Are you looking for the best coffee maker for your home? Craving that barista taste without the hefty daily price tag or need to leave the house?
If your answer to all of these questions is “yes”, then we have the answer to your prayers: the Gaggia Brera bean to cup coffee machine.
This machine is a coffee-making powerhouse, featuring a super sleek design, and a whole host of amazing features to help ensure that you enjoy the perfect cup of coffee every time.
Tempted to learn more? Then read on to get the complete details and discover everything you need to know about the Gaggia Brera.
Before we take a look at the machine in more detail, it is worth taking a moment to consider an overall perspective and get a feel for the device.
The Gaggia Brera is a high-end espresso machine that offers a variety of options to suit every taste.
Its compact size makes it perfect for any kitchen space, and it has the added bonus of a super sleek design, which adds to its aesthetic appeal and makes this a welcome addition to any home – you won’t have to worry about compromising between a great looking machine and exceptional functionality!
With a generous capacity, this machine is ideal for those who love to enjoy their morning cup of coffee, and who do not want to be worrying about constantly refilling or adjusting the machine – you can simply roll out of bed, head to the machine, and enjoy fresh, rejuvenating coffee in no time.
The Gaggia Brera also allows you to customize your drinks according to your preference, offering a personal experience each and every time. While brewing an espresso, there are four different settings including:
- Cold Brew
- Milk froth
- Hot water
As an added bonus, the Gaggia Brera is also super quiet while in use, while the inclusion of a generous warranty helps to ensure that the machine is free from defects, and offers extra peace of mind following your initial investment.
In addition, the unit ships at no cost to ensure a hassle-free experience for consumers – a small bonus, but one well worth noting!
What Is A Bean To Cup Machine?
Before we take a closer look at the Gaggia Brera in more detail, it is worth having a brief overview of bean to coffee machines in general – this will help us to gain a better understanding of just which areas the Brera excels in.
The name “bean-to-cups” refers to the way in which these machines function, and this is what helps to make them different from automatic coffee machines or instant coffee; a bean-to-cup machine will grind fresh coffee directly into the reservoir rather than preheating the beans first before grinding them.
This method produces a smoother drink with less bitter notes, and a more authentic coffee drinking experience.
One thing that sets apart a bean-to-cup machine from other coffee makers is that they heat a portion of beans on top of the machine using hot water.
After the grounds have been heated by the water, they are extracted or brewed into a beverage; this process helps preserve the flavor of the beans without adding any unwanted flavors. When all the grounds are ready, the liquid is poured through the mesh filter into the mug.
The most common models in this category come with a number of primary functions. These include espresso, traditional Italian, automatic Brew, and manual Brew.
A typical espresso machine uses steam pressure to extract the maximum amount of flavor out of the ground coffee beans. It results in high-quality drinks but is often slow to produce.
This option requires very little user input. Setting the water temperature and time takes care of everything else. If you want a better-tasting cup of coffee, go for the traditional Italian option instead.
This setting uses gravity to force water down through the coffee grounds until the ideal extraction levels are reached. As such, it gives a richer taste to beverages compared to the espresso settings.
Unfortunately, it takes longer to brew a drink. In addition, it requires more maintenance because the unit must be cleaned after every use.
Most people prefer to wake up to a warm cup of java. That’s why automatic brewing is becoming increasingly popular. This option automatically adjusts itself based on the number of beans you put in the carafe.
Once you add some ground coffee, the machine will begin the brewing process as soon as the appropriate water temperature has been reached.
This setting lets you control how much ground coffee needs to be added. All you have to do is select the correct amount of coffee per serving and then press “Brew.” If you tend to be picky about the strength of your coffee, this can be a good option.
What Are The Benefits Of A Bean To Cup Machine?
A bean-to-cup brewer has many benefits over its predecessors. First off, it eliminates the need for pre-ground or pre-brewed coffee that leads to stale tastes and offers a chance to enjoy quality coffee with minimal effort.
Secondly, the process also means that you don’t end up spending hours cleaning the machine each morning (as opposed to an automatic one).
