Gaggia Babila vs Saeco Xelsis: Which Is The Ultimate Super-automatic Espresso Machine For You?

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Check out my review of the debate for Gaggia Babila vs Saeco Xelsis. These mid-range espresso machines have high automation levels, and they can brew delicious cups with a touch of fingertip only. But after comparing their features, I find Saeco Xelsis to be a better choice.

Saeco Xelsis has a total of 15 one-touch beverages, and it can extract delicious espresso without difficulty. It comes with an external milk container that can be attached to the machine via a silicone tube, which allows a more spacious drip tray for twin brewing. The device also never fails to deliver microfoam. So I highly recommend it if you are looking for a mid-range machine.

As for Gaggia Babila, this machine has a less contemporary design compared to Saeco Xelsis. But it still offers a good set of one-touch recipes with a total of 8 beverages at the touch of your fingertip. You can also enjoy its dual milk system with both a carafe and steam wand. I will reveal details that I like and don’t like about the machine below!

Gaggia Babila vs Saeco Xelsis: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
PHILIPS Saeco Xelsis Super Automatic Espresso Machine - LatteDuo Milk System, 15 Coffee Varieties, 6 User Profiles, Touchscreen, Black & Titanium, (SM7684/04)
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
Model
Philips Saeco Xelsis
Gaggia Babila
Dimensions (WxDxH)
11.1" x 19.3" x 15.5"
9.6" x 16.5" x 14.2"
Weight
25.8 lbs
28.7 lbs
Water Tank Capacity
1.7 L
1.6 L
Bean Container Capacity
450 g
340 g
Heating System
Dual Thermoblocks
Dual Boilers
Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burrs
Ceramic Flat Burrs
Grind Amount Adjustment
12 settings
15 settings
Milk System
Internal Cappuccinastore
Integrated Carafe and Commercial Style Steam Wand
User Profile
6
N/A
User Interface
Touch Screen Display
2 Colors TFT Display + Buttons
Choice Of Drink
Espresso, Coffee, Americano, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Cafè Latte, Espresso Macchiato, Ristretto, Cafè Au Lait, Espresso Lungo, Ristretto
Ristretto, Espresso, Espresso Lungo, Coffee, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Flat White, Espresso Macchiato, Hot water
Adjustable Coffee Strength
Adjustable Milk Length
Adjustable Coffee Temperature
Aroma Strength Settings
5 settings
5 settings
What I Like
Price
$1,504.25
$1,899.00
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
PHILIPS Saeco Xelsis Super Automatic Espresso Machine - LatteDuo Milk System, 15 Coffee Varieties, 6 User Profiles, Touchscreen, Black & Titanium, (SM7684/04)
Model
Philips Saeco Xelsis
Dimensions (WxDxH)
11.1" x 19.3" x 15.5"
Weight
25.8 lbs
Water Tank Capacity
1.7 L
Bean Container Capacity
450 g
Heating System
Dual Thermoblocks
Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burrs
Grind Amount Adjustment
12 settings
Milk System
Internal Cappuccinastore
User Profile
6
User Interface
Touch Screen Display
Choice Of Drink
Espresso, Coffee, Americano, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Cafè Latte, Espresso Macchiato, Ristretto, Cafè Au Lait, Espresso Lungo, Ristretto
Adjustable Coffee Strength
Adjustable Milk Length
Adjustable Coffee Temperature
Aroma Strength Settings
5 settings
What I Like
Price
$1,504.25
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
Model
Gaggia Babila
Dimensions (WxDxH)
9.6" x 16.5" x 14.2"
Weight
28.7 lbs
Water Tank Capacity
1.6 L
Bean Container Capacity
340 g
Heating System
Dual Boilers
Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burrs
Grind Amount Adjustment
15 settings
Milk System
Integrated Carafe and Commercial Style Steam Wand
User Profile
N/A
User Interface
2 Colors TFT Display + Buttons
Choice Of Drink
Ristretto, Espresso, Espresso Lungo, Coffee, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Flat White, Espresso Macchiato, Hot water
Adjustable Coffee Strength
Adjustable Milk Length
Adjustable Coffee Temperature
Aroma Strength Settings
5 settings
What I Like
Price
$1,899.00
More Info

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Babila vs Saeco Xelsis: Differences

After weighing the differences between these two espresso machines, I found that the Saeco Xelsis won 2:1 and tied 1 against the Gaggia Babila thanks to its convenient design, touchscreen display, drink options, and more. Read the breakdown below to learn the details.

Coffee flavor and brewing system

The winner: Philips Saeco Xelsis

Grinder

These two espresso machines are equipped with ceramic flat-burr grinders.

If you don’t know, ceramic is one of the most popular choices for coffee grinders. This blade type won’t produce much heat, preventing the coffee ground from burning during the grinding process, which helps to preserve its unique flavors and aromas. In addition, ceramic blades can retain their sharpness for longer than stainless steel blades.

