Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine Review
If you’re weighing up your first espresso machine choices, the options can be a little overwhelming. The Gaggia Brera is a great entry-level machine: easy to use and good value for money. But is it the right machine for you?
Take a look at our full review to discover what the Brera can offer.
A quick summary: Gaggia Brera
- Great quality espresso shots
- Smart, simple controls
- Use whole beans or pre-ground coffee
The first one of the day has to be a big slap in the face – a proper kick in the ass. I buy really nice beans and this brews a damn good cup.
A quick review of the Gaggia Brera
Gaggia is known for its quality super-automatic espresso machines, and the Brera is no exception. It packs plenty of features into a small footprint: a built-in grinder, brew unit with pre-infusion, rapid heat Pannarello wand, and one-touch espresso.
As a bean to cup machine, it’s easy to extract excellent espresso without much practice.
- Great value
- Built-in ceramic grinder
- Small footprint
- Limited grind settings
Full review of the Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine
If you like what you’ve seen so far, let’s take a more in-depth look at the details and features of this superautomatic espresso machine.
Design – 4.5/5
This compact little espresso machine oozes Italian style. The stainless-steel front panel gives it a high-quality look and feel, with curved corners for a certain retro appeal. It’s let down only by its plastic parts, but these are par for the course at this price point.
The Brera stands at just 12.4” tall, with a footprint of 10” W x 17.5” D. It’s a comfortable fit beneath your cupboards, and you can top up the bean hopper without the need to move the machine.
The best feature of this coffee machine is the ceramic burr grinder.
A burr grinder is the only way to go about cleanly milling uniformly ground beans for an espresso grind.
Ceramic grinders are more durable than steel and more expensive, so you don’t tend to find them in the cheaper machines (1).
User-friendliness – 4.5/5
There’s an intuitive LED display that makes it easy to program your options. You have two one-touch options for coffee from the front panel: an espresso or a long coffee. To get a double shot of either, press the button twice, and the Brera will actually grind and extract two times.
With this espresso machine, you will still have to steam your milk. The Brera has a Pannarello steam wand, which is considered a little easier to use than a pro frothing wand. Use it t froth milk for your latte art, cappuccino, or macchiato. The wand also offers hot water for Americans or making tea.
This machine is easy-to-clean. Everything that needs regular emptying or cleaning is easy to access from the front: the drip tray, dregs drawer, and water tank. The Brera also has a removable group head, unusual for super automatic espresso machines, which you can access from the side.
Reservoir size – 4/5
The water reservoir holds a modest 40 oz. This means more frequent refilling but has allowed the Brera to stay at its convenient small size. Luckily, you can also fit the tank with an Intenza water filter, which will protect the machine from the scale (2).
Versatility – 4/5
With this low price tag, you will have to sacrifice some options for customizing your coffee. You won’t find the countless combinations available on more expensive machines.
There are just five grinder settings on the ceramic grinder, but this isn’t particularly unusual for bean to cup machines. You do get a bypass doser, which allows you to serve a decaf or specialty coffee without the need to empty the bean hopper.
You can adjust the strength of your coffee using Gaggia’s Optiaroma function. You can choose between light, medium, and strong, which equates to 7g of ground coffee for light to 10.5g for strong (3).
Is this really for you?
If you’re looking for your first machine, the Brera makes a great starting point. There aren’t too many variables to overwhelm, but you’ll get a feel for how grind size, dose, and water volume affect how your coffee tastes.
Don’t buy this if…
If you don’t want to steam your milk. If your budget allows, you can opt-out of the task with the Breville Oracle. This automatic manual espresso machine has a hands-free milk steamer that lets you program both temperature and texture.
If you want more options but still want a super-automatic machine. The Z6 is highly programmable and features nine grinder settings, three brewing temperatures, and ten coffee strength options. Also, you can check out the De Longhi ESAM 3300 Magnifica and the Babila for all the bells and whistles.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot to love about the Gaggia Brera. It’s straightforward to use as a super-automatic, espresso machine, making café-quality espresso at the touch of a button. It provides excellent value for money and is an ideal pick for anyone buying a machine for the first time.
- The Best Coffee Grinders You Can Buy. (2020, November 19). Retrieved from https://sevendistrictscoffee.com/coffee-beans/the-best-types-of-coffee-grinders-you-can-buy/
- Butterworth, M. (2016, February 25). Scale Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.freshcup.com/scale-prevention/
- Gaggia Brera Operating Instructions. (2018, May). Retrieved from https://www.gaggia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/DFU-BRERA-IT-GB-FR-DE-V3-00.pdf
Husband, father and former journalist, I’ve combined my love of writing with my love of coffee to create this site. I love high end products, but write all my content with budget conscious coffee enthusiasts in mind. I prefer light roasts, and my normal brew is some sort of pour over, although my guilty pleasure is the occasional flat white.