Gaggia Brera Review: Is This Super Automatic Machine Good?

Big things come in small packages. That couldn’t be more true about the Gaggia Brera.

The Brera is Gaggia’s entry-level superautomatic espresso machine.

It packs a punch and is a great choice for beginners and pros.

In this Gaggia Brera review, I’ll walk you through all the major features and explain what I like and don’t like about each one.

Let’s get to it!

Gaggia Brera: A Quick Overview

Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, Small, Black
  • Design 5/5
  • Grinding 4/5
  • Brewing 4/5
  • Ease of Use 5/5
  • Cleaning 4/5
  • Special Features3/5

Gaggia has been around for many, many years. In fact, Gaggia was integral to the development of espresso as we know it today.

So, it makes sense that Gaggia is still a leader in the world of home espresso machines like the Brera. 

The Gaggia Brera is an affordable superautomatic machine. Unlike many superautomatic machines on the market, the Brera is compact, simple, and focused on the best possible espresso.

The reality is that the Brera is an entry-level superautomatic machine. But it’s actually a great choice for anyone looking for easy and quality espresso at home.

Pros

  • Espresso-first mindset means the Brera coffee machine is focused on good espresso instead of convenience
  • Great integrated ceramic grinder gives you consistent espresso and quality drinks
  • The powerful 15-bar pump ensures you have enough power to brew great espresso
  • Removable pieces make it easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Manual steam wand means you’ll have to learn how to steam milk for drinks

Gaggia Brera: Features Rundown

Let’s take a closer look at the features of the Gaggia Brera super automatic espresso machine.

It’s important to understand just what exactly this machine can do.

Does the design look good?

It’s hard to ignore the classic look of the Brera espresso maker.

It’s got a stainless steel front plate to go along with the curved square design. Gaggia has always had timeless designs for their machines, and the Brera is no different.

The curved edges and silver (or black) top and sides make it easy to fit into any style of kitchen.

Plus, its size at less than 12” makes it easy to fit into even small spaces.

Even though it’s a small machine intended for home use, Gaggia didn’t skimp on the details.

I’ve always said that I prefer tactile buttons on my machines instead of touchscreen displays. And the Brera uses 4 buttons and one knob as the interface.

It uses LED icons on the screen to let you know exactly what’s going on during the brew.

BOTTOM LINE
It’s a great and timeless design that goes with anything. The look and feel of this machine shouldn’t be a concern.

How does the grinder stack up?

It’s hard to find a super automatic machine with a good grinder. Why? I don’t really know, but many of them have subpar or even plain bad grinders.

Is the same true of the Brera Gaggia espresso machine?

Actually, no, it’s one of the superautomatic machines with a good grinder.

What do I mean when I say a good grinder?

Well, for one thing, it has a burr grinder instead of a blade grinder.

While a blade grinder chops your coffee beans, a burr grinder crushes them. The benefit of burr grinders is that you end up with a much more consistent grind. And a consistent grind means even extraction and tasty espresso.

There is a downside to Brera’s grinding, however. There are only 5 grind size settings for your espresso.

That isn’t enough for someone really dedicated to the craft of brewing espresso. That said, the Brera Gaggia machine probably isn’t for you if you want to get into the weeds on espresso extraction. So 5 options are pretty good, but not ideal.

On the other hand, Brera has a ceramic burr grinder instead of steel. Ceramic burrs are harder and last longer than steel burrs. They are more brittle, though, so be careful that only coffee beans get into the grinder.

The other plus is that the Brera is compatible with pre ground coffee. That gives you the option to buy ground coffee instead of only buying whole coffee bean packs.

I’d still recommend buying whole bean coffee when you can, but the option to use ground coffee is nice to have.

BOTTOM LINE
The Brera’s grinding is top of the line. The ceramic Burr grinders will last a long time with proper maintenance and cleaning. The 5 grind size options are usually enough for most people, though more would be nice. And the ability to use pre-ground coffee is a great addition.

But does it make good espresso?

person holding espresso prepared on gaggia brera
Photo from: @ful1004

The biggest question of all when talking about espresso machines: how good is the actual coffee?

Short answer: pretty dang tasty.

Let’s start with the number of drinks this machine can make.

Gaggia Brera espresso machine makes 3 drinks in-machine: espresso, espresso lungo, and hot water.

The 2 espresso sizes are both one-touch drinks. The hot water is controlled with the knob on the interface and comes out of the steam wand.

Within the 2 espresso sizes are 3 other Optiaroma settings for coffee customization. This controls how strong your coffee tastes.

Personally, I think the beans themselves have more to do with how your espresso will taste, but the option is a nice touch to give you a little more control.

The hot water is a nice feature as well. It gives you the option to pour hot water for teas or hot chocolates. The extra versatility is a big selling point for me.

The Brera uses a 15-bar Italian Pump.

To get a “true espresso,” a coffee machine needs to push hot water through the coffee at around 9 bars of pressure.

Bars refer to the number of times more than regular atmospheric pressure. So 9 bars of pressure would be 9x atmospheric pressure of water going through the coffee.

So, why does the Brera have 15 bars of pressure?

Well, it’s so it can more easily reach 9 bars. 

I always use car engines as an example. A simple engine and a supercar engine can both reach 70 mph. But a simple engine will take longer to get up to that speed and put more strain on the engine while maintaining that speed.

A supercar engine will more easily get up to that speed and more easily maintain that speed, putting less strain on the engine.

