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I always look forward to products that can help me make café-quality coffee at home. And the more efficient a coffee machine is, the better for me. Quality espresso machines are pricey, even at entry-level. To get the best bargain for your money, it is essential that you keenly examine the features. 

Breville has a range of espresso machines that make great coffee and with great features. This article will help you answer Breville Barista Pro vs Barista Express: Which espresso machine is right for you?

Overview of Breville Barista Pro

Breville Barista Pro
Breville Barista Pro

The Breville Barista Pro was launched in 2019 and was awarded as The Best New Product that same year. What features make it outstanding? Let us first examine the Breville Barista Pro and see how it compares to the Breville Barista Expresso. 

The Breville Barista Pro espresso machine is a high-quality, semi-automatic machine that will allow you to create café-style espresso beverages right in your own kitchen. The Barista Pro offers a range of features and functionalities that make it a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts.

Here are the key features of the Breville Barista Pro:

  1. It has an integrated precision conical burr grinder with 30 settings 
  2. It has digital temperature control for precise espresso extraction
  3. It has a sleek and durable stainless steel construction
  4. It has a pre-infusion feature that applies low water pressure to ground coffee beans at the beginning of the extraction process. 
  5. It has a 3-second thermoJet heating system
  6. It has a powerful 4-hole steam wand for quality microfoam

Let us consider some of these features that make the Breville Barista Pro special.

Conical burr grinder

For great espresso, grinding your coffee beans just before brewing your espresso will ensure you have flavorful coffee. The Breville Barista Pro has an integrated grinder with dose control that allows you to grind fresh coffee beans directly into the portafilter, ensuring maximum freshness and flavor. 

The barista pro grinder offers 30 settings adjustments, allowing you to customize the grind for your preferred coffee extraction. Different beans call for different grind settings, and as you dial in on the perfect grind size, a grinder with 30 settings will help you get the ideal setting.

LCD display

The Barista Pro espresso machine has an easy-to-use LCD display that is user-friendly, making it easy to navigate available options. The interface typically utilizes icons, symbols, and clear text to guide you through the different settings and functions.

Precise PID temperature control

The Breville Barista Pro is equipped with digital temperature control, specifically a PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) system, which ensures precise espresso extraction by maintaining optimal water temperature throughout the brewing process.

The PID system uses sensors to measure the temperature and makes rapid adjustments to maintain a stable and precise brewing temperature. This stability is crucial because temperature fluctuations significantly impact the extraction process and the taste of the espresso.

Faster heating system

The Barista Pro Breville espresso maker has a 3-second thermoJet heating system. With a 3-second heating system, the Barista Pro can quickly heat up and be ready to brew espresso in seconds. The faster heat-up time also ensures an instantaneous transition from espresso to steam. This is particularly beneficial when in a hurry or wanting your coffee quickly, thanks to a faster warm-up period.

4-hole steam wand

The Breville Barista Pro features a powerful 4-hole steam wand designed to produce high-quality microfoam for milk-based espresso beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos.

The 4-hole design helps distribute steam evenly and creates a vortex within the milk pitcher, promoting uniform heating and frothing. The fine and consistent texture of the microfoam makes it easier to pour and manipulate the milk to create intricate designs on the surface of your coffee beverages.

Overview of Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express on a counter
Breville Barista Express

The Breville Barista Express espresso machine is also a semi-automatic machine with some similarities and differences from the Barista Pro. 

Here are its main features and capabilities:

  1. A sleek and compact design with a stainless steel body
  2. An integrated conical burr grinder
  3. A 30-second thermocoil heating system
  4. Manual control
  5. Single-hole steam wand
  6. Precise PID temperature control
  7. Pressure gauge

Let us consider some of these features that make the Breville Barista Express special.

Sleek design

The Barista Express features a sleek and compact design with a stainless steel body, giving it a modern and stylish look. It is built to be long-lasting, with high-quality materials and construction.

Burr grinder

Like the Barista Pro, the Barista Express also has an integrated conical burr grinder so that you can grind fresh coffee beans directly into the portafilter for maximum flavor and aroma. It offers a wide range of grind settings, giving you control over the grind size of the coffee grounds.

Thermocoil heating system

The Barista Express features a 15-bar Italian pump and a thermocoil heating system. Unlike the Barista Pro, which takes 3 seconds to heat up, this espresso machine takes 30 seconds. The thermocoil heating system consists of a coiled tube made of stainless steel or another heat-conductive material.

Manual control

For those who enjoy a hands-on brewing experience, the Barista Express provides manual control over key parameters. You can manually adjust the grind size, quantity, and extraction time, allowing you to experiment and perfect your espresso-making technique.

