As a home barista with a passion for good coffee, I’ve explored and tried different brewing methods and machines to find the perfect brew.
One machine that has caught my attention is the Breville Barista Touch. It's affordable, easy to use, and packed with features—pretty impressive for a machine under $1500.
Here, I'll give you an honest, straightforward assessment of why I've found this machine to be a worthwhile addition to my kitchen.
Spoiler alert: Among all the espresso machines under $1500 that I've had the pleasure of trying, this one comes out on top.
Breville Barista Touch Review – My Ratings & Top Features
Overall, I would rate the Breville Barista Touch a solid 4.7 out of 5 for its blend of functionality, user-friendly features, and affordability, making it an excellent choice for home baristas of all skill levels. Here’s why:
Who Should Buy The Breville Barista Touch?
The Breville Barista Touch is perfect for coffee enthusiasts at any skill level. Beginners will benefit from its user-friendly features and automated settings, while intermediate home baristas will appreciate the ability to experiment and fine-tune their brew.
Why I Decided To Review The Breville Touch Espresso Machine
As a dedicated home barista, I've sampled a fair share of machines to find those that give your money's worth.
For just around $1,000, you get a professional-grade espresso machine from Breville with the Barista Touch. That's a bargain if it lives up to its promises.
So, of course, I had to try it and see if it was really value for money or if it's just one of those machines that fails to give you the coffee shop quality drinks.
Cups Brewed Per Day
Level Of Experience Needed
Home brewing hobbyist who started with a basic drip coffee machine and gradually upgraded to espresso machines. My current machine is a Breville Barista Pro.
Money Saved Per Year
Around $500 in the first year and $1500 in the succeeding years once the machine is paid for.
Favorite Drink To Brew
What’s It Like To Live With The Breville Barista Touch
As a coffee lover, I enjoy all sorts of coffee drinks, be it a strong shot of espresso or a creamy cappuccino, and this machine can make those more effortlessly.
However, don't just take my word for it; let's take an in-depth look at this machine so you can see how it performs.
What’s In The Box?
Before I begin my experience using the machine, let's first discuss what comes when you purchase a Barista Touch.
Unboxing is my favorite part whenever I review espresso machines--it makes me feel like a kid opening a Christmas present.
When I received the box, I was pretty impressed with the condition of the box.
It was securely packed, the machine well-cushioned in the box, and the parts were sealed.
Apart from the machine, you can also expect the following components:
I want to quickly touch upon these two: single and dual wall filter baskets. At first glance, you might think that they both have the same function, but they don’t.
If you're going to take advantage of the built-in grinder of the Barista Touch, the single wall filter basket is what you'll use.
Basically, anytime you're grinding fresh coffee beans, the single wall is what you need, but it doesn't mean the dual wall basket is useless.
You see, dual wall pressurized baskets are the best thing to use for pre-ground coffee, perfect for those times when you prefer to have decaf instead.
At the same time, you can use it for old coffee beans or beans that are beyond the best-before date.
My favorite component of this machine is the secret tool storage box. It sits behind the drip tray, allowing you to store the tools and other parts that you’re not using.
No need to worry about forgetting where you stored them!
Like any other modern Breville machine, the Barista Touch requires an initial setup.
Before this brewer, I was using a Breville Barista Express, which has buttons instead of a touch screen, and buttons can be frustrating for new espresso machine owners.
You need to memorize what each button does and can't reverse actions easily.
Thankfully, Barista Touch has a touchscreen interface, making setting it up a breeze.
First, it’s intuitive. Instead of going through a manual, the machine guides you through it. Since it has a touchscreen interface, the instructions are clearer and more detailed.
On top of that, the setup also includes a water hardness test, which tests the mineral content of your water.
The result will then be used to assess how frequently you need to be notified to descale the machine--a very handy feature for maintaining the machine.
Lastly, assembling the machine is a no-brainer. So even if you’ve never tried an espresso machine before, you can easily set up this machine on your counter.
Pulling My First Espresso Shot
As a semi-automatic machine, the Breville Barista Touch espresso machine automates some of the espresso-making processes, unlike other espresso machines, like manual ones, that rely entirely on you.
Thanks to this, pulling my first espresso shot was pretty straightforward.
Grinding the Beans
First, the Breville Barista Touch features a built-in conical burr grinder. This type of grinder is excellent for your whole-bean coffee.
Not only do they grind your beans consistently, but it also operates quietly. Even if you make coffee at 3 in the morning, you won’t wake anyone in your house.
