As part of my ongoing mission to review every super automatic espresso machine in the known universe, I've lately been focusing my attention on Italian manufacturer Gaggia.
As part of my ongoing mission to review every super automatic espresso machine in the known universe, I’ve lately been focusing my attention on Italian manufacturer Gaggia.
It turns out that a Gaggia Accademia review is long overdue here at Coffeeness. After all, we’re talking about a machine that’s been around since 2010.
Still, the Gaggia Accademia seems to be as popular as ever which has to count for something, right? I guess there’s only one way to find out … let’s dive right in!
A great value for the money!
High quality materials and design
Manual steam wand option
Makes excellent espresso and milk foam
Good value for your money
Dated user interface
Table of Contents
- Overview First Impressions
- Features DisplayCeramic GrinderBypass DoserMilk FoamSpecialty DrinksAroma IntensityPre-BrewingEspresso Plus SystemDouble BoilerCup HeightCup Warmer
- How to Use
- Accademia vs Others Accademia vs BabliaAccademia vs Anima PrestigeAccademia vs Dinamica Plus
- Comparison Chart
Gaggia Accademia Overview
As I mentioned in my super automatic espresso machine guide 2022, Gaggia has been making big inroads into the North American market over the last few years.
Gaggia is a trusted brand that’s known for producing well-made and durable espresso machines. Plus, they’ve been at it for a really long time.
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll learn that Gaggia’s founder pretty much single handedly invented modern espresso preparation. How? Well, by using a car piston to create pressure for brewing. Now that’s the kind of dedication to coffee that I really appreciate!
As I already mentioned, the Gaggia Accademia has been around for quite a few years. I guess that’s testament to how well it performs in terms of producing quality espresso and milk foam. Indeed, the super automatic market grows more crowded and competitive every year and it seems like there’s always a new DeLonghi or Jura machine vying for our attention.
Costing $1,399.00 on Amazon, the Accademia is far from the most expensive automatic coffee maker around. However, that’s still a serious chunk of change, and the Accademia will have to deliver excellent results to justify its price tag.
One thing you can be sure of is quality materials and construction. Unlike many super automatics that rely on way too much plastic, the Gaggia Accademia’s housing is made from sturdy and attractive stainless steel. This helps elevate the Gaggia, giving it the air of a well-made machine that’ll stand the test of time.
What hasn’t really stood the test of time is the Accademia’s user interface, which comprises push buttons and an LCD screen. Everything about the user interface looks pretty dated, especially when compared with newer machines at the same price point.
With that said, the Gaggia Accademia offers more than enough functionality and programmability to make it a serious contender. You’ll be able to get really fine milk foam from this machine, and the level of control you’ll have over espresso production is pretty breathtaking.
Gaggia Accademia Features
The Gaggia Accademia might not be the most beautiful super automatic espresso machine, but its clean lines and modern aesthetic are pleasing to the eye, all the same. Plus, let’s not forget all that polished stainless steel! Far from being just a pretty face, the Gaggia has plenty of cool features, too. Let’s move forward with this Gaggia Accademia review and take a closer look.
Okay, so I slammed the Accademia user interface earlier, but that’s just because I’m so used to seeing newer super automatic machines sporting sleek touchscreen displays.
Although the Gaggia’s LCD display looks old school and the font used on the one-touch buttons harks back to a simpler time, the whole thing is really intuitive and easy to navigate. The display is large, well lit and easy to read, making me wonder whether touchscreens aren’t a little overrated.
The Gaggia Accademia comes equipped with a ceramic burr grinder, which makes me really happy. Not only will you get fast, consistent results from the ceramic burrs, they’ll also seriously cut down on heat transfer. That means you won’t have to worry about the grinder affecting the delicate aroma of your coffee beans.
Located above the bean hopper, the grinder dial allows you to choose between eight grind settings. Although this might seem limiting, I think you’ll have more than enough control over your grind size to make excellent espresso. Remember not to use oily coffee beans, though; they’ll really mess with the Accademia’s insides.
Next to the bean hopper you’ll find the bypass doser, which allows you to use pre ground coffee in the Accademia. This is a pretty cool option to have, especially for those times when switching to decaf coffee is a good idea. In case you were wondering, it’s time to switch to decaf is when your palms are sweating, your hands are shaking and you can’t keep up with your racing thoughts!
