Today, an in-depth comparison of Gaggia automatic coffee machines. We'll look at the Brera, the Anima line, the Velasca Prestige, the Accademia, and the Babila, then we'll go over what an automatic machine can do for you and which will best suit your needs.
So let's start with the Brera it’s Gaggia's entry-level into bean to cup automatic coffee. Making a coffee or espresso is simple with the Brera. All you need is some good beans in the hopper, place a cup under the spout, press the short or long coffee button and that’s it. Coffee in your cup, ready to go. The brew buttons are programmable, just press and hold for a moment, and press again when you have the amount you want and the machine stores that amount for next time. Coffee strength is adjustable. Plus, the Brera heats up quick; turn it on, and it’s ready-to-brew in less than a minute. For lattes and other milk based beverages the Brera has an auto frothing steam wand so you don’t need those barista skills to create a rich creamy milk froth. The ceramic burr grinder has five grind size settings to customize flavor. coarser for regular coffee and finer for deep espresso extractions. The Brera is compact and features stainless steel front panels, so easy on counter space and the retro-italian look will add some style to your new coffee bar. It has decent capacities for its price-point. The water reservoir holds 41 ounces and the dreg drawer holds spent coffee from 8 brewing cycles, both of those are front-loading for easy access. The Brera uses the same brewing mechanism you find in their more expensive machines. It’s straightforward, easy to use and the best value available in automatic bean-to-cup coffee.
Moving on the Gaggia Anima line includes three machines, the main difference between them is how they handle milk. The base model uses an auto frothing wand, The Deluxe model uses a cappuccinatore and the Prestige model has a detachable milk carafe. The Animas are very narrow, so easy on counter space. Their sleek design and chrome accents add a nice touch. On the Deluxe model there are dedicated buttons on the front for espresso, coffee and milk froth. The top of the line Prestige model is a one-touch machine which means it makes a cappuccino or latte start to finish at the touch of a button without moving your cup. Attach the milk carafe, push a button and you can walk away. The Anima Prestige does the rest. When you’re done put the carafe back in the fridge and you’re ready to go for next time.
Coffee strength is adjustable in five steps up to an eleven and a half gram dose, which is among the larger doses you’ll find in bean to cup coffee machines. If you like it tall and strong, the Anima delivers. Like all Gaggia machines, the Animas can make two coffees at the same time. When you make two, it doesn’t just push more water through the coffee, it grinds and doses a second time so you don't end up with over-extracted weak and bitter coffee. The Anima’s grinder uses ceramic burrs and has five grind settings, just like the Brera. The Animas expand on the Brera by accommodating larger cups up to travel mug size give more control of coffee strength… and offer milk frothing options including the one-touch drinks via the carafe on the Anima Prestige.
Next up the Velasca Prestige. It’s kind of like the big brother to the Brera. Very similar in design, but it has the detachable milk carafe like the Anima Prestige. Compared to the Brera you’ll have more drink options, deeper customization and larger capacities. 54 ounces in the water reservoir and ten brew cycles in the used coffee box. A simple menu adjusts pre-infusion and temperature in three levels, and one-touch options for espresso, long coffee, cappuccino, and baby cappuccino. The Velasca Prestige delivers a warmer milk froth than many similar machines, in cup milk temps reach a hair above 150 degrees, and that’s about as hot as you want to go for best milk flavor. Just like the Brera, drink volume is programmable and the machine will remember your preferences from drink to drink. The Velasca's grinder has ceramic burrs, and ramps up to 10 grind settings for deeper control of flavor. The Velasca Prestige is a compact and powerful machine.
On to the Accademia. we start to see the higher end of Gaggia's super-automatic lineup in this powerhouse of a machine. The Accademia is a bit taller at roughly fifteen inches with a more stately look; chrome accents all around, and stainless paneling for the front. The design is really something to comment on; this thing is built like a tank. Just look at these heavy-duty hinges on the door. Not to mention, the Accademia is like the swiss-army knife of home espresso; it has the tool for every job and something for every coffee lover. Dual boilers at the heart of the machine means there's no delay between brewing and steaming. Seven specialty drink options, including cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato, and more, are fully programmable for volume, temperature, froth density, and strength. Programming drinks can be a little overwhelming on some machines, but the Accademia's color lcd screen and simple language make it a breeze so you'll be tinkering before you know it. You can even control the flow rate of your extraction with the dial at the front of the brew spout to really fine tune flavor. For milk drinks, the Accademia uses a self-cleaning removable carafe, and in a relatively rare feature the froth density is programmable so you can have an airy froth for a cappuccino or a finer microfoam for a latte. For even more control over your froth, there’s a manual steam wand. With a little practice you can use it to froth for latte art. The brew spout is adjustable with enough space for travel mugs and the carafe has enough clearance for taller milk based drinks. The Accademia has been satisfying coffee lovers around the world for more than a decade.
Last up, we have the Babila, Gaggia's newest top-of-the-line in super-automatic bean-to-cup machines. It has all the features of the Accademia: the flow control dial to fine tune extractions, manual steam wand for latte art quality froth, the self-cleaning detachable carafe for easy milk drinks, and adjustable spouts for different sized cups or mugs. The Babila is an entertaining powerhouse with more drink options than the accademia like ristretto, espresso macchiato, and flat white for a total of 8 specialty drinks. Also new is the ability to program for taste, including Delicate, Balanced, and Full Body options. It beats the Accademia's 8 grind settings with 15 for fine tuning grind size to really hone in on the perfect extraction for those into third wave, high-end specialty beans. If nothing but the best will do, the Babila builds on the success of the Academia and has what it takes to satisfy the most particular of coffee lovers.