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Breville Barista Pro Review: Is it the Best Espresso Machine With a Built In Grinder?

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Last updated: December 14, 2023

Quick Answer: I’d recommend the Breville Barista Pro to anyone who wants an espresso machine with a built-in grinder.

The Breville Barista Pro is an espresso machine with an integrated conical burr grinder, an LCD display screen user interface, and a professional-grade steam wand.

In this Breville Barista Pro review, after owning the machine for a year and a half, I’m going to give my thoughts on:

  • Whether the Breville Barista Pro is the best espresso machine with a built-in grinder?
  • Whether the Breville Barista Pro is the best espresso machine under $1,000?
  • Is the Breville Barista Pro worth the upgrade compared to the Breville Barista Express?

Let’s get started.

Should I Buy the Breville Barista Pro (Quick Verdict)?

I’d recommend the Breville Barista Pro if you want an espresso machine with a built-in grinder.

The Breville Barista Pro is the best espresso machine with a built-in grinder that you can get for under $1,000.

Best Espresso Machine with A Built in Grinder Under $1,000
Breville Barista Pro
$849.95
The Breville Barista Pro’s built in grinder, shot timer and digital display screen makes it a perfect machine for beginners or anyone who wants to make espresso with whole beans using only one appliance.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 05:13 am GMT

I still recommend that most people get a separate espresso machine and grinder if possible. 

Having a separate espresso machine and grinder gives you far more flexibility if you ever want to upgrade your espresso setup.

I have had the Barista Pro espresso machine for a year and a half and I’m now at a point where I want to upgrade my setup.

If I had a separate machine and grinder then I could improve my espresso-making through either replacing my machine or my grinder.

Since my Barista Pro has a built-in grinder, I’ll either have to:

  • Upgrade the grinder and have an espresso machine with a built-in grinder and another grinder (not cost-effective)
  • Upgrade the machine and then use the Barista Pro as a grinder (awkward workflow and also not cost-effective).

With a separate machine and grinder, I’d have much more flexibility in upgrading my espresso setup. This would save me money in the long run.

For the price of the Barista Pro, you can get the Breville Bambino Plus and the Baratza Sette 270.

Better than the Barista Pro When Paired With a Good Grinder
Breville Bambino Plus
$499.95
The Breville Bambino Plus performs similarly to the Barista Pro and not having an integrated grinder gives you more flexibility if you want to upgrade your espresso set up in the future.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:44 am GMT
Best Espresso Grinder Under $400
Baratza Sette 270
$459.00 $399.95

The Baratza Sette 270 is better than the Barista Pro’s built-in grinder and can be combined with the Breville Bambino Plus for around the same cost as the Barista Pro.

Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:47 am GMT

This should allow you to make similar quality espresso to the Barista Pro but gives you much more flexibility if you ever want to upgrade your setup.

Breville Barista Pro Review: Machine Overview

Espresso Quality
8/10
Milk Steaming Performance
9/10
Functionalities
8/10
Ease of Use and Cleaning
9/10
Design and Build Quality
6/10
Value for Money
7/10

Breville Barista Pro Pros

Steams milk well as any espresso machine.

It is about as easy to use as an espresso machine with a portafilter gets.

No need to buy a coffee grinder.

Breville Barista Pro Cons

Its grinder is not the best – you get better value buying a separate grinder and espresso machine.

Its exterior is almost entirely made of plastic (with a brushed stainless steel finish).

Breville Barista Pro Features

The Breville Barista Pro has the following features and functionalities:

Built-in Grinder

The Breville Barista Pro has a built-in stainless steel conical burr grinder. This grinder has 30 grind size settings and doses automatically by time to grind. 

Both grind size and dose size can be adjusted with a dial turn and are displayed on the machine’s LCD display screen.

While the Barista Pro’s burr grinder can grind coffee finely enough to pull a good espresso shot, it’s not a fantastic grinder and is one of the espresso machine’s weaker points.

Two things that I particularly dislike about the Barista Pro’s burr grinder are:

  • It measures ground coffee dose by time to grind rather than by weight: Burr grinders grind coffee beans more slowly as you go to a finer grind setting. This means that time to grind is not a consistent measurement for your ground coffee dose. You, therefore, need to measure out each dose of coffee by weight before you grind to get consistent shots with the Barista Pro.
  • It adjusts grind size in fixed increments: Better quality espresso grinders are “stepless”, meaning that you can adjust grind size based purely on how you twist its dial, rather than based on fixed increments. Only being able to adjust grind size in fixed increments puts a ceiling on how far you can control grind size and therefore your precision when “dialing in” your espresso.