In my opinion, the Gaggia Accademia’s automatic milk system is one of the best I’ve seen. The auto frothing milk carafe can be taken straight out of the fridge and clipped onto the front of the machine. Plus, there aren’t any pesky hoses or pipes to deal with.
Instead, the carafe’s carry handle doubles as a movable milk spout which swings over your cup when you’re making a latte macchiato or cappuccino. Best of all, the milk system is self cleaning – once the spout is back in place it blows hot water through the circuit to rinse it of any milk residue.
In case you’re itching to show off your barista skills, the Accademia is also equipped with a manual steam wand. Doubling as a hot water dispenser, the steam wand isn’t going to get the kind of pressure you’ll find on a commercial machine. Still, you should be able to froth up some pretty dreamy microfoam.
The Accademia offers eight specialty drinks, with seven of those available at the touch of a button. Although that’s not nearly as many drinks as you’ll find on some other super automatics, the Accademia has you covered when it comes to drink customization.
You’re able to select from one of four automatic frothing levels for milk based drinks like cappuccino and latte macchiato, and don’t forget that you can also choose to steam the milk yourself.
Add in the fact that you have multiple ways to adjust the parameters of your espresso and you’re looking at almost unlimited options for creating the specialty drink of your dreams!
Gaggia’s Optiaroma function allows you to select from three coffee strength settings. The machine adjusts the dose of ground coffee used in espresso preparation according to which setting you choose.
I love the fact that Gaggia allows you to customize pre-infusion settings. All too often this part of the brewing process is overlooked or ignored, yet it’s an essential step in achieving well extracted coffee.
There are three options, one of which involves skipping the pre infusion process altogether for lighter coffee. Personally, I’d recommend going with the extended pre infusion option every time – your tastebuds will thank you!
Espresso Plus System
As if control over grind, temperature, dose and pre infusion weren’t enough, Gaggia has also included the Espresso Plus System. A dial on the dispensing spout allows you to control the espresso’s flow rate in real time, which is something you just don’t see every day.
This feature really floats my boat because it adds a whole new dimension to espresso preparation from a super automatic.
Without a doubt, the fact that Gaggia has fitted the Accademia with two boilers confirms that the Italian manufacturer has put a lot of care into the design of this machine.
Ordinarily you’d have to spend a lot more for an automatic coffee machine with two thermoblocks, making this feature a big selling point. Rather than wait for the machine to reheat, you should be able to prepare coffee and steam milk at the same time. That sounds pretty good to me!
Most super automatic espresso machines allow you to move the dispensing spout up and down, but it can be pretty frustrating when there isn’t enough room for a taller latte macchiato glass.
That’s why I really appreciate the Accademia’s spout design. You can adjust the spout height from three to six inches (7.6 to 15.2 centimeters), but the whole thing can be removed to accommodate tall glasses and insulated coffee mugs. I firmly encourage other manufacturers to take note of this!
If, like me, you appreciate life’s little comforts, you’ll be happy to hear that the Gaggia Accademia has an active cup warmer up top. The stainless steel plate runs the length of the machine and can accommodate two or three cappuccino cups. Again, this feature just tells me that Gaggia has put a lot of thought into the Accademia’s design.
How to Use the Gaggia Accademia
Although the Gaggia Accademia is full of features that allow you to customize just about every aspect of coffee and milk foam production, don’t think for a second that this machine isn’t easy to set up and use right out of the box.
Sure, this is a sophisticated coffee maker, but it’s also been designed to be user friendly and intuitive. After all, that’s the whole point of a super automatic machine!
With that said, you should definitely invest some time in experimenting with the Accademia’s various settings. What’s especially cool is that you can program drinks as they’re being prepared. Trust me, once you get comfortable using the Gaggia, you’ll be able to whip up some pretty fantastic coffee specialties.
Before using the Accademia for the first time, you’ll need to fill the water tank and add freshly roasted, high quality coffee beans to the hopper. This is where you’ll come face to face with a really great feature that few manufacturers offer … doors to cover the coffee bean hopper and water reservoir. By keeping the light out, coffee beans will stay fresh for longer.
