If you've checked out my super automatic espresso machine guide 2022, you'll know I promised to take a closer look at Gaggia machines. To prove that I'm a man of my word, I've decided to start with a Gaggia Babila review. As it happens, I'm as interested as you are to see what this popular automatic coffee maker is all about.
If you’ve checked out my super automatic espresso machine guide 2022, you’ll know I promised to take a closer look at Gaggia machines. To prove that I’m a man of my word, I’ve decided to start with a Gaggia Babila review. As it happens, I’m as interested as you are to see what this popular automatic coffee maker is all about.
More importantly, I want to know whether the Gaggia Babila can deliver high quality espresso and milk foam. Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
Gaggia Babila Overview
Gaggia has been in the espresso machine game for a long time, and the Italian manufacturer has established itself as a trusted name when it comes to quality and durability.
I mean let’s face it: we’re talking about a company whose founder patented the first modern steam-free coffee maker – essentially inventing espresso crema at the same time. I think we can agree that these guys know what they’re doing!
Costing $1,898.95 on Amazon, the Gaggia Babila is no small investment. Not only that, this price point puts the Babila in the middle of a particularly crowded super automatic espresso machine segment.
There are plenty of other great machines costing around the same amount, so the Gaggia Babila is going to have to rely on more than just its Italian pedigree to stand out.
Luckily, the Babila has a lot of features that’ll get you excited, especially if you’re a fan of excellent espresso and fine milk foam.
You can forget about a full color touchscreen display or being able to control your coffee maker from your phone; the Gaggia Babila isn’t concerned with such frivolous modern trappings.
However, there’s a lot going on under the hood in terms of programmability. Plus, the degree to which you’re able to control different aspects of espresso production is truly impressive.
Gaggia Babila Features
As I already mentioned in the first part of my Gaggia Babila review, the machine is packed with features that make it an extremely attractive proposition. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the Babila so special.
Gaggia Babila Construction
At this point, I should mention that the Gaggia Babila is made from stainless steel with chrome accents. It’s not often that I review a coffee maker without having to wheel out my usual line about too much plastic having been used in the construction, so big points for Gaggia there.
While the Babila might not be the most iconic example of Italian design, it does have a sleek, streamlined silhouette. I also appreciate the Babila’s compact dimensions. After all, not everyone has enough counter space in their kitchen for a bulky monster of a coffee maker.
I’m of the opinion that there’s a tendency to overstate the importance of touchscreen displays. It’s all very well to have a fancy color display with pretty icons, but unless it has a direct effect on the quality of espresso and milk foam, I’m just as happy with a simple text display and buttons.
With that said, I do find the blocky text on the Gaggia Babila’s digital display to be hilariously old fashioned. It reminds me of something you’d see in an old Pacman game. Still, the display is clear and easy to read, and the surrounding buttons make navigating the Babila’s user interface a piece of cake.
Unlike many super automatics, the Gaggia Babila’s grinder is fitted with ceramic burrs, which really help to reduce heat buildup during grinding. This is a pretty big deal, as the grinder will help preserve the delicate aroma of your precious coffee beans.
The grinder settings are accessed via a flip top lid on top of the machine, with the bean hopper sitting underneath. What gets me pumped is the choice of 15 grind settings, which is quite remarkable for an automatic machine at this price point.
As much as I love DeLonghi’s LatteCrema system, we have a serious contender on our hands with the Gaggia Babila’s automatic milk carafe. The carafe itself can be stored in the fridge, then easily slotted into the machine.
I love the simple design of this system – instead of hoses or tubes, the automatic carafe has a chunky dispensing spout that you move over your cup when you’re ready to prepare milk foam. Even better, the milk system is self-cleaning, which means you don’t have to rinse various bits and pieces after every cappuccino or latte macchiato.
I like having options, which is why I was happy to see that the Gaggia Babila also has a manual steam wand. This means you have the option of manually creating milk froth if you want to impress your friends with your wicked barista skills. You might not be able to create competition level microfoam, but you should be pouring rosettas and swans in no time!
With only eight specialty one touch drinks, the Gaggia Babila might seem rather limited in comparison to some other super automatics. Dig a little deeper, though, and it quickly becomes apparent that this machine has more than a few tricks up its sleeve.