Thirdly, there is no mess involved in pouring the freshly prepared drink into a cup, unlike an automated model.
Fourthly, brewing a great cup of coffee isn’t a complicated procedure, allowing you to enjoy delicious coffee in the comfort of your own home.
Simply put, the whole process is fairly simple once you know what you’re doing and how it works. It’s a lot quicker too – a large part of why it’s so popular.
However, if you want to get a high-class experience at home, we recommend getting a fully automatic system like our best ever review here.
So, if you really want to enjoy the coffee experience without having to clean anything, a bean-to-cup system might be just what you are looking for.
Now that we have had a chance to take a closer look at bean-to-coffee machines, in particular, it is time to really hone in on the Gaggia Brera in particular.
There are a number of key features that come with this machine, and we will work through them to help ensure that you have all of the information you need to make a smart, informed choice, and decide whether this is the machine for you.
Best Features Of Gaggia Brera
This machine includes many features that make it stand out amongst other similar models. Some of these include:
Many consumers are concerned about purchasing a bean-to-cup coffee machine for one main reason: they are often presented as large, bulky, and unwieldy, and finding space to store and present one in your home can feel like a real challenge.
One of the most impressive features of the Gaggia Brera is that it is the exception to this rule, featuring a stylish, portable yet sturdy design.
With dimensions measuring just about 18 inches x 14 inches x 10 inches, the unit can be easily placed beneath a countertop – and, as an added bonus, the smaller size does not ask you to compromise on key features and technical ability.
While the compact size makes it easy to clean, the presence of an LCD screen provides a convenient way to monitor the progress of each cup of coffee.
You will find all the controls conveniently located around the machine so that you can quickly start making coffee as soon as you remove the lid.
The built-in grinder is another attractive feature of this coffee maker. There is a window where you can see the beans grinding.
Also included are removable filters and a basket for the used grounds.
Automatic Shut Off
Another important safety feature is the inclusion of Automatic shut-off, and this can be great for offering extra peace of mind.
The Gaggia Brera is designed to automatically shut off whenever it senses that there is a low amount of water left inside the machine, helping to reduce the risk of burnout and damage to your machine., and keeps you and your home safer and more secure.
With a wide range of programmable settings already available, users don’t have to worry about forgetting their preferred setting while away from home, or spending time resetting the machine.
Instead, you can simply adjust and save your preferred settings whenever necessary, ensuring that you can enjoy your ideal beverage each and every time, without the need to worry about programming your preferences each and every time – they will already be saved within the system.
Also included in this model as an added bonus is the ability to turn the power back on remotely – this is ideal when you are on your way home, and already craving your delicious caffeine hit.
Highly Efficient Brewing Process
For those seeking a product that can save lots of money over time, the Gaggia Brera is a top pick.
The unit comes with an efficiency gauge which allows the user to see exactly what kind of energy savings they are enjoying with every single use – ideal for helping you to keep on top of energy bills and manage your household expenses, without having to sacrifice a daily cup of coffee!
The machine also boasts a high yield rate (20% higher than competitors), allowing you to enjoy more for your money, and the unit consistently produces a great-tasting cup no matter how long it has been since the last cleaning to minimize waste and improve efficiency.
These factors all contribute to making this product a winner among others within the same category, especially when it comes to the amount of energy that can be used and saved.
Gaggia Brea works with both American and Italian coffees. The machine features various settings like cold brew, milk froth, and espresso. However, users can only choose one setting at a time.
If you want to make a hot beverage with a different flavor, you can manually select the appropriate combination.
Additionally, the machine includes a steam option that heats the entire room. It automatically starts steaming after boiling water, which is very convenient when preparing food.
The Gaggia Brea is available in two options. With the first model, there is also a separate boiler unit (which requires more space) and it has a smaller capacity.
In terms of styling and color, the two models look quite similar. They feature black plastic construction with chrome accents.
Another notable feature is that the touchpad is located on top of the machine.
