Frothing milk is a tricky business. Much like brewing espresso, there are a number of factors and techniques to consider when trying to create the perfect microfoam. While we've made tutorials and videos outlining the steps to making a good cappuccino or latte, we've never really addressed the subject of frothing with different kinds of milk... until now.Today was an exciting day as we assembled participants for an event that came to be dubbed the "Froth Off." Assembling five identical Gaggia Brera espresso machines and five different kinds of milk (Soy, Skim, 1%, 2%, and Whole) we made a cappuccino with each one to see what differences we could find. But, before moving on to our findings, here's a little chart we threw together outlining the calorie information for the milk we used. Calories per 1/2 cup: Soy: 45 (2x the calcium of dairy milk) Skim: 45 1%: 55 2%: 65 Whole: 75 As you can see, the results of our little experiment were rather varied. The separation of layers in the Soy and Skim milk was surprisingly more pronounced than the other varieties. In terms of what I'll call “foam longevity” the Skim milk held its foam for quite a while, whereas the foam on the Soy milk fell rather quickly. The foam on the 1%, 2%, and Whole milks was pretty consistent, although it seemed a bit creamier on the whole milk. The coolest thing I found about all this was that no matter what kind of milk you enjoy, you can still steam and froth it for your favorite drinks. General Frothing Tips Purge your wand first! Before frothing, always make sure to purge any that might have condensed in your steam wand before frothing. Keep things cold! Cold milk and a cold pitcher will give you a little more time to work with your milk. When frothing, always keep the temperature of the milk below 160 degrees. Using a frothing thermometer is a good way to keep an eye on how hot your milk is getting. To stop frothing, cover the air intake hole! When frothing with a pannarello wand, if you simply want to heat the milk as opposed to frothing it, submerge the air intake hole on the side of the wand in your milk. Watch our video of the "Milk Froth-off".
OverviewBack to Top
Further proof that good things come in small packages, the Gaggia Brera is a fully equipped super-automatic espresso machine with a compact footprint that will leave you with plenty of counter space.
The Italian-made Brera has been thoughtfully designed to maximize user convenience. The dregs drawer, drip tray, and water tank all within reach, accessible from the front of the machine for quick and easy cleaning and maintenance. Gaggia has even simplified machine programming and beverage selection with the Brera. Push-button controls and an LED display with illuminated icons make it easy to navigate through your options, which are plenty with this Gaggia super automatic. Coffee aroma, strength, and volume are all customizable; additionally, the ceramic grinder takes advantage of the Gaggia Adapting System to adjust the rpm and guarantee the correct quantity of coffee grounds.
The Brera is an aesthetically pleasing machine with a contemporary stainless-steel front panel and chrome-plated accents; the side panels are available in black or silver to complement your décor. Functionally, the Gaggia Brera is great for entertaining as it can accommodate a wide variety of user preferences. If you prefer to serve guests pre-ground decaf coffee, or specialty coffee you can do so with the bypass doser. For special treats, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and lattes can be made easily and quickly, since the Brera comes equipped with a stainless steel Panarello wand and Rapid Steam Technology. Consider the Gaggia Brera if you’re a little short on space but don’t want to compromise on convenience and espresso quality. This model comes with a two-year limited warranty.
FeaturesBack to Top
An airtight, UV-proof 8.8oz hopper lets you safely store coffee beans. When you’re ready to grind, the Brera comes with a ceramic grinder to ensure grind consistency and reduce heat transfer—resulting in flavorful and aromatic coffee. For your convenience, the Gaggia Adapting System automatically adjusts grind time and rpm to deliver the desired coffee quantity, regardless of whether you’re using light, medium, or dark beans.
This Gaggia model comes outfitted with a bypass doser, allowing you to skip the grinding process and brew with pre-ground coffee. The bypass doser is a great option for decaf or flavored coffee drinkers.
The Gaggia Brera has a 15-bar pump and a stainless steel boiler to ensure temperature-appropriate, great tasting beverages. The unit has a telescopic coffee dispenser, allowing you to adjust the height to accommodate your cups and mugs. Simply select the desired drink and it will be brewed directly into your cup!
