Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express: The Full Comparison

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

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These two machines are within the same price range, so, is what they can offer comparable as well? How different are they from each other? And, which espresso machine would suit your coffee brewing needs better?

In this article, you can find out detailed answers about Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express.

Short on time? Jump to the Final Verdict to read our summary of each espresso machine.


Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine

If you want to brew and drink espresso like the commercial espresso machines at your local coffee shops, you can expect the Gaggia Classic Pro to offer that experience.

The whole unit is designed and made in Italy, the homeland of espresso coffee. It comes with a professional-grade group head and filter holder.

The commercial-style steam wand allows users to make milky espresso drinks like cappuccino and creative latte art at the comfort of their homes.

The water pressure is always kept under control to ensure a consistent extraction process and easy removal afterward.

And, even if you’re not the most tech-savvy barista, Gaggia Classic Pro with its straightforward button interface and indicator lights shouldn’t be a challenge.

What’s more, it’s even compatible with coffee pods to provide extra speed and convenience for busy users.


Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

Breville Barista Express BES870XL is an all-in-one espresso machine that can accommodate any step of the espresso brewing process, from grinding coffee beans, pulling the shot, to steaming milk.

As you can probably tell, the device comes with a built-in coffee bean grinder and steam wand, aside from the main brewing group.

Since it’s one of Breville’s coffee machines, lots of attention to detail goes into making sure that the grind size, the dose, the water pressure, the water temperature, and the steam pressure are correct.

So, you can truly taste third-wave specialty coffee at home.


Gaggia Classic Pro Vs Breville Barista Express – Similarities

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines – Is Breville Barista Express Semi-Automatic?

Yes, and Gaggia Classic Pro as well. You don’t have to manually put in the effort to apply high pressure on the water flow but the entire espresso brewing process isn’t fully automated either. You still have control over how the extraction is carried out (dose, volume) and manually perform certain tasks (milk texturing).

Bar Pressure

How Many Bars Gaggia Classic Pro?

The Gaggia Classic Pro pressure can achieve 15 bars to recreate the authentic Italian espresso experience featuring a satisfyingly thick layer of light brown crema.

How Many Bars Is Breville Barista Express?

Breville Barista Express pressure is produced thanks to the 15-bar pressure pump. But, when brewing espresso using freshly ground coffee beans, only 9 bars are needed for satisfying flavor extraction.

Volumetric Control

You can manually control the coffee volume on both the Breville Barista Express and Gaggia Classic Pro semi automatic espresso machine by pressing the brewing button when you want to start and stop.

Manual Steam Wand

The Gaggia Classic Pro steam wand is commercial-grade. It has a two-hole tip to steam milk for any espresso-based coffee drinks from foamy latte to frothier cappuccino. You can also create a microfoam tight enough to use for making elegant latte art.

The Gaggia Classic Pro steam wand is commercial-grade

The Breville Barista Express espresso maker, model # BES870XL also comes with a manual wand for steaming milk to elevate the flavors, aroma, and texture of the espresso brew.

Like pulling an espresso shot, steaming the milk has a learning curve that takes time to master, especially for a beginner. So, if you expect an effortless experience, opt for a fully automatic device.

 a manual wand for steaming milk

Instant Hot Water

Both coffee machines allow you to get instant hot water for preheating the cup and making Americanos quickly and conveniently without having to boil a separate kettle.

You can also utilize this source of hot water for making instant foods and beverages like instant noodles, tea, or hot chocolate.

Dry Puck

Having trouble cleaning up the filter basket after brewing espresso because it’s so wet, sticky, and grimy?

Worry no more! The Dry Puck feature on the Breville Barista Express espresso machine BES870XL is here to the rescue. It releases water pressure from the used coffee grounds in the filter basket so it’s easy to dispose of the coffee puck.

The Gaggia Classic Pro semi-automatic espresso machine is also equipped with some similar technology.

