When it comes to home espresso machine options, Breville is a very trusted and well-known brand to consider. Breville have a good reputation for manufacturing espresso machines that are very user-friendly, durable, and high-quality, making it easier than ever for you to enjoy delicious espresso coffee drinks from your own kitchen.
Two of the most popular espresso machines that are offered by Breville are the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine and the Barista Express. Both are great options to consider if you want a machine that will allow you to make your favorite coffee at home.
For your first espresso machine, the Barista Express is an ideal choice for beginners since it is easy to use, making it great for learning how to make espresso at home and is also the more affordable option. On the other hand, the Breville Barista Pro is a slightly more expensive option, but it does come with some additional features including Thermojet heating. If you want to buy a Breville espresso machine but aren’t sure which one to go for, keep reading to compare the similarities and differences between the two, making it easier for you to figure out which is the best fit for your needs.
Similarities Between the Two
The Breville Barista Pro vs Express are both great choices of home espresso machines that have some key similarities. These include:
Layout: When the two espresso machines are next to one another, they are very similar in terms of appearance. Each of these machines feature the grinder and tamper on the left side, and the right side has a dedicated hot water spout and a manual steam wand. They also both have the same tamper made from heavy steel. It’s magnetic, high-quality, and slides in easily next to the grinder.
Burr Grinder: Whichever of these two espresso machines you decide to buy, you will get a high-quality burr grinder that includes automatic dosing, which is a part of the machine. The burr grinder used by Breville machines is very high quality and allows you to grind the coffee to the setting that you prefer. It’s very quiet and produces minimal heat, so there is no need to worry about the flavor of the coffee being damaged in the process.
Capacity: Both these machines include a water tank with a two-liter capacity along with a bean hopper that holds 250g, so you can make quite a few espressos before you need to refill them.
Auto Purge and Pre-Infusion: Both machines feature auto purge, a feature that will adjust the water temperature in the machine after steaming milk. This is an important feature to have, since both the Breville Barista Pro and the Barista Express have a single boiler that is shared by both the espresso and steam. Another feature that they share is pre-infusion, technology that allows the water pressure to be increased gradually. As a result, the grinds are extracted evenly since they are gently expanded.
Electronic PID: The two espresso makers from Breville come with Electronic PID. Rather than a traditional thermostat that will automatically switch off at the right temperature, the PID ensures the stability of the temperature. Control and stability of the temperature is a very important factor involved in making the perfect espresso, so this a great feature no matter which Breville coffee machine you go for.
Stainless Steel Finish: Both of the espresso machines have a brushed stainless-steel finish. However, if you want more color options to choose from, the Barista Pro is the best choice.
The Main Differences
While there are certainly a lot of features that these two Breville espresso machines have in common, there are some important differences to be aware of, that will help you choose the right machine for you. Some of the key differences between these espresso machines are:
Grind Settings: Both the Pro and the Express allow you to make adjustments to your grind settings to ensure that your coffee beans are ground as coarsely or as finely as you want them. However, the main difference here is that the Breville Barista Pro grind settings offer more incremental options, which ultimately gives you a greater level of control over your final grind size. The Express only offers eighteen grind settings, while there are thirty options on the Pro.
Pump Pressure: Both of these machines have the optimal pressure of nine bars for brewing espresso. With the Pro, this is achieved with nine bars of pressure that requires 1680W. On the other hand, like the majority of Breville coffee machines, the Express uses a fifteen-bar pump that requires 1850W to achieve nine bars. Although both espresso machines achieve consistency and high-quality results, tests have proven that the Barista Pro espresso machine achieves more stable pressure.
Boilers: The boiler is also different for the two machines. With the Express, you will get the standard Thermocoil from Breville, while on the other hand, the newer Thermojet is the boiler that is used for the Pro. With the Thermojet system, a main advantage is that it has a very fast heating time of just three seconds, while the Thermocoil takes around thirty seconds to reach the same temperature. However, thirty seconds is definitely not slow at all.
One of the main benefits of Thermojet is that it offers a faster transition between pulling espresso and steaming milk, or pulling several shots of espresso. For most single boiler espresso machines, the time this transition takes is one of the biggest drawbacks, so this is absolutely great when using the Pro in comparison to the Express, especially if you are often going to be switching functions or pulling a lot of espresso shots one after the other.
However, one disadvantage of the Thermojet system is that since the boiler heats up so quickly, this does not give your espresso machine enough time to heat up in the way that an espresso machine normally would. As a result, your portafilter is still going to be cold, and any coffee cups on the top aren’t going to be warmed up at the same time that your espresso machine is ready to go.
Milk Frothing: Both the machines come with a high-quality manual milk steam wand, so you can easily use either one for making great espresso drinks combined with milk including lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites. However, there are some slight differences between the steam wands on each machine. The steam wand on the Express only has one hole, while the Pro comes with four. This is because the newer Thermojet system that is used by the Pro is able to generate more pressure for steaming milk and has the ability to handle a wand with a larger capacity, while the Express cannot. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that a steam wand with four holes will typically get the milk up to temperature faster, which may not be as forgiving if you have not yet perfected your technique.
Pressure Gauge: Another noticeable difference between the Pro and the Express is the Express comes with a pressure gauge. Lots of people who like making their own coffee at home prefer to have a pressure gauge on their coffee machine as it can help with dialing the espresso-making process. However, the Pro does not include this feature.
Display and Controls: When sitting side by side, one of the most obvious differences between the two Breville espresso machines is the display and control. The Express comes with a traditional analog display that includes various dials and push buttons that each come with different functions. On the other hand, the Pro includes an LCD display that is less cluttered and much simpler, without the need for several different control buttons to get the function that you want.
Weight and Size: Both the Express and the Pro are going to require quite a bit of room to sit on your kitchen counter, so it’s definitely worth considering the size of the machine before you decide which one is best for you. If you need a smaller machine, the Express has smaller dimensions. These are 33.8W x 31.3D x 40.7H, and it weighs 12.5kg. On the other hand, the Pro is slightly bigger with a width of 35cm, depth of 41cm, and height of 41cm. However, although it is larger in size, it is actually more lightweight compared to the Express at just 9.1kg.
Price: Finally, considering your budget is also important when it comes to which of these coffee machines to choose. The Express is the cheaper of the two with a retailing price of $999. On the other hand, the Pro will cost you more, retailing at $1299. The Barista Pro is more expensive due to the upgraded features such as Thermojet and the LCD display. The Express comes with a one-year warranty, while the Pro is under warranty for two years.
If you want to make great espresso at home, the Barista Pro and Barista Express from Breville are both great choices.