Delonghi La Specialista Vs Breville Barista Pro: Comparing Two Semi-Automatic Machines

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Both the Delonghi la Specialista vs Breville Barista Pro are great semi-automatic espresso machines that can spare you from getting your morning cup of caffeine from the coffee shop. And the Barista Pro is the best one on my radar.

The Breville Barista Pro has better construction. It has up to 30 grind settings, providing more space for experimentation and a powerful steam wand for better latte art. However, its wand requires manual steam milk, so it involves an initial learning curve.

The DeLonghi La Specialista also has its place for users prioritizing ease of use. Its integrated smart tamping system simplifies shot extraction, and its upgraded Panarello wand facilitates creating ideal milk foam for milky beverages without barista skills.

Delonghi la Specialista Vs Breville Barista Pro: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville the Barista Pro Espresso Machine, Medium, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Black, EC9335BK
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Delonghi La Specialista
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 13.5 x 16.1 inches/27.5 lbs
15 x 14.5 x 17.5 inches/29.7 lbs
Interface
Non-Touch Screen
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
2
4
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
6
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Dual Thermoblocks
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Panarello Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
2 L/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$829.99
$899.95
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville the Barista Pro Espresso Machine, Medium, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 13.5 x 16.1 inches/27.5 lbs
Interface
Non-Touch Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual 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
$829.99
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Black, EC9335BK
Model
Delonghi La Specialista
Dimensions/Weight
15 x 14.5 x 17.5 inches/29.7 lbs
Interface
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
4
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
6
Heating System
Dual Thermoblocks
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
Filter
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$899.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Delonghi la Specialista Vs Breville Barista Pro: Differences

The comparison showed a 3-2 win for the Barista Pro. Now I’ll reveal all the differences between them!

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Barista Pro 

Built-in Grinder

First off, they are grind-and-brew coffee machines with a built-in stainless steel conical grinder. That means you won’t incur the extra expense of needing a separate espresso grinder to get started. Still, the key difference lies in the number of grind settings each offer since, you know, the more settings there are, the more room you have for experimentation to dial in your shots.

the barista pro has up to 30 grind settings
The Barista Pro has up to 30 grind settings

The La Specialista is limited at 6 grind settings, while Barista Pro has up to 30 different options. This means the Barista Pro provides much more control over the grind size. With 30 grind settings, finding the ideal grind size for your preferences is likely just a matter of time.

the la specialista is limited to 6 settings
The la Specialista is limited to 6 settings

The La Specialista may not offer the same level of precise adjustment, but it attempts to compensate with two-wall portafilters. These portafilters are more forgiving, making it easier to achieve a good espresso shot even without a highly precise grind size.

Dosing & Tamping

As semi-automatic coffee machines, these machines don’t come out of the box alone. The La Specialista features a 51-mm portafilter. Meanwhile, the Barista Pro is equipped with a slightly larger 54-mm portafilter, which is generally considered better for extraction. 

Speaking of portafilters, the La Specialista’s package includes only pressurized filter baskets, whereas the Barista Pro offers both pressurized and unpressurized baskets.

If you’re inexperienced with espresso making, the pressurized baskets are the best place to start. This basket leaves more room for error, meaning there’s no need to dial in for the perfect shot of espresso by precisely altering the dosage and grind size.

Once you’re confident you have the necessary skill level, your ability to pull great espresso shots time after time will be enhanced with the non-pressurized baskets. They require you to be spot-on with your coffee measurements, grind size, and tamping technique, but trust me, the payoff is worth it!

If you’re stepping into the world of espresso-making, the La Specialista might just be one of your new best friends. It’s all about the Smart Tamping Station. This nifty feature is equipped with springs and mechanisms that ensure the built-in tamper compacts your coffee grounds into a perfectly even puck.

the smart tamping station
The Smart Tamping Station

The best part? It’s mess-free and eliminates those tamping errors that haunt the dreams of espresso newbies. Just grind your beans, pull the lever on the left, and a flawlessly flat coffee puck is created.

Now, let’s flip the coin and talk about the Barista Pro. This machine is for those who like to get their hands dirty (figuratively, of course). Manual tamping is the game here, which might sound daunting, but it’s actually a great way to feel more involved in your espresso-making process. 

the barista pro has a magnetic tamper
The Barista Pro has a magnetic tamper

Plus, the Barista Pro uses a stainless steel tamper, which is, frankly, a breath of fresh air compared to the plastic tampers that too many manufacturers sneak into their packages. I mean, seriously, who wants a flimsy plastic tool with their $500+ espresso machine? Not me!

Heating System

If you’re like me – saving time on your morning coffee routine is a big deal, these machines have got you covered. 

The La Specialista comes equipped with two independent thermoblocks – one for coffee and another for milk. Shot of espresso? Done. Instantly ready to steam milk? You bet. This machine cant multitask, which is a bit odd for a machine with two boilers, but it definitely won’t make you tap your foot waiting.

Now, the Barista Pro is even quicker with its ThermoJet heating system that’s ready in just three seconds. Yes, three – less time than it takes to decide what to wear. But you need to preheat the portafilter by pulling a few blank shots before brewing.

Brewing System

Both boast a  pre-infusion feature. Ever heard of this when talking about espresso machines? This is when water gently seeps through the coffee grounds at low pressure to, in coffee terms, “bloom” the grounds. Then, high-pressure water blasts through, creating a well-rounded shot.

The difference here is that the Barista Pro allows you to change the length of the pre-infusion step. The factory setting is 10 seconds, which is somewhat long for me, so it’s good to be able to change that to my heart’s content.

