It’s an iconic Italian brand known worldwide … but the UK operation is owned by a Huddersfield businessman who uses the power of coffee to help charities.

Gaggia coffee machines were first invented in Milan in the late 1930s, revolutionising the way coffee was made and setting new stylish standards worldwide.

The UK and Ireland operation for Gaggia domestic coffee machines runs from Elland – headed up by managing director Raj Beadle – and his company sells around 6,000 machines every year while supporting several charities.

Raj uses the power of coffee to help many charities, donating machines and providing free barista training to several good causes as well as raising thousands of pounds every year.

Raj has lived in Edgerton for many years and so the company regularly donates to the town’s Welcome Centre food bank and Huddersfield Mission where Raj used to be a trustee, along with international charity Christians Against Poverty and the Leeds-based Little Sisters of the Poor which runs a care home for the elderly.

“I first knew about them when two nuns knocked on our door asking for donations,” said Raj. “I was so surprised to see them standing there we’ve helped them ever since.”

Huddersfield Mission helps people struggling with complex needs such as homelessness, mental health and addiction. Gaggia UK donated a commercial coffee machine and provided the charity with barista training.



Raj has been a member of Lindley Methodist Church in Huddersfield for a long time which has supported a charity called the Riziki children’s organisation based in Nakuru, Kenya, for 15 years. Riziki rescues young children, usually orphans, trying to survive by scavenging on a rubbish tip just outside the city.

They then live in dormitories at the organisation’s centre where they grow their own food and vegetables and Riziki also pays school fees so the children can go to a nearby school to help them on their way to a better life. The schooling can lead into higher education, including universities.

The charity costs £50,000 a year to run and a series of church events culminating in a fundraising concert at Lindley Methodist Church in May has raised almost £5,000.

This included Raj raffling off a gold-coloured coffee machine and Gaggia UK sponsoring the concert and making donations to the music groups involved.

Raj hosts and sponsors a coffee morning in the church on the third Friday of every month from 10am to 12 noon to raise even more for Riziki, with the mornings expanding into crafts and charity stall events.

Gaggia UK has sponsored Cleckheaton Cricket Club for many years – it even has its own Gaggia scoreboard – and a youth team at Greetland Football Club. Gaggia staff are involved in both these organisations.

In the past Gaggia UK has been a major supporter for Macmillan Coffee Mornings and also helped the Prince’s Trust’s ‘Get Into’ scheme providing free training for youngsters struggling to get into work or training, often because they come from deprived backgrounds. Gaggia not only trained them for two weeks with top baristas but took some on and one now runs her own business.

Raj said: “I wish we could do something similar now as we could do it over Zoom online. People sometimes need a stepping stone in life and we would gladly help them.”



In 2003 Gaggia UK became officially what’s known as a CoolBrand alongside the likes of Aston Martin, Chanel, Bang and Olufsen, Jaguar Cars, Lambretta, Moet & Chandon, Selfridges and Xbox.

That pioneering Gaggia spirit which began in the 1930s continues as Raj’s team has a whole new way of customer service which saves people a fortune in an environmentally friendly way.

It’s dubbed ‘forever customer care’ because once people have bought a machine from Gaggia UK that endless customer care comes with it whatever the warranty.

The 11 ranges of Gaggia coffee machines are manufactured in Italy and can only be bought online via the company’s website or from it via Amazon under its Caffe Shop Ltd name.

Raj said: “Like many people I’d never heard of Zoom until the pandemic lockdown in March 2020 but quickly realised we could use it to totally change the way the business operates.

“Sales of coffee machines actually went up during Covid with people stuck at home but wanting a ‘real’ cup of coffee and if people got stuck working them or just had a question to ask they could contact us instantly on Zoom.

“It also gave me the idea to do barista training online. We had 25 people waiting to attend our courses but many jumped at the chance to do the training via Zoom during Covid and that’s carried on ever since.

“People with Gaggia machines going back many years can contact us immediately on Zoom via our website and be speaking to an engineer within minutes to hopefully quickly solve their problem, with the engineer talking them through how to do it.

“We used to get around 1,500 machines in a year for service, upgrade or repair but that number has now been halved, saving customers lots of money and their machines needing to be packaged up and sent on expensive, often needless journeys back to us.”

Gaggia domestic coffee machines start at £175 and go right up to £1,800 with some able to automatically make all kinds of different coffees from espresso to cappuccino and latte, with adjustable coffee strength and water temperature.

Italian businessman Achille Gaggia invented the first steamless expresso machine in Milan in 1938 using hot water under pressure forced through ground coffee.

This extracted a range of aromas and natural coffee oils to produce a soft layer of ‘crema naturale’ on the top of the drink. The espresso became different and better, more intense and captivating, characterised by a rich and bold flavour.

In 1947 the invention moved to a lever-piston brewing mechanism after Achille saw how an American jeep’s piston engine worked.

In 1952 he invented the first coffee machine for domestic use called Gilda, inspired by actress Rita Hayworth’s iconic performance in the 1946 film Gilda.

For more on Gaggia UK go to

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting. 

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