Short on time? The Breville Barista Express is the clear winner in this rundown.
Breville and Gaggia are two of the best entry-level espresso machines out there, but they have entirely different features.
So, how do you pick which one is right for you?
To help you choose, I’ve put together a rundown of the Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express. And, I’ve gone over their different features in detail.
Let’s get started.
Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Breville Barista Express: A Quick Comparison
Gaggia Classic Pro Overview
Gaggia was founded back in 1948 in Milan, Italy by a man named Achille Gaggia. Achille found a way to make a unique espresso that customers claimed didn’t taste like any other on the market.
To preserve his special espresso technique, Achille began to develop his first coffee machine. Today, there are a number of coffee machines by Gaggia, one of them being the Gaggia Classic Pro.
The Gaggia Classic Pro semi automatic espresso machine is essentially the same as Achille’s original coffee machine with a few upgrades. They added a dual steam wand and swapped the steel boiler for an aluminum one.
Additionally, the Gaggia Classic Pro features a boxy design with a single stainless steel plate. This makes it easier to clean than past models, thanks to its smooth exterior.
The machine, while reliable, does only feature a single boiler. This means you cannot pull espresso shots and steam milk at the same time.
Still, if you don’t mind waiting a few minutes to finish making a cup of coffee, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Overall, the Gaggia Classic Pro is noted for producing dreamlike coffee without breaking the bank.
- It’s simple to use, so it’s great for beginner coffee makers
- It features a dual steam wand, so it heats your milk much more evenly
- It has an aluminum boiler, so it’s easier for the machine to get your coffee to temperature
- It has a Solenoid valve, so you can create the perfect pressure for pulling espresso shots
- It has a simple analog system, so it’s not great for those that want advanced features
Breville Barista Express Overview
Breville is an Australian company that launched in 1932 in Sydney. The company was founded by Bill O’Brien and Henry Norville, who combined their last names to be the brand ‘Breville.’
While they’ve invented a number of great machines over the years, a favorite Breville espresso machine is Barista Express.
The Breville Barista Express has an attached tamper and built-in grinder. This makes it a super convenient machine for whipping up great coffee.
But probably the best feature of this coffee machine is the steam wand. Its 360-pivot steam wand and handy milk pitcher make it easy to produce microfoam for fancy lattes.
The steam wand also comes with a rubber grip, so you’ll be less likely to burn your hands. Aside from the steam wand, Breville Barista Express also has double-wall filter baskets.
These filter baskets are perfect for beginners. Because they’re double-walled, it’s a lot harder to mess up the espresso you’re making.
- The grinder is fast and can create super-fine grinds, helping you make a uniform cup of coffee
- The temperature control is super minute, so you can get your coffee to within 2ºF of your desired temperature
- Has an LCD interface, so it’s easy to navigate through drink menus and programming
- Heats up in just three seconds, so you don’t have to wait for ages to drink your coffee
- It gets dirty quickly, so you’ll have to frequently clean the machine
Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Breville Barista Express: The Rundown
Now that you have an overview of both models, it’s time to battle them out!
While both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express are great coffee makers, they’ve got some very different features.
Here’s a closer look at some of the key features of these machines.
Design & Build Quality
Both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express are relatively small machines. The Gaggia is slightly smaller and about 3 pounds lighter than the Breville machine, but it’s not a noticeable difference.
Still, if the size is a major deciding factor for you, it’s something to be aware of.
But being a small espresso machine also has its disadvantages. Being small means that this machine can’t have several functions and buttons. Also, Gaggia Classic Pro has traditional buttons that make it look less attractive.
In contrast, Breville Barista Express is a much bigger espresso machine. This means it has more features you won’t find in a Gaggia Classic Pro espresso maker.
The Gaggia is also a boxy shape made of steel, which you can find in a couple of different colors. The steel is hardy and scratch resistant, so it’s fairly durable.
On the other hand, the Breville machine is made of stainless steel, which makes it far easier to clean. Combine that with its smooth, modern lines, and you’ve got a device that looks great in any kitchen.
The Breville Barista Express is the winner, thanks to its sleek, easy-to-clean exterior that looks great in any kitchen.
A good grinder is essential if you want to make smooth, quality espresso. Sadly, the Gaggia doesn’t have a built-in grinder.
