Gaggia Anima Vs Saeco Incanto: An In-Depth Comparison

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At first glance, the Gaggia Anima vs Saeco Incanto seem strikingly similar, but when delving into their functionalities, the differences become evident. Without beating around the bush, my preference leans towards the Saeco Incanto.

The Saeco Incanto isn’t perfect, but it certainly offers a bang for your buck. This one is among the few mid-range machines that have two boilers, allowing it to brew espresso and steam milk at once. It automatically froths milk, so achieving a top-tier cappuccino is merely a matter of pushing a button.

The Gaggia Anima is also a value-for-money automatic espresso machine. It has only one boiler, but Thermoblock fast-heating system makes up for this. Instead of a fully automated frothing milk system, this model comes equipped with a Pannarello wand – it requires a bit of practice but is an ideal tool for crafting latte art.

Gaggia Anima Vs Saeco Incanto: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
PrimaDonna Class
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable Options,Black
Model
Saeco Incanto
Gaggia Anima
Dimensions/Weight
12.3 x 19.5 x 20.6 inches/22.2 lbs
8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches/25 lbs
Heating System
Dual Thermoblock Heating System
Single Thermoblock Heating System
Interface
LCD Screen
LCD Screen
One Touch Drink Options
6
3
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/2.5–6 inches
Dual/4.3–6.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.8 liter/0.29 liter
1.8 liter/0.26 liter
Pump Pressure
15 bars
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
6
5
Pre-Infusion
Filter
AquaClean Water Filter (Optional)
Intenza+ Water Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Auto Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
N/A
$589.72
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
PrimaDonna Class
Model
Saeco Incanto
Dimensions/Weight
12.3 x 19.5 x 20.6 inches/22.2 lbs
Heating System
Dual Thermoblock Heating System
Interface
LCD Screen
One Touch Drink Options
6
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/2.5–6 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.8 liter/0.29 liter
Pump Pressure
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
6
Pre-Infusion
Filter
AquaClean Water Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Auto Frothing System
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
N/A
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
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 Heating System
Interface
LCD Screen
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 (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$589.72
More Info

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Anima Vs Saeco Incanto: Differences

The Gaggia Anima takes down the Saeco Incanto with a 4-2 lead. Continue reading to unravel the difference between them and choose the one that aligns best with your preferences!

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Saeco Incanto

Built-in Grinder

Both are among the few espresso models in this range that feature ceramic burr grinders. Having a built-in grinder means no separate grinder is required, streamlining your coffee-making process and giving you more time to dial in the right grind size for your dream cup of Joe.

The burr grinder itself has a reputation for crushing the beans between two surfaces to produce a consistent grind size, which its blade counterpart just can’t. This ensures that all the coffee grounds are exposed to water for roughly the same time, resulting in a balanced extraction. I also loved that their grinder is made 100% from ceramic, as it doesn’t heat up during grinding like stainless steel, which can scorch the coffee grounds and compromise the flavor of any caffeinated beverage you’re making.

The only shortcoming of these grinders lies in their limited grind settings. The Gaggia Anima vs Saeco Incanto have 5 and 6 grind size settings, respectively. The industry average is 6, and I’ve tested many models in the same cost range that offer double or even triple this number, such as the Velasca Prestige with 10 settings.

gaggia anima vs saeco incanto's grind settings
Gaggia Anima vs Saeco Incanto’s grind settings

As always, you can only adjust the grind size while your beans are being ground and you need to use a grind adjustment tool. It is just a small tool attached to the end of the dosing spoon. But this poses a question: what if it goes missing?

Heating System

The Saeco Incanto boasts a double Thermoblock boiler system, while the Gaggia Anima has only one. This is one of the things that adds to the price of the former, but it’s worth it. With two separate boilers, the Saeco Incanto can simultaneously brew coffee and steam milk at the optimal temperature. This is a boon for these large settings, where you need to prepare large batches of drinks, especially milk-based ones, at rocket speed.

The Gaggia Anima has a single boiler to supply hot water for both tasks, and you will need to wait a bit for the boiler to shift gears from one function to another. Fortunately, it has Thermoblock technology to heat up rapidly. By heating only the water on demand and on-the-fly for each task, the machine can be ready to go in a matter of seconds rather than dozens of minutes.

Brewing System

If you’ve been in the world of specialty coffee drinks for a while, you will already know that most automatic espresso machines have pre-infusion function. And it is also a shared characteristic between the Gaggia Anima vs Saeco Incanto.

Pre-infusion is basically moistening the coffee grounds with hot water before the full-pressure extraction begins. It makes the coffee grounds expand (or “bloom”) to enhance the extraction of the aromatic compounds in coffee and reduce channeling, which leads to over-extracting in some areas and under-extracting in others. So at the end of the day, you will get a flavorful and balanced cup.

Following the short-lived pre-infusion stage, both extract coffee at pressures up to 15 bars, while most espresso aficionados agree that the gold standard pressure for brewing espresso is around 9 bars. But wait, what is a “Bar”? A “bar” is a unit of pressure, and one bar is roughly equivalent to atmospheric pressure at sea level. Delivering up to 15 bars of pressure means that these machines have the capability to consistently deliver high-quality espresso shots.

Milk Frothing System

The Gaggia Anima is a steam wand-equipped machine, while the Saeco Incanto is a fully automatic milk-frothing machine. Yes, that is the most defining difference between the pair.

the gaggia anima's pannarello steam wand and saeco incanto's automatic milk-frothing system
The Gaggia Anima’s Pannarello steam wand and Saeco Incanto’s automatic milk system

The Gaggia Anima features a Pannarello-style steam wand with a beautiful stainless steel finish. This type of frothing wand tends to be more forgiving than a traditional steam wand, but you still have to experiment a bit to get the right foam for your favorite milky drink. Just fill a stainless steel milk pitcher (included with the machine) with your cold milk, turn on the machine, and wait until the steam function is ready. Then insert the wand into the milk so that the holes on the side are just submerged, and hold the pitcher until it becomes too hot to touch but not scalding (150°F).

Using a steam wand can be challenging at first, but hard work pays off. The steam wand gives you greater control over the amount, quality, and temperature of the milk foam. It’s also your gateway to the mesmerizing world of latte art, lending an extra touch of personalization and professionalism to your drinks. There’s no better feeling than watching others be awestruck by the expertise you’ve cultivated, right?

Differing in approach, the Saeco Incanto’s automatic milk frothing system uses a removable transparent milk carafe, which facilitates one-touch milk froth creation for your delicious milky drink within a minute.  It’s a plug-and-play affair: attach it to the front of the machine to prepare a cappuccino and refrigerate it afterward. I loved this setup since no tube or extra space for the milk carafe is required.

The Saeco Incanto’s milk system definitely shines in beginner-friendliness and zero learning time, but it gives no control over the froth’s texture and temperature and makes latte art impossible (that’s why purists typically give it the cold shoulder). You can also use hot water by replacing the carafe with a separate spigot, so you’ll never have milk residue in your tea.

Design & Usability

Winner: Saeco Incanto

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Gaggia AnimaSaeco Incanto
Dimensions8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches12.3 x 19.5 x 20.6 inches
Weight25 lbs22.2 lbs

Both have sleek stainless steel casings

, but they are indeed mainly made of durable ABS plastic to reduce the overall weight and cost. They’re not particularly wide or deep compared to other fully automatic espresso machines, ensuring they snugly fit on nearly any kitchen countertop.

While the trend in super-automatic espresso machines leans towards vibrant color displays or touchscreens, they embrace a nostalgic LCD screen surrounded by six function buttons. These screens are uncomplicated and easy to read, while all the buttons come with a handy explanation of what they do, ensuring users can operate them without constantly consulting the manual. But now is the 4.0 era, and I think such a control panel might lack appeal for the tech-savvy crowd.

gaggia anima vs saeco incanto's control panels
Gaggia Anima vs Saeco Incanto’s control panels

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Gaggia AnimaSaeco Incanto
Espresso
Espresso Lungo
Hot Water
Espresso
Lungo
Cappuccino
Latte Macchiato
Hot Water
Steamed Milk or Foam

Apart from a few espresso-based drinks, both have a hot water option to pre-warm your cup, brew tea, craft hot chocolate, and prepare an Americano (by diluting the espresso). Additionally, if you’re ever faced with caffeine-averse guests or an empty bean stock, the option to use pre-ground coffee is a welcome addition.

