Do you love coffee? Are you a huge fan of third-wave espresso machines? If so, chances are you have heard of the Breville Infuser and the Breville Barista Express.
Both these coffee makers are carefully built semi-automatic espresso machines that can provide a cafe experience from your own home. The main difference is the built-in bean grinder on the Barista Express, which adds both a layer of professionalism and complexity to your espresso brewing.
It also gives you that authentic bean-to-cup experience that you don’t get with the Infuser. Nonetheless, this convenient feature does hike up the price tag a bit!
For those looking for a new fantastic espresso machine, the Infuser or Barista Express are both excellent choices—they are both high-quality, long-lasting Breville espresso machines with desirable feature sets that produce excellent coffee. But they do have a few differences.
So, let’s dive headfirst into exactly what those differences are.
Breville Infuser Overview
The Breville Infuser is a high-quality espresso machine for those just starting out in the world of espresso. It is a simple, affordable machine that can easily make coffeehouse-quality espresso.
Amateurs and experts can use it, and since it appeals to individuals who enjoy the concept of making their own perfect espresso beverages at home, it’s perfect for those who don’t mind experimenting with their espresso-making process.
With this model’s combination of manual and automatic capabilities, you’ll be able to master your barista skills to achieve that perfect cup.
One of the best things about this popular home espresso machine is that it offers some of the same capabilities as more expensive coffee makers.
As you may have figured by the fact that it’s called ‘The Infuser,’ it pre-infuses its coffee grounds before the extraction process starts.
This infusion process gently expands the grounds for optimum flavor by sprinkling a low, steady stream of water over them. After this, the machine uses a higher water pressure to extract a balanced espresso shot.
This creates a beautifully balanced espresso flavor and a rich crema, without any of the harsh bitterness you might end up with from other machines.
Furthermore, the Infuser includes a digital PID temperature control and a 1600-watt Thermocoil heating element. The temperature gauge is adjustable in 4⁰ F increments and is ideal for ensuring you get that perfect water temperature for espresso – between 195-205°F.
The Infuser also has volumetric controls, allowing you to easily choose between a single shot (30 milliliters) or a double shot (60 milliliters), and both of these options are pre-programmed into your machine.
This means you can create the perfect cup of espresso every time with the push of a programmable button.
Of course, you might be looking for slightly more than just shots of espresso from your coffee maker. And this is where the high-powered milk steaming wand comes in.
The frother is capable of producing microfoam that rivals professional coffee art foam. It has a 1650-watt element for high-pressure steam and faster heat production so that you can create cafe-quality drinks at home.
This machine also comes with a hot water outlet, an Italian-made pump with 15 bars of pressure, and attractive brushed stainless steel construction that comes in a range of colors and will look fab on any kitchen counter.
Barista Express Overview
The integrated grinder that the Breville Barista Express espresso machine features are just one of its main differentiating factors from the Infuser.
The conical burr grinder’s stainless steel burrs accurately grind your coffee beans to a consistent size and deposit the perfect dose of beans on demand straight into the single-wall filter basket.
It features an adjustable grind size dial, giving you effortless control over the hands-free grinding, and the wide range of sixteen grind settings from ultra-fine to coarse means that you can use any type of coffee bean with this machine.
It also eliminates buying a separate grinder, which is a cost-saving bonus.
Barista Express bean hopper capacity is eight ounces, and you’ll find the steel conical burrs are easily removed for simple cleaning. You’ll also find that the quality of your espresso drink is higher with this machine.
The coffee will be fresher and the delicious espresso flavor noticeably better because you’re using fresh beans for brewing espresso instead of pre-ground beans. You’ll also likely have less waste – another handy money-saving factor!
However, the Barista Express isn’t just about the built-in burr grinder. Like the Infuser, it has a digital PID temperature control to deliver water at precisely the perfect temperature for precise espresso extraction.
It also comes with a smart 15-bar Italian pump and a removable 67-ounce water tank. The manual milk frother is also included, once again allowing for the creation of latte art from the comfort of your kitchen.
Furthermore, you can find Breville’s pre-infusion technology in the Barista Express and the Infuser. This will help create balanced espresso shots and support optimum flavor extraction.
The shot control settings also allow you to precisely control the amount of water in one and two shots.
Key Similarities Between the Beville Infuser and the Barista Express
So, what are some similarities between these two coffee machines? Read on to discover the shared espresso brewing functions that make these brewers stand out from the pack.
Temperature adjustment mode
Different coffee beans often require different water temperatures for optimal extraction. As a result, Breville has taken this into account when crafting each of these high-quality espresso machines.
The temperature adjustment mode on both of these allows you to adjust the temperature incrementally by just 4⁰ F at a time.
