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Best Breville Espresso Machine for 2021 (6 Top Picks and Reviews)

Buying a new espresso machine is no small decision. Whether it’s your very first or you already know your way around a steam wand, this is a task that needs research. To make life a little easier, we’ve taken a detailed look at one of the more recent arrivals on the espresso scene: Breville.

With a good range of entry-level and more sophisticated espresso makers, there’s sure to be a Breville espresso machine that’s right for you.

TOP PICK: The Breville Barista Express

“Breville
  • Built-in conical burr grinder
  • PID temperature controlled
  • Great value for money

How to choose the best Breville espresso machine

With a wide range of espresso machines on offer, the choice of Breville espresso makers might be a little overwhelming. Here are a few things to know that will help you pick the best Breville espresso machine for your home.

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Best Overall barista Barista Express BES870XL
  • Automatic
  • 12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches
  • 67 oz water reservoir
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Best for Small Spaces Bambino Plus Bambino Plus
  • Automatic
  • 12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 inches
  • 64 oz water reservoir
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Budget Pick Café Roma Café Roma
  • Semi-automatic
  • 9.25 x 9 x 11.75 inches
  • 40.6 oz water reservoir
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Best Dual Boiler Dual Boiler BES920BSXL Dual Boiler BES920BSXL
  • Automatic
  • 14.1 x 14.6 x 14.7 inches
  • 84 oz water reservoir
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Most Versatile Barista Touch BES880BSS Barista Touch BES880BSS
  • Automatic
  • 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
  • 67 oz water reservoir
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Best Super Automatic Oracle Touch Oracle Touch
  • Super automatic
  • 14.7 x 14.5 x 17.6 inches
  • 84 oz water reservoir
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Best Value for Money Duo Temp Pro Duo Temp Pro
  • Semi automatic
  • 10 x 11 x 13 inches
  • 61 oz water reservoir
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Barista Express BES870XL
Best Overall barista
  • Automatic
  • 12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches
  • 67 oz water reservoir
Bambino Plus
Best for Small Spaces Bambino Plus
  • Automatic
  • 12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 inches
  • 64 oz water reservoir
Café Roma
Budget Pick Café Roma
  • Semi-automatic
  • 9.25 x 9 x 11.75 inches
  • 40.6 oz water reservoir
Dual Boiler BES920BSXL
Best Dual Boiler Dual Boiler BES920BSXL
  • Automatic
  • 14.1 x 14.6 x 14.7 inches
  • 84 oz water reservoir
Barista Touch BES880BSS
Most Versatile Barista Touch BES880BSS
  • Automatic
  • 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
  • 67 oz water reservoir
Oracle Touch
Best Super Automatic Oracle Touch
  • Super automatic
  • 14.7 x 14.5 x 17.6 inches
  • 84 oz water reservoir
Duo Temp Pro
Best Value for Money Duo Temp Pro
  • Semi automatic
  • 10 x 11 x 13 inches
  • 61 oz water reservoir

Semi-automatic vs automatic vs super-automatic machines

Have you ever been confused about the difference between the types of espresso machines? The automatic and semi-automatic, in particular? Well, there’s a good reason for this.

The semi-automatic and automatic are pretty much the same except for one key feature. Automatic espresso machines have a preprogrammed shot timer, meaning you press to start the extraction, and the machine will stop automatically when it has brewed the correct amount of coffee. 

On a semi-automatic espresso machine, there is no timer. You have to tell the machine when to start the extraction and when to stop. You may have seen these manual machines, but that term refers to espresso makers that use a manual lever (1).

Super-automatics are easy to pick out.

These are the ones that do all the work for you, grinding beans, tamping the coffee grounds, brewing the espresso, and even frothing the milk.

What about milk?

Unless you only drink black coffee, you’re going to need to consider how to heat and texture your milk. Unlike drip or pod machines, all home espresso machines will fit with a manual steam wand.

Though there is a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never attempted the use of a steam wand, it’s an excellent skill to have if you love your coffee. The hands-on aspect allows you to get the exact density of foam you like and even try a bit of latte art.

Venture into super automatics and higher-end automatics, and you’ll find automated milk frothing. This can be in the form of an automatic steam wand, which still requires you to position the jug and pour the milk but does the frothing and heating for you. Or it can be an integrated milk carafe, which will heat and texture the milk before feeding it directly into your coffee cup.

best breville espresso machine milk frothing options

Built-in grinders

We can never emphasize enough just how important it is to make your espresso with freshly ground coffee. Coffee reaches its peak flavor within 30 minutes of grinding, so even the best pre-ground stuff is not going to be, well, the best (2).

Just as with the automatic milk frothing, you’re only going to get a built-in grinder on the more expensive machines. A decent grinder will set you back a couple of hundred bucks, so don’t expect to find one in a machine priced under $500.

The advantage of an espresso maker with its grinder is that you will save space and possibly a little money.

It also helps to streamline the brewing process of a super-automatic machine. Where all you need to do is move the portafilter from the grinder outlet to the brew head.

The downside of an integrated grinder is that if it’s not good quality, you’re essentially stuck with it until you replace your machine.

