Over the decades, Gaggia has produced a number of models, each catering to a specific need. Keep reading to find out which is the best Gaggia espresso machine to buy for your home.
So the first and most obvious question is – why buy from Gaggia?
Gaggia is an Italian espresso machine brand which has been making espresso makers since 1947, when the founder (Achille Gaggia) opened his first shop in Milan and patented his espresso machine design. Sure they might have grown a bit (a lot), and been acquired since then but the committment to their craft lives on.
The foundation for making high quality espresso comes from their strong technical competence in making both commercial and home espresso machines gained through half a century of experience.
With their start in commercial espresso maker market, Gaggia continues with their commitment to use high-end materials for building home espresso machines. So the build is of high quality and made to last.
This Italian company is also well-known for its excellent customer service and after-sales support. All their espresso machines and grinders are covered by 1 year warranty (both parts and labor).
So, we’ve established that the quality of a Gaggia is high. These are coffee machines that will give you a great shot of espresso. No capsule coffee machines in the Gaggia family! But what are some of the key considerations to make before purchasing a Gaggia? In our experience the most important things are:
If you’re seriously considering in buying a Gaggia machine, we would recommend giving a thought to these questions before going on to the rest of the reviews.
Let’s start by looking at the semi-automatic espresso machine made by Gaggia.
Gaggia has a number of semi-automatic espresso machines for the home market. But the only one we like is the Gaggia Classic Pro. This espresso maker has been around since 1991 and has gone through a few iterations. With more than 2 decades of sales, it sure tells a lot about its popularity among coffee lovers!
The Classic Pro is an entry-level semi-automatic maker under $500. For this price, it can pull a great espresso shot. It comes with brushed stainless steel, commercial portafilters and commercial milk wand.
You’ll want to have a good tamper and burr grinder to get the most out of this machine. But if you have these things and you’re interested in learning how to pull espresso and essentially have those café style lattes coming from your kitchen, this is a great machine to buy.
The design isn’t our favourite of all time (it’s just so top heavy!), but it is easy to use with only three buttons. The design is pretty bulky and although it comes with a large 72 ounces water reservoir, it could have been made smaller.
The Classic Pro isn’t going to give you the ability to choose every single option related to pulling your shot. And there is surprisingly little space under the coffee spout – you won’t have room for a mug. But nevertheless, this is a coffee lover’s machine, and if you are a coffee lover and are interested in trying your hand at making real coffee at home, we would enthusiastically recommend this machine.
It’s got almost all of the main features of a commercial grade coffee machine, but at a fraction of the price. And if you think about how many years you’ll have it, and how many dollars you’ll be saving buying coffee out of the house, you could almost call it a bargain!
The Classic Pro does have a few downsides:
To take advantage of this espresso maker and its functionality you absolutely need a good grinder (we would recommend a ceramic burr grinder) and a tamper to fully take advantage of this machine.
Really the difference between fresh and pre-ground coffee is stark. And if you’re thinking about this machine, we would recommend you go for it and get the equipment so you can get the best out of your beans.
On the plus side it’s pretty quiet. it feels sturdy. And really the coffee you can make with a bit of practice will amaze you!
The Classic Pro is perfect if you’re thinking of investing in a semi-automatic machine. We would say this is for the coffee fanatic rather than the casual coffee drinker. Because it’s a semi-automatic machine it’s fun to use and perfect, but it is also a process. You won’t be making great coffee overnight. Using a semi-automatic machine is like driving a manual – you’ll feel like you’re really driving, but it’s a learning curve. If you would like to enjoy the process of making espresso, Gaggia Classic Pro is the right machine to buy.
Okay, we have covered the semi-automatic espresso maker. Let’s check out Gaggia’s superautomatic espresso machines. And they have some really good line-up of super-automatic espresso maker. But there’s 3 that really stand out, each at different price range. So let’s start with the more entry-level ones.
The Gaggia Brera is the entry level automatic machine that we have on the list, and it is around the same price range as the Classic Pro.
Essentially, Gaggia Brera is a bean to cup coffee machine (yes, you get an integrated grinder here!) and we really like the Brera. It’s not as trendy or stylish as the other two automatic options on the list. But it’s a fraction of their price!
The Brera comes with a bean hopper and by-pass doser. In the more expensive models, the hopper is hidden by the lid. But with the Brera, it’s only got a plastic top. Ya. The Brera has more plastic than the other three models on the list. Well, this makes perfect sense since you are already getting a grinder built-in for the price of a mid-range machine.
And the burr grinder is a ceramic one. What this means is that you can grind your coffee beans with minimal noise. Also, there is less heat generated during grinding which minimizes the amount of volatile compounds and flavours in the beans from being destroyed by the heat.
The Brera has a 40-ounce water reservoir. This is not really HUGE as in the case of the Classic Pro. But it is a decent size and will last you at least a few cups before you have to refill it.
It may have more plastic parts but Gaggia are bringing their A-game when it counts. The Brera has two coffee spouts (with an allowance of only 4.5 inches, so espresso cups it is! No mugs are getting under there), so you can make 2 espressos at the same time.
In this superautomatic espresso maker, you get a manual milk frothing wand. As we’ll get to a bit more in the Anime, these manual/automatic hybrids (where the coffee is automatic but the milk frothing is manual) can make it hard to know exactly what type of consumer Gaggia is after.
If you want an automatic machine, will you want to learn how to froth milk? At this price it’s not too much of an issue but it is still something to consider. Putting that aside, the milk frothing wand does an adequate job of making foam, although it doesn’t produce fine enough foam for any latte art.
