Breville Barista Pro Vs Barista Express

Barista Pro

A high-quality and technically advanced espresso machine with a digital display, ThermoJet heating system, and 30 grind settings.

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Barista Express

An older machine that is still one of the most popular on the market, featuring a pressure gauge and a slightly more friendly price tag.

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Breville is one of the most well known and trusted brands when it comes to home espresso machines. They produce high-quality, user-friendly machines that make it easy to enjoy espresso based coffee in the comfort of your home.

The Breville Barista Pro and the Barista Express are two of their most popular machines and are both great options for making espresso at home.

The Barista Express is a common selection for a first machine as it offers a great entry point where people can learn how to craft espresso in their kitchen.

The Barista Pro costs slightly more but comes with some extra features and Breville’s Thermojet heating system. This comparison of the two machines will help you pick the one that is best suited to your needs.

Compare Barista Pro and Express specs at Breville.

RELATED: The Best Breville Coffee Machines

Key Similarities 

High-Quality Burr Grinder 

Both of these Breville espresso machines come with a built-in burr grinder with automatic dosing. This is a quality grinder that lets you grind coffee beans to the preferred setting with minimum noise and minimum heat to produce optimal flavour.

They also feature the same heavy steel tamper which is top quality, magnetic and simply slides in next to the grinder.

Capacity

Both machines have a 2 litre water tank capacity and 250g bean hopper, allowing for uninterrupted espresso making.

PID Temperature Control

Both Breville espresso makers feature Electronic PID. In contrast to a traditional thermostat, which turns itself off when the desired temperature is reached, a PID is a device that ensures temperature stability.

Temperature stability and control is extremely important in espresso making so this is an excellent feature to be included on these machines. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to retro-fit PIDs to home espresso machines (that don’t include them already) to achieve greater control over temperature.

Pre-infusion and Auto Purge

Both the Express and Pro feature pre-infusion, a technology increasingly found on high-quality home espresso machines. This allows water pressure to increase gradually, meaning grinds gently expand for even extraction.

They both also feature auto purge, which adjusts the water temperature in the machine after milk steaming. This is important because both these machines are single boilers (so don’t have seperate heating systems and temperatures for espresso and steam). This is another feature that assists with optimal espresso temperature and extraction.

Layout

When you look at these two home coffee machines side by side you will see they look very similar. They each feature a grinder and tamper on the left hand side and a manual milk wand and a dedicated hot water spout on the right.

Stainless Steel Finish

Both machines are finished with Brushed Stainless Steel but note that the Barista Pro does come in a lot more colour options.

Key Differences

Pump Pressure

Both machines target the optimal espresso brewing pressure of 9 Bars. The Barista Pro achieves this with 9 Bar pump pressure (requiring 1680 Watts of power).

Like most Breville machines, the Barista Express uses a 15 Bar pump (and 1850 Watts of power) to achieve 9 Bars of pressure.

When brewing, the pressure is typically around 9 bar as that is considered the optimum brew pressure for espresso.

Five Senses

While both machines provide high-quality and consistent results, some tests have shown that the Pro is able to achieve more stable pressure during the brewing process.

Thermojet vs Thermocoil

The Express features Breville’s standard Thermocoil boiler (also found on the Infuser and Duo-Temp Pro) while the Pro utilises their new Thermojet system.

One key advantage of the Thermojet system is its rapid heat up time (3 seconds). However, the Thermocoil gets the Express up to temperature in around 30 seconds, which is still very fast for a home espresso machine.

Another plus for the Thermojet is that it’s able to transition between steaming and espresso (or pulling multiple shots) a lot quicker. This transition time is the biggest drawback of single boiler machines so this is definitely an advantage of the Pro over the Express. This is particularly relevant if you will be making more than one coffee at a time as the Pro will be a lot faster in switching between functions and getting back up to temperature.

While the Thermojet may appear the clear winner here, some users dislike that by utilising the rapid heat up time the machine itself doesn’t heat up the way a traditional espresso machine does. This means your cups on top won’t warm as they usually do, nor will a portafilter left in the group head.

Adjustable Grind Settings 

Both machines allow you to adjust the grind settings to suit how coarse/fine you want your coffee beans to be ground.

While each espresso machine offers the same high and low grind setting, the Pro does offer more incremental options giving you more control over the grind size.

The Breville Barista Pro gives you a choice of 30 grind settings while the Express has 18. These extra increments on the Pro mean you’ll have more chance of being able to perfectly dial in an espresso with your favourite beans.

Controls and Display

One of the more obvious differences between these two coffee machines is the controls and displays.

The Barista Express espresso machine has an analogue display and various push buttons and dials that have different functions.

The LCD display on the Barista Pro espresso machine lets you make a broad range of adjustments without the need for lots of independent control buttons. This helps the Pro look simplified and less cluttered. 

Pressure Gauge

Another thing you might notice is that the Barista Express has a pressure gauge on the front of the machine. Many coffee lovers like using a pressure gauge as it helps dial the espresso process. The Breville Pro doesn’t have this feature. 

Start-Up Speed 

If you’re in a hurry in the morning then the Barista Pro is your best bet. It has an impressive 3-second start-up time thanks to Breville’s Thermojet heating system so it can reach the necessary temperature faster.

