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Gaggia Classic Evo Pro Review

This machine is good for an experienced barista looking to make decent espresso at home for one at a more affordable price
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Gaggia Classic Evo Pro Review
Credit: Matt Lighthart
Price:  $499 List
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Manufacturer:   Gaggia
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 16, 2024
53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 11
  • Espresso Quality - 40% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 4.1
  • Ease of Cleaning - 15% 5.5
  • Milk Steaming - 15% 4.7
  • Machine Customization - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Gaggia Classic Evo Pro is a compact, fully manual machine that appears to be commercial grade. Its brushed stainless steel housing and simple rocker switches will appeal to Java junkies who want a machine with clean lines and an industrial look. Its manual controls favor users with serious espresso-making skills; however, we could never pull a perfect shot from the Evo Pro, leaving us scratching our heads. It also doesn't have enough pressure and temperature regulation to pull back-to-back shots. Designed and made in Italy, we had higher hopes for this unit, but we still feel it may serve those who want ultimate control of their brewing process but don't want to fork over a thousand bucks for a high-end machine. Check out other options in our best espresso machine review.
REASONS TO BUY
Durable commercial design
Simple interface panel
Manual controls
REASONS TO AVOID
Average espresso
Doesn't maintain temp and pressure
Steeper learning curve

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $499 List
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$165 List
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$100 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line It has the vibe of a cafe-quality machine, its less expensive, but its results aren't completely on par with the best brewersAn excellent choice for novices trying to recreate cafe drinks at home, as long as you have an espresso-quality grinderA small machine that makes great espresso and perfectly steams milkThis human-powered machine is highly customizable, but on its own, it lacks the accessories to create lattes or cappuccinosAn inexpensive option that gets the job done, but doesn't do it exceptionally well
Rating Categories Gaggia Classic Evo Pro Breville Bambino Plus Breville Bambino Flair Classic De'Longhi Stilosa
Espresso Quality (40%)
6.0
6.5
6.0
8.0
4.0
Ease of Use (20%)
4.1
9.1
9.1
6.6
5.4
Ease of Cleaning (15%)
5.5
6.4
6.6
8.5
4.9
Milk Steaming (15%)
4.7
7.7
8.6
1
4.0
Machine Customization (10%)
5.0
6.5
6.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Gaggia Classic Evo Pro Breville Bambino Plus Breville Bambino Flair Classic De'Longhi Stilosa
Lifetime Cost Per Shot $0.73 $0.75 $0.67 $0.61 $0.59
Number of Cafe Replacement Lattes to Make Up List Price 107 120 72 39 29
Measured Dimensions 8.5" x 9.5" x 14" 7.6" x 14" x 12" 6.3" x 13.7" x 12" 6.1" x 12.5" x 10.3" 8.1" x 10.2" x 11.4"
Measured Cup Clearance 2.5" 5" 5" 4.25" 4.2"
Pre-Infusion No Yes Yes No No
Cappuccino Time 4 min 12 sec 4 min 3 sec 3 min 36 sec N/A 2 min 48 sec
Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make Up List Price 183 203 122 67 49
Portafilter Size 58 mm 54 mm 54 mm 40 mm 51 mm
Steam Wand Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Measured Water Tank Capacity to Max Fill 74 oz 64 oz 47 oz 2 oz 34 oz
Integrated Pressure Gauge No No No Optional Add On Available No
Hot Water Delivery Steam Wand Steam Wand Steam Wand N/A Steam Wand
Extraction Yield 17% 18% 18% 14% 12%
PID Temperature Control No Yes Yes No No
Included Accessories Plastic Tamper
Coffee Scoop
3 Filter Baskets
Frothing Jet Nozzle
Tamper
The Razor Precision Dosing Tool
16-ounce Stainless Steel Milk Jug
4 Filter Baskets
Cleaning Tool
Cleaning Disc
Plastic Tamper
16-ounce Stainless Steel Milk Jug
4 Filter Baskets
Steam wand nozzle Cleaning Tool
Travel Case,
Dosing Cup/Tamper
Dosing Funnel
Puck Screen
Combo Tamper and Coffee scoop
2 Filter Baskets

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gaggia Classic Evo Pro earned only average scores across the board, but not all is lost. Its niche is the complete control it gives to the experienced barista who likes a manual machine but who prefers a less expensive option.