Both are highly programmable, with 5 levels of aroma strength and 3 levels of water temperature for you to choose from. In addition, the Memo function allows you to customize the shot length and milk froth amount and remember them for one-touch preparation in the future.

Spout & Cup Clearance

Gaggia AnimaSaeco Incanto
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4.3–6.5 inches2.5–6 inches

Most (but not all) super-automatic espresso machines use telescoping coffee dispensing spigots, and the Gaggia Anima vs Saeco Incanto are no exception. Their spigots are height-adjustable to accommodate petite to jumbo cups. But there’s always room to refine: I wish the Gaggia Anima’s nozzle could be lowered a little closer to the lip of some espresso mugs to get more crema on top.

gaggia anima vs saeco incanto's dual coffee dispensing spouts
Gaggia Anima vs Saeco Incanto’s dual coffee dispensing spouts

You can also put two cups underneath their dual spouts to have two espresso shots brewed at once. This x2 function particularly shines during those bustling family mornings or when you’re entertaining a room full of eager coffee lovers.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper 

Gaggia AnimaSaeco Incanto
Water Reservoir1.8 liter1.8 liter
Bean Hopper0.26 liter0.29 liter

Their water boxes are top loading for easy removal or on-site refilling. But if you have your espresso machine under kitchen cabinets, it can be challenging to refill without pulling the machine out. This is not a big deal since a single refill per day is enough for home use.

The Saeco Incanto can pair with the AquaClean water filter, whereas the Gaggia Anima comes with the Intenza+ filter. Their primary purpose is to purify the water, thus virtually eliminating the need to descale the machine and enhancing the overall flavor of the espresso. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who either don’t rely on distilled water or don’t have a pre-installed tap filter.

intenza+ and aquaclean water filters
Intenza+ and AquaClean water filters

There is no rubber seal around their bean hopper lids, meaning your beans will come into contact with the elements, including air, light, moisture, and temperature. That said, they are prone to, and they will, lose their aroma sooner than you expect. So the key is to prevent beans from sitting there for extended periods.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Tie

A big plus for these bean-to-cup machines is the detachable brewing units. To clean this part, just pull it out, clean it under running water, and slot it back into place. After a few times, you can even do it without thinking. Considering the brewing unit is the heart and soul of the machine, it’s reassuring to witness its cleanliness firsthand.

removable brewing unit
Removable brewing unit

There are also some other detachable parts that need daily attention, including the drip tray, used coffee grounds box, and water tank. Don’t forget to have the machine’s casing wiped down with a cloth at the end of the day to keep it spotless and gleaming all the time.

After each preparation of a milk-based drink, they will prompt you to kick start an automatic cleaning cycle to purge the remaining milk inside the system. For a deep clean, just remove and immerse the Gaggia Anima’s steam wand in warm soapy water, and give the Saeco Incanto’s milk carafe a swift rinse under running water.

Descaling these machines is even easier and more hands-free. All you need to do is pour the specified descaling solution into their water tanks, activate an automatic program, take a seat, and wait about 20–30 minutes. If you opt to use the water filter, how often you have to do this chore will be as rare as hen’s teeth!

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Tie

Auto Shut Off

Have you ever left your house early in the morning only to come home at dusk and realize you’ve left a certain device running all day? This doesn’t only hike up your electricity bill, but it can also be a fire hazard. Thankfully, with both the Gaggia Anima and Saeco Incanto, you can set them to shut off automatically after they’ve been idle for a while.

Quick Rundown Of Saeco Incanto

Pros
  • Features a built-in ceramic burr grinder.
  • Extract espresso at a pressure of 15 bar.
  • Offers a multitude of adjustable settings.
  • Has a Thermoblock double boiler system.
  • Easy to use and clean.
Cons
  • No airtight lid.
  • On the heavy side.

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 2024-05-19 / 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.
  • Has only one boiler.

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