Breville Barista Express vs. Barista Pro – which one to choose in 2021

by

Breville Barista Express vs. Barista Pro – which one to choose in 2021

by

The Breville Barista Express (aka Sage BES 870/875 in EU) and the Barista Pro (aka Sage BES 878 in EU) have become iconic espresso machines loved by thousands of coffee enthusiasts around the world. They are both great coffee machines, but since they are pretty similar, you might be wondering which one should you choose for your home coffee-making journey.

In this article, I will compare the features as well as the pros and cons of the Breville Barista Express and the Barista Pro to help you make an informed decision when buying your new espresso machine.

Breville Barista Pro vs Barista Express Comparisson chart

Breville Barista Pro vs Express Comparisson

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON OF THE
Breville Barista Pro

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON OF THE
Breville Barista Express

What are the differences between Breville Barista Express and Pro?

In general, the Breville Barista Pro will give you more precision and control when preparing your favorite coffee drink. The question is whether that’s something worth the extra money. When the Breville Barista Pro came out, the price was around $900, which was quite an increase in price if you take into account that technologically, these devices differ only marginally. Nowadays, the price has noticeably come down and with a price tag of around $800 compared to $700 of the Breville Barista Express, the purchase of a Barista Pro makes much more sense nowadays.

The main differences between Breville Barista Pro and Barista Express:

1. Faster heat-up time – the ThermoJet system

The Barista Express and the Barista Pro are both single boiler coffee machines which means you can’t be brewing and steaming at the same time. But, unlike the Barista express, the Barista Pro has a new ThermoJet heating system that allows the machine to heat up to its optimal temperature in just 3 seconds compared to 30 seconds on the Barista Express.
This may not be a big deal for those who want just a cup of espresso in the morning. But the ThermoJet system also improves the steaming performance of the machine, not only by cutting the time between steaming and pulling espresso down to seconds but also by improving the steaming performance itself.
This especially helpful if you want to serve multiple milk-based coffee drinks, where the time between pulling a shot of espresso and steaming milk starts to add up quickly.

On the other hand, the new ThermoJet system also has its disadvantage, which you’ll rarely read about. Thanks to the energy efficiency of this system, it is no longer used to preheat the cup tray. Also, the group head will not heat itself after starting the device, but you will need to flush it 1-2 times to stabilize the temperature before you pull your first shot of espresso. Even though some might perceive this as a slight disadvantage, it is a common practice to flush the group head before you pull your first shot of espresso, even on prosumer machines. Also, Breville recommends this practice on the Barista Express as well.

2. Improved grinder – more steps, pause function

One of the improved features of the Barista Pro is the grinder. Both devices are essentially the same from a technological perspective, but on the Barista Pro you have a higher resolution of grind settings. Precisely, 30 steps of espresso grind settings on the Barista Pro compared to 18 on the Barista Express.
For a newcomer to the world of espresso brewing, this may not seem like a big deal, but if you know anything about brewing an espresso, then you know how important it is to find the optimal grind size when dialing in your perfect shot of espresso!
One of the helpful features we also like specific to the Pro model is the grind pause function. This function allows you to pause the process of grinding the pre-set dose so you can distribute the piling coffee in the portafilter and then finish grinding the rest of the dose.

3. LCD display vs. analog pressure gauge

The missing pressure gauge on the Barista Pro seems to be the biggest complaint of the online community compared to the Barista Express. While it gives the machine its classic look and is simple to grasp when pulling a shot of espresso, we think the Barista Pro has an edge in this department as well.

While the pressure gauge will give you a general idea about the espresso brewing process, it’s not the most practical one to measure when trying to dial in your perfect cup of espresso. On the other hand, the Barista Pro displays the time of the extraction process, which is the metric most baristas focus on when pulling a shot of espresso, and for a good reason. Focusing on time gives you more precision when tracking changes you are making to either the dose or the grind size of the coffee, which is helpful when trying to dial in your ideally tasting cup.

Having the display will also give you more precision and control when changing parameters such as grind amount, temperature, pre-infusion time, etc., which leads us to the next important point.

4. Better control over espresso brewing

In our opinion, the main advantage of the Barista Pro over the Barista Express doesn’t lie in one particular feature that was vastly improved but rather in a complex of small but important changes. This results in an espresso machine that gives you more control over the drink you make. The improved grinder, precisely timed dosing or the timer of the brewing process are all essential features that help you achieve more consistent and repeatable results.

