I got the chance to try out the Gaggia Babila in my AirBnB while on a business trip, and it absolutely made my stay.

It was a fantastic addition to my daily routine in a new place, and I just had to write my own Gaggia Babila review - after putting it through its paces, of course.

Considering getting this fully automatic espresso machine for yourself? Read on to discover my in-depth thoughts on this bean-to-cup machine down below.

Brew Quality

4.0

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

5.0


Overall Rating

4.3

Overall, I rate the Gaggia Babila 4.3/5 stars. It is a beautiful machine with plenty of useful features, but its dated interface could be a turn-off for some.[1]

Features

  • Stainless steel chassis with chrome accents and an anti-touch finish for a sleek look that’s easy to clean
  • Vintage-feel control buttons and display bring a unique vibe to your daily brew
  • Ceramic burr grinder with 15 grind settings preserves your coffee’s aroma for an even deeper taste
  • 10.57-ounce bean hopper seals in freshness
  • Combination  manual steam and wand for crafting perfect latte art and crafting Americanos
  • Automatic milk frother carafe that can be detached and stored in the fridge for convenience
  • 11 pre-programmed drink options to suit any preference, 5 of which are one-touch for efficiency and convenience
  • Dual coffee spout for simultaneous brewing or double shots
  • 3-6 inches of adjustable cup clearance feat a removable spout assembly to accommodate larger cups
  • Double boiler with up to 15 bar pressure allows for simultaneous frothing and brewing that gets you sipping ASAP
  • 50.7-ounce water reservoir with handle for easy refills
  • AquaClean water filtration system that lasts for years
  • Compatible with pre-ground coffee as well as beans in case of emergency
  • Knob-controlled flow allows you to control your crema and espresso extraction
  • Designed and made in Italy for an authentic Italian experience
  • Automatic cleaning and descaling system with easy-to-read on-screen prompts for simple maintenance
  • Removable brew group for an easy cleaning and maintenance experience

Pros

  • Both manual and automatic milk frothing options that suit your needs
  • A wide range of drinks and customization options for both milk-based drinks and espresso-based drinks
  • Excellent build quality that is both easy to clean and designed to last
  • Easy machine to learn and use helps make it an essential part of your daily routine
  • Plenty of cup clearance and excellent espresso control to suit every mood

Cons

  • A dated interface and button controls could turn some people off
  • Custom settings can be fiddly to adjust at times
  • No cup warmer could be a turn-off for some

Who Should Buy The Gaggia Babila Espresso Machine?

Any home coffee enthusiast who wants convenience in their espresso machines while still being able to customize certain elements would love the Gaggia Babila.

I suggest it for business owners wanting to install one in a small office or waiting room.


Why I Decided To Review The Gaggia Babila

As I briefly mentioned above, I got a taste of the Babila while on a business trip. My AirBnB had this installed in the kitchen, and I loved it.

I wanted to put the Babila through its paces to see if it could live up to other espresso machines under $2000 that I've tried. Once I got home, I just had to review it myself.

Testing Conditions

Days Tested

30

Cups Brewed Per Day

2

Level Of Experience Needed

Beginner

Reviewer Background

Home brewing enthusiast who started with a simple cafetiere collection and is on a journey to up their game.

Environment Tested

Home and home office

Money Saved Per Year

$2700

Favorite Drink To Brew

Caramel latte and espresso

What’s It Like To Live With The Gaggia Babila Coffee Maker

What’s In The Box?

Much like most automatic machines, the Gaggia Babila arrives in a box within a box surrounded by plenty of foam.

At a hefty 29.6 pounds, I recommend getting really friendly with your delivery person or having someone around to help you unpack this super-automatic machine.

It is a stunning and sleek model, but taller than other machines I have had in the past at 14.7 inches. It will still fit under most kitchen cupboards, but worth keeping in mind.

There is no cup warming tray to worry about, but you will need room to open the two hinge doors to access the bean hopper and water filter.

