A cafe owner in Milan named Achille Gaggia’s passion and ingenuity for coffee motivated him to create a new way to prepare espresso without using steam. This vision led to the creation of the device which generated the characteristic crema on coffee which has since become the hallmark of any quality espresso.
Carrying these such successful long-standing practices and traditions, our Gaggia Brera review will explain how and why it’s an archetype of a coffee machine from the purists to the amateurs alike.
- Gaggia Brera Review – Key Features
- Gaggia Brera – The Good And The Bad
- How To Use Gaggia Brera Automatic Coffee Maker
- How To Clean Gaggia Brera
- Why Gaggia Is A Household Name In The Industry?
- Why The Gaggia Brera Is Perfect For You…
- Why Gaggia Brera Isn’t Perfect For You…
- Customer Reviews
- Comparing With The Alternatives
Gaggia Brera Review – Key Features
- Enjoy authentic café-style beverages in the comfort of your own home with Gaggia’s Rapid Steam Technology
- With its user-friendly display, push-button controls, and illuminated icons, making cappuccinos & lattes is simple and fast
- The Pannarello wand froths milk for perfect cappuccinos & lattes and doubles as a hot water dispenser for americanos and tea
- Easily accessible dregs drawer, drip tray, and water tank make for cleaning and maintenance with ease
- 250-gram coffee bean capacity allows for making multiple beverages with ease
We’ve picked some key of features in this Gaggia Brera espresso machine review to be explained in greater detail.
Ceramic Built-In Burr Grinder
Before even going for a quality coffee machine you need to invest in some quality coffee beans. Even though there are great ground coffee brands available all around, starting with whole coffee beans guarantees you entrap the maximum possible aroma and flavor. Thus, Gaggia Brera super-automatic espresso machine review must begin with its ceramic burr grinder.
Speaking of which, Brera’s ceramic burr built-in grinder is something that you can rely on to grind your fresh beans for that. Gaggia prefers burr grinders because they do a much better job of giving a consistent grind than blade grinders. The final result is a superior brewed cup of coffee with flavor and aroma. Ceramics as a material is superior to other materials as well.
Steel blades are prone to generate a lot of heat, which can alter the final quality of a drink. In turn, ceramic grinders avoid this issue offering less chance of negatively altering the flavor during the whole brewing process.
Double Brew Cycle For Double Shots
The Gaggia Brera makes its double shots by completing the brew cycle twice, rather than just simply pouring more water into the brew. It’s better to mention in this review that it’s good for quality, but not so good for an impatient user. You’ll have to pick whether you like speed over experience. Personally, we’re happy to wait a little longer for experience’s sake. We also appreciate the “bean to cup” machines that take this approach in general.
It’s become a commonality for many coffee makers to add something known as a bypass doser. It’s also the same for the Gaggia Brera model.
Why’s this feature you ask? Well, if you need to get a cup of pre-ground coffee in a pinch (such as decaf), you can skip the bean-grinding phase altogether. And jump straight into a different brew.
With this feature, you need to scoop out all the coffee beans from the bean hopper first. Then replace them with whatever pre-ground coffee you want to use instead. The rest of the process remains the same thereafter. The bean hopper sits on top of the machine. It takes a good amount of coffee beans to be frank. It’s also made UV resistant and airtight. Which is great for your beans’ long-term quality and preservation.
The Gaggia Brera makes use of something known as a Pannarello milk frother wand. This attachment sits on the wand itself. It automatically administers the airflow. Consequently, it makes the manual frothing a bit simpler for you.
The Gaggia Brera has a single boiler, which means a singular heat source is used for all stages of drink preparation. Usually, this should be a problem. Because you don’t want the milk and espresso to heat up at an equal temperature.
To tackle this, the Brera made use of “Rapid Steam Technology”. It gets the wand from a cold start to frothing-ready warm in 9 seconds. It’s good enough and won’t make an espresso go cold even before serving. You can also make use of the wand as a hot water dispenser. You’ll find it useful if you need to make other warm drinks like hot chocolate or a cup of tea.
If there’s one thing we wanted to get changed about the Gaggia Brera automatic coffee maker is its water tank capacity. At 41oz, it’s on the small side and is only prime for about 4 or 5 drinks. As Brera is a compact perfect-sized machine, it had to go for this small-sized tank. So this may just be one of the trade-offs that had to be accommodated.
If you are concerned about how it will fit in your own kitchen space, the Breras’ dimensions are 12.4 (H) x 10 (W) x 17.5 (D) inches. It’s safe to assume that Brera is reasonably compact-sized to fit in various kitchen spaces without much effort.
As far as weight is concerned, Brera is about 18 lbs. after unboxing and assembling. Even though it’s compact and fitting, the Brera is not designed to be moved around.
