Gaggia Velasca Prestige Vs Babila: A Newest Comprehensive Comparison

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Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila: they are wallet-friendly super-automatic espresso machines from a reputable Italian brand. Both are great, but I lean towards the second one for good reason.

The Gaggia Babila is basically on par with the Gaggia Velasca Prestige in most aspects, except that the Babila offers a broader range of grind settings, is equipped with both an automatic system and a steam wand, and boasts a more extensive selection of one-touch drinks. Naturally, these extras result in a higher price tag.

Gaggia Velasca Prestige Vs Babila: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Gaggia Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 54 ounces
Model
Gaggia Babila
Gaggia Velasca Prestige
Dimensions/Weight
9.6 x 14.2 x 16.5 inches/29.5 lbs
13.5 x 10.25 x 17 inches/20.72 lbs
Heating System
Dual Boilers
Single Boiler
Interface
Non-touch Display
Non-touch Display
One Touch Coffee Options
10
6
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/3.0-6.4 inches
Dual/2.8-4.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.5 liter/0.31 liter
1.5 liter/0.31 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
15
10
Pre-Infusion
Coffee Strength/Brewing Temperature
5/3
5/3
Filter
AquaClean filter (Optional)
AquaClean filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing System and Steam Wand
Auto-Frothing System
Bypass Dose
App Connectivity
Price
$1,899.00
$599.00
What I Like
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
Model
Gaggia Babila
Dimensions/Weight
9.6 x 14.2 x 16.5 inches/29.5 lbs
Heating System
Dual Boilers
Interface
Non-touch Display
One Touch Coffee 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
Coffee Strength/Brewing Temperature
5/3
Filter
AquaClean filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing System and Steam Wand
Bypass Dose
App Connectivity
Price
$1,899.00
What I Like
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Gaggia Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 54 ounces
Model
Gaggia Velasca Prestige
Dimensions/Weight
13.5 x 10.25 x 17 inches/20.72 lbs
Heating System
Single Boiler
Interface
Non-touch Display
One Touch Coffee Options
6
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/2.8-4.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.5 liter/0.31 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
10
Pre-Infusion
Coffee Strength/Brewing Temperature
5/3
Filter
AquaClean filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing System
Bypass Dose
App Connectivity
Price
$599.00
What I Like
More Info

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

Gaggia Velasca Prestige Vs Babila: Differences

 The Gaggia Velasca Prestige lost to the Babila with a score of 2-4. Let’s read to the end of my comparison to decide which will be your next espresso machine!

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Gaggia Babila

Built-in Grinder

The grinders on both are made of 100% ceramic. I love this type of grinder because of its durability, low-noise operation, and consistency. On top of that, its poor heat transfer properties help to reduce heat buildup during grinding to preserve the most pristine coffee sip in the cup, whereas its stainless steel counterpart tends to overheat. This characteristic is paramount, given that excess heat can scorch coffee grounds, compromising the exquisite aroma of your coffee beans.

The ceramic grinder cũng ensures silent performance. I found this one only emitted a noise level between 65-69 dB, which was quiet enough for me to carry on a normal conversation without raising my voice. However, if you start your brewing cycle early in the morning, I’m afraid it might rouse your family a bit earlier than they’d prefer. 

The manufacturer might not caution you, but I strongly advise against using oily beans, as they can cause the grinder to clog. Moreover, it’s important to prevent anything more solid than coffee beans from finding their way into the hopper, as this could chip the grinder.

I was glad these bad boys offer so many grind settings, from coarse to super-fine: the Velasca Prestige has 10 grind settings, while the Babila excels with up to 15 settings. These numbers are significantly superior to the industry norm of 6 grinding sizes and surpass even the most high-end Jura machines I’ve experimented with, hence offering impressive control over espresso extraction.

gaggia velasca prestige vs babila's grinding settings
Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila’s grinding settings

As a rule of thumb, only change the grind settings while the grinder is running. Changing between grind settings on the Babila is a breeze by turning a knob on top of the machine, while the Velasca Prestige requires the use of a special tool at the end of its dosing spoon – So ensure you don’t lose it.

Heating System

The Velasca Prestige has only a single boiler, while the Babila continues to take the lead with a dual boiler system. This gives the Babila an advantage over its rival by enabling it to brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously – with each boiler handling a process independently. This is quite impressive, especially considering its under-1000 price tag. If you need something that can serve drinks, especially milk-based ones, at rocket speed on those hectic mornings, this one is the way to go.

Yet, this doesn’t imply that the Velasca Prestige is as lethargic as a hibernating snail! With a boiler composed of light aluminum and stainless steel, this one can achieve high temperatures in approximately a minute. So, your first espresso cup can be enjoyed almost instantly, and the switch from brewing espresso to steaming milk won’t keep you waiting for too long.

