Finding an all in one espresso machine that offers customization complete with a reliable milk frother can be difficult. An all in one bean to cup machine like the Gaggia Anima could help serve those needs while providing reliable service. Gaggia is an Italian company, the home of espresso, and has been making machines since 1938. Let’s take a look.
Things to Consider before buying a Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Super Automatic Espresso makers are a more convenient way to get your morning fix, but they do require the same amount of cleaning and maintenance that regular espresso makers do. You must be willing to take on cleaning after each use and descale the machine to prevent build-up and issues.
Super Automatic machines often have removable brewing units to help with cleaning. They streamline the espresso process, but many of these models are quite an investment. They do have a smaller footprint and can offer reliable service.
If you’re ready to upgrade your coffee maker to something more like your local coffee shop’s machines, the super-automatic machine could be a good option. If you’re willing to perform the maintenance, this type of machine might make a great addition to your kitchen.
Gaggia Anima Overview
The Gaggia Anima is a super-automatic espresso machine done in an attractive black and silver design scheme with a smaller footprint that fits well on most kitchen counters. It has a responsive display using buttons and a 60-ounce water reservoir, giving you plenty of cups.
The hopper holds around 12 ounces of beans, and the device is more straightforward to clean than some of the more sophisticated machines out there. It requires little manual work to make your favorite espresso and has enough choices to allow you to tweak the coffee to your preference.
Gaggia was one of the first to create the pump espresso machine, ushering in the era of simpler devices designed for home use. It retains much of the same internal design as those original machines with a few upgrades to bring it into the new era.
Things We Like:
- It’s suitable for beginners looking to get their feet wet.
- It offers super automatic features into a semi-automatic investment
- The compact design fits well in most kitchens.
- It has just enough choices for your perfect espresso shot.
- The components are easy to clean.
- Ceramic burr grinder provides a nice grind while preserving natural oils.
Room for Improvement:
- The exterior is fully plastic
- The bean hopper lid isn’t airtight, so you could lose some of the bean fragrance.
- The pump is underutilized for finer grind settings.
- No option for profiles for coffee settings.
Features & Benefits
The Anima is a more affordable super-automatic espresso machine designed to blend custom features with wallet-saving designs. Let’s break down these choices to see if it’s the right option for you.
Ceramic Conical Grinder
As one of the few options on the market in this range with a ceramic grinder, the Anima comes out of the gate different than the competition. It features an efficient and fast grind that can handle a few different roasts of beans without getting clogged up. It uses five different grind settings to get the right brew.
It doesn’t have a water filter, so you’ll have to do some tests to find out how often you need to descale the equipment. You can also use filtered or spring water to help reduce calcium and other mineral deposits.
The hopper stores unground beans for a bean-to-cup operation, but the hopper lid wasn’t airtight. If you make espresso every day or multiple times a day, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you don’t use your machine every day, you may not be satisfied with the storage of the hopper.
The Automatic shut-off option helps save energy and provide safety by shutting off after inactivity. You can customize this setting anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours.
The Pannarello style steam wand froths milk adequately and has a beautiful stainless steel finish. It can take some getting used to so that you get the right amount of foam, but it’s easy to clean and looks attractive.
Removable Brewing Unit
A big plus for the Anima is the removable brewing unit. Once you’ve finished making your cup or cups of espresso, the entire unit slides out so that you can run it under the water for a full cleaning. It’s simple and replaceable if something goes awry.
Some people find the removable unit a hassle, but it can be convenient. Replaceability helps extend the life of your machine and makes it easier to see what you’re cleaning. You must remove the unit at least once a week to ensure optimum performance, but the process is straightforward.
The display is intuitive and gives you plenty of control right on the front of the machine. The buttons make it simple to find what you need, and the bright display is easy to read. Overall, it’s a higher-end design than some budget options.
There are a few ways to tweak your favorite brew with this machine. First, you have the option of three different temperature settings for your ideal brew. Next, five dose size settings help you customize the drink you’re making for strength and taste.
You can easily adjust the brew sizes to suit your cup, and the grind settings give you more control over things like saturation. Each option is right on the front of the machine, and the display makes it easy to tell what you’ve chosen.
The Anima also offers a “custom size selector” option giving you more control than the preprogrammed sizes. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the machine, you can take more control over your drink with this choice.
You don’t have the option to create profiles to save preferred settings automatically. You may not notice this feature if you don’t have vastly different preferences than other people in the house. However, this would be a nice feature to have multiple coffee drinkers.
