Other than the right coffee and clean water, a high-quality espresso machine is necessary to make the espresso magic happen.
It’s hard to make a purchase decision on your own with little experience with espresso machines.
So, in this article, the Coffee Geek will help you review 2 popular Breville espresso machines, Breville Barista Express vs Barista Pro. You’ll learn all the details about the same features they share as well as the drastic differences that set them $100 apart.
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
The Breville Barista Express is one of the best-selling espresso machines on Amazon and a fan favorite of many coffee enthusiasts to make third-wave quality coffee at home.
This steel machine belongs to the brand’s Barista Series that integrate multiple features outside of its brewing function to offer a streamlined and extensive espresso-making experience.
From grinding coffee beans (to prepare coffee grounds for the perfect espresso) to steaming milk (to make all kinds of espresso-based beverages), everything is in the realm of possibility. You can make your favorite coffee drink and improve your barista skills holistically.
The Breville Barista Express, specifically, comes with an integrated conical burr grinder, optimal for preparing ground coffee for making espresso.
The grind size can be easily and intuitively adjusted with the Grind Size Dial to find the most appropriate settings for your coffee beans.
The machine is also designed with the perfect brewing temperature and pressure for a more thorough and balanced extraction of espresso compounds.
And milky espresso-based coffee drinks won’t be possible without the manual steam wand. The user can play around with how textured the milk turns out as well as latte art.
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine
The Breville Barista Pro is another well-loved espresso machine among the fans. It also comes with a built-in grinder and manual milk wand other than the main brew group to help users seamlessly proceed from one step to another when making espresso.
Via the intuitive LCD display, you get to pick and choose exactly what setting you need to achieve an optimal espresso extraction.
The digital display also shows animations of the grinding and extraction process and other information to guide you through.
The burr grinder is stainless steel conical, perfect for grinding espresso beans.
The state-of-the-art pressure and temperature technologies can help optimize extraction from start to finish for the most balanced and flavorful cup of Joe.
The Barista Pro is also equipped with an upgraded heating system that can instantly heat up the water in mere seconds so you can kick-start your morning routine much faster.
What Do Breville Barista Express And Barista Pro Have In Common?
Is Breville Barista Express Semi-Automatic? Is Breville Barista Pro Automatic?
Both Breville machines can be referred to as automatic or semi-automatic.
Different from the manual devices back in the day where the barista had to manually apply high pressure to brew espresso, Barista Express and Barista Pro are equipped with an electric pump that is capable of doing the hard job for us.
But these machines still give the user many rooms for manually controlling the brewing process, from dosing the coffee grounds, adjusting the water temperature, to manually pulling the espresso shot and steaming milk.
So they’re definitely not fully automatic, which provides less freedom and relies a lot more on engineered automation to deliver a consistent quality brew.
Capacity – How Much Water Does Breville Barista Express Hold?
These two machines can carry 2 liters (67.6 oz) of water in their reservoir. Make sure not to add more than that as they can’t accommodate large pots.
Bean Hopper Capacity
They both can also carry the same amount of beans, which is 1/2 pound (8 oz/226 g).
These two espresso machines both belong to the Barista Series that offers more than just brewing espresso. They both come with a built-in steel conical grinder, which is the most suitable design for grinding espresso grounds.
Different from the flat burrs which focus on absolute uniformity, conical burrs offer dual-sized grinds with smaller and larger particles that can balance each other out during extraction for a more optimal water flow.
Adjustable Grind Size And Grind Amount
With this high-quality burr grinder, the user can also easily adjust the grind size and grind amount (typically 19 – 22 g) so that they’re suitable for the coffee beans being used and their personal strength preference.
Automatic And Manual Dosing
The auto-stop function enables hands-free grinding directly into the 54 mm portafilter, so you can leave the machine and wrap up your morning routines while it’s doing its job.
Though the automatic dosing feature sounds very convenient and inviting, feel free to take things into your own hand and manually dose them for better precision.
Bar Pressure – How Many Bars Is Breville Barista Pro? Breville Barista Express Pressure
Most espresso machines (if not all) from Breville come with a 15 bar Italian pump. But when making espresso, a 9 bar pressure is usually applied to achieve a full flavor extraction and irresistibly rich and concentrated body.
Rather than jumping the gun and applying a high level of pressure on the coffee puck right away, low-pressure pre-infusion slowly raises the amount at the beginning to ensure a more even and thorough espresso extraction throughout the process.
PID Digital Temperature Control
This technology helps make sure that the brewing water is optimal for extracting coffee compounds throughout the process, which is around 93 degrees Celsius (199.4 degrees Fahrenheit), with possible alterations in small degree increments.
There are preset 1 (1 oz) and 2 (2 oz) cup volumes for hands-free and worry-free automatic extraction. But you can also manually override and reprogram these shot volumes so that they better suit the type of beans you’re using and deliver the right brew strength you have in mind.
The powerful steam wands on these two machines allow you to steam and froth milk however you like to make milky espresso-based beverages and play around with latte art.
But just like the journey to pull the perfect shot of espresso, this has a learning curve as well. You likely won’t master the perfect cup of cappuccino right away.
Instant Hot Water
On both the Barista Express and the Barista Pro, there’s a dedicated hot water outlet that you can use to easily preheat the serving cup and make Americanos and other drinks (tea, hot chocolate) and foods (instant noodle, oatmeal).
What Drinks Can You Make On A Breville Barista Express or Breville Barista Pro?
With the convenient instant hot water and powerful steam wand features, you can make whatever espresso drinks your heart desires, from variations of the good-ol espresso (Ristretto, Lungo) to espresso-based menus (Americano, latte, flat white, cappuccino).
Not to mention other simple foods (instant noodles) and beverages (tea, hot chocolate).
This feature helps remove any remaining water in the ground coffee puck so you’ll have an easier time disposing of or repurposing the used grinds.
Accessories – What Is Included In The Breville Barista Express? What Does Barista Pro Come With?
Other than the main brewing component, both the Barista Express and Barista Pro also arrive with some brewing and cleaning accessories to assist with the brewing and cleaning process.
- 1-cup single and dual-wall filter baskets (for fresh whole beans)
- 2-cup single and dual-wall filter baskets (for pre-ground beans)
- Heavy steel tamper
- Razor dose trimming tool
- Stainless steel milk jug
- Charcoal water filter and filter holder
- Cleaning and descaling tools
What Is The Difference Between Barista Pro And Barista Express?
|Breville Barista Express
|Breville Barista Pro
|12″ x 11″ x 13.5″ (30.5 x 27.9 x 34.3 cm)
|13.9″ x 16.1″ x 16″ (35.3 x 40.9 x 40.6 cm)
|23 lbs (10.4 kg)
|20 lbs (9.1 kg)
|Water tank capacity
|67 oz (2 l)
|67 oz (2 l)
|Bean hopper capacity
|1/2 lb (226.8 g)
|1/2 lb (226.8 g)
|A few minutes
|Optimal Water Pressure
|PID Temperature Control
|Instant hot water
|Built-in burr grinder
|18 with adjustable inner top burr
|30 with adjustable inner top burr
|Dose control grinding
For a built-in grinder, the Barista Express is designed with 18 different grind settings from coarse to fine to meet your needs for different types of beans, brews, and strength preferences.
If that’s not enough, you may also adjust the top burr to get a wider grind range. The top burr has 10 different settings. As a default, the top burr grind size is usually set at number 6. Feel free to go finer or coarser within that range.
However, when comparing it with the Barista Pro espresso machine, the latter easily wins with 30 precision grind settings to meet whatever you need.
What’s more, the top burr of the Barista Pro is also adjustable, making its range even wider beyond the outer burr capability.
How Long Does The Breville Barista Express Take To Heat Up?
Typically, after plugging in the Barista Express espresso machine and turning it on, you need to wait for a few minutes for the machine to heat up.
Once it reaches the ideal temperature, all of the buttons on the control panel should light up.
How Long Does It Take The Breville Barista Pro To Heat Up?
Too bad for the Barista Express, because its cousin espresso machine wins this round of Breville Barista Express vs Pro as well.
