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Gaggia Brera Review

A great choice for those looking for a good long term value
Gaggia Brera
Credit: Gaggia
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Price:   $530 List | $449.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Convenient, good taste
Cons:  Laborious descaling process
Manufacturer:   Gaggia
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jun 24, 2021
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Taste - 40% 7
  • Ease of Use - 30% 7
  • Ease of Cleaning - 15% 6
  • Milk Steaming - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Gaggia Brera provides good taste quality and all of the convenience of a super-automatic machine at a fairly reasonable price. It also provides a steam wand that can make a nice, frothy cappuccino and decent lattes. If you don't mind espresso that is good rather than great, want something that can make a quick and convenient cappuccino, and don't want to break the bank, this is an overall good choice. While it is more expensive and just a tad less convenient than Nespresso capsule models, it will save you some money in the long run and give you much more autonomy over your drinks.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Gaggia Brera
This Product
Gaggia Brera
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $530 List
$449.00 at Amazon
$600 List
$599.99 at Amazon
$300 List$130 List$199 List
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Pros Convenient, good tasteExcellent espresso, can achieve near-perfect microfoam, relatively easy to use for a semi-automatic machineGreat espresso, impressive milk steaming performance, compact designGood espresso and milk steaming, quite inexpensiveEasy to use, quick and convenient, good taste, makes brewed coffee also
Cons Laborious descaling processPricey, requires more effort/practice than fully-automatic machinesNo built-in grinderDoesn't quite achieve cafe quality results, somewhat slow, no built-in grinderUses expensive capsules, only a limited number of espresso flavors available
Bottom Line A great choice for those looking for a good long term valueA cafe-quality machine that manages to still be friendly towards beginner baristasOne of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe-quality resultsOffers good taste and overall quality at a far below average priceGreat if you don't mind paying for convenience and want the ability to make brewed coffee too
Rating Categories Gaggia Brera Calphalon Temp IQ Breville Bambino Gevi Nespresso Evoluo
Taste (40%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
9.0
Ease Of Cleaning (15%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Milk Steaming (15%)
6.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
1
Specs Gaggia Brera Calphalon Temp IQ Breville Bambino Gevi Nespresso Evoluo
Dimensions 10" x 15.5" x 11.5" 5.6" x 14.5" x 17.3" 7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2" 13" x 10" x 16" 9" x 12.2" x 12.3"
Milk Frother Steam Wand Steam Wand Steam Wand Steam Wand None
Water Tank Capacity 40 oz 94 oz 47 oz 42 oz 54 oz
Cost per Shot $0.38 $0.45 $0.45 $0.45 $0.85
Lifetime Cost per Shot $0.60 $0.70 $0.58 $0.50 $0.93
Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make Up List Price 202 235 118 51 93
Number of Cafe Replacement Lattes to Make Up List Price 122 141 70 30 52

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you're not super fussy about the taste of your espresso the level of quality the Gaggia Brera provides will be more than satisfying. It will give the warm sips of caffeine you need to kickstart your morning and hold the cold at bay on a chilly commute.

Performance Comparison


An easy-to-use machine that produces above-average taste quality.
An easy-to-use machine that produces above-average taste quality.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Taste


In our taste testing, the Brera earned an above-average score. It consistently produced espresso with a nice taste but it was just a bit more watery and less full bodied than what we would call a perfect shot. Our testers were impressed but not surprised that the espresso came from a home machine. The included steam wand also let us make a nice dry cappuccino, but couldn't get the microfoam to make a perfect latte.

In our experience, the taste quality from the Brera is the best you're going to get from a machine that does all the hard work for you. If you really want a cafe-quality drink at home you're going to have to graduate to a semi-automatic machine and learn to grind, tamp, and steam yourself.



Ease of Use


The Brera fared reasonably well in this metric and landed with an above-average score here too. Out-of-the-box setup was quite easy as the included instructions are clear and have the right balance of graphics and text to make everything feel intuitive. With the help of the clear quick start guide, it only took us only 15 pain-free minutes to get the machine up and running.

In terms of making a shot of espresso, it could hardly be easier. Just make sure there are coffee beans in the hopper, push a couple of buttons, and within a few minutes, you have some nice espresso. Frothing milk with the steam wand, it took us just over 4 minutes to make a cappuccino.

The Brera (center) can pull a shot at the push of a button...
The Brera (center) can pull a shot at the push of a button, but making a milk drink requires a little hands on effort using the steam wand.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

However, the Brera lost some points because all of its buttons are labeled with small pictures instead of text, so it takes a minute to learn what each one actually does. That said, once you're used to the machine this isn't an issue at all.

The symbols will make sense once you use the machine a bit, but upon...
The symbols will make sense once you use the machine a bit, but upon first glance, they're a little confusing.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Cleaning


Daily cleaning of the Brera is a breeze. The spent coffee pucks tend to be quite dry and solidified, so you can just dump them in the trash and generally don't even have to wipe off the bin they are deposited in. The steam wand needs a simple wipe with a rag after each use. The only slightly laborious task is a more thorough cleaning of the steam wand, which you'll probably want to do once or twice a week if you're using it every day. The wand dismantles into a few pieces so you can clean out every bit, but this must be done by hand, as none of the pieces are dishwasher safe.

The Brera produces fairly dry coffee pucks that are easy to dispose...
The Brera produces fairly dry coffee pucks that are easy to dispose of and fairly mess free.

The descaling process is what really kept the Brera from earning a top score in this metric. First off, descaling requires a solution that does not come included with the machine. Secondly, it is a fairly hands-on process that requires complete attention for a full 40 minutes. Sure, you'll only have to do this every few months, but it's a chore you'll probably dread.

Milk Steaming


The steam wand on the Brera can't quite get the creamy texture we like to see in steamed milk, but the resulting lattes are still fairly good. The foam produced is a bit airy for our liking, but we still wouldn't refuse the resulting cappuccino. Respectable but not overly impressive.

The Brera's milk wand can make a nice cappuccino, but the milk isn't...
The Brera's milk wand can make a nice cappuccino, but the milk isn't quite as creamy and the foam not quite as fine as it could be.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Value


The Brera is significantly more expensive upfront than some of the cheaper capsule machines, however, it's far less expensive over the long run. This, combined with a solid performance in our taste and ease of use testing, make it a good value.

Conclusion


The Gaggia Brera is a quality, super-automatic machine that provides a decent lifetime value and good-tasting espresso. If you want something convenient with a built-in grinder, this is a great choice.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata