Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Express: A Detailed Comparison

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Breville espresso machines have many features that make them user-friendly and effortless to use. And they’re also ideal for beginners. They boast a shiny exterior with fast, consistent, and long-lasting performance.  The Breville Dual Boiler and the Breville Barista Express are worthy of consideration. They have more features in common than they don’t!

When comparing the Breville Dual Boiler vs Breville Barista Express, the Barista Express comes out on top simply because of its compact design and lower price.

The Breville Dual Boiler, on the other hand, is also a good option if you want an elegant all-stainless steel design with commercial features, intricate temperature control, and user-friendly programmability. But it is the better choice if you’re looking for a superior, barista-grade espresso maker to make seriously delicious coffee without the complicated features.

Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Express: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
The Runner-up (#2)
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express Espresso BES870
BrevilleDual Boiler Espresso BES920
Dimensions
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
14.7 x 14.8 x 14.7 Inches
Capacity
1.9 Liters
2.4 Liters
Material
Steel
Stainless Steel
Color
Stainless Steel
Brushed Stainless Steel
Weight
23 Pounds
30 Pounds
Power
1600 Watts
1700 Watts
WARRANTY
1 Year
2 Years
Hands on like a barista
Built-In Grinder
Compact Footprint
3 Second Heat Up
Cafe Quality Microfoam
Precise Milk Temperature, Automatically
What I Like
Price
$689.95
$2,250.00
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express Espresso BES870
Dimensions
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
Capacity
1.9 Liters
Material
Steel
Color
Stainless Steel
Weight
23 Pounds
Power
1600 Watts
WARRANTY
1 Year
Hands on like a barista
Built-In Grinder
Compact Footprint
3 Second Heat Up
Cafe Quality Microfoam
Precise Milk Temperature, Automatically
What I Like
Price
$689.95
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
BrevilleDual Boiler Espresso BES920
Dimensions
14.7 x 14.8 x 14.7 Inches
Capacity
2.4 Liters
Material
Stainless Steel
Color
Brushed Stainless Steel
Weight
30 Pounds
Power
1700 Watts
WARRANTY
2 Years
Hands on like a barista
Built-In Grinder
Compact Footprint
3 Second Heat Up
Cafe Quality Microfoam
Precise Milk Temperature, Automatically
What I Like
Price
$2,250.00
More Info

Last update on 2022-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Express: Differences

To summarize, it’s kind of a tie between the Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Express. But the Barista Express wins with 1 point more (3 – 2) on account of its affordable pricing. Both espresso machines are great so here’s the breakdown of their best and not-so-great features below…

1. Espresso Flavor

The Winner: It’s A Tie!

Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Flavor
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Flavor

Coffee Grinder

One look at the Breville Dual Boiler and you’ll notice that it doesn’t have a built-in burr grinder. And the Barista Express does. 

The only type of coffee you can put into the Dual Boiler is ground coffee. Not coffee beans that a Barista Express grinds automatically using its integrated burr grinder. 

This means you either buy fresh packets of ground coffee to add to the Dual Boiler. Or you purchase a separate coffee grinder to go with the Dual Boiler. Either way, your costs increase slightly. 

Heating System

The real reason why the Dual Boiler is more expensive than the Barista Express even though the latter comes with a built-in grinder is the dual boiler heating system. But I’m sure you must have guessed this from its name, right?

Stainless steel dual boilers in espresso machines have completely transformed the way you can make coffee at home. So the Dual Boiler has two heating elements made of stainless steel. One is for extracting espresso while the other is for steaming.

What you should know, right at the outset, is that you need to heat up water at different temperatures for espresso and milk. It’s not the same. So having two dedicated boilers for each is a good thing! All commercial machines use dual boilers. This keeps the espresso shots rich and the steam hotter than ever, no matter how many cups you brew.

But the disadvantage of a home espresso machine is that it can cost a lot of money. Nor is it energy efficient because the boilers have to work harder to maintain optimal temperature.

The Barista Express, on the other hand, introduces a more mindful and effective temperature system. The 1600W Thermocoil is fast, lightweight, and durable. A great feature, if you ask me, for home coffee makers.

BUT the Dual Boiler wins here because it features adjustable (+/-2-degrees F) temperature control that is absent in the Barista Express.

2. Dose Control

The Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Breville Dual Boiler 920 Shot Control
Breville Dual Boiler 920 Shot Control

Portafilter

The Dual Boiler comes with a 58mm portafilter and 19 to 22g dose control. The Barista Express has 54mm with control over shot volume and single and double shot filter baskets.

With the precise dose control grinding, you can adjust the amount of coffee you want per espresso in the Barista Express.

The Dual Boiler allows you to choose from a single shot, a double shot, or accurate manual control. Granted the LCD display makes this adjustment a lot easier than the Barista Express which only has the selector dial for adjustments.

If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you will prefer to have control over how you grind your coffee beans. But if you trust your local coffee shop’s grinding expertise, there are plenty of roasts you can try that is freshly ground and rich. 

The Breville Barista Express offers a full kit for making espresso at home. It is a true and premium bean-to-cup coffee maker for home use. You can adjust the grind amount and filter size to produce a full-bodied flavour of espresso. And choose between a single and double shot of espresso so that the grinder adjusts its dose automatically.

Programmability

Speaking of programmability, the Dual Boiler offers temperature control, personalized shot control, and automatic performance. So you have plenty of options to try out, that is if you’re curious.

