Breville’s Espresso machines are known for being attractive, user-friendly and high-quality. Making espressos at home is a breeze with these machines but as all-in-one espresso makers aren’t cheap we are comparing the Breville Barista Pro and the Barista Express so you have all the information you need to choose the best model for your home.
The Barista Express is a well-known model that offers an excellent entry point where users can learn the basics of crafting espressos at home. This is why it is often people’s first machine. The Breville Pro is a more expensive model that offers a lot (but not quite all) of the features the Express offers and many more. This guide will look at the similarities and differences so you can decide if the extra $500 for the Pro is worth it for your requirements.
Here are the key features that these great coffee machines have in common:
Both the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine and the Express espresso machine offer the same highest and lowest grind settings but the Pro has more grind size options in between. The Pro offers 30 grind settings while the Express offers 18.
Built-in Burr Grinder
Both machines have a built-in burr grinder for grinding coffee beans as preferred. They both also come with the same excellent quality, heavy steel tamper which is magnetic and easily slides into position next to the grinder.
The layouts are very similar, both options have a dedicated hot water spout (for americanos) and a manual milk wand.
There are a few key differences between these models:
The most notable difference is the LCD interface on Barista Pro compared to the analogue display on the Express. The express has lots of control buttons with different functions while the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine has an LCD screen that offers lots of features without cluttering the face of the machine. The Express also has a pressure gauge, which is something many users like, but the Pro does not.
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The Barista Pro has a quicker start-up time at 3 seconds compared to the 30 second start-up time on the Express. The Barista Express uses a thermocoil system while the Pro uses a new thermojet system meaning it heats up and gets to the desired temperature faster. If you don’t want to wait for your coffee in the morning, the Pro is the machine for you!
Although both machines offer a manual milk wand, there is a slight difference between them. The Pro has a 4 hole milk steaming wand while the Express milk wand has just 1 hole. The 4 hole wand makes steaming and frothing milk quicker and easier.
Aside from the user interface and the pressure gauge, the other obvious difference between the machines is the price. At the time of writing, the Barista Express is available for $699.95 while the Barista Pro is more expensive at $1199.
Making your selection
Both of these models are excellent quality and would make fantastic additions to your kitchen. The most noticeable differences that may impact your choice are the controls and the fact that the pressure gauge is only present on the Express.
The gauge is a feature many people appreciate so although the Pro is faster, quieter and offers an easy to use LCD interface if you like having an analogue pressure gauge and don’t mind the manual controls and set up then the Express is going to be the better option for you.
If the lack of pressure gauge does not bother you then there is no doubt the Pro out-performs the Express and is a higher-end machine. If you really love the idea of crafting the perfect coffee and you are in search of a high-quality machine that is going to last then go for the Barista Pro as it is more intuitive and offers everything you need in one neat package.
Breville Coffee Machine FAQs
When descaling the Breville Barista Pro you will need to empty the drip tray and remove the water tank before filling it to the descale line and adding the descaling agent. Reattach the water tank and on the main menu use the grind amount dial to select descale. Press the 1 cup button (which should be illuminated) and the descaling process will begin. After descaling, the machine will need to do a rinse process with clean water before it’s ready to use.
Generally, these home espresso machines should last 5-10 years with proper care and maintenance.
Good crema can be hard to come by but if you make sure the coffee is ground to a fine uniform grit, that you use enough coffee (and the coffee is fresh) and it is evenly distributed in the portafilter then you should get a good crema. Allow the machine to warm up first and use a prewarmed cup. If you’re still struggling, check out these 5 golden rules on crema.