Comparison: The Gaggia Babila and Jura E8

by Marc Buckman April 12, 2018

 

Put an Automatic bean to cup coffee machine in your kitchen or office and it’s like having your own personal barista. Have coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and more made for you at the touch of a button from freshly ground whole bean coffee.

Today, an in-depth comparison of machines from Gaggia and Jura which are two of the main players in automatic bean to cup machines, Jura E8, and the Gaggia Babila. Both of these machines make espresso, coffee, and milk-based espresso beverages like lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and flat whites at the touch of a button.

We'll have a look at how these machines operate and compare feature differences so you can decide which machine best fits your style and needs. We’ll look at how each works with coffee and milk and cover day-to-day use. Plus, hang around and find out which of these machines is capable of producing latte art quality milk froth.

One-Touch Drinks

So, with the Gaggia Babila you get four coffee only beverages: a ristretto, espresso, espresso lungo, and coffee. As well as five milk drink options: a latte macchiato, cappuccino, flat white, espresso macchiato, and milk foam.

With the Jura E8, it’s three coffee beverages: a ristretto, espresso, and coffee. It also has four milk drink options: a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and flat white.

For the coffee only drinks, both machines can make two at the same time, but there is a slight difference in how they do it.

Size wise, the Babila is 3/4 of an inch taller and more than an inch narrower than the E8. On the outside, the E8 is all plastic, including the chrome accents. Now If you don’t like the chrome, the E8 is available in all black as well. The Babila is a more rugged build with stainless steel front and top panels.

Beans and water are added at the top of each machine, so do consider overhanging cabinets and counter space when placing these machines. Bean capacity is about 10 ounces for both. Water capacity is 64 ounces for the E8 and about 50 ounces for the Babila. The reservoirs can be filled at the machine or removed and filled at the sink.

There are a couple of notable differences with the controls and making coffee on each machine. The Babila uses a flat ceramic burr grinder with 15 grind settings, 5 coffee strengths, 3 levels of pre-infusion, and has adjustable flow control.

The E8 uses a conical stainless steel burr grinder with 6 grind settings, 8 coffee strengths, pre-infusion is automatic, and the machine uses Jura’s pulse extraction process, or PEP, which pulses brew water through the coffee.

Which One Makes Better Coffee?

It’s hard to say. In my opinion, they both do a fine job. What I can say is the Jura E8 makes getting a good cup more automatic, while the Gaggia Babila has more control because its 15 grind settings and 3 levels of pre-infusion give you the ability to really fine tune flavor. Also, my personal favorite feature on the Babila is the flow control dial at the spouts. Quickly dial in for more restriction for espresso, or go the other way for faster flow when making a larger regular coffee. On the Jura, the PEP process kind of takes care of that for you. At the end of the day, if you’re willing to work the Babila’s controls a bit, I’d say it can make a slightly better coffee, especially if you change from espresso to larger cups on a regular basis.

A couple of other key differences in the coffee systems. The brew group in the Babila is removable for cleaning, which consists of a weekly rinse with tap water. The group in the E8 is not removable and is cleaned using a tablet inserted through the pre-ground coffee bypass doser. Both machines can prepare 2 coffee-only beverages at the same time by pressing the desired coffee button twice. The difference here? The Babila grinds two times when making two coffees while the E8 makes two coffees from a single grind cycle. Maximum coffee doses are 11.5 grams in the Babila and 16 grams in the E8. Those doses and the extra grind cycle allow for those two cups of coffee to be stronger on the Babila.

The Milk Systems

The E8 uses a pickup tube to feed milk to a frothing device in the spout. Along with the milk spout, there’s another coffee spout so you can make milk drinks without moving your cup. That pickup tube can be placed in a milk container, or Jura has optional accessories including a glass milk carafe, vacuum insulated stainless steel containers, or their cool control refrigerated system which holds milk at 39 degrees. A dial on the spout adjusts milk froth density, ranging from steamed milk up to an airy froth for cappuccinos.

The Babila uses an included attachable milk carafe. Attach the carafe to the machine and push the spout over. Unlike the E8, froth density from the carafe is not adjustable. When you’re done making milk drinks, push the spout back over and the machine runs an automatic cleaning cycle that pushes steam through the frothing components and spout and into the drip tray. From there, you can put the carafe back in the fridge clean and it’s ready to go for next time.

In addition to the carafe, the Babila has a manual steaming wand. If you want to try your hand at pouring latte art, The manual steam wand can make a finer froth than what is possible with automatic frothing, plus if you like your milk really hot, then you will love the manual steam wand.

In day-to-day use, both machines are ready to brew after a quick rinse and heat up of less than one minute. The E8 has a color screen with drink pictures and slim buttons along the side to make selections. The Babila’s screen is a single color with dedicated buttons for basic coffee and milk drinks with additional drink options accessible by pressing the special drinks button. All drinks and their parameters like strength, temperature, and more can be programmed in the menus of both machines. You can also use the press and hold method to program drink volumes without going into the menus.

Like I said earlier, both machines can make two coffee drinks at the same time. The Babila’s dual spout pushes back to give 6 1/2 inches of clearance. That’s enough for most travel mugs. Max height on the E8’s coffee spouts is 4 1/2 inches, so it can’t fit a travel mug there.

The E8 has a massive drip tray and it’s electronically monitored. The Babila has 2 drip trays, one outside the machine and one inside. Both machines come with a water filter to remove chlorine and excess minerals. The E8’s filter uses RFID technology, which is part of Jura’s intelligent water system. The machine automatically senses when the filter is changed. Use a water filter in the E8 and you never have to descale. On the Babila, using a filter extends descaling intervals to as much as once every 5,000 cups depending on your water’s hardness.

Who is Each Machine for?

Well, the Babila is definitely a machine you can be more hands-on with. There’s deeper control of coffee brewing parameters with more grind settings, adjustable pre-infusion, and the flow control dial, which makes a big difference if you go between short espressos and larger coffees on a regular basis. Plus, when you want to take a large coffee to go, that extra spout clearance allows you to use a travel mug. With the detachable carafe and manual milk frothing, you get the best of both worlds. Even when you're in a rush, you can have easy milk drinks with barista-quality froth for latte art or hotter milk froth if that’s what you like.

If you want a consistent coffee with less involvement then the Jura is a good choice. The milk system isn’t quite as easy to use as the Babila’s, but using the dial on the spout you can quickly adjust the froth quality to suit your preference. The color screen with drink pictures is more modern and elegant than the Babila’s monochrome display. The E8 has larger capacities in the drip tray, water reservoir, and used coffee than the Babila.

Marc Buckman
Marc Buckman

Marc is Whole Latte Love's resident videographer and expert on everything coffee. He built our YouTube channel from the ground up in 2009, demystifying the world of coffee for upwards of 100k subscribers by producing over 1000 in-depth videos. Marc enjoys hiking, scuba diving, and saving the lives of his coworkers when the kitchen runs out of coffee by sharing some of his own.