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Breville Barista Pro Vs. Barista Express: Which One Is Best?

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Deciding between the Breville Barista Pro Vs. Barista Express? Check out our comprehensive review and see which semi-automatic Breville espresso maker best fits your lifestyle.

The Barista Express has been one of Breville’s best-selling espresso makers since it first hit the market. Then, the updated Barista Pro came out with many new features leaving customer opinions divided. So, is the Barista Pro better than the cheaper Barista Express? Or, is it just newer and shinier?

When you look at the Breville Barista Pro Vs. Barista Express, you’ll notice many similarities. Both mid-range models have Thermoblock or Thermojet heating systems, steamer wands, and an integrated conical burr grinder. Both come with the quality we expect from the Breville brand and each machine makes excellent espressos. 

After a careful review, the Breville Barista Pro is our top choice. The updated Breville Barista Pro includes new features such as an LCD interface, extra grind settings, an automatic wand, and a three-second heat-up for a faster, more precise brew. The Barista Pro may come with a higher price tag than the Barista Express, but overall the value it brings to your coffee-making experience is worth it. 

Let’s compare the features of the Breville Barista Pro Vs. Barista Express for a complete overview of these two quality Breville models.

Our Pick

Product

Exterior design

Nine color options
Brushed steel or black
Grinder
Conical burr grinder with 30 grind settings
Conical burr grinder with 16 grind settings
Display panel
LCD menu
Push button/Analog pressure gauge
Heating system
Thermojet, 3-second warm-up
Thermoblock, 30-second warm-up
Steam wand
Automatic steam wand with four steam holes
Traditional single-hole steam wand

The best features of the Breville Barista Pro Vs. Barista Express

The Breville Barista Pro and Barista Express have many similarities at first glance. However, if you compare the main features of these two machines, it’s easier to pinpoint the superior model. 

We’ll move from the outside of the machine to the inner workings so you can find the best option for you.

Take a look at the pros and cons of each of these mid-range semi-automatic Breville espresso makers.

Exterior design 

Both the Breville Barista Pro and Barista Express are similar in size and weight. The Barista Pro is a few inches smaller, but not enough to notice a difference on your countertop. They each weigh about 20 pounds, so these are solid machines. Luckily both come with removable water tanks that are easy to refill at the sink.

The bean hopper and water reservoirs are the same size on each machine. Each machine also comes with a steam wand and a built-in tamper. 

What may attract your attention are the color options. The Breville Barista Express comes in black or brushed stainless steel. 

However, with the newer Barista Pro, you can choose from nine options, including Red Velvet Cake, Damson Blue, Royal Champagne, and a range of black to gray tones.

You also may notice that the Barista Express has an analog display and pressure gauge, while the Barista Pro has a sleeker LCD screen.

Summary: 

Both machines are practically identical in size and weight. However, the Barista Pro has a sleeker design with more color options than the Express.

Conical burr grinder

Breville Barista Pro VS Barista Express grinder comparison

To create a quality cup of coffee, you should begin with quality coffee beans and an even grind size. Breville includes high-quality conical burr grinders on many of its espresso machines, including the Barista Pro and Barista Express. Conical burr grinders help you achieve an excellent extraction by starting with evenly ground beans.

With the Barista Express, you can choose from 16 grind sizes, while the Barista Pro offers you up to 30 different settings. For espresso, choose a fine grind size for the best extraction. However, technically you could also use the grinder to grind coffee fresh for French press or other brew methods.

The Barista Pro offers you more nuances in the grind size. Dark, oily beans make delicious espresso. However, if you grind them too fine, they can block the espresso’s extraction. The extra options on the Barista Pro allow you to perfect the grind size for the best extraction of your favorite coffee beans.

Summary:

The Barista Pro has more grind size options for a more precise brew.

Display panel

The barista express allows you to choose your grind, shot size, and filter size using push buttons. You can also easily see whether the clean cycle is on or off. It includes a pressure gauge so you can check the extraction of your shot. However, the look of the Barista Express comes off as cluttered when you compare it to the updated Barista Pro.

The Barista Pro simplifies the look of its predecessor by replacing several of the buttons with an LCD interface. You still can choose whether you want a single or double shot with a push button. However, the LCD menu allows you to time your shots and customize your extraction options. You can see the features of your grind and extraction at a glance.

Summary: 

The Barista Pro has a cleaner, sleeker look than the older Barista Express model. Overall, the Barista Pro’s LCD layout is more user-friendly than the analog system on the Barista Express.

Heating system

Both espresso makers have heating systems that are quick and efficient. However, there are a few key design differences. 

The Barista Express uses the classic Thermoblock heating system. In just 30 seconds, the espresso maker is ready to use.

The Barista Pro uses an updated Thermojet heating system. This system can warm up in just three seconds, so you don’t have to wait long to complete a delicious espresso. It also creates a steady heat for the best extraction and flavor.

After three hours of disuse, these machines automatically turn off.

 Summary: 

The Barista Pro offers you an updated heating system. It takes your espresso from grind to cup in the same time it takes the Barista Express to warm up. 

Steam wand

Breville Barista Pro VS Barista Express steam wand

The Barista Pro and the Barista Express both come with a manual “stick”-style steam wand. 

However, if you are a new barista, the Barista Pro’s steam wand is much easier to handle. The Pro’s steam wand design includes four holes, so it heats the milk quickly and evenly. Also, it is capable of creating rich microfoam. This design is practically fail-proof, even for new users.

In contrast, the older Barista Express model comes with a more standard steam wand with just one hole. 

This means you need to be a little more on your game when you want to top off a specialty drink. Also, since it has just a single hole for the steam to exit, steaming milk can take twice as long as the Pro.

Summary:

The Barista Pro’s automatic-style steam wand is easier for beginners to use and works twice as fast as the Barista Express.

Breville Barista Pro Vs. Barista Express: Our verdict

We’ve compared the Breville Barista Pro Vs. the Barista Express. The outside casing of each machine looks similar. However, after diving deep into the features, the Barista Pro is the clear winner. The Barista Pro has a faster heating system, offers more grind sizes, and has a user-friendly LCD interface–also you can add a splash of color to your kitchen by choosing from nine different colors.

The Barista Pro may cost about $100 more than the Barista Express. However, if you are already spending hundreds of dollars on a high-quality espresso maker, why not go all the way and bring home the machine with the best value?

So, which Breville espresso maker is best for you?

If we have to choose between the Barista Pro Vs. the Barista Express, our top pick would be the Barista Pro. However, you can’t go wrong with either popular Breville espresso maker. Now it’s your turn to decide which machine is for you.

The Barista Pro may be for you if…

The Barista Express may be for you if…

FAQs

The Breville Barista Pro is a great at-home espresso machine option, especially if you are a beginning barista. This machine includes a quality burr grinder and heats water quickly and evenly. Also, the automatic-style steam wand practically guarantees a successful finished product.
The Breville Barista Pro includes 30 “steps” or grind sizes to choose from. Use the knob on the machine to adjust the grind to your preferred size. The grind size you pick then displays on the LCD screen, so you get an exact result each time. Set the grinder to one or two cups and this Breville Pro machine can give you the appropriate dosage. You can even grind coffee directly into the portafilter.

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Alexandra Elise

Alexandra Elise

Alexandra Elise’s love for coffee began when she worked her first job as a barista in Texas. After getting an English degree, she toured Europe where she fell in love with espresso and her husband. She combines her passion for coffee with detailed research to share the best tips, products, and recipes with fellow coffee lovers. In her spare time, she hones her coffee craft and visits the newest coffee shops with her family.
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