Apart from this premium grinder, it also comes with 30 different grind settings to pick from. This grinder setting allows you to adjust your grind size based on your beans.
When I first had an espresso maker, I didn’t really care about the grinder settings. I thought it was just some marketing ploy that espresso makers add to a machine.
Of course, I was wrong. The grind size can make or break the espresso quality.
Thankfully, the Barista Touch has an impressive grinder and grind setting, ensuring a great-tasting espresso every time.
It also comes with an automatic dosing feature. All I needed to do was press a button, and the machine doses my portafilter.
However, it‘s a bit messy when you do this. That’s why I recommend you pick up a dosing cup to avoid spilling coffee grinds all over your counter space and espresso machine.
The automatic dosing feature isn’t just this brewer’s measurement tool.
It comes with the Razor, a precision tool found in all Breville espresso machines, which trims excess grinds from the portafilter.
While some may recommend you ditch this tool, I find it really helpful in extracting the best flavor from my beans.
Pulling The Actual Shot
Now, on to the actual pulling of the shot. With this machine, the brewing process is pretty straightforward, especially if you get the correct grind size.
All you have to do is tap the screen, and the machine does the work.
This will be a bit technical, but let me explain what happens when the machine pulls the espresso shot.
It starts with a pre-infusion stage, automatically soaking your grounds with slow bursts of water in the espresso puck. This ensures an even extraction every single time.
After the pre-infusion stage, the machine uses a high-pressure 9-bar extraction process delivered through a 15-bar Italian pump and an over-pressure valve to extract the perfect shot.
The result? The perfect coffee--a rich, creamy espresso shot. I was actually surprised at how my first shot looked.
If I'm using other machines, it will take me a couple of tries before I get a great espresso shot.
One thing to remember, your skill comes into play too. I'm pretty confident with my barista skills. That's why I was able to pull an excellent espresso right away, but if you're not, don't worry.
This machine features a Touch Guide, which, as its name suggests, guides you through brewing step by step.
First Time Frothing Milk
If you enjoy milk-based espresso drinks, you’ll be pleased to know that the Breville Touch comes with an automatic milk frother.
In other words, milk frothing and steaming won’t be your problem anymore--the machine does all the work!
This is a significant upgrade from the previous machine I’ve tried, the Barista Express, which has a manual steam wand.
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about this feature. Milk frothing is complex. If you end up with the wrong milk temperature, you'll screw up your milk texture.
However, the Barista Touch proved that milk frothing can be automated too.
So, it was a pretty straightforward process.
Basically, I just filled the frothing pitcher with whole milk, selected my desired milk temperature (level 5 for mid-level froth), put it under the steam wand, and in a few seconds, I had frothed milk.
I was impressed with the milk texture, to be honest.
With a little reading, I found out that there's a temperature sensor that sits under the milk jug. This ensures that the desired temperature is achieved, as well as the right texture.
So, if you love lattes and want to become a latte artist, this feature is extra helpful. You can achieve the optimal milk texture needed for latte art effortlessly and consistently.
How Much Control Do You Have Over The Coffee Settings?
With Breville machines with automatic features, like the Barista Touch, you can control how it brews your coffee. This includes ideal brew temperature, milk temperature, froth, and coffee strength.
As mentioned, you also have control over the grind size, allowing you to tailor-fit your brewing process depending on your coffee beans.
The process is also simple. From the main menu, you can adjust the pre-programmed recipes' settings (we'll talk about that in the next sections) or go straight to the settings and adjust them from there.
I won’t recommend any coffee settings as I know we have different preferences when it comes to the taste of coffee, so it’s up to you to find the best settings that work for your coffee needs.
However, my favorite setting is 'Ideal' for the brew temperature, 150 degrees Celsius for the milk temperature, and '05' for the froth milk settings.
How Does It Handle Different Roasts?
The Breville Barista Touch handles different roasts effectively thanks to its grind size settings and temperature control.
As any coffee lover knows, every roast is its own little universe of flavors, and extracting the perfect shot can be a delicate science.
If you're a fan of lighter roasts, I've got some good news for you. The Barista Touch managed to tease out those subtle, floral, and fruity notes like a charm.
Its adjustable grind size was invaluable here.
For those lighter roasts, I dialed down the grind size, allowing for a slower extraction and more exposure to the hot water. This unlocked a plethora of bright flavors.
