An Expert Guide to Breville Espresso MachinesPublished on 07/29/2023 · 12 min readStart every morning right by brewing tasty espresso in your own kitchen! Coffee and Espresso Expert Jeff Sutton details the different Breville espresso machines.
Photo by Paul Sebastian
TL;DR: When looking to buy a Breville espresso machine, one should consider budget, skill level, desired features, and available counter space. Breville offers various models with unique technologies, such as pre-infusion, PID temperature control, and integrated grinders. Choose a machine that aligns with your lifestyle and coffee preferences.
I spend my days roasting coffee, trying to bring out the best flavor in coffee beans by adjusting small details that can make big differences in taste. This pursuit of really good espresso and my love of coffee has led me into the field of assisting people with espresso machines, and I’ve helped thousands find the perfect machine for them.
Breville, an Australian brand founded in 1932, is world-renowned for its innovative kitchen appliances. Known for their quality and performance, Breville specializes in espresso machines that cater to various budgets and skill levels. Consumers choose Breville for its user-friendly design, durability, and excellent coffee-making capabilities. It is one of the most popular choices for a home espresso machine to help achieve the perfect crema in your espresso shots.
What to Consider When Buying a Breville Espresso Machine
1. What Level of Skill and Control Do You Desire?
Breville offers machines for beginners, intermediate users, and professionals. Novices may prefer semi-automatic models with guided functions like the impress puck system, while experienced users may opt for advanced machines with customizable settings and non-pressurized portafilter baskets. Consider your skill level and desired control over the brewing process to make an informed buying decision.
2. How Much Counter Space Can You Allocate?
Breville espresso machines vary in size and footprint, so consider your available counter space. Smaller kitchens may require compact models such as the Bambino series, while larger areas can accommodate more feature-rich machines. Assess your space constraints to ensure your chosen model fits comfortably in your kitchen.
3. How Often Do You Plan to Use the Machine?
If you intend to use the espresso machine daily or entertain guests frequently, investing in a more durable, high-quality model is advisable. However, for occasional use, a budget-friendly option with basic features may suffice.
4. How Much Should a Breville Espresso Machine Cost?
Breville espresso machines generally fall into three price categories: entry-level ($300-$600), mid-range ($600-$1,200), and high-end ($1,200+).
Entry-level machines provide basic functionality and are suitable for casual users. Mid-range options offer more features, such as built-in grinders and improved temperature control, catering to enthusiasts. High-end machines boast advanced capabilities, catering to professional or discerning users seeking the ultimate espresso experience. Consider your needs, skill level, and budget to determine the ideal price point.
What Are the Breville Espresso Machine Types?
1. Bambino and Bambino Plus
These compact machines are perfect for those with limited space and a desire for quick, quality espresso. The Breville Bambino Plus boasts an automatic steam wand for milk texturing that also has the option for a manual mode. The Bambino only has a manual wand to steam milk. Both come with an associated milk jug. They also heat up quickly because of the newest thermo-jet heating technology. The features are easy to use, making them ideal for beginners.
- Compact design saves counter space
- Fast heat-up time for quick espresso
- Automatic (Bambino Plus) or manual (Bambino) steam wand for milk texturing
- Removable water tank and drip tray
- Ideal for smaller kitchens and beginners
- Quick, quality espresso without complex functions
Keep in Mind:
- Limited features and customization options
- Smaller water tank requires more frequent refilling
- Doesn’t come with a grinder
2. Duo Temp Pro
The Duo Temp Pro strikes a balance between affordability and features. Its dual temperature control ensures optimal extraction and milk steaming. This semi-automatic machine suits those seeking more control over their espresso without breaking the bank.
- Dual temperature control for optimal extraction and milk steaming
- Semi-automatic operation
- Built-in steam wand for milk-based drinks
- More control over brewing without the high cost
- Suitable for experimenting with extraction settings
Keep in Mind:
- No built-in grinder
- May not satisfy advanced users seeking more features
The Infuser incorporates pre-infusion technology for a balanced extraction, making it great for intermediate users seeking richer flavors. It also has precise temperature control and a steam wand for milk-based drinks. This machine suits coffee enthusiasts eager to experiment with different beans and grind sizes.
