As you all know, I think that the Breville Barista Express is one of the best entry level semi automatic espresso machines currently on the market, and has been for quite some time now (I’ve owned mine for well over 4 years). However, Breville has recently released a new contender called the Barista Pro, which sits above the Express, but below the Dual Boiler in the Breville espresso machine lineup.
So, is this new Pro model worth the added price over the express? And if you already own the Express, should you consider upgrading? Let’s find out!!
Looking at these two machines side-by-side, it may look like the Pro is simply a face-lifted version of the Express, but there are also some upgrades under the hood. Let’s dive into each of these differences one by one.
The first upgraded feature that Breville is bragging about on the Barista Pro is a new and improved thermojet heating system that will be able to get water up to full brewing temperature in 3 sec. Now let’s be clear, the Barista Express is already no slouch in this department. Using a similar thermocoil, the Express gets up to temperature in a little under 30 seconds, making it a great way to get hot water quickly for other things such as tea and porridge.
Besides the unbelievably fast startup time, the thermojet as has a significant impact on the Barista Pro’s steaming performance.
On both of these machines (and all single boiler espresso machines), once you’ve pulled your shot, you then need to wait while the machine heats up from brewing temperature, to steaming temperature.
With the new thermojet system, this transition happens MUCH faster. So although you are not able to brew and steam at the same time, you don’t need to wait as long in-between. If you’re only steaming once, this transition time on the Barista Express will not be a big issue, but if you’d like to regularly serve 2 or more milk drinks at once, the advantage will lean in favour of the Barista Pro.
|Steaming Time (to 60C)
Combined with also improved steaming power, this results in the Barista Pro, taking closer to 45 seconds to steam a full cup of milk versus 90 seconds on the Barista Express. This will again benefit you if you plan on serving drinks to large groups of people, or are just impatient with getting your daily latte.
Grind Adjustment Step Size
Next up on the list was an improvement to the grinder. This was something I was very excited to hear, as the grinder on the Barista Express is arguably one of its weaker components.
On the Barista Express, the steps between grind stops can be slightly too large at times, meaning that making super fine adjustments when dialing in.
On the Barista Pro, the grinder has smaller steps between each setting, giving you 30 positions to choose from instead of the 18 on the express. This should allow for better dialed-in shots, if you’re the kind of person who likes to play around…. Point for the Barista Pro.
However, other than this change to the grind adjustment step size, the grinder itself actually remains effectively the same as found the on found in the Barista Express.
Finally we come to the most obvious change on the Barista Pro, and that is the inclusion of a digital display. This is a very nice feature to see as it puts all of the important adjustments at your fingertips. Brew temperature, shot timing, cleaning cycles… all of these things can now be easily and intuitively adjusted using the screen. The Barista Express offers the same range of options, but you will need to refer to the manual in order know which buttons to press and hold to change these settings. Ease of setup and dialing-in is a clear advantage of the Barista Pro due to this new display. Another point for the Barista Pro.
The Barista Pro has taken a proven formula from the Barista Express , and successfully given it a well-deserved facelift. Improved aesthetics, steaming power, grind resolution, and a digital display make this one of the most well-rounded machines in it’s price point.
With that being said, if your budget is very tight, do not feel obligated to get the Barista Pro. The Express can make drinks with equal quality, it will just take more time, and does so in a slightly less sleek and stylish package.
Need more? Watch the video!