An Optidose function allows you to customize the aroma of your coffee; choose from light, medium, and strong brews. You can also make- an espresso or café lungo with the push of a button; beverage volume is programmable and the Gaggia Brera will “remember” your preferences for future use.
Water Tank and Filter
The Brera has a 1.2-liter water reservoir. A Mavea Intenza water filter (not included), with a four-stage filtration system, removes impurities and prevents scale buildup, to prolong the lifespan of your machine.
Steaming and Frothing
The Gaggia Brera has a metal Pannarello steam wand to create creamy froth and steamed milk for your favorite specialty beverages. The steam wand can be swiveled, left to right, to accommodate a variety of cup or steaming pitcher sizes.
Rapid Steam Technology
This machine is equipped with Rapid Steam technology, which translates to quick heat up times and robust brewing and steaming operations. You’ll be able to steam and brew back-to-back with ease, thanks to the Rapid Steam feature.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The easy-to-maintain Gaggia Brera has a self-rinse cycle that activates when the machine is switched on and off and enters or exits standby mode. This rinse cycle will help to preserve machine performance and keep the unit in brew-ready shape. An icon will appear on the display screen to alert you, should the Brera need to be descaled.
10"W x 12.4"H x 17.5"D
Silver and Black
For a few motnhs our Gaggia Brera has been leaking some water through the steamer wand with the shots becoming smaller. Now no water is coming through to brew coffee even though the pump keeps working and the coffee is ground and goes through the brew group, but dumps out fairly dry. Water does dispense through the steamer wand. I have gone through a descaling process, cleaned the brew group, removed and cleaned the metal filter at the top of the brew group. I also tried, but couln't, access the selector valve as there was some online advice that can become blocked with hard water deposits. Any advice as to what might be wrong or what else I can try? Really missing our great lattes from this machine which which we bought from your place maybe 3-4 years ago.
Water is, for all intents and purposes, lazy. It will follow the path of least resistance out of any pressurized environment. If I understand your message correctly, it sounds like you're seeing water leaking from the steam wand while brewing; If it's simply easier to leak past the seals of the selector valve than it is to pass through the ground and tamped coffee, it would do exactly what you're describing and leak from the wand instead; As the machine only knows how much water is being pushed in, rather than how much is being dispensed as brewed coffee, the amount leaked should be roughly the same as the intended drink size.
The long-short is that the seals breaking down on this part would require sending it in for service to correct; This particular component is fairly difficult for even somewhat advanced users to attempt a fix on.
~~Ok I will try again. after the warrantee ended the machine started to leaked a planned obsolescence plastic water flowing part. $189 to repair. It never mad the water hot enough so I never thought the coffee was a s good as I planned. At the 2/12 yr mark it started not making coffee everytime. Every other time wasting coffee and money. No water was sent through plane grinds went into the drop off section. It wasn’t the type of coffee I purchased the recommended brands. It won’t make 2 coffees in a row. Problem is there are NO repair shops in California worth a damn.
If you want to find a reputable local shop, your best option may be to start local and ask a local coffee shop if they are familiar with any service centers in the area. Alternative, Philips/Saeco sells several variants of the platform as their own model; You can try contacting them to see if they have a local authorized support center who could (potentially) service the unit. As a final option, feel free to contact us to send the machine in for service at our shop, should you want to do so.
Hi , I realy can't configure the grinder to do a fine grind for a good espresso.It is set to the finest setting but it is still too course in the puck and brewing takes about 13-16 seconds . And there isn't much crema either . Can you give me a hint about what could i do ?
Timing on a super-automatic machine definitely isn't as important as it is with a semi-automatic, where you have full control over what is in your portafilter-the 2-2.5 oz in 20-25 seconds rule doesn't really apply here. The type of coffee you are using (as well as its age), the aroma setting (the number of beans on the screen), and the grind setting are all factors to getting a good coffee with the Gaggia Brera. I would suggest giving our Technical Support team a call, when you are able to be with the machine, so that we can best assist you. Technical Support is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., EST, at 1-888-411-5282, option 3.
