If you’re in the market for a Breville espresso machine, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a thorough review of all of the espresso machines offered by Breville, presented as a handy buying guide. I hope you find my research and personal experience with these espresso machines useful when it comes time to making your own purchasing decision. If you have any questions that are not answered by the buying guide, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment at the bottom of this review.
How I chose the Best Breville Espresso Machines
This review uses features that vary in quality amongst Breville’s numerous espresso machines as the criteria for determining the best. These features include the tamping mechanism, the heating system, grinder availability, the steaming and frothing system, and the user interface. The best Breville espresso machine overall, the best value espresso machine, and the budget pick are determined based on how well they meet the criteria above. The espresso machine’s price point was also considered when determining the best Breville espresso machine in terms of value and the budget pick.
As you’ll find out in this review, I’ve personally owned both the Breville Barista Express and the Breville Oracle Touch. I try to include my first hand accounts of the machines as much as possible in addition to my thorough research on all the espresso machines offered by Breville.
You can read the entire review or use the table of contents below to navigate to specific part of the review. I’ve also included my three top picks in terms of overall quality, value, and affordability below for your convenience.
Best Breville Espresso Machine Overall:
Breville Oracle Touch
Breville Barista Express Impress
Breville Bambino Plus
Keep reading to find out why I call these machines the best Breville espresso machines.
Table of Contents
Sizzle and Sear Kitchen Equipment Deal Alerts In Your Inbox
My Personal Experience with Breville Espresso Machines
It’s no secret, I love my Breville Oracle Touch espresso machine. But it was difficult to make a decision when it came time to buy it due to the sheer number of different espresso machines in Breville’s lineup—Breville currently offers a dozen different models! I had to dig through countless product descriptions and do my own research to find the best Breville espresso machine for my own needs.
The story starts 10 years ago when I first got into espresso. I opted for the Breville Barista Express, and it served me well for over half a decade; a testament to the longevity and durability of Breville espresso machines. It’s still in operation today at my father’s house!
At the time, the Barista Express was the best Breville espresso machine for beginners like me, and considering I had just graduated from university, and I was working an entry-level job, the Barista Express was softer on my wallet compared to Breville’s pricier top-tier options.
The pricier Oracle (non-touch) existed at the time, but it was out of my price range. The Barista Express was a solid option for someone new to espresso that liked the convenience of an integrated grinder, but didn’t want to blow the bank. I was content with my choice, even though I had to deal with loose grounds of coffee that would frequently fall on my countertops from the grinding and tamping processes.
Getting The Itch to Upgrade
When I got older, got a decent job with decent income, and I moved into a new place with a new kitchen, I decided I wanted something more impressive, and I wanted an easy way to keep the coffee grounds off the countertop. The Oracle Touch appealed to me with its auto tamping system as it was usually during the tamping process that grounds would fall onto the counter. The Oracle Touch didn’t let me down! It truly is the best Breville espresso machine, but it comes with a hefty price tag!
For more details about my upgrade experience, be sure to read my detailed comparison of the Breville Oracle Touch and Breville Barista Expresss.
At the end of day, you’re going to have to find the espresso machine that is best for you. The good news is that Breville offers a lot of options! The bad news is that you’ve got to go through all those options and figure out what makes each machine unique! Luckily, I did a lot of the groundwork when I was researching the purchase for myself, reading review after review of the different Breville espresso machines. I have decided to share my research and personal experience with you in the form of this review.
In this buying guide, it’s worth exploring all the premium features of the Oracle Touch, as it’s fully loaded. By exploring each feature in depth, you can then decide what features you value and which features you’d rather save money on! I hope the structure of this review helps you quickly find the best Breville espresso machine for your home kitchen.
The premium features of the Oracle Touch that I will be using as a basis for comparing the other espresso machine are its automatic tamping system, its dual boiler, its integrated grinder, its automatic frothing and steaming system, and its touch screen.
Below is a chart that allows you easily see what Breville espresso machines have these premium features and which ones don’t.
