This is a sturdy, robust, reliable machine that’s almost big enough to be commercial grade. One of Gaggia’s top sellers for a reason!
Recommended for: Ideally suited for power drinkers, large households, or busy office environments.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Overview of the Gaggia Titanium Espresso Machine
- 2 Fairly Easy to Use, Surprisingly Easy to Clean
- 3 Pros & Cons of the Gaggia Office Titanium
- 4 Gaggia Titanium Review Conclusion
An Overview of the Gaggia Titanium Espresso Machine
Are you a power drinker? Do you work in a bustling office environment, or live in a large household with many coffee aficionados? If any of those apply to you, then you’re going to love our detailed Gaggia Titanium review.
What this machine lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in capability and reliability. It’s solidly built and can handle just about anything you can throw at it.
We’ll walk you through everything this awesome machine can and can’t do, so if you’re on the fence and can’t quite choose between the different super automatics you’ve been looking at, our hope is that this piece will help you decide. Even if you opt for some other model though, we think you’ll agree. The Titanium is a beast, and a force to be reckoned with.
Let’s jump right in and see what it can do!
Form Factor, Footprint, and Aesthetic
The first thing you’ll notice about the Gaggia Titanium super automatic espresso machine is that it appears as though it would be right at home in a coffee shop. It’s not a commercial-grade machine, but it certainly looks the part, thanks to its industrial aesthetic.
This could pose a problem in that it might clash with some people’s kitchen décor, but if you’re a fan of the look, then you’ll like it very much.
Despite its rough and tumble appearance, the machine is smaller than you might imagine it to be, measuring 15” x 11” x 15” and weighing in at 26 pounds.
It’s not huge, but there are certainly smaller machines on the market, and if you’re short on counter space, or have limited clearance between your countertops and the bottom edge of your cabinets, you may think that you’ll struggle to find it a good permanent home.
No worries, the Titanium has you covered, because it’s been built on a Lazy Susan base, which means you can swivel it around as needed. This is the first of many nice finishing touches that make it stand out in a crowded market, and have made it such a popular model.
Our Gaggia 90500 Titanium review wouldn’t be complete without calling particular attention to this feature. It’s got a generously-sized sixty-ounce, back loading water tank. Don’t worry, if you’re thinking that the back-loading tank might be a shade inconvenient, remember that the machine is built to swivel, so accessing it is a snap. Even better, you can fill it without even removing it if you’d rather!
Note that the Titanium’s water tank does not have a filter and is not designed to accept one. This isn’t a big deal for most people, although if this is a crucial feature for you, then this model won’t be a good fit.
The primary advantage that a filter offers is that it virtually eliminates the need for descaling. On the flip side, filters can be expensive and will significantly increase your cost of ownership over time.
Although this model doesn’t use one, there are still things you can do to minimize your need for descaling. The two most common approaches are to use distilled water for brewing or to simply get your filtered water from some other source (i.e., many people have water filters at their kitchen sinks).
We like almost everything about the Gaggia Office Titanium’s grinder setup.
For starters, it utilizes a conical ceramic burr grinder that features a whopping eighteen different grind settings. That’s three times more than the industry average!
That’s a huge win because small changes to the way you grind your beans can make a big difference in the flavor of whatever drink you’re making. Having so many settings to choose from allows you to really fine-tune the flavor to your liking. We love it and wish every machine offered as many settings.
The Titanium Gaggia coffee machine also features a single-scoop bypass doser for those times when you don’t want the whole beans to brew experience; say, when you’re just after a quick cup of decaf in the evenings, or if you’re using some type of specialty ground coffee.
Our only real gripe is that the top-loading bean hopper only holds 8.8 ounces of beans. This is a little on the small side. If you don’t drink your coffee excessively strong, it probably won’t be an issue, but if you do love strong coffee, then you’ll find that you run out of beans much more often than you’d prefer.
Also note that where most super automatics have some means of adjusting the coffee dosing strength on the front control panel of the machine (usually buried somewhere in the customization menu), the Titanium makes it simple. You’ll find two knobs in the bean hopper: One for use when adjusting the grind setting, and the other for use when setting your dosing strength.
Pro Tip: This isn’t something that’s particular to the Titanium, but holds true for most machines with an integrated grinder – They’re not fond of oily beans, so for best results, find a good Medium Roast you like and stick with it!
The Boiler System
The Gaggia Titanium super automatic scores another big win in our book, in that it is a double boiler system. The key advantage that such systems offer is the fact that they allow you to simultaneously brew coffee and steam milk, which cuts down on your total brewing time when making milk-based drinks.
Even better, both boilers feature a Thermoblock technology, which allows for rapid heating, an addition that further burnishes the Titanium’s workhorse credentials.
Best of all though, is the fact that you can adjust the boiler temperatures (both the milk and coffee side) through five different levels, ranging from very mild to very hot.
That’s important because specialty coffee drinks were meant to be enjoyed at temperatures somewhat lower than most Americans drink their coffee, and many brands struggle to produce a cup hot enough for the American audience. You definitely won’t have that issue here!
Telescoping Coffee Spigot
There’s not much to say on this topic, other than to point out that the Gaggia Titanium coffee machine does indeed have dual telescoping coffee spouts that move up and down to accommodate cups ranging in size from 3.5” to 4.8.”
Sadly, this means that if you’ve got a favorite, super-sized mug, you may not be able to dispense directly into your cup. It’s a slight disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.
The Brew Unit and Control System
Our Gaggia Titanium office review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t spend some time talking about these features because they’re the heart and soul of any super-automatic.
