Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express: Which More Friendly To Home-Barista?

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Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express is two lines of coffee machines that are often suggested to buy for users. But between these two machines, Barista Express is our Winner because it’s simple to use for beginners and has a PID function that optimizes the flavour of the coffee.

Breville Barista Express contains a Built-in Conical Burr Grinder that optimizes the machine’s coffee bean grinding capacity, allowing the device to grind any type of coffee beans while still ensuring the flavour of the coffee. If you are looking for a versatile machine with advanced coffee bean grinding, I am sure the Barista Express will satisfy you.

Gaggia Anima impresses users with the feature that automatically remembers the level of coffee flavor by adding or reducing the amount of water to suit each individual’s preferences.
To know more about the difference between these two machines, let’s take a look at the comparative characteristics of these two models.

Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
The Runner-up (#2)
Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable Options,Black
Model
Breville Barista Express
Gaggia Anima
Dimensions
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
16.93 x 8.7 x 13.38 Inches
Capacity
1.9 Liters
1.7 Liters
Material
Steel
Plastic
Color
Stainless Steel
Black
Weight
23 Pounds
16 Pounds
Power
1600 Watts
1400 W
Interface Input
Button, Dial, Knob
LCD + Buttons
Built-In Grinder
Conical Burr Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Manual Milk Frothing
Pre Infusion
Purge Function
Digital Temperature Control
Optimal Water Pressure
Programmable Brewing
Good for Entertaining
What I Like
Price
$696.99
$589.72
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
Capacity
1.9 Liters
Material
Steel
Color
Stainless Steel
Weight
23 Pounds
Power
1600 Watts
Interface Input
Button, Dial, Knob
Built-In Grinder
Conical Burr Grinder
Manual Milk Frothing
Pre Infusion
Purge Function
Digital Temperature Control
Optimal Water Pressure
Programmable Brewing
Good for Entertaining
What I Like
Price
$696.99
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable Options,Black
Model
Gaggia Anima
Dimensions
16.93 x 8.7 x 13.38 Inches
Capacity
1.7 Liters
Material
Plastic
Color
Black
Weight
16 Pounds
Power
1400 W
Interface Input
LCD + Buttons
Built-In Grinder
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Manual Milk Frothing
Pre Infusion
Purge Function
Digital Temperature Control
Optimal Water Pressure
Programmable Brewing
Good for Entertaining
What I Like
Price
$589.72
More Info

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express: Differences

In the debate between Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express, Barista Express get the winning position with a score of 2-1 against Gaggia Anima. The versatility of Barista Express’s design and the functions that precise regulation of water pressure and temperature have given it the upper hand in this comparison.

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Breville Barista Express

Built-in Grinder

These espresso machines have built-in grinders, sparing you from buying an additional burr coffee grinder and saving you counter space for it. The Gaggia Anima has a ceramic burr grinder, whereas the Breville Barista Express features a stainless steel conical burr grinder. If you ask me, I give props to the former for good reasons.

the stainless steel conical burr grinder of the breville barista express
The stainless steel conical burr grinder of the Breville Barista Express

The stainless steel grinder has a reputation for durability and consistent grinding. However, the Achilles heel of this type of grinder is that it is prone to overheating when grinding, resulting in the coffee grounds being heated and, yes, you guessed it, a pathetic espresso. Moreover, I observed the stainless steel grinder to be a tad noisy. It didn’t blare like a siren or an alarm bell, but I am of the opinion that if you brew your coffee early in the morning, its rattling sound might draw some ire from others around you.

My other gripe is that the grinding process of the Barista Express ends up with a mess of coffee grounds strewn across the drip tray, resulting in additional cleaning after each use. Who has enough time for this on those frantic mornings?

