Gaggia Accademia Review – Is It Worth the MONEY?

When you search cappuccino and latte combo coffee maker on the market, Gaggia super automatic espresso machine is a good choice. If you want to know more, Here is our Gaggia Accademia review for you.

Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine

If you want the convenience of quality, one-touch coffee, with the freedom to make latte art, the Gaggia accademia espresso machine is right for you. 

But to get the most out of it, you’ll need to experiment with the settings. And if you don’t want to change the water regularly, there are machines out there with bigger tanks.

Take a look at this guide to the Accademia’s features to see whether it’s right for you.

Quality

Great coffee to your exact specifications at the touch of a button – and allows latte art too.

Price

Pricey, but compares well to many other super automatic espresso machines.

Ease of use

Easy peasy, but for best results learn how to use the different features.

Warranty

Two year warranty for domestic machines used at home.

The Pros

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    Everything here is quality – from the ceramic burr grinder to the air-tight seal on the hopper and the self-cleaning milk carafe
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    Customize your coffee to your exact specifications
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    Adjustable spout height works for everything from demitasse cups to travel mugs
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    Use the steam wand for perfect flat whites or spectacular latte art

The Cons

  • Costs as much as a small second-hand car
  • The water tank and drip tray aren’t huge
  • Other high-spec bean to cup machines can beat it on specific features – like number of grind settings.

What do other people say?

Scouring the internet, I found that the coffee gurus are big fans of the Accademia. This video explains why it’s the machine they use in their office.

Searching for great coffee at home?

I love great coffee. The kind that’s ground fresh, with rich flavors and aromas, partnered with silky, foamy milk and a pattern on top. The kind you have to leave your home, sit in a coffee shop and shell out lots of cash to drink.

Or that’s what I thought, until I heard about domestic automatic espresso machines. Great coffee at the touch of a button? Whenever I wanted it? And in the comfort of my own home? I had to check out the options!

Things to consider before buying Gaggia Accademia espresso machine

Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine

A super automatic espresso machine fuses state of the art technology with traditional brewing processes (1). It will create anything from an espresso to a latte, a long coffee to a cappuccino.

All this comes at a price. There are a huge range of machines on the market, but they all fall under the heading “expensive”. That’s four-figure expensive.

If all you’re looking for is an okay cup of coffee, brewed fast, there are better options. A one-cup coffee maker like a Nespresso or Keurig will give you consistent coffee at a fraction of the price. Pop in a pod, push a button and you’re done.

Alternatively, if you love espresso but speed isn’t important to you, go for a simple espresso machine. They’re far less expensive. You’ll have to grind your own beans – but so what?

But if you’re looking for a coffee shop experience that’s almost as easy, nothing beats a super automatic espresso machine.

Before shopping around, ask yourself what features are most important to you. Think about how you want to customize your coffee. Consider whether you want your machine to heat milk too. And work out how much you want to spend.

Gaggia Accademia Review

Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine

Created by Italian coffee gurus Gaggia, the Accademia is a top-of-the-range super automatic espresso maker. Like other members of the Gaggia family, it expresses at an impressive 15 bars of pressure (2).

But whilst models like the Brera come with a steam wand and others like the Velasca have an integrated milk carafe, the Accademia gives you the best of both worlds. Froth your own milk or let the machine do it for you – the choice is yours.

The Saeco Espralia was once a solid alternative to the Accademia, including both a milk carafe and steam wand. But with both brands now owned by the same company, the Espralia has been discontinued.

If it’s the grinder that’s important to you, Saeco models use the same ceramic burr grinder as the Gaggia Accademia. Jura and Delonghi, on the other hand, tend to use stainless steel grinders. Unlike ceramic ones, they will get blunter over time.

In short, if you want an automatic espresso machine that also lets you stretch your own milk, look no further. The Accademia will almost certainly be the right choice.

It does, though, require a little more work than some brands. Both its drip tray and water tank are on the small side. So if you want to avoid regularly emptying or filling your machine, it might not be the best option.

Features and benefits

Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine
one

Variable milk settings

The Accademia really comes into its own when it comes to adding milk to your coffee.

To begin with, its combination of steam wand and milk carafe is pretty unique. If you want your morning cappuccino before you rush out the door, slot in the carafe and press a button.

But if you have guests and want to impress them with a coffee that looks barista-prepared, use the steam wand. With a little practice, you’ll be creating latte art that’s as good as anything from your local coffee shop. This video shows you how.

