Wanting to prepare your favorite coffee the way your favorite barista makes it? With Gaggia TS Espresso Machine, you can satisfy your coffee addiction even in the comfort of your home. It’s a high-end semi-commercial espresso machine professionally built and constructed to give you the best.
Going through each part and component, you are assured of commercial-grade quality. Although it’s not designed for heavy use in a busy coffee shop, it sure is a great tool to quench your thirst for a great cup of coffee. That being said, it’s better to know more about this coffee maker through this review.
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What is Gaggia TS Espresso Machine?
- Modern exterior with integrated cup warmer
- Knob-based controls for steaming and frothing functions
It’s a semi-commercial high-end espresso machine that lets you satisfy your heart’s desire for a barista-grade coffee. Coupled with its sturdy construction is professional-grade components and capabilities. Hence, you can achieve great-tasting coffee and excellent frothed milk — every time.
- Has a very powerful steamer and can accommodate bigger pitcher
- Pulls out consistent nice and better-tasting coffee every time
- Durable and has stable temperature when brewing
- Easy to clean, even the bottom because it’s lifted
- Can brew and froth milk at the same time
- Fast heat-up and brewing
- Quick milk frothing because of the rapid steam system
- Pulls out nice microfoam with the four-holed steam wand
- Quite expensive and doesn’t have much add-on features
- Kind of noisy when dispensing hot water
- Only basic functions, no programmable options at all
- Need some skills to make the best coffee
- Can’t use bigger cups, height clearance is only 3 inches
- Heavy, so you must decide where to permanently put it
- Lack of other coffee options
Design and Specifications
From the looks of it, you can tell at first glance that the Gaggia TS Espresso Machine is built to last. It’s made with a high-quality stainless steel body for easy cleaning and maintenance. As you know, stainless steel is durable and with the beautiful polish and finish, this sure is a highlight in your kitchen.
It seems big, yet it has a small footprint of 20 × 12.20 × 18.50 inches. Since it has a stainless steel body, you don’t expect this to be light — it weighs 60 lbs. Hence, you must decide where to permanently put it, otherwise, it’ll be very cumbersome to move it around.
We’ll quickly describe the coffee machine from top to bottom. At the top, you can see a big passively heated cup warmer with 10.25 × 13 inches size. Right next to it is the access to the removable plastic water tank with 96 oz capacity.
The water tank can be removed by pulling it upwards. However, you should pay attention to the control plates attached at the sides of the tank. Make sure that you won’t disconnect the cables and re-place it when you put the tank back, otherwise, the machine won’t start.
This coffee machine has limited controls, you can only see two switches and two knobs. You have the main ON/OFF switch, COFFEE switch, HOT WATER tap, and VAPORIZER tap. The COFFEE switch has distribution and boiler loading light.
On the front panel, you can see the light indicator for the lack of water level in the tank. Below it, you can see the HOT WATER tap and on the opposite, to the right, is the VAPORIZER tap (control for the steam). The COFFEE switch and the two tap knobs have icons so you won’t interchange the functions.
Below the front panel is the brew group in the middle, the spout for hot water to the left, and the swivel vaporizer pipe to the right. Right below the ON/OFF switch is the pressure gauge. At the lower right, you can see the drain pipe where water flows directly to the drip tray.
Unlike most semi-automatic coffee machines, wherein the machine is ready when the light indicator becomes steady, this one is signaled by certain pressure on the manometer. Once the machine reaches the operating pressure of 1.2-1.3 BAR, the machine is now ready to brew your coffee.
It has a 2.3-liter copper boiler with a 1500W heating element. This means you can get a stable brewing temperature without overheating. This gives you a quick initial heat-up of only 102 seconds and recommended heat up time of 720 seconds.
Aside from quick heating, you’ll notice optimal brewing temperature at 169 degrees for 2oz paper cup and 167 degrees for 8 oz paper cup. It only takes 25 seconds to produce this coffee hotness. Hot water time for 8oz water is around 22 seconds with a maximum temperature of 168 degrees.
For the milk, it only takes 42 seconds to steam 8 oz of milk, while it only takes 42 seconds to produce steam milk. With the four-tip steam wand, steaming and milk frothing is only 42 and 39 seconds, respectively.
Like most commercial coffee machines, it has a 58 mm portafilter which only weighs 1 lb. Unfortunately, it only has 3 inches cup height, you can’t extract more coffee using a bigger cup. It has a bigger drip tray, so you don’t need to dispose of the content often, unless you keep on flushing the brew unit every after use.