When you get this espresso machine, you’ll need to buy a separate grinder or use pre-ground coffee, which can lead to lower-quality drinks.
On the other hand, Breville Barista Express comes with a built-in coffee grinder with a dose control grinding function. This lets you grind the right amount of coffee powder while extracting all the flavors.
Plus, Breville’s grinder actually deposits the beans directly into the machine’s portafilter. That way, you don’t have to manually pack the filter.
This makes for a much faster and smoother coffee creation process.
The Breville Barista Express espresso machine wins this round because it’s the only machine with a built-in grinder.
Performance & Espresso Quality
In terms of brewing performance, the Breville Barista Express has a few features that the Gaggia Classic Pro lacks.
For instance, the Breville machine has digital temperature control. This ensures optimal extraction. It also has hands-free functionality, which means you press a button and watch as the machine makes your coffee.
This espresso machine also comes with a pre-infusion function. It enables the Barista Express to increase the water pressure to extract all the tasty coffee flavors.
Combine pre-infusion with the purge function, and you get a delectable cup of espresso. Sadly, you can’t find these advanced features with the Gaggia Classic Pro.
The Gaggia Classic Pro, on the other hand, requires quite a bit more involvement. You’re in charge of heating the water, grinding your beans, and pulling your espresso shots.
The only area where the Gaggia Classic Pro exceeds is with its high-voltage boiler with 17.5 bars of pressure. This is 2.5 bars more than the Breville Barista Pro has.
The Breville Barista Express is the clear winner in terms of the brewing performance, due to its fast heat-up time and pre-infusion technology.
Part of a good steaming system is how fast you can steam your milk and make fine milk froth for your favorite lattes and cappuccinos.
The Breville Barista Express takes 20 to 30 seconds to steam milk, while the Gaggia Classic Pro reaches 50 to 60 seconds.
The reason the Breville Barista Express heats up so fast is thanks to its thermo-coil heating system. This system heats the water through a series of pipes, making sure to maintain an even temperature.
Aside from the heating system, both machines have swiveling steam wands with dual holes. The difference is that the Gaggia Pro’s is plastic and the Barista Express is stainless steel.
This doesn’t much alter the final milk product, but it does affect the time it takes to steam.
Lastly, with the Gaggia Classic Pro, you must purge the steam wand before and after steaming. For the Barista Express, it’s automatically done.
The Breville Barista Express’s automatic purge and thermo-coil systems make it the clear winner.
Both the Breville Barista Express and Gaggia Classic Pro are semi-automatic espresso machines. But, the Breville Barista Express has a whole lot of automatic features you won’t find in the Gaggia.
For instance, the Breville machine comes with pre-programmable drink settings via its LCD screen. This makes it easier to tweak your drink.
On the other hand, the Gaggia requires you to manually adjust your coffee settings each time you brew a cup.
Additionally, the Breville Barista Express comes with:
- A hot water spout for your Americanos
- Analog pressure gauge
- Pre-programmable single and double espresso shot buttons
- A small tools bin at the back of the dip tray
- An alert telling you to clean the machine
- Top-notch burr grinder on the top of the machine
You won’t find these unique features in Gaggia Classic Pro, but you will get:
- Full-sized portafilter
- Flow steam knob
- Two-hole steam tip
- Bigger water reservoir
- Warming tray
While these features aren’t quite up to par with those of the Breville Barista Express, they’re still handy for making a good cup of coffee.
The Breville Barista Express has far more special features, making it the clear winner.
It’s clear that in the Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express showdown, the Barista Express is the winner.
However, that’s not to say that each machine doesn’t have its own benefits.
Consider getting a Gaggia Classic Pro if:
- You want a more compact machine to fit your countertops.
- You want a more affordable home espresso machine.
- You don’t need to go into full details when making espresso.
- Grinding coffee beans is not something you’re interested in.
If you value budget and size for espresso machines, order a Gaggia Classic Pro.
In contrast, get an artisan Breville Barista Express if:
- You want special features that make espresso-making more convenient
- You want pre-programmed settings in making your espresso
- You value esthetics to match the theme of your place
- You prefer a machine with a built-in coffee grinder
For optimal coffee flavor extraction, pick up an elegant Breville Barista Express.
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