The wand is commercial style, so there’s no way to inject air into it. That means you have to do the work by changing how deep you submerge it in the milk. On the upside, it allows you to create a finer microfoam.

A minor gripe is that if you’re using the steam wand, you’ll have to invest in your own stainless steel jug. I’ve found I can’t feel the temperature of the milk through the thermal carafe included with the machine.

Unlike most super automatics, the Accademia also allows you to choose between three different milk styles. There’s steamed milk, or two levels of foam. You can customize your drink by choosing any option for any of the coffees made with milk.

two

Self-cleaning milk carafe

One potential problem with super automatic espresso machines is cleaning the milk residue. If it isn’t done properly, it can clog the machine as well as creating a nasty smell. The Accademia deals with that in a very clever way.

First up, the top of the handle of the carafe swivels around and turns into the spout. That means the milk doesn’t ever enter the coffee machine.

And when you swivel the top of the handle back into place, the machine automatically cleans it. It shoots steam through the handle, clearing out milk residue and washing it into the drip tray. I love watching the steam that rises up through the drip tray when it does it!

There’s also a more intensive carafe cleaning cycle. The machine will take you through it step by step, with instructions on the LCD screen. This video shows you how it works.

Both these clever processes mean an end to scrubbing dried on milk from your carafe and coffee maker. If you feel the way I do about cleaning, that’s a major plus!

three

By-pass dosing system

If you’re thinking about investing in an automatic espresso machine, you probably already know how important freshly ground beans are to the quality of your coffee.

But what if you have a guest who’s asked for decaff? Or you’re trying to moderate your caffeine intake? Or what if there’s a pre-ground blend you particularly enjoy?

The Accademia has a helpful way around this. Rather than trying to scoop out your existing beans, it offers a by-pass dosing system. Just add your ground coffee and you’re ready to go.

My mother-in-law often asks for decaff, and in the past I’ve had to serve her instant coffee. With the Accademia, she’s able to enjoy the same quality cup as the rest of us caffeine addicts!

Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine
four

Coffee beans handled with care

Quality beans are the key to great espresso, and the Accademia has several features that ensure they’re handled with care.

First of all, there’s a plastic seal on the top of the hopper. That seal is in turn covered by another lid. It’s not completely airtight, but it’s pretty close.

Your beans are kept in complete darkness, with little exposure to oxygen. In other words, in great conditions to keep them fresh for as long as possible.

Another feature worth mentioning here is the ceramic burr grinder. This high-quality grinder is the best way of getting evenly sized coffee grounds. And even grounds are needed for even extraction.

Some people also claim that metal grinders can “burn” the coffee. A friend of mine has a DeLonghi PrimaDonna with a metal grinder, and her coffee hasn’t tasted burnt to me. But perhaps it can happen – in which case, three cheers for the ceramic grinder!

A range of options to customize your coffee

The Accademia has no less than seven coffee styles that can be prepared at the touch of a button.  That gives you all the ease of a K-cup with the quality of whole coffee beans.

But super automatic espresso machines aren’t just about convenience. They also give you a host of ways to make your beverage your own. The Accademia offers enough scope to tweak its recipes to keep even the most demanding coffee lover happy.

First of all, you can change how much coffee is used. The machine offers adjustable dosing of between 7 and 10.5 grams of coffee per cup. It’s a super-easy way of changing the strength of your beverage without having to be an expert in brew ratios.

Then there’s the flow control dial. This sits on the front of the coffee spout and lets you increase or decrease the flow rate.

A lower flow rate is good for espresso, where less water comes into contact with the coffee grounds. To give it time to extract the good flavors and aromas, you want a slower flow rate.

With a long coffee, however, you don’t want water trickling through grounds that have already given up their best flavors. A faster flow rate will avoid over-extraction.

Unfortunately, the flow control dial doesn’t have any markings! That means a bit of trial and error is needed to get it where you want it.  And if you switch between espresso and long coffees, you might find that a bit annoying. 

You can also change the consistency of the coffee grounds. There are no less than ten different settings, selected by a dial on the top of the machine.

And you can choose whether or not to pre-infuse your coffee. Pre-infusing simply means moistening the coffee grounds before the brew. The idea is that this promotes even extraction.

We’ve already seen that if you’re having a drink that includes milk, you can change how much froth is included.

