P Patrick Cotter

Breville Barista Lineup - How to Know Which One is Right for You

May 4, 2024
Breville Barista Lineup - How to Know Which One is Right for You

Breville’s Barista espresso machine lineup is a frankly legendary set of machines that gives you all-in-one espresso making power without sacrificing the hands-on touch that elevates semi-automatic espresso. With these machines you can get started right away with an espresso grinder, brew unit, and milk frother right out of the box. Recently, however, the Barista line has grown a bit, which can be a bit confusing for new users. We’re here to help! 

How Do They Stack Up?

The first thing you’ll want to understand is what these espresso makers have in common vs. what makes them different. First things first: Every machine in the Barista lineup is an all-in-one espresso machine. This means that all you need to add is water and whole coffee beans and you’re ready to make your favorite coffee drinks. In fact, breville is even famous for including a range of tools and portafilter baskets, which all complement the machine wonderfully. Each of these machines is designed to be a great point of entry for new users as well as the sort of machine that can grow with you as you develop more espresso proficiency, which makes all of them a safe bet, but let’s start with the basic Breville Barista Express.

The original Barista Express keeps things relatively simple. You’ll manually set your grind size and amount, push the portafilter into the grinder port, then move the portafilter over to the brew unit. Simple volumetric programming for shot length and a manual steam arm round out this very basic package. That said, this machine is a fantastic value for its price. To get a brewer and grinder all in one box like this is a great deal, and it shouldn’t be overlooked for new users.

What Puts the Pro in the Barista Pro?

The next step up from the Barista Express is the Breville Barista Pro. This machine trades the multi-button control panel of the Barista Express for a more streamlined, screen based approach. You get a bit more control here but what really sets this entry in the Barista line apart is its thermojet heating element. This high-speed heater will have your machine up to temp for shots in minutes, and steaming is almost instantaneous. 

So who is this option for? Well, those looking to upgrade into a slightly more intermediate machine than the Barista Express might be interested. It’s also a great option if you have had the chance to learn a bit already and want to start with something a bit more high speed and versatile. Ultimately though, this machine is very similar to the Barista Express, so if the upgrades sound worth the extra cost for you, then we definitely recommend making the jump!

More Automation with Touch

One of the primary appeals of the Barista line is the all-in-one nature combined with a hands-on approach. For some though, a bit more guidance is a welcome feature. With the Breville Barista Touch you get the best of both worlds - hands on control, but with guided recipes and assistance. That’s because the Barista Touch has a full-color screen that walks you through your drink prep step-by-step. You can even have it automatically bring your milk to the proper temperature and froth level. 

The downside with this option is that you lose access to the simple buttons that allow you to manually make a whole world of drinks in a matter of minutes. Instead, you’re committing to using the touch screen, and while you can of course customize your drink recipes, you might just learn to move faster with a more manual setup. Still, this is the perfect machine for anyone who wants that extra guidance!

The Impress System

One of Breville’s more recent innovations is its “Impress” automatic tamping system, available on the Barista Express Impress and the Barista Touch Impress. Both of these machines are fundamentally similar to their non-Impress versions, but this auto-tamping system really does wonders for your brewing consistency. 

Tamping is one of the trickiest parts of the espresso making process. It’s certainly not easy to understand what makes the perfect tamp, and while you can learn over hundreds of drinks, having this automated system will get you brewing quicker. With an Impress machine you’ll pull the lever down to engage the calibrated tamper. It will also help you to dose properly, and will even learn to auto-dose for you over the course of the hopper. This is an even bigger win, as it means you’ll cut down on waste and mess, plus have an easier time pulling your shots.

This makes the Barista Express Impress and the Touch Impress our definite picks for hands-on brewing and more guided drink crafting respectively. That said, each machine in this line is going to be a great addition to any home coffee bar!

Check out more from our video comparison below:


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