However, buyers looking for a sleek design may not find this appealing because the touchpad isn’t concealed from view.
Instead, it protrudes over the device. As such, it can be easily scratched or dented.
Easy To Clean
Another reason we love the Gaggia Brea is that it is easily cleaned. Even before cleaning begins, the user can check the machine for signs of leaks that could affect performance.
After a thorough clean, remove the lid so that steam can escape. Then, there is nothing left to do except pour hot water onto the unit until the glass area cools down.
One of the main perks of the Gaggia Brera is the wide range of controls that are available, allowing you to tailor your coffee to your exact needs and preferences.
Despite the variety of options, however, there is no need to worry about feeling overwhelmed or confused by too many choices; this is a simple machine to get to grips with, as there are just four main buttons that you really need to worry about.
The simplicity and intuitive nature of the machine help ensure that making a great cup of coffee is super accessible, even if this is your first bean-to-cup machine.
How Does Gaggia Brera Work?
There are three main sections present on the machine. These include the control panel, where you choose your beverages options, the grinder section, and the reservoir lid.
Each of these components plays an important role in producing quality drinks, and it is important to have a clear understanding of the different elements – we will take a closer look at each of these areas to understand the machine better, and determine the best ways to make the most from your machine.
At the top left of the main panel sits the espresso button, and this is located above the long coffee button.
When making your beverage, you can press these buttons once if your aim is to create a single cup, and twice to create two cups of coffee – this is one area in which the Gaggia Brera stands out from the crowd in terms of efficiency and ease of use.
In many bean to cup machines, pressing these buttons twice will simply result in the machine adding a single shot to twice the volume of water, and the end result tends to be a coffee that has less of a flavor and strength, and a texture that is watery and in some cases, unpleasant.
The Gaggia Brera, on the other hand, actually grinds the beans through twice, and the end result is two complete coffees at full strength, both of which have a strong appealing flavor and texture.
In the top right of the machine sits the button to turn the machine On – this is also the control used to turn the Brera, Off, or set it on Standby mode.
This is also the place that you need to go to command the machine to begin the process of grinding the coffee ready for your beverage.
Also present at this position on the unit are the three bean settings, and these will determine the way in which the dose is set.
For reference, 1 bean is equal to 7g of coffee, 2 beans are equal to 9g of coffee, and 3 beans are equal to 11g of coffee.
For a double shot, therefore, you would need to press the setting for 1 bean, and then hit the espresso button two times – this will create the perfect double shot with a lower volume of coffee in each.
By comparison, using the 2 bean setting and then hitting the espresso button two times will provide a double shot with 18g of coffee per shot, and 3 beans with the espresso button pressed twice will create a double shot with 22g per shot – perfect after a late night!
This is pretty easy to use, though it may take a little practice and experimentation to create your ideal strength, especially if you are more used to semi-automatic espresso machines.
In this case, it is a good idea to opt for a slightly stronger setting, as many bean to cup machines do not offer quite the same strength and intensity when it comes to espressos, even when the doses are the same.
You may need to be prepared to play around with the machine in order to work out which results are the best for your preferred taste.
Setting the volumes for a long coffee or espresso is super simple, and users can simply press the correct button, continuing to hold it until the correct volume of coffee is ground.
When you let go of the button, you will notice that the volume is automatically set at this particular level for convenience, and this can be changed or adjusted by going through the process again.
The machine also includes a dial for steam and water and, once again, this is easy to use – simply turn it towards the water icon or tea cup if you want water, for example, for tea, or towards the steam icon if you want to steam, for example for steamed milk to create a perfect latte and cappuccino.
Just as you would expect from a quality bean to cup machine, the Gaggia Brera also comes with a pannarello steam wand, allowing you to froth your milk like a true barista, and enjoy the highest quality tastes and textures.
A pannarello wand can be compared to a paint-by-numbers kit for making steamed milk – and this can be extremely useful for helping newbies to get to grips with the art of creating the perfect professional-style coffee, even when they lack any barista skills or training.
