Crew Comparison: Breville Barista Express vs Crossland Coffee CC1

How Does It Compare?

We know. The Breville Barista Express is at the top of your wish list. Outfitted with everything you need to run your own home cafe, the Breville espresso machines always wow coffee lovers. Who could match this beloved machine? None other than the Crossland Coffee CC1 to give this Breville a run for its money.

The CC1 boasts a single boiler and—drumroll—a thermoblock that engages during steaming. Seriously hard to compete with the consistency of a single boiler espresso machine. The CC1 also features a programmable PID, customizable brew settings—including pre-infusion—and three profiles to save your favorite drinks. That said, the Barista Express flaunts a built-in grinder, user-friendly operation and Breville’s attention to detail. This isn’t a popularity contest, but when it comes to buying an espresso machine, every feature counts.

The Breville Barista Express features a conical burr grinder that fine-tuned for espresso. The Breville Barista Express features a conical burr grinder that fine-tuned for espresso.

Shot

Boiler Types

One of the biggest differences between these two machines is the boiler design. The Breville Barista Express has a thermocoil (a type of thermoblock) while the Crossland Coffee CC1 has a single boiler. While these are two different boilers, both can only brew and steam one at a time—that’s a given.

But that is where the similarities end. Coffee aficionados prefer single boilers because they tend to maintain more consistent brew temperatures—especially when equipped with a PID. By comparison, a thermoblock heats a shot worth of water on the fly, often leading to swings in temperature from shot to shot. Breville compensates for this temperature variance by ‘coiling’ their thermoblock’s heating element around the tube of water and strictly regulating the coil temperature with a proprietary PID controller, increasing their stability over more basic thermoblock designs.

Programmable Espresso

If you love to get geeky with your coffee, then you will feel right at home with the Crossland Coffee CC1! Built by a fellow coffee geek, Bill Crossland, it features everything from programmable brew temperature (in fahrenheit), pre-infusion time, wait time (pause between pre-infusion and brewing) and, of course, brew time. The cherry on top is the digital interface that makes customizing a cake walk. Once you’ve brewed the perfect cup, the CC1 can save up to three profiles—that’s including the pod option. That said, you will have to program each profile with all the customization (brew temperature, time, etc.). The sheer amount of options on  the CC1 can be totally overwhelming for budding baristas.

The Crossland Coffee CC1 features a programmable PID and three espresso profiles. The Crossland Coffee CC1 features a programmable PID and three espresso profiles.

That’s why many people love Breville espresso machine’s user-friendly operation. The Barista Express’ PID mode is harder to access at first, but unlike the CC1, you only need to adjust the Barista Express once. You can adjust the Barista Express plus or minus four degrees from the factory-set temperature. Aside from the PID, it’s incredibly easy to change your settings on the fly. Need a longer shot time? Hit program, insert a full portafilter, hit the espresso button to program, brew, press it again to stop and your shot time is saved—that’s it!

The Barista Express grinder is designed to create grounds for espresso. The Barista Express grinder is designed to create grounds for espresso.

Steam

Thermoblock Pressure

Both the Crossland CC1 and Breville Barista Express use thermoblocks to steam. But the CC1 relies heavily on its single boiler to steam and uses the thermoblock like a car uses a turbocharger. The thermoblock helps get to steam temperature faster than trying to bring a whole boiler up to steam. That said, the bigger the boiler, the bigger the steam power. Turn on the steam on both machines and it’s pretty obvious the CC1 has more steam power than the Barista Express.

Thanks to the thermoblock, the CC1 gets up to steam temperature quicker. Thanks to the thermoblock, the CC1 gets up to steam temperature quicker.

Style

Built-in Grinder

The built-in grinder only makes an appearance on a couple Breville espresso machines, the Barista Express and the Oracle. The grinder also happens to have the same 40mm conical steel burrs found on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and Breville Does Control Pro. The difference? The Barista Express limits the burr adjustments within the espresso range, ensuring you can pull a decent shot. Even on its coarsest setting, the Barista Express’ grounds are nowhere near French press status.

The Barista Express has an 8-ounce bean hopper. The Barista Express has an 8-ounce bean hopper.

Accessories

If you want to brew with the Crossland Coffee CC1, you’ll need to invest in an espresso grinder. Accessorized with a commercial-grade, non-pressurized portafilter, you’ll need a consistently fine grind to pull delicious shots. And that’s what coffee connoisseurs want!

The CC1 comes with a industry standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter. The CC1 comes with a industry standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter.

If you’re a budding barista, the Barista Express includes both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilters. We love pressurized portafilters since they’ll pull a decent shot even if the grind is fudged. For anyone who wants to grow with their machine, the non-pressurized is a must to hone those barista skills.

Conclusion

The Breville Barista Express is an all-time all-star for home baristas ready to brew espresso at home. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned today, it’s that the Crossland Coffee CC1 gives Breville espresso machines a run for their money! Programmed with a digital display to customize coffee settings, you can fine-tune the CC1 to make a delicious cup. And it has a single boiler, which produces more consistent espresso and better steam power than a thermoblock. What espresso machine would you take home? Share it with us in the comments below.

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