Anyone in the market for a semi-automatic espresso machine under $1000 has probably read a thing or two about the Breville Barista Pro.
This is an updated version of its predecessor, the popular Barista Express, and it's 100% worth considering for your at-home coffee needs.
Still, with all the worthy home espresso machines out there, is this the one for you?
Let's find out in this complete Breville Barista Pro review, where I'll give you a personal insight into its features, brewing process, pros and cons, value for money, and more.
Breville Barista Pro Review – My Ratings & Top Features
Overall, I would rate the Breville Barista Pro 4.7/5 stars. It has a lot going for it, like PID temperature control, pressurized filter baskets, and a powerful integrated conical burr grinder.
It has tons of features, but these are the ones that make it capable of delivering a perfect espresso shot every time, even for beginners:
Who Should Buy The Breville Barista Pro?
The Breville Barista Pro is an ideal choice for all espresso lovers who want to explore the world of home brewing and ditch the coffee shop. Even though it comes with high-end features, it’s suitable for beginners, but it’s still advanced enough for more experienced baristas.
Overall, Breville’s Barista Pro is an all-in-one machine that will make life easier, but it won’t diminish the fun that comes along with making espresso.
It has everything you need for precise espresso extraction, including a high-quality burr grinder, a manual steam wand, and more.
Why I Decided To Review The Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine
Breville has always been a big name in the kitchen appliance industry, especially when it comes to espresso machines.
Considering my fascination with making espresso at home, it’s really no surprise why I decided to review the Barista Pro from my home kitchen.
Out of all the Breville espresso machines, this is the perfect option for someone like me.
I don’t consider myself a beginner to the espresso experience, but I still want a straightforward and easy-to-use machine.
On top of that, I want an espresso maker that delivers a rich, flavorful shot, and saying that the Pro brews delicious espresso is an understatement.
Here’s a bit more info on how I tested the Barista Express:
Cups Brewed Per Day
Level Of Experience Needed
Beginner to Intermediate
I'm a home brewing enthusiast who loves to try new machines and share my insight with fellow espresso lovers.
My home kitchen
Money Saved Per Year
I have been saving more than $1000 per year by brewing espresso at home!
Favorite Drink To Brew
I keep it straightforward in the AM with a double shot, followed by a creamy latte in the afternoon.
What’s It Like To Brew With The Breville Barista Pro?
I’ve used a lot of espresso machines over the years, from pod-style espresso makers to fully commercial models at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.
After using the Breville Barista Pro consistently for a full month, I've come to love and cherish it.
It's got the power and brewing capability of a commercial machine but the ease of use that most home baristas look for.
What’s In The Box?
As soon as the box arrived on my doorstep, I realized that the most difficult part of assembly would be carrying it into the house. It’s heavy, so be sure to lift with your legs!
The heavy weight has a lot to do with all the added accessories, including:
Clearly, Breville doesn’t skimp on accessories and add-ons. The company thought of everything when designing this machine, down to the included cleaning kit and easy-to-use dosing funnel.
Pulling My First Espresso Shot
Putting the machine together took me all of 5 minutes, so I was able to immediately get to pulling my first shot.
Unlike a fully automatic espresso machine, this one does require a bit of elbow grease.
The machine grinds and doses the grounds, but it was on me to tamp the grounds and choose the settings. Personally, I prefer this; it gives me more control over pulling the perfect shot.
Just like most all-in-one espresso machines, the Breville Barista Pro features an integrated conical burr grinder.
All you have to do is add your espresso grounds or coffee grounds to the grinding chamber, choose your grind setting, and wait.
Once grinding is complete, the machine actually doses each shot for you.
It funnels the grounds directly into the portafilter - I chose the single-wall filter my first time around for brewing a single shot. For double shots, you’ll want to use the double-wall filter basket.
Removing the portafilter and tamping the grounds were both easy tasks.
Once I did that, all I had to do was secure the portafilter into place and select the button on the LCD for a single shot. That’s it!
A Quick Note About The Filter Baskets
Any barista knows that the filter basket plays a vital role in brew quality. The Barista Pro comes with four filter baskets to choose from:
The single and double shot aspect is easy to understand, but if you’re new to this, you might not understand the difference between pressurized and non-pressurized.
Pressurized filter baskets are better for beginners; they help the brewer to "cheat" their way into producing a quality shot, even when the dosage or grind size isn't ideal.
If you're new to brewing espresso, start with a pressurized basket to get the hang of things.