The Brera’s pump is the supercar’s engine in this analogy.

We need to talk about the steam wand. The Brera is a little different in the superautomatic espresso machine world because it doesn’t have an integrated milk system.

Instead, it has a manual Pannarello steam wand. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it keeps the price way down relative to other superautomatic machines with integrated milk frother.

But you will need to learn how to steam milk properly if you want good lattes or other espresso-based milk drinks.

HIGHLIGHTS
The Brera has 3 drinks: espresso, espresso lungo, and hot water. But it also has a manual Pannarello wand to make anything from a flat white to a latte. And it has a super capable Italian Pump that ensures cafe-style espresso.

How easy is it to use?

Now that we’ve covered how tasty the coffee is, I’m sure you’re wondering how easy the Brera is to use.

It’s actually very easy. As with most superautomatic espresso machines, the Brera is designed for easy use.

Specifically, one-touch use.

What that means is that all you need to do is make sure the water tank and bean hopper are full, turn the coffee machine on, and press the espresso button.

And the Brera does the rest.

Once you find some settings you like for your espresso, you can also save those settings to become standard by holding the buttons for a few seconds.

After that, whenever you press the brew button, those saved settings will be standard. That makes brewing just to your taste even easier.

The bottom line is that the Brera is an entry-level superautomatic machine.

It’s entry-level because it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of more advanced superautomatic machines.

But it is still an easy-to-use machine. I would actually argue that this is a better superautomatic machine because of its simplicity.

Just a few buttons stand between you and your morning cup of coffee.

The only problem is the steam wand. If you aren’t used to steaming your own milk, or you don’t feel like learning how to do it, then you’ll find it frustrating and hard to get used to.

But if you already know how, or you mostly just drink espresso, then the Brera is maybe the best choice on the market.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Gaggia Brera superautomatic machine is super easy to use. So easy that I think it beats out many of the high-end superautomatic machines. The simplicity and value are very hard to beat.

Is it easy to clean?

Cleaning superautomatic machines can sometimes be really difficult. 

Gaggia Brera coffee machine is actually designed to be easy to clean.

The first thing Gaggia added to make the cleaning process easy was a descaling alert.

Think of descaling as a deep cleaning for the inner workings of your machine. It’s useful that your machine tells you when it needs a descaling instead of having to guess. But it’s always best to regularly descale your machine.

Gaggia also made the entire brew group removable and washable in the sink. That’s a unique feature to Gaggia in the superautomatic machine world. And it makes the Brera one of the easiest to clean machines on the market.

The steam wand and drip trays are also removable. 

The only hard part to clean is the grinder. But using a pipe cleaner to gently brush the sides of the burrs is usually all you need, so it’s not a big hindrance to your maintenance cycle.

BOTTOM LINE
Cleaning your Brera is super easy. The brew group, drip tray, and steam wand are all removable and hand washable in the sink. The grinder isn’t removable, but it’s easy to clean with a pipe cleaner. Gaggia also has a descaling alert in the Brera, which tells you when your machine needs a deeper clean.

Does it have any special features?

preparing drink on gaggia brera
Photo from: @ful1004

In all honesty, the Brera doesn’t have many special features.

But that’s why I like it so much.

Because of its simplicity, it’s an incredible value for a superautomatic machine.

In the world of superautomatic machines, it’s one of the cheapest. But it’s also one of the best options.

Why? Because it’s got all the benefits of being a Gaggia without all the unnecessary frills of other machines.

There’s no touchscreen display, and there’s no integrated milk system. Those two things keep the price low while maintaining cafe-quality espresso.

And if you ask me, your espresso machine should be all about the quality of the espresso.

The manual steam wand is a little clunky if you aren’t used to steaming your own milk. But the Brera is still worth it.

A few last things about the Brera:

  • It has a 1.2-liter water tank capacity, which is plenty for multiple drinks in a row
  • Gaggia Brera bean hopper holds 250 grams of coffee beans, which lasts for a long time
  • Compatible with a Gaggia water filter
  • It has space for 8 used pucks of coffee grounds

FAQ

You might still have a few specific questions about the Gaggia Brera.

I’ll answer three of the most common questions here.

How long does a Gaggia Brera last?

The Brera will last for years. Plus, it’s covered by Gaggia’s limited 1-year warranty. So if something goes wrong in the first year, you’re covered.

How do you reset a Gaggia Brera?

You can reset your Brera by pressing the bean selector button for 6 seconds. Generally, you’ll have to reset your Brera after running a cleaning cycle.

It’s also best to refer to your owner’s manual when performing maintenance and cleaning cycles.

Why does my Gaggia Brera leak water?

Check the water tank and make sure it is attached correctly. If it is inserted correctly, but water is still leaking, then the intake hose might be loose or disconnected. This would require a repair.

If water is leaking from the steam wand, try running a rinse cycle or descaling cycle. If this doesn’t work, it will need repair.

Final Words

Look, superautomatic espresso machines aren’t really my thing. I prefer having more control over my espresso.

Superautomatic espresso machines are usually expensive, bulky, and don’t make great espresso.

But the Gaggia Brera is an answer to all of those problems.

It’s small for a superautomatic machine, it’s an incredible value for the money, and its main focus is on good coffee.

If you’re looking for an entry-level superautomatic espresso machine, then the Gaggia Brera is easily my top choice.

Check out the Gaggia Brera!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.