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Breville Barista Pro vs Touch

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Last updated: December 19, 2023

Quick Answer: I would recommend the Breville Barista Pro over the Breville Barista Touch if you are mainly going to make plain espresso and Americano, and I’d recommend the Barista Touch over the Pro if you are mainly going to make milk-based drinks.

There are three differences between the Breville Barista Pro vs Touch:

  • User interface: Breville Barista Touch is operated by a full-color touchscreen, whereas the Barista Pro has a backlit LCD screen.
  • Steam wand: Breville Barista Touch has an automatic steam wand that steams your milk to a preset temperature and texture. The Barista Pro has a manual steam wand where your milk’s final temperature and texture are determined by how you steam it.
  • Price: The Breville Barista Touch is typically around $200 more expensive than the Barista Pro.

Let’s find out if the Barista Touch’s upgraded user interface and automated steam wand justify its additional cost over the Barista Pro.

Should I Buy the Breville Barista Pro or Breville Barista Touch?

I’d recommend buying the Breville Barista Pro if you will mainly use your machine to make black coffee drinks (plain espresso and Americano/long black).

Best for Plain Espresso Drinkers
Breville Barista Pro
$849.95
The Breville Barista Pro is at least as good as the Barista Touch for plain espresso and Americano. Save the $200 and get the Barista Pro if you will mainly drink these black drinks.
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

You’ll only really benefit from the Barista Touch’s upgrades over the Barista Pro if you use the machine’s steam wand regularly.

I’d therefore only recommend you opt for the Barista Touch over the Pro if you are going to mainly use the machine to make milk-based drinks.

Best for Milk Drinks
Breville Barista Touch
$998.45
The Breville Barista Touch allows you to make milk-based drinks far more easily than the Breville Barista Pro.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:39 am GMT

What are the Differences Between the Breville Barista Pro and the Barista Touch?

I’m now going to run through the differences between the Breville Barista Pro and Barista Touch and give my thoughts about how these differences affect each machine’s usability.

If you’d like to find out more about the Breville Barista Pro then please see my Breville Barista Pro review or my comparison of the Breville Barista Pro vs Barista Express.

User Interface: Barista Pro’s LCD Screen vs Barista Touch’s Touchscreen

The Breville Barista Pro is controlled with a button and dial-operated backlit LCD screen, whereas the Barista Touch has a full-color touchscreen.

While the “better” user interface is partially a matter of personal preference, they do alter the workflow of each machine.

I’m going to run through each machine’s UI affects the workflow of its three main functionalities:

  • Pulling an espresso shot
  • Steaming milk
  • Rinsing and descaling the machine

Pulling an Espresso Shot

The Breville Barista Touch’s touch screen does not make pulling an espresso shot any faster or easier than the Barista Pro.

You can see the workflow for making an espresso with the Breville Barista Pro below:

You can see the workflow for pulling a shot with the Breville Barista Touch below (watch from 3:30 – 7:05):

As you can see from these, the process for pulling an espresso shot is pretty much the same for both machines. It involves:

  • Setting the grind size
  • Setting the dose (measured by time to grind)
  • Choosing whether to pull a single or double shot

The only difference between pulling a shot on the Barista Pro vs Touch lies in how far you can customize shot volume:

  • The Barista Touch allows you to change your shot volume for every shot you take. You do this by adjusting the brewing time (in the video it is set to 28 seconds) which determines how long the machine dispenses water when brewing.
  • The Barista Pro works on a fixed volume (30 ml/1 oz for single shots and 60 ml/2 oz for a double shot). The machine times your shots, however, this is just to measure its brewing time. It does not brew according to a fixed time

This means that:

  • The Touch allows you to make espresso variants like ristretto and lungo, whereas the Barista Pro only allows you to make the standard espresso.
  • The Barista Pro allows you to “dial in” your espresso to a greater extent than the Touch as you can use brew time as a way of measuring whether you need to grind coarser or finer (I will talk more about this later on when I evaluate the two machines on their espresso quality)

Steaming Milk

The Breville Barista Touch’s touchscreen allows you to steam and foam milk much more easily than the Barista Pro.

Steaming milk with the Barista Touch is just a matter of selecting a temperature (to the nearest 10 Fahrenheit or 5 Celsius) and a texture (on a scale of 1-10). You then fill your milk jug, put it on the temperature sensor on the machine’s drip tray, and put your steam wand in your milk.

You don’t need to hold your jug or more your steam wand as you steam your milk

You can only steam milk manually with the Barista Pro. 

You are not going to get the type of temperature/texture accuracy you do with the touch unless you steam your milk with a thermometer in it (the machine does not come with such a thermometer) and you already have a lot of experience with steaming milk.

I have owned the Barista Pro for a year and make steamed milk drinks about once a week and I still find my steamed milk’s texture to be very inconsistent (sometimes it comes out how I want it, other times it doesn’t).

If you are going to make a lot of milk-based drinks then you’ll find the Barista Touch much easier to use than the Barista Pro.