The flat burr design is a great feature as it provides more consistency in the grind size, leading to a more even extraction and improved control during brewing. This uniformity allows you to attain the flavor profile desired for your coffee.

The Saeco Xelsis have a dial to adjust the grinding settings in the bean hopper
The Saeco Xelsis has a dial to adjust the grinding settings in the bean hopper

Besides, both give users the flexibility to customize the grinding settings according to their preferences. The Xelsis offers 12 grinding selections, while the Babila offers 15. In my opinion, having too many grinding settings may be a challenge for novices. Thus, my tip is to start with the medium setting and then alter it based on personal taste preferences. It will take 2-3 coffees for you to become familiar with the adjustment features of these machines.

Heating system

The Saeco Xelsis and Gaggia Babila espresso machines use different heating systems. The Xelsis has a dual thermoblock system, while the Babila has a dual boiler system. Both systems reduce the time needed to switch between brewing coffee and steaming milk, but they work differently.

The thermoblock heating system draws water directly from the tank and heats it quickly as it passes through a complex network of pipes. Thus, the water will be at the perfect temperature when it reaches the group head. Compared to a traditional boiler heating system, this one heats up more rapidly, reducing the time needed to prepare your favorite beverages. Furthermore, this type of system is usually cost-effective and energy-efficient.

The Gaggia Babila can brew espresso pretty quickly with a beautiful crema
The Gaggia Babila can brew espresso pretty quickly with a beautiful crema

On the other hand, a dual-boiler system is better at ensuring consistent and precise temperature control. However, this heating system requires a slightly longer initial heating time, costs more money, and occupies a larger space inside the espresso machine.

In my experience, the coffee temperatures produced by the Saeco Xelsis and Gaggia Babila are just right for me. They are very hot cups of coffee. Of course, the specific temperature may vary depending on factors such as ambient temperature and cup type. Therefore, don’t forget to preheat your cup to maintain the desired temperature and preserve the flavor of your coffee.

Espresso flavor

To be frank, discussing the flavor of espresso can be challenging as it can vary depending on personal preference and various factors involved in the brewing process. The type of coffee beans used, the grind settings, and the temperature settings all significantly impact the taste of the espresso.

Initially, you may notice that the espresso shots are weak and watery. These two machines have numerous adjustments that can be made to customize your experience. With time and practice, you can become familiar with the machine and its various settings, allowing you to fine-tune and achieve a stunning crema and a flavor profile that perfectly suits your tastes.

Milk system

The winner: Gaggia Babila

The Saeco Xelsis and Gaggia Babila have different methods for creating milk-based drinks through their milk frothing systems.

The Saeco Xelsis features an Internal Cappuccinastore system. The milk-frothing system comes with Latte Perfetto technology that minimizes the size of milk foam and produces a thick and velvety foam, resulting in a smooth textured milk-based drink.

The system consists of a milk container and a plastic tube to deliver the milk from the container to the machine. The steam process occurs inside the machine, creating the desired milk foam. The milk container can be easily stored in the refrigerator when unused, keeping the milk fresh and ready for your next coffee creation.

The Gaggia Babila offers users two different options to froth the milk
The Gaggia Babila offers users two different options to froth the milk

The Gaggia Babila, on the other hand, has two milk-frothing options available. Firstly, it features an Integrated Carafe that can be effortlessly inserted and removed from the machine, making it convenient. When not in use, the carafe can be stored in the fridge, which is perfect for making milk-based drinks quickly and easily. When you’re short on time, this is a speedy choice.

For me, the foam from Babila’s carafe is just fine, but it is not thick, rich, or creamy enough for my taste. I prefer the second option, the commercial-style steam wand. Using the wand provides greater control over the temperature and texture of the milk, resulting in a smoother and more refined froth. The steam wand also allows for personalized experimentation and customization of the milk foam to suit individual preferences.

Design and convenience

The winner: Philips Saeco Xelsis

Build quality

When it comes to their designs, the Gaggia Babila is more compact and takes up less counter space compared to the Saeco XElsis. However, the Xelsis is lighter in weight than the Babila. The Xelsis weighs 25.8 pounds, while the Babila weighs 28.7 pounds. Both machines are quite heavy and not easy to move around.

The Gaggia Babila coffee machine has a stylish stainless steel front panel with a silver-painted finish and a polished chromed metal cover for a sleek and sophisticated look. The black ABS plastic drip tray is easy to clean.

The front of the Philips Saeco Xelsis
The front of the Philips Saeco Xelsis

The Saeco Xelsis has a modern and stylish design. The machine has a front panel made of high-quality material with a polished stainless steel finish, giving it a luxurious appearance. Not only does the stainless steel finish look great, but it also makes cleaning the machine effortless, keeping it in excellent condition. The standout feature of the Saeco Xelsis is its LCD display, which is both responsive and visually appealing.