Just wondering why they always state your brew temp for other methods, drip, pour over etc.... should be in that sweet spot of near 200 F for best extraction and here we're down at roughly 165 F? I'm considering this machine to replace a dead Cuisinart Grind and Brew (honestly never checked the temp on that brew unit but now that I know I need to know this answer before popping for it :-) ) Thank in advance everyone!
I can help you with this. The brew temp is going to be different from what you get in the glass. The machine does brew around the 200 mark. What happens afterwards as follows. The coffee must travel from the brew group to the spouts in which you experience cooling. Inside the spout area you will get more drop in temp. The espresso falling from the spouts to the cup will cause a temp drop and finally the temp of your cup will also effect the final product temp. I hope that helps explain why the cup temp is what it is. Espresso however is brewed around that 200 degree maker.
Can I answer my own questions possibly? In some random searching on this Google thing I came upon another "site" that gave some pointers on too hot or too cold when brewing. Below are a few excerpts but what in essence it states is espresso is a whole other ball game when "brewing" and I guess it makes sense as the water is being quickly pressed through the grounds and if the grounds are premoistened as the unit I'm looking at does this helps. But really for espresso we're not extracting while pouring over and making the slurry so the 200F sweet spot might not come in to play. So the few excerpts are as follows, Website to be kept a secret as we never stray from our home base of WLL right :-)
We also touched briefly on another known fact: the flavor compounds extracted at lower temperatures tend to be the coffee's intrinsic flavors: the fruits, chocolate, nuts and spices you taste when you sip the coffee. At higher temperatures, you'll get more of the roast flavor, particularly the bitterness. Here's one more fact: the best brewing temperature can vary from one coffee to another, and, if you really want to get geeky, with how long it's been since the coffee was roasted. Before you start freaking out about how many more ways you can mess up your coffee, though, remember that the flavor differences are very small. As long as you get your brewing temperature into the right zone, your coffee will taste great.
Espresso Brewing Temps
Getting the temperature right on an espresso machine is a whole different ball game. We're confident that any of the espresso machines we sell provide excellent temperature control and stability. The best judge of when to start pulling a shot, in most cases, is the machine's ready light or signal. If you're using a single boiler machine or one without a heat exchanger, regulating the temperature can be a lot more complex, so we'll leave that for another article when we can get into it more in depth.
After two years of good performance, my Brera is now flooding my counter. What happens is-- you start with an empty drip tray and after two double-shots and a rinse cycle, you pull out the drip tray, and find the dirty water all underneath the unit, not in the drip tray. What could be causing this?
Is it possible that the drain holes below the brew unit and/or the water tank are clogged? If water was leaking from within the machine, we would only expect clear water to be leaking out. Dirty water implies it's coming from somewhere in/around where the grounds are collecting. Try drying this area out, putting a paper towel down, and trying to brew again.
We're getting wet coffee grounds in grounds container. Not "pucks" like we're used to. The machine is brand new and we are wondering if this is a problem, or just part of the machines learning process?
Me too! Not even a week old. I have been moving the beans around by hand in the hopper to make sure they get to the grinder in sufficient supply and it seems to be improving. Except for last night when it happened again (after adding beans, but the hopper was not entirely empty). I have a message in to WLL Tech Support. Like another poster above, seem to be getting more water in drip pan arms from within machine. I assume normal as these extend under for that reason? However, it's about an 1/8 cup of water and a few grounds for every 3-4 shots pulled.
Sometimes oily beans can cause the same issue. The wet pucks wont hurt the machine or effect the flavor of the coffee. If your beans are oily, try turning the grind setting just a bit coarser.
Here are some questions I have answered for them that you might consider in your settings:
As far as the sloppy coffee pucks are concerned, there might be a few solutions. First, what brand/roast of coffee beans are you currently using? Are they meant for espresso? Are they oily at all? What fineness of grind and aroma settings (the little coffee beans on the screen) do you currently have the machine set to?
