect stainless steel, and advanced features (adjustable brew pressure, brass portafilter, etc.) that you’ll find in more expensive machines.

WLL says the Gaggia Espresso Evolution is available in black and red and is now shipping. Again, all that for only $250. Not bad at all.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear