Gaggia Brera Gets Your Super-Automatic Feet Wet
Sick of the espresso drink hussle? …dosing, tamping, brewing, steaming, and making a small mess while trying to get out the door in the morning? Maybe it’s time to get your feet wet in the super automatic espresso Machine category.
A perfect place to look is the Gaggia Brera (Check Price on Amazon.com). This machine will prepare a complete drink, bean to cup, with minimal mess on your end.
Is It Worth Your Money?
This machine is worth your money, worth your time, and definitely worth your consideration. Priced at the lower end of the super-automatic machine category, and packed full of Gaggia’s well-known quality, the Brera offers the convenience of automatic espresso, in a small package that nestles discreetly on your kitchen counter.
Review & Breakdown
Little Machine, Big Features… this machine looks like a semi-automatic but acts like a super-automatic.
Sitting at a tidy 12.4” high, everything about the machine says small, home use machine, similar to so many semi-automatic units on the market. But, a built-in removable automatic brew group and Pannarello steam wand will tell you differently.
The grind is adjustable up to five grind levels, and the machine is programmable so that you can enjoy the exact cup of espresso you want, every time, without fuss.
Although it only has a single boiler, the Brera makes up for this by offering rapid steam functions, which means your steam wand is ready to go within 9 seconds. This is an improvement over many other one-boiler systems that require you to wait a while to get your water to the right temperature.
- 15 bar vibration pump
- Espresso pre-infusion
- 4” total height
- 40oz water reservoir
- Ceramic 8.8oz bean hopper
- 1300 watt single boiler
- Pannarello steam wand
- Adjustable spout
- Removable brew group
- Can take Mavea Intenza water filter
- Icon screen
Easy To Use And Reliable Too
Yes, the Brera takes a little more effort than higher priced machines in the same category. But, it’s still a far cry from the user involvement required for semi-automatic machines.
The espresso is the easiest part of the coffee making process with this machine. Make sure the hopper is full, push a button, and you have a quality pulled espresso cup flowing into your container in less than a minute.
The milk takes a little more effort. By that we mean you actually have to pour milk into a steaming pitcher, put it under the wand, and push a button. You may think, well that’s pretty easy. And you’d be right. But there are super-automatic machines that are even easier than that, and there are semi-automatic machines that require you to manually steam your milk.
The Gaggia Brera is one of the most accessible machines in its category. Both the water filter and dreg drawer are accessible from the front of the machine. If you’ve ever owned a unit that must be pulled out from underneath the cabinet everytime you’ve needed to fill the water, then you know what a plus front access can be!
- Access to the water reservoir from the front!
- Less than a minute to brew ready
- Only 9 seconds to steam ready
- Standby mode after an hour of inactivity
- Bypass Doser for ground coffee (great for decaf later in the day)
- Double shot? The Brera pulls twice, no re-using old grounds
- Beautiful sleek, stainless steel design
- Small water capacity means not great for entertaining
- Pannarello wand does not allow fully manual steaming if that’s what you’re in to
- The pulled espresso is really good, but not superb
- Does not stop steaming milk automatically, or tell you when to stop
Will the Brera Cost You?
The Brera is really priced competitively against other brands of similar capability. The quality of the parts, the Gaggia reputation, and the user-friendly, intuitive interface places this machine in the ‘well worth the money’ category.
Again, the Brera is a starter super-automatic machine. This means smaller capacity, some user interaction, and super-automatic basics only – no extra bells and whistles. For what you get, this machine is priced appropriately at below $500.
The Brera is a great introductory machine for anyone looking for a quality espresso making without the fuss or intimidation of a manual machine. The Gaggia Brera has been around since 2010 and has earned a reputation for dependability synonymous with the Gaggia reputation. So you know you’re getting a quality machine.
Like the heavier capacity automatic machines, all you need to do is fill the ceramic bean hopper with your favorite whole beans and push a button to go. We like that you can control the fineness of the grind and the amount of espresso the machine pulls, then program your preferences to get the perfect espresso pull for you every time.
If you’re a coffee house regular looking to cut down on the money you spend, this machine will make its money back pretty quickly. It’s an excellent machine for a one to two user household in need of efficiency and minimal mess.
But, if you really enjoy being more involved in the process besides setting the espresso strength -like if you want to grind the beans yourself and manually steam the milk – then we say this machine isn’t for you.
Or, if you entertain more than just a couple people often and you want your espresso machine to be in the mix, then you should step it up to a larger capacity machine. The Brera will give you two to three drinks before you’ll be refilling the water reservoir.
Other Options Worth Looking At
Budget Conscious?… If you’re really looking to just get into the espresso game and you’re on a tight budget, then we suggest Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma.
This little machine will save you a lot of money in coffee house visits if you’re looking to cut down. The espresso isn’t perfectly perfect, but if you want a good milk-based drink with excellent quality and an affordable price point, this machine is an excellent option.
Heavy Drinker?… If you really like the features of the Brera, but you want something with a bit larger capacity, try the Gaggia Anima. It has a 60 oz water capacity compared to Brera’s 40oz., at only a couple hundred dollars more. You’ll also see some other upgrades such as the programmable LED screen.