I was going to ask the same questions that James did. Maybe the type of coffee you're using is causing the wet grounds.
That's the trick! Got some great alternative bean options from the sales group. Tried the Lavazza Super Crema and Lavazza Tierra Intenso. The machine works great with these...dry puck, much more crema no need to continue to help the beans down the grinder.
I am (was) a Starbucks snob. The flavor of these shots are comparable. Intensois is, well a little more intense. But nt bitter. Super Crema is really smooth, but still works in a latte without losing flavor.
my problem is solved!
I am using the Lavazza Super Crema and, still having the same problem
I am looking at the Gaggia Brera as a possible option for my first espresso machine. It has overall, very good reviews and is around my price range. I like the fact that it is fully automatic and seemingly very "user-friendly". However, I would like to know if it is the best fit for my needs. The machine will primarily be used for 3-4 lattes/day. Is there another machine I should be considering?
Almost all the machines will do exactly what you are looking for. So your shopping should be based on cost, features, looks and reviews. I agree with you for the price you are getting a very good machine. It will make good shots because of ceramic burrs, has a lot of features at the price and also is a great looking machine. I think you did your research well.
I want to buy a fully automatic espresso machine. I cannot decide between the "Gaggia Brera" and the "Saeco Odea Go Plus". The Gaggia Brera I can get for 500 while the Saeco costs 370. I see that Saeco detects the type of bean and adjusts how coarse the grounds will be. Does the Gaggia do this?
Overall, which is the best choice?
That is a great question.I am biased so I would say the Gaggia. The grinders are the same. The Brera has more features especially a bypass doser. I like it better and I think the coffee is hotter as well.
I am choosing between the Gaggia Brera and the Saeco Vienna Plus or Odea Giro Plus (same price as the Vienna at Costco). Which machine do you recommend?
Thanks for the question. I really like the Brera as it has the most features, brews the best espresso and is the best value. I do think you will be happy with the Brera if you decide to order that machine.
The quality of the shots on the Gaggia Brera is terribly inconsistent. Sometimes we get an excellent shot and the pucks are compact and dry and then other times, the coffee is weak and there are no pucks in the dump bin, just a wet, muddy mess. All settings were the same as well as the beans. What can I do to resolve this?
Have you descaled or decalcified the unit recently? Have you rinsed and lubricated the brew unit recently?
I found that the little security 'umbrella' in the bean hopper that stops a user from sticking their fingers in the grinder is the problem. The little umbrella sometimes gets clogged up for a second or two during the grinding process and doesn't let enough beans through. It doesn't block enough beans so that the machine thinks it is out, but it does block enough so that the brew unit is not full. In the end you do not have enough beans to compress into a puck and you end up with a sloppy mess in the dump bin and a weak shot. I have not had the problem since I removed the safety umbrella. If you feel comfortable with having the grinder open in the hopper (will still have the top lid) then go ahead and remove it, it is just one screw to take it off.
Hi, I am having the same problem with mushy coffee grinds. I just bought the Gaggia and I have used it for two day's. I made the coffee grinds a little finer to see if we can get all that moisture out. the coffee grinds are all over the place. Any other suggestions than opening the grinder? Thanks Rue
is it possible to just brew an 8oz cup of coffee?
While it is technically possible to brew a large shot in this machine, it is not designed with that purpose in mind. The machine grinds enough coffee to brew a balanced 1.0-1.5oz shot. Larger drinks can be brewed but will start to lose their strength and gain a bitter aftertaste. An option we suggest is to have the machine to brew two 4 or 5oz shots in sequence, the total volume being 8-10oz and the flavor being much better.
I've had my Brera for nearly 4 months and couldn't be happier - a big step up from my Baby Dose.
I only have a slight problem I'd like help with.
I descaled the machine for the second time today - I do it as soon as the light comes on.
I did the whole process but when I followed the last instruction to reset and turn the "needs descaling" warning light off, it didn't work.
I repeated the whole process with the same result.
It's not end of the world but it does mean that with the light stuck on it won't tell me when it needs descaling next time.
Any advice would be gratefully received.
