Delonghi la Specialista Vs Breville Barista Touch: Which One Is Better?

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I know a lot of home baristas are weighing the differences between the Delonghi la Specialista vs Breville Barista Touch, so here’s my take. I leaned towards the Breville Barista Touch, and let me tell you why. 

The DeLonghi La Specialista has two boilers with thermoblock rapid heating technology and an impressive 12-inch cup clearance, and its advantages stop here.

The Breville Barista Touch comes out as the overall winner since it offers up to 30 grinding settings, a thermoJet fast-heating system, and an awesome steam wand. Oh, by the way, it allows you to save up to eight personalized recipes.

Delonghi La Specialista Vs Breville Barista Touch: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine BES880BSS, 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, Stainless Steel, EC9335M, 1.3 liters
Model
Breville Barista Touch
Delonghi la Specialista
Dimensions/Weight
16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches/26.8 lbs
12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches/26 lbs
Interface
Touch Display
Knobs & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
8
4
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
8
Heating System
Single ThermoJet Boiler
Dual Thermoblocks
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
19 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing Steam Wand
Panarello Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/12 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
2 L/0.23 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$999.95
$1,198.00
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
$999.95
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, Stainless Steel, EC9335M, 1.3 liters
Model
Delonghi la Specialista
Dimensions/Weight
12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches/26 lbs
Interface
Knobs & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
4
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
8
Heating System
Dual Thermoblocks
Pump Pressure
19 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/12 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.23 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$1,198.00
More Info

Last update on 2024-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Delonghi La Specialista Vs Breville Barista Touch: Differences

The Barista Touch defeated the La Specialista with a score of 4-1. Let’s jump right into the detailed comparison between these two machines.

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Built-in Grinder 

If an espresso machine does not have a built-in grinder, you will need to purchase it separately. Fortunately, that is not the case for the La Specialista and Barista Touch. 

Both have a stainless steel conical burr grinder with multiple levels. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these grinders are unbelievably quiet. You can run them all day long, whether you’re working from home or entertaining guests, and not worry about the noise being a disturbance.

only change the grind size while the grinder is running
Only change the grind size while the grinder is running

The la Specialista only has 8 grind settings, whereas the Barista Touch offers up to 30 settings, giving you a much broader spectrum to experiment with. It’s important to note that adjustments to the grind size must be made while the grinder is running to prevent beans from getting stuck and ensure a smoother, more consistent grind adjustment.

Dosing & Tamping

The La Specialista comes equipped with a 51mm portafilter, while the Barista Touch boasts a slightly larger 54mm portafilter. Now, you might hear some espresso purists argue that 58mm is the gold standard for portafilters. But we don’t dive into those turbulent waters right here. They are solidly constructed and feel like they could survive an apocalypse!

Automatic tamping is another trait that separates the La Specialista from the Barista Touch. Now, many home baristas, myself included, often prefer the hands-on approach of manual tamping. But for those mornings when you’re still half asleep and can barely remember your own name, let alone how to perfectly tamp the coffee grounds, the automatic tamper is a lifesaver. 

smart tamper on the la specialista
Smart tamper on the La Specialista

The Barista Touch includes a not-too-bad stainless steel tamper that can be magnetically attached to the body of the machine. This feature helps maintain an organized workspace and guarantees the tamper is always within easy reach when you need it.

The La Specialista uses single-wall baskets, while you will see both single- and dual-wall filter baskets with the Barista Touch. And I’d tell you, terminology like “single wall” or “dual wall” matters.

The single-wall basket is for those who like to have full control over their espresso destiny. More experienced baristas who enjoy adjusting the grind size and tamping pressure to get the ideal shot typically use it. His one requires more work, but oh, the satisfaction!

 The dual-wall basket, on the other hand, is more forgiving and great for beginners or those days when you just can’t deal with the nuances of a perfect grind. They help regulate the pressure during extraction, ensuring a decent shot even if your grind or tamp isn’t spot-on. And that is why it is recommended for pre-ground coffee.

Heating System

Speaking of the heating systems, each has its own secret weapon. The DeLonghi La Specialista has two thermoblocks, while the Barista Touch features a single thermojet system. Let’s talk about each one a little bit!

The DeLonghi La Specialista has twin thermoblocks, meaning you can steam milk and pull an espresso shot simultaneously with no waiting around – impressive and efficient.

The Barista Touch only has one ThermoJet boiler. It does a fantastic job, but it can’t multitask like the La Specialista. If you start with the steam wand, you’ll have to steam your milk and then give the wand a quick purge before you can switch to brewing a shot. But don’t worry, this isn’t a “make a sandwich while you wait” kind of delay. The ThermoJet is speedy, only adding a few extra seconds to the process.  