For starters, there are numerous ways you can adjust the Babila’s coffee and espresso. I’ll talk more about that a bit later. As far as milk based drinks go, all the favorites are here, including espresso macchiato, flat white and cappuccino. Again, you’re able to customize milk settings in the Babila’s menu, meaning there’s a potentially bottomless rabbit hole of specialty drinks available!
The Gaggia Babila’s dual coffee dispensing spout is fully adjustable from three to six inches, meaning you can get it nice and low to preserve crema during espresso preparation, or lift it all the way up when you’re making a larger drink. Best of all, the spout assembly can be pushed back and removed altogether which is ideal for preparing coffee in an insulated travel cup.
Many super automatic espresso machines have a hard time maintaining consistency due to the fact that they only have one boiler. This can be a real problem when you’re trying to make several milk based coffees in a row, because the thermoblock just can’t keep up.
This shouldn’t be an issue with the Gaggia Babila, thanks to its double boiler system. Ideally, you’ll be able to prepare espresso and use the steam wand at the same time. I look forward to seeing how well that works once I get my hands on one of these beauties!
Espresso From the Gaggia Babila
From everything I’ve seen, what really sets the Gaggia Babila apart from the rest is the degree of control you’ll have over coffee and espresso preparation.
Apart from the impressive number of settings on the ceramic burr grinder, the Babila also allows you to adjust the water temperature and amount of water used during the brewing process. However, Gaggia has taken things further by offering three more ways to finely tune your espresso extraction. I’ll say it again: I like having options!
It’s fairly standard for an automatic coffee maker to offer strength settings, but the Gaggia Babila takes it to the next level by allowing you to choose from five different settings. The higher the setting, the larger the volume of ground coffee that’ll be used in preparation.
Whenever you’re making coffee, whether it’s by hand using a pour over or with a super automatic machine, pre-infusion is an essential part of the process. Dampening the ground coffee with a little water allows carbon dioxide to escape and also helps the coffee’s aroma develop more fully.
The Gaggia Babila has three Taste settings, each of which affects pre-infusion time. For what it’s worth, I’d avoid using the Delicate setting altogether, as it involves no pre-infusion at all.
Espresso Plus System
Now we’re getting to the really good stuff. From where I’m sitting, the Espresso Plus System alone is worth the Babila’s price tag.
Here’s how it works: a dial on the coffee dispensing spout allows you to finely adjust the espresso’s flow rate as it’s being extracted. This, in conjunction with all the other methods of control I’ve already mentioned, means you’re going to get pretty amazing results from the Gaggia Babila.
For a coffee geek like me, having the option to adjust so many parameters sounds like pure heaven!
How to Use the Gaggia Babila
The Gaggia Babila might seem a little intimidating if it’s your first super automatic rodeo. But, it’s actually remarkably easy to use. In fact, I’m willing to bet that anyone could get a serviceable coffee out of this thing without looking at the instructions.
That said, if you really want to get the best out of this coffee maker, I’d recommend spending some time with the instruction manual then experimenting with a bunch of different settings. Trust me, though, it won’t take long before you’ve got everything dialed in to perfection.
Before you can start making coffee drinks, you’ll need to fill the water reservoir and add fresh, high quality coffee beans to the hopper. You’ll also need to perform a rinse cycle, enter your water hardness setting (using the included water hardness test strip) and install a AquaClean water filter if you’re using one.
Remember not to use oily beans in the Gaggia Babila – they’ll just clog up the grinder. While we’re on the subject, you should only make grind adjustments while the grinder is running.
By the way, there’s a pre ground coffee chute next to the bean hopper. You’ll need this when you realize that if you don’t switch to decaf you’ll be awake for the next two days.
Personally, I like to use cheaper coffee beans when I’m learning my way around a new grinder. After all, it takes around three brew cycles before a grind change takes effect, so you could end up wasting a lot of coffee!
Gaggia Babila Cleaning
I don’t care what anyone says, all removable coffee maker parts should be cleaned on the daily. It doesn’t take long, and your tastebuds will thank you in the long run.
The Gaggia Babila’s drip tray, grounds container and brew group can all be easily removed and rinsed with warm water. It almost goes without saying that none of the above have any business in the dishwasher. Once a month, or so, Gaggia recommends performing a brew group cleaning cycle, using cleaning tablets.
