Gaggia is a household name when talking about espresso makers. The founder, Giovanni Achille Gaggia, patented the first modern day steamless espresso machine.
So there’s no doubt that these guys know what they’re talking about, and therefore produce some top of the range home espresso machines.
In this Gaggia Anima Prestige review, we’ve thoroughly gone through everything you need to know, in order to make a decision about whether this is the coffee maker for you.
So without further ado, let’s jump in.
How The Gaggia Anima Prestige Works
Alright, let’s start off the review with a quick run through on how the Prestige works.
Upon receiving your Coffee maker, you’ll also find a couple of things in the box. For example a milk carafe (for frothing milk), a cleaning brush, lubricating oil for the brewing unit, a water filter, and a hot water spout.
Once you have the Prestige in place, the first thing you’ll want to do is thoroughly wash out the water reservoir and milk carafe. Run some hot water through the machine too, to clear it out.
The Anima comes with a large front display, where you can set the amount of coffee you want to brew, alter the settings, and it’s also where information about the machine will pop up. For example if the brew unit isn’t placed correctly or if it needs a clean.
The coffee beans pour into the hopper from the top of the machine, so make sure you allow for some extra room above, if you’re keeping it under kitchen cupboards.
To brew a coffee, simply press one of the buttons for the machine to start extracting the espresso. If the drink requires hot water, place the cup with espresso under the hot water spout, and use the menu to start the hot water.
If the drink requires milk, before pressing a button, remove the hot water spout, and fill the milk carafe with milk. Place it into where the hot water spout was, then select a button.
It’s a very easy to use machine, built with convenience in mind, as should all super-automatic coffee machines.
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The Key Features
Here are some of the most important features you should know about the Gaggia Anima Prestige.
The Grinder, Hopper, and Bypass Hopper
Firstly, and arguably, the most important thing when it comes to brewing at home, the coffee bean grinder.
A good grinder allows you to customise your grind size, so you can really dial in to and refine the extraction process. The Prestige comes with a ceramic burr grinder and has 5 adjustable settings, which you access from the top of the machine, and adjust with a key.
That’s not a whole lot of settings compared to the Baratza Encore, for example. However, grind size ultimately depends on the brewing method, and as the Prestige brews in only one way, so you don’t need lots of grind size options.
The hopper has an 8.8oz capacity, which is plenty big to hold the day’s coffee beans. The hopper also keeps your beans fresh, being airtight and in the dark.
Conveniently, Gaggia have included a bypass hopper, which is ideal for the times you need to make a decaf coffee. Instead of emptying the hopper and putting decaf beans in to grind up, which can be an awkward job, you can use the bypass hopper to insert pre-ground decaf.
It works well too if you have a favourite pre-ground coffee you still like drinking.
Removable Water Reservoir
For added convenience, the water reservoir is removable from the unit, allowing you to take it over to the sink to fill. This is much easier than trying to awkwardly pour a jug of water into the top.
Not only is it removable, it’s also quite large, having a 60oz capacity. Unless you live in a household that drinks 60oz of coffee a day, you shouldn’t find yourself having to refill the tank too often.
To access the water reservoir, you can lift up the top left, or top right of the machine. So allow some room above the machine to make it easy for yourself.
Milk Frother And Hot Water Dispenser
At any one time, you can either have the hot water spout plugged in, or the milk carafe.
The milk carafe is an awesome feature of the Gaggia super-automatic coffee makers. Fill it up with milk, and insert into the socket on the left hand side of the front. There’s a spout on the carafe that slides across, which is where the frothed milk is dispensed from, into your cup.
Select the coffee that you’d like to brew, and voila, easy as pie.
The milk carafe, when finished using it, can be removed and stored in the fridge to keep cool. The hot water spout can then be fitted into the same socket as what the milk carafe was in, for when you want to make a cup of tea.
The Removable Brew Unit
Again, with convenience in mind, when you open the side door of the Prestige, you have access to the entire brew unit.
The whole thing can be removed and taken over to the sink to rinse out. It doesn’t really need anymore than a rinse, and once clean you can leave it to air dry overnight.
You can also pull the entire front of the machine towards you, which gives you access to the drip tray and spent coffee ground tray. These are also removable so you can take them over to the sink.
You may also notice that there’s a little red bobber that sits in the drip tray, which indicates how full it is. It’s these little things that add to the ease of use, the bobber making it easy to keep an eye on how full the drip tray is.
Personally, I don’t like to drink my coffee when it’s scorching hot. There’s that perfect temperature where you can take nice big sips, without burning your mouth.