You can also install an Intenza water filter if you want. Personally, if there’s a water filter option I always use one; you’re going to get better tasting coffee and you won’t need to descale your coffee maker as frequently.
Once you’ve plugged the Accademia in and turned it on, the machine will perform a preliminary rinsing cycle. After that’s complete you’re ready to start making drinks! At this point I should remind you to only make grind adjustments while the grinder is running. It’s a delicate piece of machinery and you’re going to need it to be in tip top condition.
Gaggia Accademia Cleaning
Regular Coffeeness readers already know that I’m more than a little fastidious when it comes to cleaning coffee equipment. I guess I just can’t stand the thought of mold, bacteria and other nasties thriving inside the damp confines of my coffee maker.
It really doesn’t take much work to keep the Accademia clean, but there are a few tasks you’ll have to get used to performing on a daily basis. For starters, keep the Accademia looking its shiny best by wiping it down with a damp cloth.
The brew group, drip tray and used grounds container are all easy to remove and can be rinsed under warm water. Of course, avoid using soap of any kind and definitely forget about putting them in the dishwasher. Once a month, run the machine’s brew group cleaning cycle using Gaggia cleaning tablets. Don’t skimp on this or else you’ll notice a definite drop in coffee quality!
Although the automatic milk carafe is self cleaning, you should take it apart and rinse all the components thoroughly at the end of each day. As for the commercial style steam wand, I’ll trust that you’re wiping it off with a damp cloth after each use. Still, consider soaking it in dairy cleaner every once in a while.
Just know, if you aren’t using a water filter, you’ll need to descale the Accademia on a fairly regular basis. Conveniently, the machine will let you know when the time has come and the whole process takes around half an hour. The manufacturer recommends using Gaggia Descaler Solution, but whether you decide to use a cheaper alternative is entirely up to you.
Gaggia Accademia Specifications
|Type||Super-Automatic Espresso Machine|
|Removable brew group||Yes|
|Casing material||Stainless steel|
|Milk frothing system||Automatic / steam wand|
|Display||Color LCD display with buttons|
|Water reservoir capacity||54 oz / 1.6 l|
|Minimum cup height||3 in / 7.6 cm|
|Maximum cup height||6.5 in / 16.5 cm|
|Grinder||Ceramic burr grinder|
|Bean container capacity||12 oz / 340 g|
|Grounds container capacity||Approximately 15 servings|
|Coffee drinks prepared at the touch of a button||6|
|Adjustable coffee temperature||Yes|
|Adjustable milk foam temperature||Yes|
|Hot water function||Yes|
|Hot milk function||Yes|
|Milk foam only option||Yes|
|Weight||37.5 lbs / 17 kgs|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||15.2 x 11.1 x 16.8 in / 38.5 x 28.2 x 42.8 cm|
|Current price on Amazon||$1,399.00|
Gaggia Accademia vs Other Super Automatics
Thus far, this Gaggia Accademia review has established that the machine has a lot of staying power. But, there’s an ever-increasing collection of worthy competitors out there. So, let’s take a look at how the Accademia measures up in comparison to a few alternatives.
Gaggia Accademia vs Bablia
I was pretty blown away by the Gaggia Babila during my review of this superb machine. The Babila shares a lot of the Accademia’s features, but everything feels more advanced and fully realized.
The Babila offers 15 grind settings and five coffee strength settings. So, it’s simply more versatile and sophisticated than the Accademia. Plus, the Babila comes in a more compact package which I really appreciate.
My only gripe with the Babila is its user interface, which seems altogether too dated for today’s market. A definite step up from the Accademia, the Gaggia Babila will set you back $1,898.95 on Amazon.
See Also: Gaggia Babila Review 2022
Gaggia Accademia vs Anima Prestige
The Gaggia Anima Prestige is another compact super automatic machine that really impressed me. What’s more, the extremely reasonable $899.00 price tag makes this an option that’s definitely worth checking out.
Although I found the Anima Prestige’s grinder rather difficult to get to grips with, I was able to get good espresso and great milk foam from this machine. The Anima Prestige might not be at the same level as the Accademia, but it certainly represents a great value for the money.
Gaggia Accademia vs DeLonghi Dinamica Plus
Speaking of a great value for money, the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus is, hands down, one of my favorite super automatic coffee machines. You won’t find double boilers or a steam wand for manual milk frothing, but the Dinamica Plus can produce simply sublime espresso.
