If you’re thinking about purchasing the powerful Gaggia Babila espresso machine for your home or office, read on for our in-depth review that will help you decide.
The appeal of coffee machines is the ability to brew some nice lattes or espressos using a touch of a button in the comfort of your own home. Yet, some of us, coffee fanatics, need more than that to make our perfect cup of joe. We long for a sophisticated machine that gives us more options and a wider variety of drinks.
That’s why we’re doing this detailed Gaggia Babila review of one of the market’s finest super-automatic espresso machines. The Babila is courtesy of Giovani Achille Gaggia, who invented the world’s first seamless coffee machine back in the thirties, using hot water pressure to extract espresso with a thick layer of crema. The legacy developed into a prominent company specializing in manufacturing coffee machines.
We happen to be reviewing one of its brilliant super-automatic espresso machines, the Gaggia Babila, today, so let’s get to it.
Gaggia Babila Review: Espresso Machine Overview
● Material: Stainless steel
● Dimensions: 14.17 x 9.64 x 16.53 inches
● Reservoir Capacity: 50.7 oz
● Hopper Capacity: 10.58 oz
● Boiler: Dual boiler
● Frother: Carafe + Steam wand
Gaggia Babila: A Smart Design
At first glance, the Babila is a compact but hefty coffee machine. Measuring 14.17 x 9.64 x 16.53 inches, it’s pretty compact compared to other super-automatic espresso machines, and it’ll fit perfectly on your kitchen counter.
On the other side, it weighs around 28.7 lbs, which is considered to be on the heavier side. Yet, we prefer a sturdy heavy machine that fits into narrow places over a lightweight wide one that consumes a whole lot of unnecessary space.
The digital interface is both elegant and intuitive. The LED screen shows easy-to-follow instructions. It’s centered at the front top section of the machine, surrounded by single touch buttons on both sides. We’ll learn later that these buttons will allow you to program them to save your coffee preferences and get them using a single touch.
Apart from the top-notch design that’s made with premium Italian standards, the body of the Gaggia Babila is made of rust-resistant, durable stainless steel. It’s covered with an anti-touch finish to keep the surface of that coffee machine in tip-top condition at all times.
The Gaggia Babila was designed with utmost dedication to details.
Auto-Cleaning Carafe and Manual Wand
To make milk-based drinks, you can use the detachable double chambered carafe that locks into the right front of the machine. It froths the milk twice to ensure it’s free of bubbles and impurities. Then, it dispenses it directly into your cup.
The good news is that this carafe is auto-cleaning, and it does a fantastic job at clearing the milk circuit of residue. On the front left side of the machine, you’ll find a steam wand that doubles efficiently as a manual milk frother and a hot water dispenser. You can use it to froth milk if you want more control over texture, creaminess, and temperature.
To be honest, this machine’s milk frother isn’t its best quality. The milk does taste good, but it’s kind of ‘too frothy,’ which does not appeal to coffee lovers. There are comparable machines with better milk frothing quality.
Adjustable Ceramic Grinders
The grinders of the Babila espresso machine are impressive; they’re 100% ceramic, and they operate silently almost silently, which is a huge advantage, given the usual noisy coffee grinders we’re used to. You can brew either pre-ground coffee or whole beans, which you can grind using one of the 15 grinding options of the Babila’s ceramic burr grinder.
The main appeal of ceramic is that it will never -and we mean it- ever leave a burnt taste in your coffee, as it doesn’t overheat. No need to worry about the nasty taste of overburnt coffee grounds anymore.
On the downside, there are no lights to signal that the grinder has a low level of beans. You discover that by yourself.
Adjustable Coffee Dispenser
The Gaggia Babila’s manufacturers have made a smart design decision with their tall spout or adjustable coffee dispenser. It’s telescopic with an adjustable height so that you can pour coffee into any type of cup, all the way between 3” inch espresso cups to 6” inch tall mugs.
You can access the water reservoir from the top of the machine to load it quickly. It has a spacious capacity of 50.7 oz, and it’s easily removable so that you can clean it and reinstall it. Besides, it’s compatible with the Aquaclean filter for extra purification of water.
Keep in mind that the machine comes with one water filter, and you’ll need to replace it after a few months. The bad news here is that the Aquaclean water filters are somewhat on the pricy side.
