Which Breville Espresso Machine Should You Buy? We Tested a Whole Lot of Them

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an espresso shot with thick streams is dropping into a cup
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Breville’s espresso machine lineup combines user-friendly design with professional-quality espresso. They were one of the first companies to add a PID controller (an algorithm-driven precision temperature control module) to home espresso machines. Breville also pioneered quick-heating steam wands that were ready to go in seconds and added user-friendly details (like cleaning instructions on the water reservoir) that helped demystify the shot-pulling experience for new home baristas. 

At the same time, a lot of their espresso machines look similar and only reveal their differences when you get down to the technical nitty-gritty. We put together this guide to highlight our favorite tested Breville espresso machines—along with a handful of others that we’ve had hands-on experience with—to help you decide which model is right for you.

Our Favorite Breville Espresso Machines, at a Glance

Packed with high-end features like precise PID temperature control (an algorithm-driven computer that regulates boiler heating) and an automatic milk steaming wand that aerates the milk for you, the Bambino Plus is also a user-friendly espresso machine well-suited for beginners and pros alike. It’s quick to heat up, has a simple and intuitive interface, and is small enough to fit on almost any kitchen counter. And, of course, it pulls really tasty espresso shots, winning the designation as our top overall espresso machine during testing (we evaluated 14 models). 

Best for: While this machine brews great espresso, its automatic milk steaming wand makes it an excellent choice for latte and cappuccino drinkers. It has three presets for both milk texture and temperature, delivering cafe-quality milk at the push of a button, and it’s one of the cheapest machines in Breville’s lineup. For those with aesthetics on the mind, it comes in three colors (including a striking deep blue).

Challenges or shortcomings: Our biggest gripe with this machine is its programmable volume buttons—they couldn’t consistently deliver the same amount of espresso. Instead, we recommend stopping your shots manually. 

Steaming milk with the Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine
Serious Eats / Ashley Rodriguez

Good to Know: 

  • Breville also has another entry-level model—the Breville Duo Temp—but it lacks a PID, has a clunky dial to pull your shot instead of buttons, has a manual steam wand, and is overall the same price as the Bambino Plus with considerably fewer features.
  • If you’re on a budget and don’t mind steaming milk yourself, the Breville Bambino features the same shot-pulling capabilities, just with a manual steam wand. It also has a smaller boiler (only 47 ounces) and will need to have its water reservoir topped off more often. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 8 x 13 x 12 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds 
  • Portafilter diameter: 54 millimeter 
  • Capacity: 1 liter 
  • Comes with: 54mm tamper, the Razor precision dosing tool, stainless steel milk jug, 1- and 2-cup single wall & dual wall filter baskets, cleaning tool, cleaning disc
  • Care instructions: Backflush with coffee detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Warranty: 2-year limited product warranty
  • Price at time of publish: $500
The Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine
Serious Eats / Ashley Rodriguez

For anyone new to espresso, the Barista Express Impress has a built-in grinder, automated coffee dosing, and an assisted tamping lever—and it’s the machine of choice for multiple Serious Eats staffers. It has the same precise PID temperature control as other Breville machines, only this one automates every step of the shot-pulling process for you. We were thoroughly impressed (get it) during testing by its coffee dosing system, which consistently portioned out coffee grounds within a half-gram every time. In order to achieve the correct dose, the system uses a series of lights to tell you if the puck is too shallow or high. A just-right puck displays a green light next to a smiley face to let the user know they have the right amount of coffee. It was easy to pull delicious shots, and its steam wand was able to produce microfoam silky enough to pour latte art. 

Best for: This is an excellent machine for anyone who is excited about espresso drinks at home and wants a streamlined drink-making process that doesn’t require extra training. Perfecting espresso techniques can be time-consuming, but even a person brand new to home espresso can make a great latte within minutes of setting up the machine for the first time. 

Challenges or shortcomings: Like the Bambino Plus, we wish the programmable espresso volume buttons were more consistent, and we recommend stopping your shots manually. The built-in grinder is also more limited than a standalone espresso grinder, which would have more settings to experiment with in the ideal espresso range. 

the font of an espresso machine showing a number of dials and switches and a green light indicating proper dosage
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Good to know: 

  • The automatic coffee dosing system takes a little tweaking to perfect. After the machine automatically portions your coffee out, you use the tamping lever to compact the espresso puck. If the dose is too high, the grinder automatically delivers less coffee the next time. If the dose is too low, the user manually tops up the coffee and re-tamps until the green light triggers next to the smiley face. The grinder then gives you that same amount of coffee the next time.
  • Because the automatic coffee dosing and assisted tamping lever are designed around the filter baskets that come with the machine, you aren’t able to swap these parts out for third-party filter baskets. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 13 x 15 x 16 inches
  • Weight: 24 pounds 
  • Portafilter diameter: 54 millimeter 
  • Capacity: 2 liters 
  • Grind settings: 25
  • Comes with: Stainless steel milk jug, 1- and 2-cup single and dual wall filter baskets, water filter holder with filter, the Razor precision trimming tool, cleaning tablets, Allen key, steam wand cleaning tool, cleaning disc, cleaning brush, descaling powder
  • Care instructions: Backflush with coffee detergent according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Warranty: 2-year repair, replacement warranty
  • Price at time of publish: $900
the Breville Barista Express Impress
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

If you like the idea of a built-in grinder but want a more hands-on approach, the Barista Pro has 30 grind settings—more than any other Breville espresso machine—and you can also control how much coffee the grinder doses into your portafilter based on a digital timer that’s easy to adjust. Like the rest of the Breville lineup, it’s quick to heat up, has precision PID temperature control, and pulls great espresso shots.

