Gaggia Anima Prestige Vs Babila: Which One Is Your Best Bet?

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If you’re looking for a “plug and go” espresso machine but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, consider the Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila. They are older super-automatic machines, so don’t expect to receive cutting-edge technology and features from the Italian brand. Still, they can give you an impressive range of espresso-based drinks with minimal effort and bring impressive features to the table for their cost.

The Gaggia Babila takes the lead with up to 15 grind settings, two thermoblock boilers, the ability to adjust the pre-infusion period, and a longer list of preset drinks. The Anima Prestige misses out on these bells and whistles, but it holds the price edge, making it ideal for budget-oriented users.

Gaggia Anima Prestige Vs Babila: Comparison Chart

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THE WINNER (#1)
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
Model
Gaggia Babila
Dimensions/Weight
10.7 x 12.7 x 17.5 inches/20.7 lbs
Heating System
Dual Thermoblock Heating System
Interface
LCD Text Screen
One Touch Drink Options
10
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/3.0-6.4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.5 liter/0.31 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
15
Pre-Infusion
Filter
AquaClean Water Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Auto Frothing System & Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$1,823.04
More Info
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
Model
Gaggia Babila
Dimensions/Weight
10.7 x 12.7 x 17.5 inches/20.7 lbs
Heating System
Dual Thermoblock Heating System
Interface
LCD Text Screen
One Touch Drink Options
10
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/3.0-6.4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.5 liter/0.31 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
15
Pre-Infusion
Filter
AquaClean Water Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Auto Frothing System & Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$1,823.04
More Info

Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Anima Prestige Vs Babila: Differences

The Gaggia Babila wins the Anima Prestige with a score of 4-2. Keep reading to choose the one that suits you best!

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Gaggia Babila

Built-in Grinder

Both come with a high-quality ceramic burr grinder, streamlining the bean-to-cup process and eliminating the need for a separate grinder purchase. In addition, the burr grinder is known for its precision and consistency. Unlike blade grinders that chop the beans, it crushes the beans between two burrs, resulting in a uniform grind size.

Choosing a ceramic grinder over a stainless steel one is a significant advantage in preserving the quality of your precious coffee beans. The ceramic grinder is renowned for minimizing heat generation during the grinding process, which is a crucial part of maintaining the integrity of the coffee’s aroma and flavor. And as a bonus, this one works pretty quietly.

Regarding the grind range, the Gaggia Babila offers up to 15 grind settings, which is wider than the Anima Prestige’s 5 settings. So the first one provides greater flexibility to experiment and fine-tune your coffee to your taste preferences, with a finer setting for a stronger taste and a coarser grind size for a lighter coffee. 

gaggia anima prestige vs babila’s grind settings
Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila’s grind settings

As a rule of thumb, always change the grind size while the grinder is in use to avoid potential jamming. As for the Gaggia Anima Prestige, you only need to turn a dial under a flip cover to choose your desired grind size. Meanwhile, the Gaggia Babila demands a unique tool that’s part of the dosing spoon, so you won’t want to lose it.

Heating System

While the Anima Prestige is a thermoblock single heating machine, the Gaggia Babila has two thermoblock boilers. In the latter, while one boiler boils the water for espresso brewing, the other heats the water for milk steaming – both work simultaneously. This is ideal for large settings, especially those that require making countless milk-based coffees in a row.

The absence of a second boiler in the Anima Prestige isn’t a deal-breaker for home use. By just heating the precise volume of water needed for each process, Thermoblock technology cuts down on waiting times, reduces your electricity bill, and ensures your espresso is always brewed with freshly boiled water.

Brewing System

Both have a pre-infusion function, a crucial and standard phase within the coffee brewing process. During this stage, the machine gently saturates the coffee grounds with a small amount of hot water, allowing them to bloom, carbon dioxide to escape, and the aroma to develop more fully for a more flavorful cup of coffee. 

The Babila stands out with its capability to adjust the pre-infusion period to match the specific type of coffee you’re preparing. There are three settings: delicate (bypasses pre-infusion entirely), balanced, and full body (longest interval). I strongly recommend avoiding the delicate setting and using the longest pre-infusion interval for lighter roasted coffee beans.

gaggia anima prestige vs babila’s bean hoppers
Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila’s bean hoppers

Then, as with other automatic machines, both extract espresso at a pressure of 15 bars. In fact, the minimum pressure to pull out a nice shot is only around 9 bars, meaning they are more than enough to extract the espresso properly. As expected, I found their espressos to be sweet and smooth, topped by a nice, even crema – not the best one, but it is above average compared to other machines in the same price bracket. 

