If you’re a fan of third wave espresso machines, then the names Breville Infuser and Breville Barista Express may be something you’ve heard before. These semi-automatic espresso machines are great for brewing professional-quality espresso in the comfort of your kitchen. But which one is right for you? And does it really matter which one you pick? Read on to learn more about these exceptional machines and make up your own mind!
The Breville Infuser BES840XL is a full-size semi-automatic espresso machine. If you like experimenting and making craft espresso at home, then this is the machine for you. As a semi-automatic machine, the Breville Infuser gives you the best of manual and automatic brewing.
As you may guess from the name, the Breville BES840XL Infuser begins brewing by pre-infusing the coffee grounds. The infusion begins with a low and steady stream of water that expands the coffee grounds to improve flavor extraction. Then a strong, high-pressure stream passes through the grounds to extract your espresso.
The Breville Infuser espresso machine features a pressure gauge, a thermocoil heating element, and a PID temperature controller. The heating element and temperature control work together to give you consistent water temperature which is important for a good espresso.
As for the automatic features, the Infuser comes with programmable water volume settings for single and double shots of espresso. The preprogrammed volumes are 1 fluid ounce (30 mL) for one shot and 2 fluid ounces (60 mL) for a double. You can reprogram or override these settings according to your preference if you want to. The Breville Infuser BES840XL comes with a café-grade steam wand to help you create microfoam for lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and more. It also features a hot water dispenser which is great for warming up your cup or filling tall glasses.
The body of the Breville Infuser espresso machine is constructed from sturdy stainless steel. The machine weighs 17 pounds (7.7 kgs) and needs just over one square foot of space, so it’s light and compact enough for most kitchens. You can also get the Infuser BES840XL in different colors like red or black.
Breville Barista Express
The Breville Barista Express stands out from the Infuser in many ways, but the first thing many will notice is the in-built coffee grinder on the Barista Express. The integrated grinder is made of stainless steel conical burrs that grind your beans and feed them directly into the filter basket.
The Breville Barista Express grind settings come with 16 options ranging from ultra-fine to coarse, so you always get the perfect grind that you want. The Barista Express grinder also comes with a programmable filter size button and you can grind precisely the volume of coffee you need for a single or double shot. This avoids wastage and ensures that you get the freshest ground coffee for your brew. The conical burrs are removable and easy to clean. The machine also comes with a bean hopper than can hold up to 8 ounces of coffee beans.
The Barista Express also features a PID temperature controller, pre-infusion technology, a 15-bar pressure pump, and a steam wand. This is truly a versatile and comprehensive machine that packs together a lot of functionality in one appliance. The integrated grinder alone is both cost-effective and better for brewing professional-quality coffee at home.
Breville Infuser vs Barista Express: Key Differences
The Breville Barista Express is a bigger machine than the Infuser espresso machine. The bean hopper on the Barista Express makes it taller than the Infuser and it also takes up more counter space. If kitchen space is an issue for you, you might be better off with the Breville Infuser espresso machine. Also, keep in mind that the Barista Express is heavier than the Infuser so you might have a hard time moving it around.
You may have guessed that the Barista Express is more expensive than the Infuser. This is expected since the Barista Express comes with a built-in grinder and is a bigger machine in general. If you like grinding your beans at home then the Barista Express makes sense for the price considering the in-built hopper and grinder. However, if you don’t mind skimping on some features then the Infuser BES840XL is your best bet for a good home espresso machine.
At face value, this is the most recognizable difference between the Barista Express and the Infuser. The former comes with a built-in bean grinder and coffee hopper while the latter does not. Freshly ground beans give you the best espresso so it makes sense to invest in the Barista Express if you want to grind your own coffee.
4. Water tank
If you like making multiple cups of coffee in one session, then the Barista Express is what you need. It has a slightly larger water tank that can hold 67 ounces while the Infuser has a water tank that holds 61 ounces of water.
Espresso machines need time to reach the ideal temperature for coffee brewing. This heating time should be considered carefully if you’re someone that brews a lot of coffee at home and likes it to be quick. The Infuser has a 1650W thermocoil heating element while the Barista Express is fitted with a 1600W heating system. This means the Infuser heats up a little faster but both machines have the same temperature control options.
Which Should You Pick: Breville Infuser BES840XL vs Breville Barista Express
The Breville Barista Express and the Breville Infuser espresso machine are both great semi-automatic brewers for the home. They share several key similarities like programmability, a steam wand, high pressure capacity, etc. But they also differ in important ways, most notably the addition of a grinder on the Barista Express.
The in-built grinder is the biggest difference between these two home brewing machines and it also contributes to the price and size difference between the two. If you want a seamless experience and love espresso-based drinks, then the Barista Express would be better suited to your needs. However, if you don’t mind pre-ground coffee or if you like to brew with other methods too, then go with the Breville Infuser and save your budget for a separate premium coffee grinder.
Whichever option you go for, Breville produces sturdy and reliable home brewing espresso machines so you will always be on the right path for brewing excellent coffee. Which would you pick for your home?