Last Updated on April 8, 2022 by John Moretti
Choosing an espresso machine is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. Not if you don’t want to be plagued by a lifetime of disappointment, repairs, and expense, so how do you proceed? I suggest you try to limit your choices and narrow things down to a specific brand, at which point you can decide on a model. Here are two well-known brands to consider: Gaggia and DēLonghi espresso machines.
Gaggia and DēLonghi espresso machines are beautifully crafted and offer good value for money. For clear, ease of use, and some innovative features, the DēLonghi is a solid bet. For incredible quality barista-style drinks and full control over the industrial level steam wand, the Gaggia is king.
The two companies began in Italy and have enjoyed a combined 132 years of experience in the industry. While DēLonghi is better known to the general public because of a huge range of home appliances sold in a variety of different kinds of stores, Gaggia produces coffee machines and accessories exclusively and is well respected by Coffee Culture worldwide.
Since both companies produce automatic and manual machines, we’re going to concentrate on their automatics in this post, specifically the DēLonghi Dinamica & the Gaggia Cadorna Barista Plus, which are similar Bean-to-Cup machines. This is the quickest and easiest way to get fresh, wonderful coffee drinks at home.
What Are The Features Of Gaggia And DēLonghi Espresso Machines?
Both machines are feature-rich and very well matched, and both offer:
- Burr Grinders to convert whole beans as freshly as possible
- 10.5 oz bean hopper
- 1.8l water reservoir
- Steam wand for milk frothing
- Removable brew group
- Variety of coffees
- Pre-ground coffee usage via a bypass doser
The Gaggia and the DēLonghi offer similar programmable settings for drinks, including customizable strength, volume, and temperature. Drink choices are a little less even with the Cadorna Plus edging the Dinamica out on variety, but the latter offers a superb iced coffee function!
1. Drink Choices
DēLonghi Drink Choices
Gaggia Drink Choices
As you can see, both machines can produce the favorites, but the Truebrew Over Ice function is remarkable and a better one than on any other machine I have tried. Brewed with a longer pre-infusion and delayed extraction, the Over Ice feature lowers the water temperature and increases the dosage for a full brewed, creamy delight that is not watery at all. (Use the largest ice cubes you can provide)
Unusual on a machine at this price point, the Cadorna Plus’ Americano feature is one touch. It brews a shot of espresso closely followed by pure water with no intervention from the user. Strengths and quantity can be easily set on a very attractively laid-out touch screen. Save your settings as a preset, and you have repeatable results at the touch of a button each time.
They both allow a double shot with certain drinks: First, the Gaggia, which grinds and tamps twice, and then the DēLonghi, which grinds a double shot once. This would suggest that the taste from the former would be more balanced, but in practice, there is no taste difference.
The DēLonghi only allows a double shot when brewing espresso and espresso lungo, whereas the Gaggia also allows double shots with coffee and ristretto.
2. Grinding Apparatus
The grinding apparatus is very different, with the Gaggia employing a flat, ceramic burr grinder with ten settings and the DēLonghi, a steel, conical burr grinder with 13 settings. Either way, you have a better grinder than most coffee lovers have in their kitchens.
3. Puck receptacle
Puck receptacle capacity is 13 on the DēLonghi and ten on the Gaggia, a difference of 30%, which might be meaningful if you are brewing more than ten cups regularly.
4. Temperature controls
Temperature controls offer four settings on the DēLonghi Dinamica and three on the Gaggia Cadorna Plus, giving the former a 25% advantage.
Physically, the Dinamica takes up 10% less counter space than the Cadorna Plus, so there is not much difference. The Dinamica’s water reservoir is visible outside, whereas the Cadorna Plus’ is hidden. Fortunately, both are to the side of the machine and not the rear, so there is far less spillage than that from many other manufacturers due to no reach-over.
The cup platform on the Gaggia allows a cup or mug of 6.1“. On the DēLonghi, it is 5.5”; not a great deal less, but the Gaggia also includes a pull-down platform for brewing ristrettos and espressos into tiny cups.
The Main Differences Between The Gaggia And The DēLonghi
- The steam wand on the DēLonghi is their own patented Pinarello design. It is very short, no use at all for taller milk-frothing jugs, and it allows no user control over the frothing process although it does create a perfectly acceptable foam on its own.
On the other hand, the Gaggia provides a professional-level steam wand capable of producing café quality foam, allowing great latte art (if required) in all jug sizes. Not often seen on automatic machines, this wand, though not as easy to use as the DēLonghi, provides undeniable results from an experienced barista’s hand. The thick, creamy foam holds its shape and texture long after the presentation.
- The interface on the Gaggia is a lot more pleasant and user-friendly than the DēLonghi: The full-color TFT display, angled screen, and easy-to-use menu, and the soft-touch buttons make using this unit a pleasure. The DēLonghi is perfectly functional but nowhere near as much fun to use.
The Gaggia offers different profiles for as many as four users, perfect if the family has different coffee tastes or temperature preferences.
Although the other one has a higher price, the Gaggia is worth the extra if you can afford it. Both machines will provide years of great espresso-based drinks at a fraction of the cost of the same quantity from a café or coffee shop. Servicing the units on time is vital, but all in all, the machines are well made and worth their price tag.
The Gaggia Cadorna Plus provides style and functional advantages that place this unit at the same level as several machines from other manufacturers that are double the price.