Milk Frothing System

Both have an automatic milk-frothing system, which can help beginners make milk foam for their milk-based beverages with the simple push of a button. But for those who are would-be baristas or just want to have more control over the process, the Gaggia Babila’s manual steam wand is really an added value.

gaggia anima prestige vs babila's automatic milk-frothing systems
Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila’s automatic milk-frothing systems

When it comes to the automatic milk system, there is an integrated milk carafe attached neatly and organized on the front of the machine. I loved this approach since it requires no separate accessory or pesky tube like the Jura models. Just get the milk pitcher in place, slide the dispensing spigot, and select a one-touch drink, and you’ll get your favorite in almost no time. Thanks to the ingenious design, your cup stays in one place during drink preparation.

The carafe can also clean itself without requiring the disassembly of anything. Just push back the milk spout, and the machine will flush a jet of steam to purge the milky residue from the milk circuit. The carafe is removable for storing it in the fridge to keep the milk cool and for deep cleaning under the tap, adding to its hygienic and efficient nature.

My test showed that their automatic systems created thick, frothy milk foam with somewhat big bubbles, which is well-suited for cappuccinos, but they fell short in producing the neat microfoam needed for a perfect latte. So if you enjoy creating latte art and don’t hesitate to unleash your inner barista, you’ll love the greater control the steam wand on the Babila gives over the frothing process.

gaggia babila also has the option to use a steam wand
Gaggia Babila also has the option to use a steam wand

Design & Usability

Winner: Gaggia Babila

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Gaggia Anima PrestigeGaggia Babila
Dimensions8.7 x 13.4 x 17.0 inches10.7 x 12.7 x 17.5 inches
Weight19.1 lbs20.7 lbs

These machines are among the older super-automatic machines of the Italian manufacturer. So they bear a vintage aesthetic, especially noticeable with their pixelated screens, which take one back to the era of 90s video game consoles. Both are equipped with a pixelated display screen reminiscent of 90s game consoles. These displays remain intuitive and easy to use, but a color screen would undoubtedly blend better in contemporary smart homes.

gaggia anima prestige vs babila's control panel
Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila’s control panel

I was glad they have stainless steel bodies, which is great, given their affordable price tag of under $1000. I believe we all agree that they are high-quality coffee machines, at least from a construction standpoint. The stainless steel casing also makes daily whipping easier and quicker.

These Gaggias are compact enough that you can easily store them on any kitchen countertop, including one with limited space, or slide them beneath overhead cupboards. They are quite heavy, so those lacking physical strength might find themselves exerting a bit more effort to get these units into position.

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Gaggia Anima PrestigeGaggia Babila
Espresso
Espresso Lungo
Cappuccino
Latte Macchiato
Milk Froth
Hot Water
Ristretto
Espresso
Espresso Lungo
Caffè
Cappuccino
Latte Macchiato
Flat White
Hot Milk
Milk Froth
Hot Water

They don’t offer a broad range of one-touch drink selections, but their available options are enough for the typical caffeine needs of most households. And there’s a hot water function for those occasional tea moments, not to mention a bypass chute ready for those days when you’re out of beans.

All the preset drinks can be served with just one touch. But if the default settings don’t quite hit the mark for you, you can personalize your drink via some settings. Both offer 5 levels of aroma strength and 3 levels of brewing temperature. Also, the Memo function allows you to customize the quality of espresso and milk to your liking.

Once you’ve adjusted drink settings to your preference, the machine remembers them for future brews with one touch. But it would be better if they had a user profile feature so no one could accidentally change your hard-earned recipes.

Spout & Cup Clearance

Gaggia Anima PrestigeGaggia Babila
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4.3–6.5 inches3.0-6.4 inches

Their espresso dispensing spouts are height adjustable and give enough clearance for a travel mug or a latte glass by being lifted all the way up. They can also be lowered as close to your cup as possible to preserve the lovely crema layer during the espresso preparation. 

gaggia anima prestige vs babila’s espresso dispensing spouts
Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila’s espresso dispensing spouts

The Gaggia Babila’s dual spout can even be pushed back and removed completely to get more room. It has a flow knob to, as the name suggests, adjust the flow rate of espresso as it’s brewing. That was the only time I found this fancy feature, and I was unsure about its usefulness in reality. Some people said that the flow could affect both the balance and flavor of coffee. 

flow knob
Flow knob

They also have a double shot feature to make a stronger cup or brew two cups of espresso simultaneously. This feature is a lifesaver on those busy mornings when you’re rushing to make drinks for multiple people or when entertaining guests with some caffeinated beverages. 