Manual Tamp vs. Automatic Tamp vs. Assisted Tamp
Tamping is the process of compressing and leveling the ground coffee in the portafilter before extracting espresso; this is done with a tamper. Some people get frustrated with this part of espresso making as it requires precise and consistent pressure in order to achieve maximum quality espresso.
Breville espresso machines that require manual tamping include: the Dual Boiler, the Barista Touch, the Barista Express Impress, the Barista Express, the Barista Pro, the Infuser, the Duo-Temp Pro, the Bambino Plus, the Bambino, and the Café Roma.
An automatic tamp is a hands-free tamping option where the machine brings down the tamper and applies a consistent level of pressure. Not only will this keep your espresso consistent and at a high quality, but it will also keep your counter tops clean as coffee grounds have a tendency to spill out of the portafilter basket when manually tamping.
If you own a machine without an auto tamper, you can now solve the problem of spilling coffee beans with an inexpensive dosing funnel from Breville.
Assisted tamping is an in-between option. It’s not fully automatic, but it’s also not completely manual. Instead, there is a lever beside the coffee grinder. When the beans are fully grinded, you simply push down on the lever and it will tamp the coffee for you at a consistent pressure.
Breville sells the Barista Express Impress, which includes this assisted tamping feature.
Dual Boiler vs. ThermoJet vs. Thermocoil vs. Thermoblock Espresso Machines
Dual BoilerA dual boiler is the ultimate setup, as it allows you to brew espresso and froth your milk at the same time. This saves a lot of time, and ever since upgrading to the dual boiler Oracle Touch, I find myself making more milk-based drinks as it doesn’t really add any time to the preparation; if you time things perfectly, you can finish your espresso brewing and milk steaming at the same time.Boilers are by far the best option for heating water, and you will you see them in most commercial espresso machines.Breville’s dual boiler espresso machines include: the Oracle Touch, the Oracle, and the Dual Boiler.
ThermoJetThe proprietary ThermoJet system from Breville stands out for its lightning fast 3 second heat up time. This means you don’t need to wait for the machine to heat up in the morning, and you can start using it the moment you turn it on.A downfall of this system is that you can’t run both the steam wand and brew espresso at the same time. This can add time to a morning routine; a time when most people are in a rush to get out of the door.Another downfall that users of ThermoJet systems report is that it won’t initially heat up the portafilter. It requires that you run several empty shots through if you prefer starting with a warm portafilter.Breville’s ThermoJet espresso machines include: the Barista Touch, the Barista Pro, the Bambino Plus, and the Bambino.
ThermocoilA thermocoil will heat up water quickly, just not as quickly as a ThermoJet system. Like ThermoJet espresso machines, you can’t run both the steam wand and brew espresso at the same time.Breville’s thermocoil espresso machines include: the Barista Express Impress, the Barista Express, the Infuser, and the Duo-Temp Pro.
ThermoblockThermoblocks are an older technology that depend on water running through a heated block of metal. The water is heated up as it passes through.Thermoblocks tend to to be less consistent and less durable than their counterparts.
Integrated Grinder vs. Separate Dedicated Grinder
Integrated GrinderSome of Breville’s espresso machines feature an integrated grinder; a grinder that’s built into the espresso machine. The advantage of this design is that you don’t need to purchase an additional grinder that will take up additional counter space.Breville espresso machines that feature an integrated grinder include: the Oracle Touch, the Oracle, the Barista Touch, the Barista Express Impress, the Barista Express, and the Barista Pro.
Separate Dedicated Grinder
However, some people opt to have a machine without an integrated grinder because they prefer more control over the quality of their grind by purchasing a separate dedicated grinder. Which route you go is a personal preference. Just be aware that if you go with a separate dedicated grinder, it needs to be a burr grinder, like the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, and not a blade grinder. Burr grinders produce a fine and consistent coffee grounds that’s needed for espresso making; blade grinders are not able to achieve this fine of a grind nor be consistent with it.
Breville espresso machines that lack an integrated grinder, and need a separate dedicated grinder, include: the Dual Boiler, the Infuser, the Duo-Temp Pro, the Bambino Plus, the Bambino, and the Café Roma.
