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Breville Barista Pro vs Delonghi La Specialista

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Last updated: December 19, 2023

Quick Answer: I’d recommend the Breville Barista Pro over the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio. The Barista Pro makes better-tasting espresso than the La Specialista Prestigio.

This is my comparison of the Breville Barista Pro vs Delonghi La Specialista.

Specifically, I’m going to be comparing the Barista Pro to the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio as these two machines are the most similarly priced and there are a lot of people torn between the two machines on the espresso subreddit.

I have owned the Breville Barista Pro for just over a year and have used a friend’s Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio in the past.

Let’s get started.

Which is Better the Breville Barista Pro or the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio?

The Breville Barista Pro is better than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

The Breville Barista Pro’s additional grind sizes and inclusion of a shot timer allow you to optimize (what espresso people call: “dial in”) your espresso far more than the Delonghi La Specialista can.

This means the Breville Barista Pro can make better-tasting espresso than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

Better Than The Delonghi Las Specialista Prestigio
Breville Barista Pro
$849.95
The Breville Barista Pro’s additional grind size settings mean that it makes better-tasting espresso than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.
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

In addition to making better espresso, the Breville Barista Pro’s LCD display screen makes it easier to set up than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio. 

The Prestigio is instead controlled with a vaguely labeled button system which you will need to pour over its instruction manual to get your head around.

Overview of Machines

The Breville Barista Pro and Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio are both automatic machines with built-in grinders and pin-holed steam wands.

Below is a table comparing the key features and specifications of the two machines:

Breville Barista Pro Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio
Description
Automatic espresso machine with built in grinder and steam wand
Automatic espresso machine with built in grinder and steam wand
User interface
LCD display screen with buttons
Buttons only
Does it offer single and double shots?
Yes
Yes
Grinder type
Conical burr grinder
Conical burr grinder
Grinder settings
30
6
Heating system
Thermojet (single boiler)
Thermoblock (double boiler)
Portafilter diameter
54 mm
51 mm
Portafilter basket types
Single and double shot; pressurized and non-pressurized
Single and double shot; pressurized and non-pressurized
Steam wand type
Pin hole (four holes)
Pin hole (four holes)
Water reservoir size
67 oz
61 oz
Visible pressure gauge
No
Yes
Visible shot timer
Yes
No
Can you adjust shot volume?
Yes – to the nearest millilitre
Yes – to the nearest millilitre
Hot water dispenser
Yes
Yes
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
13.0” W x 12.0” D x 13.0” H
15.0” W x 14.8” D x 17.5” H

What are the Differences Between the Breville Barista Pro and Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio?

Here are the four differences between the Breville Barista Pro and the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio:

User Interface

The Breville Barista Pro has an LCD display screen that guides you through grinding your beans and pulling a shot. The Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio is controlled with buttons alone.

The Barista Pro’s digital display screen with a shot timer

The Breville Barista Pro’s digital display screen makes it really easy to change the machine’s brewing variables. It displays the following variables:

  • Grind size
  • Dose size (measured by time to grind)
  • Time for a shot to pull (tells you whether you need to grind coarser or finer)

The display screen also allows you to adjust the brewing temperature and put the machine into rinse and descale mode.

Although the Prestigio has all these settings, you can only access and toggle between them using buttons. These buttons have vague symbols that (not very clearly) explain what they do.

What does the “ok” button do?

Although the Prestigio’s workflow is not complicated once you get used to it, the lack of clarity with its control panel can make it frustrating for a beginner to use.

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Tamping Assistance

The Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio tamps your ground coffee puck for you, whereas you need to do this manually with the Breville Barista Pro.

The Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio has a lever-operated tamper that tamps your coffee for you.

With the Breville Barista Pro, you need to tamp your ground coffee yourself (the machine comes with a tamper).

The Prestigio’s tamping system is superior to the Barista Pro’s in the following ways:

  • With the Prestigio, you’ll always get a level puck of coffee. This is necessary for even extraction. With the Barista Pro if you tamp incorrectly then your puck will not be level and your espresso will be extracted unevenly, resulting in a sour final drink.
  • When you tamp manually you often spill ground coffee onto your counter. This happens when coffee grounds stick to your tamper and then fall off when you lift it after tamping. The Prestigio’s assisted tamping will not make a mess in this way.