Best for: Anyone who’s looking for more control over their espresso but still wants the convenience of a built-in grinder. The Barista Pro also lets the user adjust how much coffee the grinder portions out, so if you’re picky about your espresso quality, you can tinker away to your heart’s delight. 

Challenges or shortcomings: In our testing, the Barista Pro’s grinder couldn’t match the grind precision of a standalone espresso grinder. While we still like this machine, we prefer the extra automation of the Barista Express Impress and the espresso quality of the Bambino Plus paired with a grinder. 

an espresso machine portafilter showing two streams of espresso falling off of the spouts
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Good to know: 

  • The Barista Pro uses a ThermoJet heating system, like the Bambino Plus, which is more efficient and heats up faster. This boiler, plus more grind settings and a digital timer for coffee portioning, helps set it apart from the Barrsta Express, which looks very similar. 
  • There’s also the Breville Barista Touch, which is a version of the Barista Pro that adds a touchscreen for easier control and step-by-step guides. It’s expensive, and we prefer the Breville Barista Touch Impress (which we detail below) for its automated dosing and assisted tamping lever. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 13.9 x 13.5 x 16 inches
  • Weight: 20 pounds 
  • Portafilter diameter: 54 millimeter 
  • Capacity: 2 liters 
  • Grind settings: 30
  • Comes with: Dosing funnel attachment, single & dual wall (1- and 2-cup) filter baskets, the Razor precision dose trimming tool, stainless steel milk jug, cleaning kit, water filter
  • Care instructions: Backflush with coffee detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Warranty: 2-year limited product warranty
  • Price at time of publish: $850
the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine
Serious Eats / Ashley Rodriguez

The Barista Express is a no-frills espresso machine with a built-in grinder and an approachable price point. It’s easy to use, features the same PID temperature control as every other Breville machine, and has 16 grind settings and a dose adjustment dial to fine-tune the grinder delivering more or less coffee into the filter basket. Its steam wand also heats up in under a minute and is powerful enough to create microfoam for latte art.

Best for: The Barista Express is Breville’s most popular espresso machine, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a simple, straightforward model with a built-in grinder, and what it lacks in features it makes up for in value compared to buying a standalone espresso machine and grinder. 

Challenges or shortcomings: The biggest shortcoming of the Barista Express is its lack of features. While it’s Breville’s least expensive espresso machine with a built-in grinder, the Barista Pro and Barista Express Impress are only marginally more expensive for either more automation or more precise control. It’s also around the same price as pairing a Bambino Plus with a Baratza Encore ESP (one of our favorite espresso grinders).

An espresso shot being pulled from the Breville Bambino Plus
Serious Eats / Ashley Rodriguez

Good to know:

  • This machine is Breville’s most popular model. It’s been around since 2011 (with an overhaul in 2013), and compared to buying a standalone espresso machine and grinder, it’s a good price point. However, we recommend the Breville Barista Express Impress if someone wants a machine with streamlined shot pulling for its wider variety of grind settings and automated dosing and tamping system. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 13.8 x 16 inches
  • Weight: 23 pounds 
  • Portafilter diameter: 54 millimeter 
  • Capacity: 2 liters 
  • Grind settings: 16
  • Comes with: Dosing funnel attachment, single and dual wall (1- and 2-cup) filter baskets, the Razor precision dose trimming tool, stainless steel milk jug, cleaning kit, water filter
  • Care instructions: Backflush with coffee detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Warranty: 1-year limited product warranty
  • Price at time of publish: $750
the Breville Barista Express espresso machine
Serious Eats / Ashley Rodriguez

For the ultimate user experience, the Barista Touch Impress combines Breville’s intuitive touchscreen controls with the automated dosing and assisted tamping of the Express Impress and the automatic milk steaming of the Bambino Plus. Just select a drink on the touchscreen, and the machine will walk you through every step of how to make it (including letting you know if your shot pulled too fast or slow). The automatic steam wand also has an auto-purge for easy cleaning, and it even has settings for different kinds of plant milks. This is also the first Breville grinder to implement precision Baratza burrs (the same ones used in our favorite grinders) since they bought the company in 2020.

