Breville Infuser vs Barista Express: Is A Built-in Grinder Worth It?

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If you find yourself torn between the Breville Infuser vs Barista Express, let me help you. If you were to ask for my personal recommendation, I’d lean toward the Breville Infuser.

Rest assured that both of these semi-automatic espresso machines deliver quality brewing shots. The key difference between them is the inclusion of a built-in bean grinder in the Barista Express, which comes at an additional cost of around $100.

The Breville Infuser is not only more compact, but it also comes with a slightly more budget-friendly price tag compared to the Barista Express. Trust me, pairing the Breville Infuser with a quality separate grinder can often yield more satisfying results than relying on the built-in grinder of the Barista Express, which, in my case, didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Breville Infuser vs Barista Express: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
The Runner-up (#2)
Breville Infuser Espresso Machine BES840XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express
Breville Infuser
Dimensions
15" W x 15.2” D x 16.2" H
13.7" W x 11.5" D x 13.2" H
Weight
23 pounds
17 pounds
Water tank capacity
67 ounces
61 ounces
Integrated burr grinder
Heating System
Thermocoil
Thermocoil
Hot water spout
Temperature Adjustment
Milk System
Pre Infusion Function
Single and Dual-Wall Filter Baskets
Purge Function
What I Like
Price
$549.95
$599.95
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express
Dimensions
15" W x 15.2” D x 16.2" H
Weight
23 pounds
Water tank capacity
67 ounces
Integrated burr grinder
Heating System
Thermocoil
Hot water spout
Temperature Adjustment
Milk System
Pre Infusion Function
Single and Dual-Wall Filter Baskets
Purge Function
What I Like
Price
$549.95
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Breville Infuser Espresso Machine BES840XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Infuser
Dimensions
13.7" W x 11.5" D x 13.2" H
Weight
17 pounds
Water tank capacity
61 ounces
Integrated burr grinder
Heating System
Thermocoil
Hot water spout
Temperature Adjustment
Milk System
Pre Infusion Function
Single and Dual-Wall Filter Baskets
Purge Function
What I Like
Price
$599.95
More Info

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

Breville Infuser vs Barista Express: Differences

In this section, I won’t provide a definitive verdict, as the choice between these two products ultimately hinges on individual preferences and requirements. However, maintaining my initial perspective, I would lean towards selecting the Breville Infuser. To unravel the reasons behind this choice, read on.

Grinder

the barista express has a stainless steel conical burr grinder with 18 settings
The Barista Express has a stainless steel conical burr grinder with 18 settings

The main differentiating factor between these two models is the Barista Express’s integrated burr grinder. You need to consider whether you plan to enjoy freshly ground coffee beyond just espresso. If you find yourselves wanting freshly ground coffee for various brewing methods, you might feel limited by the grinder’s 18 adjustment settings.

Instead of spending an extra $100 or more for a built-in grinder with restricted versatility, I explore the option of investing in a high-quality burr grinder. Such an investment can provide me with years of satisfaction, accommodating everything from finely ground Turkish coffee to coarser French press grinds. Some highly-rated options that excel at espresso grinding include the Baratza Virtuoso+ and Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro.

However, there are scenarios in which the Barista Express might be the better fit for you.For example, it will be a good choice if you don’t own a quality grinder and have limited space for a separate one.

Dimension & Capacity

Breville InfuserBreville Barista Express
Dimensions13.7″ W x 11.5″ D x 13.2″ H15″ W x 15.2” D x 16.2″ H
Weights17 pounds23 pounds
Water tank capacity61 ounces67 ounces
Breville Barista Express is much larger than the Infuser
Breville Barista Express is much larger than the Infuser

The Barista Express, with its built-in grinder, does have a somewhat larger footprint compared to the Infuser. It stands over 16 inches tall including the bean hopper, which is about three inches taller than the Infuser. Now, this might not seem like a big deal at first, but it could make a significant difference if you’re planning to slide it under kitchen cupboards. It’s not a behemoth by any means, but it’s something to consider, especially if your kitchen space is limited.

On the other hand, the Infuser, when used with a separate grinder, also takes up counter space. So, it’s not entirely compact either, but it doesn’t have that extra height from the built-in hopper. The Barista Express, however, eliminates the need for a separate grinder, which is a plus if you’re short on space.