Performance Comparison


gaggia classic evo pro - getting ready to lock and load as we test the function of the...
Getting ready to lock and load as we test the function of the portafilter.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Espresso Quality


Middle-of-the-road espresso shots were all that the Evo Pro could produce, earning it average marks for this metric. When compared to the rest of the bunch, this machine simply didn't produce the same results.


Our Evo Pro shots were a bit acidic, but this was balanced out a little by some faint sweeter notes. As for presentation, the crema was stiff and fluffy, but composed of larger-than-normal bubbles that seemed to quickly dissipate.

gaggia classic evo pro - pulling our first shot: crema, average. volume, average. taste...
Pulling our first shot: Crema, average. Volume, average. Taste, average.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Overall, the shots weren't bad, but they also weren't amazing. In terms of coffee density, we recorded below average extraction yields for each of the Evo Pro shots.

gaggia classic evo pro - the evo pro barely squeaked by with an extraction yield of 17%...
The Evo Pro barely squeaked by with an extraction yield of 17%, while the ideal extraction is between 18 and 22%.
Credit: Lesley Robinson

The Evo Pro turned 19 grams of coffee grounds into 30 liquid grams of espresso in 30 seconds. These results were basically on-par with the rest of the machines we tested. However, the Evo Pro's extraction yields were not. Industry standards for espresso are 18% to 22% — making the Evo Pro's 16.6% less than ideal.

gaggia classic evo pro - ready, set, go. using a stop watch to time the evo pro's brewing...
Ready, set, go. Using a stop watch to time the Evo Pro's brewing speed.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

There are countless variables that can affect a shot's quality, one of them being pressure. Our in-house baristas recorded that this machine had difficulty maintaining consistent pressure while pulling a shot or steaming milk. Perhaps this pressure problem is connected to its lower yield rate.

gaggia classic evo pro - trying our luck with cappuccino art. adding some microfoam did...
Trying our luck with cappuccino art. Adding some microfoam did affect this shot's flavor for the better.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Ease of Use


Confusing setup instructions, a lackluster user guide, and a cranky portafilter contributed to the Evo Pro receiving lower marks for our ease of use metric. The entire process from start to finish just wasn't as accommodating as we had hoped.


Right out of the box, we were left confused with this initial setup of the Evo Pro. The first part of the setup guide reads as a picture book, with no written instructions. These instructions show the user the required steps to prepare the machine for first use or for a quick tune-up after two weeks of non-use. The entire process isn't difficult, but the lack of info caused our initial setup to last nearly 30 minutes. However, when it came time to produce a cappuccino, the Evo Pro did so in about the same amount of time as about half of the machines in our review. Its total production time (4 minutes and 21 seconds) certainly isn't speedy, but even some of our top performers landed in the 4-minute range.


The overall functionality of the Evo Pro is simple and straightforward, but if we had to be nitpicky, the distance between the portafilter and the drip tray is a bit too shallow, leaving less clearance for cup placement.

gaggia classic evo pro - getting an idea of the head clearance between the portafilter spouts...
Getting an idea of the head clearance between the portafilter spouts and the cup.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

This machine also requires additional time to cool off after each steaming before moving on to additional functions. The plastic tamper provided is too small for the filter basket, so we had to tamp down mutiple times in order to get a flat surface. Lastly, the portafilter's connection to the group head is poorly engineered, making it difficult to attach and remove it without jarring the entire machine. All gripes aside, the Evo Pro does have a massive 74-ounce water tank, and it still offers a decent return on your money in terms of its lifetime cost per shot.