Brewing System

Both of these Gaggia models use a pre-infusion process, which involves wetting the coffee grounds briefly prior to extraction. This short step is a must-have for a full-bodied espresso since it allows the grounds to “bloom” for maximum release of aromas and flavors. It is standard and automatic on most super-automatic espresso machines and can be switched on/off and adjusted on the Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila. Then, the extraction will take place at a pressure of 15 bars, which is good.

adjustable pre-infusion process
Adjustable pre-infusion process

During my testing, Both pulled a full-bodied, aromatic espresso with a thick and seductive crema. But the shot pulled from the Velasca Prestige was not hot at the level that many coffee connoisseurs would consider the “optimal” brewing temperature, even when I set it to the highest setting temperature. That said, to my mind, the other two settings are useless. But given that the quality of the espresso is still splendid, I am prepared to give this slight hiccup a pass.

Milk Frothing System

There is no denying that the milk frother on an espresso machine is one of the most talked about since drinks with delicate and spongy milk foam are very popular with many caffeine lovers. Beginners or time-strapped individuals usually favor an automatic system that simplifies milk frothing to a button’s press, whereas seasoned baristas or coffee traditionalists prefer a manual steam wand, affording them more influence over the frothing process.

While the Velasca Prestige features an automatic milk-frothing system, the Babila has both an automatic system and a steam wand. This means that whether you aim to create some milk-infused drinks with just one touch or desire to hone your skills in the art of frothing, the Babila is your perfect ally.

the velasca prestige’s automatic milk frother
The Velasca Prestige’s automatic milk frother

Let’s begin with the automatic milk frother on the Velasca Prestige. This one has a detachable carafe that sits neatly in front of the machine without any annoying and hard-to-clean hoses and pipes. All you need to do to create those creamy cappuccinos and other milk-based drinks is fill this carafe with milk, plug it into the slot for the hot water dispenser, and press the button – nothing more, nothing less.

Then the Velasca Prestige’s elegant automatic milk system will froth the milk twice to remove all bubbles and impurities. I found it ended up with a flawless milk froth that is quite close to the skilled barista level, ideal for both cappuccinos and lattes.

the gaggia babila has both an automatic system and a steam wand
the Gaggia Babila has both an automatic system and a steam wand

On the other hand, the Gaggia Babila’s automatic frothing system features an integrated carafe that can be stored in a fridge when not in use. This one also has no tubes or other parts that need extra cleaning. By simply touching a button, you can have a creamy cappuccino in a few seconds without moving the cup.

The foam from this model was good but not really outstanding – it was too frothy with larger bubbles instead of the desirable neat microfoam. But anyway, it still managed to uphold good taste.

Regarding its manual steam wand, as noted above, it provides greater control over the process of frothing milk. Of course, it has a learning curve, and you must be patient to try and fail repeatedly. This might be a source of frustration for some, but just picture the look of awe on your friend’s face when they witness your hard-earned barista skills. I found the microfoam still good but didn’t reach the competition level.

Design & Usability

Winner: Gaggia Babila

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Gaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Dimensions13.5 x 10.25 x 17 inches9.6 x 14.2 x 16.5 inches
Weight20.72 lbs29.5 lbs

At first sight, I got the impression that these sleek machines are high-quality espresso machines, at least from a build quality standpoint. These cube-shaped machines share a stainless steel casing, which is highly durable and easy to clean. It’s still too early to talk about their durability, but I have faith that they will pass the test of time!

While most super-automatic espresso machines out there boast a colored TFT display or advanced touch screens, these Gaggias take a nostalgic route with a retro-style pixelated LED display with some buttons. This isn’t a drawback at all, though, as it still delivers simplicity, efficiency, and intuitiveness.

gaggia velasca prestige vs babila’s control panel
Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila’s control panel

These machines are on the compact side so that they can fit any counter easily with no issues. Just remember that their water reservoirs and bean hoppers are top-loading, so I advise against situating them underneath any cabinets. They are also quite heavy, especially the Gaggia Babila, so you’d likely need a helping hand to maneuver it into position.

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

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

If you are looking for a super-automatic espresso machine that offers a list of dozens of one-touche drinks, you might be a bit disappointed. But before you berate them, please remember that these are budget-friendly models. If you need something to put in a bar or coffee house, consider a machine with a longer menu, such as the Jura Z8 with 21 specialties.

In terms of adjustability, both offer 3 levels of brewing temperature and 5 levels of coffee strength, not much but still affords you some room for experimentation. In addition, the “Memo” function allows for precise adjustments to the duration of an espresso or milk pull and memorizing them for future use. Just press down the button until the term “Memo” flashes on the display, then make another press once you are satisfied with the amount of your drink.