- Pre-infusion technology for balanced extraction
- Precise temperature control
- Steam wand for milk-based drinks
- Richer, more nuanced espresso flavors
- Encourages exploration of different beans and grind sizes
Keep in Mind:
- No built-in grinder
- Learning curve for optimal extraction
4. Barista Express and Express Impress
These stainless-steel, all-in-one machines feature an integrated conical burr grinder for the freshest espresso. With adjustable grind size and dose, they cater to users wanting greater control over their coffee. They both allow for single or double shots. The Breville Barista Express Impress features a touchscreen interface for a more intuitive experience. Both are perfect for those seeking a streamlined, customizable espresso-making process. These feature Breville’s thermal coil technology, so they take a bit longer to heat up than the Bambinos or the Barista Pro.
- The integrated conical burr grinder
- Adjustable grind size and dose control
- Touchscreen interface (Express Impress)
- Half-pound bean hopper
- 67 oz water tank
- Streamlined, customizable espresso-making process
- Freshest espresso with minimal effort
Keep in Mind:
- Higher price point than basic models
- More complex functions may overwhelm beginners
5. Barista Pro
The Barista Pro offers advanced features and faster heat-up times. With its built-in grinder and digital temperature control, it enables users to fine-tune their espresso extraction. This machine is ideal for those looking to elevate their home espresso game while maintaining ease of use. The thermo-jet heating unit takes only three seconds to be ready to make drinks. It has buttons instead of a touch screen, but it is still easy to navigate.
- Built-in grinder with more grind settings for fresh espresso
- Digital temperature control for precise extraction
- Faster heat-up times
- Elevates home espresso quality
- Allows for greater control while maintaining ease of use
Keep in Mind:
- Higher price point
- May be too advanced for casual users
6. Barista Touch and Touch Impress
These high-end machines feature a touchscreen interface and automated milk frothing, simplifying the process without sacrificing control. Users can save their favorite drinks and customize extraction settings. The Impress model adds a larger water tank and additional features that help guide you through the drink-making process. They suit tech-savvy users wanting convenience and customization without clunky buttons.
- Touchscreen interface for easy customization
- Automated milk frothing for convenience
- Larger water tank and additional features (Touch Impress)
- Simplifies espresso-making without sacrificing control
- Customizable settings for personal preferences
Keep in Mind:
- Expensive compared to lower-end models
- May have more features than some users require
7. Dual Boiler
This professional-grade machine offers precise temperature control and simultaneous espresso extraction and milk steaming. It increases the output compared to a more traditional single boiler machine. It's perfect for serious home baristas or small offices, as it delivers consistent, high-quality results and can handle frequent use.
- Precise temperature control with dual boilers
- Simultaneous espresso extraction and milk steaming
- Professional-grade performance
- Pressure gauge
- Consistent, high-quality results for serious home baristas or small businesses
- Handles frequent use with ease
Keep in Mind:
- Expensive and may be overkill for casual users
- Takes up more counter space
8. Oracle and Oracle Touch
These top-of-the-line machines automate grinding, dosing, tamping, and milk texturing, making them perfect for those seeking a professional espresso experience with minimal effort. The Oracle Touch has a touchscreen interface for added convenience. They're ideal for users wanting the best of both worlds: premium features and ease of use.
- Automated grinding, dosing, tamping, and milk texturing
- Professional espresso experience with minimal effort
- Touchscreen interface (Oracle Touch)
- Combines premium features with ease of use
- Ideal for users seeking professional results without manual effort
Keep in Mind:
- Highest price point among Breville machines
- May not appeal to users who prefer hands-on control
Features to Look for in a Breville Espresso Machine
- Pre-infusion technology: Breville's pre-infusion gently wets the coffee grounds before releasing the full pressure of extraction, ensuring even extraction and balanced flavors. This feature enhances the coffee's taste and aroma, making it ideal for those who appreciate nuanced flavors.
- PID temperature control: Breville's PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) control regulates water temperature with precision, providing consistent brewing conditions. This feature allows for optimal espresso extraction, benefitting users who value consistency along with the desire to fine-tune the brewing process.
