An In-Depth Look at the Gaggia Brera Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine

By: Stephen Tern

The Gaggia Brera is the new mid-range automatic espresso machine from well-known Italian makers Gaggia. Itís a bean-to-cup machine, which means that all you have to do is to add coffee beans and water, turn on and wait for the machine to produce top-quality espresso. Thatís the theory at any rate. But does it work in practice? The reviews of those who have bought and used the machine are fairly unanimous - yes it does.
But the Brera is not the only automatic machine out there. How does the Brera stand out from the crowd? There are some features that you would expect to find in any machine:-
∑ It measures the beans and grinds them to the required fineness into the filter.
∑ The heater is powerful, as is the pump which supplies 15 bar pressure to force the water through fine grounds for good crema.
∑ The spent coffee grounds are mechanically moved into a hopper after each brew.
∑ A steam frother will create milk foam for cappuccinos and lattes.
All this you would expect from any automatic machine. However, the Gaggia Brera does have some features that sets it apart:-
∑ There's a high degree of control over how strong and in what volume the espresso is produced, by altering the measure of coffee per brew and the amount of water used. The manufacturers set the machine up before despatch - these basic settings are easily changed once you have experimented a bit.
∑ The digital display screen keeps you up to date as to the progress of the program. It also warns you when the water tank is at a low level and when the machine needs descaling.
∑ The Brera is a double-boiler machine - one for brewing and one for steam generation. So there's no waiting for the temperature to rise after brewing so you can froth your milk.
There have been a few negative points raised:-
∑ The 1.2 litre tank is not really big enough, needing regular filling. And you can't see the water level - so you have to remove the tank to check.
∑ There's rather a lot of plastic for an expensive machine, although the front panel and drip tray are stainless steel.
∑ Cleaning and descaling is a bit fiddly, but that is the case with any automatic machine.
All in all, the negative comments about the Gaggia Brera are not that serious. The central thing is that the quality of the espresso is said to be excellent, which is what really matters. The full price of the Brera is quite high, but luckily it's possible to find good deals out there. For those who recognize good coffee and have the funds, this machine is sure to prove popular.

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You can read more about the Gaggia Brera and many more kitchen aids and appliances at Tern Kitchen Reviews

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