The Prestige comes with three different temperatures at which to brew your coffee. 177.5F, 182.9F and 184.5F, which allows you to make your drink exactly how you like it.
You wake up to the sound of your alarm. Normally, you might be tempted to hit that snooze button, to give yourself another few minutes. But, now you have the Gaggia Anima Prestige.
Upon waking up, the Prestige gets to work, brewing you a super fresh coffee before you’ve even made it downstairs. And as you reach the kitchen, there, sitting waiting for you, is a fresh cup of coffee.
A coffee maker that’s programmable allows for these kinds of luxuries. There’s nothing quite waking up to have a machine make you a brew. It also works well for when you’re getting in from work, or to when you’re starting your break, if you’re working from home.
Adjustable Espresso Dispenser Height
One last thing that’s worth nothing on the Prestige, is the fact you can adjust how high the dispenser sits, depending on what mug you want to use.
For example, to avoid a mess when brewing a single espresso shot, you can lower the dispenser to 3 inches. And if you’re wanting to brew a latte into your travel mug, then you can raise the dispenser to about 6 inches.
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Cleaning And Maintenance
Cleaning is a particularly important part of owning a coffee maker, even though it may get overlooked from time to time.
With the Prestige, as well as the usuals to clean, like the brewing unit, drip tray, and spent coffee container, you also have the milk carafe to think about.
All the parts of the milk carafe come apart, so it’s pretty easy to clean. There’s another cleaning program especially for the milk carafe, which according to the manufacturer should be run once a month.
My advice, little and often. Make sure you give everything at least a rinse through once you’re finished brewing.
This will stop the odd coffee grind making into places it shouldn’t get, and stops gunk from forming in the milk tubes.
Day to day, you shouldn’t have to spend long giving everything a quick clean when you’re finished with it. But once a month, maybe even less depending on how hard your water is, you should give it a good clean out.
Water hardness can be a good indication of how often you’re likely to have to clean out your coffee maker. The harder the water, the more scale is likely to build up. Therefore, may require descaling more often.
Tap water tends to be harder than filtered or bottled water, so switching to filtered water can help prevent scale build up. Not only that, but will also improve the taste of your coffee.
If you want to see in a little more detail, the customisable settings and an overview of how the Prestige works, check out this video:
What About The Quality Of The Coffee?
The big question. Does the Anima Prestige produce a beautiful cup of coffee?
There are some variables that will affect how the coffee tastes. For example, the ‘aroma intensity’ setting, which affects strength of your coffee, and therefore what you should change if your coffee is too bitter, weak, or over powering.
You’ll need to have a play around with this setting before you find your perfect cup of coffee.
Much like commercial espresso machines, the Prestige uses a pressure pump to extract your espresso. You may be wondering why 15 bars of pressure is necessary for a domestic coffee maker. After all, commercial machines use only 9 bars of pressure.
Once this 15 bar of pressure pushes the water and reaches the brew head, it’s significantly lower. Most likely around 9 bars, as that’s been the goal pressure for a hundred years. So what starts out as 15 bars, drops to 9 bars when extracting your coffee.
Because this espresso machine uses pressure, it’s creates that authentic espresso taste that we all love so much.
So yes the Prestige does make a fresh, flavourful, and aromatic cup of coffee. But the machine, surprisingly, is not a mind reader, so you’ll have to tell it your preferences. Once you’ve done that, expect consistently good coffee.
What We Like
Let’s now focus on a couple of things we like about the Anima Prestige.
The LCD Display
To customise your coffee maker, you’ll have to use the LCD screen, which is operated by some of the buttons you use to brew a coffee.
Not only is it stylish and easy to navigate, but there is lots of useful information that pops up on the screen.
For example, alerts like ‘low water indicator’, ‘empty bean hopper’, and ‘descaling alert’. The machine keeps an eye on itself, and then lets you know what needs doing, and when.
With the screen, you can also change the temperature settings, program your shot size, and set the ‘aroma intensity’, which is indicated by between one to five beans lighting up on the display. The more beans, the stronger the flavour your coffee is going to be.
The Build Quality
One thing about buying any kitchen appliance, is that you want it to last. Plus, you don’t want it to be a pain to maintain. If things go wrong after the warranty period, you’ll have to pay for shipping if it needs to be serviced.
So, it’s a huge plus that the Prestige is built like a tank. There’s nothing that really screams ‘cheap and plastic-y’ about this machine.
When you open the side, the door feels strong, and everything inside looks neat, tidy, and clean. All the metal, and even the plastic parts, fit together nicely, and has a nice overall solid feel.