Feel free to wipe down the machine with a damp cloth, but I’d avoid using any kind of spray cleaner. As for the automatic milk system, it does a great job of self-cleaning. But, I’d still take it apart and thoroughly clean all components every day.
If you’re using a water filter, you shouldn’t have to descale the Gaggia Babila more than every couple of years. The machine will alert you that a descaling cycle needs to be performed via the display.
The whole process takes about half an hour, and, if the manufacturer is to be believed, you’ll need to use an entire bottle of Gaggia Descaler Solution. Of course, there are cheaper descaler solutions out there, but far be it from me to recommend you ignore the manufacturer’s instructions.
Gaggia Babila Specifications
Gaggia RI9700/64 Super automatic espresso machine Stainless steel with plastic parts Stainless Steel Integrated carafe and steam wand Text display with buttons Memo function only 50.7 fl oz / 1.5 l 2 15 bar 6.4 in / 16.3 cm 3.0 in / 7.6 cm Ceramic flat burr grinder 15 10.6 oz / 300.0 g 11 11 Yes (non-milk drinks only) 1500 W 29.6 lb / 13.4 kg 14.2 x 9.7 x 16.6 in 1 year Included accessories: Lubricant, Measuring spoon, AquaClean water filter, Instruction Booklet.
Gaggia Babila Espresso Machine Manufacturer Model number Product category Removable brew group Housing material Color options Milk frother User interface App User profiles Removable water reservoir Water reservoir capacity Number of boilers Pump pressure Maximum cup height Minimum cup height Grinder Grind adjustment levels Bean hopper capacity Pre-ground coffee bypass Grounds discard container capacity Specialty drinks Pre-infusion Adjustable coffee temperature Adjustable milk foam temperature Adjustable milk temperature 2-cup function Pot function Hot water function Hot milk function Milk foam only option Water filter Power consumption Weight Dimensions
36.1 x 24.6 x 42.2 cm
Warranty Notes Current price on Amazon
BUY NOW ON AMAZON
Super automatic espresso machine
Stainless steel with plastic parts
Integrated carafe and steam wand
Text display with buttons
Memo function only
50.7 fl oz / 1.5 l
6.4 in / 16.3 cm
3.0 in / 7.6 cm
Ceramic flat burr grinder
10.6 oz / 300.0 g
Yes (non-milk drinks only)
29.6 lb / 13.4 kg
14.2 x 9.7 x 16.6 in
Included accessories: Lubricant, Measuring spoon, AquaClean water filter, Instruction Booklet.
Gaggia Babila vs Others
By now, I’m sure you can tell that I find the Gaggia Babila intriguing and more than a little exciting. So, it’s probably a good thing I made Mauricio take my credit card away. Else, I’d be jumping straight on Amazon to order one while there’s stock!
Anyway, no Gaggia Babila review would be complete without seeing how this Italian stallion measures up to the competition.
Gaggia Babila vs Accademia
Although the Gaggia Accademia is slightly larger than the Babila, it comes with a smaller price tag. You’ll pay $1,399.00 on Amazon for the Accademia, which makes this machine substantially more affordable.
In many ways, I’d say the Gaggia Accademia is like a “Babila lite.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great machine; it just doesn’t have the “wow” factor that makes its sibling so enticing. The Gaggia Accademia only has eight grind size settings and three strength settings, and offers fewer specialty drinks. That said, some people might prefer the Accademia’s display, which is much larger and slightly more high-tech.
Gaggia Babila vs Saeco Xelsis
I’ll admit to having been very impressed by the Saeco Xelsis during my hands-on review. This elegant, well-constructed machine ticks almost all the boxes for wonderful coffee and consistent milk foam. I’m also a huge fan of the Saeco’s user interface, which includes a large color touchscreen display. Not only that, the innovative Coffee Equalizer allows you to tinker with settings as if you were dialing in the sound on your stereo.
The main sticking point I have with the Xelsis is its milk system, which involves a hose and a container that has to sit next to the machine. I really prefer the Gaggia’s milk integrated milk carafe. Still, with a price tag of $1,799.00 on Amazon, the Xelsis definitely gives the Gaggia a run for its money.