Speaking of weight, the Barista Express is heftier at 23 pounds, while the Infuser is a bit lighter at 17 pounds. Now, if you’re planning to move your espresso machine around frequently, this weight difference could be a factor to consider. But for most home setups, once you find its spot, it’s likely to stay put.

The Barista Express, with its larger footprint, also boasts a bigger water tank. It can hold up to 67 ounces of water. The Infuser, while still offering a respectable water tank size, comes in at 61 ounces. It’s slightly smaller than the Barista Express, but it’s not a significant difference. In everyday use, both machines should provide enough water capacity for your espresso needs.

Price

The standout feature that sets the Barista Express apart is its built-in bean grinder. It’s a nifty addition, no doubt, but it comes at an extra cost of around $100 and a bit more. So, here’s the million-dollar question: is it worth paying that premium for the integrated grinder? Well, in my personal journey, I’ve found the answer isn’t a straightforward “yes.”

You see, it’s not merely about the Breville Infuser being the more budget-friendly option. The real deal here is that when you opt for the Infuser, you’re essentially committing to purchasing a separate grinder. Now, when you crunch the numbers and tally up the total cost of this grinder-and-Infuser combo, you might be surprised to find that it often aligns quite closely with the price of the Barista Express.

But here’s where it gets interesting – that extra money you’d invest in the Barista Express could be put towards acquiring a top-notch premium burr grinder. And believe me, having a dedicated grinder opens up a world of possibilities. You gain the ability to fine-tune and control your grind size and consistency, a feature that seasoned baristas swear by.

Breville Infuser vs Barista Express: Similarities

Apart from the Barista Express’s built-in grinder, these two machines offer almost identical functionality. Whichever one you choose, you can expect years of excellent espresso-making ahead.

Here are some notable similarities between these two products:

Heating System

The thermocoil heating system is a common feature in both the Infuser and Barista Express. This design maintains stable water temperature, which is crucial for excellent espresso extraction.

Single and Dual-Wall Filter Baskets

Both machines come with single-wall filter baskets for freshly ground coffee and dual-wall baskets for pre-ground coffee. This flexibility allows you to choose between freshly ground beans and pre-ground coffee based on your preference.

Hot Water Spout

Both models feature a dedicated hot water spout, which is useful for making Americanos, hot chocolate, or tea. This feature adds convenience to your coffee-making routine.

User Interface – Programmability 

Both machines offer programmable selector buttons for one and two cups, allowing you to choose your preferred shot volume easily. You also have the option to manually control the shot volume on both the Infuser and Barista Express.

Temperature Adjustment

Both the Infuser and Barista Express feature advanced temperature modes that allow you to adjust the water temperature by +/- 4°F in two-degree increments from the baseline of 200°F. This precise control is beneficial for experienced baristas who know that different beans require different temperature settings.

Milk System

the barista express uses a manual steam wand
Both Breville Infuser and the Barista Express use a manual steam wand

Both espresso machines come with commercial-style steam wands, offering 360-degree rotation and manual control. While they take a bit longer to steam milk than some machines, the manual steam wand provides more control, making it suitable for beginners looking to master milk frothing.

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
  • It offers an all-in-one solution with a built-in grinder.
  • It provides volumetric control, allowing you to program shot volumes.
  • The pressure gauge offers real-time feedback during the extraction process.
  • The professional-style steam wand enables expert-level milk frothing and latte art.
Cons
  • It comes at a slightly higher price point than the Infuser.
  • Its grinder can be limited for espresso.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Infuser

Breville Infuser Espresso Machine BES840XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Pre-infusion function applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for an even extraction
  • 1600w thermocoil heating system with integrated stainless steel water coil accurately controls water temperature
  • Auto purge function automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature.15 bar Italian pump provides complete volumetric control - preset, manual over-ride or re-programmable volumes
  • Accessories: single & dual wall filter baskets, coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning disc & tablets, cleaning tool, water filter with holder. Please note: There is a "Black Plastic" insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter, th
  • Please review the trouble shooting steps under product details for remedies for common faced for hustle free of the product

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

Pros
  • It provides volumetric control, allowing you to program shot volumes.
  • The pressure gauge offers real-time feedback during the extraction process.
  • Manual steam wand for professional milk texturing.
Cons
  • No built-in grinder.

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References

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