In fact, the Dual Boiler’s LCD display also features an espresso shot timer to read out the precise extraction time so that you can practice better to pull espresso shots. No more guesswork.

The Barista Express does not feature such intricate customizations. Its control panel consists of the grind size dial, filter size for single and double shot, the pressure gauge for pre-infusion, and the program, single, double buttons along with the light indicators for cleaning and hot water.

3. Ergonomics

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Ergonomics
Breville Barista Express Ergonomics

Breville Barista Express measures 12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches. And the Breville Dual Boiler measures 14.7 x 14.8 x 14.7 inches.

In terms of weight, the Barista Express is 23 pounds and the Dual Boiler is 30 pounds.

The reduced weight is an important feature that makes it easier for users to transport their coffee machines from one location to another. In comparison to the other, the Barista Express is unquestionably more portable, despite the fact it comes with a built-in grinder. 

Moreover, I think the Barista Express is a good alternative if you have a tiny space and want an espresso machine that fits everywhere without taking up more space.

The Dual Boiler also features a larger water tank capacity, bigger than the Breville Barista Express. So this, too, contributes to its bulky design. The Dual Boiler features an 82-ounce water tank while the Barista Express has a 67 ounce. On top of that, despite its small size, the Barista Express also holds on to a 220g bean hopper on top. Even so, it’s a lightweight and portable machine.  

4. Price

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

I believe it is safe to state that the Breville Dual Boiler is a high-end coffee machine. Many factors contribute to its status as a high-end and luxury product, including the fact that it is customizable. However, you must keep in mind that it is more third times as pricey as the Barista Express.

The Barista Express is less expensive than the Dual Boiler and has all of the necessary characteristics to produce rich espresso and strong steam.

Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Express: Similarities

1. Coffee Drinks

Both the machines contain 2 programmable buttons each. They help provide different types of coffee and drinks, like Doppio, Ristretto, espresso, etc. These buttons ensure that once you get the perfect combinations for any type of drink, you can save and use that every time you wish to have the same.

2. Pre-Infusion Function

The additional pre-infusion function ensures that you can maintain a lower water pressure before it starts ramping up to as high as 9 bars of pressure. This ensures that the grind gently expands, and as a result, a smoother extraction is produced. 

3. 3-Way Valve

Another common feature in both machines is a 3-way valve. After the extraction, a 3-way solenoid valve releases the portafilter of pressure and moisture. This results in a dry puck that can be readily removed afterwards. It also means you won’t have to wait for the pressure to equalize before making several cups of coffee. 

4. Easy Cleaning

The Breville Dual Boiler and Barista Express, both espresso makers contain a special feature to alert you whenever they require cleaning.

Furthermore, the water tanks are also removable in both the machines, making the cleaning and refill process easier. A built-in water filter is also present in them, ensuring that the water used to make the drinks is always clean, and it also aids in the prevention of lime-scale build-up.

5. PID Temperature Control

The temperature of the boiler in both the espresso machines is electronically managed using a PID controller. It has significantly more accuracy and consistency than a traditional mechanical thermostat for temperature control.

This is crucial since pulling the perfect espresso requires a temperature of roughly 92°C to 96°C, and it can be easily managed using this controller.

6. Cup Warmer

With a cup warmer, you can warm the cups before pulling your espresso, preventing it from becoming too cold and compromising the taste and quality. It also eliminates the need to manually heat the cups with hot water, and this function is making both the machines highly recommended. 

7. Pressure Gauge

The amount of pressure used is one of the most critical factors in pulling a fantastic espresso. The pressure, and hence the overall quality of the extraction, can be affected by factors such as how tightly the portafilter is tamped.

A pressure gauge is present in both of these espresso machines to assist you in fine-tuning your process to a perfect 9 bar of pressure.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express BES870

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, 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 latte art

Last update on 2022-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Effective and consistent results every time.
  • A great beginner-friendly espresso machine.
  • Small footprint with easy maintenance.
  • It delivers rich espresso and strong steam.
Cons
  • Some components feel plastic-y.
  • The portafilter feels cheap and flimsy.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Dual Boiler BES920

Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Dual Boiler with commercial features delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula; It has a professional Dual Boiler construction that delivers unparalleled temperature control and simultaneous extraction and steaming
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 58mm porta-filter with 19-22 grams is the key for full flavor and third wave specialty coffee
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: The Over Pressure Valve limits the maximum pump pressure throughout extraction, helping prevent bitter flavors; Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Dual stainless steel boilers and heated group head controlled by digital temperature control (PID) brings water to precisely the right temperature (+/- 2⁰F) to extract maximum flavor potential every time
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk of commercial machines that enhances flavor and is essential for creation of latte art

Last update on 2022-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Fast and commercial-grade performance.
  • Smooth automatic and manual milk steaming.
  • It includes all important accessories including a cleaning tool.
  • Intricate controls for coffee enthusiasts.
Cons
  • It does not include a coffee grinder.
  • Some plastic parts are included.

Product Videos

Final Verdict

When you first see an espresso machine, there are two ways to look at it. And this comparison focuses on the Breville Dual Boiler and the Barista Express’s performance-driven and value-driven features.

Both characteristics are well-served by Breville espresso machines. However, if you’re on a budget and want to start with something that requires less expertise yet produces cafe-style espressos, the Breville Barista Express is a great option.

Furthermore, if you have less counter space, to begin with, and want an espresso machine that fits everywhere without taking up additional room, this is an excellent option.

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References

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