Adaptable Cup Height
One of the common and annoying issues with many espresso machines is fitting various-sized mugs and cups on the machine. Gaggia Brera’s coffee dispenser’s adjustable height aimed to relieve that headache. Bit moveable upwards and downwards only. There’s not a huge amount of space to play with though. You can move from a minimum of 3.1 inches to 4.5 inches maximum.
As a general tip, you’ll need the coffee to dispense a bit close to the mug/cup. You’ll have a better crema in that way. Crema is a rich, tan-colored froth layer that sits on top of the drink.
The Cup Warmer
Like many good coffee machines, the Gaggia Brera also utilizes the heat produced by its boiler to passively pre-heat your coffee cups/mugs. There’s no active dedicated warming. Just enough heat transfer to get it done. The classic pro model has a warming plate for this purpose.
Power Saving Mode
The Gaggia Brera automatically switches off after 1 hour of its last use. So simply good for the bills and for the environmental causes too. The only thing we hope for is that it can shorten this timer, but it’s fixed at 60 minutes mark. Most users once make the coffee they are done, it’s done. Really don’t need the coffee maker to be on standby for an hour after that. It may be nitpicking really, but something to be aware of anyway.
Gaggia Brera – The Good And The Bad
As we’ve already made clear so far in our Gaggia Brera super-automatic espresso machine review is that it’s highly praised as an entry-level espresso maker. It is amazingly user-friendly and capable of serving you well both as a standalone or, a stepping-stone brewer. Simple and straightforward, with a clean, sleek build.
- Detachable parts are easy for cleaning
- Compact, sleek, and functional build
- Respectable programmability even as a super-auto
- Competitive pricing range compared to its type and quality
- A built-in ceramic burr grinder. Perfect for those who love minimal kit
- The water reservoir is slightly smaller
- Pannarello steaming wand can be viewed as a bit flimsy
- The usage of plastic parts reduces the price and the lifespan
- The grinder is a bit too loud for some. Note: 63 and 72 dB for brewing and grinding respectively
How To Use Gaggia Brera Automatic Coffee Maker
Making Coffee Using Coffee Beans
- To brew coffee with fresh beans, first press and release the “bean” button to add the desired aroma. Press the “espresso” button for an espresso coffee or the “long coffee brew” button for a long coffee
- The brewing cycle now begins. To make 1 cup of coffee, press the “espresso” or “long coffee brew” button once. The display will show the selected icon. If you want to brew 2 cups of coffee, press either the “espresso” or the “long coffee brew” button twice. Again, the display will show the icon
- After the pre-brewing cycle, coffee will start to come out of its dispensing spout
- Coffee brewing halts automatically when your pre-programmed level is reached. However, it is also possible to interrupt the coffee brewing by pressing the button you initially pressed
Making Coffee Using Pre-Ground Coffee
- To begin with, you have to pour the pre-ground coffee into the appropriate chamber positioned next to the coffee bean hopper. Only use ground coffee for espresso machines. Never pour whole coffee beans or instant coffee
- To brew the coffee press and release the “bean” button until the pre-ground coffee functions’ icon shows up on the display
- Lift up the pre-ground coffee compartment lid
- Add 1 and only 1 scoop of your pre-ground coffee into the compartment. Use the supplied measuring scoop with the machine to do the scooping. Once done, close the lid properly
- Press and release the “espresso” button for an espresso brewing. Or the “long coffee brew” button for a long brew
- The brewing now begins. After the pre-brewing cycle, the brewed coffee will start to come out of the dispensing spout
- Coffee brewing ends automatically when the pre-programmed level is achieved. You can also stop the coffee brewing by pressing the button you initially selected. After dispensing the coffee, the beans settings of the machine will be restored
How To Clean Gaggia Brera
Cleaning And Maintenance
Maintenance and cleaning functions can only be performed when the machine is not warm and disconnected from the electric network.
- Do not soak the machine in water
- Do not immerse and wash any of the parts in a dishwasher
- Avoid using sharp objects or abrasive chemical products or solvents for cleaning
- Always use a damp, soft cloth to clean this machine
- Do not dry the machine or/and any of its components inside a microwave or/and any standard oven
- Every day, after heating up the milk, detach the exterior part of the Pannarello and clean it with fresh clean water
Clean the steam wand on a weekly basis. In order to do this, follow these steps: –
- Detach the external Pannarello part (for standard cleaning)
- From the steam wand remove the upper part of the Pannarello
- Now wash the upper part of the Pannarello with fresh clean water
- Wash the steam wand with a wet fabric and remove milk residue
- Replace the upper part of the steam wand and ensure that it is fully inserted
- Reinstall the exterior part of the Pannarello
We advise cleaning out the water tank daily. For an easier detachment of the water tank, move the steam wand or Pannarello upwards.
