Breville (Sage in Europe) started making espresso machines in 2001 and has quickly established itself as one of the best brands in terms of quality, price, and reliability. Focusing more on designs for the coffee enthusiast, they have a loyal fanbase in the coffee community. They also have great options for those who want espresso making to be easy.
With such a great selection to choose from, which is the best Breville espresso machine for you? The Breville Baristo Pro comes out as the overall top dog, but it all depends on what you’re after.
Read on as we break down each machine in the Breville espresso-making lineup, alongside its pros and cons, and who it’s best suited to.
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Not sure if a Breville machine is right for you?
See how they stack up against Jura, another giant of the espresso making world.
1. Breville BES878BSS Barista Pro Espresso Machine – Best Overall
- Quality built-in grinder
- LCD display for grinding and extraction
- High-quality trimmer and tamper included
- Pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets
- Can pull exceptional espresso
- Easy to use milk wand
- Heats up fast due to Thermojet system
- Cleaning is messy
- Not the easiest for beginners
The Barista Pro sits in the sweet spot of affordability and functionality. Sure, nothing is automated, but everything about it is designed to make pulling espresso incredibly easy. I get that you have to manually foam the milk but it’s not hard. If you want to do latte art that’s a touch tougher. But simple espresso drinks like flat white, cappuccino, or latte are all achievable with minimal practice.
With 30 grind settings, precise dosing, the superb tamper and trimmer, and a precise extraction timer it’s fully set up to allow you to get perfect espresso with ease. It even comes with double-walled filter baskets for beginners, allowing more margin for error. For better flavor, you can then move to the single-walled ones when you’re more confident.
This is designed for people who care about coffee and want to be involved in making it, there are other options for those who don’t. It can be a bit messy to clean as the grounds can spill out of the portafilter while dosing but it doesn’t take much effort to clean.
Thanks to the thermojet technology, the Baristo Pro also heats up nearly instantly and can switch from espresso to milk in no time at all too.
It looks great, is easy to use, makes incredibly good coffee, has amazing customization options, and is built to be your espresso buddy for years to come. Overall, a truly fantastic machine.
2. Breville BES990BSS Oracle Touch Espresso Machine – Best Super Automatic
- Pulls high-quality espressos
- Accessible for beginners whilst also being customizable for pro home baristas
- Automatic milk frothing
- Easy to clean
- Consistency is superb
- Can make pretty much any coffee your want at the touch of a button
- 45 grind settings
- Very expensive
- Big and heavy
- Takes a while to heat up
Excuse me whilst I gush as I love the Oracle Touch. A lot.
It looks incredible, as all the Breville machines do, and I love the design. But the frankly insane level of customization, all controlled for you by the machine, is exceptional. While you do have to move the portafilter from the grinding/tamping part to the extraction part, it’s hardly arduous. Especially when most of us stand staring at the coffee machine waiting for it to finish anyway.
Those not so interested in fiddling with everything can select their favorite coffee drink and let the machine do its work. Or you can set the grind, strength, temperature, milk foam/texture, and milk temperature exactly how you like it, then save it and have it your way every day.
It is expensive. But it’s a top-of-the-line espresso maker and isn’t more expensive than others of its caliber. In fact, it’s significantly cheaper than machines that offer the same level of functionality. It’s also big and heavy, but then it needs to be, and again not compared to its direct competition.
The only downside is that it isn’t as “automatic” as some people may want. You have to move the portafilter and you need to put the milk jug under the wand. There are “push button and go” machines at this price point. But it’s really asking very little of you, and it’s easier to clean because of this.
3. Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine – Best for Espresso Fanatics
- Separate boilers for coffee and steam
- Choose to time your extraction or set a specific volume for perfect espresso
- Auto-on feature so your machine is ready when you are
- Pressure gauge to check your extraction pressure is consistent and perfect
- Dedicated steam boiler means “drier” steam for better milk quality
- No in-built grinder
- Expensive for so few features
The Breville Dual Boiler is an espresso fanatic’s dream machine in many ways:
You have separate boilers for the coffee and steam, so there’s no waiting around and no concerns over temperature. You can also monitor the extraction – either time it yourself or set the specific volume and let it work.
