Gaggia Velasca Prestige Vs Babila: Let’s Reveal the Better One!

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Both the Gaggia Velasca Prestige vs Babila are well-priced bean-to-cup coffee machines, which are perfect for anyone who wants something simple that can produce decent espresso from fresh beans.

Now, when we compare the two, I’ve got to say the Gaggia Babila is slightly better than the Gaggia Velasca Prestige. It’s packed with more grind settings and a longer list of pre-programmed drinks. And for those of us looking to level up our barista game, the Babila adds a manual steam wand alongside its automatic frothing system. Well, it also looks more eye-catching, I think.

Gaggia Velasca Prestige Vs Babila: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Gaggia Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 54 ounces
Model
Gaggia Babila
Gaggia Velasca Prestige
Dimensions/Weight
10.7 x 12.7 x 17.5 inches/20.7 lbs
13.5 x 10.25 x 17 inches/20.7 lbs
Interface
Non-touch Display
Non-touch Display
One Touch Drink Options
10
6
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burr Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
15
10
Heating System
Dual Thermoblocks
Single Thermoblock
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing System & Steam Wand
Auto-Frothing System
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/2.8-6 inches
Dual/4.3-6.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.5 L/0.3 Kg
1.8 L/0.3 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$1,899.00
$569.00
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
Model
Gaggia Babila
Dimensions/Weight
10.7 x 12.7 x 17.5 inches/20.7 lbs
Interface
Non-touch Display
One Touch Drink Options
10
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
15
Heating System
Dual Thermoblocks
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing System & Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/2.8-6 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.5 L/0.3 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$1,899.00
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Gaggia Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 54 ounces
Model
Gaggia Velasca Prestige
Dimensions/Weight
13.5 x 10.25 x 17 inches/20.7 lbs
Interface
Non-touch Display
One Touch Drink Options
6
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
10
Heating System
Single Thermoblock
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing System
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4.3-6.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.8 L/0.3 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$569.00
More Info

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Velasca Prestige Vs Babila: Differences

The Babila won 4-1 against the Velasca Prestige. So, what’s up with these machines? What are the differences between them? Let’s explore!

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Gaggia Babila

Built-in Grinder

Like all the Gaggia machines I’ve reviewed, the Velasca Prestige and Babila come with a ceramic burr grinder. And let me tell you, these grinders are fantastic at keeping the heat down during grinding. This is super important because it preserves those essential oils in the coffee beans, giving you that full-flavored espresso.

Plus, the ceramic grinder is fast, quiet, and built to last. Just keep an eye out for any foreign objects, as, though it’s rare, anything harder than a coffee bean could chip the grinder.

Now, the Velasca Prestige offers 10 grind settings, while the Babila steps it up with 15. If you’re into micro-managing your espresso, these settings are your playground.

the gaggia babila features 15 grind settings
The Gaggia Babila features 15 grind settings

Adjusting the grind on the Velasca Prestige can be a bit of a hassle, though. It requires a plastic tool that’s part of the dosing spoon, so don’t misplace it! On the Babila,  all you need to do is turn the clearly marked dial to change the grind size.

Both machines have a bypass chute for pre-ground coffee. Sure, with grinders this good, it might seem as useful as a chocolate teapot. But it’ll come into play when your friend, who only drinks decaf (yes, we all have one), pops by. This feature is a little thing, but it’s nice to have, right? 

the bypass chute
The bypass chute

Heating System

The Babila, with two thermoblocks, laughs in the face of morning rushes since it can prepare espresso and steam milk at the same time, not to mention it heats up very quickly. 

Having two boilers can be a big deal when you’re juggling a couple of milk-based drinks in a row, where a single boiler can’t keep up. Additionally, it also means more stable temperatures for each task.

On the other hand, the Velasca Prestige has just one thermoblock to handle both brewing and steaming. So you will need to wait a bit for the machine to switch from one task to another. But, like I said, the thermoblock heats up very quickly, so it’s nothing that’s going to throw off your whole morning schedule.

You can also program them to automatically turn off after an adjustable period of time. It’s like giving Mother Nature a high-five while keeping your electricity bills in check!

Brewing System

It’s a relief to see that these machines both have a pre-infusion function. After all, gently soaking the coffee grounds under low pressure is key to unlocking those deep, delicious aromas, which are the foundation of a great espresso.

I got even more excited to know that they have programmable pre-infusion since some coffee beans might benefit from slight variations in pressure profiling. Many people won’t care about that, but I do.

Design & Convenience

Winner: Tie

Dimensions & User Interface

Gaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Dimensions13.5 x 10.25 x 17 inches10.7 x 12.7 x 17.5 inches
Weight20.7 lbs20.7 lbs

These machines not only look great, but their metal housing also has a robust feel that really reassures you of their quality. There’s no question in my mind about their build quality – these are definitely top-notch machines. And they might not be the most compact on the market, but finding a spot for them on the kitchen counter isn’t a Herculean task.

These machines come with LED screens that have a bit of a retro vibe, surrounded by a handful of buttons. I think this design is great because it’s approachable and user-friendly.

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 still happy with a simple text display and buttons. Anyone could walk up to these machines and use them without feeling overwhelmed or confused. 

velasca prestige's control panel
Velasca Prestige’s control panel

Sure, fancy color displays with all the pretty icons are nice, but at the end of the day, unless those features directly enhance the quality of the espresso and milk foam, I’m more than content with a straightforward text display and buttons. It’s about getting that perfect cup of coffee without all the unnecessary bells and whistles. 

the gaggia babila's user interface
The Gaggia Babila’s user interface

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Gaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4.3-6.5 inches2.8-6 inches

These machines have got adjustable spouts that move up and down. This is great because for espresso, you want the spout close to your cup to keep the crema perfect. And for a bigger drink, just raise it up. 