You can see a video of someone explaining the difference between a stepped and a stepless grinder in the video below (remember, the Breville Barista Pro has a stepped grinder):

In fairness to Breville, a stepless burr grinder that measures coffee dose by weight starts at around $600 – just shy of the overall cost of the Barista Pro.

A standalone grinder of equivalent quality to the Barista Pro’s integrated grinder costs around $200. Given that the Breville Barista Pro costs around $800, I don’t think you’re being shortchanged by its grinder quality.

Still, if you wanted to improve the shots you’re getting from the Barista Pro, getting a higher-quality standalone grinder would be the place to start.

That’s why I think that if you see yourself as being a potential espresso nerd, you should avoid the Breville Barista Pro and instead get a separate espresso machine and high-quality burr grinder.

Pin Hole Steam Wand

The Breville Barista Pro’s pinhole steam wand allows you to steam milk to whatever texture you want. This includes making silky microfoam for latte art.

The Barista Pro’s steam wand has four holes in it which allows for a much more even milk texture than espresso machines with one or two-holed steam wands.

The Barista Pro’s four-hole steam wand

The espresso machine’s steam wand is on a ball tip which makes it easy to maneuver in your milk.

While it’s lower powered than what you’d find on a more expensive espresso machine, this actually makes it good for beginners as you have the time to texture your milk without scorching it.

The Barista Pro also comes with a stainless steel milk jug to steam your milk in. 

It would be nice if this jug had a temperature strip on it, and I’d definitely recommend buying one if you are going to steam milk regularly.

Automatic Shot Volume Dosing

The Breville Barista Pro has single and double shot buttons. These will each have an automatic preinfusion time and brew with a fixed volume of water.

You can adjust each button’s preinfusion time and water dose. Once adjusted this will become the default going forward. 

You can see a video of someone making these adjustments below (watch from 2:54 – 3:55):

You can also pull shots manually with the Barista Pro by holding down the shot button until it flashes. The espresso machine will pre-infuse your shot until you release its button (maximum preinfusion time is ten seconds). 

You then need to press its shot button again to stop brewing espresso.

Button-Controlled LCD Display Screen 

This LCD screen walks you through every aspect of using the Barista Pro.

The Breville Barista Pro’s LCD display screen makes it significantly easier to use than purely dial-operated machines like the Breville Barista Express.

The display screen tells you the following:

  • Your current grinder settings: Both grind size and dose size
  • How long each shot takes to pull: This helps you work out whether you need to grind finer or coarser (grinding finer slows your shot down – you should aim for a 30-second shot time).
  • When the machine needs to be rinsed and descaled: It will also walk you through the rinsing and descaling process so no need to get your manual out.

The Barista Pro’s LCD screen also has a menu with all its adjustable settings.

This prevents you from having to go through the nightmare that is changing the Breville Barista Express’s settings (see video below from 0:54 – 2:30):

The Barista Pro’s LCD screen UI is my favorite thing about the machine.

Thermojet Heating System

The Breville Barista Pro’s thermojet heating system allows the machine to heat up in three seconds and switch between brewing espresso and steaming milk in under ten seconds.

This is significantly faster than the Breville Barista Express which takes around 40 seconds to heat up and another 30 seconds to switch between brewing and steaming.

The downside of a thermojet heating system is that it does not heat up your portafilter. 

You need to pull a blank shot (a shot without any ground coffee in your portafilter) before you brew to achieve optimal espresso extraction. 

While this does slow things down a bit, you should pull a blank shot before you brew with every espresso machine if you want precise espresso extraction. This downside is not unique to the Barista Pro.

Proportional Integral Derivative (PID)

The Breville Barista Pro’s PID allows the machine to keep a consistent temperature shot after shot.

This is a contrast to espresso machines that do not have a PID (like the Rancilio Silvia for example) which requires you to develop a “temperature surfing” routine to keep its temperature constant.

The Barista Pro’s PID also allows you to customize your brewing temperature in increments of two degrees Fahrenheit. 

Higher temperatures allow you to get better espresso extraction, especially with lighter roast coffee beans.

Pressurized and Non-pressurised Portafilter Baskets

The Barista Pro comes with single and double pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets. 

The red ring shows the single hole in the bottom of the pressurized portafilter basket

Pressurized portafilter baskets ensure that you pull a decent shot without going through a full “dialing in” process. 