There’s also a bypass doser that you can use to get an instant drink. Unfortunately, its capacity is limited to one scoop of pre-ground coffee. That’s not a big deal, given that this is a bean-to-cup automatic espresso machine in the first place, so it’s more of a backup option.
When it comes to the drinking volume, you adjust it manually using a status bar that shows you whether it’s full or empty. It doesn’t tell you how much you’re dispensing, though. We found this annoying honestly because it’s more of a trial and error thing, as opposed to other machines
that simply let you adjust the volume in milliliters.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the waiting time of this machine is as little as one minute. Thanks to the double boiler option, which reduces the brewing time considerably.
Removable Brew Group
The brew group is removable for the ease of cleaning.
It might look like a trivial feature. However, the perfect cup of coffee comes out of a perfectly clean machine, and to do that, you need to be able to remove the brew group and reinsert it effortlessly, which is exactly what this option is all about.
Gaggia Babila Review: Machine Features + Highlights
The Gaggia Babila deserves to be closely inspected. Here are the most remarkable features we discovered while reviewing this machine.
Eight Drink Options via One Touch
One of the limitations of many coffee machines is that they operate in a way that produces one or two types of coffee at most; it’s either espresso or cappuccino, americano or macchiato, rarely do they produce most.
That’s where the this machine stands out, where it offers eight programmable brewing options, including espresso, espresso lungos, cappuccino, macchiato, ristretto, latte, plain coffee, and flat white.
There’s no ‘americano’ setting, but you can do it using the espresso setting, then add hot water using the steamer wand.
You have six buttons that you can easily customize to choose your drink via single touch.
One of our favorite customization features of this unit is called Optiaroma. This feature allows you to adjust the intensity and flavor of your espresso, choosing among five options. It adds to the machine’s diversity and caters to the different needs of its users.
Espresso Plus System
Thanks to the cleverly designed flow knob, you can adjust the flow rate of coffee extraction. Thus, you can get a broad range of light to dark espresso, ranging in color and intensity. Reducing the extraction speed will get you a dark, full-bodied espresso with a thick crema layer if you’re in the mood for a macchiato. On the other hand, increasing the speed will produce light espresso suitable for a plain cup of coffee, for example.
What We Love About the Gaggia Babila…
● Multiple programmable coffee options
● Plenty of customizable options
● Ability to control the milk frothing system
● Super easy to clean with auto-cleaning carafe and removable parts
● Relatively compact compared to other super-automatic machines
● User friendly with an intuitive interface
● The compact size makes it fit easily anywhere
What We Don’t Like…
● Despite its versatility, it’s still costly compared to its alternatives
● No signaling for lack of beans in the grinders
● Relatively heavy
● No cup warmer
What Do People Think About the Gaggia Babila?
There are a myriad of good Gaggia Babila reviews online, especially on Amazon. Customers specifically loved how it saved them crazy amounts of money spent in Starbucks every day to get the cafe-quality type of coffee or where they go to get some variation. You know, having the same plain cup of americano every single day might be boring at some point!
They found the user manual to be beneficial and detailed. This is especially true for first-time users who’ll have to face a learning curve to use a sophisticated machine like the Gaggia Babila. As for users who’ve used other Gaggia products before, they didn’t find much of a difference. Just a few upgrades.
All in all, the general sentiment about the Gaggia Babila was positive for the options it provides, its ease of use, and how fast it makes coffee. Moreover, the water reservoir and the hopper can accommodate coffee for the whole family, so no annoying refills!
The not-so-good bits included mixed reviews about the milk frothing quality and some complaints regarding the amount adjustment mechanism since you can’t set the volume of water in millimeters.
Gaggia Babila Review Verdict…
There’s no doubt that the Gaggia Babila is among the best super-automatic espresso machines on the market. However, whether you should buy it or not depends on you, not just on the machine’s features.
The Gaggia Babila is full of options and produces excellent coffee at a flash. On top of that, it’s highly customizable, where you can adjust the coffee’s aroma, body, texture, temperature, milk frothing, and even the grinding level!
All this means it’s a machine for coffee purists, who consume coffee daily and care about precise details, like the ones we mentioned above.
Furthermore, you need to be willing to learn how to use all features of this machine because although it has an intuitive interface, there are just so many options you need to get a grip of to make the best use of the Gaggia Babila.