The Barista Express isn’t far behind with a 30 second start-up time using a slower thermocoil system.

Milk Frothing 

Cafe quality flat whites and lattes are easy to make with both of these machines as they both feature a high quality manual steam wand.

The steam wands are, however, slightly different. The Barista Pro steaming wand has 4 holes while the Express has 1 hole.

In general, the number of holes (and their size) needs to be balanced with the power of the machine. The upgraded Thermojet heating system means the Pro can generate more steam pressure and therefore handle the larger capacity wand.

Worth noting, a 4-hole design tends to bring milk up to temperature faster which may be less forgiving, so users will need to get comfortable with the required technique.

RELATED: Breville Duo Temp Pro Review

Size and Weight

Both of these machines will take up a bit of space on your kitchen bench, so size is definitely a consideration.

The Express is the smaller of the two, with measurements of 33.8cm (width) x 31.3cm (depth) x 40.7cm (height). It weighs in at 12.5 Kg.

The Pro has measurements of 35cm (width) x 41cm (depth) x 41cm (height). Despite its larger stature, at 9.1kg it weighs less than the Barista Express.

Price 

These two machines come in at different price points. At the time of writing, the Barista Express retails at $999 while the Barista Pro is going to set you back a bit more at $1,299. The Pro is going to cost you more due to the LCD user interface and the upgraded heating system.

Warranty

The more expensive of the two machines, the Barista Pro, comes with an extended warranty of 2 years, while the Express has a warranty of 1 year.

Breville Barista Pro Vs Express Comparison Table

Barista ProBarista Express
Link to Instruction bookBES878BES870
RRP$1,299$999
Check PriceAmazon, Bing Lee, The Good GuysAmazon, Bing Lee, The Good Guys
BoilersSingleSingle
Heating SystemThermojetThermocoil
Power1680 Watts1850 Watts
Dimensions35 x 41 x 41 cm (WxDxH)33.8 x 31.3 x 40.7 cm (WxDxH)
MaterialBrushed Stainless SteelBrushed Stainless Steel
Pump Pressure9 Bar15 Bar
Pre InfusionYesYes
Auto Purge FunctionYesYes
PID Temperature ControlYesYes
Over Pressure ValveNoNo
Espresso Pressure GaugeNoYes
Water Tank Size2L2L
Integrated GrinderYesYes
Bean Hopper Capacity250g250g
Automatic DosingYesYes
Colour Touch ScreenNoNo
Backlit LCD ScreenYesNo
Rapid Heat UpYesNo
Auto OnNoNo
Auto OffYesYes
Shot Volume ControlYesYes
Programmable Shot TempYesYes
Shot ClockYesNo
Instant Hot WaterYesYes
Auto Milk TexturingNoNo
Saved Coffee Settings22
Dual Wall Filter BasketsYesYes
Portafilter Size54mm54mm
Heated Group HeadNoNo
Dry Puck FeatureYesYes
Warranty2 Years1 Year

We also recommend checking out the Barista Pro Vs Barista Express comparison at Breville.

Making Your Selection 

Barista Pro

A high-quality and technically advanced espresso machine with a digital display, ThermoJet heating system, and 30 grind settings.

Barista Express

An older machine that is still one of the most popular on the market, featuring a pressure gauge and a slightly more friendly price tag.

Both the Breville Barista Express and the Barista Pro espresso machines are excellent choices; they are high-quality, packed full of features and look great too.

If you’re going to be making coffees for only yourself and don’t care too much for the LCD display (and the added functionality it offers), then we recommend going for the Barista Express. If you’re going to be making two or more coffees at a time, or have the budget for the upgrade, we’d go with the Pro.

In summary, here’s what you get by upgrading to the Barista Pro:

  • Smaller steps in between grind settings allowing for finer tuning of grind size (but the grinder is the same otherwise).
  • Thermojet means a faster warm-up time and quicker transition from steaming to brewing – especially important if you intend to make more than one coffee at a time.
  • Steam pressure is better so milk texturing is quicker.
  • Digital display provides real-time access to important grinding, extraction and cleaning information. The display also makes setting up your machine and dialling in the perfect espresso much easier.

The Pro outperforms the Express in most areas and has a more intuitive control system. It’s a high-quality model that lets you craft the perfect coffee for you in no time at all and offers all the features you need in one neat package and only costs slightly more than the Express.

RELATED: Sunbeam Barista Max vs Breville Barista Express

Breville Coffee Machine FAQs 

How long does a Breville espresso machine last?

Breville espresso machines are high quality and should last between 5-10 years if well maintained. 

How do you descale a Breville Barista Pro? 

The Barista Pro has a descaling process built-in so all you need to do is fill the water tank to the descale line and add the descaling agent. Select descale on the menu and that’s it. The machine will descale and when this is complete it will need to rinse, then it will be ready to use again. Scale slows down your coffee machine and can impact the temperature and taste of your coffees so descaling is important. 

How do you get a good crema on an espresso machine? 

Crema is difficult to achieve but if you use fresh coffee that is finely and uniformly ground and make sure the grinds are even in the portafilter then you’re all set to get a decent crema on your espresso. Other things that may help include giving the machine time to warm up and using a cup that has been prewarmed.