Breville Espresso Machine Reviews for 2021

With coffee makers that range from budget to big bucks, Breville is sure to have an espresso machine that’s right for you. We’ve compared specs such as brew quality, price range, and extra features to come up without favorite models from the brand.

1. Barista Express BES870XL – Best Overall

“Breville

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Automatic

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches
  • Water reservoir: 67 oz
  • Built-in grinder: Yes
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

The Barista Express espresso machine has been a fan favorite for many years, and with good reason. This automatic espresso machine sits squarely in mid-range, offering a balance of hands-on and user-friendly features and incredible value for money.

Starting at the top, we find the machine’s standout feature: an integrated conical burr grinder. There are 18 different grind settings for fine-tuning your espresso and a cradle that allows hands-free grinding directly into the portafilter. It features presets for single and double shot doses, with volumetric controls for manual adjustment.

More experienced home baristas will appreciate the PID temperature control, a digital system that maintains a much more stable brewing temperature than a regular thermostat. Combined with the 1600W thermocoil heating, you’re going to get fast and consistent brews.

The biggest learning curve for beginners will come with the manual steaming wand. Learning is what we’re here for. The 360-degree swivel feature does make life a little easier, and with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to create cafe-quality microfoam.

If you want a deep dive into all the details, check out our full review of the Barista Express.

2. Bambino Plus –  Best for Small Spaces

“Bambino

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Automatic

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 inches
  • Water reservoir: 64 oz
  • Built-in grinder: No
  • Milk frothing: Automatic steam wand

Exploring the world of home espresso machines doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your kitchen counter, as proved by the Bambino Plus. Breville has managed to fit both automatic brewing and automatic milk frothing into its slimmest machine.

It’s also one of the brand’s fastest in terms of warmup time, with the proprietary Breville ThermoJet heating system ready to brew in a speedy 3 seconds. Brewing is just a matter of pressing a button for a single or double espresso shot.

The automatic milk frothing will be a relief for anyone who’s intimidated by learning how to use a manual steam wand. It’s not a carafe system as you might find in higher-end super-automatic machines, but it’s just as easy to use. 

Most impressive, perhaps, is the Bambino Plus’s ability to generate silky milk froth rivaling that made by your favorite barista.

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For those that want to customize their coffee, you can choose from one of three temperature settings and three milk textures, perfect for making a wide range of cafe drinks.

The quality of espresso with the Bambino Plus certainly isn’t compromised by the size or convenience of the machine. It features a 54mm portafilter that holds 19 grams of coffee for a barista-strength brew. Low-pressure pre-infusion will help to give you an even and balanced extraction, supported by the PID temperature control. 

3. Café Roma – Budget Pick

“Café

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic

  • Dimensions: 9.25 x 9 x 11.75 inches
  • Water reservoir: 40.6 oz
  • Built-in grinder: No
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

Breville is known for its quality appliances, but that doesn’t mean that there are no options for people on a budget. The Cafe Roma might be simple, but it allows you to get your hands on the brand for a great price.

One look at the front panel, and you can see that this machine is straightforward to operate. There’s just a switch for the power and a single twist dial for brewing and milk frothing. There’s no shot timing as a semi-automatic machine, so you’ll have to stop the extraction yourself when you have the desired amount of coffee. Turn the dial to the opposite side for milk texturing.

As you’d expect from a machine at this price point, there’s not much in the way of added extras. But you will find everything you need to serve yourself a great cup of coffee. There’s a more than sufficient 15-bar pump, filters for single shot, double shot, and ESE pods, and even a cup warmer on the top of the machine. 

The Cafe Roma is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to learn the basics of hands-on espresso-making without a big upfront investment. Just be aware that while the machine is cheap, you’ll need to set aside additional funds for a grinder.

4. Dual Boiler BES920BSXL – Best Dual Boiler

“Dual

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Automatic

  • Dimensions: 14.1 x 14.6 x 14.7 inches
  • Water reservoir: 84 oz
  • Built-in grinder: No
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

One of the key things that separate a home espresso machine from a commercial one is brewing coffee and steam milk simultaneously. As the name suggests, the Breville Duo Boiler will allow you to get the actual barista experience, as well as saving you valuable time.

The stainless steel boiler is dedicated to brewing, while PID controls the group head. This guarantees an ideal water temperature for extraction within 2⁰F (3). The separate steam boiler allows you to simultaneously create micro-foam milk with integrated heat exchange to keep temperatures stable. This sounds like a lot of boiling, but the 84-ounce water tank will mean you don’t need to refill as often as you might fear.

When it comes to brewing, you can opt for convenience or customization as it suits you. In a hurry? Press the single or double shot button for an espresso in seconds. Want to experiment? Switch to manual mode, and you can adjust the volume of hot water in your shot, the extraction time, and the brew temperature.

This dual boiler espresso machine features Breville’s low-pressure pre-infusion, and the 15-bar pump is fitted with an overpressure valve to prevent the bitter flavors that result from over-extraction.

5. Barista Touch BES880BSS – Most Versatile

“Barista

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Automatic

  • Dimensions: 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
  • Water reservoir: 67 oz
  • Built-in grinder: Yes
  • Milk frothing: Automatic steam wand

The “Touch” part of the name on Breville espresso machines simply means that it’s fitted with a touch screen. But compared to the Barista Express, the Barista Touch has much more than a different interface.

