It’s no secret that Breville espresso machines are an excellent choice for just about any home barista, whether they’re just starting out or they’ve been crafting quality espresso for years. If you’re looking to choose the right machine for your home, you want to know that you’re getting all the features you need in a machine made for your experience level. Even better if it fits well into your budget!
Back in the 1930s, Breville began as a manufacturer of radios but soon developed into a leading kitchen and home appliance manufacturer. The brand is well known in the world of espresso today, and for good reason. They’re easily the safest bet for budget machines with a price tag under $1,000.
Breville is the clear choice for first-time espresso machines because their devices offer a great balance of affordability, variety, and a beginner-friendly user interface. Whichever Breville espresso maker you choose, you’ll have everything you need to create a full-flavored barista-quality brew right at home.
The Barista Pro and Barista Touch models are excellent options for beginner to intermediate home brewers who want a reasonable amount of control over their brew without the steep learning curve and manual labor that come with models like the Barista Express. While the Barista Touch features an intuitive full-color touchscreen display, the Barista Pro has an LCD screen operated through buttons just underneath.
One of the most significant selling points of these machines is the ability to heat water in a matter of seconds using Breville’s ThermoJet 3-second heating system; no more waiting around for water to be hot enough to brew!
Another great feature of both espresso makers is the included conical burr grinder that provides a consistent grind every time. The built-in grinder saves you time in the brewing process and is incredibly convenient and a great feature for anyone, regardless of how often they make espresso.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that both of these machines run on a single boiler heating system, which means you cannot brew your shot of espresso and steam your milk simultaneously (with dual boiler systems, you can do both). No need to worry, however – the aforementioned ThermoJet system largely offsets this inconvenience.
While the Barista Pro features a clear and easy-to-read LCD screen, the Barista Touch takes the tech up a notch with an integrated touchscreen interface. Which is the best one for you? It depends entirely on you and your lifestyle preferences.
Another option that may be crucial to some users and go unused for others is the memory feature. The Barista Touch has eight programmable user profiles, meaning everyone in the house or office can have their own pre-set preferences, so they can always come back for their usual. The Barista Pro doesn’t have this advanced feature.
The Barista Pro vs. the Barista Touch: Side-by-Side Comparison
Your lifestyle and coffee preferences will ultimately determine which espresso machine you select. So, it’s crucial to do some thinking to decide what you actually need out of your machine and what is just “nice to have” before making your choice.
Consider all the features you’re not willing to compromise on when comparing two similar espresso machines, and then decide which ones you’re prepared to give up for the sake of your budget or convenience.
When taking a look at the Barista Pro and the Barista Touch side by side, think about your budget, experience level, household size, available kitchen space, and how much time you’re willing to set aside to learn your machine from the inside out.
Breville Barista Pro
The Breville Barista Pro is somewhat of a step up from the Barista Express Espresso machine, another mid-range and beginner-friendly model in Breville’s lineup. With an LCD screen and several easily configurable coffee settings, it’s a great starter machine for those who don’t mind a little bit of work before brewing.
The user can control the grind size, choose from a single or double shot of genuine espresso, and even control the pour speed, all from the screen interface. It’s the best of both worlds in a classic package that looks and feels great on just about any countertop.
Things We Like:
- This machine’s auto steam wand allows the user to easily adjust the milk temperature and texture, which is crucial for that coffee-shop quality foam and stunning latte art.
- This model includes a conical burr coffee grinder and manual control over grind size for the best cup of coffee possible.
- The ThermoJet system is a must-have and allows the water reservoir to heat up in three seconds, saving you time in the morning.
- The digital temperature control function allows users to calibrate their desired coffee temperature settings for a consistent cup every time.
- The LCD screen is intuitive and easy to use and allows for the perfect balance between manual control of the settings and a more hands-off brewing approach. You can choose the coffee strength, grind size, and more, from the front interface.
- Due to its compact size and variety of fun colors, it fits right into any household kitchen space.
Things We Don’t:
- The steamer wand shoots out hot water before turning it into steam, which isn’t ideal as it may water down your milk, depending on the amount you’re using.
- Newbie espresso lovers will find that there’s a pretty steep learning curve to begin, which could become discouraging.
- The Barista Pro doesn’t have a pressure gauge in the front display, which is a pretty big disappointment, considering how vital the correct water pressure is to create the ideal extraction.
- The machine’s compact size means it may not be suitable for large households or offices.
The Bottom Line:
There’s no denying that the Barista Pro is an excellent espresso machine for those who want a straightforward, basic design with lots of features to make the process easier, without having to manually pull the delicious espresso shots yourself, like you would in the case of the Barista Express.