Features and Functionalities
The price could be a turn-off, but you’ll be surprised by the features it has on-board. Though it doesn’t have programmable functionalities like other machines falling in the same price range, it’s focused on performance and durability. Check these amazing features first before you say no to its price.
2.3-Liter Copper Boiler — To maintain the optimal temperature without the need to worry about overheating, it has a copper boiler with 1500 W heating element. The copper boiler is placed horizontally so the heating element is submerged with water when in use. Such a big capacity of the boiler allows quick heat-up and faster recovery for almost continuous brewing.
Commercial-Grade Heat Exchanger — This is probably the best feature in this machine — the ability to brew coffee and steam/froth milk simultaneously. This eliminates the hassle of waiting for the machine to finish brewing before you can start frothing milk.
However, since this isn’t automatic, you have to keep in mind that you still need to hit the COFFEE button to stop/start brewing.
Commercial-Grade Brew Group — Many coffee machines don’t give you consistency per cup. But, the Gaggia TS gives you both exceptional temperature consistency and great coffee quality. The brew group is designed with an electronic heating technology and is thermostat-controlled so you can produce the best espresso — every time.
Huge Cup Warmer — To keep the optimal temperature of your coffee, you should warm your cup before you start brewing. Thanks to the spacious cup warmer on top of the machine, even if you prepare a few more cups of espresso, it’s not a problem with the Gaggia TS Espresso.
Rapid Steam System and Commercial-Quality Steam Wand — With the four-holed steam wand, it’s very easy and quick to achieve your desired milk froth. It’s designed to evenly distribute steam throughout your milk, so you can achieve a great microfoam texture that you can only see in café shops.
Since the steam wand is swivel-mounted, you can experiment with the angle and the depth of the tip on your milk. It has a turbo steam nozzle that produces powerful dry steam pressure so you can steam milk in as fast as 40 seconds. Also, you don’t have to worry that milk might be sucked and get stuck in the steam wand as it has an anti-suction valve connection.
Commercial Portafilter — This means, it comes with the 58mm portafilters that can fit into any commercial coffee machines. Hence, if you want to level up and operate heavy-duty commercial coffee machines, it takes only less time to get used to the new system.
2.5-Inch Legs — This machine has slip-resistant feet so it’ll be easy to clean the bottom. With the elevated design, it’s easy to wipe the spills to protect your countertop from stains and damage due to the stainless construction of this espresso machine.
Pre-Infusion Technology — Aside from the commercial-grade brew group, it also has pre-infusion technology. The machine will automatically run water to the coffee before applying pressure to it. This is to ensure great flavor and aroma of the extracted espresso.
We only mentioned a few, but there are still other features and functionalities that make this coffee maker the best not only for household use but for small café and restaurants, as well.
Setup and Operation
Though it has tons of features, the operation is quite straightforward. You don’t need to know everything that’s inside the machine. You just have to plug it into a compatible source, turn it ON, and the rest of the process is as easy as one, two three.
Yet, for those who don’t like to read the user’s manual, we’ll give you a very quick summary of how to use this coffee maker. Of course, you have to ensure that enough water is in your reservoir to brew coffee without any problem.
The machine power cord isn’t that long, only around 40 inches for safety, you need to keep it near the power outlet. You can plug the power cable into the power source of 110V, but before you do that, make sure that the ON/OFF switch is positioned at “O.” With the water reservoir filled with water and the power cable plugged into a compatible power outlet, you are ready to brew your coffee with Gaggia TS Espresso machine.
Turn ON the machine by pressing the “I” position of the switch — the light on the switch will turn on. Now, check the manometer right below the switch. Once the reading of the manometer reaches 1.2-1.3 BAR, it’s now ready to use. Press the COFFEE switch to run water through the brew unit without putting the portafilter, just to try if the machine works.
Note, when you first use the machine, the filter holder will not be positioned exactly perpendicular to the machine, but it doesn’t mean it’s not latched into the brew unit. With frequent use, the portafilter will soon lock in a perpendicular position. Don’t apply too much force to the filter holder just to make it perpendicular to the machine.
The standard temperature of your coffee will be around 169 degrees. If you want to reduce the coffee dispensing group temperature, you can replace the group thermostat with a lower temperature-thermostat included when you buy the machine. Complete instructions on the process are detailed in the user’s manual.
As mentioned, there are two control tap knobs on the left and the right, for Hot Water and Steam, respectively. The knobs control the flow of the water/steam — as simple as that. Turn the knob counterclockwise to increase the flow and turn it in the opposite direction to reduce and eventually stop the operation.
