Breville Barista Express Review

The Breville Barista Express is one of the best Breville espresso machines.

In this Breville Barista Express review and test, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this home barista coffee maker.

The winner when it comes to price-quality, perfect for the aspiring home barista.

This Barista Express is unrivaled in its price range.

With a built-in coffee grinder, pressure gauge and large water and bean reservoir and steam wand, it has everything to make a delicious espresso or cappuccino.

Currently, this Breville Barista Express Stainless Steel is the most affordable here.

I’m very enthusiastic about this Breville myself. And many others are with me.

I’ve been using it for about 3.5 years now and I’ll tell you the pros and cons.

Have fun enjoying delicious coffee!

Breville Barista Express Review 2023: Perfect for home?

Breville espresso machine on table: Barista Express

The Breville Barista Express review scores an 8.9 out of 10. Because of the good price-quality ratio, the beautiful design and excellent performance, this Breville espresso machine scores best in 2023.

What’s in the box?

In the photo above you see the Breville Barista Express Stainless Steel right after it was unpacked.

When unpacking the Breville Barista Express you immediately notice that you have bought a complete package.

Everything is included, from a milk jug with thermometer to different sized portafilters and a dosing tool.

A cleaning kit is also included to descale and clean the machine.

How does making coffee work?

With the Breville Barista Express you can make delicious espresso, cappuccino, americano and for example a latte.

Without having to put in too much effort.

Never used a piston machine before?

Breville Barista Express with Tools

Then there is a learning curve, because you can adjust a lot yourself to get the best results.

When brewing coffee you keep an eye on the pressure gauge, it should be right in the middle.

Tamping also has to be done with the right amount of force and the coffee grinder must be set to the right grind size.

But this is the fun part!

Already know how to make espresso at home with an espresso machine?

Then everything will work out fine anyway. Because the Barista Express is easy when it comes to operation.

Much easier than most semi-automatic machines.

With an espresso machine you have total control over the espresso.

That’s good, because that means you can determine the taste yourself – and thus make better coffee.

If you’re just looking for a quick and easy cup of coffee, consider a super automatic coffee machine.

Those do everything automatically, you press a button and the coffee comes out.

Okay, you’re still here? Then let’s take a close look at the machine.

You’ll have it on your countertop soon and be just as enthusiastic as I am, promised!

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert: you’ll enjoy delicious espressos every day if you buy the Breville Barista Express.

It rarely happens that a coffee machine meets the needs of beginners and experts alike. I’ll explain it to you.

Choosing from the filter baskets: which one do you need?

The Barista Express comes with 4 different filter baskets. Single wall and double wall filters.

Breville filter baskets single double

You choose the filter baskets based on the type of coffee beans you use.

The one that is in the Barista Express by default is the second from the left.

This is a single walled filter: for coffee that is freshly roasted (less than 30 days ago).

If you buy coffee from the supermarket, it is almost always roasted more than 30 days ago – so you use double walled filters.

If you look closely, you can see that there are small holes in the filter baskets.

With the single wall, you can see through the bottom of the filter.

On the other hand, the double walled filters only have one hole.

The pressure to make espresso is built up in the freshly ground coffee.

But with older coffee this no longer works so well. That’s why you use double walled filters, where the pressure is created by squeezing the coffee through a hole.

The built-in coffee grinder: is it good enough?

First we look at the top of the Breville Barista Express. The bean hopper is on top of the device and cannot be missed.

To get the best espresso you grind fresh coffee beans yourself. Normally you would do this with a separate coffee grinder.

The Breville SES875 is a semi-automatic espresso machine with a built-in coffee grinder.

So you don’t have to worry about an expensive coffee grinder. This makes it a real home appliance, because it saves space, time – and especially clutter.

Breville Barista Express built in Grinder

The integrated bean grinder saves you about €200-€300 because you don’t need a separate coffee grinder.

Breville builds great coffee grinders. This built-in coffee grinder has 16 different grind settings.

Quick tip: I have the Breville Barista Express set to grind level 7.

The freshly ground coffee falls directly into the portafilter holder. It couldn’t be neater.

What is a disadvantage of this grinder: it only has 16 grind settings.

If you opt for the more luxurious versions, you get more grinding options.

The espresso will taste better when choosing the perfect grind size. This works better with more options.