It has a 3-way solenoid valve that controls the water pressure throughout the operation of the machine. So once you’ve got your perfect espresso, the pressure ceases and you can pull out a perfectly dry coffee puck, ready to be removed.


Gaggia Classic Pro Vs Breville Barista Express – Differences

Gaggia Classic ProBreville Barista Express
Dimensions (WxDxH)9” x 9.4” x 15” (23 x 24 x 38 cm)12″ x 11″ x 13.5″ (30.5 x 27.9 x 34.3 cm)
Weight16 lbs (7.3 kg)23 lbs (10.4 kg)
MaterialBrushed stainless steelSteel
Water tank capacity71 oz (2.1 l)67 oz (2 l)
Heating systemN/AThermocoil-integrated
Heat-up time5 minutes2 minutes
Low-pressure Pre-infusionNoYes
PID Temperature ControlNoYes
Adjustable coffee temperatureNoYes
Volumetric controlYesYes
ProgrammabilityNoYes
Coffee pods compatibilityYesNo
Instant hot waterYesYes
Interface3 switches1 & 2-cup brews and hot water/steam buttons and dial
Pressure gaugeNoYes
Built-in burr grinderNoYes
Bean hopper capacityN/A1/2 lb (226.8 g)
Grind settingsN/A18 with adjustable inner top burr
Steam wandManualManual
Dry PuckYesYes
AccessoriesYesYes
PortafilterChrome-plated brass 58 mmStainless steel 54 mm
Filter baskets1 – 2 cup beginner and expert-level & pod-compatible1 & 2-cup pressurized & non-pressurized

Water Tank Capacity

Though the Breville Barista Express water tank can carry a lot already (67 oz/2 l), the Gaggia Classic Pro still has a larger water tank and beats the other one by… 0.1 l (71 oz (2.1 l)).

Overall, this round of Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro is pretty tame as there isn’t a very big difference unless you desire as much capacity as possible.

Water Tank Capacity

Integrated Grinder – Does Gaggia Classic Pro Come With Grinder?

No, but its competitor, Breville Barista Express, does.

The Breville Barista Express grinder is a conical burr optimized for preparing espresso beans.

The grinder can consistently produce dual-sized ground coffee, ideal for the coffee-to-water contact in espresso extraction.

Its design also helps reduce grinds retention, heat build-up, and noise.

Breville Barista Express has a built-in grinder

The bean hopper on top of the Breville Barista Express coffee machine can carry up to 1/2 lb (226.8 g) of beans, which is as many as some dedicated grinders in the market.

The bean hopper on top of the Breville Barista Express coffee machine

You can adjust the Breville Barista Express grind settings via the Grind Size Selector on the side of the device.

There are 16 different precise settings to pick from, ensuring that you’ll find a suitable size for whatever type of high-quality coffee beans you decide to use.

 Breville Barista Express Grind Size Selector with 16 settings

What’s more, you may also adjust the default setting of the inner top burr to get access to more grind sizes, if the ones available can’t accommodate your needs.

Other than that, you may also adjust the amount of coffee you want to use to meet the coffee-to-water ratio you have in mind. Or, you can rely on the automatic dosing function and call it a day.

Heat-Up Time

How Long Does The Breville Barista Express Take To Heat Up?

You can start making coffee with the Barista Express after 2 minutes from its cold state, thanks to its 1700W high power and Thermocoil heating system.

Just turn it on and go brush your teeth and the machine should be ready when you return.

How Long Does It Take Gaggia Classic Pro To Heat Up?

The Gaggia Classic Pro warm up time takes a bit longer – around 5 minutes. It relies on dual heating elements to heat its single boiler.

Low-Pressure Pre-Infusion Function

This is a common feature among Breville espresso machines and is not available on the Gaggia Classic Pro.

If you’re familiar with manual coffee brewing methods such as Pour-Over, you must have heard of “blooming coffee”.

Pour just enough hot water to wet the grinds and wait for a little bit while the coffee releases excess gases to ensure better coffee-to-water contact.

