After spending more than 40 hours on research and brewing enough coffee to likely kill a large mammal (namely, one of us), we’re ready to share our review of the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine (View on Amazon) with you, our faithful readers. We concluded that this is the best budget winner among super automatic espresso machines.
While it does not have every last feature possible, it does offer most features you would want at an extremely attractive price—and it produces an incredibly delicious cup of espresso.
Features of the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
When you’re considering a pricy investment into your happiness (because we all know that coffee is life), it’s important that you know about the features so that you can make an informed decision.
- Water filtration. This is one of our favorite features. The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine uses a Mavea 4-stage water filter. The filtered water produces superior taste while reducing hard water scale build-up, reducing maintenance.
- Simple, programmable push-button operation
- Water tank and other features are readily accessible from the front of the machine.
- Thermoblock boiler for rapid brewing (18 seconds to brew 2 oz drink).
- Rapid Steam Technology give you steam for heating milk quickly when you want it.
- Ceramic burr grinder with 5 settings from Fine to Course for superior flavor without burning the beans. Gaggia’s Adapting System automatically adjusts grind time and speed to deliver the desired coffee quantity no matter what beans you are using.
- Integrated bypass doser allows you to use pre-ground coffee
- Saves energy. Who said you can’t have an amazing espresso machine and also save the environment? Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine uses less energy. It puts itself into standby if it’s inactive for an hour.
- Maximum flavor and aroma. If you’re looking for an espresso machine that brings incredibly pleasure to your senses, this is it. This machine uses pre-infusion to give you the most aromatic and delicious cup of espresso you’ve ever experienced.
- A self-sufficient machine. The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine is programmed to let you know when it needs maintenance.
- Compact size. Don’t let the small size fool you. You’re still going to get full-bodied espresso out of this little baby. It’s perfect for homes and offices with little counter space.
- Customize your settings. We know you want to make the perfect cup of espresso. Really, who doesn’t? The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine has adjustable settings. You can grind your beans and make your own steamed milk. You can even choose just how strong you want your espresso. Both espresso and café lungo beverage volumes are programmable.
- Milk frothing is easy with Gaggia’s patented pannarello wand, which automatically aerates the milk for delicious cappuccinos and lattes.
- Pre-infusion for maximum flavor and aroma extraction.
Pre-infusion? What’s That All About?
So, if you think pre-infusion sounds like a procedure that occurs at the doctor’s office, then it’s time to learn a little bit about one of the biggest trends in espresso life. Pre-infusion is a process that slowly introduces the grounds to water. But I want my espresso now! Don’t we all? Yet, pre-infusion really doesn’t take all that long and it creates a much richer, deeper, and mind-boggling taste and aroma. It’s like being five years old again and waiting to open that one special present from Santa every single morning.
Pros of the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
If you’re looking to purchase an espresso machine that gives you a lot of bang for your buck, this should certainly be a front runner. Here are some of the best pros about choosing this machine.
- It’s small. In a world full of tiny houses, the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine provides a lot of awesome espresso power in a small space.
- You get a lot of control to create the best cup of espresso. Usually, when you have a small coffee or espresso maker, you lose out on a lot of functionality – because there must be space to have all the fancy bells and whistles. The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine gives you a lot of great features despite the small size. You can control how finely ground you want your beans. You can control how strong you want it to be (strong enough to launch a rocket, thank you). You can steam your own milk.
- Easy to steam milk. Although steaming milk is a manual process, it’s still easy to do with this machine. That makes it perfect
- Long and short pull. The timer is beyond great. You can use the long pull timer at 18 seconds to create a stout shot or set it to brew larger cups.
- Warms fast. If you’re worried about time, take heart. The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine warms much faster than its larger rivals. It’s great for people who simply like to be time efficient or who are constantly running behind.
The Cons of the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
No review can truly be just that without pointing out some of the places where the espresso machine might be improved.
- Small water tank. Because of its compact size, the capacity of the water tank (40 oz) is smaller than some machines. If you’re the only person using it, plan to refill it every other day or so. The good news is that the water tank is easily accessible from the front of that machine.
- Difficulty grinding oily beans. Like a number of other fully automatic espresso machines, the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine may clog the grinder if oily coffee beans are used.
- Small hopper. The Gaggia Brera’s compact size similarly limits the size of the bean hopper, which holds 8 oz. of beans.
So, should you fork over money on the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine? This machine offers outstanding value in terms of “bang for the buck” if its capacity limitations fit your needs. It fits well into smaller kitchens and offices and uses little energy. It also makes an amazing cup of espresso.
Comparable Model: Gaggia Brera vs. De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica super automatic espresso machine
Both the Gaggia Brera (view on Amazon) and the De’longhi ESAM3300 De’longhi ESAM3300 (view on Amazon) are fine machines made by well known, quality European companies. As such, they have many similar features:
- Moderate price
- Great styling
- Compact size
- Rich set of features
- Same sized bean hoppers (8.8 oz.)
- Automatic burr grinders (see differences in grinders below)
- Programmable to “memorize” your favorite drink recipes
- Bean to drink automation
- Bypass doser allows use of ground coffee
- Both machines allow you to manually prepare great milk or foam for you drinks. The Gaggia has a Pannarello wand for frothing cappuccinos & lattes. The Wand also doubles as a hot water dispenser for Americanos & tea. The De’Longhi also has a manual steam wand.
- Easy to use.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
While the De’Longhi Magnifica and the Gaggia Brera have many similar features and attributes, they also have some key difference which may cause you to prefer either the De’Longhi or the Gaggia.
Some key differences:
- The Gaggia’s burr grinder is ceramic whereas the De’Longhi’s burr grinder is steel.
- The Magnifica’s grinder has adjustments for 13 levels of fineness, whereas the Brera has 5 levels of adjustment.
- The De’Longhi Magnifica has a somewhat larger water reservoir (1.8L vs. 1.2L for the Gaggia).
- The De’Longhi Magnifica has two Thermoblock boilers, which allows you to move rapidly to a second drink or to, for example, make a milk drink while you are making an espresso. The Gaggia Brera has a single boiler.
- While both machines are easy to use, the Gaggia features a display that gives you more information as to what is happening. Both machines have a simple push-button and knob interface, but the Gaggia has a display screen with multiple icons to better inform the user.
Which should you choose?
The machines have very similar sizes and a robust set of capabilities.
You might prefer the De’Longhi for it’s double Thermoblock boilers, somewhat larger water reservoir, or adjustability of grinds.
Conversely, you might prefer the Gaggia Brera for its ceramic grinder, its screen-based user interface, or its Pannarello wand.
So there is no right or wrong choice among these two fine machines. The final choice comes down to how you personally weigh the differences in features, styling, and brand preference.