Gaggia Anima Vs Breville Barista Express: Battle Of Two Budget-Oriented Espresso Machines!

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Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express: Which one comes out on top?  For a succinct response, I cast my vote for the second one.

 The Gaggia Anima is also one of the top-of-the-line espresso machines at a great price. This one is simple and stylish, allowing you to brew a superb espresso at the touch of a button. But it lacks some of the fancy features that you may expect, and you might find yourself craving a more advanced machine a few years down the line.

The Breville Barista Express is a successful workhorse and has always been among the best-selling bean-to-cup machines. I think this one might suit you for the first few years of your espresso journey before upgrading to a super-automatic machine, given its user-friendly nature and reasonable pricing.  There is a learning curve regarding grinding, dosing, tamping, and frothing milk, but once these are mastered, you can handle them all without thinking.

Gaggia Anima Vs Breville Barista Express: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable Options,Black
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Gaggia Anima
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions/Weight
8.7 x 13.3 x ‎16.9 inches/25 lbs
12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches/26 lbs
Heating System
Single Thermoblock System
Single Thermocoil System
Interface
LCD Display & Buttons
Rotate Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
3
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4.3–6.5 inches
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.8 liter/0.26 liter
2 liter/0.24 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
5
16
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Intenza+ water filter cartridge (Optional)
Breville Barista Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$633.11
$699.95
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable Options,Black
Model
Gaggia Anima
Dimensions/Weight
8.7 x 13.3 x ‎16.9 inches/25 lbs
Heating System
Single Thermoblock System
Interface
LCD Display & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
3
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4.3–6.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.8 liter/0.26 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
5
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Intenza+ water filter cartridge (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$633.11
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions/Weight
12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches/26 lbs
Heating System
Single Thermocoil System
Interface
Rotate Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 liter/0.24 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
16
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Breville Barista Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$699.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Anima Vs Breville Barista Express: Differences

The Gaggia Anima wins 3-2 against the Breville Barista Express. Both are generally great entry points for beginners as well as budget-oriented guys. Scroll down for more comprehensive information!

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Breville Barista Express

Built-in Grinder

These espresso machines have built-in grinders, sparing you from buying an additional burr coffee grinder and saving you counter space for it. The Gaggia Anima has a ceramic burr grinder, whereas the Breville Barista Express features a stainless steel conical burr grinder. If you ask me, I give props to the former for good reasons.

the stainless steel conical burr grinder of the breville barista express
The stainless steel conical burr grinder of the Breville Barista Express

The stainless steel grinder has a reputation for durability and consistent grinding. However, the Achilles heel of this type of grinder is that it is prone to overheating when grinding, resulting in the coffee grounds being heated and, yes, you guessed it, a pathetic espresso. Moreover, I observed the stainless steel grinder to be a tad noisy. It didn’t blare like a siren or an alarm bell, but I am of the opinion that if you brew your coffee early in the morning, its rattling sound might draw some ire from others around you.

My other gripe is that the grinding process of the Barista Express ends up with a mess of coffee grounds strewn across the drip tray, resulting in additional cleaning after each use. Who has enough time for this on those frantic mornings?

The Gaggia Anima just has 5 grind settings, which is below both my expectations and the industry norm of 6. Meanwhile, the Barista Express blew my mind with its impressive 16 settings, offering a broad scope of adjustments to achieve the perfect shot. Toggling between grind size settings on the Gaggia Anima is also a bit complicated since it necessitates a distinct tool instead of merely rotating a knob as you would with the Barista Express. Imagine losing this tool one day – it’s anyone’s guess what happens then!

gaggia anima vs breville barista express’s grind settings
Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express’s grind settings

The Breville Barista Express comes with a sturdy, well-made 54-millimeter portafilter, 4 filter baskets: pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, and a good tamper. On your side, you need to be ready to get hands-on and tackle a few do-it-yourself tasks.

the breville barista express comes with 4 filter baskets
The Breville Barista Express comes with 4 filter baskets

The fact is that the non-pressurized portafilter basket features various tiny holes in the bottom – only the grounds themselves create resistance, so you need to ensure your grind particle size is perfect for getting a tasty shot. On the flip side, the pressurized portafilter basket has fewer holes in the bottom, creating a sort of artificial pressure to extract a crema-heavy shot even with pre-ground coffee or a less-than-ideal grind size. 

A non-pressurized basket requires more precision and skill to achieve the best shot, while a pressurized basket offers a more forgiving brewing experience, especially for newbies or when pre-ground coffee is desired. Experienced coffee enthusiasts and baristas typically prefer non-pressurized baskets since they allow for greater control and the potential to bring out more nuanced flavors from freshly ground, high-quality coffee beans.

The Barista Express comes with a tamper that can be conveniently stowed away via a magnet. While it isn’t the flimsy plastic type, it could be a bit heavier to be more effective. But, I acknowledge that if it were any heavier, the magnet might not hold it securely, leading to frequent falls. I bet we have to take the bad with the good.

the tamper
The tamper

Heating System

Both have a single boiler, which is standard for all machines in this price bracket. This means they can’t pull an espresso shot and steam milk simultaneously as a model with dual boilers does. Instead, they perform each function in turn and have a break in between for the machine to heat up the water to the right temperature. If you ask me, the sweet spot for brewing espresso is 195 to 205 °F, while the ideal range for steaming milk is 150 to 155 °F.

The good news is that they don’t take half an hour to heat up like traditional boiler machines. The Gaggia Anima has Thermoblock technology, which only takes about 20 seconds to heat up, while the Barista Express can reach the proper temperature in just under a minute with a thermocoil. That means they switch quickly and seamlessly between processes, and you don’t have to endure long waits to enjoy your favorite drink. I recommend waiting a little longer before pulling the first espresso shot. 

It is worth noting that your espresso will be left to sit for a while while you’re preparing the milk foam. This can get it out of its perfect temperature and, of course, result in a less-than-perfect result (if you brew espresso first). The Barista Express features a cup warmer on top, which, as its name implies, can be used to preheat your cup to prevent heat loss as you prepare the milk froth. For machines that lack a cup warmer, such as the Gaggia Anima, pre-warming your mug with hot water is a handy alternative.

the cup warmer on top of the breville barista express
The cup warmer on top of the Breville Barista Express

Brewing System

Before extracting the espresso, the Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express both slightly dampen the coffee grounds with hot water, allowing carbon dioxide to escape and aromas to begin to develop. It’s the same principle as enabling the grounds to bloom when making pour-over coffee or French press. This step is called “pre-infusion,” which is vital in achieving the best possible flavor and is nearly standard in the world of bean-to-cup espresso machines (but not present in every machine).

Only the Breville Barista Express facilitates customizing the length of the pre-infusion phase. This is a really cool feature since a longer or shorter duration of pre-infusion can alter the taste profile of espresso, and there’s nothing better than fine-tuning it yourself to suit your preferred taste. Still, the adjustment is a bit complicated, and it should have a dedicated button for this.

Then, both extract espresso at a pressure of up to 15 bars, while espresso brewing requires at least 9 bars – that is great. There is a large pressure gauge Placed front and center on the Breville Barista Express’s control panel, showing if the internal pump is pushing hot water through the grounds within the optimal pressure range.

In terms of adjustability, the Gaggia Anima allows switching between 5 levels of coffee strength, whereas the Barista Express offers a wider scope of precise alterations using a control knob. While the Gaggia Anima only has 3 levels of brew temperature, The Breville Barista Express allows you to modify the water temperature in 1°C increments, within a range of ± 2°C from the default – I really love this nifty feature since different coffee beans require a different water temperature to extract their optimum flavor.

Milk Frothing System

Both the Gaggia Anima and the Barista Express are outfitted with steam wands: the former boasts a Pannarello wand, while the latter features a traditional-style steam one. Their lack of fully automated milk frothing systems is an enticing call to awaken your inner barista and master the art through practice. If you have no time for this and are after a machine that can do everything for you with just one touch, the other version, the Gaggia Anima Prestige, might be a better fit.

you will need to froth milk yourself with the steam wand
You will need to froth milk yourself with the steam wand

Frothing milk with a steam wand can undeniably be daunting for newcomers, but it’s an art cherished by professional baristas and experienced coffee aficionados. As a first-timer, you’ll need to dedicate time to learning and practicing, and once you master it, you’ll certainly turn heads with your skillful execution!

Upon initial inspection, I found the Gaggia Anima’s Pannarello wand to be slightly inconvenient due to its shortness and limited range of motion, making it challenging to observe the happenings within the milk jug. On the other hand, the Barista Express wand can swivel 360 degrees, simplifying the task of positioning the pitcher appropriately.

Through my personal experimentation, the Gaggia Anima, with its beautiful stainless steel wand, produced the silky-textured milk quintessential to a delightful cappuccino. Still, as for latte aficionados, this one might not be the best tool. I found the wand on the Barista Express less powerful than its competitor, making the steaming process somewhat slow, but its 360-degree rotation makes it easy to make milk froth for cappuccinos or silky microfoam for lattes. 

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Gaggia Anima

Both the Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express aren’t challenging to maintain at all. It surely takes a little time, but it is essential to keep the machine lasting long and well.

These machines will notify you via display or an indicator light when they need to be descaled. This requires dedicated cleaning tablets, and you have to follow the user manual’s directives to kick-start an automated cleaning cycle. Once again, I highly recommend installing the optional filter to remove calcium and other mineral deposits, thus relieving you from descaling the machine regularly.

 As for cleaning the milk-frothing wand, run steam through the wand before and after each use to get rid of milk residues, potential mold, and potential bacteria, and wipe it down with a damp cloth. The Gaggia Anima’s Pannarello wand can also be disassembled for deep cleaning under a tap.

Furthermore, there’s an array of daily tasks to undertake, including emptying the drip tray, emptying the coffee grounds basket, cleaning the water tank, rinsing the portafilter, and wiping down the machine’s exterior, among other duties. Just ensure these removable parts stay away from the dishwasher.

 What I appreciate about the Gaggia Anima is its removable brew group, which permits easy replacement in case of a breakdown. Yes, it does need to be cleaned manually, but I consider this the best approach to maintaining its lifespan.

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Tie

Automatic Shut-off

Both of these machines feature an automatic shut-off function, which not only aids in conserving energy but also ensures safety by powering down the machine following a certain period of idleness. Unlike some models within the same price bracket, this time interval can be customized to accommodate your lifestyle better.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Anima

Sale
Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable Options,Black
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of espresso extracted will vary depending on the grind size and amount and reprogramming may be needed when the size and amount are adjusted
  • MANUAL FROTHING FOR MILK-BASED DRINKS: Pannarello steam wand for frothing milk
  • PROGRAMMABLE: Programmable brewing options for espresso and espresso lungo
  • TEMPERATURE CONTROL: 3 different temperature settings. Min/177.5 °F, Med/182.9 °F, Max/184.5 °F
  • EASY ACCESS TO WATER RESERVOIR AND BEAN HOPPER: Features a removable 60 oz water reservoir that can be accessed on the top left of the machine, and an 8.8 ounce capacity bean hopper with access from the top right of the machine

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • The ceramic burr grinder is quiet and doesn’t overheat.
  • Thermoblock technology heats up quickly.
  • Extract coffee at a pressure of up to 15 bars.
  • Can fit large cups.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
Cons
  • Lacks an airtight lid.
  • Few bells and whistles.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express

Sale
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Earn up to $200 cashback with a Beanz coffee subscription when you purchase a selected Breville espresso machine. Visit earn-cashback.breville.com purchase to claim. Valid Aug 1, 2023 until Jun 30, 2024
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute, helping you make the perfect cup of Cappuccino or Latte
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Has up to 16 grind settings.
  • Features an adjustable pre-infusion process.
  • The steam wand works well.
  • Boast a large water tank.
  • The brew group is removable for deep cleaning.
Cons
  • Has only one boiler.
  • On the heavy side.

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Rating 5/5 - (5 votes)