Manual Frothing vs. Automatic Frothing
Frothing is taking milk, whipping it with steam, to create a creamy velvety texture for milk-based drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites. This process is usually done manually on machines where a steam wand is put into a pitcher of milk, and the barista carefully monitors it for temperature and texture.
Breville espresso machines that have a manual frothing wand include: the Dual Boiler, the Barista Express Impress, the Barista Express, the Barista Pro, the Infuser, the Duo-Temp Pro, the Bambino, and the Café Roma.
Some machines automate this process by having a built-in thermometer that will stop the steaming process once the desired temperature and texture is achieved. This allows you to focus on other things, such as removing the puck out of the portafilter using a knock box. At the end of the day, it’s a small luxury that makes you a bit more efficient.
Touch Screen vs. No Touch Screen
Some Breville espresso machines feature a touch screen that allows you to easily select a drink style (straight espresso, Americano, latte, cappuccino, etc.) or to customize your own drink. This makes espresso based drinks intuitive and easy to create. It also allows more precise control over the espresso machine’s settings, such as water and steaming temperatures, which can improve the taste of your coffee. It can also automate drinks like the Americano, so that you don’t need to intervene to add hot water; the machine just does it.
The touch screen does add a considerable price bump though, and each of Breville’s touch models come with a non-touch counterpart. So if you are trying to save money, it may be wise to forgo the touch option.
Breville espresso machines that lack a touch screen include: the Oracle, the Dual Boiler, the Barista Express Impress, the Barista Express, the Barista Pro, the Infuser, the Duo-Temp Pro, the Bambino Plus, the Bambino, and the Café Roma.
The Winners: Best Breville Espresso Machines
Best Breville Espresso Machine with No Compromises: The Oracle Touch
If you want to go all in, and have all the premium features Breville offers, then you will need to go with the Oracle Touch. The Oracle Touch features an automatic tamping mechanism, a dual boiler, an integrated grinder, auto frothing, and a touch screen. It is hands down the best Breville espresso machine that money can buy.
Close Second Place: The Breville Oracle
If the touch screen doesn’t matter too much to you, you can save a bit of money by just going with the Oracle (non touch), which has all the premium features of the Oracle Touch except for a touch screen; making it a close second for being the best Breville espresso machine that money can buy.
Best Bang for Your Buck: Breville Barista Express Impress
When it comes to enjoying the best premium features, while not emptying out your entire wallet, you can’t go wrong with the Barista Express Impress. It is the best Breville espresso machine for those trying to maximize features while minimizing cost.
The Barista Express Impress comes with an integrated grinder and an assisted tamping mechanism; this ensures you don’t waste valuable counter space with a dedicated grinder while keeping those counter tops clean from falling coffee grounds.
A careful reader may wonder why I didn’t choose a cheaper option like the Bambino Plus or Bambino as my best value espresso machine; simply put, you’ll need to purchase a dedicated grinder to go with your Bambino Plus or Bambino, while the Barista Express Impress has everything in one package and has the bonus of assisted tamping. There’s a lot of value packed into the Barista Express Impress, but the Bambino and Bambino Plus are still valid budget machines if you can find a good grinder at a decent price.
Variations of the Barista Express Impress: Barista Express, Barista Touch, and Barista Pro
With the assisted tamping mechanism, the Barista Express Impress is an upgrade from the Barista Express. So if assisted tamping doesn’t matter too much to you, you can save a little bit more by just going with the base Barista Express model.
The Barista Touch also is available, which is very similar to the Barista Express with a manual tamper; however, it comes with a touch screen for ease-of-use and customizability. As an added bonus, the Barista Touch comes with automatic milk frothing capabilities. Its heating system uses ThermoJet technology. The Barista Pro also contains a screen, but it isn’t a touch screen; instead it displays information to aid you in making your espresso. The Barista Pro comes with ThermoJet heating technology, but it does not have an automatic milk steamer; you’ll have to steam manually if you decide to go with the Barista Pro.
Budget Pick: The Bambino Plus
If you want to save as much money as possible while maintaining quality, you’ll want to take a look at the Bambino Plus.