The Gaggia Anima just has 5 grind settings, which is below both my expectations and the industry norm of 6. Meanwhile, the Barista Express blew my mind with its impressive 16 settings, offering a broad scope of adjustments to achieve the perfect shot. Toggling between grind size settings on the Gaggia Anima is also a bit complicated since it necessitates a distinct tool instead of merely rotating a knob as you would with the Barista Express. Imagine losing this tool one day – it’s anyone’s guess what happens then!

gaggia anima vs breville barista express’s grind settings
Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express’s grind settings

The Breville Barista Express comes with a sturdy, well-made 54-millimeter portafilter, 4 filter baskets: pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, and a good tamper. On your side, you need to be ready to get hands-on and tackle a few do-it-yourself tasks.

the breville barista express comes with 4 filter baskets
The Breville Barista Express comes with 4 filter baskets

The fact is that the non-pressurized portafilter basket features various tiny holes in the bottom – only the grounds themselves create resistance, so you need to ensure your grind particle size is perfect for getting a tasty shot. On the flip side, the pressurized portafilter basket has fewer holes in the bottom, creating a sort of artificial pressure to extract a crema-heavy shot even with pre-ground coffee or a less-than-ideal grind size. 

A non-pressurized basket requires more precision and skill to achieve the best shot, while a pressurized basket offers a more forgiving brewing experience, especially for newbies or when pre-ground coffee is desired. Experienced coffee enthusiasts and baristas typically prefer non-pressurized baskets since they allow for greater control and the potential to bring out more nuanced flavors from freshly ground, high-quality coffee beans.

The Barista Express comes with a tamper that can be conveniently stowed away via a magnet. While it isn’t the flimsy plastic type, it could be a bit heavier to be more effective. But, I acknowledge that if it were any heavier, the magnet might not hold it securely, leading to frequent falls. I bet we have to take the bad with the good.

the tamper
The tamper

Heating System

Both have a single boiler, which is standard for all machines in this price bracket. This means they can’t pull an espresso shot and steam milk simultaneously as a model with dual boilers does. Instead, they perform each function in turn and have a break in between for the machine to heat up the water to the right temperature. If you ask me, the sweet spot for brewing espresso is 195 to 205 °F, while the ideal range for steaming milk is 150 to 155 °F.

The good news is that they don’t take half an hour to heat up like traditional boiler machines. The Gaggia Anima has Thermoblock technology, which only takes about 20 seconds to heat up, while the Barista Express can reach the proper temperature in just under a minute with a thermocoil. That means they switch quickly and seamlessly between processes, and you don’t have to endure long waits to enjoy your favorite drink. I recommend waiting a little longer before pulling the first espresso shot. 

It is worth noting that your espresso will be left to sit for a while while you’re preparing the milk foam. This can get it out of its perfect temperature and, of course, result in a less-than-perfect result (if you brew espresso first). The Barista Express features a cup warmer on top, which, as its name implies, can be used to preheat your cup to prevent heat loss as you prepare the milk froth. For machines that lack a cup warmer, such as the Gaggia Anima, pre-warming your mug with hot water is a handy alternative.

the cup warmer on top of the breville barista express
The cup warmer on top of the Breville Barista Express

Brewing System

Before extracting the espresso, the Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express both slightly dampen the coffee grounds with hot water, allowing carbon dioxide to escape and aromas to begin to develop. It’s the same principle as enabling the grounds to bloom when making pour-over coffee or French press. This step is called “pre-infusion,” which is vital in achieving the best possible flavor and is nearly standard in the world of bean-to-cup espresso machines (but not present in every machine).

Only the Breville Barista Express facilitates customizing the length of the pre-infusion phase. This is a really cool feature since a longer or shorter duration of pre-infusion can alter the taste profile of espresso, and there’s nothing better than fine-tuning it yourself to suit your preferred taste. Still, the adjustment is a bit complicated, and it should have a dedicated button for this.

Then, both extract espresso at a pressure of up to 15 bars, while espresso brewing requires at least 9 bars – that is great. There is a large pressure gauge Placed front and center on the Breville Barista Express’s control panel, showing if the internal pump is pushing hot water through the grounds within the optimal pressure range.