Still, I did notice a small quirk with the ThermoJet system: it didn’t heat up the group head. Well, it eventually did all, but just after I’ve been using the machine for a while. So I found myself initially using the hot water function to preheat the portafilter and flush the group head to get it up to the ideal temperature.

Design & Convenience

Winner: Delonghi La Specialista

Dimensions & User Interface

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Touch
Dimensions12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches16 x 12.5 x 12.7 inches 
Weight26 lbs26.8 lbs

These machines are compact enough to fit neatly on most countertops, but when speaking of lifting them? Well, I think you might want to consider it part of your workout or yoga routine.

The Barista Touch steps into the modern age with its touch user interface, which I find sleek and quite intuitive. It’s like having a little espresso-smartphone hybrid on your countertop. It’s user-friendly and responsive, and navigating through settings feels like a breeze. This touchscreen display, in my opinion, is definitely one of the major selling points of the Barista Touch.

barista touch's touch screen
Barista Touch’s touch screen

On the other side, the La Specialista maintains a more traditional approach with its button-and-knob-operated control panel. It’s reminiscent of classic espresso machines and has a certain charm to it. There’s something satisfying about turning a knob or pushing a button – it’s a tactile experience that many coffee enthusiasts really enjoy.

the la specialista's user interface
The la Specialista’s user interface

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Touch
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance12 inches4 inches

The space below the Barista Touch’s portafilter spouts is somewhat limited, so fitting larger insulated mugs or travel cups can be a bit of a squeeze. But don’t worry, there’s a hack! You can simply remove the drip tray to open up more space, allowing you to fit in those bigger mugs. 

On the flip side, the La Specialista boasts an impressive 12-inch cup clearance. You can fit practically any type of cup under there, from your petite espresso cups to your hefty travel mugs. Well, there is a liftable plate to raise the espresso cups, resulting in less disturbance to that beautiful, creamy layer on top.

the liftable plate of the la specialista
The liftable plate of the La Specialista

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Touch
Water Reservoir2 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.25 kilogram0.23 kilogram

Both the Barista Touch and the La Specialista come with generously sized water tanks, a feature that’s a big plus in my book. It means fewer trips to the sink for refills, allowing you to focus more on your coffee crafting. These tanks are located at the back of the machines, but you can lift them straight out from the top with ease, or you can even fill them right on the spot.

Both also have an airtight lid to keep the beans fresh and maintain the overall hygiene of the machine. This small detail can make a big difference in the day-to-day use.

Milk Frothing System

Winner:  Breville Barista Touch

The Barista Touch uses an auto-frothing wand. As someone who prides themselves on their milk texturing skills, I was initially skeptical. I mean, come on, an automatic wand competing with my expert wrist-twirling technique? Stop joking!  

the barista touch's automatic steam wand
The Barista Touch’s automatic steam wand

But, to my surprise and slight ego bruising, the Barista Touch’s wand is impressive. It could whip up milk froth that was, dare I say, sublime. It was hard to admit at first, but this machine could indeed match and sometimes even outdo my manual efforts. 

The Barista Touch even allows for control over both the froth level and the milk temperature. There’s a sensor on the drip tray that gauges the temperature of your milk and stops it automatically, ensuring your milk is heated to your exact preference.

the temperature sensor
The temperature sensor

As for the La Specialista, it makes your job quite easy with an upgraded Panarello steam wand. You just place the wand into your milk jug, turn the steaming knob, and voilà – it gets to work. There’s no need to be a maestro of milk, understand the intricate dance of creating the perfect vortex, or know the precise moment to plunge the wand deeper into the jug.

the panarello steam wand on the la specialista
The Panarello steam wand on the La Specialista

The La Specialista offers a clever little twist – literally – compared to other machines with older Panarello wands. Just turn the ring on the wand to either “flat” or “foam,” and you can select your froth style based on the drink you’re crafting.

In my testing, I found that the La Specialista did a commendable job at creating a bubbly froth, which is perfect for cappuccinos. Still, achieving that velvety microfoam ideal for latte art wasn’t really its strong suit.

Pre-programmed Coffee Options  & Programmability

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Touch
Espresso
Coffee
Americano
Hot Water
Espresso
Latte
Flat White
Cappuccino
Americano
Hot Chocolate
Tea
Milk

Their lists of coffee specialties both have a hot water option, perfect for those moments when you want to enjoy something other than espresso. Maybe you’re in the mood for a cup of tea or even hot chocolate. With this feature, you don’t need a separate kettle or water heater.

Both also allow you to fine-tune coffee strength as well as the volume and temperature of every single shot. Whether you prefer a strong, bold shot to kickstart your morning or a milder, gentler cup for a late afternoon pick-me-up, these machines cater to your preferences. You can choose between a single shot and a double shot as well. What sets the Barista Touch apart is that it allows you to preset both the texture and temperature of the milk foam via the touch screen.

