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That clichéd proverb, "Good things come in small packages," is particularly apt for the Gaggia Brera, available in silver and black. People often have to choose between saving counter space and treating themselves to a super-automatic espresso machine. For once, the two are not mutually exclusive. At only 12.4 inches tall, 10 inches wide and 17 inches deep, the Brera is about the size of a standard semi-automatic unit. But, a lot of advanced technology has been packed into its small frame. Even more impressive is the fact that Gaggia has managed to create a super-automatic espresso machine that weighs less than 19 pounds!
Lest its size fool you, let's take a look under the hood. With a 15-bar pump stainless steel boiler, Rapid Steam Technology and a ceramic conical burr grinder, among other features, the Brera isn't a wimpy little machine. It has some serious brewing muscle to deliver great tasting shots.
One word comes up time and time again, whenever we discuss the Gaggia Brera at Whole Latte Love, "efficient." Space-efficiency is one thing but combine it with efficient performance, thanks to the Rapid Steam Technology that lets you brew back-to-back drinks without taking a breather and we've got one of the most innovative machines of the year. Going from bean to cup takes less than a minute; and, you have your choice of brewing with whole-bean coffee or taking advantage of the bypass doser to brew with pre-ground.
Personally, I enjoy freshly ground whole-bean espresso. The Brera does not disappoint in this respect. The UV-proof bean hopper can hold 8.8 ounces, which allows me to open a new bag of whole bean coffee and store its entire contents in the machine, ready to brew. Since espresso is very heat sensitive, the slightest variation in one direction or the other could have disastrous effects on a shot, the Brera guards against heat transfer with ceramic conical burrs. Coffee integrity is never compromised. No matter what kind of bean I put in the hopper, from the Illy Café dark roast to medium roast, the Adapting System automatically adjusts grind duration and rpm to give me consistent grind volume.
Brewing is very straightforward with the Brera. Drinks are easily customizable; programmable coffee aroma lets you make light, medium and strong beverages. This super-automatic has push-button controls for espresso and café lungo. The Brera even has a swivel Pannarello steam wand for milk-based beverages. To support brewing and steaming operations, the Brera has a 1.2-liter water tank with an integrated Mavea Intenza filter. This cuts down on scale and mineral build up and helps the machine stay in brew-ready condition. The Brera also features a stainless steel front panel that is aesthetically pleasing and functional, making cleaning and maintenance hassle free.
If you're short on space and don't want to compromise on machine capabilities, take a hard look at the Gaggia Brera.