Thanks to the cutting-edge ThermoJet heating system, your Barista Pro machine has a much faster heat-up time. It can reach the optimal extraction temperature in as fast as 3 seconds!! So pretty much the moment you turn it on, it should be ready to go.
While the Barista Express still relies on the Thermocoil heating system, the new ThermoJet system also has an outstanding steaming performance. You can instantly switch to steam from espresso brewing without waiting!
This feature should help you save some time and get a caffeine recharge faster in the busy mornings.
Interface Convenience – Pressure Gauge Vs Digital Display
One of the most outstanding features of the Barista Express and the most obvious difference between Breville Barista Pro vs Express is the pressure gauge.
The Express machine actually has an analog pressure gauge that reflects the amount of pressure and the water flow rate.
By looking at it, you can tell how the extraction is going and how the shot will turn out before it’s even done (perfect, under-extracted, or over-extracted).
Does Breville Barista Pro Show Pressure? Why No Pressure Gauge On Breville Barista Pro?
The Barista Pro doesn’t have a pressure gauge in the front. But the grinding and extracting progress is still shown on the digital display AKA LCD screen on the control panel.
You can assess the extraction by the count-up timer from the start of the brewing process, which is very useful within the first 8 crucial seconds.
For example, coffee coming out within the first 3 seconds usually signals under-extraction, while coffee coming out after the 10-second mark suggests over-extraction. This is a simple estimation that any beginner can get behind.
It’s also helpful if you’ve figured out how long the extraction should last (specifically when between 25 and 30 seconds), which may take some time to figure out.
But, coffee aficionados with some brewing experience would usually prefer the steam gauge as it gives them a more holistic picture that they’re more used to.
So, there isn’t necessarily any winner in this round of Breville Barista Express vs Pro as it’s a matter of preference.
Despite the similarity in overall appearance, the Barista Pro (13.9″ x 16.1″ x 16″) is larger than the Barista Express (12″ x 11″ x 13.5″), but definitely not to a drastic extent. If you have strict machine dimensions you have in mind, make sure to check them before buying.
Both of them are high-end machines capable of making specialty coffee, so it’s understandable that they’re not in an affordable price range.
But in this Breville Barista Express vs Pro round, the former is still cheaper than the latter by $100, possibly due to the lack of the LCD interface, the new ThermoJet heating system, and the more limited number of settings.
The Final Verdict – Is The Barista Pro Better Than The Express?
Since it’s more expensive with newer and more innovative features, it’s reasonable to think that the Pro should win the Barista Express vs Pro battle. But it all boils down to preference.
Is Breville Barista Express Worth It?
Yes, personally, I prefer the Breville Barista Express over the Pro.
Despite its shortcoming, especially in terms of heat-up time and number of settings, I love working with the manual pressure gauge.
Is Breville Barista Pro Worth It?
If you love to explore a variety of bean types, prioritize quickness, and enjoy the modern LCD display, the Breville Barista Pro is definitely worth the extra $100 for a long-term supply of great espresso.
However, if you’re looking to step up your Breville espresso machine research a notch, you can check out how the Barista Pro compares to the Barista Touch here.
Though if you do like the Barista Express but may prefer a separate grinder, check out this comparison post..
FAQ – Is Breville Good Brand?
What Is Breville Known For?
Breville is an Australian brand that supplies kitchen appliances. Since its foundation in Sydney in 1932, the brand has grown to become a popular global brand that’s most known for its coffee machines, blenders, toasters, microwaves, and kettles.
That’s all thanks to the brand’s customer-centered innovation efforts.
How Good Is Breville?
Some Breville drip machines even went on to get certified by the experts and professionals in the Specialty Coffee Association.
But, the brand is often better known for its espresso machines in the coffee community as it enables many home baristas to make third-wave specialty coffee at home, be it via automatic or manual (semi-automatic) espresso machines.
How Reliable Are Breville Coffee Machines?
With good and regular maintenance, Breville espresso machines can last for at least 5 years and as long as 15 years. The premium quality of Breville products is definitely no joke and a worthy coffee investment.
So, even though the price is considerably steeper than many others in the market, you essentially get what you pay for.