Brewing an espresso can be a complex process. Thankfully, super-automatic machines have been introduced in the market, and one of the most popular choices is the Gaggia Accademia brewer.
It’s a bean-to-cup machine that does all the heavy lifting for you.
I have been testing out this machine at home for the last month. In this Gaggia Accademia review, I'll share the machine's performance. Is its popularity well-deserved or just a passing trend?
Gaggia Accademia Review – My Ratings & Top Features
Overall, the Gaggia Accademia is a solid 4.3 out of 5 for its excellent blend of convenience, versatility, and performance. It's ideal for coffee lovers who like value customization and speed.
Who Should Buy The Gaggia Accademia?
The Gaggia Accademia is a perfect fit for large households of espresso aficionados who value both convenience and customization.
This super-automatic machine features a dual boiler for simultaneous brewing and steaming, plus 7 pre-set, one-touch beverages, all customizable to your liking.
This machine is also well-suited for offices or commercial spaces planning to offer coffee without needing a dedicated barista, thanks to its user-friendly design that minimizes the learning curve.
Why I Decided To Review The Gaggia Accademia Espresso Machine
I love entertaining at home, especially over brunch. As a coffee aficionado, serving up java is a must.
However, it's always been a challenge to cater to large groups with a single boiler machine, even with the super-automatic kind.
So, in my search for the best espresso machine for entertaining large groups, I found the Gaggia Accademia.
It’s an affordable dual boiler that offers both automation and customization--just what I was looking for. The question is: will it perform?
Cups Brewed Per Day
10 to 30
Level Of Experience Needed
Home brewing hobbyist who started with a basic drip coffee machine and gradually upgraded to espresso machines. My current machine is a Breville Barista Pro.
Money Saved Per Year
Favorite Drink To Brew
What’s It Like To Live With The Gaggia Accademia
Having a Gaggia Accademia espresso machine in your kitchen is like hiring an invisible barista. You get a perfectly nice cup of coffee customized to your preferences without needing to do any work.
However, unlike coffee shops, there's no need for you to line up to get your coffee. All you have to do is press a button, and you have excellent espresso.
What's In The Box?
Gaggia ensured the box was properly packaged and the delivery process was smooth.
Upon opening the box, you'll find:
In addition to those accessories, you have the option to include a water filter and descaling solution with your initial purchase.
I recommend you purchase the water filter right away, as the filtered water can significantly affect the espresso quality.
You should also order a descaling solution for under $10. While you won't need it immediately, having it on hand will save you the trouble of ordering one when it's time to descale the machine.
Pulling My First Espresso Shot
With super-automatic coffee machines like the Gaggia Accademia, you don't have to lift a finger when you pull a shot.
This is why many coffee drinkers who are not a fan of the espresso brewing process prefer this type of machine over others.
However, this doesn't mean you lose control over the brewing process. In fact, you retain a great deal of it. It just alleviates the heavy-lifting part of the process.
Initial Set Up
Okay, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. There's a bit of elbow grease required at this stage.
Compared to the breezy brewing process (we'll get to that in a second), this part is slightly more hands-on. Don't worry—it's not that much.
For starters, you'll need to rinse out all of the removable parts of the machine. This ensures any dirt or residue from manufacturing isn't in your coffee.
Then, you'll have to pop them back in and allow the machine to do the initial priming and rinsing.
Next, you'll have to set up two things in the machine's settings: the system's language and water hardness level. Don't worry; all these steps are outlined in the instruction manual.
If you have purchased a water filter, this is the part where you'll have to install it.
The water hardness level will also be needed to set up in the filter, so make sure you remember the result of your test.
Once done, brew a couple of cycles (no need to add coffee) until the water tank is empty. Now you're all set for the main event—the brewing process!
Grinding The Beans
The Gaggia Accademia espresso brewer comes with a built-in ceramic burr grinder. If you don't know anything about grinders, ceramic burrs are the best in the game.
They can grind coffee beans quickly and with consistent results.
On top of those, they also minimize heat transfer, which means you won't have to worry about it affecting the aroma of coffee beans.
Reminder From A Barista!