You’ll love this machine if you want the perfect balance between modern, high-tech convenience and a classic approach. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! For the price, it’s a reliable machine that will last a long time and grow with you on your espresso journey if you’re willing to take the time to learn to use it properly.
Breville Barista Touch
The Barista Touch has all the convenience and control of a semi-automatic espresso machine and a sleek, stylish interface that’s perfectly usable for beginners. It makes an excellent office machine because of the preprogrammed drink recipes and the ability to set up distinct drink profiles.
If you’re willing to sacrifice a few more high-end features that you’ll find in the Oracle Touch, then this can be the perfect machine for many homes and offices, especially those looking for a simple, versatile machine that’s easy to use.
The built-in touch screen takes you step-by-step through the brewing process, giving beginners more control over the end result. With customizable drink profiles and preprogrammed espresso drink recipes, it’s all the convenience of a more high-end machine for a reasonable price.
Things We Like:
- Among the Barista Touch’s most appealing features is its touch screen with a programmable interface, which allows for hands-free brewing, perfect for those who want both the convenience and the control of a semi-automatic machine.
- Using the Barista Touch, you can control the temperature and texture of your micro-foam milk froth with greater precision, thanks to the automatic steam wand with a built-in thermometer.
- This machine features eight customizable drink profiles and five preprogrammed drink recipes for the most popular brews, making it ideal for use in a shared environment, such as an office or family home.
- The generous bean hopper capacity and water reservoir make this an excellent machine for shared environments or multiple users.
Things We Don’t:
- While this machine is nearly automatic, you still have to tamp the ground coffee down manually. While it’s not a big deal, it isn’t the most convenient.
- The machine weighs 23 pounds, which may not be practical for some houses or users. It’s also got a large footprint and may not fit on some counters.
The Bottom Line
The Barista Touch has many of the convenient features you’d find in the much pricier models but in a more user-friendly package. It’s the perfect machine for beginners or those who don’t want to fuss with manually adjusting settings and instead want a hassle-free espresso brewing experience.
When you look at the two machines, one of the first differences to stand out is the intuitive touch screen display on the Barista Touch versus the Barista Pro’s LCD screen. Both devices offer high-tech and hands-off convenience that you wouldn’t get with a more manual device like the Breville Barista Express espresso machine, but which one is right for you?
Some users love the Barista Touch with its intuitive interface and preprogrammed recipes. But others feel that interacting with a touch screen takes some of the control and routine from the brewing experience. An LCD screen might be the happy medium users need if they prefer a more low-tech experience.
Even at the beginner level, espresso machines are a significant investment for coffee enthusiasts, so you want to get it right the first time and choose a machine that will stick with you for years to come. You may find that while some devices have a steep learning curve, that only means that they will keep up with you as your espresso journey progresses.
The Barista Touch is definitely a more intuitive approach, with pictures detailing each setting for grind size, temperature, milk texture, and more. Plus, there’s no need to worry about calculations or timing when you’ve got preprogrammed recipes and user profiles to fall back on during a hectic morning.
However, there is a concern that the Barista Touch may feel outdated after a few years, as many “smart” or high-tech devices seem to do. If you want a more classic interface that will still feel relevant in a few years, you may be willing to embrace the learning curve of the Barista Pro for a longer-lasting experience.
Does Size Matter?
You wouldn’t think that the size of your machine would be the biggest factor when determining the right coffee machine for your, but getting the wrong device without thinking about the room you have available could spell disaster. When choosing the right espresso machine for your household, the correct choice will always be the one that can fit into your lifestyle.
The biggest and most noticeable differences in design between the two machines are the size, weight, and capacity. The Barista Pro has a much smaller footprint than the Barista Touch, making it a much better choice for homes with a smaller kitchen or less room to spare.
Consider how many people will be using the machine every day and how much room you have to spare on your kitchen countertop.
At the end of the day, the Breville espresso machine you choose should complement your lifestyle, your household, and the speed of your morning routine. Your espresso machine should only help make your mornings better, not provide added stress.
Overall, be sure to choose the espresso machine model that you can see yourself using for years to come. If you’re worried about an outdated interface after a few years, maybe go with the LCD screen on the Barista Pro. But if you want the best tech that a mid-tier espresso machine can offer, you’re sure to love the Barista Touch.
Finally, if screens aren’t for you and you’re looking for a more low-tech option, consider the Breville Barista Express, another favorite espresso machine from this company. Its simple, retro, manual-style brewing process may be just what you’re looking for!