Inside the box, besides the machine itself, you will also find the following accessories:

  • Gaggia decalcifying solution
  • AquaClean filter
  • Max dose coffee scoop
  • A loose grinds brush
  • Food-safe brew group lubricant
  • Water hardness test strips
  • Socket cover for the milk carafe
  • Two-year warranty

Set up was incredibly easy, thanks to the onscreen instructions.

There are four control buttons, two select and go back buttons on the left of the screen and an aroma strength/up arrow button, and a menu/down arrow button on the right.

These felt satisfying to push, and the instructions were easy.

Once I had filled the tank with the filter and water, set the water hardness, gone through the rinse sequences, and done minor things like adjusting the brightness and turning off button sounds, I was ready to go.

Pulling My First Espresso Shot

Every coffee machine I test has to go through the inaugural first espresso - let’s break down how the Babila handled it.

Like many a super-automatic espresso machine, I only had to press two buttons to get a freshly ground and pre-infused espresso.

I decided not to adjust any of the settings and just see how the standard ones fared.

The first shot was more of a practice one as it was cloudy and watery, but this changed on the second one thanks to the Gaggia adapting system.

The second shot was much better.

The color was beautiful, and there was a lovely frothy crema on top.

The ceramic burr grinder really made a difference when it came to maintaining the bold flavor of my beans. Overall, a very decent second try.

Pulling An Espresso Shot On The Gaggia Babila

First Time Frothing Milk

Once I had my second run down, it was time to test how the Babila would fare while making an espresso macchiato.

I was most curious to try the automatic milk frother and milk carafe system.

As any of my friends will tell you, I love a milk-based drink - especially if it's sweet. However, I am cursed to be lactose intolerant, so I tried it with lactose-free milk.

All I had to do was select the option from the drinks menu, and it was raring to go.

The Babila ended up making an extremely convincing cappuccino. I love that it auto-froths at the touch of a button without me having to worry about extra parts or tubes.

I also love that I can remove the front to make room for travel cups or larger mugs - no more futzing around while trying to get out the door.

I also tried the manual steam wand and was impressed by how frothy the milk foam was. I would not call the foam competition-level, but you can easily practice your rosettas and swans.

Frothing Milk With The Gaggia Babila

How Much Control Do You Have Over The Machine?

For a super-automatic coffee machine, the Babila lets you control a surprising amount of elements. These include:

  • Strength
  • Taste setting
  • Grind
  • Water temperature
  • Water hardness level
  • Ground vs whole beans
  • Espresso Plus, AKA flow
  • Coffee amount
  • Button sounds
  • Brightness
  • Language
  • Standby time

And more!

This level of detail and customization is impressive for a super-automatic espresso machine, and I love the range of drink presets.

Gaggia Babila Settings

How Does It Handle Different Roasts?

Now that we have established that the Babila makes great custom espresso and milk-based beverages, it is time to get down to brass tacks.

I would suggest only using medium roast beans with little to no surface oil when it comes to the Babila.

This is because the oil can get caught in the ceramic burrs and cause damage.

The ceramic burrs are vital for helping your grounds stay cool and retain their aroma while grinding - you do not want to mess them up.[2]

This means no darker roasts, lighter roasts, or flavored coffee beans with lots of surface oil.

Some medium roasts with minimal surface oil I used in my tests are Lavazza’s Super Crema Whole Bean Blend and Filicori’s Forte Arabic and Robusta Blend.

Adding Coffee Grounds To The Gaggia Babila

Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine

The Gaggia Babila has a sleek brushed silver design and lovely smooth edges. It is not as flashy as something like the Quick Mill Andreja, but it still makes a statement.

I do wish it were available in more colors, but that is not the biggest dealbreaker for me.

At 14.2 x 9.7 x 16.6 inches in dimensions, it is the smallest of the Gaggia machines but is still quite tall.

Because of the slick two-door system to access these elements, there is no cup warmer with the Babila.

I have heard some complaints about this, but you can easily heat your cup in the microwave or do a preemptive flush with hot water to achieve the same effect.