In terms of adjustability, the Gaggia Anima allows switching between 5 levels of coffee strength, whereas the Barista Express offers a wider scope of precise alterations using a control knob. While the Gaggia Anima only has 3 levels of brew temperature, The Breville Barista Express allows you to modify the water temperature in 1°C increments, within a range of ± 2°C from the default – I really love this nifty feature since

Design & Usability

Winner: Gaggia Anima

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Gaggia AnimaBreville Barista Express
Dimensions8.7 x 13.3 x ‎16.9 inches12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches
Weight25 lbs26 lbs

The Gaggia Anima presents a sleek design clad in black and silver plastic housing. The use of mainly plastic construction doesn’t help this one win any awards for durability, but it does help keep the price point lower. Thanks to that,  you can get super-automatic features without spending the same money as you would on a stainless steel counterpart.

The Breville Barista Express is also a visually appealing espresso machine that comes in two finish options: Brushed Stainless and Steel Black Sesame (you’ll likely pay extra bucks for the black variant). Setting itself apart from the Gaggia Anima, this model flaunts a sturdy stainless steel finish, emanating an impression of enduring quality.

The Gaggia Anima has an uncomplicated LCD display surrounded by six user-friendly buttons, ensuring that you probably won’t need to frequently consult the user manual. These buttons may be susceptible to fingerprint marks, but a quick wipe can easily maintain their cleanliness.

On the other hand, the Breville Barista Express has no display – it comes with well-marked knobs, buttons, and dials. For your initial couple of uses, you might need to consult the manual to properly adjust some of the more intricate settings, such as the shot volume, water temperature, and pre-infusion duration.

gaggia anima vs breville barista express’s control panel
Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express’s control panel

They are on the compact side and easy to store on most kitchen countertops. Just remember that their bean hoppers are top-loading when you want to put the machine underneath something like overhead cabinets. They are quite heavy, but this shouldn’t be a significant concern as positioning them is typically a one-off task.

Spout & Cup Clearance

Gaggia AnimaBreville Barista Express
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4.3–6.5 inches4 inches

The Breville Barista Express doesn’t offer an abundant amount of space under the portafilter. Given the 4-inch cup clearance, this one isn’t able to accommodate some sizes of travel mugs or insulated coffee cups. You could temporarily remove the drip tray to make some room, but this isn’t an ideal workaround.

The Barista Express’s dual spout can move vertically and fit taller cups, but the plastic sliding mechanism impairs its smoothness. I would also prefer if it could be lowered a bit further to avert espresso splashes when dispensing the beverage.

Both the Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express can prepare double cups of espresso, a real game-changer for those chaotic mornings when every family member is scrambling to get their favorite caffeine-loaded beverage before dashing off. The dose of the double shot can also be fine-tuned thanks to the Memo feature.

gaggia anima vs breville barista express’s dual spout
Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express’s dual spout

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Gaggia AnimaBreville Barista Express
Water Reservoir1.8 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.26 liter0.24 liter

The water tank capacities on both are indeed large enough for typical home use and necessitate just one refill a day unless your home is bustling with ardent coffee aficionados. Both have small handles that make it a breeze to carry them to the sink for water addition. The Barista Express’s tank is on the rear, so filling it seems more complicated than the top-accessed reservoir of the Gaggia Anima. I don’t recommend letting water sit in the tank for days. Rather, using fresh water daily is best.

Both are equipped with a filter as an option: an Intenza+ water filter cartridge for the Gaggia Anima and a Breville Barista filter for the Breville Barista Express. Using a filter comes with a monthly cost, but it’s a smart move to bypass the necessity of descaling the machine and savor espresso in its fullest, most delicious essence.

intenza+ water filter cartridge and breville barista filter
Intenza+ water filter cartridge and Breville Barista filter

Regarding the bean hopper, one thing that the Barista Express has over its competitor is that it features an airtight lid. Why is it a big concern? Without an airtight top cover, the grind is slightly louder, and the beans lose their aroma quickly.

gaggia anima vs breville barista express’s bean hoppers
Gaggia Anima vs Breville Barista Express’s bean hoppers

Milk Frothing System

Both the Gaggia Anima and the Barista Express are outfitted with steam wands: the former boasts a Pannarello wand, while the latter features a traditional-style steam one. Their lack of fully automated milk frothing systems is an enticing call to awaken your inner barista and master the art through practice. If you have no time for this and are after a machine that can do everything for you with just one touch, the other version, the Gaggia Anima Prestige, might be a better fit.

you will need to froth milk yourself with the steam wand
You will need to froth milk yourself with the steam wand

Frothing milk with a steam wand can undeniably be daunting for newcomers, but it’s an art cherished by professional baristas and experienced coffee aficionados. As a first-timer, you’ll need to dedicate time to learning and practicing, and once you master it, you’ll certainly turn heads with your skillful execution!

