117 of 119 people found the following review helpful
My 6th Super-Automatic and the Best so Far!,
This review is from: Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine (Kitchen)
I have been using super-automatic espresso machines since 2001. This is my 6th machine and by far my favorite. Having owned one Capresso C1500, three Jura-Capressos, one Saeco and now the Gaggia Academia, I've found this machine to outperform the rest by far. I loved the quality of the Capresso and Jura-Capresso machines, but having to send them in once a year for service at a cost of over $300 was excessive. There is no way to service the inside of these machines. Plus, I could never get the milk hot enough with the built-in frothing system on the S9 One-Touch or the Z5 and these machines lacked an external frothing wand so it was impossible to heat the milk any hotter than it came out of the machine. Next I purchased Saeco Primea Touch Plus and that was a complete mistake. The milk system is internal and constantly clogged and refused to function. This machine was returned shortly after purchase. I began looking for a machine that was as well-constructed as the Jura-Capresso, but had the ease of maintenance like the Saeco. I learned that Philips had recently purchased the Saeco/Gaggia company, so I decided to take a chance on a Gaggia machine after seeing a demo in-store.
What I Like:
- The machine is fully adjustable by coffee strength, milk amount, water amount, etc. You can even adjust these settings on the fly via the color screen.
- The machine is bomb-proof. Another reviewer noted that there is still a lot of plastic and yes this is true (although much less so than in Jura machines), but the machine is all metal where it counts. In the in-store demo, the demonstrator lifted the machine by its hinges to show how well it is constructed. This machine will undoubtedly hold up to years of use.
- The machine has a "sealed" bean container that keeps the beans fresher that other brands of super-automatics that lack this feature.
- The automatic frothing container could not be any easier to use. You snap it in a press a button. It automatically cleans itself after use and any leftover milk can be left in the container and refrigerated for next use eliminating waste.
- Machine rinses itself before and after every use, so there is no "old" coffee taste when you brew your next cup.
- The quality of coffee is amazing! This machine produces coffee very close the the Pasquini semi-automatic at my office. The quality is much better than my Jura machines.
- The Mavea water filter removes the chlorine taste from tap water and lessens the amount of maintenance you must perform on the machine.
- The adjustable coffee "spout". One of my biggest complaints with the Jura machines is that you aren't able to fit a proper sized cup under the automatic spout. You're limited to cups about 4" in height. Because of the nearly infinite adjustments available on this machine, my 16 oz to-go mug fits no problem.
- The built-in frothing wand. Most of the milk that comes out of super-automatic machines is not hot enough if the latte or cappuccino is not going to be consumed immediately. This is not a problem with this machine. If the milk is not hot enough simply activate the built in steaming wand and heat it up a few more degrees. This is one of the few fully automatic machines that has this feature.
- The ease of maintenance - my favorite feature by FAR. The brew-group is removable. Simply remove it from the machine and rinse it out. No expensive trips back to the manufacturer for cleaning.
What I don't:
- The price. This machine is very expensive. If you have couple-of-times-a-day trip to S'bux like I did, then the machine will pay for itself in about a year. However, it still in the same ball park as a lot of nice used cars.
- The pickiness with coffee beans. With super-automatics you can not use beans that are oily AT ALL. This limits my bean choice and I am unable to use the beans of some of my favorite artisan coffee roasters.
- The frequency of emptying the internal and external drip trays as well as spent coffee pucks. The machine has two trays and an internal coffee grounds drawer and they have to be emptied at least every other day or about after every five coffees. The Jura-Capressos had very large drip trays and dump bins that only had to be emptied about once a week. This can be annoying if you're in a hurry in the morning and the machine flashes this message before you can brew a coffee.
- The small water tank. This tank is very well designed, but it must be refilled after about 6 coffees. My Jura machines would brew about 20.
