Breville Barista Touch Impress review
The Breville Barista Touch Impress is Breville’s newest espresso machine with a touchscreen display that automatically doses and tamps your coffee.
I tested the Barista Touch Impress and in this review I’ll take you on the ultimate espresso journey.
Spoiler alert: The Barista Touch Impress beats every other coffee maker with ease.
It offers the same ease of use as the most luxurious super-automatic machines, but with the quality of a great Breville espresso machine.
The price is high at around $1300 – check the current price on Amazon. But you get a lot for your money.
Breville Barista Touch Impress At a Glance
The Breville Barista Touch Impress is a great successor to the Barista Touch. The main differences are the Impress puck system for automatic dosing and tamping to save you time and mess.
The bean hopper also got an upgrade.
The automatic steam wand steals the show, preparing lattes, flat whites, cappuccinos or even babycinos at the push of a button.
I’ve never seen a coffee grinder like this built into a semi-automatic machine before.
Combined with the extreme ease of use, this makes the machine very interesting – a true challenger to super-automatics. Here are my pros and cons:
- Digitally adjustable low-noise grinder with 30 settings
- Automatic steam wand, steam ready in 9 secs
- Full guidance for perfect coffee brewing
- Ready to use very quickly
- Tea function
- Automatic tamping without mess
- Automatic cleaning programs
- Can’t see how many grams of coffee are ground
- Pre-infusion not adjustable
Breville Barista Touch Impress Review 2023
The Breville Barista Touch Impress is a top-notch machine with a focus on ease of use. Technically some things have changed too, making it one of Breville’s best coffee machines.
Let’s dive into the world of the Barista Touch Impress.
Unboxing Watch the unboxing video below (2 mins):
In terms of design, the Touch Impress has a different shape than the Barista Express. I find this version looks more luxurious, though not necessarily more beautiful.
The Barista Express has a classic design that I find timeless. But this is a very sleek model with a focus on luxury.
The bean hopper immediately catches the eye in terms of design – more on that later.
The difference with the Touch version is the Impress puck system, which is very noticeable.
Other than that, not much has changed in the design. This is a gorgeous machine!
The Barista Touch is operated via the touchscreen display. Here you can customize literally everything!
Via the touchscreen you can easily swipe through the different coffee options:
- Flat white
- Cafe crema
- Hot chocolate
Later in this review I’ll test every coffee type!
When brewing coffee or milk drinks, the above screen appears.
Tap the first icon to start grinding the beans. Once complete, you’ll get a prompt to tamp. Tamp twice for best results.
Then insert the portafilter into the group head. Tap the second coffee icon to start brewing.
The machine will pre-infuse then start pulling the shot.
The integrated timer is ideal – no need for an advanced coffee scale!
If the shot time is too fast or slow, the machine will let you know. It also tells you which settings to tweak – and how much.
For a shot pouring too fast, it says to adjust the grind coarser. For one too slow, it advises adjusting the grind finer. This goes in increments of 1 until the perfect grind size is dialed in.
It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t want to fiddle with settings but wants delicious espresso.
When selecting a cappuccino or latte, you have extra settings for the milk foam:
Milk Foam Settings
As you can see, the espresso is dialed in nicely here. For the milk, the machine shows the ideal defaults but you can customize them.
Tap the 65C button to adjust temperature. Foam thickness is at 5, and you can select different milk types.
At top right are two small buttons. The first cleans the steam wand with hot water, the second dispenses hot water for preheating cups.
Ideal for preheating your cup:
Now back to the milk – we haven’t steamed it yet. To do so, tap the third milk icon.
Don’t forget to fill the included milk jug with your chosen milk type and place it under the steam wand.
Once you tap the button, the temperature gauge will start climbing. Always place the jug by the thermometer.
When it reaches the set temperature, steaming stops and the milk is ready.
The grinder has really improved on this Breville model. With a Baratza grinder and 30 grind settings, it’s the most capable grinder ever in a semi-automatic machine.
Often, semi-autos with a built-in grinder have a terrible grinder with minimal settings, leading to inconsistent results.
You don’t have that issue with the Touch Impress.
This makes it easy to achieve excellent espresso. As mentioned before, the machine itself tells you the perfect grind size.