- Now, remove the small white filter inside the water tank. Wash it under running clean drinking water
- Reposition the filter in its housing. Gently press down and turn it at the same time
- Now you can fill up the water tank with fresh drinking water
- Also, remember to empty and clean the drip tray every day. Perform this also when the float is raised
- Empty out and wash the grounds drawer every day. Keep the machine turned on while at it
- Finally, clean the seat of the drip tray weekly. Clean it through the openings on the bottom of the machine
This Gaggia Brera espresso machine review would not be whole without explaining to our readers its descaling cycle. Like all espresso machines, limescale usually builds up with the use of this machine too. So a machine must be descaled. And Brera lets you know when the descaling icon appears on its display. Please take note that Gaggia has recommended its users to only use the Gaggia Descaling Solution. It has been designed to guarantee better machine operation and performance for its whole operating lifespan. If correctly applied, it also averts alterations to your brewed coffee.
- Before descaling, from the steam wand, remove the Pannarello (if supplied)
- By pressing the “STAND-BY” button turn your machine on. Wait for the machine to complete its rinse cycle. After that do let it warm up
- Detach the “Intenza” filter before you add the descaling solution
Step – 1:
Pour all of the concentrated descaling solutions into the water reservoir. Then fill the reservoir with fresh drinking water. Fill it up to the MAX level. Finally, place the reservoir back into the machine.
- Place a bowl/container (at least 1 liter) below the steam wand
- After pouring the descaling solution into the reservoir, turn the selector switch clockwise (right) to the “hot water” position. Then dispense only 2-3 cups of water (almost 150 ml)
- Now halt the dispensing by turning back the selector switch to its central position
- Let the descaling solution work for 15 to 20 minutes
- Keep repeating the 2nd and 3rd steps at intervals of 3 minutes. Stop until there is no solution left in the water reservoir
- When the “steady on” icon is displayed, rinse the water reservoir properly. Then refill it with clean and fresh drinking water
- Empty the bowl/container that you used to collect all the dispensed liquid by the machine. Replace it under the steam wand again
- Turn the selector switch clockwise (right) again to set it to the “hot water dispense” position. The machines’ rinse cycle will begin
- When the water inside of the tank is finished dispensing, the “steady on” icon on the side will be displayed again to alert that the selector must be switched back to its central position
- Rinse the tank thoroughly now. Refill it with drinking water
Step – 2:
Empty your bowl/container again.
- Put a large container beneath the spout now
- Before starting this phase, check the “steady on” status with 7 icons on the display
- Select the pre-ground coffee function. For that, press the bottom right “bean“ button (one or more times)
- Now press the long coffee button
- Wait until brewing is finished. Empty your large container with water
- Repeat steps 1 to 5 for 3 times
Step – 3:
Place a bowl/container underneath the steam wand (Pannarello, if supplied).
- Turn the selector switch clockwise (right) to select the “water dispense” mode
- Dispense the water until the no water signal is shown. Now, turn the selector back to the “central” position
- In the end, fill the tank again. The cycle is over now. You can start brewing
- Hold and press the “bean“ button for 6 seconds. It resets the machine and cancels the descaling alarm signal
Why Gaggia Is A Household Name In The Industry?
Achille Gaggia was the 1st person to introduce the spring-piston barista-operated lever. This innovation improved the pressure control for the espresso machines. Also, the results of its introduction brought about the existence of crema. Thus, the excitement around the thin brown layer began. As indicated the machine being used is equipped with this feature and makes quality pull.
The company 1st started with commercial machines. But soon shifted to offer for the domestic sphere. However, the commercial background had brought them a great foundation for quality craftsmanship.
Gaggia was purchased later in 1999 by another Italian company, Saeco. Soon after (in 2009) both Gaggia and Saeco were purchased by Philips. They changed a couple of Saeco designs. Also brought new, stainless steel boilers into the machines (rather than aluminum). Gaggia still works separately and is using Saeco designs in some of its espressos.
In 2017 Philips sold Saeco along with Gaggia to N&W Global Vending SpA. It is controlled by a US fund, Lone Star. The domestic coffee-making division is still under the Philips group. Note: In 2017 N&W changes its name to Evoca Group.
Why The Gaggia Brera Is Perfect For You…
This is by far one of the most popular mid-range priced, super-automatic espresso machines available out there. So if you have reached this far of the Gaggia Brera review, you know why and how it’s regarded in that manner. The right machine for you to begin your more sophisticated espresso journey. If you carefully gathered the facts on mid-range super-automatics, chances are you would be buying this Gaggia model in the first place.
Even though Gaggia Brera is a super-automatic machine, it still has not shied away from leaving a bit of a manual control theme in this machine. Meaning that by nature some functionalities beyond basic shot pulling, and pre-programs are to be performed for you with minimal to no input anyway. The target audience for this kind of machine is those who are interested in specialty brewing as well as a bit of hands-on experience with their daily coffee. Yet pre-programmed enough to not make it a monotonous experience if a user is not keen on being extremely hands-on with their espresso brewing.
Why Gaggia Brera Isn’t Perfect For You…
Brera is not a perfect option for you if want to achieve that perfect shot by dialing in your machine. Some alternatives do offer better accuracy and control by letting the user adjust shot strength and volume.
If you prefer a built-in burr grinder then also avoid Gaggia Brera.
If you like your coffee machine with dual boilers so that you can steam as well as brew milk without having to wait, don’t buy Brera.
So some of us really don’t care for steaming milk or frothing. Or perhaps you already have a milk frother. Then no point in buying an espresso machine with a steam wand such as this.
Most customers and critics were impressed with Breras’ functionalities. The machine seems to reduce all of the coffee ground mess on their counter. Saves you from digging wet, week-old coffee grounds out of a knock box with the hassle. Most praised the simpler operation approach on the machine.
Customers loved Brera as its small compact size fits better on the kitchen counter easily. The overall look of the machine also helped elevate a lot of customers’ kitchen aesthetics. Critics took note of the fact that the water tank is small but doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of the machine. Across various Gaggia Brera reviews, critics demanded that Gaggia should improve upon the water and the grounds container sizes.
The majority of feedback also didn’t like that 2 cups of cappuccinos brewing requires emptying out the drip tray and filling up the water reservoir twice. The Pannarello wand has received praise as one of the best features of this unit. Overall, general consensus is Brera is an incredible entry-level super-automatic machine. With great value for the money.
Comparing With The Alternatives
If you’re conflicted over the Gaggia Brera’s water reservoir, the Anima got you covered with a 60oz water tank. Meaning the coffee will be flowing longer between refills! You’ve also got more opportunities to play with in terms of cup sizes. 5.9 inches is the maximum height for Anima, which is a good increase over Brera’s 4.5 inches maximum height. The prominent drawbacks of Anima are its non-airtight bean hopper lid and full plastic exterior. Also, it lacks a bit of control and customization.
A fully automatic, easy-to-use espresso machine comes at a reasonable price. It includes a ceramic burr grinder and a detachable milk carafe. The patented AquaClean filtering system makes it an easy low maintenance espresso machine. With its built-in burr grinder, detachable milk carafe, and an array of highly customizable drink selections, the Saeco Picobaristo brings an at-home barista vibe and makes you feel like you’re its regular customer.
A few of the drawbacks include its inability to fit in larger mugs, a bit underperforming conical burr grinder, and its high price point. It knows your favorite drink and exactly how you like it. From an extra hot Latte macchiato to an Almond milk cappuccino – everything is up for grabs with this machine. If you’re searching for an automatic espresso machine that’s as easy to use as it is to maintain, this is your ideal candidate.
Where Is Gaggia Brera Made?
Gaggia Brera was both designed and made in Italy.
How Do You Decalcify Gaggia Brera?
Read our Descaling sub-section from the How To Clean section above.
Are Saeco And Gaggia The Same Company?
The Gaggia was purchased in 1999 by their Italian competitor Saeco Intl. Grp. Later Saeco was purchased by Philips in 2009. Gaggia still operates separately and uses Saeco designs in some of its espresso machines. In 2017 Philips sold Saeco (along with Gaggia) to N and W Global Vending SpA controlled by a US fund, Lone Star. The domestic coffee-making division remains in the Philips group. In 2017, Saeco and Gaggia changed and went under the Evoca Group.
Which Is Better Delonghi Or Gaggia?
Beverage temperature and strength-wise Gaggia is greatly reliable and well made. But compared to Delonghi, there’s no hiding the fact that Delonghi machines are stronger.
Is Philips A Gaggia?
No. Philips owned Gaggia for a long time and now they control the domestic espresso line of Gaggia.
It would be quite unfair to expect an espresso machine like Brera to brew the greatest espresso money can buy either, yet it’s still impressive as hell! It hits and exceeds the mark you’d need it to at this level. The ceramic grinder’s a truly welcoming inclusion too. We also tend to estimate that if you’ve been brewing a lot of coffee then you might find the Gaggia Brera’s water tank size a bit frustrating in the long run.
All in all, the Brera’s a great option if you crave an effective super-automatic and compact machine. It does most of the hard work for you. But at the same time introduces you to a whole world of specialty coffee drinks. We hope the Gaggia Brera review article made you understand how much of an excellent choice for the beginner barista it is. The espresso corner of the coffee culture can be a little intimidating, so we admire that Gaggia has gone with attempt to make it a little more accessible with the Brera.
Enjoy Your Coffee!