Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine


My Journey Into Espresso Nirvana

 An In-Depth Look at the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

By: James Butler        Revised by: Mark Cambell    Last updated: Feb 7, 2024

Another flashy espresso machine promising shot perfection? The Breville Barista Express espresso machine lives up to its name by delivering complete temperature stability and shot consistency that easily rivals machines costing twice the price. 

Let's get the basics out of the way. This Breville Espresso Machine is a semi-automatic machine with an integrated conical burr grinder. It comes in brushed stainless steel and retails for around $700. The combination of a machine and grinder in one compact package makes it ideal for beginners and intermediate baristas looking to up their home espresso game.

So how did it perform during my month-long date? In three delightful words: beautifully, consistently, deliciously.

The 58mm chrome-plated brass group head heated up to the ideal temperature of around 200°F in under 3 minutes, ensuring that precious grinds were extracted properly. The double wall filter basket and thermocoil heating system worked in perfect harmony to produce delectable espresso shots. 

The integrated smart conical burr grinder of this gorgeous Breville Espresso Machine features 18 grind settings, allowing one to dial in the perfect grind size for their beans of choice. 

Breville really thought of everything when engineering this versatile machine. The water reservoir is removable and easy to fill, the drip tray has ample capacity, and the cable hooks ensure the cord is neatly tucked away. They even included a tamping station with a built-in 54mm leveling tool.

Along with the expected features of the Breville Barista Express like a dual wall filter basket, pressurized portafilter, on/off switch and a water hardness setting dial, there are several customization options to help you dial in the perfect espresso every time. Adjustable pre-infusion and volumetric controls help produce consistently perfect shots with just the right amount of crema, while the custom shot timer allows you to perfect your preferred brew ratios.

The Commercial Style Steam Wand on the Barista Express is a dream for any home barista. The 360-degree swivel-action and powerful steam delivery allow me to effortlessly create velvety microfoam and rich, creamy textures for my cappuccinos, lattes, and beyond. The Instant Hot Water function is an added bonus, enabling me to quickly prepare Americanos or pre-heat my cups for the perfect serving temperature.

Breville Barista Express espresso machine steam wand

The thoughtful design elements of the Barista Express, such as the Dry Puck Feature and the Removable Wet & Dry Coffee Separator Drip Tray, further enhance the user experience. The Dry Puck Feature removes excess water from the spent coffee grounds, making the disposal process clean and effortless. The removable drip tray, with its "Empty Me!" indicator, ensures that I can easily maintain the machine's cleanliness.

My only minor gripes are that the machine heats up relatively slowly compared to some of the pricier competition and the milk steaming wand lacks some of the bells and whistles found on higher-end models. But for the reasonable price and considering this machine's target audience, these are small concessions when weighed against the delicious brews it produced during my quality time together.

Lastly, the Breville Barista Express boasts a sleek and compact design, with features like the ½lb Bean Hopper, Integrated Tamper, and Cup Warming Tray seamlessly integrated into the overall aesthetic. The machine's small footprint makes it a perfect fit for even the most compact kitchen spaces, while the thoughtful storage solutions ensure that all the necessary accessories are easily accessible.

Breville Barista Express espresso machine