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Gaggia Anima PrestigeGaggia Babila
Water Reservoir1.8 liter1.5 liter
Bean Hopper0.26 liter0.31 liter

Their water tanks can hold enough water to use at home during the day without being refilled too often. They are removable and have a convenient handle for easy reloading at the kitchen sink. You also have the option to install a water filter (Intenza+ filter for the Anima Prestige and AquaClean filter for the Babila) to reduce limescale buildup and promote a longer machine lifespan.

intenza+ and aquaclean filters
Intenza+ and AquaClean filters

Using the filter will incur an ongoing cost due to the need for regular replacement, but I still strongly recommend it (unless you use bottled water, of course). After all, coffee brewed with pristine, impurity-free water is always better, right? Plus, you’re paying a very small fee for the privilege of not having to descale the machine as often and preventing costly repair costs caused by mineral buildup.

When it comes to the bean feeder, an airtight lid helps to preserve the freshness of the beans by preventing exposure to air, which can lead to the beans becoming stale more quickly. The Babila has such a lid, while the Anima Prestige doesn’t. So if you opt for the latter, you should use all the beans within a day or transfer any leftovers to an airtight container to ensure they stay fresh.

gaggia anima prestige vs babila’s bean hoppers
Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila’s bean hoppers

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Tie

Cleaning these espresso machines is a breeze, or at least it’s not a nightmare as you would with a manual machine. They have a few detachable parts for easy cleaning, such as the drip tray, grounds container, and brew group. In addition, you should also wipe the machine’s exterior daily to remove unsightly splashes and keep the machine looking clean and presentable.

Yes, you can disassemble their brew groups for thorough cleaning under running water, which is really awesome for me. You may prefer the convenience of a built-in brew unit, which relies on an automatic cleaning cycle, but rinsing and lubricating it manually is the best way to prolong its life. You can also easily replace it without unscrewing any parts.

removable brew group
Removable brew group

Ease of descaling is also among the big selling points of these super-automatic machines. A prompt appears on their display screens when they need a descaling cycle via the display. The whole process is almost fully automated and takes about half an hour. And remember, it’s paramount to use the recommended descaling solution and avoid the temptation of cheaper alternatives.

As mentioned earlier, an automatic cleaning cycle will blow all milk residue out of their milk-frothing systems after each use. Every three to five days, you should wash their milk pitchers under the tap.

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Tie

Auto Off

Have you ever left the house early in the morning and hurriedly returned because you forgot to turn off a certain device? Well, this not only prolongs your monthly electric bill but also poses a fire hazard. Don’t worry! The Gaggia Anima Prestige vs Babila can both are programmed to turn off automatically after a customizable period, anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours.

stand by
Stand by

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Babila

Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
  • One touch brewing and frothing: bean-to-cup feature. Milk carafe includes automatic milk frothing for cappuccinos, and milk froth. Manual steam wand doubles as a hot water dispenser
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: 1 bottle of Gaggia Descaler, 1 AquaClean Water Filter, 1 Water Hardness Test Strip, 1 Tube of Brew Group Lubricant, 1 Brew Group Brush, 1 Coffee Scoop/Grinder Key
  • PROGRAMMABLE: 8 Programmable brewing options for espressos, espresso lungos, coffee, ristrettos, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiato, flat whites and milk foam
  • Easy access to water reservoir: features a top Loading removable 50.7oz water reservoir; Brew Boiler Wattage: 1400

Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Has a ceramic burr grinder with up to 15 grind settings.
  • Dual thermoblock boilers.
  • Allows for the adjustment of the pre-infusion period.
  • Has both automatic and manual milk frother.
  • Many adjustable settings.
Cons
  • The control panel feels dated.
  • No cup warmer.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Anima Prestige

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Pros
  • Ceramic burr grinder doesn’t overheat.
  • Pulls quality espresso and froths milk very good.
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Can fit many different cup sizes.
  • Features a sleek design and feels durable.
Cons
  • Only one boiler.
  • Has no air-tight lid.

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Rating 5/5 - (3 votes)