Breville’s compact espresso machines have made a name for themselves, earning the title of best espresso machine from the Wirecutter and praise from countless others. The Barista line, which we’ll be comparing today, is best known for make coffee-shop quality shots at home.
This comparison looks at the Barista Pro and the Barista Touch. These machines make up the mid-and-top-end of the Barista line. These machines are ideal for people that want to take the work out of pulling espresso shots and have limited counter-space for coffee paraphernalia.
A top-rated espresso machine for those who want to hone their skillsThe Breville Barista Pro is a top-rated espresso machine that is ideal for people looking to up their barista skills. It is more complex than other automated solutions, but also provides more control.
Both machines are attractive and have a brushed stainless steel exterior. The Touch can be purchased in matte black. The Pro has several different color options, although I think the brushed stainless steel is the best one. There is a beige option. Who would want this in beige? Of the designs I think I slightly prefer the Pro, but either would look great on your kitchen counter.
The machines have a similar, compact form-factor. If you’re trying to gauge how these machines might fit on your kitchen counter, the Barista Touch wider than it is deep, while the Barista Pro is deeper than it is wide. Overall, there’s not much difference in size.
The most striking difference is the display screens. The Barista Touch has many more programming choices and has a color touch screen as opposed to the very basic LCD on the Pro. On the touch the user can select from a series of preset drinks or adjust most functions. If you’re familiar with other Breville products the Pro has a basic LCD, has the with it’s signature bluish hue. This screen mostly shows timing for things like grind and extraction. The other controls are physical
There are other clever touches shared by both machines, such as the Empty Me! sign that pops up when the drip tray fills is full.
As a whole, the Barista Pro and Touch performance similar. They both uses Breville’s ThermoJet heating system. According to Breville, the Pro will reach optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds with instantaneous transition from espresso to steam. If you’re just flipping the machine one, it you’ll be able to have a cup within 20 seconds.
In their review the Wirecutter noted that the steam wand is less powerful in the Pro than the Touch, but it can fully rotate. This does make it easier to achieve a proper whirlpool.
The grinders on both machines are nearly the same. They produce the adequate fineness needed to grind espresso shots. When comparing the two apparently there are some small improvements to the Pro that reduce the amount of clumps in the grids.
As we’ve said elsewhere, these machines are quite similar. The primary difference is the Barista Pro’s physical controls vs the touchscreen on the Barista touch.
|Specifications||Barista Pro||Barista Touch|
|Demensions||13.9" x 16.1" x 16"||15.5" x 12.7" x 16"|
|Water Tank Capacity||67 fl.oz.||67 fl. oz.|
|Bean Hopper Capacity||1/2 lb.||1/2 lb.|
|ThermoJet Heating System||Yes||Yes|
|Power||1680 Watts||1680 Watts|
The cost difference between all the machines in the Barista line—the Express, Pro and Touch—tend to be about a hundred bucks. These not inexpensive, but at this price range it’s better to choose the machine that best suits your needs.
Is an all-in-one machine too expensive? Consider this. You’re getting an espresso machine and an espresso grinder. Both items individually will set you back a couple hundred bucks. All things considered, I think these machines are an excellent value.
Should you get the Breville Barista Pro or Barista Touch?
So you’ve decided you want an all-in one machine. Should you buy the Barista Pro or the Barista touch?
Both machines are perfect for those who love espresso, but hate the mess and work of grinding and tamping beans. They are also a good pick for those who have limited counter-space and want real espresso.
Get the Barista Touch, if you’re a beginner and just want easy espresso. The touchscreen is easy to use, comes with pre-programmed drinks and instructions to guide you. Outside of a Nespresso machine, you won’t find anything easier.
Get the Barista Pro, if you’re want to be a little more hands-on. Maybe you already know how to pull a shot or are willing to learn. This machine will do the tedious messy part for you and is great for those who want a little more control. Or if you’re like me and prefer physical knobs to touch interfaces.
Should I buy one if I have a French press, Chemex or moka pot?
Those methods of making coffee are all different and will yield different results. However, I would say that it is not practical to purchase an all-in-one machine if you plan to make coffee in a way where you would need to purchase another grinder.
If you plan to make French press coffee fairly often, I think you’re better off purchasing a standalone grinder and something like the Bambino Plus. It’s essentially the Barista Pro without the grinder.
The exception would be if you only make other types of coffee occasionally. Then it may make sense to purchase an all-in-one like the Pro or Touch and purchase an inexpensive hand grinder.
What about the Breville Barista Express?
There’s also the Barista Express, which we don’t recommend. While we tend to be a fan of analog displays over digital or touch, the machine lacks the performance of the Barista Pro or Barista Touch. It uses the older Thermocoil water heating design as opposed to the new ThermoJet heating system.
Considering that this is already a pricey machine we’d absolutely recommend the Barista Pro vs the Barista Express when evaluating all-in-on espresso machines. Most people would be better off spending a little more for the Pro or saving a little and getting the Bambino with a decent grinder.