This espresso machine has a tiny footprint on your countertop, but don’t let that mislead you. It comes with the premium feature of automatic milk frothing and makes quality espressos like the other machines in the Breville lineup.
Just don’t forget that you’ll have to purchase a separate dedicated grinder.
If automatic milk frothing is not important to you, you can save further by going with just the Breville Bambino, which contains all the features of the Bambino Plus except for automatic milk frothing.
The Rest of the Breville Espresso Machine Lineup
The Dual Boiler
The Breville Dual Boiler is a good choice if you want the benefits of a dual boiler, but can forgo an integrated grinder, automatic tamping, automatic milk frothing, and a touch screen. You may prefer this machine if you already own a separate dedicated grinder as I would call it the best Breville espresso machine without a grinder.
The Infuser and Duo-Temp Pro
The Infuser and Duo-Temp Pro are similar entry-level machines, but there are a few differences. The Infuser has an extraction pressure gauge while the Duo-Temp Pro does not. The Infuser also allows you to program the temperature of your water to ensure good flavor profiles after extraction.
Both machines require manual manual tamping and frothing, have a thermocoil heating system, do not have dedicated grinders, and lack touch screen interfaces.
The Café Roma
The Café Roma is the only espresso machine in the Breville lineup that has an older thermoblock heating system. I recommend skipping the Café Roma and going with a machine that has a thermocoil, ThermoJet system, or dual boilers.
If you interested in getting more details about Breville espresso machines, be sure to check out the full listing of espresso machines at Breville.com
Breville’s standard color is a beautiful sleek stainless steel that is a great fit in any modern kitchen; however, if you have a specific color in mind, Breville offers different color options on many of their espresso machines. These colors include a gorgeous Black Stainless Steel, a subtle Smoked Hickory, a minimalist white Sea Salt, a chic Black Truffle, an elegant Royal Champagne, a cool Damson Blue, a stunning Red Velvet Cake, and an eye-catching Oyster Shell.
Best Breville Espresso Machine Accessories
If you’re look to accessorize your brand new Breville espresso machine, be sure to check out our five best Breville espresso machine accessories:
Frequently Asked Questions about Breville Espresso Machines
How long will a Breville espresso machine last?
Breville is known for its durability and quality. I bought my first Breville espresso machine almost a decade ago, and while I've since upgraded to a machine with more features, my original Barista Express is still making espressos at my father's house.
Which Breville machine is the best value for the money spent?
As stated in my review, I believe you get the best value for your money with the Barista Express Impress. This machine comes with an integrated grinder, so you won't need to spend extra on a dedicated grinder, and it also has assisted tamping which will result in consistently good coffee and clean countertops.
What is the best Breville espresso machine?
The Breville Oracle Touch is a fully loaded espresso machine with all the premium features Breville has to offer, including an integrated grinder, automatic tamping, automatic milk frothing, a dual boiler, and a touch screen. It's pricey, but if you're serious about espresso, it's worth considering.
The Last Word on Choosing the Best Breville Espresso Machine
I hope you found this buying guide useful. As I mentioned before, different people will have different opinions on what the best Breville espresso machine is. It will all depend on what features they value, and what features they can do without.
I identified five different pieces of criteria that are important when it comes to assessing the quality of a Breville espresso machine: the tamping mechanism, heating system, grinder availability, steaming and frothing system, and user interface.
A machine that reaches the pinnacle of this criteria would have an automatic tamping system, a double boiler heating system, an integrated grinder, an automatic milk steamer and frother, and a touch screen user interface.
There is one machine that reaches that pinnacle: Oracle Touch. But there are also plenty of other good machines offered by Breville as well that may not have all the premium features. That’s why I also offered a best value pick (Barista Express Impress) and a budget pick (The Bambino Plus).
Ultimately you may decide that a different Breville espresso machine is best your needs, and that’s okay! That’s why I offered descriptions of all twelve espresso machines in Breville’s lineup.
Whatever choice you make, you’ll soon be enjoying café quality espresso in the comfort of your own home!