A Detailed Comparison Of Gaggia Brera Vs Breville Barista Express

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Listen, the Gaggia Brera vs Breville Barista Express each bring a lot to the table in terms of functionality and quality, but before we dive deeper into what’s great about them, I’d point out that, in my view, the Barista Express holds the upper hand.

The Breville Barista Express offers a higher level of customization, and that comes with a higher price tag. Meanwhile, the Gaggia Brera seems to be a budget option, sporting a price that’s notably low for the super-automatic espresso machine category.

Gaggia Brera Vs Breville Barista Express: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, Small, Black, 40 fl oz
Model
Breville Barista Express
Gaggia Brera
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches/26.8 lbs
17.6 x 10 × 12.4 inches/18.7 lbs
Interface
Knobs & Buttons
Non-touch Display
One Touch Drink Options
2
3
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
18
5
Heating System
Single Thermocoil Boiler
Single Thermoblock Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Pannarello Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Single/3.5-4.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 Liter/0.25 Kg
1,2 L/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$697.99
$453.30
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches/26.8 lbs
Interface
Knobs & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
18
Heating System
Single Thermocoil Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 Liter/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$697.99
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, Small, Black, 40 fl oz
Model
Gaggia Brera
Dimensions/Weight
17.6 x 10 × 12.4 inches/18.7 lbs
Interface
Non-touch Display
One Touch Drink Options
3
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic Flat Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
5
Heating System
Single Thermoblock Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Pannarello Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Single/3.5-4.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1,2 L/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$453.30
More Info

Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaggia Brera Vs Breville Barista Express: Differences

The Barista Express won against the Gaggia Brera with a strong score of 5-3, after all. So how are they different from each other?

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Barista Express

Built-in Grinder

The Barista Express uses a stainless steel conical burr grinder, whereas the Gaggia Brera features a ceramic burr grinder, eliminating the need for an additional purchase.

I don’t want to start any new wars between these two grinders, but ceramic grinders are often praised for their durability and for reducing heat transfer during grinding. The minimal heat generation is a significant advantage because excessive heat can affect the oils and flavor of the coffee beans during the grinding process.

The Gaggia offers five grind settings for you to play with, which might feel limiting to someone more experienced in espresso preparation or those who enjoy more control over their grind. The Barista Express, on the other hand, offers an impressive 18 grind settings, providing a great deal of flexibility. 

only change the grind sizes when the grinder is running
Only change the grind sizes when the grinder is running

Heating System

Both are single-boiler machines, meaning they can’t simultaneously steam milk and pull espresso shots. The good news is that they can create hot water quickly and switch quickly and seamlessly between functions. The Barista Express uses a thermocoil, while the Gaggia Brera employs a thermoblock. Well, the thermocoil in the Barista Express tends to heat up water a bit more quickly than the thermoblock in the Gaggia Brera, while the difference isn’t dramatic.

Brewing System

If there’s one consensus among espresso aficionados, it’s the importance of pre-infusion in the extraction process, and I wholeheartedly agree. Pre-infusion is like gently waking up the coffee grounds before the full brew at a pressure of 15 bars. By lightly wetting the grounds first, you release carbon dioxide trapped in the beans, leading to a more even and effective extraction. This step is crucial to achieving a well-balanced and flavorful espresso shot.

I’m pleased to see that both Gaggia and Breville recognize the significance of this process and apply it to their machines. It’s affirming when leading brands align with the practices valued by coffee enthusiasts. However, what sets the Barista Express apart, in my opinion, is that its pre-infusion feature is programmable since the impact of altering pre-infusion times can be quite remarkable.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Breville Barista Express

The Barista Express features a professional-style steam wand that rotates 360 degrees. If you’ve ever been stuck with a wand that only moves in two directions, the freedom of movement with this wand will feel like a breath of fresh air. It takes some getting used to with the wand, and once you do, it’s a joy to use. I’ve been able to create beautiful, silky microfoam with it, which is essential for latte art and a luxurious mouthfeel.

the barista express's professional-style steam wand
The Barista Express’s professional-style steam wand

The Gaggia Brera comes with a standard Pannarello milk frother. It’s decent, especially for those already familiar with manual steam wands, and you can certainly create velvety milk foam with it. However, it’s not mounted on a ball joint, so it lacks the versatility and range of motion you get with the Barista Express.

the gaggia brera's pannarello wand
The Gaggia Brera’s Pannarello wand

Another point worth mentioning is the accessories. The Barista Express includes a stainless steel milk pitcher, which is a thoughtful addition to the package. And unfortunately, Gaggia doesn’t include a milk pitcher with the Brera, which, in my opinion, is an oversight. A milk pitcher is an integral part of the espresso-making process for anyone looking to steam milk, so kudos to Breville for this inclusion.

Design & Convenience

Winner: Tie

Dimensions & User Interface

Gaggia BreraBreville Barista Express
Dimensions17.6 x 10 × 12.4 inches16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches
Weight18.7 lbs26.8 lbs

Both are on the compact side. Size isn’t everything, but having an espresso machine that’ll fit snugly in a dorm room or apartment, where every inch of counter space counts, is always a plus. The Barista Express is a significantly heavier option, as you can see.

The rugged stainless steel housing of both models is another feature that stands out to me. We all agree that machines that use more metal and less plastic in their construction tend to have a longer lifespan.