My complaints are very few and after using this machine for over 6 months, I couldn't be happier. Even with the high price, I believe I got exactly what I paid for - a well-built machine that easily brews quality coffee and coffee drinks with ease of use and little maintenance. I would highly recommend this machine to anyone l who loves coffee, but doesn't want to grind, tamp, brew espresso, and froth milk manually. Within 30 seconds, you can have a coffee drink that rivals that of all but the best baristas.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 18, 2012 3:34:31 PM PDT
K. sargent says:
i am about to open a hair and beauty salon and have no idea about coffee or coffee machines! i found this review very helpful as i am looking for an easy low maintenance machine and have looked at others - one being the jura j5 (could you let me know what you think of this machine in comparison?) the only concern i have with the gaggia is that i will have to empty the coffee grounds after every 5 or so coffees and filling the water up so often. i am going to be busy working with clients and don't know if this is going to turn out to be a pain... on the other hand i want to give my clients the best coffee i can so if it far exceeds the jura j5 then the extra running around may be worth it... feed back please!! thanks
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2012 3:59:48 PM PDT
You're probably going to get the same number of brews from the J5. My Jura-Capresso that I was about to get 20 brews or more out of was a semi-professional commercial machine. I will say, that the water tank in this the Jura tended to get pretty disgusting and the coffee grounds developed mold if not emptied often enough. The good thing about the Gaggia is it's extremely easy to empty and maintain - the Jura machines weren't with multiple parts to disassemble. As for the coffee quality, after owning three Jura machines, the Gaggia produces hands-down better coffee. I never could seem to get the Jura machines hot enough with either regular espresso or milk-based drinks. I honestly don't think you could go wrong with this machine for ease of use, build, and coffee quality.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2012 4:12:24 PM PDT
K. sargent says:
ok awesome, thanks for that. i have also read some reviews saying that some people have had problems with them leaking and also milk not being hot enough without having to manually froth it with the wand, what are your thoughts on that? do you find the same problems? thanks
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2012 10:22:17 AM PDT
I can tell you that the milk was barely lukewarm from the Jura machines and these lacked a wand to further heat the milk. While not burn your tongue hot straight from the built-in frother, the drink is plenty hot enough to immediately enjoy. I like the fact that if you have someone who prefers their drinks scalding, then you do have the option of heating the milk hotter with the Gaggia steam wand (an option I didn't have with the Jura). As for the leaking, I have not experienced any of that at all, but I maintain my machine very well - clean it when it asks me to, use the correct kind of beans, etc.
Posted on Apr 11, 2012 8:06:25 AM PDT
J. Godat says:
I own a home in Mexico, so I wanted to buy a reliable automatic espresso machine that would not require much maintenance because it would have to be shipped back to the states for maintenance. I bought the top of the line Jura. After 4 weeks of moderate use (2 -4 cups a day) the steamer stopped working properly!!! I have a Gaggia automatic espresso machine in the states and have never had a problem with it but it doesn't have all the fancy attachments. I wanted something with an automatic frothing container and at the time I don't think Gaggia had this machine. After the way this review laid out the pros and cons, it has made me realize that I should have stuck with the brand that I knew and had a track record with recording performance!
Posted on Dec 3, 2012 4:47:02 PM PST
Thank you so much for your outstanding review of the Gaggia Academia. As a potential buyer, I really appreciate your in dept analysis. It has been over a year since your review and I wondered if you would mind giving an update on any reliability or maintanance issues over the past year.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 7:02:01 PM PST
I've had zero issues with this machine. Still making coffee as well as the day I took it out of the box, but I've carefully followed all maintenance requests (which are all simply performed) from the machine. As long as the machine is kept clean, water filters changed, and brew group rinsed and lubricated, I think this machine will last for many years to come. Happy Holidays!
Posted on Dec 29, 2014 11:50:07 AM PST
Troy Paulus says:
Thanks for the detailed review!
Question about the internal filter, could I just remove it and not use it? Have a great filtration system for the house and a RO system, Their filter is not needed and dont need to spend more money on filters than i already do...
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2014 11:54:54 AM PST
Absolutely. The filter is optional and there is an option to select no filter in the system menu so you won't receive filter replacement reminders.
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