If you’ve been in the coffee world for a while, you probably have heard about Gaggia espresso machines. Two of the most popular models from the company are Gaggia Classic vs Brera. They are often praised because they are able to pull quality espresso consistently. Read the discussion below to find out which espresso machine that is best for you.
Continue reading below in order to learn further about:
- The design and build quality of each Gaggia espresso machine here
- The water reservoir capacity of each model
- The additional features of Gaggia Classic and Gaggia Brera
- The performance comparison of Gaggia Classic vs Brera
- Which Gaggia espresso machine that is generally better for you
Gaggia Classic: Design & Features
Gaggia Classic is an espresso machine that you probably have met before. It has been in the market for quite a while, and it has remained popular obviously for good reasons. Nowadays, it can be seen in many kitchens across the world. See also: Nespresso Vertuo Plus vs Evoluo.
It comes with a mostly metal construction. The outer part is stainless steel, which gives the unit a lot of a premium feel. But Gaggia Classic is more industrial rather than purely stylish; there are obvious seams on the top and many rigid metal edges around the unit.
From the design alone, Gaggia Classic vs Brera are already very different. If you are interested in Gaggia Classic, keep in mind that this is an espresso machine in the purest sense; the coffee arm can only accommodate small espresso cups. You won’t be able to fit a large cup or mug for latte or cappuccino underneath it. Though, you can remove the drip tray in order to create more space if you really want to.
The drip tray has a large capacity. It can take a lot of liquid before it needs to be emptied. The removal is easy, so you can avoid spills with just some care. On the top, there is a cup warming area which receives heat passively from the boiler. Gaggia Classic is also equipped with a large water reservoir, which has a maximum capacity of 72 oz. You will be able to make many cups of coffee without frequent refilling.
As the archetypal espresso machine, Gaggia Classic comes with a steam spout that only does one job: steaming. It can’t output hot water, so you shouldn’t expect the machine to make Americano. Steaming with it requires some skill in order to get the best result.
Gaggia Classic: Ease of Use
Frankly, Gaggia Classic is not the easiest espresso machine to use. This machine requires some practice and know-how, so it is best for experienced users.
The control panel may seem to be simple at first, but it is perhaps a little bit too simple. You can find the on/off switch, the espresso switch, and the steam wand switch. Then, on the side of the machine, there is a control knob for reducing or increasing the steam flow of the steam wand.
But Gaggia Classic doesn’t have a pressure gauge or any kind of an indicator to tell the user when the unit is ready to brew. While experienced users probably won’t complain too much about this, beginners are left guessing. In addition, the tamp that is included with the machine is somehow a little bit smaller than the portafilter, so getting a good, even tamp will be challenging.
To be fair, not everything about Gaggia Classic vs Brera is difficult to use. The initial setup is simple and quick, so that you can get the machine running in no time. The water reservoir is easy to refill, and the drip tray is also easy to remove. Besides, most semi-automatic espresso machines do come with certain learning curves.
Gaggia Classic: Performance
All the effort that is needed to operate Gaggia Classic is paid off by the superb performance. This espresso machine is able to deliver exceptional coffee that looks great and tastes great.
The coffee comes out with a dark, rich, yet smooth-tasting crema, which is really impressive. The crema remains excellent with just a slight tamping. Meanwhile, the coffee itself has a strong flavor. Depending on the type of coffee that you use, Gaggia Classic will be able to enhance the subtle, complex notes with just a slight bitterness.
The temperature is very stable and consistent, thanks to the dual heating elements which handle brewing and steaming separately. This will ensure an optimum brewing process even if you have just finished steaming milk. The machine heats up very quickly; it needs only five minutes to heat up when it is just turned on, and only thirty seconds to be ready for steaming.
Unfortunately, the steam wand isn’t as amazing. It is pretty much a basic steam wand. You need to have some skill in order to steam or froth milk properly with the steam wand. Then again, the resulted milk won’t have much texture.
Gaggia Brera: Design & Features
Now, we’ll take a look at Gaggia Brera. This is a different type of espresso machine. Unlike Gaggia Classic, Gaggia Brera comes with a contemporary look featuring simple straight lines. The front panel is stainless steel, but the sides are either black or silver depending on the variant that you choose. Gaggia Brera looks modern and professional.
One of the main differences between Gaggia Classic vs Brera is the built-in grinder. Gaggia Classic doesn’t have this feature. Gaggia Brera features a built-in grinder which will allow you to make coffee from fresh whole beans. In addition, the bean hopper is airtight and UV-proof, so you can store the coffee beans inside it without compromising the quality. You can still use pre-ground coffee by using the bypass doser.
The company is very serious with the build quality of Gaggia Brera. The grinder is made of ceramic, which is much better than stainless steel. The ceramic grinder won’t build up heat, hence preserving the quality and consistency of the coffee.
Gaggia Brera also features a smart system which can adjust the grind speed and duration according to the type of the coffee beans. You just need to dial in the type, and the machine will do the rest. The dispenser is adjustable, hence allowing you to use different cup sizes. Also on the front side of the machine, there is a Panarello-style steam wand, which is really nice for steaming and frothing milk.
Gaggia Brera has a water reservoir capacity of 40 oz, which is pretty good. It can accept a water filter if you need one. The boiler is made of stainless steel for the best durability, and is paired with a powerful 15-bar pressure pump.
Gaggia Brera: Ease of Use
As mentioned above, Gaggia Brera is a very different espresso machine. This model has simple buttons and a clear, intuitive LED display. As the effect, it is very easy to use. Yet, there are customization options that will allow you to fine-tune your coffee.
The process can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. You can program your settings into the presets, so that you can get your coffee with just a few button hits. However, you can also adjust the settings every before brewing, and this is useful when you are using different beans.
The steaming wand is adjustable and very easy to use. The intake hole is designed to siphon air directly into milk, in order to create rich foam. You can use a milk container of pretty much any size.
Whenever the machine is turned on or off, a self-cleaning cycle is automatically performed to flush the system. This helps to ease the maintenance. The water reservoir, dreg box, drip tray, and even brew group are removable for easy cleaning.
Gaggia Brera: Performance
Many people often think that manual machines make better espresso. As a semi-automatic unit, however, Gaggia Brera is able to make comparable results. The performance is excellent. The machine also heats up quickly.
You can make various adjustments on Gaggia Brera, just like what people do on manual machines. Yet, Gaggia Brera is much simpler and cleaner to operate. And there is the option to assign your perfect settings to a preset, so you can get very consistent coffee quality.
The coffee comes out with a rich and intense flavor. Gaggia Brera doesn’t find any problem in grinding different types of beans. When you are using oily beans, the resulted coffee always has those subtle, complex flavor notes. The crema is dark and tasty.
The Panarello steam wand also deserves a praise. Both beginners and experienced users can get excellent milk textures by using this steam wand. It is very useful for making latte and cappuccino drinks.
Gaggia Classic vs Brera
Between these two models, Gaggia Brera is generally better and more recommended. It has better features, and it is also much easier to use. The built-in grinder will allow you to make coffee from fresh beans, and there are customization options for fine-tuning your coffee. There is also a Panarello steam wand for steaming and frothing milk.