Brewing the perfect shot of espresso isn't just for coffehouse baristas. Gaggia produces a line of electric espresso brewing machines for home use known as the Baby. There are several models in the Baby line. Each machine comes with its own measuring spoon, a tamper, two sizes of filter baskets and a removable filter holder and water tank. All of the models have the same basic design and are operated in similar fashion. However, some of them have extra options such as frothing nozzles.
Take the cover off the water tank. Remove and fill the tank with cold water. Do not fill past the line marked MAX, or water will leak out the overflow hole. Replace the water tank and cover.
Make sure the "Power," "Hot Water/Coffee" and "Steam" switches are all in the "Off" position. Plug the machine into an electrical socket and click on the "Power" button. The "On" light should illuminate.
Use the small filter basket for one cup or the larger one for two cups. Place the selected filter in the holder and insert the holder into the brewing head.
Wait about six minutes for the machine to warm up to the proper temperature. Take the now-warm filter holder out of the brewing head and measure in the ground espresso with the measuring spoon. Use 1 level spoonful for each cup of espresso you are making.
Tamp the espresso with the tamper. You want a firm tamp, but not too hard. Remove excess espresso from the rim of the filter holder and put it back into the brewing head. Make sure the filter holder is locked into position with the handle pointing to the front or slightly right.
Put one or two cups under each spout of the filter holder on the drip plate, depending on how much ground espresso you put into the filter. If you are using one cup, centre it under both spouts; if you are using two cups, place one under each spout.
Turn the "Hot Water/Coffee" switch to the "On" position to start the brewing. When the espresso has filled the cup or cups three-quarters full, turn the switch to "Off" and serve the espresso. If you overfill the cups, the espresso will be watery.
Take the filter holder slowly out of the brewing head. Hot water may drip out of the brewing head when you take out the filter holder, so be very careful. Tap the filter holder firmly on a hard surface to knock out the grounds. You are ready to make more espresso.
Each Baby Gaggia model has its own features. Consult the manual for the model that you are using for the best instructions. Grind the espresso just before brewing. It should be an espresso grind for the Baby Gaggia. Freshly brewed espresso should have a light brown crema foam on top. Some models of the Baby Gaggia are equipped with a steam nozzle for frothing milk for cappuccino. Serve espresso in demitasse cups, which hold 2 or 70.9gr. each. Cappuccino is served in 4- or 170gr. cups.
Use extreme caution when brewing espresso and frothing milk. The water is at the steam point and can easily burn skin.