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Great coffee from this bean-to-cup machine, the Gaggia Naviglio is excellent valueDimensions (HxWxD): 895x995x756mm, Water capacity: 6. 5L, Cup warmer? : Yes, Milk frothing: Yes (steam wand), Adjustable grind: Yes, Adjustable strength:

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Yes (three)Manual espresso machines generally give the best results, but can be a faff fully-automatic bean-to-cup machines do everything for you, but completely remove you from the coffee making process. A good alternative is a bean-to-cup machine, such as the Gaggia Naviglio, which automatically grinds coffee beans for espresso, but has a manual milk frother, so you can still create some drinks in a more manual and creative way. Of course, this style of machine is also generally a lot cheaper than the fully-automatic type. Although the Naviglio is Gaggia's entry-level bean-to-cup coffee machine and made of plastic, it's still very well made and feels robust. Admittedly, it's not the most exciting looking machine and I think it's a little utilitarian, but it's not offensive and it's small enough to sit unobtrusively tucked out of the way. Everything important is accessible from the front of the coffee machine, including the used coffee grinds drawer and the pull-out water tank. You can fit a filter to the water tank, which I recommend to prevent limescale built-up, but there's not one provided in the box. This is one of the easiest machines to use to make a coffee. First you pour the beans into the hopper on top, which can take up to a regular bag of coffee at a time.

Next, you have to top the reservoir up with water. Then, you just have to wait for the coffee machine to heat up after you turn the power on. From here, there's just a choice of which button to press, with dedicated buttons for a shot of espresso and a longer coffee. If you want two drinks, then you can hit the two cup button. After that, the Naviglio grinds the beans and starts pouring. My first shot of espresso wasn't quite to my taste, but the Naviglio does have some adjustments available, including adjusting the grind and using the front coffee strength guide. A finer grind lets the coffee be compressed more, increasing the strength and bitterness a looser grind lets water pass through quickly, which makes the coffee weaker and more watery. I found that adjusting the grind towards the finer end of the scale did the job for me. I had to use the plug-in tool to make the adjustment, whereas a lot of bean-to-cup machines have a built-in dial.

Andy Boddington Ludlow writer and councillor

The biggest annoyance of having a separate tool is having to somewhere to store it where you won't lose it. There's also a coffee strength dial on the front that lets you manually set how strong you want your coffee. I found that option two was best for the Expert Reviews test beans and my own personal preference. With the settings the way I wanted them, the shot of espresso produced was very good. It was delivered at a temperature of 68C, which is just about right. A thick, oily crema sat on top, with the shot itself dark and intense. I got the full flavour from the test beans, although some of the slight subtlety is missing, but you have to spend more than twice this money to get espresso noticeably better. Long coffee was dispensed just as well, maintaining its heat. Should you find that the long button isn't quite long enough, you can override the default setting so that the Naviglio pours for longer, or you can use the hot water button and dispense hot water via the steamer wand instead.

If you want to froth milk and make different styles of drink, you need to use the manual steamer wand. As this machine has a single boiler, it takes the Naviglio a little while to get up to steam temperature. There's also no dial or tap to control it, so steam is dispensed at a single, constant speed. It took a little bit of practice with this system to get milk the way I wanted it, but with a milk thermometer in a jug, I soon had the rich and fluffy milk that I wanted. The quality of the resultant latte was very good indeed. I recommend giving them regular cleans to prevent mould build-up. The entire brew unit can also be removed from the machine, following the clear instructions in the manual, which should be done once a month or so. You'll also need to descale when the light turns on, using the simple instructions, descaler and dedicated descaling mode. At this price, the Gaggia Naviglio is a hard machine to beat.

In fact, its closest competition is the, which is very similar in operation and produces very similar espresso. However, the difference is that the Brera is a dual-boiler machine, so it's ready to produce steam at any time. Is that worth an extra £655? I don't think so. As it stands, the Naviglio is well-priced, makes very good espresso and is simple to use, making it excellent value. Yes, you can get bean-to-cup machines that are better and have more configuration options, but they're a lot more expensive as you can see from my regularly-updated article. Dennis, a trading name of Dennis Publishing Ltd, registered in England & Wales no. 6688896. Registered address:

86-87 Alfred Place, London, WC6E 7DP. VAT number 999666867. Dennis is run for the benefit of the Heart of England Forest, a registered charity dedicated to planting tomorrow’s great native woodland one tree at a time.

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