Both also have Digital Temperature Control, or, as the techies call it, PID (Proportional Integral Derivative). Yeah, I know. It sounds like something from an advanced math class, but PID keeps the water temperature super stable. Why does that matter? Well, a consistent temperature means consistently great shots. And who doesn’t want that?

Design & Convenience

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Dimensions & User Interface

Delonghi la SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Dimensions15 x 14.5 x 17.5 inches16 x 13.5 x 16.1 inches
Weight29.7 lbs27.5 lbs

These machines are not the smallest ones, but I’m sure they will fit under your kitchen cabinets as long as you’re happy with sliding them out daily to reach the water tank. By the way, they are also quite heavy, but hey, are you planning to incorporate espresso machine lifting into your fitness routine?

The La Specialista looks good, wrapped in stainless steel with a sleek black control panel. It features some programmable knobs and a traditional pressure gauge in the center of the user interface. Pop the machine on your countertop, and I bet it’ll add instant “wow” to your kitchen.

the la specialista's old-school panel
The La Specialista’s old-school panel

I also personally think the Barista Pro has better build quality than the La Specialista since it feels more durable with plastic parts. It is also available in a stainless steel finish, but there are also a few other color options to choose from. We’re talking options like Smoked Hickory, Red Velvet Cake, Black Truffle, and Sea Salt – sounds more like a dessert menu than color choices, right? And when this handsome guy lights up with its blue backlit LCD screen, it screams premium. 

the barista pro's lcd control panel
The Barista Pro’s LCD control panel

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Delonghi la SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance5 inches4 inches

The La Specialista offers a more spacious cup clearance, enough for even jumbo-sized cups. Better yet, there’s a flip-down foldable tray to lift smaller espresso cups up. The Barista Pro doesn’t have such a cup riser, but you can remove its drip tray to make more space for larger cups.

the la specialista features a cup raiser
The La Specialista features a cup raiser

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Delonghi la SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Water Reservoir2 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.25 kilogram0.25 kilogram

They share a 2-liter water tank and a 0.25-kilogram bean feeder, which only need to be refilled after making many shots. Both also have a water sensor that nudges you when the water is running low. 

The Barista Pro adds a cherry on top by coming with a filter that you can pop into the water tank to soften the water. This is a game-changer, folks! Softened water not only improves the taste of your coffee but also helps keep your machine in tip-top shape for longer.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Tie

I always feel thrilled when talking about frothing milk. These two machines have four-hole steam wands for straightforward and quick milk foam texturing, but, oh boy, they are quite different. The La Specialista has an automatic Panarello wand, while the Barista Pro uses a powerful manual steam wand.

The La Specialista’s Panarello wand scores a solid 10 in my book. Just put the cup with the wand inside it, twist the ring to pick your milk froth style, and watch the magic happen. Then you’re suddenly sipping on café-quality lattes and cappuccinos without breaking a sweat. It’s so easy that it almost feels like cheating.

the delonghi la specialista's panarello wand with advanced latte system
The Delonghi la Specialista’s Panarello wand with Advanced Latte System

The Barista Express powerful wand can make better microfoam for a good latte. It can also rotate 360 degrees and might take some time to master, but trust me, the effort pays off. This wand is a ticket to microfoam needed for those Instagram-worthy latte art creations, no ifs, ands, or buts.

the barista pro’s 4-hole manual steam wand
The Barista Pro’s 4-hole manual steam wand

Drink Options & Programmability

Winner: Delonghi la Specialista

Drink Options

Delonghi la SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Espresso
Coffee
Americano
Hot Water
Espresso
Hot Water

The La Specialista has three pre-program coffee types, including espresso, coffee, and Americano. The Barista Pro features a hot water outlet so you can make these coffee drinks manually, but the water spout is off to the side, so you’ll need to move the cup to get your hot water flowing. The Delonghi La Specialista also has a separate hot water spout located conveniently close to the portafilter and right above where your cup sits.

the barista pro's hot water outlet
The Barista Pro’s hot water outlet

Programmability

Adjustable SettingsDelonghi la SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Coffee StrengthYesYes
Coffee TemperatureYesYes
Milk Foam TemperatureNoNo
Milk Foam TextureYesNo

In addition to the available settings mentioned above, both allow you to adjust the amount of coffee grounds used, the length of the shot, and the brewing temperature. You can also choose between single or double shots. The Barista Pro displays everything clearly on its LCD screen, making everything easier.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Pro

Breville the Barista Pro Espresso Machine, Medium, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.39L x 16.59W x 16.09H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 27.20 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1
  • Product Type - COFFEE MAKER

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Built-in burr grinder with 30 different settings.
  • Adjustable pre-infusion.
  • ThermoJet fast heating system.
  • Affordable price.
  • Ease to use.
Cons
  • On the heavy side.
  • One boiler.

Quick Rundown Of Delonghi La Specialista

De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Black, EC9335BK
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of espresso extracted will vary depending on the grind size and amount and reprogramming may be needed when the size and amount are adjusted
  • FRESHEST COFFEE, EVERY TIME: Integrated grinder with Patent Pending Technology delivers consistent grinding and optimal coffee dose.
  • HANDCRAFTED PRECISION: Smart Tamping Station ensures the right pressure for flawless results
  • 1 SECOND QUICK START Power the machine on and immediately start grinding
  • ACTIVE TEMPERATURE CONTROL: Provides ideal temperature stability for optimal coffee extraction

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Dual thermoblocks.
  • Automatic tamping.
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Foldable cup raiser.
  • Upgraded Panarello steam wand.
Cons
  • No single-wall basket.
  • Feel cheap.

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References

5/5 - (5 votes)