Gaggia Brera Super-Auto?

Discussion in 'The Cafe'' started by JasonandMichelle, Mar 25, 2015.

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the forums, I beseech thee!

    That started off dramatically, but it's downhill from there. I'm looking for opinions based on experience. Let's call it empirical evidence.

    I recently pulled the trigger on a Gaggia Brera (refurb from WLL). My bro-in-law tells me the semi-auto's are more fun and produce better results, but I'm a "time is money" kind of guy. My tastes aren't as refined as most, but I'm tired of my crappy Keurig.

    Anyhow, I searched the forums and don't get any hits for "brera". Plenty for Gaggia, but after reading about 1.3 billion threads, I'm struggling to find my exact machine. So I'll state my questions:

    Does anyone have experience with the Gaggia Brera? If so, please let me know how it went and perhaps a little about what to expect.

    Thanks in advance.
  1. There are a large number of youtube videos on that machine.

    I can't add more than that as I have no experience with any of the super auto machines thought I know people who swear by them.
  2. I've watched them all:thumbup:.

    I've come to greatly respect the opinions of this community, so I thought I'd check to see if this group has any empirical knowledge.

    Thanks for the response:)
  3. Since it seems B&B is woefully silent on the Brera, I will update later. UPS says it's coming today, so I should be a relative expert by tomorrow!!
  4. I, for one, am excited for you AND looking forward to hearing what you think about it once you get started :yesnod:
  5. That's really anecdotal evidence. In any case, even with empirical evidence you have to select based on your preferences. If convenience trumps all else then a superauto can be a good fit.

    I don't but with even a high end commercial superauto and proper maintenance you can expect convenient but medicore at best espresso. That said, many are very happy with what they produce. Best way to find out is to give it a shot and see for yourself. No one can really tell you if you're going to be happy with what it produces or not but it does seem to me like it might be a good option for you based on what you've said.

    If you're into that sort of thing. Not everyone is.

    The machine is just one part of the chain. Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A semiauto by itself doesn't guarantee anything. One can produce good espresso with one. One can also produce terrible espresso with one.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  6. Guys, thanks for the feedback. A bit about me: I enjoy a good espresso and a good cup of coffee. With enough milk and sugar I can also enjoy a bad cup of espresso or coffee. For me, convenience trumps a lot of things. I personally would rather have a mediocre espresso prepared in seconds with a push of a button than the best espresso prepared in more than a second's time. One must make certain sacrifices for convenience at times, and this is one of mine:)

    My brother in law, on the other hand, takes his time and can make one of the best coffee/espressos in the world.

    I just heard the garbage truck drive by the house and got really excited because I thought it was the UPS truck. Uggh. This is killing me. I'm also expecting a new exhaust for my Buell today. Uggh.
  7. Waiting for the UPS man is the PITS.....

  8. It's about close of business in Houston and no update. Maybe Jason is too jittery to type after repeated "tests" of the new one-touch :lol:

    Jason - seriously, you will significantly improve whatever coffee comes out of your Brera if you use fresh roasted beans - there are many mail-order companies out there to choose from (I like Redbird Coffee, myself). You might even find a local place that roasts their own coffee!
  9. Hey folks! Well, I got the machine, made a couple different beverages to try it out, then went swimming in my pool with my kiddos. They're snug in their beds now, and I gave the bypass doser a shot for some decaf.

    Initial reaction is that it's a weapon of convenience. More on quality tomorrow after I figure out the programming for my cup sizes.
  10. Off topic - already pool season in Houston? I am in Phoenix but the water temps are too cool, are you lucky enough to have a heater?
  11. First day of the season:) Temps don't drop in the night as drastically as they do in the desert! My pool temp was 73degF yesterday. I didn't stay in long (although it was tolerable), but my boys stayed in until their lips were purple. I couldn't drag them out (4 and 3 years old).

    First impressions: this isn't a high dollar machine, but let's see what she produces. Everything is plastic, and it seems a bit flimsy. But for a refurb price of $280, I didn't expect more. Seeing it confirmed my expectations. It was a terribly easy install. Fill the tank, fill the hopper, plug it in. I didn't prime it like the exactly as the instructions said, but on the latter batches of coffee, I've found it didn't make much a difference.

