Appearance and features of the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine
- Intuitive LCD screen lets you customize every espresso shot or custom beverage
- ThermoJet heating system skips the heating wait times by reaching optimum extraction temperatures in just 3 seconds
- 54mm Porta-Filter and pressure gauge
- Instantly transitions from espresso to steam
- Breville conical burr grinder has 30 grind levels to let you adjust grind and dose settings
- Digital Temperature Control (PID) provides you with the perfect water temperature for optimal espresso extraction
- Steam wand lets you hand steam your milk so you have the right amount of foam or milk for you
Testing the Breville Barista Pro automatic espresso machine
Testing an espresso machine like the Breville Barista Pro is all play and no work, especially if you love coffee the way I do. This machine makes it easy and fun to make espresso, and even though some parts of the process are automatic, it’s easy to customize your coffee so it’s exactly the way you like it.
Easy to use
The LCD screen on the Barista Pro makes it very easy to use. Everything is available at the touch on the screen, and you can adjust the temperature of the water, how long to grind your coffee beans, and whether you’d like to extract one shot or two.
ThermoJet heating system heats up in a hurry
The ThermoJet heating system on the Breville Barista Pro is impressive. It only takes 3 seconds to heat up the water so you can make espresso, and that is a huge step up from manual espresso machines I’ve used that take a minute or more. It makes a huge difference in your morning coffee if you can just turn it on and you’re almost instantly ready to extract an espresso shot.
Hot water on tap
The Breville Barista Pro has Digital Temperature Control (PID) so it can give you the perfect water temperature for espresso extraction at +/- 2°c. You can adjust the water temperature on the screen. I choose the hottest temperature for the most part and the shot came out almost scalding. I was really impressed.
Integrated conical burr grinder
The best shot of espresso is one that comes from the freshest beans, and the Breville Barista Pro has a built-in conical burr grinder you can use to grind beans right into the portafilter. There is an adjustment dial on the side of the Barista Pro you can use to dial your grinds to the right consistency, and you can adjust the time you grind on the LCD screen.
To grind beans you have to push the portafilter toward the back of the grinder, so it’s a manual action and not automatic like a super-automatic espresso machine. The screen will indicate the amount of time you should wait before removing the portafilter, but you can remove it yourself before the time is up too.
Once you have your grinds, you can use the included tamper to tamp them. If you find they are uneven, you can also use the included Breville razer to even out your shot. The tamper fits neatly into the machine beside the grinder.
I’ve tested out a few espresso machines with a built-in grinder and I’ve used my own manual espresso machine without one. Having that built-in burr grinder makes such a huge difference to the quality of your espresso shot because it’s fresh every time, and when your grinder is built-in you don’t need to purchase one to work with your machine or buy bagged espresso.
Instant transition from shot to steam
When you have the Breville Barista Pro, you can instantly transition from espresso shot to steam. There is a dial on the side of the espresso machine you can turn for steam or water, and the steam starts almost instantly.
I added milk to the included milk jug and waited for a minute. While the milk became hot quickly, I found I had to move it around quite a bit to create the best foam. I recently tested out the Breville Oracle Pro and it made milk foam without really moving the jug, so I had to try a few times to milk foam in the Breville Barista Pro.
Milk foam is an art form I’m still learning, but it’s fun to keep perfecting my skills with this espresso machine.
How to extract a great shot of espresso in the Breville Barista Pro
While this espresso machine is ready to go in 3 seconds, I recommend you wait a minute for the portafilter to heat up before you extract your shot. As I’ve become more accustomed to espresso machines and spent time attempting to extract the perfect shot, I’ve realized how important it is to have all components on the machine hot as well.
For the best shot on this machine, I inserted the portafilter so it could heat up with the machine and left it on for 5 minutes. Once it was hot I ground my beans, tamped them, used the razer if needed, and put the portafilter back in. I left it again for a few minutes, and only then did I extract my shot. I adjusted the time on the LCD screen to ensure the shot came out at 25 seconds as that’s the time a double shot should extract for. A single shot should last at least 20 seconds.
While I’m still perfecting my espresso extraction, I feel as though this is the best process for a great shot in the Breville Barista Pro.
Super automatic or automatic espresso machine?
I’ve tested out both the Breville Oracle Touch and the Breville Barista Pro and I’ve been amazed at the differences between a super automatic and automatic espresso machine. While a super automatic espresso machine does everything from grind, dose, tamp, and extract, the automatic Breville Barista Pro lets you dose and tamp the grinds on your own.
Both espresso machines will make a perfect shot of coffee, and while the Breville Oracle Touch will take over the entire process and make your milk foam for you, I thought the Breville Barista Pro was easy to use too and I liked getting hands-on with the steamed milk.
Which type you espresso machine you choose depends on how hands-on you’d like to be. I thought they were both amazing machines.
Should you choose the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine?
The Breville Barista Pro is a sleek, stylish espresso machine and the black truffle finish looks amazing on your countertop. With a built-in conical burr grinder, you get the freshest beans for your espresso shot, and I never pulled a bad or burnt shot the entire time I was using it.
Both steam and hot water were easy to use, and the touchscreen makes it simple to choose how hot your water is and how fine of a grind you are looking for.
I feel as though I’m a better at-home barista now that I’ve spent time using the Breville Barista Pro. You can find your own Breville espresso machine on Best Buy right now.