Especially for the steam wand, it’s important to clean it after every use. You can wipe it with wet cloth every after steaming milk, then let the steam come out one or two seconds to clean it. For the brew unit, once you’ve extracted the coffee, you can remove the portafilter and run water for one or two seconds.
Brewing Capacity and Process
It’s fast, accurate and gives you the same coffee temperature — every time. As we mentioned, it might have a lot of features, but it sure is very easy to operate. It comes with two types of portafilter — single and double spouted portafilters. You can use either of them depending on your preferences.
Once you have decided on the portafilter to use, like most coffee makers, you need either a single shot or double shot filter. This espresso machine comes with different filter baskets, you can use for ground coffee or coffee pods. Use the appropriate filter basket for the espresso shot you want to prepare.
You might need to preheat the portafilter before brewing. Just insert it in the brew unit and remove it when the machine reaches the operating pressure. Now, fill the filter basket with your desired measure for the espresso shot you want to brew.
This machine doesn’t have a built-in grinder, so you need to grind the coffee separately. Insert the filter holder in the brew unit as you do with most coffee machines, then, hit the COFFEE switch.
For a 2oz espresso, the standard brew time is 25 seconds, yet, you can stop it manually if you think you’ve extracted enough. It’s manually operated, which means, you need to time or develop the skill to extract just the right volume for your favorite coffee drink.
When steaming/frothing milk, on the other hand, it’s very easy with the rapid steam system and the four-hole tip of the commercial-quality steam wand. Getting perfect microfoam for latte art takes practice and right technique. Don’t dip the nozzle too deep into the milk and make sure not to boil the milk for the best results.
Cleaning and Maintenance
For the machine to last longer and have consistent performance, regular cleaning is vital. The body of this coffee machine is stainless steel, so use only soft wet cloth to wipe off spills and stains. Don’t use abrasive cleaning tools to keep the luster and the coating of the machine.
It’s advisable to run hot water through the brew unit every after use. Likewise, it’s also recommended to run steam for at least one to two seconds after using the steam wand.
The turbo-frother steam nozzle can be removed by pulling it down so you can clean it. The steam wand has an anti-suction valve to prevent clogging. Or if it’s clogged for some reason, you can use a needle to clean the steam hole.
Another aspect that you need to clean is the portafilter and filter baskets. A complete guide to dismantling and cleaning the filter holder system can be found in the user’s manual of this coffee maker.
Take note that while the machine may seem sturdy and durable, it’s meant to be used indoors at an ambient temperature of 5 °C – 40 °C. All parts and accessories shouldn’t be exposed to extreme temperatures, sun, and rain.
Accessories and Add-ons
To brew your coffee right away, Gaggia provides everything you need with the TS Espresso machine. It comes with two types of portafilter — single and double spouted filter holders. Likewise, it comes with different filter baskets for single and double shot espresso, as well as for single and double coffee pods.
You can also experiment on the four different spouts that this machine includes. The spouts and the filters are made with chrome-plated brass, so they are durable and heat stable. Lastly, it has a 58mm tamper that you can use to level the coffee grounds for even distribution and best extraction.
Who is this product for? / Should You Buy This?
Not everyone wants to spend too much on an espresso machine that doesn’t have automatic and programmable options. In addition, although this machine can be used in small coffee shops, you need to have some skills to get the best out of it. Thus, if you’re the kind of person who wants instant things and doesn’t want to spend time learning this machine, this isn’t perfect for you.
Nevertheless, for those who need a long-lasting and easy to maintain coffee maker, the Gaggia TS Espresso machine is the best. With top-notched features to extract a consistent espresso shot every time, coupled with a commercial-grade steam wand for excellent milk frothing, what more do you need? This coffee machine is perfect if you want to develop some barista skills and if you want to learn how to make the best coffee without depending on sophisticated automatic features.
You might not want this machine because it lacks some nice-to-have features, but it’s the ultimate espresso machine you need if you want to become a real barista. It has commercial-grade functionalities — 58mm portafilters, pre-infusion technology, commercial steam wand, rapid steam, and more — which you can find in commercial coffee machines. Once you master some basic barista skills with this machine, you can use just any commercial coffee maker in any coffee shop.
Of course, the price tag isn’t budget-friendly, but it promises durability and consistent performance. It’s better to spend a lot on quality and long-lasting equipment, than to invest in cheap-quality machines.
Still, it depends on your needs and preferences. But for us, we are willing to spend more on a coffee machine that we can surely use for years. And, with Gaggia TS Espresso machine, we don’t hesitate to spend our hard-earned money, because we know we’ll get a sure return of investment (ROI).