The Breville Barista Express Impress has 25, for example.

The control panel: clear and beautiful design!

Control panel Breville Barista Express Stainless Steel

First of all, you have the on and off button on the far left of the device.

After half an hour, this device switches itself off. This saves energy and you don’t have to worry about it.

Next is the setting for the amount of coffee to grind. This dial determines how many coffee beans are ground into ground coffee.

The default setting for making good espresso is between 2 and 3 o’clock.

The amount of coffee in the photo has been adjusted slightly, because just a little too much coffee comes out for the double walled coffee filter.

Depending on the chosen filter, choose how much coffee you want to grind. Single wall or double wall?

When you choose the double walled filter, the pressure gauge will work. This measures how well you make your espresso.

Does the meter end up in the ‘Espresso Range’? Then you’re doing well!

Otherwise, adjust one of the settings according to the manual.

This can mean several things: too much coffee ground, tamped too soft or just the opposite.

‘Program’ features advanced functions like setting the temperature of the machine.

This goes automatically (if you don’t use it) – and the temperature is perfect straight away.

Finally, there are the buttons for one and two espressos.

Example video: making cappuccino and lungo

The product video of the Breville Barista Express.

How to set up the Breville Barista Express?

Setting up the Breville Barista Express is not as difficult as it seems.

That’s why you’ll find the instructions below to make a good espresso with this Breville.

Start with grinding

To grind the coffee, hang the filter holder in the grinding bracket.

Press the filter holder against a button so the Breville Barista Express starts grinding beans.

Optionally, you can determine how much coffee you want by keeping the button pressed.

If you don’t do this, the Breville Barista Express will grind the set amount of coffee.


Then use the tamper to tamp the ground coffee.

Ground coffee tamping with tamper

To do this, remove the tamper from the left side of the machine.

The idea is to tamp the coffee with a pressure of about 10-15 kilograms. The intention is to tamp the air out of the ground coffee.

This espresso machine does not have an automatic tamper, the Delonghi La Specialista does have this, the Impress version too.

I also tested the Delonghi, you can find my Delonghi La Specialista review here.

The end result of tamping with the tamper looks like this:

Result tamping ground coffee

Razor dosing tool

Finally, use the Breville Razor dosing tool to perfect the tamped coffee.

This dosing tool ensures you have the perfect amount of coffee in the portafilter holder.

Ground too much coffee? Then remove the excess with this dosing tool.

Breville razor dosing tool

Done this? Then it’s time to make the perfect espresso!

Making the espresso

Insert the filter holder into the Barista Express and let the Breville start extracting by pressing the button for one or two espressos.

Ready for espresso making

When you press the button, it will take a while before you see anything happen.

The Barista Express first starts with pre-infusion.

This means the coffee is moistened, making the espresso tastier.

Depending on the settings this takes about 4 to 7 seconds.

After that the coffee machine starts making espresso.

Brewing Espresso Breville Barista Express

Frothing milk with the steam wand

If you want to make milk specialties, use the supplied milk jug with thermometer.

Put the milk in the milk jug and turn on the steam knob.

Since this Breville has a single boiler, it first has to raise the boiler temperature to make steam.

It can be a bit challenging if you’re a beginner, because it doesn’t go automatically.

Do a few practice rounds, because it probably won’t work the first time.

But you’ll get the hang of it, promised!

The steam wand performs just as well as the more expensive Breville models, you get deliciously creamy milk foam with it.

The only difference is the warm-up time (but this has more to do with the machine’s heating system than the steam wand itself).

Steamwand test Breville Barista

As can be seen, the Express is the slowest.

The Impress is already slightly faster, but the Breville Barista Touch Impress is the winner at 8.6 seconds.

Wait until the machine produces steam before you put the steam nozzle in the milk jug.

This takes 24.2 seconds to be exact.

The reason you have to wait a while to put the steam pipe into the milk is because of the water that comes out of the steam pipe before actual steam is produced.

This gets into the milk otherwise.

Milk frothing Barista Express

The Impress version has the same steam wand, the Barista Touch Impress has an automatic steam wand.

Cleaning and descaling: is a lot of work required?

When you spend three times as much effort on cleaning as the actual espresso, it becomes a lot less interesting.

Piston machines are known for the amount of cleaning work. Maintenance is also important! At Breville they have made this as easy as possible.