If you’re a dark roast enthusiast, the Barista Touch is also an excellent machine. I found that it handled those robust, caramelized flavors with ease, thanks to its ability to adjust the brewing temperature.
I usually cranked the heat up a notch to get the most out of these darker roasts.
Just remember, it takes a bit of trial and error, so don't be afraid to experiment with different settings until you find the “sweet spot” for each roast.
Look, Size, and Feel Of The Machine
The Breville Barista Touch espresso machine is a stunning addition to any kitchen countertop.
With its sleek stainless steel body and modern design, it effortlessly elevates the aesthetic of the entire space.
Its compact size is a pleasant surprise, as it fits snugly even in smaller kitchens without compromising on functionality.
As a coffee enthusiast, I have fallen in love with the way this machine feels in my hands. The smooth texture of the touch screen and milk frother give a sense of precision and control.
The moment I pull a perfectly extracted shot and hold the warm, porcelain cup in my hands, I feel a rush of satisfaction and a touch of pride.
It's as if I've brought a piece of the coffee shop experience right into my own home. The Breville Barista Touch truly embodies the perfect blend of form and function, and it has become an indispensable part of my daily coffee ritual.
Note: The Breville Barista Touch is a bit of a heavyweight, tipping the scales at 37.3 pounds. As for dimensions, it stands proud at 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches. I know it seems a bit bulky, but here's the thing: it's cleverly designed to be compact despite its many features.
What Drinks Can It Make?
The Breville Barista Touch can make more than just the standard espresso. This versatile machine comes with eight pre-programmed specialty drinks, including:
One of the machine's most striking features is its customizable menu, where you can customize the eight pre-programmed drinks to your preference.
If you want a delicious cappuccino with a stronger espresso taste? Done. This machine allows you to make any drinks on its menu truly yours at no additional cost.
I've set up my own regulars– an espresso, a latte, a cappuccino, and a flat white, each with my preferred coffee strength, milk temperature, and froth level.
So whenever I'm in a hurry, I just select one of my pre-set drinks, and the machine takes care of the rest.
I also love to experiment with recreating my favorite coffee shop drinks at home. Everyone at Barista HQ knows I'm a huge fan of Dutch Bros. I found that making my favorite Dutch Bros drinks at home was an absolute breeze!
How Easy Is It To Use?
Compared to other Breville espresso machines, this is very easy to use. As mentioned, the user interface on this machine is a bright, responsive touchscreen.
From this sleek display, you can access a menu of coffee drinks, each with a lovely graphic that looks like it's straight from your favorite coffee shop menu board.
Navigating this touchscreen is a piece of cake. Everything is laid out neatly, and adjustments can be made with just a tap or two.
Want to control your drink's strength, milk texture, or temperature? No problem! A few quick taps, and you're good to go.
How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)
The Barista Touch heats up quickly. With its impressive ThermoJet heating system, this machine goes from switched-off to extraction-ready in a brisk 3 seconds.
Yes, you read that right, 3 seconds! No more long waits for the machine to heat up; just a few blinks of an eye, and you're ready to brew.
Now, pulling your espresso shot takes around 20 to 30 seconds, depending on your grind size and amount.
If you're in the mood for a frothy cappuccino, the automatic milk frother takes just about a minute or so to whip your milk into a beautiful, velvety froth.
So, from pressing the power button to savoring your first sip of coffee, you're looking at about 1.5 to 2 minutes. Not bad, right?
Does It Have A Water Filtration System?
Yes, the Breville Barista Touch does come with a built-in water filtration system.
The water filter is an essential feature for affordable and high-end espresso machines. Why? Well, it comes down to the fact that water makes up more than 90% of your coffee.
So, it's crucial to have clean, filtered water to achieve the best-tasting, flavorful coffee.
The Barista Touch comes with a replaceable water filter that resides in the 2L water tank.
It helps to reduce impurities, including chlorine, and any off-tastes or odors that could interfere with your coffee's flavor profile.
It's also worth noting that using filtered water can help minimize scale buildup inside the machine, which can prolong the lifespan of your machine.
Just remember to replace the water filter every two months or so to keep it effective. Trust me, your taste buds (and your Barista Touch!) will thank you for it.
How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?
Thankfully, the Breville Barista Touch was designed with ease of maintenance in mind and is not difficult to clean or descale.
The machine has an integrated cleaning cycle that you should run whenever the “Clean Me” light illuminates.