Avoid using oily coffee beans with your Accademia. While it might seem like the machine can handle them, oily beans can mess up the internal parts and shorten your machine's lifespan.
There are 8 grind settings to choose from, giving you the freedom to customize the taste of your espresso.
Just adjust the dial above the bean hopper to change the grinder settings. I like putting mine on the mid-range level, between 4 and 6.
However, if you want a rich taste, turn the dial to 1 or the smallest circle. For a lighter flavor, turn the grind settings to the highest level or biggest circle.
One of my favorite features on this machine is the bypass doser.
This nifty little addition lets you use pre-ground coffee, which can be a lifesaver if you're fresh out of coffee beans or in the mood for decaf.
Pulling The Actual Shot
This is where the magic happens. If you've tried a semi-automatic machine before, the shot-pulling process may be tedious, especially with all the settings you need to monitor.
However, this isn't the case with Accademia, and the only settings you need to mind are your preferences.
Once you have chosen your preferred grind setting, it's time to adjust your brew. With the Gaggia Accademia coffee machine, you can refine the shot quality through various settings.
Let's start with the pre-brew. Most espresso machines, regardless of the type, have built-in settings for the pre-infusion stage.
However, Accademia changes the game by allowing you to set how long the pre-brew will be. You have three options, one of which turns off the pre-infusion settings for lighter espresso shots.
I wouldn't recommend you turn off the pre-infusion, but if you have a guest not used to the strong taste of coffee, this option is pretty handy.
On top of that, the Gaggia Accademia features an Espresso Plus System, which allows you to control the espresso's flow rate in real-time.
This actually blew my mind because it adds a new layer of control to the espresso-making process. It had a major effect on the coffee quality, especially with how the crema turned out.
The best part? You only need to control a dial to regulate the flow. I usually like it high as I'm a sucker for crema, but if you don't enjoy the coffee's intensity, I suggest you put it in low.
Also worth mentioning is Accademia's Quick Heat boiler, which ensured my espresso was at an ideal temperature. This wasn't a one-off; it delivered perfectly heated shots each time.
I was impressed with the very first shot. The Espresso Plus System played an integral part in making this shot spectacular.
Because I could control the flow, a luscious layer of crema was sitting atop my shot.
As for the taste? Let's just say it was hard for my taste buds to distinguish between my kitchen-made espresso and the one from my favored coffee shop.
First Time Frothing Milk
For home baristas who have experienced manual milk frothing, the Gaggia Accademia is heaven-sent.
It comes with an automatic milk frother that does the job for you. It's a real lifesaver, especially if you're a newbie or just feeling lazy.
This automated brewer comes with an auto-frothing milk carafe.
This milk jug can be taken out of the machine, which I found quite handy for storing leftover milk in the refrigerator between uses. This means no fuss, no mess, and no wasted milk.
When you're ready to froth, all you have to do is put the Gaggia Accademia milk carafe back into the machine and let the automatic milk frothing begin. Its milk system is solid.
Unlike many super-automatic machines that won't allow you to customize the milk settings, the Accademia lets you take control over the foam.
You can choose how much milk it will dispense on your drink. On top of that, you can choose the milk foam level.
I like my milk foam at medium froth, but if you prefer a foamier drink, turn the setting to the maximum level.
Apart from the automatic milk frother, you'll also get a manual steam wand with this machine.
However, don't expect too much from this steam wand. While it won't be able to compete with a commercial-style steam wand, it can still do its job.
Think of it as a handy tool to practice your manual frothing.
Just one thing is lacking: there is no adjustment for milk temperature.
In fact, many Accademia users have mentioned that the milk temperature is a bit disappointing, but I beg to disagree.
For me, it was able to deliver the right temperature.
How Much Control Do You Have Over The Brewing Process?
The Gaggia Accademia offers complete control over brewing, even if it's a super-automatic espresso machine.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? However, because of its advanced features, you can tailor-fit your brew to your preference.
We've already discussed the most important settings: the grind size, pre-brewing setting, and adjustable flow rate. I've also mentioned the milk frothing options. Well, there's more.
