The Brera is a cool looking, compact, well built little bean to cup espresso coffee maker machine 2020 from the brand behind the invention of the modern espresso machine, Gaggia. I used this bean to cup espresso machine for a week or so, for my Gaggia Brera review, and it impressed me overall, for a bean to cup machine at a relatively low cost. As far as bean to cup machines go, for around £400, I don’t think you can ask for much more than what the Brera delivers in terms of espresso quality right out of the box. It’s not perfect, and it’s not going to be with bean to cup machines, but in my humble opinion, you’re going to have to spend quite a bit more for a bean to cup machine capable of better espresso quality.To explain this in a nutshell, the main issue with bean to cup machines when it comes to the espresso not being perfect, is that they lack the grinding range and also the ability to fine tune the grind, in order to properly get dialled in with the coffee bean.Most bean to cup machines only have a few grind settings, usually something like 5-10 settings (Brera has 5 grind settings) and this isn’t enough to be able to fine tune in order to get exactly the right grind with each coffee bean. So all “normal” bean to cup machines with a small number of grind settings, are going to deliver similar results when it comes to espresso quality, which generally speaking, is espresso that flows too fast and is under extracted.
The exception to the above, is the Oracle and Oracle Touch, which I mentioned earlier, and which aren’t “standard” bean to cup machines, for a start, they have 45 grind settings. This gives you a lot more control over the grind than with any other bean to cup espresso machine I’m aware of. This isn’t the only reason the oracle machines get so much closer to perfection though, see my sage oracle review for more. It’s not fair to compare the Brera with the Oracle machines, though, as the Brera is about a fifth of the cost, and the same is true of the other lower cost bean to cup machines. When it comes to milk, if you remove the panarello wand and just use the steam pipe as a single hole steam tip (I talk about this in the review) you can get pretty decent microfoam from this machine, too, capable of pouring latte art. If you keep the panarello sheath on, and use is as per the instructions, you’ll get thick spoonable microfoam, which is fine if that’s what you like.The Brera features the removable brew unit, which is a great feature that you’ll find on all of the Gaggia bean to cup machines. What this means is that maintenance in terms of cleaning the brew unit, the bits that do the coffee brewing, consists of simply pulling out the brew unit, rinsing it under a tap, and then sliding it back in. The Brera scores highly from me when it comes to ease of use, really simple machine to use – it also impressed me when it comes to size & easiness on the eye. It’s not a particularly loud machine, and the drip tray is a good size, it doesn’t appear to be the case as it’s a low level drip tray (which is good in terms of up clearance) but the drip tray goes all the way to the back of the machine, which makes it a fairly decent size.