The pressure gauge allows you to monitor the extraction pressure so you know you’re getting perfect espresso. It also has an over-pressure valve (OPV) so you know it’s going to be consistently perfect.
The downsides are you need a separate grinder. Breville offers the Smart Grinder Pro with the Dual Boiler in a very nice package deal. Sometimes it is cheaper than the machine on its own! The Smart Grinder Pro is one of the best affordable electric grinders available with 60 grind settings. Whilst not all of these are suitable for espresso, the upside is you can use this grinder for other brewing methods too.
4. Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Machine
- Great espresso
- 30 grind settings
- 5 pre-programmed drinks
- 8 programmable drinks
- Automatic or manual milk frothing
- Full color touch screen display
- Manual tamping
The Breville Barista Touch espresso machine is a great automatic option for those who want espresso to be a bit easier. You still need to manually tamp and trim your grounds as well as move the portafilter into position, but the machine does the rest.
The ability to save 8 custom drinks is the big selling point of the Barista Touch. You can play with the settings and save your perfect coffees so you can get them at the touch of the screen, perfect every time. The 8 texture settings and huge temperature range options on the automatic milk frothing make doing it manually a little redundant unless you’re really good at it.
It is expensive though. We’re talking over $1000 at this point, which isn’t outrageous in super-automatic espresso machine circles, but we’re starting to exit the realms of what most can afford. What you’re getting is the ability to change all the things the Barista Pro does, but on a screen with minimal effort. You just need to ask if that’s worth $300 to you.
The Barista Touch is ideal for a household where multiple people drink coffee and, crucially, all like different things. Having your perfect coffee saved will make life infinitely easier for you and is well worth the extra cost. Unless of course, someone likes to play the role of Barista and fire out 3 or 4 unique coffees manually every morning.
Psst… Do you want to see how the Barista Touch stacks up in a head-to-head battle with the Oracle Touch? Check out our full comparison review:
5. Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine – Best For Small Kitchens
- Incredibly compact
- 3 second heat up time
- Automatic milk frother
- Easy to use
- Available in 9 colors when purchased from Breville directly
- Needs a separate grinder
- Still expensive
The Bambino Plus is not really a “budget” option in the Breville range, more of a “compact” one. This is great since we don’t all have sprawling kitchen counters to fill with our collection of coffee and cooking toys. Instead, the Bambino Plus is designed to allow those with space limitations to still get a great Breville espresso machine.
It still has the features that stand out in the larger models – thermojet heating, PID temperature control, and high-quality milk frothing. It’s working with their “4 keys” to ensure you get great espresso from the pocket-sized machine.
Automatic milk frothing is a great feature on the Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine. With 3 temperature settings and 3 “texture” settings, you can get really good microfoam no matter your milk preferences. You also still get the superb tamper and trimmer tools for getting perfect pucks to put into the machine.
It’s still not cheap. But it gives you great control over your espresso, fantastic milk quality either manually or automatically, and will fit in anyone’s kitchen. All you need is a quality grinder and you’re good to go.
6. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
- Makes excellent espresso
- Good for beginners and experienced espresso makers
- Great milk froth
- Looks great
- Great value (when at $650)
- Grinder could have more settings
- No thermojet heating
- Only pressure gauge for feedback
The Breville Barista Express espresso machine is still a great option 10 years after release.
You can easily brew incredibly high-quality espressos with the pressure gauge on the front to let you know you’re getting perfect extraction. The milk wand works well and allows you to make perfect microfoam. Plus, the in-built grinder is good quality with 16 settings to ensure the grind is just right for your beans.
The only real issue with the Barista Express is its age. Breville has improved all aspects of its espresso machines in the last decade which has left the Barista Express behind. When you can get it for $600-650 then it’s still really excellent value as it’s a superb machine. But anything above that and you are much better off paying the relatively small amount extra for the Barista Pro or Touch.