The grinder is also very quiet. In noise tests comparing the Barista Express, Barista Express Impress, and Barista Touch Impress models, the latter is definitely the most silent.
Impress Puck System
The Impress Puck system provides perfect dosing and consistent pressure when tamping the ground coffee.
The goal of tamping is to compress the grounds so no air remains.
The machine does this automatically – all you do is push the side lever down. This makes a separate tamper and coffee scale unnecessary.
You also get the ideal tamp pressure of 10 kg every time.
I do recommend double tamping to get a nice smooth puck without stray grounds on top. Breville themselves recommend this too.
Above is the result after double tamping – a perfect puck ready for pre-infusion!
With pre-infusion, the ground coffee is lightly moistened at low pressure before pulling the shot.
This happens after grinding but before the timer starts.
Pre-wetting the coffee allows CO2 to escape so the flavors can fully develop.
Once pre-infusion finishes, you’ll hear the pump pressure increase to 9 bars. The machine can do up to 15 bars but that’s unnecessary for great espresso.
Unfortunately the pre-infusion is not adjustable. Coffee experts may find this a drawback but it won’t bother most users.
Total pre-infusion time is about 6 seconds – perfect if you ask me!
The Barista Touch Impress uses a unique heating system called Thermojet.
With Thermojet, the machine gets piping hot incredibly fast. And this model is no exception – turn it on and it’s ready to pull shots in just 3-5 seconds.
Obviously you still need to preheat cups, filters and the steam wand before use, so 3 seconds is a bit optimistic.
But the Thermojet system is very energy efficient, using 32% less power than a traditional thermoblock.
The digital PID temperature control keeps the brew temp steady at 93C / 200F at all times.
The coffee spout sits higher up than on the Barista Express (Impress) models. This lets you easily fit latte glasses underneath.
Want to brew into even larger cups? Remove the drip tray to get more clearance.
When unboxing, about half the accessories are hidden inside the machine.
Remove the stickers on the side of the drip tray and take the tray out. Inside you’ll find the cleaning kit and Razor dosing tool.
- Stainless steel milk jug
- Filter baskets (2 single wall, 2 dual wall)
- Water filter holder + water filter
- Water hardness test strip
- Dosing tool
- Descaling agent
- Cleaning brushes
- Cleaning tablets
- 54mm portafilter
The only thing missing is a knock box, sold separately.
Water Tank & Bean Hopper
The water tank and bean hopper have some differences too, especially the bean hopper got a nice upgrade.
The water tank holds 2 liters and is transparent, which to me looks better than the Barista Express versions.
The real changes are visible on the bean hopper:
It holds 350g of beans. The hopper is also UV-resistant to keep beans fresh.
Very handy is the handle on the bean hopper, making it easy to pick up and remove. This is new compared to previous models.
When I first tried the Breville Barista Touch Impress, I didn’t know what to expect from the automatic milk frother.
I assumed the results wouldn’t be great compared to manually texturing milk.
But I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this machine’s performance.
The Barista Touch Impress uses a system called Auto Milk Texture or Auto MilQ.
Breville claims it makes over one million microfoam bubbles per milliliter of milk. Hard to verify but the main thing is you can fully customize texture and temperature.
Breville has special programs for non-dairy milks like soy and almond. However, in my tests the regular milk settings gave better results even with these alternatives.
Just adjusting the temperature and texture settings got me closer to perfect milk froth.
So while the auto frother is very impressive, the special non-dairy programs seem more like a marketing gimmick than a necessity.
The system performs excellently with the standard settings.
With its high-tech automation, the Breville Barista Touch Impress delivers top-notch milk froth at the press of a button.
The machine does the work while you enjoy silky cappuccinos effortlessly.
The drip tray on the Touch Impress is slightly larger than on the Barista Express, though not as big as the regular Touch.
I think it could be even bigger. Not sure how they can solve that technically but I’ll leave that engineering challenge to Breville!
Quality Testing: Espresso & Milk
I put the espresso and milk frothing through a quality test.
The espresso quality is very good, better than the Barista Express versions. This is clearly thanks to the built-in grinder. Its precision adjustments let you actually pull the shot correctly.