The front of the machine is compact and dominated by the buttons and interface system.

The aesthetic of the control system and digital screen have a Marmite effect on people - some love the vintage vibes while others yearn for a more modern look.

I love its style but acknowledge that it is not always easy to pair with kitchen decor.

Like other home coffee machines, this hefty beast comes in at 29.6 pounds - make sure you have someone with you when moving it around.

Look, Feel, and Size Of The Gaggia Babila

What Drinks Can It Make?

The Babila machine produces a range of eleven total drinks to choose from. Five of these options are one touch, while the other six are available on the drinks menu.

Some can be made doubles for simultaneous brewing or crafting double-shot coffees on sleepy mornings.

The drinks you can craft are:

  • Espresso
  • Espresso Lungo
  • Coffee
  • Cappuccino
  • Latte macchiato
  • Ristretto
  • Hot milk
  • Flat White
  • Hot water/steam
  • Milk froth
  • Espresso macchiato

I love that you can customize each drink, so making coffee is even easier next time.

Making longer coffees is also so simple thanks to the adjustable height and removable front - no more juggling shot glasses.

Overall, I'm a big fan of how easy and customizable it all is - I highly recommend doing an experiment or two on your own alongside your regular coffee.

Making Coffee With The Gaggia Babila

How Easy Is It To Use?

This machine is very easy to use even with very little practice making coffee as a barista. The user manual is helpful, as are the clear on-screen prompts.

The settings to get creative can be a bit fiddly but are overall very simple and clear. I highly recommend it even to those just beginning their coffee-making journey.

How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)

As the Babila uses a dual boiler, you may have to wait a little extra time for it to properly warm up, depending on what temperature you had it set to.

All in all, it took only a few minutes to heat up and then only a few minutes for the drink to finish. 

Exactly how long it takes in total depends on what drinks you are making as well as how many.

Does It Have A Water Filtration System?

The Gaggia Babila makes good use of an AquaClean water filter system that gets to work as soon as it is installed in the water tank.[3]

An Aqua Clean water filter tends to last for up to 5000 cups of coffee, which is an incredible amount.

To put that number into perspective, if you were to make three coffees per day on the Babila, a filter would last for up to 4.6 years.

The on-screen icon also lets you know how it is doing, and you get an alert when it is time to get a new one for your water reservoir.

Gaggia Babila Water Filtration

How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?

Like other automatic coffee machines, cleaning and descaling is a breeze with the Babila[4].

Much of the automatic cleaning cycle is automated, and you get alerts that are tailored to the water hardness of your local area.

Provided that you put in the work when first setting up your machine in terms of inputting the hard water level, filter, and other minor adjustments, you should get an easy and accurate automated cleaning system routine.

This should be done alongside your regular cleaning tasks like emptying the drip tray, refilling the tank, cleaning the steam wand, and so on.

Descaling The Gaggia Babila

My Favorite Parts About The Gaggia Babila Espresso Maker

  • Both manual and automatic milk frothing options suit your needs. I love that you have two options depending on how fancy you feel while making milk foam.
  • A wide range of drinks and customization options for both milk-based drinks and espresso-based drinks. This coffee machine provides so many options to suit a range of tastes. Each of the beverages it produces is perfection.
  • Excellent build quality that is both easy to clean and designed to last. The brushed metal finish construction with chrome accents is one of the few on the market that minimize plastic and flimsy chassis parts. It is hefty and well-built.
  • Easy machine to learn and use helps make it an essential part of your daily routine. No matter where you are on your coffee crafting journey, you can easily make awesome beverage options with a single touch.
  • Plenty of cup clearance and excellent espresso control to suit every mood. I love the three-to-six inches of cup clearance as well as the removable dispensing spout and adjustable flow knob.
  • Three taste settings allow you to determine the amount of pre-infusion time best suits your needs. Delicate means the pre-infusion step is not used (I don’t recommend this as pre-infusion really brings out the extra coffee aroma!) Balanced means that a standard pre-infusion is applied, and Fully Body means extra time is taken during pre-infusion to really bring forward the coffee flavor.
Making A Drink With The Gaggia Babila