The lack of a screen to give feedback on the dose and extraction times is now frustrating, whereas in 2013 it was a non-issue. But using the pressure gauge to ensure your extraction is at the requisite 9 bar, with low-pressure pre-infusion of course, is good. Timing the shot on your phone – that stopwatch we all carry around with us at all times – isn’t hard.
But it’s often only $100 cheaper than the Barista Pro, and that $100 gets you so much more. So sadly, the Barista Express falls down the list due to being a touch outdated rather than any fault in its functionality.
7. Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Espresso Machine – Best Budget
- Very affordable
- Simple to use
- Double walled baskets for great crema
- Good steam wand
- Same quality construction
- Can brew a little cold
- Doesn’t have the “4 keys” features
The Breville Cafe Roma espresso machine is an entry-level option. And with the significant drop in price comes a significant drop in features. Gone are the “4 keys” of larger dose, consistent temperature for steam and extraction, the pre-infusion, and 9 bar pressure espresso extraction.
What you do get is a really well-made espresso machine that will pull a decent shot of espresso and allow you to foam some good milk with relative ease. It still looks good too, if not quite as good as their more expensive offerings.
Not everyone cares about timing espresso shots, steam temperatures pressure gauges, and so on and so forth. Some people just want a machine that will pull a decent espresso with minimal fuss and allow them to heat up some milk to go in it. If this is you, this offering from Breville will work really well.
We’re big advocates of not paying for features you won’t use. If you look at the more expensive espresso machines and see a bunch of features you don’t need and/or care about. The Café Roma could be the perfect little coffee buddy for you.
8. Breville Oracle Espresso Machine
- Great espresso
- 45 grind settings
- Total control over extraction
- Automatic milk frothing
- Dual boilers
- Easy cleaning
- Can’t save drinks
- Steeper learning curve
The Breville Oracle is an incredible espresso machine. The LCD screen allows you to precisely time your extraction either manually or by volume. It also automatically delivers perfectly foamed milk at the precise temperature and texture you desire. Plus, there are an astonishing 45 grind settings to choose from and one-touch americano for black coffee drinkers.
The downside is that other than the milk, this isn’t automated. You have to be involved in the grinding and brewing your espresso. Not really a big deal, but the Oracle Touch sneaks ahead in terms of price and the fact it holds your hand through the whole process.
But this is the only real knock on the Oracle. It maybe fills a gap for those who want to brew their espresso themselves but not to have to foam the milk. For us, if you’re looking at spending over $2000 on an espresso machine, why not just go all out and spring for the Oracle touch for the extra features.
If the Touch is a bit too much of a stretch, you’re still in for an absolute treat with the Oracle. You may be salivating over the Oracle Touch (totally normal) but realize you’ll never use some of the fancier features. If so, the Oracle is here for you. You will save a few hundred dollars too so you can buy some fancy types of coffee beans to use with your new machine.
Psst… Want to compare the Breville Oracle to the Oracle Touch in a head-to-head battle. Look no further:
9. Breville Infuser Espresso Machine
- Good espresso
- Pressure gauge for perfect extraction
- Steam wand is easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Choose volume or manually time your espresso shots
- No in-built grinder
- A bit expensive
Weird superhero-esque name aside, the Breville Infuser is another espresso machine that is absolutely superb but feels a little left behind by the newer models. Sporting a very handy pressure gauge along with PID temperature control, volume or manual shot control, and excellent milk frothing, it’s a really good all-around machine.
It doesn’t have an in-built grinder, but you can pick one up cheap if you like. Or you could spring for a decent one thanks to the savings on your machine. If you get a good grinder, the combined cost will be around the same as the Barista Express, which is a better espresso machine. It also brings you not far from the Barista Pro, which is an exceptional espresso machine. And both have grinders included.
So while there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Infuser, you’re better off either paying a bit more for one of the machines with an in-built grinder. Or pay a little less and get the Bambino Plus with automatic milk frothing. For us, the Infuser falls a little in no-man land.