It's as simple as inserting the cleaning disc (provided in the box) into the filter basket, popping a cleaning tablet into the disc, and then following the instructions on the touch screen.
On top of that, the drip tray and the storage tray are removable, which means you can give them a good rinse and scrub whenever needed.
The same goes for the portafilter and the milk jug, both of which are dishwasher safe. For the bean hopper and water tank, you just need to wipe them down regularly.
Descaling, on the other hand, is a process that you won't have to do as often, but it's still crucial for the longevity of your machine.
The Barista Touch will actually notify you when it's time for a descale based on the hardness of your water.
You'll need a descaling solution for this, which you mix with water and add to the tank, and the machine does the rest with its automatic descaling cycle.
My Favorite Parts About The Breville Barista Touch
Several standout features truly make the Breville Barista Touch a joy to use. Here are some of my highlights:
My Least Favorite Parts About The Breville Touch Coffee Maker
While I find the Breville Barista Touch to be an amazing machine, it's only fair to point out a couple of aspects that I found less than perfect.
Despite these minor issues, I still believe the Barista Touch is a worthwhile investment for any coffee enthusiast.
Breville Barista Touch Vs Similar Machines
Breville Barista Touch Vs Barista Pro
When comparing the Breville Barista Touch and the Barista Pro, several key differences stand out.
First, the Barista Touch offers a higher degree of automation, including automatic milk frothing, which is a gem for beginners or those who appreciate convenience.
The Touch also comes with a touchscreen interface that includes pre-programmed customizable drinks, simplifying the brewing process even further.
On the other hand, the Barista Pro doesn't have a touchscreen but uses dial and button controls instead.
It doesn't offer automatic milk frothing either, appealing more to those who enjoy a hands-on brewing process.
Both machines have their merits, so your choice would hinge on your preference for automation versus manual control.
Breville Barista Touch Vs Oracle Touch
The Oracle Touch, the Barista Touch's bigger sibling, offers extra automation and a dual boiler system for faster brewing and steaming, but at a higher cost, approximately $1000 more.
This higher price is reflective of the Oracle Touch's advanced automation features and dual boiler system.
The Barista Touch, while more affordable, still delivers excellent espresso and convenient automated features, like other Breville machines with the same price point.
Breville Barista Touch Vs Barista Express
Breville offers two popular semi-automatic machines: Barista Touch and Barista Express.
The Touch's key advantage is its greater level of automation, particularly with milk frothing, and its intuitive touchscreen.
The Express, however, has manual milk frothing and lacks the touchscreen but is $400-$500 cheaper, making it a great pick for hands-on coffee lovers on a budget.
Breville Barista Touch Vs Delonghi La Specialista
Both offer high convenience with a balance of automatic and manual features.
The La Specialista has an edge with a unique sensor grinding technology that ensures precise, consistent grinding and a smart tamping station.
However, the Barista Touch counters with an integrated conical burr grinder and automatic milk frothing, plus its easy-to-use touchscreen interface.
Your choice will depend on your preferred balance of automation, manual control, and specific features.
Yes, you can make hot chocolate using the hot milk from the Barista Touch. Simply heat the milk using the automatic frother, then mix in your chocolate.
Yes, the Barista Touch can dispense hot water. The hot water tap is cleverly integrated into the steam wand. To use it, you simply position your cup or container under the wand, navigate to the hot water function on the machine's touch screen, and select it to dispense hot water.
Yes, you can! Although the Barista Touch features an automatic milk frother, you do have the option to manually steam your milk. This is great for those who want more control over the froth texture and temperature, allowing you to customize your beverages to your liking.
The Breville Barista Touch utilizes a 15-bar Italian pump, providing optimal pressure for espresso extraction.
No, it can’t make a cold brew. Cold brew is another brewing method that requires you to soak coffee grounds at cool temperatures for extended periods. However, you can use its built-in grinder to achieve the right grind size for a cold brew.
Conclusion - Is The Breville Barista Touch Worth Your Money?
From my experience with the Breville Barista Touch, I can confidently say that it's worth every penny.
Many brands at this price point lack automation features, but this espresso machine offers that and much more.
However, if you're someone who enjoys a more manual brewing experience, the Barista Express, while less automated, offers greater control.
On the other hand, if you're after a more premium, automated experience, the Oracle Touch might be worth considering, despite its higher price tag.
Remember, the perfect coffee experience is highly personal. Therefore, the right Breville espresso machine for you should resonate with your coffee preferences and brewing style.
Breville Barista Touch