The Brera has four buttons around an LED display. We’re not sure about the display – it just looks a bit cheap somehow – but ultimately the Brera is easy to use. It handily will turn on powersave mode if it hasn’t been used in an hour.
This coffee machine also has quite an involved cleaning cycle. This is ultimately a good thing – I mean you want your expensive coffee machine to last for a while don’t you? – but just be aware that the rinsing and descaling cycles aren’t quick. It’s an overall helpful feature that is nonetheless somewhat frustrating when you want your coffee!
We think the Gaggia Brera would be perfect for someone that enjoys their coffee, but isn’t completely coffee obsessed. It doesn’t make a coffee as well as any of the surrounding options. But it is a good quality espresso machine that will produce good coffee, give you the chance to learn how to froth milk. And it is the most accessibly priced option on the list (keeping in mind that the Classic Pro really requires you to invest in a Burr grinder and a tamper).
Full Gaggia Brera Review
The Gaggia Anima Prestige is the next step up on the automatic coffee machine ladder. The Anima Prestige, unlike the other options on this list, uses an automated milk frother – there’s no manual milk frothing wand here.
For an average home user, having only a automated milk frother is probably quite useful. It’s true that automatic milk frother is never going to give you the same quality of a skilled manual froth. But I dare say there are many people out there who probably aren’t too concerned with this and actually prefer the ease of having a fully automatic machine. If you are however one of those coffee snobs, like us, then just note that you’re never going to get a café style latte with automatic frother.
Putting aside the frother, the Anima Prestige comes with a stainless steel casing, a large 60 ounce water reservoir and an 8.8 ounce bean hopper, both easily accessible from the top. The Anima Prestige comes with five grind settings and a single boiler.
The Anima Prestige has six buttons surrounding an LCD screen. Five of the six buttons are for the different coffee options Anima Prestige can make. This means that the Anima Prestige is pretty straightforward to use. The last option is a menu option, allowing you to click through the menu and make a more customized beverage. I always find it kind of a pain to have to click through a menu in what’s supposed to be a quick and easy process, so I’m glad there are the top five options (like latte and espresso) which can be chosen at just the touch of a button.
The Anima Prestige also allows users to adjust the temperature of their coffee. There are three options 175, 182 and 184 F, making it easier to make a hotter coffee if desired. The Anima Prestige pre-infuses the beans before extraction which will lead to a better aroma and smoother flavor.
If you really want to press a button and has your cappuccino or latte, then the Anima Prestige is a good contender. It is 100% automated, put in your water, your beans, choose your option and the rest will just happen.
The coffee is great, the milk is passable and it’s a pretty straightforward machine to care for. It’s also mainly stainless steel with only a few plastic parts. The downside of the Anima Prestige is its higher price tag. But whether that’s a justifiable price will depend really on what you want and value. After all, it’s a Gaggia so it should last a long time. And if you’re replacing a once-a-day Starbucks habit, the Anima Prestige will pay for itself pretty quickly.
Last but by no means least, the Gaggia Babila. The top-of-the-range, the no expenses spared, the jewel in the crown. The Babila is FULLY automatic, with options for every type of coffee under the sun.
Although it has the highest price tag, it is really what you pay for. It is all stainless steel, fully automatic and at the same time you can fully customize your coffee. It’s got a automated AND a manual milk frothing wand so you have the best of both worlds. You load up the 50 ounce water reservoir and 10 ounce hopper through the top that is hidden beneath a stainless steel and away you go!
The Babila has 12 buttons surrounding a screen, with the majority for different types of coffee it can make. It has a menu which can be used to make sure you get the exact coffee you’re after. And it has a button which allows the machine to “remember” your selection. There are so many options it can almost be overwhelming – from the grind of your coffee, to the water stream through the espresso. But you can really customize your coffee with this machine.
Another component justifying its high price tag is its dual boiler, which allow you to pull your shot (or in this case the machine can) whilst at the same time steaming milk. The two processes happen at two different temperatures. This means that with any of the other machines on the list, you have to wait after brewing your espresso to froth your milk, as frothing milk needs a higher temperature than extracting espresso.
Gaggia Babila is easy to care for and maintain. The machine reminds you when it’s time to descale. And you can test the water hardness so the machines automatically adjusts the descale cycle depending on the test results. The machine rinses at the start and end of every use and the milk carafe automatically rinses itself after being used.
In terms of design, Babila is nice and sleek. Gaggia has somewhat of a habit and reputation for making machines where the consumer hasn’t exactly been forefront in the minds of the designers but that doesn’t feel like the case with the Babila. It’s the most expensive model they have (for consumers) but it’s been designed well.
If you like to have the choice of the automated carafe and manual milk froth, Babila is the right machine to buy. It pulls a great espresso. It’s easy to maintain and it looks good on the counter. Our only real issue with the Babila is the price. It’s a steep price, even if we don’t have any real complaints or issues with it. We think this is the perfect machine if you can splash the cash and are looking for something that can be both fully automated and manual.
Full Gaggia Babila Review
You know where this is going, don’t you? We wouldn’t want to be responsible for making any decisions you regret so all we can give you are the facts and our personal opinions!
In general, you can’t really go wrong with a Gaggia. They make great coffee, last forever and are generally a welcome addition to the kitchen.
There’s no science to picking your next (or first!) Gaggia coffee machine. But really you can’t go wrong if you keep your needs front and center and pick accordingly!
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