Rinsing, Descaling, and Troubleshooting the Machine

The Barista Touch’s touchscreen makes maintaining and troubleshooting the machine slightly easier than the Pro. I must stress that this difference is marginal, however.

Both machines have “settings” menus which you can see below:

Although the Touch’s “settings” menu is slightly easier to navigate than the Pro’s, they are both very self-explanatory.

The Touch has a couple more options on its menu, such as the ability to change milk frothing temperature and screen brightness, however, these additional options are only necessary because of the additional features that the Touch has over the Pro.

The Pro’s troubleshooting and settings options are sufficient to enable its smooth operation, even if they aren’t quite as plentiful as the Touch’s.

What About the Barista Touch’s Drinks Menu?

You may have noticed that the Barista Touch’s touchscreen has a menu with eight different coffee types.

While this implies that the Touch can make a larger range of drinks than the Pro, I think this menu is kinda gimmicky.

The variables between the different drinks are simply the volume of espresso and milk used and the texture of the milk.

You can therefore make any of these preset recipes just by choosing one of the drink options and then altering your steam wand settings (this takes two button presses to do) and putting more or less milk in your milk jug to steam.

You can find someone complaining about the lack of variation between the Touch’s drink options in this Reddit thread:

“As far as I can tell, the only difference [between the Touch’s menu options] is between Americano and all the other drinks. It will automatically add hot water to the espresso shot for Americano. For all other drinks, it pours the same espresso shot and then froths the milk to the specified temperature. The temp or froth for the milk doesn’t differ between the different drinks.”

u/twelvehometowns

Although the Touch’s menu makes it seem like it can do more than it actually can (making it excellent for product shots), I do really like how you can save eight preset favorites to your menu (see the video below on how to do this).

Since most people will make eight or fewer different coffee types with their machine, this effectively allows you to make any coffee you want with one button press with the Touch.

This further increases the Touch’s ease of use vs the Barista Pro.

In summary, the Barista Touch’s touchscreen makes it easier to make complex milk-based drinks than the Pro. It does not make pulling espresso shots or maintaining the machine significantly easier. 

Steam Wand: Barista Touch’s Automatic Steam Wand vs Barista Pro’s Manual Steam Wand

The Barista Pro’s manual steam wand steams your milk to a preprogrammed texture and temperature. 

All you have to do is select this temperature/texture on the machine’s touchscreen, put the jug on the temperature sensor on the machine’s drip tray under the steam wand, and lower the steam wand into the milk.

You do not even need to hold the steam wand or the jug as the machine steams your milk.

You can see a video of someone steaming milk with the Barista Touch below (watch from 5:16 – 6:50):

The Barista Pro has a manual steam wand. Your milk’s temperature and texture after steaming depend wholly on how long you steam it and how you maneuver your steam wand in your milk.

This process is much more fiddly than with the Barista Touch. 

You can see a demonstration on how to steam milk with a steam wand below (the person in the video is not using the Barista Pro’s steam wand, but the process is the same) (watch from 3:55 – 9:00):

You’ll likely achieve inconsistent results with your steamed milk until you have a lot of practice under your belt.

So yeah, in short, the Barista Touch’s steam wand makes it much easier to make milk-based espresso drinks than the Barista Pro.

Can You Make Latte Art with the Barista Touch’s Steam Wand?

You can make latte art with the Barista Touch’s steam wand but only if you use it in manual mode.

I saw a lot of people ask this question on Reddit.

To make the fine microfoam needed for latte art you need to steam your milk with the tip of the milk wand barely touching the top surface of your milk.

The Barista Touch’s automatic milk frother will not do this in automatic mode. When the jug sits on the heat sensor (this is necessary for the machine to steam your milk to a preset temperature) then the want has to be deeply submerged in the milk to steam it.

You can still steam milk to make latte art with the Barista Touch, but you have to put its wand into manual mode and then maneuver it in the milk as you steam it.

You can see a Reddit thread talking about this here:

“I have the Breville Barista Touch and froth my milk manually for latte art because the auto froth only work okay for normal foam not the mircofoam you need for latte art.”

u/robertjandreu

The Barista Pro’s manual steam wand can also steam milk for latte art.

In summary, the Barista Touch’s automatic steam wand makes it much easier to steam milk and achieve a consistent quality of steamed milk than the Barista Pro. The Touch’s steam wand can make milk for latte art, but you need to put it in manual mode to do this.

Now that we have covered the key differences between the two machines, I am going to compare them across the following criteria:

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

Quality of Coffee

The Breville Barista Pro can make slightly better espresso than the Breville Barista Touch because you can optimize your shots more with the Pro vs the Touch.

The Barista Pro’s shot timer allows you to dial in your espresso with more precision than the Barista Touch.

The Barista Touch has you preselect your brewing time. 

Brewing time on the Touch is used to determine how much water is used to pull your shot with (the longer your brewing time the longer the machine dispenses water into your shot so the more water will go into your espresso).

The Barista Pro works with fixed volumes of water and instead times your shot based on how long it takes for all your brewing water to flow through your puck.

