Let's begin our review with a comparative look at Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige features.
Gaggia Anima Deluxe
Gaggia Anima Prestige
16.9” x 8.7” x 13.4”
16.9” x 8.7” x 13.4”
16.9” x 8.7” x 13.4”
Mostly ABS Plastic
Brushed Metal w/ Plastic Accents
Brushed Metal w/ Plastic Accents
Ceramic Burr, 5 adjustment levels
Ceramic Burr, 5 adjustment levels
Ceramic Burr, 5 adjustment levels
One Touch Drink Selection
Gaggia Anima Deluxe
Gaggia Anima Prestiage
Table of Contents
- 1 An Overview of the Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige
- 2 Pros & Cons of Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige
- 3 Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige Review Conclusion
Are you in the market for a super-automatic espresso machine that offers the very best of everything?
We haven’t found one that’s absolute perfection yet, but we have to admit, the Gaggia Anima Prestige coffee maker comes awfully close, as do its two sister models. No matter what your skill level when it comes to making specialty coffee drinks, you’re going to love these machines!
While they share a number of similarities, there are some key differences to take note of, and in the sections that follow, we’ll break down both the similarities and differences as we compare the Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige, so you can decide which is the best fit for you and your home.
In the end, we think you’ll agree, these are some of the finest super-automatics on the market today!
An Overview of the Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige
Before we get into particulars, let’s start with a broad overview of the three machines in question.
As you can see, these three models have a lot of similarities, but there are also some key differences. Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything in detail in the sections below!
Form Factor, Footprint and Aesthetic
Gaggia has a beautiful machine in the Prestige line, with its sleek, modern design, brushed silver finish and black highlights.
Note: Our Gaggia Anima review would be incomplete if we didn’t call attention to the fact that the base model (least expensive) trades brushed metal for sturdy black ABS plastic, resulting in significant cost savings.
Either way though, this device will fit right into any modern kitchen and the design is timeless enough that it won’t look out of place in most others.
All three models are fairly tall (overall dimensions are 16.9” x 8.7” x 13.4”), so whichever one you settle on, it may present a few challenges if you have limited clearance between your countertop and your cabinetry. Nonetheless, its footprint is generally small enough that if you’ve got at least some counter space to work with, you can find it a good, permanent home easily enough.
The height of the machine is more of an issue than it is with most because of the top-loading water reservoir, which we’ll talk more about in the next section, and is a point to be aware of. Certainly not a deal breaker, but you’ll want to be sure you’ve got room to get to the water tank.
The good news though, is that even if you find yourself having to maneuver the machine around, since it only weighs sixteen pounds, that’s an easy proposition. Plus of course, this model is manufactured in Gaggia’s native Italy, so you’re getting top-quality European craftsmanship!
We’re coffee fiends. Because of that, we readily admit that we’re biased toward machines that have super-sized water reservoirs, and all three models deliver in style! They all utilize a generously sized 60-ounce water tank, which is big enough to satisfy the coffee appetites of even the most hardcore drinkers.
A couple of things to note about the reservoir, though. First is the fact that it’s top loading. This is slightly less convenient than front loading designs, and requires that you have an extraordinary amount of clearance between your countertop and the bottom edge of your cabinets.
Barring that, you’ll simply have to move the machine any time you want to reload. Again, this is by no means a deal breaker, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind when your weighing your purchase options.
An important note here is that all three models also utilize a water filter, built into the reservoir tank.
Opinions are divided on this issue. Some people love the filter, and others aren’t thrilled with it. The advantage of the filter is that you don’t have to descale your machine as often. The disadvantage is that you’ve got to factor periodic filter replacements into the total cost of ownership of the machine.
In our opinion, the filter is an unnecessary addition because you can just use distilled water and largely accomplish the same goal (minimize descaling). But we can’t really hold its inclusion against the company because we completely understand the reason for its inclusion.
The burr grinder is interesting, and a fusion of design decisions we liked and didn’t like so much.
On the plus side, the grinding mechanisms are ceramic, rather than stainless steel. We consider that a plus because metallic grinders of any sort invariably heat up during the grinding process. That heat can leave a burnt taste in the resulting grounds, which can ruin the flavor of your coffee. So, kudos to Gaggia on that front.