5. Sleeker and more practical design

While we realize that design and aesthetics are quite subjective, we like the new design of the Pro model better, especially when comparing the black versions of these two popular espresso makers. If you are wondering why the reason is simple. The black truffle color of the Barista Pro model has a mat finish, which not only looks cool but, as a kitchen accessory, is quite practical since it doesn’t leave fingerprints or stains easily. In contrast, the sesame black Barista Express has a glossy surface, making it quite the fingerprint magnet.

6. Improved steaming and placement of hot water outlet

One of the Barista Pro benefits is the improved steaming performance thanks to the ThermoJet system and the four-hole steam wand (compared to the single-hole steam wand on the Barista Express).

Thanks to these improvements, the steaming process is sped up by as much as 25%.

Another welcome change on the Pro is the new placement of the hot water outlet for your tea or Americano, which is now located in a way that allows you to leave the cup right under the brew head.

Is the Barista Pro better than the Barista Express?

From our perspective, the Breville Barista Pro is a tuned-up version of the Barista Express and is better in almost every aspect of the espresso brewing process. The individual differences are relatively small but have a cumulative effect on the overall coffee brewing experience. One of the most critical aspects of the espresso brewing process is its consistency and repeatability, which allows you to fine-tune your cup of coffee, and in this regard, the Barista Pro has an edge. Even though it would be great to see a more consistent quality of the grinds or zero retention grinding on the Pro model, we understand that the machine is still a great value considering its price.

Is Breville Barista Pro worth the price?

Yes. When the Breville Barista Pro came out, the price was around $900 +, which was a significant increase in price if you consider that these two devices differ only marginally from the technical standpoint. Nowadays, that the price has come down to around $800 (Amazon link), the purchase makes much more sense. With occasional discounts, you can get this device virtually for the same price as the Breville Barista Express (Amazon link), which keeps its price tag around $700.

Make the Best Coffee with Your Breville Barista Pro

If you want to learn how to make the perfect shot of espresso according to your preferences, check out our Ultimate Guide for the Breville Barista Pro or learn about the 7 Most Helpful Breville Barista Accessories.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you purchase anything using Amazon links on this website, I will get a tiny commission. It doesn’t cost you a thing, but it helps this website grow. Thank you for your help!

Recent Posts

How to Clean Breville Barista Pro | Complete Guide

How to Clean Breville Barista Pro | Complete Guide

In this article, you will learn how to clean the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine. We have prepared a complete list of all cleaning steps for your Barista, from the basic cleaning after every use to the regular maintenance, which is essential to maintain the...

The 7 Most Helpful Breville Barista Accessories

The 7 Most Helpful Breville Barista Accessories

The Breville Barista lineup is undoubtedly one of the most popular and best-valued lines of espresso makers on the market. Certainly, you can use your Breville's coffee machine on its own. However, if you are a coffee geek who likes to strive for the best cup of...

How to Change the Water Filter on a Breville Barista

How to Change the Water Filter on a Breville Barista

In this article, you will learn how to change the water filter on Breville/Sage Barista Express, Barista Pro, and Barista Touch, and which type of water filter to choose for your Breville Barista espresso machine.Table of Contents How to Change the Water Filter on the...

Other Posts
How to Clean Breville Barista Pro | Complete Guide

How to Clean Breville Barista Pro | Complete Guide

In this article, you will learn how to clean the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine. We have prepared a complete list of all cleaning steps for your Barista, from the basic cleaning after every use to the regular maintenance, which is essential to maintain the...

The 7 Most Helpful Breville Barista Accessories

The 7 Most Helpful Breville Barista Accessories

The Breville Barista lineup is undoubtedly one of the most popular and best-valued lines of espresso makers on the market. Certainly, you can use your Breville's coffee machine on its own. However, if you are a coffee geek who likes to strive for the best cup of...

How to Change the Water Filter on a Breville Barista

How to Change the Water Filter on a Breville Barista

In this article, you will learn how to change the water filter on Breville/Sage Barista Express, Barista Pro, and Barista Touch, and which type of water filter to choose for your Breville Barista espresso machine.Table of Contents How to Change the Water Filter on the...

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
If you purchase anything using Amazon links on this website, I will get a tiny commission. It doesn’t cost you a thing, but it helps this website grow.
Thank you for your help!

If you liked the post, please share it. Thank you!