This is also visible when comparing double shots from different machines:
The first two shots clearly have a larger volume, while the last one is perfectly dialed in.
Same coffee beans used. The grind can just not be tuned optimally on the first two machines, leading to shots pouring too fast.
On the first Barista Express it’s at setting 8 (of 16), on the Impress it’s 11 (of 25) and on the Barista Touch Impress it’s 13 (of 30).
The flavor is delicious, just like at the roaster itself. That great coffee comes from using freshly roasted beans (less than 30 days since roasting).
Frothing milk is easy: place the jug on the thermometer and hit the froth button.
The temperature climbs until hitting the set point, then stops automatically when your milk is ready.
It makes very velvety foam without any effort on your part.
When comparing the frothing systems, the Barista Touch Impress outperforms similar Breville models.
In short: for automatic milk frothing this espresso machine is the winner.
Maintenance & Cleaning
Proper maintenance and cleaning is crucial on any espresso machine to ensure quality.
Maintaining the Breville Barista Touch Impress is very easy. Much easier than a bean-to-cup super automatic.
All I recommend is rinsing the portafilter and coffee spout after use. Also wipe the steam wand with a damp cloth. The machine reminds you to do this too.
The water tank should be cleaned once a month.
Empty and wipe the drip tray daily to prevent mold.
When changing coffee beans, remove the hopper and brush out any remnants with the included brush.
A water filter is included. Install it and set the water hardness on the machine. This way you hardly ever need to descale. When it is time, the machine prompts you and guides you through the descaling process on the touchscreen – very straightforward.
Setting Up The Breville Barista Touch Impress
Setting up this Breville machine is extremely easy.
The first time you turn it on, you get the most detailed instructions I’ve seen on an espresso machine.
It really takes most of the guesswork out of your hands.
For first use, it’s important to thoroughly rinse and dry all removable parts.
There may be a chemical smell in the water tank and bean hopper so don’t skip this step.
Next, lock the bean hopper in place, add beans, and insert the water filter.
Fill the water tank with cold water and use the included test strip to measure water hardness.
The first time you power on, it will guide you through a settings menu to set the time, default milk type, and water hardness.
There is also a handy tutorial explaining all the machine’s functions.
Now you’re ready to start making delicious coffee drinks with the Breville Barista Touch Impress!
The built-in guides offer extensive instructions for pulling shots and frothing milk.
Breville has clearly made lots of improvements, and the Impress Puck system works surprisingly well as we also found on the Barista Express Impress.
All in all, the Barista Touch Impress seems like an amazing choice whether you’re a beginner or experienced barista. It makes coffee brewing straightforward and delivers consistent quality.
Barista Touch Impress vs Barista Express Impress
The difference between the Barista Touch Impress and Barista Express Impress is substantial.
The Barista Express Impress is far more basic. No touchscreen, only 25 grind settings, and manual steam wand.
The steam wand is also much slower:
The Barista Touch Impress is the clear winner at just 8.6 seconds to steam.
The Barista Express Impress is faster than the regular Barista Express by 5 seconds.
But at 18.2 seconds it lags way behind the Barista Touch Impress.
The Impress system on the Barista Express is not digital – dosing and tamping is indicated by lights.
It does still have a pressure gauge unlike the Barista Touch Impress. But with the added timer you can gauge extraction even better.
Conclusion: Why Buy the Breville Barista Touch Impress?
I rated the Breville Barista Touch Impress 9.5 out of 10 for its excellent ease of use, superb grinder, and rapid automatic steaming.
In conclusion, the Barista Touch Impress is the most advanced and best Breville machine yet.
Compared to the Breville Oracle Touch (around $2000), this machine is far more affordable.
The Oracle has 58mm filters instead of 54mm. It also has a dual boiler (not Thermojet) and allows adjusting pre-infusion and water temperature.
For anyone wanting to brew fantastic espresso and cappuccino with minimal effort, the Barista Touch Impress is the perfect espresso machine.
It automates practically everything so you really don’t need any barista skills just to enjoy delicious coffee.
It has become my favorite and earned a spot in my kitchen. My old Breville Barista Express is definitely going into storage! Check the current price on Amazon.