You can therefore use shot time to help you work out if you are grinding your coffee correctly with the Pro. 

  • If your shot pulls in under 30 seconds then there are too large gaps between each coffee grind for water to run through and you should grind finer.
  • If your shot pulls in over 30 seconds then there are too small gaps between each coffee grind for water to run through and you should grind coarser.

You do not get this feedback with the Touch as you program your shot time in advance. The machine will just dispense enough water into your shot that it brews for whatever time you select.

This means that you have less room to optimize your espresso shots with the Touch compared to the Pro.

Your espresso quality ceiling is therefore lower with the Touch than with the Pro.

This is another reason why I would recommend the Breville Barista Pro over the Touch if you are mainly going to drink black coffee drinks.

Quality of Coffee Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Quality of Steamed Milk

Although the two machines can make equally high-quality steamed milk, the Touch can do this far more consistently than the Pro.

Both machines (and Breville machines generally) can make very high-quality steamed milk.

You get the best quality steamed milk with the Touch when you use its steam wand in manual mode. The Touch and the Pro’s steam wand are identical when the Touch’s steam wand is in manual mode.

Unlike with the Pro, you can still get well-steamed milk with the Touch without any prior practice with steaming milk.

The Touch, therefore, steams milk far more consistently than the Pro. With the Pro, the quality of steamed milk will depend entirely on how you maneuver the steam wand in the milk.

The Touch’s automatic steam wand leaves much less room for human error.

Quality of Steamed Milk Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Functionalities

Although the two machines can make the same range of drinks, making these drinks is much easier with the Barista Touch than with the Barista Pro.

Both machines can basically make any coffee drink that combines espresso with milk.

The Touch just allows you to make these drinks much more easily than the Pro.

With the Pro, you can only make drinks that you know how to make manually. For example, if you don’t know how to steam milk without texture then you cannot make a cortado.

With the Touch, you can make any drink without any skill or experience. You can make a cortado by putting the milk texture setting to its lowest, for example.

Functionalities Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Ease of Use and Cleaning

The Barista Touch’s touch screen and the automatic steam wand make it easier to use than the Pro. Both machines are cleaned in the exact same way.

The Barista Touch’s automatic steam wand makes it far easier to make steamed milk drinks than the Pro. 

You need no skill to do this with the Touch (other than to make fine microfoam for latte art) whereas the Pro’s steam wand has a bit of a learning curve to it.

Pulling a straight espresso shot is pretty much the same level of difficulty with the two machines.

Both machines are cleaned in the exact same way and have assisted descaling modes that are executed really well (descaling my Barista Pro is foolproof and the machine tells you what to do every step of the way).

The only small difference in cleaning the two machines is that the Touch’s drip tray is about two-thirds the size of the Pros, so it will need to be emptied a bit more often.

Ease of Use and Cleaning Winner: Breville Barista Touch

Design and Build Quality

Both machines are really well built and should last you a long time without technical faults occurring.

Both machines have a really high internal build quality. Breville offers a two-year warranty on both machines and their customer support is really useful (one of their reps stayed on the phone with me for an hour to troubleshoot a “problem” that was pure of my own making).

One could argue that the Touch is more likely to succumb to technical issues than the Pro purely because there are more parts to it that could go wrong, but I could honestly find so few reports of people having problems with the machine that it feels unfair to make this claim.

The Breville Barista Touch is slightly smaller than the Pro, so if a lack of space is a concern for you then you might want to opt for the Touch.

Design and Build Quality Winner: Draw

Value For Money

The Breville Barista Touch only justifies its extra cost compared to the Pro if you are going to make a lot of milk-based drinks with it.

If you are going to buy the Touch over the Pro then you’re going to be paying an extra $200 for an additional touch screen and automatic steam wand.

While I don’t think the touch screen alone justifies this extra cost, I think that the touch screen in combination with the automatic steam wand does justify this additional cost if you are going to use it regularly.

It makes steaming milk a far easier process, so if you think you are going to benefit from this then the Touch is a better purchase than the Pro.

Value For Money Winner: Draw (it depends on what you want)

Final Thoughts

I’d recommend the Touch over the Pro if you are going to use the machine’s milk wand a lot. The Touch’s automatic milk wand does dramatically cut the effort it takes to make drinks with steamed milk.

Best for Milk Drinks
Breville Barista Touch
$998.45
The Breville Barista Touch allows you to make milk-based drinks far more easily than the Breville Barista Pro.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:39 am GMT

If you mainly drink plain espresso and Americano (as I do) then I’d recommend the Pro over the Touch. I like the Pro so much that I named it one of the best Breville espresso machines.

The Touch’s additional features vs the Pro mainly affect how it steams milk. 

You aren’t going to get value out of the extra money you spend on the Touch instead of the Pro if you don’t make a lot of milk-based drinks.

Best for Plain Espresso Drinkers
Breville Barista Pro
$849.95
The Breville Barista Pro is at least as good as the Barista Touch for plain espresso and Americano. Save the $200 and get the Barista Pro if you will mainly drink these black drinks.
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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