Low-Pressure Pre-Infusion Function

Similarly, when brewing espresso, you can “pre-infuse” the coffee grinds with some water before the actual extraction. But, under low pressure which is then slowly built up.

Here, the Barista Express automatically takes over that role to produce better espresso quality, a true third-wave experience.

Temperature Control

  1. PID

Does the Breville Barista Express have a PID? Yes, this digital temperature control technology helps the device deliver the precise water temperature to extract a flavorful cup of Joe.

Does the Gaggia Classic Pro have PID? No. But you can easily add a Gaggia Classic Pro PID kit or make one yourself.

Does the Breville Barista Express have a PID?

The modification is very affordable and totally reversible, though it’d have been more convenient if they had been manufactured with it in the first place.

  1. Adjustable temperature control

The Barista Express also allows you to adjust the water temperature in small degree increments in the Advanced Temperature setting mode to ensure that you have absolute control over the brew.

You can’t make great espresso if it’s too cool or hot to your liking.

This feature isn’t available on the Gaggia Classic Pro.

  1. Thermocoil heating system

The Barista Express also relies on the integrated stainless steel water coil heating system to enhance the temperature control, ensuring that the ideal degree is maintained throughout the extraction process.

The Gaggia Classic Pro doesn’t come with this.

Interface

While both machines are easy to use, they have very different control panels.

The Gaggia Classic Pro allows the user to navigate via mechanical rocker switches. With a single flip, even a clueless beginner can turn on the machine and start and stop the espresso extraction and milk texturing.

 Gaggia Classic Pro interface featuring 3 simple switches

However, a beginner home barista may find the extremely simple and minimalistic design hard to pull off a quality shot on their first few tries.

Since there’s no Gaggia Classic Pro pressure gauge or any brew timer to follow, it’s hard to assess the extraction and learn from your mistakes.

Again, you can find modifications and add a pressure gauge to the machine for more convenience. But, it’d have been nice if you didn’t have to do that in the first place.

The Barista Express machine, on the other hand, boasts a much more crowded interface, featuring numerous buttons and dials.

This can be attributed to the fact that the Breville device has more features to be performed.

Its modern design would also obviously differ from Gaggia’s classic and timeless design.

 Breville Barista Express interface featuring buttons, dials, and an analog pressure gauge

More buttons mean you’ll need to rely on the manual more to navigate around, though it’s still very easy to use once you’re used to the grind.

The Barista Express is also well-loved for its pressure gauge that can help you assess the extraction and predict the outcome before the process even ceases. It’s a great way to identify what you’re doing wrong and how to improve.

Programmability Options

Another big difference between Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express is programmability.

With the Gaggia machine, you have to manually pull the coffee shot by flipping the switch once it’s reached the brew length and volume you have in mind. So, you have to stick with the device throughout the process.

The Barista Express machine comes with preset options that can automatically pause the extraction once an optimal brew volume (1 oz for 1-cup and 2 oz for 2-cup) has been reached.

The Barista Express machine comes with preset options that can automatically pause the extraction once an optimal brew volume (1 oz for 1-cup and 2 oz for 2-cup) has been reached.

You also have plenty of other programmability options, such as adjusting the preset volume, the water temperature, grind amount, etc. to achieve a cup of Joe that better suits your ideals.

Coffee Pod Compatibility

If you’re a busy coffee drinker and rely on coffee pods often for ease and convenience, the Gaggia Classic Pro can certainly meet your needs.

Any coffee pods that comply with the ESE standards are compatible with the machine.

The Breville Barista Express with its built-in grinder promotes the usage of freshly ground beans, which I also recommend. You may use pre-ground coffee as well, but coffee pods aren’t an option.

If you're a busy coffee drinker and rely on coffee pods often for ease and convenience, the Gaggia Classic Pro can certainly meet your needs.

