Gaggia Babila Review

by Whole Latte Love December 13, 2017 7 min read

They make coffee and espresso for about 17 cents per serving. But for this one-touch bean-to-cup machine that’s just the beginning. How about milk based beverages like cappuccinos, flat whites and latte macchiatos from fresh ground coffee and fresh milk with a single button press.

Today an in-depth look at the Gaggia Babila. It’s Gaggia’s new top of the line in one-touch automatic coffee machines. In this video I’ll cover it’s capabilities, specifications and features. And I’ll tell you why the Babila is one of the best machine choices if your one who is likely to switch between making regular coffee, espresso and milk-based espresso beverages - more on that in a minute.

Frothing

So if you’re not familiar, bean to cup machines are all about making coffee and espresso from freshly ground whole beans. High-end machines like the Babila add in the ability to automatically froth for milk-based espresso beverages. And, it gets that “one-touch” designation because it makes them at the touch of a button start to finish without moving your cup.

To do that, the Babila uses an attachable milk carafe. Pull it from the fridge, pop it on the machine, push over the spout and you’re ready to make a cappuccino, flat white, latte and more. Now the thing I love - and you will too with the Babila’s milk carafe is how it self cleans. When you’re done making a milk based drink just push the spout back over and it automatically runs steam through the milk circuit. Then you can put the carafe back in the fridge and it’s ready to go for next time. If you love those milk based drinks, the Babila makes them easy with no pickup tubes or other parts that need cleaning after each use like you’ll find on other machines.

Control on the Super-Automatic

For making coffee and espresso the Babila gives you 5 ways to control things for perfect flavor from whole bean coffee. And that makes it a great choice if you’ll sometimes be making espresso and other times wanting a larger regular coffee.

Burr Grinder

It starts with a high-quality ceramic burr grinder. Beans are ground fresh for each cup. What I like here is 15 grind size settings. It’s a lot more range than most machines have. And that’s very important. You want a coarse grind for regular coffee to avoid over-extraction and bitter flavors and a very fine setting for shorter and bolder espresso extractions. Most machines tend to focus in the espresso grind range so when you go to make a large regular coffee you often end up with a bitter cup. With the larger size range of the Babila’s grinder that’s not a problem.

Strength Setting

The second level of control is strength setting. It’s represented by beans in the display and controls the amount of coffee ground. On the Babila, you can choose from 5 strength levels to fine tune the coffee dose. On many competing machines you only get 3 strength settings.

Taste Setting

The third level of control is the taste setting. You can choose from delicate, balanced and full body. What the taste setting actually does is adjust the pre-infusion time. Pre-infusion wets the ground coffee briefly prior to brewing. At delicate there’s no pre-infusion, at balanced there’s about 2 seconds and at full body it’s about 4 seconds. Controlling that pre-infusion really allows you to pull out more flavors and customize it to the type of coffee you are making.

Temperature

The fourth level of control is temperature. here you choose from low, normal and high. A tip with temperature, so if you like a hot cup ya know use the high setting. But beyond that you can experiment with temperature in relationship to the roast level of the beans. General guide there is to use lower temps for darker roasts and higher temps for lighter roasts.

Flow Knob

Perhaps my favorite way to control your coffee is the flow knob near the spouts. It does what its name suggests - turning the knob can increase or decrease the flow rate of coffee as it’s brewing. The Babila is one of only a few machines with this capability. If you’ll be switching between making espresso and regular coffee that flow control makes a big difference. You want a slower flow for deep espresso extractions and faster flow for larger cups of regular coffee to avoid over-extraction and bitter flavors.

Programmability

The Babila has 8 fully programmable drink presets. There are dedicated buttons on the front for espresso, espresso lungo, coffee, cappuccino and latte macchiato. Under the special drinks button you access ristretto, espresso macchiato and the flat white. In the menu, you can program each for strength, coffee amount, temperature, taste and milk amount if applicable. For easy programming of coffee and milk amounts you can use the press and hold method for any beverage. Just press and hold a beverage button until memo appears in the display. Coffee and or milk is dispensed. Once you have the amount desired press the check button and that volume will be stored until reprogramed.

Also under the special drinks button is access to plain milk froth and hot water. The amount of each can be programmed like the other beverages from within the menu or by using the press and hold method. Also there, is steam. The Babila has a steam wand for manually frothing milk in a pitcher. Using the steam wand, with a little practice you can produce a very fine milk froth capable of pouring latte art.

Internals

The internal drip tray and used coffee box remove from the front of the machine. The used coffee box has a capacity of 11 brewing cycles. The display notifies you when it needs emptying. You’ll get messages there for other things too, like when the machine needs water and more beans, when it’s time to descale and when the water filter needs changing. Within the machine setting menu you can set the language, adjust display brightness, turn the button sound on and off, set a power saving eco-mode and set a standby time that shuts the machine off in times ranging from fifteen minutes to three hours, and set your water hardness based on the results from testing with the included water hardness test strip.

Housing

The front face of the Babila has a brushed metal finish with chrome accents. Spouts are adjustable from three to six inches and the dual spout can be pushed back or removed entirely to accommodate larger cups including travel mugs. The water reservoir has a 1.5 liter capacity and can be filled at the machine or removed for filling at a sink. The bean hopper holds 300 grams of coffee - enough for roughly 30 coffees depending on dose. On top a door opens to a bypass doser for pre-ground coffee - most will use it for making the occasional decaf from pre-ground.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, the Babila is a fine choice for those looking for the convenience of a one touch machine for easy milk-based espresso beverages. But where it better many other machines is the ability to go from brewing large regular coffees down to short ristretto shots. The wide grind size range, fine granularity of programming and the flow control give you the tools needed to get excellent results at both ends of the brewing spectrum. In my opinion, it’s one of the most versatile full automatic coffee and espresso machines available. If you’ll be switching between espresso, regular coffee and milk-based drinks this is a machine to look at.

Use the link up here to get more information on the Gaggia Babila including current pricing. As always use those comments if you have any questions and I’ll be sure to get you the answers. That’s the Gaggia Babila - it’s available now at whole latte love. I’m Marc, thanks for watching and I hope to have you back soon for more of the best on everything coffee.

 

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