Another plus, the bean hopper is relatively large at 8.8 ounces. At that size, it is well-paired with the size of the water tank. One of our biggest gripes about some machines is that they’ll offer a quite large water reservoir and pair it with a tiny bean hopper, or they’ll put a large-sized bean hopper with a small water tank.
That’s problematic because if you drink a large volume of coffee, then it sees you constantly to refill one or the other, and it gets old quickly. The Prestige doesn’t suffer that problem, and we couldn’t be happier. Another kudos to Gaggia!
Limited Grind Settings
On the minus side, the grinder only has five settings. That’s sufficient, but frankly underwhelming for their flagship design. Five settings would be fine for the base model, but where the Prestige is concerned, we’d love to have seen more.
Getting the right grind is the heart and soul of a great cup of coffee, and everyone’s tastes and preferences are different.
While five grind settings may be enough for a healthy chunk of the market, if none of those settings work for you, you’re left with no other option but to buy a separate grinder. If you do that, then you’re forced to use the bypass doser for every cup and destroy the entire concept of a “beans to brew” system that super-automatics are built around.
This could be a deal breaker for some people, but the majority will probably find one of the five offered settings to their satisfaction. We did deduct for the limited number of options here, and that shortcoming is reflected in our summary score. We view it as the single biggest weakness of the design.
Going back to the bypass doser, this is nice to have, because there are times when you just don’t want to go through the whole process, especially if all you want is a quick cup of decaf in the evening, and having a means of using pre-ground coffee is both handy and convenient.
Pro Tip: One other thing to note with this machine is that adjusting the grind setting isn’t as simple as just turning a dial. For some reason, on all three of the Anima models, you’ve got to insert a specialized tool over the yellow knob inside the bean hopper to make grind setting adjustments.
This, for us, is a somewhat clumsy feature implementation. If you don’t need to change your grind settings often, it won’t bother you. But, if you find yourself having to make regular adjustments (ex: for a large household with multiple coffee drinkers, or making a variety of drinks), then it will get tiresome quickly.
The Prestige utilizes a double boiler system, allowing you to brew coffee and steam or froth milk, simultaneously. In terms of convenience, this is huge! It means there’s no downtime and waiting for the boiler to downshift to a lower temperature for the milk. End result? Faster coffee, and that’s always a good thing!
Another perk is: all three models allow for three different temperature settings, so you can get your coffee, your way. The lowest setting produces drink at 177.5°F, medium at 182.9°F, and high at 184.5°F, which is hot enough to satisfy even people who buy the machine, coming from the conventional drip-brew coffee maker world.
The Milk Frothing System
Here’s where we begin to see the three models diverge, as all three take a different approach to frothing milk.
Gaggia Anima - Frothing Wand
In the case of the Gaggia Anima automatic coffee machine, the baseline model uses a frothing wand, which many coffee purists view as superior, because it gives you the highest degree of control over the characteristics of the froth you get.
What’s interesting about this is the fact that the base model was really designed for people who are new to the world of specialty coffee drinks, and who are looking for a modestly priced unit to begin exploring that world. Curiously, the presence of the wand may also attract more experienced users as well.
Gaggia Anima Deluxe - Auto Frother
Meanwhile, the Gaggia Anima Deluxe super automatic espresso machine takes a middle-ground approach, offering an auto-frothing system. In terms of execution, the auto-frother relies on a length of plastic tubing placed into a container of milk. The tubing sucks the milk into the boiler, heats it, then dispenses it via the frother built into the unit.
This approach is more user friendly and forgiving if you’re new to the process of brewing custom coffee drinks, and is generally more forgiving than a wand-based approach, although from an aesthetic perspective, it’s probably our least favorite feature implementation, because it gives the unit the appearance of a high school science project when the auto-frother is in use.
Gaggia Anima Prestige - Fully Automated Frother
Finally, the flagship model, the Gaggia Anima Prestige super automatic espresso machine, uses a fully automated system and comes with its own, detachable milk carafe. You just pour your milk into the container, place it in the machine, set your desired level of froth, and let the machine to all the work.
This is the most user friendly of the three options, because everything is done for you. Although for that very same reason, it will likely be off-putting to coffee purists, who won’t like the loss of fine-grained control.
The great thing about the detachable container though, is that there’s no wasted milk. If you’ve got some left over, just pop the carafe out of the machine, and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to make another cup. Handy and convenient!