Panarello wands are also pretty simple to get to grips with, and this allows you to avoid an arduous learning curve, and simply get on with enjoying your coffee sooner – there is no need to master fancy latte art first.
One of the main things to note is that a pannarello wand is only really useful for making large bubble thick, spoonable foam for cappuccino, rather than the finer milk that you may prefer for a flat white or latte.
A major perk of the Brera, however, or any other Gaggia bean-to-cup coffee machine, is that you can remove the panarello easily, revealing either the rubber nozzle, which works well as a steam wand, or the metal steam tube, which works even better than the rubber nozzle – this helps to offer a better texture for your milk, and can improve the taste and experience of your beverage.
This alternative is also easy to use. Simply slide the panarello off to expose the pipe, place the tip of the pip into the surface of cold milk, and start to draw air into the cold milk.
Rather than waiting to see large bubbles, opt for smaller, more subtle bubbles and heat for around twenty to thirty seconds – this will leave the milk slightly warmer, and result in thinner, finer foam.
After twenty to thirty seconds, place the pipe slightly further down the jug, and continue to slowly heat – this will distribute the foam evenly.
Once you are done, gently tap the milk jug on a counter, swirl it slowly around, and then slowly pour the hot milk onto the coffee.
Hot Water And Steam
Hot water can also be obtained from the machine, and this is achieved by simply twisting the dial on the side round to face the “hot water” icon, located on the right.
For steam, you need to turn it to the left; towards the steam icon.
When you do this it purges some hot (or boiling) water first, then kicks out a small amount of steaming (or boiling) water, then it stops, and gives you time to put in the milk jug before the steam then kicks out a large amount of steam – just always be careful and cautious, as this steam can be extremely hot and there is a risk of burns.
The steam is ready on the Brera in no time at all, and the steam power is impressive.
In many cases, thermoblock boilers tend to offer slightly less power than traditional boilers – but this is not the case with the Gaggia Brera, which offers a much quicker steaming time than the Gaggia Classic – and the latter boasts a smaller, more traditional boiler.
The steam power here is just as powerful, offering great results that rival those produced by more traditional boilers.
You can start grinding coffee immediately after pressing one of the two coffee buttons, and, as with all grinders located on bean to cup coffee machines, any adjustment of the unique grind settings needs to be done while the grounds are being ground.
This is achieved by turning the grind dial. If you adjust the grinding while the burrs aren’t running, you can get bean jams and stall the grinder – this can cause serious damage to your machine in the short term, and may even break the whole device in the long term, so avoid the temptation.
All Gaggia bean to cup machines, including the higher-end Accadia & the Babilas One Touch, use ceramic burrs, and this is a serious upgrade to the majority of other, lower-priced bean to cup grinders, which typically come with stainless steel burrs.
Gaggia, however, has publicly stated their preference for ceramic burrs, and their motivation is that this material does not heat the coffee beans during the grinding process, resulting in a higher quality and better-tasting coffee.
At 1.2 liters, the initial reaction may be that the water tank is a little too small but, on the whole, this is one of the reasons why the overall machine is so nice and compact and is actually a major selling point for the device.
This is especially true when we consider the fact that the machine has the ability to automatically alert the user at the point in which it needs refilling, and the machine will simply fail to run when it is totally dry.
It also offers a similar size tank and capacity when compared to similarly priced bean to cup machines.
You can also fit a water filtration system into this coffee maker, which isn’t something you can say about all coffee makers.
This improves the quality of the water and can improve the overall taste and texture of the coffee.
Removable Brew Unit
This is another major perk and a great feature that is seen across the Gaggia range of machines.
You can quickly and easily take out the whole brewing unit, in one go if needed, to clean it by just rinsing it under water, and/or for servicing or repairs.
For such a low price, this is a great feature and something that is more commonly seen and enjoyed on commercial espresso machines rather than low-cost home consumer espresso machines.
This alone helps to elevate the Gaggia Brera above other models and types of machines and is a real bonus for users.
