Breville Barista Express Vs Barista Touch: A Comprehensive Comparison

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Both the Breville Barista Express and Barista Touch are in the higher-end lineup. The Breville Barista Touch is a step above the more manual Breville Barista Express, with a sleek touch display and an automatic steam wand, while offering many features that make it the better one.

Breville Barista Express Vs Barista Touch: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine BES880BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Touch
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches/26.8 lbs
16 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches/26 lbs
Interface
Touch Display
Knobs & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
8
2
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
18
Heating System
Single ThermoJet Boiler
Single Thermocoil Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing Steam Wand
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
2 Liter/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$949.95
$549.95
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine BES880BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Touch
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches/26.8 lbs
Interface
Touch Display
One Touch Drink Options
8
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Heating System
Single ThermoJet Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$949.95
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches/26 lbs
Interface
Knobs & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
18
Heating System
Single Thermocoil Boiler
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 Liter/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$549.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Barista Express Vs Barista Touch: Differences

The Barista Touch defeated the Barista Express with a 5-0 lead. Let’s scroll down to explore the intricacies that distinguish these two models, as well as the features they share!

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Built-in Grinder

Rather than having to shell out for an additional grinder, both of these machines have a built-in one, which is incredibly responsive and consistent. The Barista Express enables you to choose from 18 different grind settings, whereas the Barista Touch offers up to 30 settings, so you can make micro-adjustments to dial in the right setting for every single shot.

Heating System

Both the Breville Barista Express and the Barista Touch are indeed single-boiler machines, meaning they can’t steam milk and brew espresso simultaneously.

It’s interesting to note that the Barista Express uses a thermocoil heating system, which is relatively quick, taking about 30 seconds to heat up. The Barista Touch features a ThermoJet heating system, which is even more impressive – It heats up in just about three seconds, significantly reducing the wait time. Both are a step up from traditional single boiler machines, which take much longer to heat up.

Brewing System

Pre-infusion, much like the blooming process in pour-over or French press coffee making, plays a crucial role in developing the flavor of the coffee. It involves dampening the bed of ground coffee slightly, allowing carbon dioxide to escape and the aromas to start developing, setting the stage for a more flavorful extraction.

Both the Barista Express and Barista Touch include a preset pre-infusion function. Before they reach their full 15 bars of pressure for extraction, they gently wet the coffee grounds. This short process helps to evenly saturate the coffee, leading to a more balanced and flavorful espresso.

What’s really impressive about the Barista Express right here is the ability to adjust the pre-infusion time, which isn’t an option with the Barista Touch. A longer or shorter pre-infusion can really significantly affect the extraction of flavors.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Right off the bat, the Barista Touch features a wand that offers the best of both worlds – It can froth milk on its own, or you can use it to get the job done with your skills if you prefer.

the barista express uses a manual steam wand, whereas the barista touch features an automatic one
The Barista Express uses a manual steam wand, whereas the Barista Touch features an automatic one

In auto mode, you don’t have to do anything other than put the pitcher under the frother, adjust the temperature and texture of your milk, and then the machine takes over, frothing the milk to your specified temperature. You can use the steam wand manually if you’d prefer, but the wand is limited to up and down motions, which might be a slight limitation for those used to a steam wand with a full 360-degree range of motion like the one on the Barista Express.

the milk temperature sensor on the barista express's drip tray
The milk temperature sensor on the Barista Express’s drip tray

The Barista Express, on the other hand, features a professional-style steam wand that requires a bit of trial and error. But once you get the hang of it, the control and quality of the foam you can achieve are unparalleled.

Dimensions & User Interface

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Breville Barista ExpressBreville Barista Touch
Dimensions16 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches
Weight26 lbs26.8 lbs

The Barista Express and Barista Touch aren’t compact machines by any means. Still, a positive aspect is that they both include a built-in burr coffee grinder, which means you won’t need additional space for a separate grinder. 

Another crucial aspect to consider is the height – they’re relatively tall, which might pose a challenge if you plan to place the machine under overhead cabinets. You’ll need to access the removable water tank and bean hopper regularly, so easy accessibility is key.

The Barista Touch’s touchscreen interface is user-friendly and easy to use. The ability to quickly select drinks, adjust settings, and even save personal preferences with just a few taps on the screen enhances the overall experience, making it more efficient and enjoyable.

the barista touch touchscreen
The Barista Touch touchscreen

The Barista Express adopts a more traditional approach with its array of buttons and a pressure gauge, which is particularly useful for dialing in espresso shots with precision. Delving into changing settings might require a bit more effort and necessitate a consultation with the user manual. It does mean that there’s a steeper learning curve compared to the straightforwardness of the Barista Touch’s touchscreen interface.

the barista express's control panel
The Barista Express’s control panel

Pre-programmed Coffee Options  & Programmability

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Breville Barista ExpressBreville Barista Touch
Espresso
Hot Water
Espresso
Latte
Flat White
Cappuccino
Americano
Hot Chocolate
Tea
Milk

Unlike the Barista Express, the Barista Touch features a menu of some specialty drinks. Sure, you still need to pour the drink by hand, which means that your skills in milk frothing, pouring, and potentially even latte art will come into play. 

Speaking of customization, both allow you to adjust the shot length, shot volume, and brewing temperature. The Barista Touch goes a step further by offering additional options for customizing the temperature and texture of the milk foam, as mentioned above.

Other Features

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

User Profiles

The Barista Touch enables you to save up to eight of your own creations. So after experimenting with different shot lengths, milk temperatures, and foam textures to create unique drinks that cater to your specific taste, you can save these settings directly on the machine.

the barista touch can save up to eight drinks on the home screen
The Barista Touch can save up to eight drinks on the home screen

Breville Barista Express Vs Barista Touch: Similarities

Dosing & Tamping

Both come with a 54-millimeter portafilter, which feels robust and well-made. They also include both single-wall and double-wall filter baskets, which is particularly useful depending on the type of coffee you’re using and your level of expertise in espresso making.

both come with single-wall and double-wall filter baskets
Both come with single-wall and double-wall filter baskets

For instance, if you occasionally make espresso from pre-ground decaf coffee, the double-wall filter basket is a great option. This type of basket also helps in achieving a decent espresso shot even when the grind isn’t perfectly tailored for espresso.

For regular use, especially with freshly ground coffee, the single-wall basket tends to yield more complex and flavorful results. It allows for a better extraction of the coffee’s oils and flavors, but it does require a more precise grind and tamping technique. 

The stainless steel tamper that ships with these machines isn’t too bad.  I’ve seen too many high-end machines paired with plastic tampers that just don’t do justice to the overall experience. A poor-quality tamper can make it challenging to apply the right amount of pressure evenly, leading to suboptimal extraction. That’s why I really appreciate it when manufacturers like Breville include a tamper that matches the quality of the machine itself.

the tamper can be magnetically attached to the body of the machine
The tamper can be magnetically attached to the body of the machine

Design & Convenience

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Breville Barista ExpressBreville Barista Touch
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4 inches4 inches

Both machines boast a commendable cup clearance beneath the portafilter, ensuring hassle-free accommodation for your espresso cups or standard mugs. But if you prefer to fill a taller travel mug or a latte macchiato glass, a quick removal of the drip tray will do the trick.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Breville Barista ExpressBreville Barista Touch
Water Reservoir2 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.25 kilogram0.25 kilogram

Each machine comes with a 2-liter water tank, complete with a robust handle for ease of removal from the machine’s rear. Just be mindful when repositioning the tank since there’s a tendency to inadvertently splash. And as you might expect, both come with a water filter, which helps to remove impurities and minerals from tap water that can affect the flavor and aroma of your espresso.

Built-in Cup Warmer

A cup warmer is an excellent addition for several reasons. It helps maintain the temperature of your espresso or coffee drink. When you pour hot coffee into a cold cup, the cup absorbs heat from the coffee, causing it to cool down more quickly. By pre-warming the cup, you ensure that your coffee stays hot for a longer period, enhancing your drinking experience.

Additionally, warming the cup can also affect the flavor of the coffee. Just as with wine or certain foods, the temperature can significantly influence how we perceive flavors. A warm cup ensures that the espresso’s full range of flavors is more pronounced and enjoyable right from the first sip.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Touch

Sale
Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine BES880BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.39L x 16.19W x 16.19H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 28.25 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1
  • Product Type - COFFEE MAKER

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Built-in burr grinder with 30 grind settings.
  • ThermoJet quick heating system.
  • Easy-to-use and intuitive touchscreen.
  • Automatic steam wand.
  • Budget-friendly.
Cons
  • Only one boiler.
  • No automattic tamping system.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express 

Sale
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of coffee art at home, helping you make the perfect cup of latte or cappuccino

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Adjustable grinder with 18 grind settings.
  • Good built-in steam wand.
  • A lot of adjustable settings.
  • Brews a tasty espresso.
  • Simple to use and clean.
Cons
  • No milk temperature control.
  • Requires trial and error to froth milk.

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