Russ - press and hold the dose (bean spoon) button. It will clear the descaling signal and reset the counter for the next time.
Had exactly the same fault but found my solution (below). Happy to send you scan of correct process:
I see several buyers had issues with not being able to extinguish the Descaling lamp once they'd been through the descaling process. I had the same so back it went to Philips. Arrived back within a week with an extract from the user manual which stepped through a totally different (more automated) process from that shown in the manual that came with my Brera. Engineer's note: "NB on the new Brera, to start the descale programme switch the machine into standby mode, then press and hold the two coffee buttons for 6 seconds to start descaling".
Ok, gotta ask. Why are the Gaggia Brera's so heavily discounted ? In one case almost $350.00 I have a great working Espresso Pure but at this price, and Automatic for home would be nice. Just wondering if it's a discontinued model ...overstock ?? Why the price difference between the solver & black ?
The reason is we have a few of them, we are lucky to have purchased them at a great price, and no they are not going to be discontinued. I agree buy one at that price they are a great deal. The price difference reflects one costs more then the other and I am not sure why.
How does the Swiss family of machines, such as the Jura Impressa 5 or 6, compare with the titanium or Gaggia line. I gather the Swiss brewer components, etc are a different breed. Which do you recommend?
I like each machine for different reasons. I know the Gaggia can make a better shot beacuse of the ceramic burrs. It also is more reasonably priced when comparing features. The Jura has a better maintenance and cleaning system. It also will make a stronger coffee as at maximum dose it uses more coffee 16 grams versus 10.5 grams on the Gaggia. Me , I still like the Gaggia more.
You imply that the Brera has a newer brewing unit than, say, the titanium. The titanium seems to have more features, temp control, multiple volume options. But the Titanium has metal grinder, not ceramic. Not the end of the world. But is the brewer unit the next generation in the Brera compared to the titanium office..??? (Which should I get?)
The Titanium is certainly an advance on the Brera in a lot of ways. I know a lot of people are concerned about the metal/vs ceramic burrs, but keep in mind this machine is grinding on a shot by shot basis, and brewing in between. The burrs aren't working hard enough for a long enough time to really heat up to make a difference. In that price range though, you really cannot find a machine with more options than the Titanium. Even going above $1000 a lot of the machines don't offer everything that the Titanium does. If you are worried about the durability of this machine, take heart in that it was designed to be able to be used in a light commercial environment like an Office or a waiting room. Home use is a vacation for this machine!
While not interchangeable, the brew groups are actually very similar, and very reliable. We have put both machines through the ringer here, and we haven't had our own machines fail in any area yet.
I received a Gaggia Brera from Whole Latte Love as a gift. The espresso and cafe cremas are great! However, I'm having a problem with a lot of unbrewed grounds being dumped out inside the machine.
It is normal for some ground coffee to miss the brew unit and end up in the bottom of the machine. You can use a damp sponge to clean out the ground coffee in the brew unit area. You should be rinsing the brew unit weekly. This is a great time to remove any excess ground coffee that is fallen into the unit.
A few questions. Have the Gaggia Brera. Set to strong aroma, finest grind setting, and ~ 1 1/4 ounce pours. How long should it take to brew? Seems like it's brewing too fast (around 12 seconds once stream starts) and with not much crema. The machine is around 1 year old and did sit for quite a few months unused. Will descaling help? Anything else I can try? Beans are peets holiday blend roasted Dec 5.
The golden rule does not apply to superautomatic machines like the Brera since you do not have the ability to control the tamp pressure. If the machine sat unused, descaling will definitely help. Make sure that you pre-heat your cups before brewing. I would recommend giving the brew unit a thorough rinse as well.