Not only that, DeLonghi’s LatteCrema system won’t leave you wishing you could steam the milk yourself. Seriously, it’s that good. The DeLonghi Dinamica Plus costs an entirely reasonable $1,499.95 on Amazon.
Gaggia Accademia vs Others Comparison Chart
|Gaggia Accademia||Gaggia Babila||Gaggia Anima Prestige||DeLonghi Dinamica Plus|
|Type||Super-Automatic Espresso Machine||Super-Automatic Espresso Machine||Super-Automatic Espresso Machine||Super-Automatic Espresso Machine|
|Removable brew group||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Casing material||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Plastic / stainless steel|
|Milk frothing system||Automatic / steam wand||Automatic / steam wand||Automatic||LatteCrema automatic|
|Display||Color LCD display with buttons||Text with buttons||LCD display with buttons||Touchscreen|
|Water reservoir capacity||54 oz / 1.6 l||50.7 oz / 1.5 l||60 oz / 1.77 l||60 oz / 1.77 l|
|Minimum cup height||3 in / 7.6 cm||3 in / 7.6 cm||4.3 in / 10.9 cm||3.3 in / 8.4 cm|
|Maximum cup height||6.5 in / 16.5 cm||6.3 in / 16 cm||5.9 in / 15 cm||5.3 in / 13.5 cm|
|Grinder||Ceramic burr grinder||Ceramic burr grinder||Ceramic burr grinder||Stainless steel cone grinder|
|Bean container capacity||12 oz / 340 g||10.5 oz / 300 g||8.8 oz / 249.4 g||10.5 oz / 300 g|
|Grounds container capacity||Approximately 15 servings||Approximately 11 servings||Approximately 15 servings||Approximately 14 servings|
|Coffee drinks prepared at the touch of a button||6||5||4||16|
|Adjustable coffee temperature||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adjustable milk foam temperature||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Hot water function||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hot milk function||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Milk foam only option||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Weight||37.5 lbs / 17 kgs||29.5 lbs / 13.4 kgs||16.5 lbs / 7.5 kgs||21lbs / 9.5 kgs|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||15.2 x 11.1 x 16.8 in / 38.5 x 28.2 x 42.8 cm||14.17 x 9.64 x 16.53 in / 35.9 x 24.5 x 42 cm||16.9 x 8.7 x 13.3 in / 43 x 22 x 33.7 cm||9.3 x 16.9 x 13.7 in / 23.6 x 42.9 x 34.8 cm|
|Current price on Amazon||$1,399.00||$1,898.95||$899.00||$1,499.95|
Verdict: Gaggia Accademia
I didn’t mention it before, but I went into this Gaggia Accademia review convinced that I’d end up disappointed. As it turns out, I’ve been impressed by what this machine can do.
A great value for the money!
High quality materials and design
Manual steam wand option
Makes excellent espresso and milk foam
Good value for your money
Dated user interface
While other manufacturers go crazy with hyper modern interfaces and apps, Gaggia simply keeps the Accademia in production. The manufacturer rests safely in the knowledge that its customers prefer high quality design and excellent functionality over fluff and nonsense.
Whether you’re looking for a machine that’ll keep things simple or you want to delve deeper and take control of the reins, this Gaggia espresso machine has your back. From what I’ve seen, the Accademia offers more than enough features to keep even the most discerning coffee lovers satisfied.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Gaggia Accademia review. Have I convinced you that this machine is worth the price? I look forward to your comments!
Gaggia Accademia Review FAQ
Italian manufacturer Gaggia was purchased by Saeco in 1999. In 2009, Saeco was purchased by Dutch-based electronics manufacturer Philips.
Unfortunately, the Gaggia Accademia milk carafe isn’t dishwasher safe. To clean the milk carafe, rinse it under hot water.
The Gaggia machine will alert you that a descaling cycle needs to be performed via the user interface screen.
With proper care and attention, your Gaggia espresso machine should last for at least 10 years.
The Gaggia accademia doesn’t have a hot chocolate function, but there’s no reason you can’t simply steam milk using the Accademia’s manual steam wand then mix in chocolate powder or syrup.