Espressos.. That drink that gives you a sing and completely makes your day. As someone once said, “More espresso, less depresso!”.
It’s not a wonder why coffee shops, like Starbucks, have made a killing.
It is every espresso lovers dream to have a cup of espresso on demand. It is precisely for this reason why espresso machines have been gaining popularity lately.
Breville is one company that has successfully manufactured entry-level espresso machines that perform quite close to the more complex and professional espresso machines found in coffee shops. One of their more saleable models, the Breville Barista Express, has received outstanding reviews due to its uncomplicated yet reliable features. Because of the Barista Express’ popularity, Breville has released a newer model, an upgrade which they named the Barista Pro. Given these two models, which is the better buy then? Which is worth your bucks? Is the newer version really an upgrade of the original?
Initial impressions may make it seem that the Barista Pro looks quite similar to the Barista Express. These two are similarly shaped and built with a brushed stainless steel look that is characteristic of Breville espresso machines. The location of its basic parts are similarly placed, including the grinder and the magnetic tamper. The only difference in terms of shape would probably be the more streamlined look of the Barista Pro.
The tamper in the Barista Express is once again seen in the Barista Pro. Both tampers exhibit a perfect fit at the bottom of the grinder. The bean hoppers and the water tank in both models have the same capacity as well.
The only noticeable difference n the newer Barista Pro is the LCD display on the front panel, which is not seen in the express. The LCD displays information with regards to the temperature of the water in the infuser. It also displays animations which show the stage of grinding and extraction where the brewing process is at. This is an upgrade from the standard pressure gauge which the Express uses.
The pro has a less cluttered design due to the presence of fewer buttons compared to the Express.
The angle of the hot water spout in the Pro seems to be more adjusted to the position of the cup as compared to the Express. The milk wand is the same for both the Express and Pro, although the one in the Pro seems to be built more sturdy than the one on the Express.
In terms of size, both can be considered as compact although they still require a bit of counter space, especially for the Barista Pro. Aesthetically, the Pro now has seven colors to choose from, including Black Truffle, Royal Champagne and Damson Blue. The Barista Express leaves you with only two color choices; Stainless Steel and Black Sesame.
Another great feature in the Breville Barista pro is the ThermoJet heating system. With this heating system, all it takes is a mere three seconds for the machine to reach the optimal extraction temperature.
The Barista Express makes use of the Thermocoil water heating system, which is actually quite efficient. It does, however, require some warm-up time. The Barista Pro though makes use of the newer ThermoJet water heating system which is faster, more powerful and more silent than the Thermocoil system. With the ThermoJet system, all it takes is three seconds for the machine to achieve the ideal temperature needed for coffee extraction. From the time the machine is switched on, it takes only 20 seconds to prepare the machine for brewing and extraction.
A burr grinder is the most efficient type of grinder for coffee beans. Both the Barista Express and Barista Pro have conical burr grinders that have both grind size and dose controls. Coffee grounds are delivered directly to the portafilter so you can be assured that the right amount of coffee is used.
Both the Barista Pro an Barista Express use digital temperature control. This feature is particularly important in making sure that the water used or brewing is at its optimum temperature. At the optimum temperature, the flavor of the coffee beans is fully and evenly extracted even if pre-infusion pressure is low at the beginning of the extraction process. Digital control temperature also helps in achieving the ideal temperature needed for the steam wands in order to create the ideal microfoam needed for lattes, especially for latte art.
The Barista Pro continues to make use of the Smart Grinder Pro found in the Barista Express, thus eliminating the extra expense needed to buy a separate grinder. Instead of the 18 fine grind settings on the Barista Express though, the grinder in the Barista Pro now has 30 fine grind settings. The grinder also can now be adjusted internally in case there is a change in the type of beans being regularly used.
The same kind of portafilter is used in both the Pro and Express. They also come with the Razor is used to level the coffee grounds prior to tamping.
While the LCD panel along with the ThermoJet heating system do deliver precise heating for better extraction in the Barista Pro, it leaves out the analog pressure gauge that is seen in the Barista Express. This may be something new though for traditionalists who prefer monitoring the right amount of pressure before pulling shots. Regardless of both systems, both are still able to pull either single or double shots.
The steam wands in either models are quite efficient in producing the ideal microfoam needed for creating latte art or even just adding some even adding some extra flavor or texture to your coffee.
The Breville Barista Pro does indeed offer noteworthy upgrades from the previous Barista Express. The ThermoJet heating system and LCD panel make it easier and more convenient to brew espresso, especially for the inexperienced espresso enthusiast.
More grinding options are an additional welcome change to the Pro in order to make sure that the flavor drawn from the beans is at its fullest.
For those who are considering a budget, the Barista Express still is a good buy. The analog pressure gauge may also add a more familiar touch for traditionalists and purists who are more comfortable with the thought of having more control in the extraction process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you get your money’s worth with the Barista Pro?
Yes. The Barista Pro features upgrades that make the heating process more efficient. It also has a better conical burr grinder that has more grind settings for better grind quality which may affect the flavor of your brew.
Are normal coffee grounds okay to use in an espresso machine?
Ordinary roasts my indeed be used in espresso machines. However, the flavor profile may be a bit on the sour side. For espresso machines, better flavor profiles are created by the use of darker roasts. Besides flavor, darker roasts also produce better crema unlike ordinary roasts.
Can the Barista Pro be used for brewing ordinary coffee?
The Barista Pro can only be used for making espresso. It cannot be used for brewing plain coffee.
What are included in each purchase of the Pro?
The following items are included when you purchase the Barista Pro: the Razor dose tool, a stainless steel portafilter, a tamper, a milk jug, a cleaning kit, filter baskets and water filter.
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