In short, the Prestigio’s assisted tamping means that you are less likely to pull a sour shot with it compared to the Breville Barista Pro.

Winner: Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio

Grinder Settings

The Breville Barista Pro has 30 grind size settings compared to the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio’s six settings.

Adjusting grind size is the best way of fine-tuning your espresso’s flavor.

This means that the Barista Pro’s additional grind size settings mean that you can optimize your espresso more than you can with the Prestigio.

The Barista Pro, therefore, has a higher espresso quality ceiling than the Prestigio.

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Shot Timer vs Pressure Gauge

The Breville Barista Pro gives you feedback on your shot with a shot timer, the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio gives you feedback on your shot with a pressure gauge.

I think that timing your shot is a better way of getting feedback on your espresso extraction than checking the pressure.

With pressure, too low pressure (ie below 9 bars for the majority of your shot) means that you need to grind finer. However, there is no way of knowing if you grind too fine, other than by timing your shot (the pressure gauge won’t read above 9 bars if you grind too fine).

With shot timing, you can tell if you grind too fine or too coarse: a shot time below 22 seconds means you need to grind finer, and one above 28 seconds means you need to grind coarser.

Timing your shot, therefore, gives you more information about where you are going wrong with your espresso-making than checking pressure.

You will therefore be able to improve your espresso-making faster with the Breville Barista Pro than with the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

What are the Similarities Between the Breville Barista Pro and Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio?

Here are the similarities between the two machines:

  • Steam wand: Both machines have high-quality pin-holed steam wands so can make a very similar standard of textured milk.
  • Size and appearance: The machines look very similar. Although the Prestigio is slightly bigger than the Barista Pro I don’t think there will be many situations where one will fit on your counter but the other one won’t.
  • Portafilter baskets: Both machines come with pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets meaning that you can use them with pre-ground and freshly ground coffee.
  • Heat-up time: Both machines go from off to being able to make an espresso within three seconds.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of each machine. I’m going to compare them across the following criteria:

  • Quality of coffee
  • Quality of steamed milk
  • Functionalities
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Design and build quality
  • Value for money

Quality of Coffee

The Breville Barista Pro can make better espresso than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio because of its additional grind size settings.

The Breville Barista Pro’s additional grind settings over the Prestigio means that you have more scope for how far you can fine-tune your espresso.

This means that the Barita Pro’s espresso quality ceiling is higher than the Prestigio’s.

You could argue that the Prestigio’s assisted tamping means that it can pull more consistent shots than the Barista Pro, but I think that this difference is negated once you have a bit of practice in tamping a level coffee puck (see the video below on how to do this).

Quality of Coffee Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Quality of Steamed Milk

Both machines use the same type of steam wand so steam milk in the same way.

The only difference between the two machines, as far as steaming milk is concerned, is that the Prestigio has two boilers, one for its espresso brewer and one for its steam wand, whereas the Barista Pro has one boiler for its espresso brewer and its steam wand.

This means that you can transition between pulling shots and steaming milk slightly faster with the Prestigio compared to the Barista Pro.

Still, this difference in transition speed is marginal and is only noticeable if you want to make lots of milk-based drinks in a row. It does not affect the quality of steamed milk (or espresso) that the machine produces.

Quality of Steamed Milk Winner: Draw

Functionalities

The machines have the exact same functionalities.

Both machines can:

  • Brew single and double shots of espresso
  • Grind your beans
  • Steam milk
  • Dispense hot water

Anything you can do with one machine, you can do with the other.

Functionalities Winner: Draw

Ease of Use 

The Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio’s assisted tamping makes it easier to use than the Breville Barista Pro.

Each machine has a unique feature that improves its ease of use:

  • Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio has assisted with tamping.
  • Breville Barista Pro has an LCD display screen.