Both have a bypass dose chute for pre-ground coffee. This feature may be rarely used, but it isn’t redundant. Even if you aren’t a devotee of decaf, this feature can be handy in particular situations, like when you’re out of fresh coffee beans, or your guests aren’t too keen on caffeinated drinks.

gaggia velasca prestige vs babila’s bypass doser
Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila’s bypass doser

Spout & Cup Clearance

Gaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Spout TyeDualDual
Cup Clearance2.8-4.5 inches3.0-6.4 inches

The Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila’s coffee spouts can be lowered or lifted easily to preserve the crema layer during espresso dispensing or fit taller cups. I was impressed with the Babila’s espresso spigot since it can move up very high or even be disassembled completely to fit my travel mugs or insulated ones. Both can also prepare two espressos at once or a cup with a double shot.

gaggia velasca prestige vs babila’s dual coffee spouts
Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila’s dual coffee spouts

There is a flow knob near Babila’s coffee spout. As its name suggests, you can use it to increase or decrease the flow of espresso. It is said that the flow can affect the espresso’s flavor. If that’s true, it is indeed a welcome addition.

gaggia babila’s flow knob
Gaggia Babila’s flow knob

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Gaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Water Reservoir1.5 liter1.5 liter
Bean Hopper0.31 liter0.31 liter

The Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila share a 1.5-liter water reservoir. As long as you don’t place either of these in a high-traffic area, they will only need to be refilled once at the end of the day. If you decide to use the included AquaClean water filter, the actual capacity of their tanks will decrease a bit, but it’s worth it.

aquaclean water filter
AquaClean water filter

Unless you’re using distilled water or your kitchen sink faucet features a filter already, your water contains some impurities. When water is heated inside the espresso machine, it leads to limescale accumulation. This can not only diminish the quality of your espresso but also undermine the performance of the machine.

Using the AquaClean filter is the bulletproof solution to this issue. It is designed to remove those unwanted impurities and is cited as allowing the machine to continuously produce at least 20,000 cups of espresso without descaling. However, this privilege does come with a monthly cost exceeding $30.

Their top-loading bean hoppers can hold 300 grams of coffee beans, which is enough for about 30 cups, depending on your chosen dose. Both feature airtight lids to maintain the aroma of the coffee beans for an extended period and guarantee a delightful flavor in every espresso pulled.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Tie

Talking about cleaning a manual espresso machine can send shivers down the spines of many people. But just calm down, my friends, as that is not the case with these Gaggia machines. 

The hardest part of the maintenance list, including descaling the machine, relies on an automated program. Just remember to use the Gaggia descaler solution for this task. The machine will prompt you when the time is right. And if you use the AquaClean water filter, you can kiss this job goodbye for a very long time.

gaggia descaler solution
Gaggia descaler solution

After each preparation of a milk-based beverage, the Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila’s milk circuits will undergo an automatic cycle for cleaning. The Velasca Prestige’s milk pitcher can be disassembled into three parts for thorough rinsing, which should be done every couple of days. Likewise, the Babila’s removable milk jug should be cleaned frequently under the tap to ensure your milk always stays fresh without any buildup of anything nasty.

Of course, there are some maintenance tasks you’ll need to do yourself, such as emptying the coffee grounds basket, emptying the drip tray, wiping the machine’s casing, and periodically rinsing and lubricating the removable brew group. Yes, maintaining a removable brew group manually takes time, but remember, it is the soul and heart of an espresso machine. Take care of it with respect, and it will reward you with countless cups of delectable espresso!

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Tie

These affordable super-automatics come with no useful extra features other than stand-by mode. Once activated, the machine will be put into a “stand-by” state after a customizable interval where it consumes less power. Mother Nature and your wallet will certainly applaud this feature!

stand-by mode
Stand-by mode

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
  • Has a ceramic grinder and up to 15 grind settings.
  • Has a sleek and compact design.
  • Features a double boiler system.
  • Equipped with both an automatic system and a steam wand.
  • Easy to use and clean.
Cons
  • Few one-touch drinks.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Velasca Prestige

Gaggia Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 54 ounces
  • 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
  • One touch brewing and frothing: bean-to-cup feature with automatic milk frothing for cappuccinos, baby cappuccinos, and milk froth
  • Programmable: programmable brewing options for Espresso and Espresso Lungo, cappuccino, and milk froth, with 3 different temperature settings
  • Ceramic burr grinder and brew unit: ceramic burr grinder with 10 fineness settings, 5 brew strength settings, and bean hopper with 10.5oz capacity
  • Front loaded water reservoir: features a 54oz capacity and pulls out from the front of the machine, ideal for low hanging cabinets

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

Pros
  • Features a ceramic burr grinder with 10 grind settings.
  • Easy to use and maintain.
  • Produces a flawless milk froth.
  • Can brew to cup of espresso at once.
  • Extract coffee at a pressure of 15 bars.
Cons
  • Limited clearance for taller cups.
  • Has a single boiler.

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Rating 5/5 - (5 votes)