Telescoping Exit Valve
The telescoping valve allows you to adjust the spigot to accommodate cups of different sizes. It can be adjusted up or down two inches for minimal splashing during brewing. This option reduces a lot of the mess typical of fixed spigots.
The reservoir holds up to 60 ounces of water for plenty of chances to make some espresso. The reservoir features the more common rear storage access. It isn’t as convenient as front access, but it does cut down on the overall footprint of the machine.
That said, filling the reservoir is relatively simple and mess-free. It detaches in one movement and reattaches without much fuss. It’s also pretty easy to clean, and the indicator light tells you when its time to refill.
The black and silver design uses plastic to reduce the overall weight and add durability. It’s clean and modern with a box-like arrangement of the spigot and wand. It’s easy to store in most kitchens right on the counter, and the compact features blend well in most kitchens.
The buttons are flat and easy to keep clean. It does get some fingerprinting, but a simple swipe can cut down on that. The display is backlit to make it easier to read, and the unit blends modern design with some of Gaggia’s classic features.
It cuts down on premium materials like stainless steel so that you can get super-automatic features without spending the same money you would for a professional machine.
If you don’t want to use the hopper to grind beans, you can put pre-ground coffee into the doser. It’s designed for a single serving and is simple to use. Just flip the pop-up flap, and you’re ready to go.
The Anima is simple to clean using simple techniques. Cleaning the machine after each use is essential for ensuring that it stays clean and obstacle-free. Also, your espresso machine can be a magnet for mold and mildew without taking it apart. Luckily, there aren’t too many steps to cleaning the Anima thoroughly.
- Wipe down the machine after use and empty the drip tray.
- Take out the brewing unit and run it under clean water to ensure it runs smoothly each time. Never put it in the dishwasher. You must do this at least once a week.
- Wipe down the milk frother and turn it on for a few minutes to blow out any remaining milk. Do this cautiously because it can cause severe burning if you come in contact with the steam.
- Every so often, remove the water reservoir and clean it thoroughly, allowing it to dry completely before returning it to the machine.
- Depending on how hard your water is, you’ll have to descale your machine every few weeks to a few times a year. Do a test strip or talk to your water company, so you know how often to descale. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the full process.
Alternatives to the Anima
If the Gaggia doesn’t seem like the right one for you, there are a few alternatives you might try. Whether you’re looking for a top of the line customization or an even smaller footprint, there’s something right for you. Let’s take a look at a few that could be contenders for your kitchen space.
Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine
This choice is an ultra-compact option capable of delivering both espresso and cappuccinos. It has a front-loaded water reservoir and a Panarello style wand with a ceramic burr grinder just like the Anima. If you don’t do much espresso daily, the simple options and reduced footprint of the Brera could be a good choice.
It’s less of an investment than the Anima, but you will lose some control over the temperature and dosing of your espresso. Beginners who want a neat, entry-level machine may find it easier to manage. It’s sleek and compact with just enough choices to deliver a decent espresso.
Melitta Cafeo Barista TS
For a higher-end model with more choices and more capability, the Melitta Cafeo offers big performance in a compact package. Dual hoppers allow you to store two different kinds of beans, automatic milk-frothing makes it easy to use, and programmable for up to four profiles to keep things organized.
It’s just as slender as a manual pump style, so it’s still a small commitment for space. It features touch-sensitive controls, and the display has dedicated buttons for common drinks. It’s a much more significant investment than the Anima, but you’ll get a lot more capability.
If you’ve been dabbling in the world of espresso drinks, you may already have equipment that you love. The Bambino offers an ultra-compact footprint without an integrated grinder. It’s ideal for beginners who may have some of the other equipment already and aren’t interested in investing in a full machine.
The simplified features don’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. It delivers reliable cups of espresso with straightforward operation. If you don’t have a grinder you love already at home, you may want to skip this one. However, for the tiniest kitchens, it offers big performance in one small package.
Choosing the Gaggia Anima
The Gaggia Anima is a good option for those of you who want some functionality and control, but are looking for a more affordable choice. It features a sleek design and modern features that make it easy to clean and operate.
The espresso comes out nicely with a bold flavor, and the ability to make adjustments is excellent with this type of machine. However, it does have a few drawbacks, such as the lack of an airtight lid for the hopper. If that’s not a deal-breaker, this could be a good choice.
The Anima does allow you to control things like temperature, dose strength, and water so that you can customize your drinks to your liking. Reliable performance and a small footprint round out this mid-tier espresso machine.
Gaggia Anima Review: Automate Your Espresso at Home
If you're looking for the top-rated espresso machine to get your day started, check out our full review of the Gaggia Anima with tips and tricks on its features.
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