What this screen does is allow for a much greater level of customization, making it an incredibly versatile yet user-friendly machine. The Barista Touch has preprogrammed cafe drinks: espresso, Americano, latte, flat white, or cappuccino. Select one of these, and the machine will grind, extract and froth the milk for your choice. 

You can also adjust each stage of making the drink to your liking (or beans). You have the option to tweak the dose, the amount of water, the milk temperature, and the foam texture. And there’s room to save up to 8 personalized drinks once you land on the perfect cup of coffee. Unlike the Barista Express, the milk frothing on the Barista Touch is entirely automatic.

For the most part, the brewing tech is the same, including pre-infusion and the PID temperature-controlled boiler. The heating has been upgraded to Breville’s ThermoJet system, which gets the machine ready for brewing in just three seconds.

The upgraded automation and features do add somewhat to the size (and price) of the machine. So check that you have the space before splashing out on the Barista Touch.

6. Oracle Touch – Best Super Automatic

“Oracle

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Super automatic

  • Dimensions: 14.7 x 14.5 x 17.6 inches
  • Water reservoir: 84 oz
  • Built-in grinder: Yes
  • Milk frothing: Automatic steam wand

We’ve tagged this as our favorite Breville super-automatic machine, but the truth is that the Oracle Touch is something of a hybrid. You can let the machine do all the work for you or switch to the semi-automatic mode when you want to customize your coffee experience completely.

The Oracle pours a lovely shot, and if it doesn’t, it helps you adjust variables like grind size or shot duration to make it better.

Wired

From the touchscreen panel, you can access 5 preprogrammed espresso drinks that you will prepare with just the flick of your finger. But if you demand a completely customized experience, you can also have this. Adjust your grind size, dose, coffee strength, and milk options, then save your preferred settings to enjoy again later.

It’s a step-up from the original Breville Oracle, but in reality, it shares more features with the Barista Touch. One difference is that the Oracle Touch has a dual boiler, so there’s no downtime between extraction and milk frothing, and each task is done at precisely the right temperature. Another is that this machine includes automatic tamping–just one more way it makes your life a little easier.

7. Duo Temp Pro – Best Value for Money

“Duo

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Semi automatic

  • Dimensions: 10 x 11 x 13 inches
  • Water reservoir: 61 oz
  • Built-in grinder: No
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

As much as automation can make getting your first coffee of the morning quicker and easier, you don’t need a high-tech machine to get a quality espresso at home. The Duo Temp Pro features everything you need to create the perfect cup of coffee without any bells and whistles that will hike up the price.

The name refers to the machine’s ability to provide the ideal temperatures for coffee extraction and steaming milk. It only contains a single boiler, but the auto-purge feature will drop the temperature after frothing milk, making it instantly ready for brewing. The 1600W thermocoil heating maintains stability.

Extraction is managed manually with the simple front-mounted dial control used to stop and start the process. You do have a little help from the Breville slow pre-infusion feature, which ensures that your grounds are extracted evenly for maximum flavor. 

Looking after this semi-automatic machine is just as simple as operating it. An alert will let you know when it’s time to clean and when to empty the drip tray.

The Verdict

It’s really about what suits you when it comes to anything as personal as how you make your coffee. And Breville certainly has a wide enough range to cater to most tastes and budgets. However, the Breville Barista Express espresso machine stands out as having professional features at an affordable price point, with everything you need to make a great espresso.

“Breville

FAQs

The ideal extraction temperature for espresso is between 195-205°F. It’s recommended that you start with a setting of 200°F and adjust the temperature depending on the taste. Generally, you might find that light roasts are better extracted at higher temperatures than dark roasts at lower temperatures (4).

The current lineup’s Breville espresso machines with grinders include the Oracle, Oracle Touch, the Barista Express, and Barista Touch. Breville also makes a range of stand-alone coffee grinders.

ESE pods are preportioned amounts of ground coffee, compressed and wrapped in filter paper. ESE (easy serving espresso) pods can be used in any espresso machine with a compatible filter basket and are entirely compostable (5). ESE pods should not be confused with Nespresso pods or coffee capsules, made of plastic or aluminum and designed to only work with single-serve pod machines.

References
  1. Lee, J. (2020, January 14). How to use a manual OR “Lever” espresso machine. Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/02/video-how-to-use-a-manual-or-lever-espresso-machine/
  2. Martin, T. (2018, April 19). 7 tips that will change the way you brew coffee at home. CNET. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/home/kitchen-and-household/these-tips-will-change-the-way-you-brew-coffee-at-home/
  3. The dual boiler™. Breville. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.breville.com/us/en/products/espresso/bes920.html
  4. Basic espresso theory. La Marzocco Home. (2019, October 3). Retrieved from https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/basic-espresso-theory/
  5. ESE pods: An easy and environmentally-friendly way to make coffee. MaxiCoffee Blog. (2021, January 7). Retrieved from https://www.maxicoffee.com/blog/en-gb/ese-pods/
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