Apart from those settings, this super-automatic espresso machine allows you to customize the amount of coffee you use per brew.
You can also control the coffee temperature and the amount of water to use in each shot. You can also adjust these settings on the pre-programmed drinks on the machine.
My favorite? Once you've customized your drinks, the system remembers this setting and applies them to your next brew.
This saves you the hassle of customizing your milk-based drinks every time you open the machine. Oh, did I mention you can brew and steam simultaneously?
How Does It Handle Different Roasts?
The Gaggia Accademia espresso machine can handle different types of roasts with ease.
It features a self-adjusting system that adjusts its own settings depending on the type of beans you use.
Do note that this system will require some time to learn the specifics of the beans. You may need to wait for a couple of brews before it can adjust the settings.
While I find this system very useful, I prefer to adjust the settings myself.
However, for new baristas who still haven't mastered the settings for different types of roasts, you'll definitely love this system.
Just remember that you still need to adjust the grind settings manually.
Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine
I've seen a lot of coffee machines in my life, and the Gaggia Accademia is absolutely one of my favorites when it comes to design.
Made with stainless steel, it gives off an industrial yet luxurious feel. It looks like an expensive machine, even though it's reasonably priced.
When it comes to the dimensions, this Gaggia machine is compact, measuring around 15 x 11 inches and weighing approximately 40 pounds.
It's heavy, so I suggest you find a permanent position. This way, you won't have to worry about moving it around.
What Drinks Can It Make?
The Gaggia Accademia can make 8 different drinks pre-programmed into the machine.
However, you can experiment with other milk drinks as it comes with a manual steam arm and can automatically dispense milk froth when needed.
As your barista, the Accademia can make:
Apart from milk drinks like cappuccinos, I also love the option for brewed coffee.
Not many espresso machines have a built-in drip coffee feature; if they do, the resulting cup often tastes watered down. However, it's not the case for the Accademia.
I also enjoyed the hot water and hot milk options. Tea drinkers will find this handy, especially since you won't need another device to brew your favorite tea.
One last thing, 7 of these pre-programmed drinks (except for milk froth) can be made with just a touch of a button!
How Easy Is It To Use?
The Gaggia Accademia is very easy to use, and even novices can produce great-tasting coffee at just the touch of a button.
While it doesn't sport a sleek touchscreen interface like the Breville Barista Touch, its LCD is simple and intuitive.
As mentioned, 7 out of 8 pre-programmed drinks can be prepared at the touch of a button. This is why I recommend this machine for offices or commercial spaces.
Personalizing these pre-programmed beverages is also a breeze. It doesn't involve a complicated process, and the settings are straightforward.
On top of that, it has an EcoMode feature that allows you to choose how the boilers on the machine are activated.
If you enable this feature, it will only activate the coffee boiler whenever you turn on the machine.
This will save energy but will take time to dispense milk drinks. It also has a cup warming tray that can be turned off or on, depending on your preference.
The active cup warmer allows you to serve your coffee at optimal temperature.
Besides the automated brewing process, cleaning the machine is also a walk in the park.
I'll get more into that in the next sections, but every aspect of using this machine is easy to navigate.
How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)
The Gaggia Accademia espresso machine has a quick warm-up time thanks to its rapid heat-up system.
The machine is ready to brew in just 60 seconds! This is very convenient as I don't have to wait long for my morning coffee.
Once the machine is heated, pulling your chosen espresso shot or making a coffee drink only takes seconds.
This largely depends on the kind of drink you're making, but even a complex cappuccino, which requires both brewing and frothing, will take up to a minute or two.
So, from the moment you switch on the Gaggia Accademia to the moment you take your first enjoyable sip of coffee, you're looking at a timeline of about 2 to 3 minutes.
However, if you have enabled the EcoMode feature, the heat up to the first sip time will be longer.
Does It Have A Water Filtration System?
No, the Gaggia Accademia doesn't come with a water filtration system. However, it is compatible with an Intenza water filter.
I suggest you purchase one to ensure the longevity of your machine. It is also the secret to a better-tasting coffee, as the water quality can affect the flavor of your cup.
How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?