For many of us, the idea of cleaning the coffee machine after each use is an arduous process, and one that can put you off even attempting to make a coffee; the ease with which the brew unit can be removed means that this is an issue that you do not have to worry about, and makes the whole experience a lot more relaxing and enjoyable – you can focus on simply enjoying your beverage.
The Grounds Bin
The convenience of the machine is also enhanced by the features attached to the grounds bin, as this will automatically be able to tell you when something needs adjusting, rather than you have to constantly check to see if the bin needs emptying.
To make life easier, the ground bin/drawer icon will flash when the grounds bin needs emptying, which means knocking the puck(s) into the bin, compost, or garden.
After every eight cups of coffee, you’ll be prompted to empty out the grounds bin, but the automatic reminder means that this is not a chore you have to worry about or think too much about; just wait until you see the icon flashing, and you will be alerted that it is time to empty the grounds bin.
The Drip Tray
The drip tray on Brera is really easy for you to slide in and out, helping to make the whole process of emptying far smoother and more effortless.
It is also something of a surprise; the drip tray is a low-profile drip tray, and so at first glance, it may not look like there is a lot of capacity.
This is deceptive, however, as there are two longer parts that will slot into your bean to cup machine and which form part of the drip tray.
This offers an increased capacity in addition to the obvious, visible elements of the drip tray, that will be visible and protrude from the machine.
Ground Coffee Option
The Gaggia Brera also offers users the chance to add ground coffee rather than beans – this setting can be found by pressing the “bean setting” button four times – wait until you see the icon for 3 beans, and then hit the strength button again.
At this point, you will be greeted with a spoon icon and can add ground coffee to the bypass chamber.
This is a great choice if you want a cup of decaf coffee, and adds another layer of convenience to the machine.
In the event that someone requests a cup of decaf, you can simply add ground coffee straight to the machine, rather than have to remove the caffeinated beans and replace them with decaf ones.
Coffee Strength Control
It’s pretty difficult to control how strong you want your coffee without having to rely on either measuring spoons or cups, but luckily the Brera allows for this sort of thing.
By pressing the “strength control” button, you can adjust the amount of water used per extraction, depending upon whether you require a weaker or stronger drink.
Automatic Shut-Off When Finished
There is no need to worry about your bean to cup machine shutting itself off; the Gaggia Brera has a shutoff function built into its design, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting up and turning the machine off once it has finished.
Simply press the stop button, and you can sit back knowing that you did everything necessary to get your perfect brew.
Cleaning & Maintenance
While most people might want their bean to cup machines to last forever; unfortunately, even though they do perform some amazing functions, they will still need maintenance at one point or another.
Thankfully, the Gaggia Brera is no exception, though the company does offer customers a three-year guarantee should any issues arise.
The issues that can be repaired and addressed include leaking, faulty seals, burnt-out lights, discolored buttons, clogged filters, damaged heat exchangers, uneven heating, overheating, and other problems.
This is where a service call comes in handy, as you won’t need to send your machine away for repair, as a technician can come to your house, diagnose the problem and give you a quote before resolving it.
This is something that was certainly welcomed by our reviewer – he had been looking forward to his Brera being fixed, while others would likely prefer to get their money back as soon as possible!
How To Choose Your Gaggia Brera Beans To Use In The Bean To Cup Coffee Maker
The Gaggia Brera also comes with a guide booklet, including information about selecting beans, grinding techniques, and cappuccino tips.
Its wide variety of bean types includes Colombian, Brazilian, Nicaraguan, Indonesian, and Ethiopian beans.
As for the grind size, Gaggia recommends using fine ground beans, but you can also select medium or coarse ground.
If you’re searching for a bean to cup coffee maker that looks good, performs well, is easy to use, and doesn’t break the bank, then the Gaggia Brera might just be what you were looking for.
There are many reasons why we think the Gaggia Brera is right for an ideal cup of coffee, and we have explored some of these main reasons above.
Overall, if you want a good quality product that makes preparing great-tasting coffee easier than ever, give the Gaggia Brera a go today.
Last update on 2022-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API