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Gaggia Brera Review

A great choice for those looking for a good long term value
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Price:   $530 List | $733 at Amazon
Pros:  Convenient, good taste
Cons:  Laborious descaling process, expensive
Manufacturer:   Gaggia
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jan 19, 2017
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#10 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. The Brera also provides a steam wand that is able to make a nice, frothy cappuccino. 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, the Brera is a good choice. While it is more expensive and just a tad less convenient than Nespresso capsule models like the Evoluo, it will save you some money in the long run.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


In our taste testing the Brera earned a score of 7 out of 10, making it above average in a metric with scores from 3 to 9. It consistently produced espresso with a nice taste, but 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 Brera's 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. If you're not super fussy about the taste of your espresso this level of quality 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.

In our experience the Brera's taste quality 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, like the Breville Barista Express, and learn to grind, tamp, and steam yourself.

Ease of Use

The Brera fared reasonably well in our ease of use testing, picking up a 7 in a metric that had scores from 4 to 9.

Easy Setup

Out of the box setup was quite easy as the included instructions were clear and had the right balance of graphics and text to make everything feel intuitive. With the help of its clear quick start guide, it only took us only 15 pain-free minutes to get the machine up and running.

Convenient Espresso, Somewhat Convenient Cappuccino

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 buttons, and within a few minutes you have some nice espresso. Initial setup was also easy. The 40oz water tank was likewise easy to fill. Additionally, frothing milk with its steam wand meant it took us just over 4 minutes to make a cappuccino. This isn't a huge deal, but it just can't match the convenience of machines like the Gaggia Anima Prestige and the De'Longhi Nespresso Lattissima Pro that have built-in automatic milk frothers.

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.
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.

Confusing Interface

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

This symbols will make sense once you use the machine a bit  but upon first glance they're quite confusing.
This symbols will make sense once you use the machine a bit, but upon first glance they're quite confusing.

Ease of Cleaning

Here again the Brera earned the respectable score of 7 out of 10 in a metric that saw scores ranging from 4 to 9.

Short Term 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 of and fairly mess free.
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/Frothing

The Brera earned a 6 out of 10 for its milk prepping capabilities. This was the lowest score received by models that include a built-in milk prepping device. However, it is not a poor score as most models with built-in frothers scored a 6 or 7 in this with the Breville Barista Express being a notable exception, as its cafe quality milk prepping abilities earned it a 9. The Brera's steam wand can't quite get the creamy texture we'd want in steamed milk, but the resulting lattes are still fairly good. When frothing the foam produced is a bit airy for our liking, but we still wouldn't refuse the resulting cappuccino. If you really want a Starbucks quality latte you'll have to upgrade to the Breville, but the Brera does a respectable job.

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.
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.


With a list price of $530 the Gaggia Brera is significantly more expensive than some of the cheaper capsule machines. However, it makes a shot of espresso for just about $0.60 as opposed to $0.70+ for the capsule machines, making it less expensive in the long run. This, combined with the Brera's solid performance in our taste and ease of use testing, make it a good value.


The 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, the Brera is a great choice.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata