The Breville Barista Pro is the successor to the popular Barista Express. Breville has redesigned several aspects of the espresso machine to improve brewing speed, grinding range and ease of use when making coffee. We will take an in-depth look into the Barista Pro espresso machine to see what has been updated and who should consider investing in one.
Breville Barista Pro
Making espresso and milk based coffees is a breeze on the Breville Barista Pro. It is simple to use and has some outstanding features, including an integrated grinder, PID temperature control, and a 3-second warm-up time. All in all, it is a quality espresso machine that we would highly recommend for the beginner.
Breville is an established brand and has become a global leader in the kitchen appliance industry. Whether you are after a kettle, toaster, blender, microwave, or espresso machine, Breville will have you covered. Their appliances all feature their iconic styling and innovative design. And their range of espresso machines is no different. The Breville Barista Pro is one of their latest offerings and comes equipped with some high-end features, including Thermojet instant heating technology, pre-infusion and PID temperature control. It also won the Best New Product at the 2019 Specialty Coffee Expo (1). If you are on the market for a new espresso machine, a Breville espresso machine is a safe bet offering quality products and excellent customer service.
Breville Barista Pro Review
The Breville Barista Pro features the classic Breville styling, with a modern and minimalistic approach. The espresso machine is housed in a brushed stainless steel case. The case itself has been updated with a modern, curvaceous design. The footprint has largely remained the same, measuring 35.4 x 41 x 40.6 cm. Given this includes both a grinder and espresso machine, it is an excellent option if you are short on bench space.
The espresso machine has an intuitive LCD interface displaying grind size and time, in addition to a shot timer. The screen is a standout feature, making programming or adjusting the settings a breeze. The LCD screen also displays grinding and extracting progress animations, so you can see where you are in the brewing process. While the screen is a huge advantage, many users have lamented the loss of the pressure gauge, which is a helpful visual guide to view extraction.
The Barista Pro displays Breville’s usual attention to detail. It’s in the little things, from the magnetic tamper to the angled hot water spout allowing you to make an americano without moving your cup. The machine also has an energy-saving mode and an auto-off after 30 minutes.
The Barista Pro espresso machine is well built, and we would expect it to last for 5-10 years with regular cleaning and maintenance. However, the long-term durability is yet untested, given it was only released in 2019.
Breville always includes a stack of accessories with their espresso machines and this one is no different. It comes with:
The Breville Barista Pro is not just a pretty face, it is packed full of features, often not seen in espresso machines at this price point, enabling it to make a balanced tasting cup of espresso. We will detail them below.
Thermojet Heating System
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Barista Pro is the thermojet heating system. This is the latest technology displayed in Breville Espresso Machines and was first introduced in the Breville Bambino. The thermojet heating system warms the machine up extremely quickly- in 3 seconds! It also allows for an almost instantaneous transition between brewing and steaming.
We like to think of this system as an “in the heat of the moment” system (excuse the pun). The heating element only heats the water when needed as it’s being pumped to the brew head, steam wand, or hot water spout. While this allows for rapid heating, the downside is that the portafilter and group head don’t get heated up until the machine is brewing. As such, it is recommended to run your portafilter under hot water or pull a couple of blind shots to preheat the actual machine before brewing. This will ensure a precise espresso extraction.
PID Temperature Control
In conjunction with the heating system, the Barista Pro espresso machine has PID temperature control. This ensures that water is heated to the right temperature for optimal espresso extraction. The PID temperature control is basically a digital temperature control that ensures that water is within two degrees of the set temperature. The espresso machine allows you to adjust your shot temperature in 1°C increments. The default temperature is set to 93°C (199°F); however, you can change this to anywhere between 91°C (196°F) up to 95°C (203°F).
Conical Burr Grinder
The Breville Barista Pro comes with an integrated conical burr grinder, basically equivalent to the Smart Grinder Pro. Taking in the usual caveats for built-in grinders, this one is fairly impressive. The built-in grinder delivers 30 fine grind settings (compared to the 18 offered by the Breville Barista Express). There is also the option to extend the grinding range with an adjustable upper burr. The grind setting is adjusted via a dial on the front of the machine. You turn it counterclockwise for a coarser setting or clockwise for a finer one with the grind size setting displayed on the screen.
The grinder has either a timed or manual dosing option. The default grind times are 9.5 seconds for 1 cup or 13 seconds for 2 cups, but these can easily be adjusted on the screen. The time-based dosing is a pretty accurate way of dosing your coffee. It also has a function allowing you to pause mid-grinding for up to 10 seconds to redistribute the grinds in the portafilter before resuming grinding.
Programmable Shot Control
The Barista Pro espresso machine comes with a 54mm portafilter and both single and double shot baskets. The single basket can hold 8-10 grams of ground coffee and the double 19-22 grams. It is worth noting here that both pressurized and non-pressurized baskets are included with this machine. The pressurized baskets are good for newbies, making it easier to dial your coffee beans in. They are also particularly helpful if you are not using fresh coffee beans, still producing a decent crema. Non-pressurized baskets are the preferred option among espresso enthusiasts, as they allow greater control over extraction and produce a full-bodied shot.
Regardless of which basket you choose, this espresso machine will produce a decent shot of espresso. It has a pre-infusion function that slowly increases the pressure at the start of a shot to ensure even extraction. The single shot is set at a default of 30mls and the double to 60mls. However, this can easily be programmed to your desired volume or manually overridden.
The Breville Barista Pro has a manual steam wand very similar to that on the Barista Express. While the steam pressure isn’t amazing, it is good for beginners. The learning curve is easier if you start with a less powerful steam wand, so you can perfect your technique to produce microfoam milk. The manual steam wand allows you to adjust the milk temperature and texture to your liking, and enables the creation of latte art. Given that the steam pressure on the Barista Pro is slightly better than that of the Express, the steam wand has a four-hole tip making it quicker to heat the milk to the right temperature. Overall, the steam wand is capable of producing some quality microfoam milk and is easy to learn on. It is also super speedy to switch between brewing and steaming with virtually no delay.
While the Breville Barista Pro has been well received; the primary issue users have found has been with the cleaning. As is typical of espresso machines with built-in grinders, they are somewhat messy to use. The drip tray tends to accumulate sludge from excess grinds and water mixing and requires regular cleaning. You will also need to clean and purge the steam wand and group head after each use.
In addition to this, you will need to ensure you do a regular clean of the grinder to prevent the build-up of oils. This is fairly straightforward and requires you to remove the hopper and upper burr and brush the burrs and grinding chute out. See our guide on how to clean a Breville espresso machine for more detailed instructions.
Breville Barista Express vs Pro
The Breville Barista Pro is the successor to the Barista Express espresso machine and shares a lot of similarities. They have the same layout, water reservoir and bean hopper capacities, built-in dose control grinders, PID temperature control, and a pre-infusion function. Despite this, some key differences make the Barista Pro the better espresso machine. We have summarized these below.
The first key difference is in the heating system utilized. The Barista Pro has the innovative Thermojet heating system, which as outlined above, means it has a faster heat up time and transitions quickly between brewing and steaming. This is especially helpful if you are wanting to make back to back coffees. In contrast, the Express uses a Thermocoil system, which takes about 30 seconds to get the machine to temperature and has a slight delay between brewing and steaming.
The second key difference is in the available grind settings. The Barista Pro has 30 different settings in comparison to the 18 offered on the Express. This larger grind range is a huge advantage, as it allows you to dial in your coffee beans correctly for a more precise espresso extraction.
Thirdly, the Barista Pro has a more digitally advanced display. The LCD screen makes the espresso machine simple to use and adjust settings. The shot clock is also a handy feature, enabling you to accurately time your extractions. While there is no doubt the digital display is far easier to use, the analog display of the Express had a pressure gauge which was helpful.
Finally, we have to address the elephant in the room- the price difference. The Barista Pro is around $100 more expensive than the Barista Express. So is the Breville Barista Pro worth it? We would say it is worth the extra cost. It has modern aesthetics, a more extensive grinding range, faster heat-up time, and almost no delay between brewing and steaming. Overall it is the better machine.
Breville Barista Pro
Breville Barista Express
Who is the Breville Barista Pro For?
The Barista Pro is an excellent entry-level espresso machine, perfect for the newbie. It comes fitted with a built-in grinder and an LCD screen making it super easy to navigate. The machine has been built with the consumer in mind, it is straightforward to use and produces good results with almost no learning curve. It delivers superb espresso shots and allows you to hand texture microfoam milk for latte art. If you are new to espresso and looking for a beginners machine, the Barista Pro espresso machine is a no-brainer.
Final Verdict- Breville Barista Pro
The Barista Pro is an excellent espresso machine at this price point. It comes with a high quality burr grinder, is simple to use, and produces a decent shot of espresso. Overall, it is easy to recommend the Barista Pro espresso machine for a first-timer.