10. Breville Barista Express Impress
- Automatic dosing and tamping
- Built-in grinder with 25 settings
- Good quality espresso
- Customization & control
- Upgraded milk frother from Barista Express
- Less mess
- Takes up a lot of space
- Only a 54mm portafilter
- Milk frothing is manual
If you love the idea of controlling your espresso shots but are a little daunted by all the steps, Breville has an answer for you.
The Breville Barista Express Impress is the newest addition to their espresso machine range and is designed to keep one thing constant: tamping.
It will auto-dose for you too but the real reason to purchase this machine over the others is perfect tamping every time. This allows you to tinker with all the other aspects, safe in the knowledge that your coffee puck is perfect.
It’s quite expensive for essentially a semi-automatic machine. But that lack of automation is what you’re looking for to truly tinker with pulling espresso in order to perfect your craft. The only other complaint we have is that the button order has been switched around compared to older models. So long-term Breville users may take some time to adjust.
They’ve also upgraded the grinder and the milk wand from the original, and excellent, Barista Express. Overall, this is a great starter machine for the novice espresso puller.
11. Breville Bambino Espresso Machine
- Very small footprint
- Great espresso
- Thermojet heating system
- Very easy to use
- Great value
- Very few features
The Bambino is the cheapest espresso machine that Breville makes with its “4 Keys” philosophy. This means you get your great temperature control, pre-infusion followed by even pressure for optimum extraction, plus high-temperature steam for perfect milk.
You lose a lot of the control elements that the more expensive, and bigger machines have. You can still control the shot volume by holding down the buttons so you get the exact espresso you want. But manual milk frothing and only having a choice of 1 or 2 shots is not a lot of options.
This may of course suit you. Perhaps if you’re short on space you want a compact espresso machine capable of pulling a top-notch shot and foaming some superb milk. The choice of double or single-walled baskets means beginners and more advanced espresso makers alike will thrive with this machine.
For us, the Bambino Plus is worth the extra money if you’re looking for a small espresso machine that doesn’t compromise on quality. However, if you don’t feel the need for automatic milk frothing, then the Bambino will serve you very nicely.
12. Breville Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine
The Duo Temp Pro is a stripped-back espresso machine with the bare bones needed to make exceptional espresso at home. Like many of the espresso machines above, it has all the tech that we’ve mentioned before which is critical to great coffee but without any of the help.
You’ll need to manually tell the Duo Temp Pro when to stop your espresso which isn’t particularly difficult. You’ll then have to manually froth your milk to the perfect temperature and texture by yourself too. Also not exactly difficult, although it is slightly harder.
The machine will auto-purge between frothing and espresso pulling so you don’t get water that is too hot for your coffee. Duo Temp means this machine operates at the two different temperatures needed for steaming the milk and brewing the coffee.
It’s a good machine. It’s just that you can get great features for only a little extra from Breville. Maybe some people will really like how simple it is. But considering for $50 more you can get the Bambino Plus, I just don’t really see how it fits in.
Breville and Sage are the same company. When breville started selling appliances in Europe there was already a company using that brand name based in Germany. To avoid confusion with consumers, Breville sell their products under the brand name Sage. The products are exactly the same, it’s just a different badge on the front of your coffee machine.
Effort Level Required
Depending on how much work you want to put in to get your espresso, the Breville espresso machine range has different options. They start at the semi-automatics (a little effort needed) to up the super-automatics (as close to zero as you can get):
These require you to grind, dose, tamp, start, and stop the espresso shot and foam the milk. Basically everything except heating the water and applying the pressure is up to you. This gives you a huge amount of control over your espresso but requires a lot of input.
If you’re interested in, or used to, controlling the whole espresso-making process then the semi-automatic machines are ideal for you. You can save money by not paying for automated features you don’t need or want. The Dual Boiler is the best option in this case.
Automatic espresso machines are basically the same as semi-automatics but they’ll time the espresso extraction for you. This is usually done by setting a specific volume of water. Almost all automatic espresso machines can be operated like a semi-automatic if you prefer to manually stop the shot. But there’s that extra level of automation for those that want it.
The more expensive automatic machines will also froth the milk for you. This will usually cost significantly more but it can be a great feature if you love milky coffees but don’t want the learning curve of steaming your own milk. We recommend the Barista Pro for those looking for an awesome automatic. If you want a touch more automation but don’t want to splash out on the top-end machines, the Barista Touch is also a great choice.
Super Automatic espresso machines, or fully automatic espresso machines, do it all for you. Simply press a button and the coffee is ground, dosed, tamped, and extracted plus the milk is foamed. These are the most expensive machines you can buy.
Most will come with a lot of options to customize the final product, so you can get that semi-automatic level of control without the human error. But you’ll have to pay top dollar. If that sounds like your ideal coffee set up then the Breville Oracle Touch is the one for you.
Do you Have a Grinder?
If you already own a great grinder then a machine without one is a better option – why pay more for something you already have? If you don’t own a grinder then you need to factor that into your costs. You can get a decent budget grinder for around $70, but a really good grinder will set you back around $150 at least. If it’s an electric grinder that also doses the coffee then it’s going to be over $200. Just something to factor in when looking at prices.
The Breville Dynamic Duo dual boiler espresso machine and Smart Grinder Pro is a package deal aimed at the espresso geeks. This is actually an awesome deal if you’re looking for an espresso machine with a separate grinder.
Very High Build Quality
Breville builds all of its products to last. There is no planned obsolescence here. There are many avid coffee fans who are using their Barista Express daily that they bought in 2013.
All Breville machines are well thought out and designed to be as easy to use as possible. All the way down to the clearly marked slot for the portafilter, ease of use is a priority.
PID Temperature Control
Precise and consistent temperature is critical to perfect espresso extraction. Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID to you and me) is a complex way of ensuring the water temperature stays within a very narrow range.
Plastic in coffee makers is a big thing. A lot of people don’t like the idea of plastic being anywhere near their coffee grounds and a big plastic box isn’t everyone’s idea of a great-looking coffee machine. Breville uses mainly stainless steel in its designs. This can reduce the options for various finishes, but does give a solid and timeless look.
Breville feels the reason for poor quality espresso often lies in the fact people are using 10-14g of coffee for each shot. Instead, Breville uses 18-22g in their portafilters, giving a richer and fuller espresso flavor.
266°F Steam Temperature
Another focus of Breville is the milk frothing temperature. Using steam at a consistent 266°F (130°C) heats the milk quickly and makes getting the ideal combination of texture and microfoam simpler. Cheaper espresso machines will have steam that is not hot enough to achieve this.
200°F Brewing Temperature
The idea that 200°F is a great temperature to brew espresso at is hardly new. Breville’s focus is on the consistency of that temperature for even extraction. This is where the PID temperature control is so important.
9 Bar Extraction
Again, 9 bar extraction for espresso isn’t a new idea. But Breville is focusing on that pressure being consistent during the extraction process. They also make sure there is a low-pressure “pre-infusion” stage which is critical to getting the best flavor from your beans.
So, once you’ve bought the best Breville espresso machine, you also need the best espresso beans for that perfect coffee experience.
We’ve compiled a list of the top coffee beans for espresso, with recommendations from across the coffee world. These are all amazing compliments to your new Breville coffee maker.
The Barista Pro is undoubtedly the best Breville espresso machine currently available. It has the perfect balance of amazing features and affordability. An argument can be made that the Oracle Touch is the best espresso machine money can buy but it’s just a bit too expensive for many espresso lovers.
Other options in the Breville espresso making lineup all serve their specific niches in the coffee community. From the Bambino Plus for those short of space, the Café Roma for those on a budget, and the Dual Boiler for espresso fanatics.
No matter which option you go for, you are in for a treat. They’re all really good espresso machines, all you have to do is choose which one is perfect for you.
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