The Barista Express’s button-operated interface is designed in a way that is not intimidating, even for beginners. Everything is clearly labeled, and the layout of the control panel makes it easy to navigate. Located prominently on the front of the machine, the pressure gauge provides valuable real-time feedback during the espresso extraction process.

the barista express's control panel
The Barista Express’s control panel

The Gaggia Brera also offers a user-friendly interface. There might be a slight learning curve in understanding what the different icons mean, but that’s it. Once you get the hang of it, operating the machine becomes second nature.

the old-school lcd screen on the gaggia brera
The old-school lcd screen on the Gaggia Brera

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Gaggia BreraBreville Barista Express
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance3.5-4.5 inches4 inches

The Gaggia Brera’s height-adjustable dispensing spout is a nifty feature. When you’re making straight espresso, lowering the spout closer to your cup helps preserve the crema and reduce splashing. Still, it’s worth noting that the Brera doesn’t accommodate larger cups or travel mugs directly, which can be a bit of a limitation.

On the other hand, the Barista Express features a fixed cup clearance, which might seem less flexible at first glance. But you can remove the drip tray when needed, allowing for extra space.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Gaggia BreraBreville Barista Express
Water Reservoir1,2 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.25 kilogram0.25 kilogram

The Gaggia Brera’s water tank is smaller, but I really appreciate how easy it is to slide it out from the front for filling. In contrast, the Barista Express has a water tank located at the back, which can be a bit more challenging to access for refilling.

Pre-programmed Coffee Options  & Programmability

Winner: Breville Barista Express

Gaggia BreraBreville Barista Express
Espresso
Espresso lungo
Hot water
Espresso
Hot Water

Let’s talk about specialty drinks. Both have the necessary capabilities to recreate your favorite café-style drinks. But unlike some super-automatic machines where brewing a latte macchiato or flat white is a matter of pressing a button, these two require you to put in the elbow grease.

Both machines offer the flexibility to adjust the brew strength and volume of espresso. This allows each user to tailor their espresso to their liking and save those settings for future use. They have no profiles, so there’s potential for a bit of family drama if you overwrite someone else’s settings with your own. Oh, another notable distinction is that the Barista Express allows for the adjustment of brewing temperature, a feature the Gaggia Brera lacks.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Gaggia Brera

Here’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on. No matter how robust or high-end your machine is, neglecting regular cleaning and descaling can significantly shorten its lifespan and affect the quality of your coffee.

Both the Barista Express and the Gaggia Brera, thankfully, include an automatic descaling cycle. It takes the guesswork out of when to descale, as these machines alert you at the appropriate time. Just follow the descaling process as outlined in the user manual, and everything will be fine. 

Some manual parts include pulling out the drip tray, rinsing the water container, and wiping down the bean hopper. It is easy to get the job done – just ensure you steer clear of the dishwasher.

The Gaggia Brera includes a removable brew group. While it might seem like an additional task in your cleaning routine, the ability to remove and manually clean the brew group can actually be beneficial for the machine’s longevity.

Other Features

Winner: Tie

Bypass Doser

The Gaggia Brera features a bypass doser, allowing you to use pre-ground coffee instead of whole beans. This feature is ideal for those evenings when you might want a decaf espresso or when you have guests who prefer a different type of coffee.

What about the Barista Express? You can also use pre-ground coffee with it, and my recommendation is to use dual-wall filter baskets, which are designed to help regulate the pressure of the extraction process, making them more forgiving and better suited for pre-ground coffee.

Auto Off

The Gaggia Brera automatically switches off after 1 hour of inactivity, while the Barista Express goes off after 3 hours. I just wish they allowed changing the auto-off interval.

Gaggia Brera Vs Breville Barista Express: Similarities

Water Filter

Both can work with a companion water filter. First and foremost, water filters help remove impurities and minerals from tap water. These impurities can include chlorine, heavy metals, and other substances that can negatively affect the taste and aroma of your coffee. 

The filter also significantly reduces the risk of limescale buildup and extends the life of the machine, and as a bonus, you don’t need to descale the machine too often.

Built-in Cup Warmer

The cup warmer, as the name suggests, pre-heats your cups before you pour the coffee into them. This might seem like a small detail, but it has a couple of important benefits.

Coffee, especially espresso, is best enjoyed at a specific temperature range. When you pour hot coffee into a cold cup, the cup absorbs heat from the coffee, causing it to cool down faster. Pre-warming the cup helps maintain the coffee’s temperature longer, ensuring that your first sip and last sip are equally enjoyable.

The temperature at which you consume your coffee can significantly affect its flavor profile. A pre-warmed cup helps to preserve the complexity and nuances of the coffee’s flavor, which might be lost if the coffee cools down too quickly.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express

Sale
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Earn up to $200 cashback with a Beanz coffee subscription when you purchase a selected Breville espresso machine. Visit earn-cashback.breville.com purchase to claim. Valid Aug 1, 2023 until Jun 30, 2024
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute, helping you make the perfect cup of Cappuccino or Latte
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Adjustable grinder with 18 grind settings.
  • Good built-in steam wand.
  • A lot of adjustable settings.
  • Brews a tasty espresso.
  • Simple to use and clean.
Cons
  • No milk temperature control.
  • Requires trial and error to froth milk.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Brera

Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, Small, Black, 40 fl oz
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use

Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Inexpensive.
  • Quick heat up system.
  • The ceramic grinder doesn’t generate heat.
  • Ease to use and clean.
  • Compact footprint.
Cons
  • Limited grinder settings.
  • Non-adjustable brewing temperature.

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References

5/5 - (1 vote)