I think that the Prestigio’s assisted tamping contributes more to its usability than the Barista Pro’s LCD display screen.

The Barista Pro’s display screen is very useful when you set up the machine and when you first use it, however, once you get to know how the machine works you rely on it less and less.

Although the Prestigio’s button-operated control panel is more tricky to figure out, once you understand what all the buttons mean its workflow is basically the same as the Barista Pro.

The Prestigio’s assisted tamping makes the machine easier to use than the Barista Pro for every shot that you pull.

Tamping your puck is just plain fiddly and you can mess it up even if you have done it hundreds of times before.

Therefore the Prestigio’s assisted tamping makes more of a difference in the machine’s long-term ease of use than the Barista Pro’s LCD display screen does.

Ease of Use Winner: Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio

Ease of Cleaning

The Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio’s assisted tamping makes it easier to keep clean than the Breville Barista Pro.

Although the long-term cleaning and maintenance of the two machines are the same, the Prestigio requires less cleanup after each coffee than the Breville Barista Pro does.

This is because manual tamping is a messy process where you’re likely to spill coffee grounds either on your machine’s drip tray or counter.

The Prestigio’s assisted tamping ensures that this does not happen, reducing your required clean-up after you make each espresso,

Ease of Cleaning Winner: Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio

Design and Build Quality

The Breville Barista Pro feels better built than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

Let me start by saying that both machines have a very high internal build quality and should last you a long time if properly cared for (i.e. rinsed and descaled regularly).

This is backed up by the fact that both machines come with a two-year warranty as standard (Delonghi offer a three-year warranty on espresso machines if you register them).

I had a small issue with my Breville Barista Pro last month and the customer support was excellent. The rep was on the phone with me for forty minutes as we troubleshooted the machine together.

The Breville Barista Pro does seem to have a slightly better external build quality than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

The Prestigio’s grinder creaks and sputters when you adjust its grind setting, and its portafilter handle is attached to the portafilter basket with glue, rather than being nailed in.

This is a poor design as the glue can melt when the portafilter basket gets hot (as it does when you brew). This can lead to the handle becoming detached from the portafilter basket and you need to replace the portafilter.

The Barista Pro’s portafilter handle is nailed into the basket so you do not need to worry about this happening.

Design and Build Quality Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Value For Money

The Breville Barista Pro offers better value for money than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

Both these machines cost around the same price.

The Breville Barista Pro offers better value for money than the Prestigio because it can make better coffee, has a better user interface, and has a marginally higher build quality.

Value for Money Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Alternative to Breville Barista Pro and Delonghi La Specialista: Breville Bambino Plus and Eureka Mignon Single Dose Grinder

The Breville Bambino Plus is basically the Breville Barista Pro without a built-in grinder and a digital display screen.

You can get a Barista Bambino Plus and a high-quality espresso grinder for the same price as the Breville Barista Pro.

Going down the Bambino Pro plus grinder route will allow you to make better espresso than the Barista Pro can.

Although the Barista Pro’s grinder is better than the Prestigio’s, it’s still not that great in the grand scheme of things. It prevents the Barista Pro from making truly world-class espresso.

Pairing The Bambino Plus with a high-quality grinder overcomes the Barista Pro’s grinder’s limitations, therefore allowing you to make better espresso than you ever could with the Barista Pro.

Alternative to the Barista Pro
Breville Bambino Plus
$499.95
The Breville Bambino Plus can make better espresso than the Barista Pro if you pair it with a high-quality grinder.
Get it on Amazon
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04/03/2024 01:44 am GMT

I’d recommend you pair the Breville Bambino Plus with the Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Grinder as it’s the best grinder that you can buy with the Bambino Plus and it still costs less than the Barista Pro.

Final Thoughts 

The Breville Barista Pro makes better espresso than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.

As the two machines cost the same, I’d therefore recommend you buy the Barista Pro over the Prestigio.

Better Than The Delonghi Las Specialista Prestigio
Breville Barista Pro
$849.95
The Breville Barista Pro’s additional grind size settings mean that it makes better-tasting espresso than the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio.
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

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