The Gaggia Classic Pro has been, and honestly still is, THE go to recommendation I have for a standalone single boiler espresso machine under $500. Even when people double their budget to $1000, they still generally end up going with this machine and then just investing an extra $500 into the grinder they pair with it. It’s that dominant in the bang for you buck category.
Which is why I was over the moon excited when I heard about the release of the new Gaggia Classic Evo Pro. What’s changed, and is it worth your consideration. Let’s find out!
When I saw the first images of the new Evo, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. This is absolutely not a full overhaul or drastic shift from what the old base model has to offer. There still isn’t a PID, it still uses the same steam arm, and from anything more than 10 ft away, it looks IDENTICAL to the untrained eye.
Instead, this new iteration is exactly as the Evo naming would imply. It’s an evolution, a small, but deliberate step forward for the platform. And while I do subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, I can’t hide that I was hoping for a bit of a larger bolder leap.
With that being said, the changes that HAVE been made are quite significant even if you can’t see most of them on first glance.
9 Bar Brewing!
The first, biggest change, and reason enough to go for this model over the old one, is that the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro ships with a 9 Bar OPV spring straight out of the box in North America. 9 Bar is the standard extraction pressure when using traditional non-pressurized filter baskets. Any higher than this and it starts to get difficult to get consistent shots due to the added stress being applied to the puck, which often leads to channeling.
For this reason, the most common modification made to the older Gaggia Classic Pro was to swap out the stock OPV spring. A relatively simple task if you’re even the slightest bit handy, but a bigger issue for some because of how it would void the manufacturer warranty. On the Classic Evo Pro this isn’t something you need to worry about, and you can get to pulling fantastic shots right out of the box.
Finishing on the outer shell of the machine has also been updated from the old Classic Pro. The wide range of colors that the Evo Pro is offered in is further accentuated by a new painted finish that does look much more premium up close. If you’re not a fan of the colors, it’s also still available in a more subtle stainless steel.
The next biggest, and most visually noticeable change is that the portafilter and group head are using much nicer materials on the Evo Pro.
The portafilter is now solid polished stainless steel versus the old chrome plated portafilter. Not only is this going to be far superior from a long-term wear perspective, but the appearance is also soooo much nicer. When held side by side, the old Classic portafilter looks pretty raggedy in comparison.
Apart from that improvement, the handle is still made of the same lightweight plastic that I criticized in my original Classic Pro review. I do wish that they had fully overhauled the portafilter to improve the feel in the hand as well, but we’re moving in the right direction.
In the group head, the story is much the same. The cover is now polished stainless steel instead of chrome, and even more exciting is that the group itself is now made from brass which will be better from both a thermal standpoint and durability. No to mention, it just looks great…
Boiler & Serviceability
Moving back to the inside of the machine, the pump and heating system have been updated to improve serviceability down the road, and the boiler itself has also seen an update. It is still made of Aluminum, but they’ve introduced a new internal coating that is supposed to greatly reduce the risk of scale buildup, once again improving longevity for home use.
The Gaggia Classic Pro has always been a workhorse that can last many years or decades if taken care of properly, and with these updates, it’s going to be an even more reliable choice.
Overall, although I am a little disappointed that the steam arm didn’t get an upgrade, and we still don’t see PID control, we also didn’t really see an increase in price. So this is kind of more of a Gaggia Classic Pro S rather than an entirely new model. Gaggia if you’re reading this, a slightly more expensive machine with a PID and more premium finishes would absolutely FLY off the shelves.
But for now, we have this, the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro. A machine that I will continue to use as a foundational recommendation for people looking for a manual espresso machine anywhere under the $1000 mark. When paired with a good grinder, this is still an almost impossible offering to beat. Especially now that it’s brewing at a proper 9 bar, and has further updated build quality and finishes.