Non-pressurized portafilter baskets raise your espresso’s quality ceiling if you have dialed your machine in properly.

Having both these basket types means that you can make a quick but still decent espresso in a pinch, while still being able to optimize your espresso brewing when you have the time to be precise.

Portafilter and Accessories

The Barista Pro comes with a 54mm portafilter, four baskets, a milk jug, a tamp, a dose-trimming razor, and some cleaning solution.

One accessory that I would have liked that the machine does not come with is a dosing funnel.

It’s tricky to level out your espresso puck without spilling some ground coffee. A dosing funnel would make this process a lot less messy.

The table below shows the Breville Barista Pro’s key specifications:

Specification Breville Barista Pro
Description
Automatic espresso machine with a built in grinder
User interface
Button controlled LCD screen
Grinder type
Stainless steel conical burr grinder
Number of grinder settings
30
Automatic pre infusion
Yes (adjustable)
Automatic shot volume dosing
Yes (adjustable)
Heating system
Thermojet (3 second heat up time)
PID
Yes
Steam wand type
Pin hole steam wand (4 holes)
Visible pressure gauge
No
Water tank capacity
67 oz
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
14.0” x 13.5” x 16.0”

Now that I’ve covered the Breville Barista Pro’s features, I will finish this Breville Barista Pro review by evaluating the home espresso machine across the following criteria:

  • Espresso quality
  • Milk steaming performance
  • Functionalities
  • Ease of use and cleaning
  • Design and build quality
  • Value for money

Espresso Quality

The Breville Barista Pro can make good espresso, however, its grinder prevents it from making amazing espresso.

The Barista Pro’s ability to make a good espresso is down to its:

  • Pre-infusion: This helps prevent channeling when working with fine grinds.
  • PID: This ensures that your machine always brews at an optimal temperature for espresso extraction.
  • Shot timer: This helps you “dial in” the machine more quickly and easily than machines without a visible timer.

The Breville Barista Pro grinder prevents it from making truly amazing espresso.

The difference between each “step” on its grinder is larger than with a high-quality burr grinder. This limits the amount of control you have over your espresso extraction. 

For some beans, a certain grind setting will be too fine (resulting in a bitter drink) and the next step up is too coarse (resulting in a sour drink).

A conical burr grinder with smaller steps (or no steps at all) would allow you to make better espresso than the Breville Barista Pro’s grinder in situations like these.

Espresso Quality Rating: 8/10

Milk Steaming Performance

The Breville Barista Pro can steam milk beautifully.

I’d put the Barista Pro’s steam wand against any other espresso machine in terms of the variety of milk textures that it can produce.

The espresso machine is capable of making thick foam to dollop atop a macchiato, all the way through to silky microfoam to make latte art with.

The Barista Pro’s steam wand steams milk more slowly than most espresso machines. This is useful for beginner milk steamers as it gives you enough time to aerate your milk without scorching it.

As you get more experienced with milk steaming (and you become more efficient at texturing milk) you might find the Barista Pro’s steam wand annoyingly slow to use.

Milk Steaming Performance Rating: 9/10

Functionalities

The Breville Barista Pro can do more than most espresso machines in its price range.

The Barista Pro’s ability to grind your beans, automatic preinfusion, and fixed shot volume dosing mean that it has greater functionality than most espresso machines in the $800-$1,200 price range.

One feature that’s missing on the Barista Pro (and which other, cheaper Breville espresso machines have) is an automatic steam wand that can steam your milk to a preset texture and temperature.

This would have removed all learning curves involved with steaming milk with the Barista Pro. 

To find out more about this feature please see my comparison between the Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus

Functionalities Rating: 8/10

Ease of Use and Cleaning

The Breville Barista Pro’s combination of automatic shot volume dosing and LCD display screen user interface makes it about as easy to use as an espresso machine can get.

Ease of Pulling Shots

To brew an espresso with the Breville Barista Pro you have to:

  • Grind your beans (grinder doses automatically)
  • Tamp your ground beans in your portafilter
  • Attach your portafilter to your brew head
  • Press either a single or double shot

The only difficult part here is tamping your ground beans. It takes a bit of work to get your beans level and to get an even tamp.

It’s little surprise that the next most expensive Breville espresso machine, the Breville Barista Express Impress, has an automatic tamping system.

Ease of Steaming Milk

There’s a bit of a learning curve to steaming milk with the Breville Barista Pro. However, this is true of every single espresso machine with a manual steam wand.