Best for: If you’re looking for an espresso machine that does most of the work for you, you’ll be happy with the Barista Touch Impress. It’s an easy-to-use espresso machine with a built-in grinder and a touchscreen that can make your barista ambitions a reality. 

Challenges or shortcomings: To start, this machine is expensive. And while the features work well, together they can be limiting for a more experienced home barista who wants to experiment more with their espresso specs. 

Good to know: 

  • This is a pricey machine. The touchscreen is really handy, the Baratza burrs are a nice upgrade, and we like the alternative milk settings for the automated steam wand. We think the Breville Barista Express Impress is still an excellent alternative—at nearly half the price.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 16 x 14.1 x 13.5 inches
  • Weight: 31 pounds 
  • Portafilter diameter: 54 millimeter 
  • Capacity: 2 liters 
  • Grind settings: 30
  • Comes with: Stainless steel milk jug, 1- and 2-cup single and dual wall filter baskets, water filter holder with filter, water hardness strip, the Razor precision trimming tool, cleaning tablets, steam wand cleaning tool, cleaning disc, cleaning brush, descaling powder
  • Care instructions: Backflush with coffee detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Warranty: 2-year limited product warranty
  • Price at time of publish: $1500
a Breville espresso machine with a touchscreen on a blue surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

If you’re looking to make the leap to a professional-style espresso machine that still features Breville’s user-friendly touches (like retractable wheels for moving around your counter), the Dual Boiler is a big step up from Breville’s Barista series. To start, it features independent boilers for brewing and its steam wand, which means you can steam milk and pull shots at the same time. It also has a much more powerful steam wand than most of the Breville lineup, and allows you to adjust your brew temperature by a single degree Fahrenheit, in case you want to experiment with slightly hotter or cooler brew temps. The Dual Boiler features a 58-millimeter portafilter instead of Breville’s usual 54-millimeter diameter, which makes it compatible with our recommended filter basket upgrade for sweeter-tasting shots. And although it’s a small detail, the Dual Boiler has a manual operation button for more control over your espresso brewing—something we’re grateful for since the automatic volume buttons tend to be inconsistent. To top it all off, it automatically times your shots on its digital display—no more fiddling with an external timer in one hand while you pull a shot with the other. 

Best for: Anyone looking to take the next step in pulling professional-style espresso shots will greatly appreciate the Dual Boiler’s precision. It’s a great jump-up in machine quality while still being user-friendly—Breville’s attention to detail includes a hidden tray for cleaning supplies, a pop-up sign when the drip tray is full, and cleaning instructions printed on the back of the water reservoir. 

Challenges and shortcomings: It’s one of Breville’s most expensive espresso machines, but in terms of what you get for the price, it’s a decent value. Most espresso machines with dual boilers run closer to $2,000 and are made by niche espresso machine companies, making the Breville Dual Boiler a great option for people ready to take the next step while still having access to a customer support line. 

an espresso machine portafilter showing two streams of espresso falling off of the spouts
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Good to know:

  • The Oracle is Breville’s version of the Dual Boiler with a built-in grinder and automatic steam wand (like the Bambino Plus). But for a machine that has this much espresso-pulling precision, we think you’re better off pairing the Dual Boiler with a high-end espresso grinder like the Baratza Sette 270, which has 270 grind settings compared to the 45 that the Oracle offers. 
  • The Oracle Touch is—you guessed it—the touchscreen version of the Oracle, and while it adds the same step-by-step usability of the other Touch machines, we think part of the appeal of the Dual Boiler is how much freedom it gives the barista to experiment, and someone looking for an automated experience would probably get more out of the Breville Barista Touch Impress (which is a good deal cheaper, too).

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 15.9 x 14.7 x 14.9 inches
  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Portafilter diameter: 58 millimeter 
  • Capacity: 2.5 liters 
  • Comes with: 58mm razor dosing tool, 58mm stainless steel portafilter, 1-cup and 2-cup single and dual wall filter baskets, tamper, stainless steel milk jug, cleaning kit, water hardness test strip, water filter holder, and water filter
  • Care instructions: Backflush with coffee detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Warranty: 2-year limited product warranty
an espresso machine steam wand in a pitcher of milk
Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

FAQs

What is the best Breville espresso machine?

In all of our testing, we found the Breville Bambino Plus to be the best overall espresso machine for its espresso quality, automatic milk steaming, small footprint, and lower cost. If you’re looking for a machine with a built-in grinder and more automation, the Breville Barista Express Impress is another great option.

Are Breville espresso machines easy to use?

Breville’s espresso machines are very user-friendly. They have intuitive button placement, easy-to-read interfaces, and hidden storage for tools. Most machines feature cleaning instructions printed right on the water reservoir for easy maintenance. 

Are Breville espresso machines worth the price? 

Breville’s espresso machine lineup features commercial-style features while being comparable in price to other consumer-level espresso machines. Most notably, Breville includes a PID temperature control module in all of its machines that regulates brewing temperatures within a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit; this is usually only found in a professional espresso machine.

Why We’re the Experts


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