We found no glaring concerns with the overall functionality of this unit. It's made well and seems built to last. Its interface is simple, easy to use, and caters well to the novice as well as the expert. However, when compared side by side with the top performers on our list, the Evo Pro simply doesn't compete when it comes to the smoothness of its overall operation. It also doesn't maintain pressure very well, so it isn't great for pulling several shots in a row.

gaggia classic evo pro - the evo pro's commercial grade rocker switches on full display. the...
The Evo Pro's commercial grade rocker switches on full display. The are very basic, but are super easy to use, and built to last.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Ease of Cleaning


A very lengthy descaling process, limited maintenance instructions, and the constant need to wipe away fingerprints caused us to award the Evo Pro with so-so scores for this metric.


This unit's stainless steel housing loves fingerprints more than we love coffee. We grew tired of constantly wiping down the Evo Pro in order to keep it looking good. All fingerprint duties aside, this machine luckily required the same daily cleaning routines as any other espresso machine. But, the same can't be said when it comes to more in-depth cleaning and maintenance. The manufacturer requires nil when it comes to weekly cleaning, which concerns us a bit when we consider the longevity of the Evo Pro. We also were somewhat annoyed with this unit's hour-long descaling process (one of the longest of the entire bunch). In addition to its duration, all descaling products must be manufacturer-approved.

gaggia classic evo pro - one of our favorite ease of cleaning features. despite this unit's...
One of our favorite ease of cleaning features. Despite this unit's compact design, the drip tray still offers a decent amount of capacity so it doesn't require constant monitoring.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Milk Steaming


Milk steaming, particularly microfoam, is an important component of any cappuccino. Unfortunately, the Evo Pro did not receive notable scores for its ability to consistently produce high-quality steamed milk.


We were able to produce decent microfoam, but the process took longer than desired, and the results were inconsistent. We feel this was caused, in part, by the inability of the Evo Pro to maintain its pressure. This model not only takes time to build pressure after pulling each shot, but the steam wand also loses pressure during the steaming process, which is not ideal for producing rich microfoam.

The Evo Pro often struggled to maintain consistent heat and pressure when steaming milk, making for longer steam times.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Machine Customization


Designed and made in Italy, the Evo Pro offers a simple rocker-switch interface, which gives it a commercial vibe. This machine is hardy and reliable, but it doesn't come with a ton of additional customization.


We liked that the Evo Pro is a manual machine. This allows the user to control shot volume and temperature, which allows for a decent amount of experimentation. However, the control panel is very simple and doesn't offer anything beyond the basics. Additionally, we had a fair amount of difficulty getting complete command of this machine's temperature control. It was a bit finicky and difficult to dial in.

gaggia classic evo pro - using the center rocker switch to control our shot. the user has...
Using the center rocker switch to control our shot. The user has complete control over each individual shot.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Should You Buy the Gaggia Classic Evo Pro?


The Evo Pro will mostly appeal to experienced baristas who desire the control that comes from using a completely manual machine. Although, it only eked out average scores for most of our metrics, it still produces decent enough espresso and steamed milk — and it does so without costing as much as other cafe-grade home brewing stations. So, if you have the required skills, are looking to save a buck, and don't mind sacrificing a wee bit in espresso quality, the Evo Pro is a great pick for you — as long as you aren't serving a crowd.

gaggia classic evo pro - we weighed each puck and timed every shot we pulled.
We weighed each puck and timed every shot we pulled.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

What Other Espresso Machines Should You Consider?


If you like the compact design of the Evo Pro but you would rather your machine do more of the work, the Breville Bambino Plus should be a serious consideration on your shortlist. But, if you have the skills to truly channel your inner barista, you can go wrong with the Rancilio Silvia. It's our favorite pick for coffee aficionados who really know what they're doing.

gaggia classic evo pro - the finished product.
The finished product.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Jason Wanlass