The Barista Pro’s steam wand is actually easier for beginners to use than most because it heats your milk more gently than other machines.

Ease of Changing Settings

The Breville Barista Pro’s LCD screen walks you through changing the machine’s following settings:

  • Shot volume
  • Pre-infusion time
  • Brewing temperature
  • Grind size
  • Ground coffee dose

This ease of adjusting the machine’s settings is one of the biggest positive differentiators between the Breville Barista Pro and similar espresso machines like the Breville Barista Express and Delonghi La Specialista.

Ease of Cleaning and Descaling

The Breville Barista Pro needs to be cleaned and maintained in the following ways:

  • Used coffee grounds need to be dumped from its portafilter after every espresso.
  • Its brew head needs a wipe after every espresso you pull.
  • Its steam wand needs purging and wiping after every portion of milk you steam.
  • Its drip tray needs to be emptied when full (it has a float to tell you when its full)
  • It needs to be backflushed and descaled when prompted.

While none of these cleaning processes are difficult (the machine walks you through backflushing and descaling when required), the Breville Barista Pro can still be a bit of a messy machine to use.

The machine’s lack of a dosing funnel means it’s easy to spill coffee grounds when you are preparing your puck. 

I have to wipe coffee grounds off my counter after most espressos that I pull with this machine.

Ease of Use and Cleaning Rating: 9/10

Design and Build Quality

While the Breville Barista Pro should last you several years, it is NOT a buy-it-for-life product.

Internal Build Quality

The Breville Barista Pro’s high internal build quality is demonstrated by the fact that:

  • It can heat up in three seconds
  • Its volumetric dosing is accurate (you’d be surprised by how rare this is)
  • It can switch between brewing and steaming almost instantly

Although the machine’s heating and pumping performance is excellent, its thermojet heating system means that the machine will not last as long as an espresso machine with a boiler heating system.

Thermojet heating systems simply have a shorter shelf life than boilers. 

If you want a buy-it-for-life machine for the price of the Breville Barista Pro then I’d recommend the Rancilio Silvia which uses a boiler heating system.

External Build Quality

The Breville Barista Pro’s exterior is made almost entirely out of plastic. Its brushed stainless steel finish isn’t fooling anyone.

This includes its portafilter handle and drip tray, as well as the machine’s core body (the machine’s internal pipes and brew head are made out of steel). 

This gives it a cheaper feel than more traditional espresso machines such as those made by Gaggia, Rancilio, and Rocket.

Again, those aforementioned machines tend to be buy-it-for-life products (especially when you consider how easy it is to replace their external parts) whereas the Breville Barista Pro very much isn’t.

Two aspects of the Breville Barista Pro’s external build that I love are its LCD display screen and its large cup clearance.

  • LCD display screen: While it’s a text-only display screen, its menus are intuitively laid out and make navigating the machine easy.
  • Large cup clearance: This allows you to brew with a standard-size coffee cup and a scale underneath your cup without removing its drip tray. This is useful when dialing in your machine.

In short, the Breville Barista Pro is smartly designed and has the build quality to perform well for several years. However, you can find similarly priced espresso machines that have much more durability than the Barista Pro.

Known Technical Issue: Breville Barista Pro Fails its Initial Flush Cycle

When I first powered on my Barista Pro, it prompted me to run a flush cycle.

The machine would then turn off about three seconds into this flush cycle. 

I had to repeat this process (turn the machine off and back on and get it to run a flush cycle again) twice before it successfully completed the cycle and started working.


I’ve had no similar rinsing or flushing problems since then.

I Googled this problem to see if it was a one-off and found this Reddit thread where several of the machine’s users talk about it.

Turns out you just need to be persistent with getting the espresso machine to complete its initial (and mandatory) flush cycle.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 6/10

Value For Money

I think you get better value for money with a separate espresso machine and grinder than you do with the Breville Barista Pro.

The Breville Barista Pro is fairly priced. 

It’s significantly better than the next cheapest Breville espresso machine – the Breville Barista Express. It is also cheaper than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio which has a similar build and functionality as the Breville Barista Pro.

I do, however, think that you generally get better value for money buying a separate espresso machine and grinder than you do with a machine with a built-in grinder.

This is mainly because a separate espresso machine and grinder give you much more flexibility when it comes to upgrading your espresso setup. You can either upgrade your machine or your grinder.

If you wanted to upgrade the Barista Pro in this way you’d either be left with a dormant brewing mechanism or grinder, which is not cost-efficient.