Once you're more experienced, you can move on to using a non-pressurized basket, which is more capable of delivering the full flavor of the espresso.
My First Time Steaming Milk
I’ve steamed milk using the Barista Express many times. After steaming milk with the Pro, I can tell that Breville made some improvements to the manual steam wand.
First of all, the steam pressure is higher in this machine than in previous models—higher pressure results in better microfoam milk - which is exactly what I got with the Pro.
The upgraded Thermojet heating system also plays into the milk wand's improved capability.
I didn't have to wait more than 10 seconds for the wand to reach the right temperature, and the actual frothing took less than 30 seconds.
In other words, I was able to easily create a silky microfoam in about 40 seconds.
This is a huge deal for me; I consider myself well-versed in latte art, and a quality milk frothing system makes all the difference!
Control & Ease Of Use
Brewing Breville Barista Pro espresso is fast and easy.
While there may be a slight learning curve in the beginning for newbies, this curve will be overpassed quickly, and that has a lot to do with the updated LCD screen.
I found that the updated interface makes it really easy to set controls and functions.
The power button is clearly labeled on the left, and the menu button under the screen helps to navigate the LCD.
There are three more buttons to control grind size, filter size, and single vs double shots.
Because this is a semi-automatic machine, pulling a shot is as easy as pressing a button.
First, you’ll have to choose your settings using the LCD, but once you’ve done that, the entire process is a breeze.
Look, Feel & Size Of The Espresso Machine
Everything about this machine feels durable, mostly thanks to the stainless steel.
It weighs about 20 pounds when assembled, which is lighter than I was expecting, considering the weight of the box on arrival.
One new feature that I really love is the extra storage behind the drip tray. Hint - this is the perfect place to store your extra filter baskets.
Drink Options For The Barista Pro
In addition to single and double espresso shots, the Pro is a champ at making lattes and cappuccinos.
Next to the milk frothing wand, there's a dedicated hot water spot for making potent Americanos.
If you’re all about making specialty drinks, you might want to consider the upgraded Breville Barista Touch.
This machine allows you to save 8 preset recipes, which isn’t a feature that you’ll get with the Pro.
Ease Of Cleaning & Descaling
While it’s certainly important for making great espresso, cleaning isn’t something that most espresso enthusiasts are enthusiastic about.
Luckily, the Barista Pro is relatively easy to keep in tip-top shape.
After each brew, you’ll want to clean the brew head and the portafilter, and you should wipe down the brushed stainless steel exterior to keep it looking new.
The drip tray is easy to remove; just wash it under running water after each use. The water tank is also removable, so give it a nice rinse whenever the ‘Low Water’ indicator is lit.
I love that Breville takes it upon itself to provide users with all the necessary tools for cleaning and descaling, including cleaning tablets.
If you use filtered water each time you brew, you might only need to descale once every 6 months since there will be minimal limestone buildup.
You can find all the cleaning and descaling info in the Pro's user manual.
My Favorite Parts About The Barista Pro Coffee Maker
There’s a lot to like about the Barista Pro espresso machine, so let’s touch on some of the best features.
First off, this semi-automatic espresso maker looks good on any countertop. It features a modern design with sleek stainless steel components that never go out of style.
The built-in grinder is the most handy feature. It comes with 30 precise settings that are easily adjusted using a dial.
This grinder means that I don’t need any additional equipment when it comes time to brew.
Unlike most steam wands with a single hole, the Pro's wand is designed with 4 holes to create remarkably impressive milk foam.
Plus, there's a dedicated hot water spout for making tea and Americanos.
The pre-infusion system is yet another thing that scores extra points for Breville.
This espresso machine is designed to saturate the coffee before brewing, which works to extract more flavor from the coffee grounds.
Lastly, I love that this machine comes with a full 2-year warranty. The Barista Express warranty is just 1 year, similar to most devices at this price point.
However, with the Pro, I can rest easy knowing that all the parts and pieces are covered by a longer policy.
My Least Favorite Parts About The Barista Pro
My biggest complaint about using the Barista Pro is the noise it makes. Brewing is nice and quiet, but grinding isn’t quite as peaceful, especially at the highest grind setting.
If you wake up before others in your house, you’ll definitely want to plan ahead.
My only other grievance has to do with the size of the portafilter. This machine uses a 54mm portafiler, which is small compared to the 58mm portafilters of other machines.
For that reason, it’s not the ideal choice for double shots.
Breville Barista Pro Vs Similar Machines
Breville Barista Pro Vs Breville Barista Express
The Breville Barista Express is another semi-automatic machine that shares many of the same features as the Pro.
