Gaggia Naviglio full review
If you're bored of a manual coffee machine then it's time to go automatic. The Gaggia Naviglio is a great choice for a bean-to-cup option for various reasons. Find out why in our full review.
Making coffee at home is great but using a manual device with a handle can get laborious and messy. Moving to a bean-to-cup machine is the logical next step and could be well worth the upgrade, or just skip straight to it if you're getting your first coffee machine.
The Gaggia Naviglio is £479 but you can buy it for a cheaper price at Amazon where the machine is £344 at the time of writing.
Head to Gaggia's own store and it's even more of a bargain at £299 with a two-year warranty. That's a fair bit cheaper than the De'Longhi Dinamica we reviewed.
The Naviglio is fairly bulky but manages to look modern and stylish all the same. We like this matt black finish on our review sample but you can get a silver one if you opt for the Deluxe model (above). This costs a little more because it comes with a Cappuccinatore auto-milk frothing device.
Otherwise the machines are the same with a simple and effective design. The beans sit in a clear plastic container on top so you can see them satisfyingly jiggle around when the grinder kicks in. You can fit a normal size 227g bag of beans in if you spread them out.
On the front of the machine are a set of indication lights to let you know if there's no water or the dump box needs emptying. Below are six rubbery buttons which are intuitive to use.
Then there's a chunky strength dial which lets you choose between 7-, 9- or 11g options (with 7g being a normal industry espresso shot). The dial doesn't move too easily, which will avoid accidentally getting the wrong strength.
Draws at the front for water and used coffee are easy to use, you just need to move the milk frother out of the way to access the former.
The last design feature to mention, apart from the removable drip tray with it's floating red plastic indicator, is the adjustable nozzle so the Naviglio fits almost all sizes of mugs.
Features & Performance
Once you've got the machine set up with power, water and coffee beans, using it couldn't be much simpler.
Switch the Naviglio on and it will go through an automatic cleaning and warming up process. Then you simply push the button for the mode you want, making sure there's a cup ready to go, of course.
The buttons in the middle for espresso or a longer coffee will be your most used. As mentioned earlier you can select different strengths before you start.
Since this is an automatic machine, the Naviglio will freshly grind the coffee for each new brew using the ceramic grinder. It will then tamp the coffee the correct pressure and proceed to inject water from the boiler into the brewing unit at a constant pressure.
Whether you're making an espresso or a longer coffee, the results are excellent and effortless. The smell of the freshly ground beans add to the experience, too. We're particularly impressed with the crema that the Naviglio produces.
Getting hot water and steam to froth milk is also very easy, simply push the button for the one you want and push it again when you're done. Although this is a fairly simple machine, you can customise the coffee beyond turning the strength dial.
You can actually adjust the length of each type of coffee brew so you if you want a shorter espresso, you can. Simply put it into the customise mode, make the length of coffee you want and the machine will then do that exact amount every time.
This is really handy and avoids you having to do a brew twice, for example.
If you want more advanced features then it might be worth looking at the Gaggia Anima. It's able to adjust to your water hardness, adjust the temperature and five different strength settings to name a few features.
Although the Anima is more advanced, the Naviglio has plenty of options for most coffee drinkers and at a great price.
That said, we do have a few niggles we noticed during testing. For starters, the power button flashes red when the machine is off which is rather annoying. We'd rather the light was static but this isn't an option.
The Naviglio is also quite loud in operation. It obviously has physical operations to achieve such as grinding the beans but it's actually louder when brewing rather than grinding. It's not the end of the world, but this might not be the best choice if you require a quiet machine.
It's also worth noting that the machine goes through a tank (1.5L) of water pretty fast. This of course, depends how often you make coffee, so we were making one per day on average and we've filled the tank roughly two or three times a week.
This is largely due to the cleaning process the Naviglio does when switching the machine on and off. We're grateful for it keeping things clean, but it does use the water so you might end up running out mid-brew.
Whether you're moving on from a manual machine or just getting your first coffee machine, the Gaggia Naviglio is a great choice.
This is an excellent machine for the money, providing a simple but extremely effective experience. There might not be advanced features of a more premium model, but this has everything that the average drinker will need.
Small caveats mainly include the annoying blinking power light and the fairly loud operating noise, but these don't stop us highly recommending this machine.
Gaggia Naviglio: Specs
- Stainless Steel Boiler
- 50Hz Frequency
- 1850W Power
- 15 Bar Pump Pressure
- Panarello steam/hot water arm
- Removable water tank (1.5L)
- Removable drip tray
- Adjustable grind and coffee dose (7,9.11g)
- Adjustable cup height
- Coffee Bean Capacity: 300g
- Dump Box Capacity: 10 servings
- 256 x 440 x 340mm