Capacity

In my opinion, the water tanks on both the Saeco Xelsis and Gaggia Babila machines are relatively small. The tank on the Saeco Xelsis can hold about 1.7 liters of water, and the Gaggia Babila’s tank has a capacity of approximately 1.6 liters. If you use water filters, the capacity of these tanks will decrease. When using water filters, you need to be careful not to let the water drain more than 2-3 cm from the bottom because otherwise, the filters cannot continue to pump water up.

If you have a great need for coffee daily, you will have to refill these water tanks regularly. For example, I need to refill their water tank after brewing 4 to 6 cups of coffee.

Regarding the bean container’s capacity, the Saeco Xelsis can hold up to 450 grams of coffee beans, while the Gaggia Babila can only hold about 340 grams. This means that Babila’s bean hopper is relatively smaller. Thus, I recommend you keep an eye on the beans in the Babila, as running out of beans mid-brew can result in weak coffee.

Ease of use

I highly recommend that you carefully go through the user manuals provided with these machines in order to familiarize yourself with them. This will help you operate the machines with ease and confidence. You can rest assured that making adjustments and setting them up will be a hassle-free experience.

When it comes to the user interface, the Saeco Xelsis offers a touchscreen display, whereas the Delonghi Eletta has soft buttons and a TFT display. For me, the touchscreen is more appealing as it provides a contemporary touch and is effortless to use.

These machines provide various options to personalize your beverage according to your preferences. For instance, the Saeco Xelsis allows you to modify the coffee temperature, amount of milk foam, quantity of coffee, and coffee strength based on pre-set recipes. Similarly, the Gaggia Babila allows you to customize these same features to make your espresso just how you want it. Moreover, the Babila also includes a knob at the front of the machine, which allows you to adjust the flow of coffee. You can restrict the flow rate to achieve a deeper crema and richer extraction of coffee. Conversely, if you prefer a lighter extraction, you can increase the flow rate.

The dial on the front of the Babila allows you to control the flow rate of the extraction
The dial on the front of the Babila allows you to control the flow rate of the extraction

Besides, the Saeco Xelsis offers six user profiles, which is great for households with multiple people with different tastes. Having personalized settings is convenient for family members’ preferences. However, the Gaggia Babila does not offer this feature.

Cleaning and maintenance

Tie

Maintaining the cleanliness of the Saeco Xelsis and Gaggia Babila espresso machines is an easy task. These machines are equipped with a self-rinsing mechanism that automatically operates when they are turned on or off.

The Saeco Xelsis features a filter that can handle up to 5000 cups of coffee before needing descaling. Of course, the filter’s lifespan is influenced by the water’s hardness. Additionally, the built-in HygieSteam process efficiently cleans the milk system after each use, which can remove 99.99 % of milk residues with one touch. However, you should use a brush occasionally to clean the metal tube.

The Gaggia Babila is an impressive machine with many features such as an Aquaclean water filter, automatic descale cycle, automatic rinsing cycle, and automatic quick clean carafe cleaning cycle. However, the final cleaning cycle can be messy as it sprays hot water, steam, and leftover coffee on the machine and countertop.

Even though the machines have automatic cleaning cycles, you have to manually clean certain parts of the machine, such as the water tank, drip tray, coffee grounds container, and brew group.

Quick Rundown Of Saeco Xelsis

PHILIPS Saeco Xelsis Super Automatic Espresso Machine - LatteDuo Milk System, 15 Coffee Varieties, 6 User Profiles, Touchscreen, Black & Titanium, (SM7684/04)
  • With Philips Saeco Xelsis easily make up to 15 coffee varieties from common Espresso and Capuccino to specialty coffees like Flat White or Americano. Simply swipe the touchscreen to select the drink and customize it with our intuitive Coffee Equalizer.Filter type:Reusable.Power consumption stand-by : 0.5W, Drip tray capacity : 500 ml
  • 15 Coffee Varieties at Your Fingertips: Explore the world of coffee - Espresso, cappuccino, macchiato, and a range of specialty drinks
  • Personalized Preferences: Everyone’s custom coffee favorites can be saved in up to 6 user profiles for instant selection. Personalize each profile down to the finest detail
  • LatteDuo Milk System: Prepare and enjoy single or double serving of any coffee recipe with one touch, including Cappuccino or Latte Macchiato
  • Double Thermo Blocks: Dedicated for both brewing and steaming offer accurate temperature controls for every drink in your recipe book

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Burr grinder of superior quality
  • It becomes heated really soon
  • Ideal for use with all coffee bean varieties, even fatty beans
  • Less cleaning and upkeep is necessary
  • The inside drip tray is solid and long-lasting
  • No brewing, foaming, or grinding that makes a lot of noise
Cons
  • Water leaks

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 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Excellent espresso and milk with good texture
  • Easy to operate and convenient machine
  • Little to no care and everyday maintenance
  • It is simple and quick to replenish the water tank
  • Standard list of one-touch beverages, including milk-based ones
Cons
  • Faulty dreg drawer and drip tray cleaning indicators
  • No user profiles

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References

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