Breville Barista Pro Review: The Best Home Espresso Machine?

The Breville Barista Pro is not your average coffee machine. This is thanks to its stand-out features like the ThermoJet heating system.

However, there’s a whole lot more to this machine than just a fancy new water heater.

As a former barista and coffee lover, I’ve researched to determine whether this machine is worth its salt.

And, I’ve thrown in a few FAQs to help you make a decision about buying one or not.

Let’s take a look at a complete Breville Barista Pro review so you can determine whether or not this is the machine for you!

Breville Barista Pro: A Quick Overview

Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES878BSS
  • Design 4.5/5
  • Interface 5/5
  • Performance 4/5
  • Grinder 5/5
  • Milk Frothing 4/5
  • PID Temperature Control 5/5
  • Cleaning 4/5
  • Special Features 3/5

 

The Breville Barista Pro won the Best New Product award at the Specialty Coffee Expo in 2019, so you know it’s a top-of-the-line machine.

In essence, the Breville Barista Pro is an upgraded version of Breville’s Barista Express.

However, even though they’re based on the same general concept, this Breville espresso machine comes with major upgrades. This includes a better display and an advanced heating system.

It also features a huge, 2-liter (about 68 ounces) water tank. With that size, you won’t have to refill the machine very often.

Even though the Breville Barista Pro is a bit pricier than the Breville Barista Express, it’s certainly worth it with features like those.

Pros

  • It comes with an LCD control panel, so it’s easy to operate
  • It has a ThermoJet heating system, so it heats up fast
  • It features a conical burr grinder, so you get a smooth and even grind
  • It has a premium adjustable steam wand, so you can perfect milk-based brews

Cons

  • It’s costly, so it might not work for those on a budget
  • You have to flush the brew head before each use, so it can be a bit of a nuisance to use.

A Closer Look At Features

Although we’ve touched briefly on some of the features of the Breville Barista Pro, it helps to take a deep dive into each one.

That way, you really get a feel for what this machine is all about and why it’s worth buying.

Let’s take a closer look at the features of this machine and break down some of its more unique aspects.

Design

breville barista pro black
Source: breville.com

The Barista Pro features signature Breville styling with its modern and minimalistic design. The exterior of the machine is made with brushed stainless steel that not only looks great but keeps the dirt off.

The Breville Barista Pro has dimensions of 14 x 16 x 16 inches, so despite being a powerful machine, it’s not too big.

Additionally, it’s an espresso machine and grinder in one, so you don’t have to pick up an external grinder which takes up even more space.

The machine also has an angled hot water spout, making it easier to fit your cup under its outlet. That way, you can make an americano without moving around parts of the machine.

The one thing that’s missing from the design is a pressure gauge. Since it’s missing this, it can be a bit tough to tell if your machine’s pressure is off or not (affecting your espresso quality).

Interface

The Breville Barista Pro has an LCD interface, which displays both a shot timer and the coffee grind size.

This, in my opinion, is the best feature of the machine because it makes adjusting and programming current settings a breeze.

Another cool thing about the LCD screen is that it shows animations that let you know at what stage in the brewing process you’re at. While this isn’t necessarily useful, it’s nice to have and can give you an idea of when your coffee will be ready.

The LCD screen also displays extraction time, showing how long or short your shots are pulling. This makes it easier to calibrate the machine for precise espresso extraction.

Aside from the aforementioned features, the LCD screen displays the following controls:

  • Power button
  • Ground amount selector
  • Grind size selector
  • Filter size dial and cup buttons to determine the amount of coffee
  • The steam dial for selecting hot or cold milk

The machine also features a cleaning and descaling button, which lets you easily rinse out your machine and prep it for its next use.

Performance

The Breville Barista Pro offers great performance, largely due to the ThermoJet heating system.

This system has a thermo-coil that heats the water through a series of internal pipes. What happens is that water enters one coil and exits at a temperature reaching 190ºF.

The system lets the machine heat the water in just three seconds!

Additionally, the machine quickly switches the temperature between steaming milk and pulling shots. Brewing espresso needs lower temperature water than steaming milk does, and the ThermoJet system heats it up in just a few more seconds.

The one downside to the machine’s performance is that you always have to flush the brew head before you preheat the system.

While it can take time to do this, the total time spent making a cup is still faster than most home espresso machines.