Value for Money Rating: 7/10

Product Alternatives: Breville Barista Express, Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio, & Breville Bambino + Baratza Sette

Two espresso machines that I often see being compared to the Breville Barista Pro are the:

  • Breville Barista Express
  • Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio

As well as giving my thoughts on how these two machines compare to the Barista Pro, I’ll also tell you about what I think is the best espresso setup you can get for the price of the Breville Barista Pro.

Breville Barista Pro vs Breville Barista Express

The Breville Barista Pro’s LCD screen justifies its extra cost compared to the Barista Express.

The Barista Express costs around $150 less than the Breville Barista Pro. 

The Barista Express is inferior to the Barista Pro in the following ways:

  • It has 16 grind settings (as opposed to 30).
  • It has a 40-second heat-up time (as opposed to three seconds).
  • It does not have an LCD display screen UI.

I think that the Breville Barista Pro justifies its additional price tag mainly because of its LCD display screen. This makes dialing in the machine significantly easier than the Barista Express, leading to better-tasting shots.

Still, the Barista Express is a decent option if you can’t quite stomach paying over $800 for an espresso machine.

Cheaper Alternative to the Barista Pro
Breville Barista Express
The Breville Barista Express is typically $150 cheaper than the Barista Pro and still makes excellent espresso and steamed milk.
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If you’d like to find out more about how these two espresso machines compare then please see my article on Breville Barista Pro vs Barista Express.

Breville Barista Pro vs Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio

The Breville Barista Pro wipes the floor with the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

The Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio is Delonghi’s terrible rip-off of an attempt to compete with the Breville Barista Pro.

Both machines have built-in grinders, automatic shot volume dosing, and a high-quality steam wand.

The problem with the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio (and all Delonghi La Specialista machines) is that its grinder won’t grind fine enough for espresso.

You get a better-tasting espresso with most espresso machines at half the price of the La Specialita range. 

Avoid it entirely.

Breville Barista Pro vs Breville Bambino Plus + Baratza Sette 270

I recommend getting the Breville Bambino Plus and Baratza Sette 270 espresso grinder over the Breville Barista Pro.

Having a separate espresso machine and grinder just gives you more flexibility if you ever want to upgrade your espresso setup.

The biggest thing I don’t like about the Breville Barista Pro is how it weds you to a mediocre grinder. 

For the same price as the Barista Pro you can get a decent machine and a good standalone grinder. I think this is a much better option for most people.

Better than the Barista Pro When Paired With a Good Grinder
Breville Bambino Plus
$499.95
The Breville Bambino Plus performs similarly to the Barista Pro and not having an integrated grinder gives you more flexibility if you want to upgrade your espresso set up in the future.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:44 am GMT
Best Espresso Grinder Under $400
Baratza Sette 270
$459.00 $399.95

The Baratza Sette 270 is better than the Barista Pro’s built-in grinder and can be combined with the Breville Bambino Plus for around the same cost as the Barista Pro.

Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:47 am GMT

In addition to extra flexibility, having a better grinder means you can make better espresso with this setup compared to the Breville Barista Pro.

I talk more about the pros and cons of having a standalone and integrated grinder in my roundup of the best Breville espresso machines.

Breville Barista Pro Review: Final Verdict

I recommend the Breville Barista Pro if you want an espresso machine with a built-in grinder.

The Barista Pro is the best value-for-money machine of this type.

Best Espresso Machine with A Built in Grinder Under $1,000
Breville Barista Pro
$849.95
The Breville Barista Pro’s built in grinder, shot timer and digital display screen makes it a perfect machine for beginners or anyone who wants to make espresso with whole beans using only one appliance.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 05:13 am GMT

I do, however, think that you generally get better value for money by buying a separate espresso machine and grinder. 

If you want to go down that route then your best option for the same price as the Barista Pro is combining the Breville Bambino Plus with the Baratza Sette 270.

Better than the Barista Pro When Paired With a Good Grinder
Breville Bambino Plus
$499.95
The Breville Bambino Plus performs similarly to the Barista Pro and not having an integrated grinder gives you more flexibility if you want to upgrade your espresso set up in the future.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:44 am GMT
Best Espresso Grinder Under $400
Baratza Sette 270
$459.00 $399.95

The Baratza Sette 270 is better than the Barista Pro’s built-in grinder and can be combined with the Breville Bambino Plus for around the same cost as the Barista Pro.

Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:47 am GMT

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