Let’s start with the brew group because it’s pretty straightforward. It’s removable, and accessible by opening the front panel of the machine. This is highly convenient because it places most of the things you’ll need to manually maintain (periodic cleaning of the brew group, emptying the dregs box, and emptying the drip tray) front and center.
All you need to do where maintenance is concerned is pop it out about once a week and give it a good rinse. Let it dry fully, then put it back where it belongs. Nothing could be easier!
The control system is interesting. Remember, this is an older model, and although Gaggia has done a good job in keeping it up to date, it’s control system is somewhat dated, utilizing a narrow LCD that feels more like a simple LED.
Fortunately, the menus are simple, and not deep, which means that even with this technology, it’s not too big of a deal to navigate your way to any feature you want to access. Even so, we were a shade disappointed here. In an ideal world, they’d expand the panel size and use a TFT (Thin Film Transistor) display, even though this would increase the price of the machine marginally.
If you’re tech savvy, count this one as having essentially no learning curve. If you’re not, then you may initially struggle, but there’s not a lot to master here, so after you’ve made 3-4 drinks, you’ll be able to navigate to any feature you need.
Saving your preferred settings is a snap. On the front panel, you’ll find a row of buttons. To save the amount of coffee dispensed by each one, simply hold that button down, and take your finger off of it when the desired amount of coffee has been dispensed. The setting is saved.
Alternately, you can simply press and release the button, and use the factory settings for each selection.
Getting into the menu system, in addition to being able to set the boiler temperature (remember: dosing strength is handled via a knob next to the grind setting knob in the bean hopper), you can also change the system language, restore system defaults, run any of the automated maintenance routines and adjust the auto-shutoff time.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot in the way of advanced functionality here. You won’t find a broad range of one-touch drinks, user profiles, or the like. In our view, this is an admitted area of weakness for the Titanium. It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but if you’re looking for the ultimate in one-touch convenience, this model isn’t it.
A Few Words About Espresso
If you’ve been around the specialty coffee world for a while, then skip this section in our Gaggia Titanium review, but if you’re new to this world, we’ll need to take a moment to explain the key difference between how espresso is brewed vs. how drip-brew coffee is made.
The coffee you had this morning probably came from a drip-brew machine. They use gravity to convey the coffee from the brewing chamber, and into the pot waiting below.
Espresso machines use pressure, rather than gravity, and pressure is measured in bars, with one bar being equal to atmospheric pressure at sea level. It takes at least nine bars of pressure to brew a great espresso, and the Titanium’s pump is rated at fifteen bars.
What that means to you is simply that every time you turn the machine on, you’re going to get a great espresso!
The Milk Frothing System
We were impressed with the way that the Gaggia 90500 Titanium super automatic espresso handles milk frothing. Espresso machines do this one of two ways: They either offer an auto-frother or a steam wand.
Coffee purists almost universally prefer the steam wand, because it allows them to precisely control the temperature of the milk, and the quantity and quality of the froth produced. Newbies tend to be somewhat intimidated by the frothing wand because it does take time, practice and patience to learn to use well.
On the other hand, auto-frothers are highly convenient and newbie friendly, but the tradeoff is the lack of control. You get the amount of froth the machine gives you. If you don’t like it, too bad.
The Titanium offers both, giving you the best of both worlds. Switching from one to the other is as simple as swapping out the provided attachments. There are only a handful of machines being sold today that do that, which really makes the Titanium stand out.
The Cup Warming Tray
The Gaggia Titanium espresso machine 90500 has a six-cup capacity cup warming tray, although you may find that you don’t need to use it often, given the five temperature settings on the boiler.
If you do find that you need it, it’ll be when you make a milk-based drink. Try an experiment: Make your favorite milk-based coffee drink, and dispense it into a cold cup. If it’s not hot enough for you, bump up the boiler temperature and try again.
If it’s still not hot enough, try one more time, pre-warming your cup on the warming tray. It makes a surprising difference and just may push the temperature over the line for you!
Fairly Easy to Use, Surprisingly Easy to Clean
The Gaggia Titanium office espresso machine suffers slightly where ease of use is concerned because of the relatively dated tech used to create its interface. This is mostly (but not completely) offset by the fact that the menus aren’t terribly deep.
It would be a mistake to say that the model doesn’t have a learning curve, but it is fairly slight.
In terms of cleaning, the model wins high marks. You’ve got four bits of manual maintenance to attend to:
Three of those four components can be accessed from the front panel, making manual maintenance very convenient.
The rest is handled via the menu system and accessed via the control panel on the front face of the unit, and involve running periodic rinse cycles to keep the milk frothing system and its components clean.
Pros & Cons of the Gaggia Office Titanium
There’s a lot to like about the Gaggia 90500 Titanium super automatic espresso machine. It’s not perfect, but it hits most of the right notes as far as we’re concerned.
Its biggest strengths are:
It only has two real negatives: The bean hopper could stand to be a bit bigger, and the control system could do with an upgrade. The current control system and display isn’t awful, but the learning curve of the machine could be virtually eliminated with an update on this front.
Other than that, we think you’ll love almost everything about it.
Gaggia Titanium Review Conclusion
And that concludes our Gaggia Titanium review. What it lacks in a cutting-edge control panel, it makes up for (and then some) in raw capability and functionality. It gives you all the tools you need to make every specialty coffee drink on the Starbucks menu, and it’s sturdy enough to keep pace with even the most hard-core coffee drinkers out there.
The only people we wouldn’t recommend this machine to would be those who insist upon all the latest technological bells and whistles and maximum one-touch convenience. If you can live without those things, then this is an almost perfect model.
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