My Least Favorite Parts About The Gaggia Babila

  • A dated interface and button controls could turn some people off. This interface can come across as outdated and difficult to style in your kitchen’s existing decor.
  • Custom settings can be fiddly to adjust at times. While it is easy to use, some customers find adjusting the settings a little fiddly at times.
  • No cup warmer could be a turn-off for some. I completely understand why there is no cup warmer, but some die-hard fans will miss that feature.

Gaggia Babila Vs Similar Machines

Gaggia Babila Vs Accademia

The Gaggia Accademia and Babila are siblings - how do they fare against each other?

Both are excellent and share many features, but I would describe the Accademia as a Bablia Lite.

The Accademia is both a larger and cheaper model with only eight grind settings, three strength options, and a similar style.

It also has a larger and more modern display and interface, which some may prefer.

Gaggia Babila Vs Accademia

Gaggia Babila Vs Cadorna Prestige

The Cadorna Prestige is a much more modern and tech-heavy coffee machine than the Babila.

It can save up to four user profiles and has 14 beverage options to select and customize, including cortado and cafe au lait.

It features its own espresso tray and up to 10 grind settings alongside a quick heat boiler.

If you prefer a more tech-friendly machine or live with others, the Prestige is a good option available at a cheaper price.

Gaggia Babila Vs Cadorna Prestige

Gaggia Babila Vs Jura E8

The Jura E8 is a highly popular option - how does the Babila stack against it?

The Jura E8 features a whopping 17 different specialty drinks to choose from, as well as a classier and more high-tech display.

It is also app compatible and up to $500 more expensive than the Babila.

Gaggia Babila Vs Jura E8

Gaggia Babila Vs DeLonghi Dinamica Plus

The Delonghi Dinamica Plus is another hot contender against the Babila. It is about $100 cheaper and has up to 16 beverage options and custom settings.

There are 13 grind settings to choose from, as well as higher bar pressure and app connectivity. The warranty is also a year longer than the Babila, making it a real contender for the crown.

Gaggia Babila Vs DeLonghi Dinamica Plus

FAQs

How do I set up the Gaggia Babila?

Gaggia actually has a series of videos that help break down how to set up your machine as well as its features and drinks.[5][6]

How long does a Gaggia last?

A Gaggia can last from around 10-20 years with proper care and maintenance - these are truly designed to be workhorses.

Is Gaggia owned by Philips?

Gaggia was bought by Phillips in 2009 but is now owned by N&W Global Vending SpA.

Conclusion - Is The Gaggia Babila Worth Your Money?

To round up this Gaggia Babila review, this convenient stainless steel machine allows you to fine-tune your taste settings to craft great coffee without over-extraction.

If you want better coffee and a real bean-to-cup experience, the Babila could be an excellent option - if it suits your counter space.

Gaggia Babila Espresso Machine

Brew Quality

4.0

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

5.0


Overall Rating

4.3

References: 

1. https://www.gaggia.com/automatic-machines/babila/
2. https://www.melitta.co.uk/coffee-enjoyment/buyers-guides/steel-vs-ceramic-coffee-grinders/
3. https://www.gaggia-na.com/products/aquaclean-water-filter
4. https://www.gaggia-na.com/collections/parts/products/gaggia-decalcifier-4adf31c1-5733-464a-91c2-ffbda32ef649
5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkvAWFbHvjo
6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqaKrHIP1iY&t=570s

Chloe Page

Author

Chloe Page
A lifelong mocha fan, Chloe is an award-winning writer with over eight years’ experience weaving words. Her journey in the coffee industry is highlighted by extensive research and interviews with coffee experts. In her moments of relaxation, you'll often find her sipping on Bird and Blend tea, thoughtfully scribbling in her notebook.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Bird and Blend Co Tea

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