See Also: Saeco Xselsis Hands On Review
Gaggia Babila vs DeLonghi Dinamica Plus
If you aren’t bothered about having a manual steam wand or two thermoblocks, you should give the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus some serious thought. This machine is a long time favorite of mine, and I’d say it’s a steal at $1,499.95 on Amazon.
The DeLonghi Dinamica Plus makes some of the best super automatic espresso I’ve tasted. Truly, I can’t say enough about the LatteCrema milk system. What’s more, iced coffee fans will be blown away by the DeLonghi’s TrueBrew Over Ice function, which produces seriously tasty iced espresso.
See Also: DeLonghi Dinamica Plus Hands On Review
Gaggia Babila vs Others Comparison Chart
Gaggia Babila Gaggia Accademia Saeco Xelsis 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 Text with buttons Color LCD display with buttons Touchscreen Touchscreen
App No No No Yes
User profiles No No Yes Yes
Water reservoir capacity 50.7 oz / 1.5 l 54 oz / 1.6 l 60.9 oz / 1.8 l 60 oz / 1.77 l
Minimum cup height 3 in / 7.6 cm 3 in / 7.6 cm 2.95 in / 7.5 cm 3.3 in / 8.4 cm
Maximum cup height 6.3 in / 16 cm 6.5 in / 16.5 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 10.5 oz / 300 g 12 oz / 340 g 8.8 oz / 249.4 g 10.5 oz / 300 g
Grounds container capacity Approximately 11 servings Approximately 15 servings Approximately 14 servings Approximately 14 servings
Coffee drinks prepared at the touch of a button 5 6 4 16
Adjustable coffee temperature Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable milk foam temperature Yes Yes No Yes
2-cup function Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hot water function Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hot milk function Yes Yes Yes Yes
Milk foam only option Yes Yes Yes Yes
Water filter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weight 29.5 lbs / 13.4 kgs 37.5 lbs / 17 kgs 25.8 lbs / 11.7 kgs 21lbs / 9.5 kgs
Dimensions (H x W x D) 14.17 x 9.64 x 16.53 in / 35.9 x 24.5 x 42 cm 15.2 x 11.1 x 16.8 in / 38.5 x 28.2 x 42.8 cm 16.9 x 8.7 x 13.4 in / 42.9 x 22 x 35 cm 9.3 x 16.9 x 13.7 in / 23.6 x 42.9 x 34.8 cm
Current price on Amazon $1,898.95 $1,399.00 $1,799.00 $1,499.95
Gaggia Babila Review Verdict
Before embarking on this Gaggia Babila review, I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about the machine at all. As you might have noticed, I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised by what I’ve seen. In fact, there’s still enough space in my kitchen for one more super automatic espresso maker. So, perhaps I’ll have to order the Gaggia Babila and put it through its paces.
I haven’t seen many automatic coffee makers that offer as much versatility in espresso preparation as the Gaggia Babila. It’s obvious that the Italian manufacturer has put a lot of thought into this machine. They are aiming to seduce those who want the freedom to experiment with a variety of settings.
You can’t operate the Gaggia Babila using your Apple Watch and Siri won’t have a clue how to communicate with it. However, this is a machine that’s packed with cool features and definitely stands out from the crowd.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Gaggia Babila review. What’s your experience with this awesome super automatic machine? I look forward to hearing all about it!
Gaggia Babila FAQ
As with most coffee machines, setting up the Gaggia Babila is a fairly straightforward affair. You’ll need to add water to the removable water tank and beans to the bean hopper before plugging the machine in. Once you’ve completed an initial rinse cycle, you’ll be ready to start brewing coffee and preparing milk drinks.
In fact, the Gaggia Babila milk frother has an automatic cleaning cycle that rinses the milk circuit after every use. At the end of each day, you should take the milk frother apart and rinse all the components, including the carafe.
Thankfully, the Gaggia Babila will let you know when it’s time to descale by displaying a message on the screen.
The Gaggia Babila Espresso Plus System allows you to control the coffee’s flow rate. You can do this via a rotary dial above the brew spouts on the front of the machine.
To make an americano on the Gaggia Babila, simply prepare an espresso. Then, use the hot water function to complete the beverage. Alternatively, you can prepare an espresso lungo, which is simply a longer espresso.