Accessories

What is included in the Breville Barista Express? Aside from the machine itself, you may also find these Breville Barista Express accessories:

What is included in the Breville Barista Express? Aside from the machine itself, you may also find these Breville Barista Express accessories:
  • Razor Dose Trimming Tool
  • Stainless Steel Portafilter (*)
  • 1-cup & 2-cup Single & Dual Wall Filter Baskets (**)
  • Coffee Scoop
  • Integrated Tamper
  • Stainless Steel Milk Jug
  • Cleaning disc and tablets
  • Cleaning brush, tool, and Allen Key
  • Water Filter Holder and Water Filter
54 mm Portafilter

(*) What size portafilter in Breville Barista Express? It’s 54 mm, the standard Breville portafilter size, in general.

(**) Is Barista Express pressurized? Yes, it comes with both pressurized (dual-wall) and non-pressurized (single-wall) filter baskets.

I recommend sticking to the single-wall filter baskets when grinding fresh beans to have more control over the extraction.

The dual-wall filters apply more pressure on the water flow to cover for the less perfect pre-ground beans and poorly ground ones (by blade grinders and bad-quality burrs).

Regarding the Gaggia machine, you can find these accessories:

Gaggia RI9380/47 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
  • Chrome-plated brass portafilter (***)
  • 3 types of filter baskets (****)
  • Milk Jug
  • Grounds doser
  • Tamper

(***) The Gaggia Classic Pro portafilter size is 58 mm, which is the same as commercial espresso machines.

It’s 13% heavier than a 54mm portafilter, giving it a more sturdy feel in your hand.

Bottomless Naked Portafilter with 3 Cup Basket 21 g Replacement for Gaggia

(****) Can you use pre-ground coffee in Gaggia Classic Pro? Is Gaggia Classic Pro pressurized? Yes and yes. The included pressurized baskets can be utilized for pre-ground beans.

Once you’ve gotten used to them, move onto the professional-level ones to have more control over the brew. There’s also a filter basket specifically for brewing espresso with coffee pods.

What size basket comes with Gaggia Classic Pro? You can find options for both single and double shots.

Size

If you’re especially worried about the machine taking up too much space, note that the Gaggia device’s compact size is one of its highlights.

This is understandable since the Breville machine comes with a lot more features and functions.

  • Gaggia Classic Pro dimensions: 9” x 9.4” x 15” (23 x 24 x 38 cm)
  • Breville Barista Express dimensions: 12″ x 11″ x 13.5″ (30.5 x 28 x 34.3 cm)
Gaggia RI9380/48 Classic Pro Espresso Machine

Price

Both devices are within the mid-high-end price range. And, as you can probably guess, the Barista Express is more expensive than the Gaggia device, around $200, to be exact.

But, since the Gaggia Classic Pro semi-automatic espresso machine doesn’t come with a built-in grinder, you need to buy a separate grinder to brew the freshest coffee. So the additional cost for a quality burr can cover the $200 difference.

However, even with a grinder, the Classic Pro still doesn’t possess Breville’s long list of convenient techs and programmable functions. So you may still need to spend more money on modifications.


Final Verdict

To wrap up this Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro, personally, I strongly favor the former machine. I’ve also chosen it as the best performing espresso machine in other line-ups before, including the best espresso machines in the market.

Gaggia Classic Pro Review

But, the Gaggia Classic Pro is still worth your consideration if you enjoy its straightforward interface, compact size, and vintage design, especially if you’ve already owned a separate grinder. (If not, check out the best espresso grinders to find the best grinder for Gaggia Classic Pro.)

Overall, it’s more suitable for coffee aficionados who’ve had a decent amount of experience working with espresso machines before, due to the lack of guidance.

Is the Breville Barista Express Worth It?

Breville Barista Express is an all-in-one espresso solution for anyone to get into making third-wave coffee at home. You can rely on the preset features when you’re busy and switch to manual brewing modes when you want to hone your skills.

Though it may be overwhelming at first due to the crazy number of functions, you should get used to using Breville Barista Express in no time. Just stick to our How to use a Breville espresso machine guide and the manual and you can master it in no time.

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