 Other Features

Winner: Breville Barista Touch

User PROFILE

Instead of the typical user profiles you might find on other machines, the Barista Touch allows you to save up to eight custom drink recipes. You can adjust and fine-tune every aspect of your espresso drinks, from the amount of froth on your cappuccino to the exact brew temperature you prefer for your morning cup, then save them under the names of your choice. You could have a “Morning Joe” recipe, a “Midday Pick-Me-Up,” or even a “Weekend Treat,” for example.

the la specialista allows you to save up to 8 personalized recipes
The La Specialista allows you to save up to 8 personalized recipes

Delonghi La Specialista vs Breville Barista Touch: Similarities

Brewing System

Both the La Specialista and the Barista Touch come equipped with a standard pre-infusion feature. This is a detail I always appreciate in espresso machines, as it significantly enhances the brewing process.

The pre-infusion step involves releasing a small amount of water onto the coffee puck before full extraction begins, which is key to a superior espresso shot.  It allows the coffee grounds to swell and ensures a more even extraction, resulting in a more complex, well-rounded, and flavorful espresso. 

However, I’ve noticed a slight limitation with these machines concerning pre-infusion. Unlike some other Brevilles, the pre-infusion step on both isn’t adjustable. Having the ability to tweak this stage can add another layer of customization. It allows you to fine-tune the extraction process based on different variables like the coffee roast level, grind size, and personal taste preference.

Then their pumps are powerful enough to extract all the flavors and oils from the coffee grounds. The outcome? A rich, full-bodied espresso. And who knows? With espresso this good, you might find yourself skipping the local coffee shop in favor of your own home-brewed perfection!

Cleaning & Maintenance

Remember, taking care of your espresso machine is like taking care of a pet. It needs love, attention, and the occasional treat. Keep it clean, and it’ll keep you caffeinated. It’s a win-win!

First things first, let’s talk about the removable parts. I’m referring to the portafilter, water tank, bean hopper, and drip tray. You can clean these by hand, and honestly, it’s quite easy. Remember to stay away from the dishwasher. It’s like using a chainsaw to trim your toenails – overkill and a bit risky.

Sure, the included water filter is like the espresso machine’s personal bodyguard against scale buildup, but it’s not invincible. Every once in a while, you’ll need to run a cleaning cycle. Thankfully, these machines remember to clean themselves better than you remember your own anniversaries. Just pick up some descaler from the respective manufacturing company.

Speaking of the steam wand, the Barista Touch automatically runs a stream of hot water to push all the milk residue out when you put the wand in its original position. As for the La Specialista, turn the knob, let the hot water run, and then give the wand a good rinse under the tap.

the barista touch's wand automatically purifies after each use
The Barista Touch’s wand automatically purifies after each use

Other Features

Built-in Cup Warmer

The built-in cup warmer feature on espresso machines, like the Barista Touch and La Specialista, is a cool feature. A warm cup keeps your espresso at an optimal temperature, ensuring you get to enjoy every nuance of flavor and aroma, just as the coffee gods intended. On the contrary, when espresso hits a cold cup, it can lose its heat rapidly, which can negatively impact the flavor and aroma.

Water Filter

Both the Barista Touch and La Specialista come with a water filter, and it’s like having a tiny superhero dedicated to keeping your water clean and your coffee tasting great.

Using the water filter in these machines has a couple of key benefits. First, it ensures your coffee is made with the purest water possible. This means the flavors in your coffee can shine through without any interference from pesky impurities or odd tastes that sometimes come with unfiltered water.

Another benefit is that it’s kinder to your machine. Using a water filter can help prevent the build-up of limescale, meaning your machine will likely have a longer, happier life, and who doesn’t want that for their beloved coffee machines?

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Touch

Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine BES880BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Earn up to $200 cashback with a Beanz coffee subscription when you purchase a selected Breville espresso machine. Valid Aug 1, 2023 until Jun 30, 2024
  • The Breville Barista Touch 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: With a single touch, the integrated precision conical burr grinder with dose control delivers the right amount of coffee on demand, for maximum flavor
  • 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
  • FASTER HEAT UP TIME: Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds

Last update on 2024-04-21 / 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
  • No automattic tamping system.
  • Only one boiler.

Quick Rundown Of Delonghi la Specialista

Last update on 2024-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Dual thermoblocks.
  • Automatic tamping.
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Impressive 12-inch cup clearance.
  • Upgraded Panarello steam wand.
Cons
  • No single-wall basket.
  • Not ideal for latte art.

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5/5 - (3 votes)