- Integrated conical burr grinder: Some Breville machines feature a built-in grinder, providing freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter. This feature streamlines the espresso-making process and ensures the freshest taste, making it perfect for users who value convenience and quality. Different integrated Breville machines have different adjustments for the grinder going up from the Barista Express.
- ThermoJet heating system: The ThermoJet system allows Breville machines to heat up quickly, reducing wait time for espresso. This feature is perfect for busy individuals who want a quality espresso without waiting too long for the machine to start or to switch from extraction to steam.
- Dual boiler system: Breville's dual boiler system allows simultaneous espresso extraction and milk steaming, saving time and ensuring consistent results. This feature benefits users who frequently prepare milk-based drinks and higher quantities of drinks.
- Auto milk texturing: Certain Breville machines offer automated milk frothing, delivering the perfect milk texture for lattes and cappuccinos with minimal effort. This feature suits users who want to create barista-quality milk-based drinks without any manual effort.
- Customizable settings: Many Breville machines allow users to adjust grind size, dose, temperature, and pressure settings, enabling a tailored espresso experience. This feature appeals to coffee enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting with various brewing parameters.
- Touchscreen interface: Some Breville models feature a touchscreen interface for easy customization and drink selection. This intuitive system simplifies the espresso-making process and is ideal for tech-savvy users who appreciate user-friendly design.
- Compact design: Breville offers compact espresso machines, such as the Bambino series, designed to save counter space without sacrificing quality. This feature is perfect for those with limited space who still desire a cafe-quality espresso experience.
How to Choose the Best Breville Espresso Machine for You
I’ve helped thousands of people with espresso machines and am going to generalize some past customers. You can see if you might fit into one of the most common categories of people I’ve assisted in the past.
Needs: Jamie is new to making espresso and wants to start making drinks at home. She is a recent college graduate, so she is on a budget and is always in a rush. Jamie’s main drinks are straight espresso and Americano.
Features to Look for: Hot water availability for Americano and overall speed of the heating systems.
Products to Consider:
- Bambino: Although this is the base model for the Breville line, the Bambino offers hot water and a three-second start-up.
- Barista Express: More money than the Bambino, the Express comes with an integrated grinder that keeps everything contained.
- Barista Pro: The Pro comes in at the highest price point of my recommendations but does have a faster heat-up time like the Bambino and higher quality components compared to the Barista Express
Needs: John has used a cheap espresso machine for the last few years and is ready to start making better drinks. He has a grinder already, but it isn’t the best for espresso. He is looking to really understand the espresso-making process.
Features to Look for: Quality of integrated grinder and machine assistance to make the best drinks possible.
Products to consider:
- Touch Impress: The new Barista Touch Impress walks you through all the steps to make a perfect shot of espresso every time. It has the latest technology from Breville and simplifies all of the steps.
- Express Impress: The Barista Express Impress has an intuitive puck system that aids in getting the correct tamp pressure every time.
- Barista Pro: If John is willing to invest in learning the aspects of making drinks without assistance from the machine, then the Barista Pro would be the best bang for his buck.
Needs: Dylan loves having people over for get-togethers. He generally offers his guests espresso-based drinks and sometimes makes a few in a row. His priorities lie in quickly getting consistent drinks for many friends.
Features to Look for: Being able to steam while extracting on a dual boiler machine will speed the process up and keep the drinks coming. Any features that make life easier will be appreciated.
Products to Consider:
- Oracle Touch: A dual boiler system that will allow for consistent drinks and a simple touch screen interface make the Oracle Touch easy enough for guests to use on their own.
- Oracle: The same idea as the Oracle Touch without the user-friendly touch screen.
- Dual Boiler: This option requires the most amount of work and the addition of a grinder, but it can handle the volume of people and consistently make great drinks.
Picking the Best Espresso Machine for You
Breville has become a trusted name in home espresso because of the quality products they have consistently put out over the years. If you would like some help selecting the espresso machine that will be the best option for you, talk to me or one of my fellow Coffee & Espresso Experts at Curated. We will have you pulling amazing shots in no time.