Gaggia Accademia vs Balila
Our 2020 Gaggia Accademia Review takes a detailed look Gaggia Babila vs Accademia. The Gaggia Accademia was awarded #6 on our list of the 20 best super automatic espresso machines and the Babila earned the #2 slot.
With lots of good choices available, the critical questions is should you buy the Accademia 1003380 over other great models? For more information on how it stacks up to other Gaggia espresso machines see our recent article – Cadorna Prestige Review 2020 chapter titled Comparing the Cadorna Prestige vs Accademia vs Babila.
Gaggia patented the modern espresso mechanism in 1938 and revolutionized how Italians (and then all of us) drank coffee. Just as importantly, Gaggia is an Italian company and designs and makes the Accademia in Italy and it shows.
Gaggia Accademia Review
As we wrote in our recent 2020 Gaggia Buyer’s Guide installment, Comparing the Cadorna Prestige vs Accademia vs Babila, the Accademia 1003380 is a great product.
There is a lot to like about the Accademia 1003380. It makes great drinks, brews rich, delicious espresso, makes smooth and velvety microfoam. It is also a beautiful machine and is well made. The Accademia has good capacity for water, beans, milk and spent grounds. Finally, both the Gaggia Babila and Accademia has a lot of removable parts and is reasonably easy to keep clean and well maintained.
It does have some shortcomings and a few things to consider before buying.
The Accademia has 8 built-in drink options. This is ok but not great. It comes with presets for espresso, caffè lungo, caffè, cappuccino, latte macchiato, hot milk, milk froth and hot water. Many comparable espresso machines make more options. Gaggia’s Cadorna Prestige makes 14 drinks, for example.
However, ask yourself what drinks you are really going to make for yourself and your family or guests. I like cafe au lait, but I am realistically never going to make myself one at home. So, I don’t really care about the ‘missing options.’
The interface it good overall. It has very nicely styled buttons and they and the Espresso Plus knob are good physical controls. The Accademia does have a color display, but it looks dated. The colors are not rich the images less photorealistic than you see in newer models and the organization of the menus is good but not great.
I am not really bothered by the increasingly dated look of the interface. The machine’s body and shape itself are elegant and classic. It is mainly the controls that look older. A well-made Gaggia will last for many, many years.
So, I think it is a mistake for them to emphasize a modern look or employ too much visible technology because really modern styling and displays will become outdated looking before you need to replace the machine. The Accademia has a beautiful stainless-steel body. So, overall the machine is well crafted and has timeless styling and elegant lines.
Gaggia Accademia vs Babila
The Babila was awarded 95/100 score on our 20 Best Super Automatic Espresso Maker list for 2020. This earned it the #2 slot vs the Accademia #6 slot.
Gaggia Accademia Review: Brewing Features
Espresso brewing is a big strength for the Accademia.
Like other Gaggia machines it has a 15-bar pump. You can adjust the aroma, body and temperature of coffee, coffee and/or milk length, the pre-brewing level and adjust the milk froth. The Optiaroma system five levels for the Accademia from 6.5 to 11.5 grams of coffee. This is a good range although some machines do allow for a broader range.
The Accademia has 3 levels of pre-brewing and three levels of adjustable coffee temperature and adjustable coffee length. The “Espresso Plus” system on the Accademia has a knob on the front of the machine. You turn the knob left or right during the brewing to adjust the taste. This is a nice way to customize your drink on the fly.
Dual independent stainless-steel boiler will help reduce the time between drinks and frothing milk. This is a big advantage over the Cadorna Prestige and other, lower priced alternatives.
The Accademia has a ceramic grinder with 8 settings. It uses the Gaggia Adapting System to adjust the grinding process to the blend. So, you will get the grind you want.
Grinding is better to get integrated and I recommend it. If you are going to have an automatic espresso machine, then let it work to its strengths. When you have a bean-to-cup system you eliminate the chances of you messing up a step. The Accademia handles all the steps from grinding, tamping, expressing and milk steaming and frothing consistently.
Gaggia Babila vs Accademia Microfoam
I like that the Accademia has an integrated milk carafe. The machine allows you to select and program 4 frothing options from hot milk to a steady and velvety foam. Both the Babila and Accademia make outstanding microfoam It has adjustable milk length and four different milk foam settings. As a result, the Accademia delivers great, consistent milk foam at the temperature you want.
Gaggia Babila vs Accademia: Maintenance & Cleaning
You want to enjoy your drinks and not spend too much time filling things or emptying them out. The Accademia has good bean, water, milk and spent coffee ground capacities. It holds 15 pucks of spent grounds, for example.
Many components can be removed, and you can access a lot of the machine. This allows for good maintenance and thorough cleanup. The parts that can be removed includes the milk carafe, water tank, coffee pucks container and the drip tray plate & container. This is getting more unusual among some brands. The Accademia does have a descaling cycle.
Gaggia Babila vs Accademia Review
The final word in our Gaggia Accademia Review is that we rate this a strong “buy” at 91. The Gaggia Babila vs Accademia question comes up a lot. As long as you are not bothered by the tradeoffs and shortcomings it is a great choice. However, you may also want to consider the Gaggia Babila SUP046DG and the Cadorna Prestige as well which are both outstanding machines.