With the Gaggia Accademia, the cleaning process is quite straightforward, though there are some daily routines you'll want to master.
Being a bit of a clean freak myself when it comes to my coffee gear, keeping my espresso machine well-maintained is high on my priority list.
Not only will I keep brewing good espresso, but I will also lengthen the lifespan of my machine.
The parts that need frequent cleaning, like the brew group, drip tray or dregs drawer, and used grounds container, are easy to slide out and rinse under warm water.
Remember, no soap, and certainly don't be tempted to shove them in the dishwasher. Apart from that, you must also empty the drip tray frequently or every 5 to 6 coffees.
When it comes to the automatic milk frother, it comes with a self-cleaning function that makes maintaining it a breeze.
After use, just turn on this feature, and you're all set. However, this isn't the only cleaning it needs.
You also need to disassemble the milk carafe and give its components a thorough rinse at the end of the day.
Every month, you'll have to clean the brew group with the dedicated cleaning tablets. If you don't, your coffee quality will suffer.
Remember to wipe the integrated bean hopper whenever you refill it.
If you're not using a water filter, descaling the Accademia will be a regular item on your to-do list.
Luckily, the machine will let you know when it's time, and the process only steals about half an hour of your time. I recommend you use the Gaggia Descaler Solution, but alternatives also exist.
My Favorite Parts About The Gaggia Accademia Coffee Maker
My Least Favorite Parts About The Gaggia Accademia
Gaggia Accademia Vs Similar Machines
Gaggia Accademia Vs Babila
Both the Gaggia Accademia and the Babila feature a dual boiler system. However, their main distinction lies in their customization.
The Accademia boasts 8 pre-programmed drinks and 10 grinder settings. On the other hand, the Babila comes with 11 pre-programmed beverages and 15 grinder settings.
It's also worth noting that the Babila is a bit more expensive than the Accademia. The Babila is currently priced at around $1700, while the Accademia costs around $1400.
Gaggia Accademia Vs Anima Prestige
When comparing the Gaggia Accademia to the Anima Prestige, the Accademia stands out with a larger number of programmable drinks, a larger water reservoir, and a digital display for easy operation.
However, it's also larger in size and more expensive.
The Anima Prestige, on the other hand, offers a more compact design. It also comes with an automatic milk frothing but is more affordable.
Both machines provide a great coffee experience, so your choice will likely depend on your available space and your budget.
Gaggia Accademia Vs Jura E8
The Gaggia Accademia and the Jura E8 are high-end super-automatic espresso machines with unique features.
The Accademia offers a larger water reservoir and more programmable drink options, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of coffee drinkers.
On the other hand, the Jura E8 shines with its PEP (Pulse Extraction Process) technology, which improves extraction time and a faster, quieter grinder.
If you prefer a richer and more nuanced espresso flavor and don't mind a higher price, the Jura E8 might be your choice.
Gaggia Accademia Vs DeLonghi Dinamica Plus
The Gaggia Accademia and DeLonghi Dinamica Plus are both solid choices for a super-automatic espresso machine, each with its own strengths.
The Accademia gives you more control over your coffee experience, while the Dinamica Plus offers more conveniences with its Coffee Link app.
They're both within the same price range and can make quality espresso drinks, so the choice lies in your preference.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Gaggia machines can last 5 to 20 years, depending on how you clean and maintain your machine.
No, you can't make hot chocolate with the Gaggia Accademia. However, you can use the hot milk option to make hot chocolate. You could also use the hot water option and then add powdered mix.
Yes, it is currently owned by Dutch manufacturer Phillips.
Conclusion - Is The Gaggia Accademia Worth Your Money?
The Gaggia Accademia is absolutely worth your money if you value a versatile coffee experience with user-friendly automation or want a reliable machine to accommodate large gatherings.
However, its larger size might not suit those with limited counter space.
For someone looking for a more compact super-automatic espresso machine, the Gaggia Anima Prestige or DeLonghi Dinamica Plus might be a better choice.
If you are an espresso enthusiast who values a nuanced flavor profile and doesn't mind a higher price point, the Jura E8, with its PEP technology, could be a more appropriate selection.