However, it's more suited to beginners, which means it comes without a few fancy add-ons and key differences.
First, the Barista Express has fewer grind settings, so you won't have as much precision when grinding your coffee beans.
Secondly, it doesn't feature the same LCD screen as the Pro, so users can't watch the brewing process on the display.
All in all, the Pro is a better option if you’re willing to have a price difference of about $100 more. It has some additional features, but it’s still an amazing choice for newbies.
Breville Barista Pro Vs Touch
The Touch is a step up in the Breville line of espresso machines.
It costs a bit more, and that extra spending will get you a full-touch display, an automatic steam wand, and preset programming options.
Out of these two Breville machines, the Touch is definitely more high-tech. However, it doesn’t necessarily brew a better cup of espresso.
If that’s your main priority, you might as well just stick with the Pro.
Breville Barista Pro Vs Bambino Plus
The Bambino Plus is a much more affordable product made by Breville. It also has a much smaller footprint, making it the perfect espresso machine for smaller home kitchens.
So why is the Bambino hundreds of dollars less than the Barista Pro? A few reasons, actually.
It’s designed with a basic interface, there’s no integrated grinder, and it requires more manual labor to operate.
Breville Barista Pro Vs Breville Dual Boiler
The Dual Boiler espresso machine is the most expensive product in Breville's lineup of coffee makers.
It's a professional machine designed for home use, with one major difference compared to the Pro: a dual boiler system.
Despite its high price tag, the Dual Boiler lacks some key features that you should expect from a professional-level machine.
For instance, it doesn’t have a built-in grinder, which even the Pro features. If you ask me, there’s no doubt that the Pro offers better value for money.
Breville Barista Pro Vs Gaggia Classic Pro
Compared to Gaggia’s Classic Pro espresso machine, the Barista Pro has a lot more bells and whistles.
Unlike the Pro, the Gaggia does NOT have a dedicated hot water spout, an analog pressure gauge, programmable single and double shot buttons, or cleaning cycle notifications.
I’m not saying the Classic Pro isn’t a fantastic home espresso machine, because it is. It’s just not quite on the same level in terms of extra features as the Barista Pro.
Breville Barista Pro Vs DeLonghi La Specialista
The DeLonghi La Specialista is a stunning espresso machine that anyone would be lucky to own. In fact, it’s very similar to the Barista Pro in regards to design, functionality, and features.
Both machines are durable and aesthetically nice to look at. More importantly, both are capable of producing quality espresso.
However, the biggest difference is that the La Specialista has more of a learning curve, so it’s not as suitable for beginners.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
The Breville Barista Pro can heat up to the proper brew temperature in as little as 3 seconds. This is all thanks to Breville’s Thermojet heating system. Best of all, this feature is actually eco-friendly, using up to 32% less energy annually compared to a traditional Thermoblock heating system.
Flushing the Barista Pro should be done after each brewing session.
According to Breville, it’s important that “you perform a clear water backflush after each brewing session to clean any loose grounds, coffee oils, and other residues from the espresso machine.”
Yes, you can use pre-ground coffee in the Barista Pro. If you’re using pre-ground beans, be sure to use one of the dual wall filter baskets when brewing. The single-wall filter baskets should only be used when grinding fresh whole coffee beans.
With 30 grind settings to choose from, it’s best to start somewhere in the middle. Breville recommends setting the dial to 15, and then you can adjust accordingly based on personal preference.
Remember, hot water running through a finer grind will generally extract more flavor.
Yes, the Barista Pro comes with a high-quality 54mm portafilter.
Yes, the Barista Pro is built with an internal water filtration system. This espresso machine comes with a filter included, and you can easily find replacements on Breville’s website or Amazon.
Breville calls this machine the ‘Pro’ because it features professional-grade tools and functions to brew espresso. In other words, even beginner baristas will be able to produce a professional shot of espresso with this espresso machine.
Conclusion - Is The Breville Barista Pro Worth Your Money?
Breville’s Barista Pro espresso machine is an excellent choice for espresso lovers who are new to home espresso brewing.
It’s perfect for beginners, but the added features also allow more intermediate baristas to challenge their skills.
The machine is absolutely worth the money, and I back it up as one of the best espresso machines on the market today.
If ease of use is an important factor for you, you might also consider the Breville Barista Express, which is an even better choice for beginners.
If a fully automatic machine is what you’re looking for, check out the DeLonghi Magnifica or the Gaggia Magenta Plus.
Breville Barista Pro