Telescoping Coffee Spigot
This is another feature that all three models of the Gaggia Anima super automatic espresso machine share in common. The coffee spigot is height adjustable, and will accommodate cups up to 5.9” in height.
Pro Tip: For creamier coffee, you’ll want to adjust the coffee spigot so that it’s as close to the lip of the cup as possible.
Your Coffee, Your Way
The brewing unit and its interface (the control panel on the front of the device) represent the beating heart of the machine, and it is magnificent.
Our Gaggia Anima Prestige review would not be complete without drawing particular attention to the one aspect of this model that really puts it in a category by itself, even when compared with the Deluxe and the base models in this line, and that is the one-touch drink selector.
With the Prestige, you can create a variety of advanced coffee drinks, literally with the touch of a button. Even better, the machine preserves all the key customization functions, so you can increase the strength of the shot, adjust your level of foam if the drink is milk based, and adjust the amount of water used.
While the Prestige is the priciest of the three models, the convenience of this feature alone makes it well worth the extra money in our view.
After all, super-automatics sell themselves as “beans to brew” coffee systems, but with the other models (Deluxe and the base model), there’s still at least some manual intervention needed. That’s simply not the case with the Prestige.
You can modify all the critical components of any coffee drink on all three models (dose size, amount of water, and amount of foam), and the machine will remember those settings until someone else changes them later.
This is one potential limitation of the machine.
There are no user profiles, so there’s only a single “slot” for each drink’s customization. If there are three people in your household, and all three want a custom cappuccino, then every time someone customizes the drink to their preferred settings, it’s going to overwrite the previously saved settings for that drink.
It’s a limitation, but not an enormous one. You won’t notice it at all if you’re the only coffee drinker in the house.
Note that all three models use the same brew group that'is easily removable for periodic cleaning.
Cup Warming Tray
None of the three Anima models offer a cup warming tray. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, given that there are other easy ways to pre-warm your cup, and the fact that on the highest of the three temperature setting options, the output should be hot enough to please everyone.
Pro Tip: If you decide to buy one of these three models, and you want to pre-warm your cup, the easiest way is to simply dispense hot water from the machine into your cup while you’re getting everything else ready, then empty it into the drip tray and make your drink.
Easy to Use, Easy to Clean
All three models offer an extensive suite of automated cleaning routines. In fact, you’ll be prompted to run the cleaning cycle after each drink you make.
Obviously, if you’re making several drinks back to back, you can simply skip this step and run the cleaning cycle after you’ve made the last drink. Nevertheless, it’s very handy and convenient that you get constant reminders about the cleaning.
Also note that the drip tray holds up to 24 ounces of liquid, and the dregs box will hold up to nine pucks before it needs to be cleaned out. Both of these are easy to access, which keeps cleanup fairly simple and straightforward.
While we can’t say that there’s no learning curve here, it is fairly mild. The controls are simple and intuitive, and once you’ve made 2-3 drinks with the machine, you’ll have effectively mastered it.
As an added bonus, the user manuals are well-written and generally informative. So, if you do run into a question or a problem, those will be reliable sources of help and information (which sadly, isn’t always the case with some companies!)
Pros & Cons of Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige
There’s a lot to like about these machines. In our view, Gaggia got just about everything right. If we could make any changes we wanted, here are a few things we’d like to see tweaked:
On the whole though, we readily admit that none of these, even taken together, are deal breakers. The Anima line is exceptional, and the Prestige most of all.
Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige Review Conclusion
Having made a detailed comparison of the Gaggia Anima vs Anima Deluxe vs Anima Prestige, we love them all.
The base model is modestly priced and surprisingly full-featured. Our least favorite of the three was the Gaggia Anima Deluxe automatic coffee machine, mostly on account of the fact that we don’t like the implementation of the auto-frother, and of course, the flagship model, the Gaggia Anima Prestige automatic coffee machine is our favorite.
Yes, it’s the most expensive. But in our view, it comes the closest in terms of living up to the super-automatic ideal of being a true one touch, beans to brew system.
We’d recommend all three models highly. But in order of preference, our recommendation would be:
Whichever one you pick though, you’re guaranteed a great cup of coffee and years of reliable service. They are wonderful machines.
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