Grinder

Breville Barista Pro features an integrated conical burr grinder with stainless-steel blades.

The stainless steel material and conical shape help create a super even grind of your espresso beans.

What’s more, it has 30 grind settings, so you can really hone in on the type of coffee you’re making.

Another thing to note about this machine is that it comes with a portafilter that you can slide under the built-in grinder. When you lock this in, the machine lets you create a predetermined amount of ground coffee.

This makes it far easier to measure out your coffee ground to brew the right cup of coffee.

If you need to change the settings on the grinder, you can do so via the LCD display. This is much more user-friendly than traditional dial adjustment systems.

Milk Frothing

Breville Barista Pro has a similar manual steam wand to that of the Barista Express.

The steam system isn’t particularly powerful, but that means that it’s a good pick for beginners. If you’re just starting with micro foam milk, this is a good system for training yourself.

Despite the simplistic design of the steam wand, it does have one major perk: it heats your milk fast.

The wand has a four-hole tip, which helps create a more even milk temperature in less time. In fact, it only takes about 45 seconds to steam your milk!

PID Temperature Control

The temperature control on the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine is one of its top features. The machine features a PID temperature controller.

A PID temperature control ensures water is always within two degrees of the preprogrammed temperature. And it allows the machine to make shot temperature adjustments in increments of one-degree celsius.

The default temperature of the Barista Pro is 199°F. But, you can change it to within the range of 196°F up to 95°C 203°F.

If you like extra-hot beverages or prefer something that’s more suitable for kids, this is the best system for adjusting the temperatures.

Additionally, optimum extraction temperature gets the maximum flavor from the coffee bean.

As a result, the PID system helps optimal espresso extraction, meaning you get a better-tasting cup of coffee overall.

Cleaning

I’ll be honest— cleaning an espresso machine isn’t my favorite thing to do. And because Breville Barista Pro has a built-in grinder, it’s messier than other espresso machines.

The good news is that cleaning the Barista Pro isn’t too tedious.

Firstly, the machine comes with a built-in descaling and auto rinse feature. This means that the machine will essentially clean itself.

All you have to do is start the cycle!

To start the cycle, you can use the setting on the LCD touchscreen display. The button is clearly labeled, making it even easier for you to start the cleaning system.

The other parts of the machine, such as the milk wand and drip tray, are removable, too. Just take those off and run them under clean water to wash them out.

Special Features

In terms of special features, there’s not a whole lot to say about the Barista Pro other than the fact that it has special filter baskets.

Filter baskets help you master the proper way of pulling an espresso shot. Whereas most coffee machines have just one size filter basket, the  Barista Pro has four:

  • Single-shot pressurized
  • Single-shot non-pressurized
  • Double-shot pressurized
  • Double-shot non-pressurized

For beginners, I recommend using the pressurized baskets. Because there’s increased pressure, it doesn’t matter if you got the wrong grid size or dosage—you’ll still be able to pull a good shot.

Once you feel more skilled, switch to non-pressurized baskets. These allow you to better control the pressure and refine the brewing system.

FAQ

Do you still have some questions about the Barista Pro?

Here are a few commonly asked questions and their answers to help you get all the info you need.

Is the Barista Pro Better Than the Express?

The Breville Barista Pro is better than the Express. It provides a more precise grind, a ThermoJet heating system, and an improved steaming wand. As a result, you get much better coffee than you would with the Express.

How Long Will the Breville Barista Pro Last?

With proper care and maintenance, Breville Barista Pro can last five to ten years, give or take. The better you take care of it, the more likely it will last on the higher end of that scale.

Can You Make Regular Coffee With the Breville Barista Pro?

The Breville Barista Pro is an espresso machine and doesn’t have the mechanism for you to make drip coffee. The closest thing you can get to that is to make an americano, which has a similar flavor profile to drip coffee.

Conclusion

The Breville Barista Pro is basically an upgraded version of the Barista Express. It features fast water heating, an upgraded steam wand, and a built-in grinder.

All these features let you craft your coffee just the way you want.

And, even though it’s a bit more expensive than the Express, the value of those features definitely makes it worth it.

With this Breville Barista Pro review, you should have all the info you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

If you’re ready to take your espresso making to the next level, pick up a Breville Barista Pro today.

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.