Upon initial inspection, I found the Gaggia Anima’s Pannarello wand to be slightly inconvenient due to its shortness and limited range of motion, making it challenging to observe the happenings within the milk jug. On the other hand, the Barista Express wand can swivel 360 degrees, simplifying the task of positioning the pitcher appropriately.

Through my personal experimentation, the Gaggia Anima, with its beautiful stainless steel wand, produced the silky-textured milk quintessential to a delightful cappuccino. Still, as for latte aficionados, this one might not be the best tool. I found the wand on the Barista Express less powerful than its competitor, making the steaming process somewhat slow, but its 360-degree rotation makes it easy to make milk froth for cappuccinos or silky microfoam for lattes. 

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Gaggia AnimaBreville Barista Express
Espresso
Espresso Lungo
Hot Water
Espresso
Hot Water

These machines have no one-touch milk-based drinks, so you need to prepare the espresso first and whip up milk foam on your own instead to get your dreamy cappuccinos. The initial attempts might not meet your expectations, but don’t let these early setbacks discourage you!

Both have a hot water function, and I like such a small but nifty addition. The Gaggia Anima’s steam wand can double as a hot water dispenser, whereas the Barista Express has a separate hot water spout. As such, the latter ensures there’s no risk of milk residue tainting your tea or hot chocolate.

As mentioned earlier, they allow tweaking of coffee strength and brewing temperature. Also, the Memo feature enables you to adjust the shot length to suit your taste or cup size instead of the preset parameters. Your change will be used as a default for subsequent uses until another adjustment is made.

Out of coffee beans? Don’t worry! The Gaggia Anima comes with a bypass doser, providing an emergency solution for whipping up a decaf. You can also use pre-ground coffee with the Barista Express, and the pressurized portafilter basket is recommended.

the bypass doser on the gaggia anima
The bypass doser on the Gaggia Anima

Quick Rundown of Breville Barista Express

Sale
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Earn up to $200 cashback with a Beanz coffee subscription when you purchase a selected Breville espresso machine. Visit earn-cashback.breville.com purchase to claim. Valid Aug 1, 2023 until Jun 30, 2024
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute, helping you make the perfect cup of Cappuccino or Latte
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Mordern design with many buttons for operating
  • Amazing frother
  • Easier to maintain and requires less cleaning
  • The instructions includes a troubleshooting section
Cons
  • Require large space to locate the machine
  • The water tank needs to be refilled often

Quick Rundown of Gaggia Anima

Sale
Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine, Includes Steam Wand for Manual Frothing for Lattes and Cappuccinos with Programmable Options,Black
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of espresso extracted will vary depending on the grind size and amount and reprogramming may be needed when the size and amount are adjusted
  • MANUAL FROTHING FOR MILK-BASED DRINKS: Pannarello steam wand for frothing milk
  • PROGRAMMABLE: Programmable brewing options for espresso and espresso lungo
  • TEMPERATURE CONTROL: 3 different temperature settings. Min/177.5 °F, Med/182.9 °F, Max/184.5 °F
  • EASY ACCESS TO WATER RESERVOIR AND BEAN HOPPER: Features a removable 60 oz water reservoir that can be accessed on the top left of the machine, and an 8.8 ounce capacity bean hopper with access from the top right of the machine

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Easy to clean with Removable Brew Group
  • Conserve energy by using Low Energy Standby Mode
  • Attractive LCD display
  • Simple to operate and bring tasty espresso
Cons
  • Must finding the right beans without oils
  • Always keep a high water condition

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5/5 - (2 votes)