Unique to the Babila is that its dispenser can be pushed back or even removed entirely, which is super handy for filling up an insulated coffee mug or a taller cup. What’s more, there is a dial on the spout that lets you adjust the speed of your espresso pour – this little tweak can indeed make a big difference in the strength and flavor of your espresso.

the flow controller
The flow controller

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Gaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Water Reservoir1.8 liter1.5 liter
Bean Hopper0.3 kilogram0.3 kilogram

The Velasca Prestige can house a bit more water, which makes sense. Refilling it is a breeze since the tank slides right out of the front of the machine. I’m a big fan of this design. It’s all about making life easier.

To compare, the Babila’s tank is tucked away under a flap on the left side of the machine. When you want to fill it, you need to lift it out, which requires some clearance space above. Not a big deal, but something to keep in mind if your machine is under low-hanging cabinets.

Incidentally, these machines come with water softener filters, and I highly recommend installing them. Not only will it reduce the need for descaling the Gaggia, but your coffee will taste significantly better.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Gaggia Babila

I’ve always been a fan of Gaggia’s milk frothing system, and both of these machines have it. What sets this system apart is the dedicated milk carafe, which clips right onto the front of the machine. After each use, you can just unclip it and store it in the refrigerator. This is really better than dealing with those annoying and hard-to-clean pipes and hoses attached to an external milk container.

auto milk frothing system
Auto milk frothing system

Even better, the milk systems on these machines are self-cleaning. This means no more rinsing various parts after every cappuccino or latte macchiato. I’m not a lazy guy, but it’s nice to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying my things.

Now, about the milk foam that comes out of such automatic systems. It’s good, but it might not blow your mind. The foam tends to be frothier with bigger bubbles than the silky microfoam needed for latte art. So to my mind, it’s just perfect for a really convincing cappuccino.

And if you love showing off your hard-earned barista skills to friends, the Babila has got you covered with its manual steam wand. It can’t rotate freely and might not help you whip up competition-level microfoam, but it’s pretty great to have the option.

the gaggia babila has a manual steam milk wand
The Gaggia Babila has a manual steam milk wand

Drink Options & Programmability

Winner: Gaggia Babila

Drink Options

Gaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Espresso
Espresso Lungo
Cappuccino
Baby Cappuccino
Milk Froth
Hot Water
Ristretto
Espresso
Espresso Lungo
Caffè
Cappuccino
Latte Macchiato
Flat White
Hot Milk
Milk Froth
Hot Water

If you’re on the hunt for an automatic espresso machine that can whip up dozens of fancy specialty drinks with just a button press, you might want to brace yourself.  For that level of variety, you’re looking at splurging a bit more on the higher-end models.

These machines keep things simple with some popular one-touch drinks. And hey, for all the tea lovers out there, they’ve got a hot water function too.

Programmability

Adjustable SettingsGaggia Velasca PrestigeGaggia Babila
Coffee StrengthYesYes
Coffee TemperatureYesYes
Milk Foam TemperatureNoNo
Milk Foam TextureNoNo

These machines really give you the tools to fine-tune your espresso to your exact liking. We’re talking about adjusting shot volume and pre-infusion time, choosing from three brewing temperatures, and exploring five coffee strength settings. Then you can save your customized settings using the Memo function.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Babila

Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
126 Reviews
Gaggia Babila RI9700/64 espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium
  • One touch brewing and frothing: bean-to-cup feature. Milk carafe includes automatic milk frothing for cappuccinos, and milk froth. Manual steam wand doubles as a hot water dispenser
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: 1 bottle of Gaggia Descaler, 1 AquaClean Water Filter, 1 Water Hardness Test Strip, 1 Tube of Brew Group Lubricant, 1 Brew Group Brush, 1 Coffee Scoop/Grinder Key
  • PROGRAMMABLE: 8 Programmable brewing options for espressos, espresso lungos, coffee, ristrettos, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiato, flat whites and milk foam
  • Easy access to water reservoir: features a top Loading removable 50.7oz water reservoir; Brew Boiler Wattage: 1400

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Ceramic grinder doesn’t overheat.
  • Both automatic and manual frothing milk.
  • Two thermoblock boilers.
  • Adjustable pre-infusion step.
Cons
  • No app.
  • No user profiles.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Velasca Prestige

Sale
Gaggia Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 54 ounces
  • 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
  • One touch brewing and frothing: bean-to-cup feature with automatic milk frothing for cappuccinos, baby cappuccinos, and milk froth
  • Programmable: programmable brewing options for Espresso and Espresso Lungo, cappuccino, and milk froth, with 3 different temperature settings
  • Ceramic burr grinder and brew unit: ceramic burr grinder with 10 fineness settings, 5 brew strength settings, and bean hopper with 10.5oz capacity
  • Front loaded water reservoir: features a 54oz capacity and pulls out from the front of the machine, ideal for low hanging cabinets

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Smoothly and heat-free ceramic grinder.
  • Intuitive and easy to use.
  • One touch milk frothing.
  • Fast thermoblock heating system.
  • Affordable price.
Cons
  • Only one boiler.
  • Few one-touch drinks.

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References

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