SpecsBack to Top
|Number Of Grind Settings:||5 Stars|
|Hopper Capacity (Oz):||8|
|Initial Heat Up (Seconds):||47|
|Recommended Heat Up Time (Seconds):||14|
|Brew Temp (F) (2 Oz Shot In Paper Cup):||164|
|Brew Time for 2 Oz:||18|
|Brew Temp (F) (8 Oz Shot In Paper Cup):||168|
|Brew Temp for 8 Oz:||73|
|Time To Produce Steam (Seconds):||17|
|Time To Steam 8 Oz Milk (Seconds):||70|
|Hot Water Temp 8 Oz (F):||183|
|Hot Water Time 8 Oz (Seconds):||69|
|Sound Level - Brewing (Db):||63|
|Sound Level - Grinding (Db):||72|
|Descaler Used:||Gaggia Descaler|
|Country Of Manufacture:||Italy|
|Repairs By:||Whole Latte Love|
|Dimension - Width (Inches):||10|
|Dimension - Height (Inches):||12.4|
|Dimension - Depth (Inches):||17.5|
|Housing Materials:||Stainless Steel/Plastic|
|Drip Tray Material:||Plastic|
|Drip Tray Cover Material:||Stainless Steel|
|Drip Tray Capacity (Oz):||28|
|Drain Line Adaptable:||No|
|Spent Coffee Capacity (Dregs Drawer):||8|
|Easy To Rotate:||No|
|Power Cord Length (Inches):||36|
|Steam Wand Style:||Pannarello|
|Usable Length (Inches):||2.5|
|Height Off Counter (Inches):||5 Stars|
|Number Of Holes:||1|
|No Burn Wand:||Yes|
|Optional Steam Tips Or Wands:||No|
|Reservoir Or Plumbed:||Reservoir|
|Reservoir Capacity (Oz):||40|
|Water Level Visible:||No|
|Type Of Controls:||Push Button|
|Display Type:||Indicator Lights|
|Adjustable Coffee Dosage:||Yes|
|Coffee Dosage Quantity:||7-10.5|
|Cup Volume Control:||Yes|
|Aroma / Flow Control:||No|
|Low Water Warning:||Yes|
|Passive / Active:||Passive|
|Number Of Boilers:||1|
|Brew And Steam Simultaneously:||No|
|Brew Boiler Data|
|Brew Boiler Type:||Thermoblock|
|Brew Boiler Watts:||1300|
|Brew boiler Volume (Oz):||Low|
|Brew Boiler Material:||Stainless Steel Lined Aluminum|
|Maximum Pressure (Bar):||15 Bar|
|Self Priming Pump:||Yes|
Working in a company like Whole Latte Love that encourages you to test the products it sells is a wonderful experience. Especially if you like using the products! Customers get great information and opinions from actual hands on testing, and I get to enjoy some of the finest coffee drinks anyone can make for free! I really like and crave coffee, so being able to try all kinds of brewing equipment is a wonderful perk. One machine that has steadily gained my favor is the Super Automatic Gaggia Brera. I use it about 5 times a day. Several co-workers have blogged about its features and the technical aspects of its boiler, grinder adjustability, brew group, etc. I am not going to blast you with more of the same; however, I do want to make a few points about the usability and performance of the Brera. The Gaggia Brera is very compact and has easy access to the water reservoir and the dredge drawer from the front of the machine. But, when push comes to shove, does any of that really matter when you wake up in the morning craving a great cup of coffee? I personally am only thinking “I want my cup of coffee and I want it now!!!!” The Brera helps me to get that first cup easily. I can set my cup under the brew spout, push a button and walk away knowing when I come back the brewed coffee will be the same quality as the cup I had earlier or the day before. Typically the first three trips to the Brera are for a normal cup of black coffee (Café Crema). Later I will usually make two cappuccinos using the Brera to brew the shots of espresso. Now with all the different espresso machines I have access to you might ask why I am using a super-automatic. It comes down to one simple explanation. It is one of the easiest espresso machines to use. So if you’re looking for a machine that is easy to use, produces great espresso coffee consistently, get a Gaggia Brera. I am confident you won’t be disappointed. Stay tuned! I will continue to write honest opinions about the machines I test. If I don’t like it you will know!
In this video I will show you how to fine tune the Gaggia Brera super automatic espresso machine. Watch as i adjust the grinder, dosage, and water volume to make a great shot of espresso.