The final variable in your hands is the temperature. The Accademia has three pre-set temperature levels. I’ve heard some complaints that the coffee isn’t hot enough – so if that’s a concern, select the highest setting. You can also make use of the energy-efficient internal heating element to pre-warm your cup.

Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine

Easy-to-use LCD display

The large, colored LCD display makes using the Accademia very easy. The user-friendly menus are easy to understand, and you’re walked through tasks like cleaning step by step.

When it comes to programming your coffees, there are two different options.

You can select your drink from the menu and choose from the relevant options on-screen (dosing, temperature etc).

Alternatively, you can press and hold the button for your chosen drink. An animation will pop up on the screen showing the different features.

If, for example, you want to change the amount of milk, watch the animation of milk going into the cup. When it reaches your desired level, press the “stop” button below the screen. Your preference has been recorded. Pretty clever, right?

Other features to make your life easier

The Accademia has a few other benefits it’s worth mentioning.

You can set up to three different times for it to switch itself on. So if you want your coffee at different times on different days of the week – no problem. And if you get up earlier than your partner, you can set different times for each of you.

It can also take a water filter, meaning you get water with no unpleasant flavors to brew your coffee.

And – my favorite feature – the innovative spout design can be moved up and down as well as in and out. So whatever drinking vessel you use, it will fit neatly underneath without your coffee splashing everywhere.

Gaggia Accademia Alternatives

#1 Gaggia Accademia Vs. Gaggia Anima Prestige

Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic Coffee Machine, Super Automatic Frothing for Latte, Macchiato, Cappuccino and Espresso Drinks with Programmable Options

Another offering from Gaggia, the Anima Prestige shares several features with the Accademia. It too takes ground coffee as well as whole beans, and has a clever adjustable spout.

Like the Accademia, it has a truckload of customizable options, and uses a ceramic burr grinder.

It doesn’t, though, have a steam wand, and only offers five grinder settings against the Accademia’s ten.  If you like the Accademia’s style but want to spend a little less, it’s worth considering the Anima Prestige.

The Pros

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    Fully customizable drinks
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    Can use whole beans or pre-ground coffee
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    Adjustable spout (though maximum height is slightly lower than for the Accademia)
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    Lower price point

The Cons

  • No steam wand
  • Only five grinder settings

#2 Gaggia Accademia Vs. Saeco Picobaristo

Saeco HD8927/47 PicoBaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel

At a similar price point to the Accademia, the Picobaristo has plenty of advantages. It’s got an extra 100 milliliters of capacity in its water reservoir and boasts an impressive 11 one-touch settings.

Like the Accademia, it has a ceramic burr grinder with 10 settings, and an adjustable spout.

And whilst it’s almost the same size it weighs only half as much, making it easier to manoeuver into position.

The LCD display isn’t quite as swanky, and it doesn’t have a steam wand. But it will do something the Accademia won’t – brew two cups at the same time.

If you usually drink coffee with a partner or friend and aren’t fussed about latte art, it’s a great option.

The Pros

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    Can brew two coffees at once
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    Can use whole beans or pre-ground coffee
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    11 one-touch settings
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    Adjustable spout

The Cons

  • No steam wand
  • No flow control dial

#3 Gaggia Accademia Vs. DeLonghi PrimaDonna XS Deluxe

Delonghi PrimaDonna XS Super Automatic Espresso Machine with Cappuccino System, Memory Function, Two Boilers and Active Cup Warmer, Silver and Black, ETAM36365

If you’re short of space in your kitchen, DeLonghi’s slim-line PrimaDonna XS may be the answer.

The LCD screen is less impressive than the Accademia’s, displaying just four lines of text. And as you might expect with a space-saving model, the water tank is small – just 1.3 liters.

But if that’s not a problem for you, the PrimaDonna XS packs a lot of features into its small form.

You can customize coffee dose, serving size and temperature, and serve one or two beverages at once. And the silent grinder has no less than 13 different settings.

The Pros

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    Can brew two coffees at once
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    13 grinder settings
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    Slim-line design
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    Adjustable spout

The Cons

  • No steam wand
  • No flow control dial
  • Can’t use pre-ground coffee

Conclusion

The Gaggia Accademia is a stylish and versatile solution to getting artisan-quality coffee at home.

Use the one-touch setting when you’re in a hurry, or the steam wand to create latte art when you’re not.

And have fun experimenting with the host of customization options to create your perfect coffee.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, or want to check out the specs yourself – just click here.

My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Daily Cupo, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.

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