When you receive your Barista Express, a water filter is included.

Test the water hardness at your home or look it up. Then install the water filter.

A water filter prevents little to no limescale buildup in the pipes.

You still have to descale it, but this will take longer before it needs to be done.

Descaling must be done as soon as the built-in indicator indicates this.

The front light on the machine will start flashing. It keeps flashing until the machine is cleaned.

There are special cleaning tablets available for the Breville Barista Express. These are included.

Put a tablet in the black cap and place it in the filter holder.

Activate the cleaning program and the Breville will now start cleaning.

Don’t forget to clean the drip tray, portafilter and filters and coffee outlet.

The same goes for the water reservoir. Just take it out, clean it and you’re done.

The bean hopper can be simply removed to clean the conical grinder.

Occasionally cleaning the grinder will help you brew better espresso for longer.

If you really want to do it right, clean the grinder whenever you switch coffee beans.

Build quality: everything stainless steel!

Breville build quality Stainless Steel

Most parts are true Italian quality. And you can really tell. Because it looks beautiful and feels like a real gem.

The housing is made of stainless steel. This ensures your Barista Express has a longer lifespan.

I’ve had it myself for 3 or 4 years now, and the machine still looks tip top.

The only downside to stainless steel is that it scratches.

So don’t put the portafilter on the drip tray, for example.

The only thing that is not stainless steel is the inside. This is made of plastic.

Logical too, because we’re talking about a machine costing a few hundred euros, instead of a few thousand.

What do other users think?

The Breville Barista Express is rated 8.9 out of a total score of 10. This makes it the best Breville in terms of price-quality in 2023.

Advantages that are often mentioned include the design. You get a real barista feel at home, and it looks nice in the kitchen.

It takes longer than a bean coffee machine, but according to customers it is certainly worth it. The coffee is incredibly delicious and there are many different settings.

There are almost no disadvantages to be found. If you are very discerning, choose a separate bean grinder for the best ground coffee. And thus even tastier coffee.

But in that case I would recommend another device without a grinder, such as the Delonghi Dedica.

Espresso and milk foam test

I’ve tasted the espresso and milk foam from the Breville Barista Express hundreds of times now – luckily not all in one day.

I have also subjected them to a test, you can find the results and my experiences here:

Espresso quality

The espresso quality of the Breville Barista Express is very good and hardly differs from the more expensive variants in the Breville series.

coffeepuck espresso test Breville Barista

Above is the result of a double espresso from the Breville Barista Express (left).

The coffee puck is also visible, what stands out is that it is ground slightly coarser than the other two pucks.

The coffee grinder is also limited to 16 grind settings, so perfect adjustment was not possible.

Temperature test Breville Barista Express

The espresso is still at a good temperature; above I measure about 75.2 degrees.

Not bad after 3.5 years of use. Also, the cup had cooled down a bit already, and the machine is set to the middle temperature.

Even higher temperatures can be achieved, but this is hot enough!

Milk froth quality test

The milk foam performs very well. When we froth milk and test quality compared to other versions, this is perfect milk foam.

Milk froth quality

Few bubbles, nicely creamy and also good temperature.

The only downside is that it takes a while for the steam wand to be ready for use.

Other than that, no comments on the milk foam. The cappuccino enthusiast is in good hands here.

Breville Barista Express Review 2023: How to become a home barista

Breville Barista Express Review 2023 with Nigel

This Breville Barista Express is the best espresso machine for beginners. You can literally learn to make espresso like a real barista in an afternoon.

With features like the built-in coffee grinder, dosing and brewing options and the ability to clean it easily (and quickly), the Breville makes it an excellent purchase that brings espresso making at home to the next level.

It’s a bestseller for a reason! The best selling piston machine with bean grinder.

It’s definitely worth the money in terms of price-quality.

And coffee enthusiasts can get to work with it as well.

Maybe the grinder is a bit disappointing due to the grind settings, but then you’d have to be a real connoisseur.

Curious about the lowest price?

See the lowest price of the Breville Barista Express below and click the link to check the price:

Nigel Hooijmans

Nigel Hooijmans

I have tested over 20 espresso machines and tasted hundreds of kinds of specialty coffee. What is left is a lot of knowledge which I'd like to share. On you'll read honest opinions about real products.

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