Single-hole steam wand

The Barista Expresso Espresso machine has a single-hole steam wand used to heat and froth milk for making lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based beverages. This single-hole steam wand produces steam at a slower rate compared to the Barista Pro 4-hole steam wand. This means that it takes longer to heat and froth the milk, which can be less efficient when preparing multiple drinks.

Precise PID temperature control

The Barista company understands the need for consistent temperature in the brewing process, and they have ensured their machines have the PID temperature control feature.

PID control minimizes temperature fluctuations by continuously monitoring and adjusting the heating element to maintain a stable temperature. This ensures that every shot is brewed under the same conditions, resulting in more consistent flavor and quality.

Pressure gauge

The pressure gauge is one feature that is missing on the Barista Pro, but it is a useful feature as it provides real-time feedback on the extraction process. It shows the level of pressure being applied to the coffee grounds during extraction. This allows you to assess and monitor the consistency of the extraction to ensure that the extraction is within the desired range for optimal flavor and quality for that desired cappuccino caffeine kick or brew of your choice.

Key Differences Between Barista Pro and Barista Express

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Display

The Barista Pro features a digital display that provides information and control over the brewing parameters. It offers real-time shot timers, grind size and amount adjustments, and other settings. On the other hand, the Barista Express settings are adjusted using manual dials.

Heating time

The Barista Pro espresso machine features an upgraded ThermoJet heating system designed to heat water in a record 3 seconds. In comparison, the Barista Express takes approximately 30 seconds to heat up. While this is still relatively quick compared to many other espresso machines on the market, the Barista Pro's ThermoJet heating system significantly reduces the waiting time.

Steam wand

Barista Pro’s 4-hole steam wand provides faster heating, frothing, and improved control over milk texture, while the Barista Express’s single-hole steam wand takes longer to heat and froth the milk. 

Performance and Espresso Quality

Both the Barista Pro and the Barista Express can deliver excellent performance and produce high-quality espresso. Here's an overview of their performance and the espresso quality they can achieve:

Performance

Both Breville Barista Pro and Breville Barista Express are designed to offer reliable and consistent performance. They feature powerful pumps and boilers that provide sufficient pressure and temperature control for optimal extraction. With their integrated grinders, they allow for freshly ground coffee, ensuring maximum flavor and aroma in every shot. 

The machines are also built with durability in mind, with robust construction and quality components that contribute to long-lasting performance.

Espresso Quality

The Barista Pro and the Barista Express can produce exceptional espresso shots. Their ability to achieve consistent extraction pressure, coupled with precise temperature control, enables the extraction of flavors and aromas from the coffee beans. 

The integrated grinders allow for customization of grind size, allowing you to dial in the perfect setting for your preferred extraction to achieve a balanced and flavorful espresso with a rich crema.

Something to remember: factors such as type of roast, coffee bean, and coffee beans' origin will greatly affect overall coffee flavor.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Both machines require regular cleaning to remove coffee residue, oils, and mineral deposits that can accumulate over time. This includes cleaning the portafilter, group head, steam wand, and drip tray. 

Both machines also need descaling to remove mineral deposits that can build up in the machine's internal components, such as the boiler and pipes. It is best to use filtered water to prevent mineral buildup in your espresso machine.

Periodically inspect both espresso machines for signs of wear, such as worn gaskets or seals. Replace any worn or damaged parts promptly to maintain the machine's performance and prevent leaks or other issues.

Price and Value for Money

Given the functionality of both the Breville Barista Pro and Breville Barista Express, the price is fair. If you are looking for a cheaper option between the two, the Barista Express wins. However, if you are unto value, the Barista Pro will be your best bet as you will get more value at a fair price. Comparatively, the price difference between the two is $100. 

Breville Barista Pro vs Barista Express: Which Espresso Machine is Right for You?

Both the Barista Express and Barista Pro have the same brewing system. However, Barista Pro has a powerful 1680W ThermoJet boiler compared to Barista Express 1600W. So if you want a machine that will save you time, is more efficient and is user-friendly, then the Barista Pro is the right espresso machine for you. The Barista Pro also features 30 grind sizes compared to Barista Express 18 grind size. The more the grind size, the better as you get to dial it to your preferred grind size. 

Conclusion

For a budget-friendly espresso machine, Breville Barista Express will offer you the best coffee-making experience right at home. The Breville Barista Pro will help you craft great coffee faster thanks to faster heating, a 4-hole steam wand and 30 grind sizes that will give you an authentic coffee experience.

Meet the expert

I'm a mom of two boys and a freelance writer who loves to travel and spend time at the beach. When I'm not chasing after my kids or working on my next writing project, you can usually find me sipping on a delicious cup of coffee while reading a book. I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting coffee shops, whenever I am exploring a new town or city.

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