As the optimum temperature for your bean brewing method is between 195-205°F, you’ll be able to find your ideal temperature and use it to make the perfect cup of coffee every time.
Another noteworthy similarity is that both machines feature a low-pressure pre-infusion function. This process is one of the basics of espresso extraction.
It involves using a low-pressure water stream to infuse the grounds before increasing to the desired pressure to create espresso.
This way of preparing barista-quality espresso shots is the secret to smooth extraction. Plus, the soaking of the coffee grounds before extraction is vital in creating balanced coffee with optimum flavor.
Two filter baskets
The Breville Infuser and the Barista Express come with a single wall and a dual wall filter basket. What’s the difference, you say? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The single wall filter baskets are best suited for freshly ground coffee. This is because they allow more of the coffee’s oils and aromas to be released due to the increased surface area.
However, if you’re using pre-ground coffee, then the dual-wall filter baskets are your best option. This is because pre-ground coffee doesn’t produce a nice crema like freshly ground coffee does.
So, the dual-wall filter includes a false bottom. Driving the espresso through two filters forces it to froth up a bit and create that all-important crema.
Milk frothing wand
Both machines come with a milk frothing wand for that all-important home-brewed cappuccino or a creamy latte. These are excellent for frothing and steaming milk of any sort to add to espresso drinks.
The pressure of the steam wands is lower than commercial-style espresso machines, but they create the ideal micro-foam texture for getting artistic with your beverages.
If you’ve ever wanted to create café-quality drinks straight from your kitchen or, if you fancy giving your cup of coffee some love with a little heart on top, you don’t even have to leave the house! The convenient steam wand is also detachable, making it easy to clean.
Hot water source
The Barista Express and Infuser also come with a hot water source, meaning that you can make Americanos just as easily as you can an exceptional espresso.
You can also make a cup of tea, which is helpful if you don’t want to invest in a kettle and tea strainer, too.
Both coffee machines also include a pressure gauge, which is very useful in producing the finest and most delicious tasting espresso.
Pressure gauges, such as those seen in the Infuser and Barista Express, allow users to change the brewing process to achieve the desired pressure levels—and result in a taste that’s perfect.
Last but not least, both machines offer a high degree of programmability, giving users more control over their coffee brewing experience.
This includes the ability to adjust water temperature, espresso volume, and pre-infusion time. Additionally, you can save your favorite settings so that you can recreate that perfect espresso cup each and every time.
Key Differences Between the Beville Infuser and the Barista Express
Now that we’ve gone over some of the key similarities, what are the key differences between these two machines? These are some of the key features that set these coffee makers apart.
Of course, the biggest difference between the Barista Express and the Infuser is the built-in grinder on the Barista Express.
This is an excellent feature because it means that you can have the perfect bean-to-cup experience that all home coffee brewers dream of. Additionally, you don’t have to buy an extra grinder.
Another difference is that the Barista Express takes up a little more room than the Infuser. When you add the bean hopper to the equation, it measures just over 16 inches tall – 3 inches taller than the Infuser.
It’s also considerably heavier at 23 pounds compared to the Infuser at just 17. Lighter appliances are a major plus when it comes to moving them around and saving counter space, so this difference in size might be something you’ll want to consider.
The next major difference between the two machines is the size of the built-in water tank. The Breville Infuser espresso machine has a smaller 61-ounce tank compared to the Barista Express’s larger water tank capacity at 67 ounces.
It might not seem like a big distinction, but it can make all the difference when you’re trying to brew multiple cups of coffee in one session.
Finally, let’s talk about money. As you would expect, the Barista Express has a considerably higher price tag than the Infuser. Check your favorite home shop or online vendor for price comparison and availability.
Of course, if grinding your own beans is a major priority for you, then the extra money you’ll pay for the Barista Express might be worth it.
However, the Infuser is just as good if you’re looking for a great espresso maker, minus a couple of features, that don’t break the bank.
So, what’s the bottom line?
So there you have it! The Breville Infuser and the Barista Express are two great semi-automatic machines with a lot of similarities, as well as some key differences.
The Barista Express is the more expensive model, with a slightly different design and some notable improvements. The integrated bean grinder distinguishes it from the Infuser, as does the larger size.
If you don’t already own a good grinder and want a seamless bean-to-cup experience, the Barista Express is the obvious choice.
However, if you already own your own grinder or tend to use pre-ground coffee anyway, the Infuser is a great option that’s much more affordable.
Ultimately, it comes down to what’s most important to you and what features you’re looking for in a coffee machine.
But, whichever machine you choose, you can be sure that you’ll be getting a high-quality product, and we’re confident that you’ll enjoy years of delicious home-brewed coffee!