    Not-Initial-Impressions: I'm tinkering with grind settings (default is 3 of 5, where 5 is course and 1 is fine) and I'm down to a 2. I'm also tinkering with brew strength (I'm on "3 beans", where 1 is fewer beans per puck and 3 is more). Lastly, I have programmed the volume of liquid to be produced to my favorite cup. I have found that the brew strength is per my liking. It's good.

    To Gig103's point: I found a guy locally in Houston who is a free-trade-organic-locally-roasted-single-origin guy. I snagged some Brazil, Rwanda, and Papua New Guinea. I'm working through the PNG. I never thought I'd be into greeny-weeny coffee, but it's darn good.

    Bottom line after roughly 12 hours of ownership: it's quick, better than anything I personally have produced, and (once programmed) is easy to use.

    The key to whether or not it's a good purchase (to me) is how long it lasts. If it give me a couple years, I'd say awesome. If not, then I'd question full price.

    If anyone has any questions for me, I'd be happy to answer. I'm an expert at my opinions.
  12. I'd like to see some photos of it and some pics of the brew it makes for you
  13. Seconded!!

    Same thing just happened to me! Waiting for my machine, I keep getting up when I hear trucks.
  14. Ok, team. Please bear with the cell phone post. Pictures were taken with cell phone as well.

    Items of note: the water tank and the spent puck tank are small. It doesn't bother me too much, since I'm the one in the household drinking all the coffee, but it is worth noting. My wife prefers the long coffee option, and I prefer the espresso. I programmed the espresso to provide a smaller amount. What you see in the pictures is a double shot. It grinds and brews two separate shots. Also, the spout height is adjustable, and I have it lifted for my tall cup, so pardon the bubbles. The spoon pic is so you can get a feel for liquid color, but my skills are awful.
    $ImageUploadedByTapatalk1428095132.649046.jpg $ImageUploadedByTapatalk1428095149.896140.jpg $ImageUploadedByTapatalk1428095159.314030.jpg $ImageUploadedByTapatalk1428095172.934144.jpg
  15. That is one fine looking cup of espresso.

    I think you have a winner on your hands.

    Enjoy it and keep posting pics of your efforts.

    There's nothing like a great tasting cup of espresso first thing in the morning :yesnod:
  16. That's a lot of liquid for a double' no? How big is that mug? How does it taste?
  17. Jon, you're absolutely right. It is quite the large amount for a double. My cup is an 8-9oz. cup, so I would say the liquid level in the cup in the picture is about 7.5 oz, which means each shot is 3.25oz. (approx.). I actually programmed it to pull more than the factory setting. I would say I made the shot about twice the liquid from factory setting.

    In the picture you can see two orange beans, which is the amount of coffee used (I don't remember exactly, but I think one orange bean is 7g of beans, three orange beans is 10.5g, and two is somewhere in the middle). I have found that a double shot (read: two preprogrammed espresso-drinks) on the "three orange bean" setting is a bit strong for my liking. "One orange bean" is a bit weak, but I like the "two orange bean" setting.

    I would say the long coffee option (my wife programmed it for about 8 oz.) is considerably weaker than the espresso options, but is still tastier than my old Mr. Coffee.

    How does it taste? Like so many here, I've found a huge difference in the choice of beans. Regarding quality? The espresso button produces something stronger than my aeropress in terms of coffee product density. The finished product in the long coffee setting is very similar to the aeropress, but without the work.

    Keep asking. I'm an expert on very little, but I've got my opinions down pat.
  18. Oh, and shameless plug for Café Zunzun in Cypress, TX. Darn good beans for darn good causes.

    They will hand delivery same day in the Cypress, TX area. Other than that, they don't ship. Many apologies. Move to Cypress and you can get some:)
  19. Updating here, since this seems to be the only record of the Brera.

    Using a liquid measuring cup I compared the volume output of the settings my wife and I programmed for the espresso and long coffee, respectively. The espresso had been inadvertently set to 4.5 oz. and the long coffee at 6.5 oz. I had been slightly dissatisfied with the strength of the espresso in comparison to the long coffee, so I did my homework on the Google machine.

    I have since reprogrammed the volumetric output of the espresso to 2.0oz., and it is considerably better than it had been. More of a true espresso taste (as opposed to just a stronger coffee). Smoother, creamier (if you will), and richer notes. I'm no foodie, but it was much better.

    And I'm using less milk/sugar, too, so healthier:)

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