Even when it comes to the packaging, the machine is packaged nice and snug. It seems to be a common theme about Gaggia, that they take care in the quality of their build, and it doesn’t stop for the Prestige.
It’s Easy To Use, And Quiet
User friendliness should be a big part of any coffee maker. You don’t want to figure out a complex machine, especially first thing on a morning, BEFORE you’ve had your morning coffee!
Fortunately, the guys over at Gaggia have spent a bit of time trying to make everything as simple as possible. Hence why there’s a one-touch cappuccino button. It oozes of ease.
It’s not just easy to use, but it’s also quiet. Even the burr grinder, which is normally a noisy device. It’s a good job the one I have is in a cupboard, or else it’d wake the whole house up.
The grinder is quiet and quick, which is a nice feature that I noticed about the Prestige.
What We Didn’t Like
The Cleaning Of The Milk Carafe
Firstly, I will say that for 99% of the time, the milk carafe is easy, convenient, and actually saves you time when compared to using a milk jug and frothing the milk yourself.
However, when it’s time to clean the carafe, it does take a little bit of time. Each time the carafe is empty, before you refill it and stick it back in the fridge, I’d give it a good clean. Making sure nothing gets left or clogged in the pipes.
Yes, this does take a little bit more time, but only around 5 minutes, so if you get into the habit of doing it, it’s not a big problem.
Apart from this, there’s not a whole lot to complain about the machine.
Who Is The Gaggia Anima Prestige NOT For?
It’s easier to write a few sentences about who wouldn’t get the most out of this machine, instead of who would, as I think that list would be much longer!
You Want To Get More Involved In The Brewing Process
I totally get it. I love to grind up my coffee beans, measure the right amount of water and ground beans, and pour the water to start the extraction. It’s an art, as well as a science.
So if you’re the type of person that would rather do things a little more manually, then I’d suggest taking a look at this article, as it explains some brewing methods that might be ideal for you.
You Love Your Carafe Of Coffee
In case you haven’t noticed by now, the Prestige doesn’t fill up carafes of coffee. In fact, the closest thing you’ll get to carafe coffee is an espresso lungo, which is an espresso with hot water, often called an Americano.
If you don’t love drinking espresso based milk drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, then there’s probably a better coffee maker match for you.
For example, you could check out this Technivorm vs Bonavita review, as they’re both great automatic pour-over coffee makers, that brew a carafe.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Prestige
Here are a simple couple of tips and tricks you can adopt, so you know you’re drinking the best coffee possible.
Clean Your Machine
Don’t be afraid to clean your coffee maker. In the words of Shia LaBeouf, just do it. Get it done and out of the way. Once you’ve started doing it, it takes no time at all before it’s finished.
If you make it a habit, then not only is your coffee going to taste better and more flavourful, but you may even extend the lifespan of your machine, saving you some bucks in the long run.
Avoid A Dark Roast
I love a dark roast, so this is a tricky one.
The problem with these automatic espresso machines, is that the grinders don’t tend to like oily beans. They will clog up your grinder, and unless you’re cleaning it out a lot, then it can become a problem.
To avoid this, I’d stick to a light or medium roast, as they tend to have less oils on the surface of the beans.
Find Ideal Barista Milk
If you’re not a fan of drinking dairy milk, then it could be a problem to find vegetable milk that works well being frothed.
You can find milk made especially for coffee, which froths well and is usually low in acidity so it mixes with the coffee well too.
So if you do find yourself with below par frothed milk, try changing the type of milk you use. It may take some exploring, as it did with us, but now it works well every time.
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A Couple Of Alternatives
In case the Gaggia Anima Prestige doesn’t tickle your pickle, here are a few alternatives.
The Dedica is a minimal espresso machine, taking up a footprint which is less than six inches wide. It comes with a steam wand, cup tray, and some other cool features, as well as a smaller price tag.
Certainly worth checking out at least. Here’s our full De’Longhi Dedica review.
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Philips 3200 Series
This is another fully automatic espresso machine, with a milk frother, and a super easy to use interface. Does everything from bean to cup, while having beautiful aesthetics at the same time.
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To Sum Up
The Gaggia Anima Prestige holds true to what all the other Gaggia coffee makers have in common. A high build quality, priority of convenience and user friendliness, and a delicious espresso that takes minutes to brew.
There’s a lot to love about the Prestige, it’ll give you a lot for your money and I’m not sure you’ll find a super automatic espresso machine with the same build quality. So, it certainly gets our nod of approval.
You can find more of our coffee maker reviews in case you’re still searching for the one coffee maker for you.