Breville espresso machines are often considered the best to purchase to create high, coffee-shop-like quality espresso beverages at home.
Breville offers different models that are suitable for different coffee enthusiasts. Many people can’t decide between Breville Barista Pro and Barista Touch. Indeed, these two home espresso machines look pretty similar and fall in the same price range.
Keep reading to learn all about the BES878 and BES880 (Pro and Touch) and who each semi-automatic espresso machine is best suited for.
Breville Barista Pro vs Touch – Differences
There are quite a few differences between the Breville Barista Pro and the Breville Barista touch. The differences don’t necessarily make one coffee machine better, but the differences will make one better for you.
Design and Build Quality
The Breville Barista Pro is made from a brushed stainless steel exterior. It is also available in eight matte finishes, including colors such as Oyster Shell and Red Velvet cake. The water tank holds 67 oz of water, and the bean hopper holds ½ pound of beans. It has an adjustable grind control knob on one side and a steam control dial on the other.
The Barista Pro also features a retractable cord for a neat, tangle-free countertop. The backsplash of the machine is curved chrome which gives it a sleek look than the entry-level Breville Barista Express and offers the user more ease when using the steam wand.
Also read: Breville Barista Pro Vs Barista Express
Overall, the Pro uses Breville’s newer design elements, making it look good in any kitchen.
Dimensions: 13.9” x 13.5” X 16”
The Breville Barista Touch is made from brushed stainless steel and comes in four different matte finishes as well, including colors like Black Truffle and Sea Salt. The capacity of the water reservoir and bean hopper is the same as the Barista Pro.
The control panel is one of the main differences between these two espresso machines. You have a full-colored touch screen on the Barista Touch, hence the name. In comparison, Barista Pro uses buttons and a smaller LCD display.
The Breville Barista Touch is a slightly smaller machine with more automated features, so the design is more streamlined than the Barista Pro. The grind control on the Touch is a recessed dial rather than a knob. There’s also a sensor in the drip tray for automatic milk steaming.
Dimensions: 12.5” x 12.7” x 16”
The touchscreen makes the Barista Touch looks a bit more premium compared to the Barista Pro.
The control panel on the Breville Barista Pro is a series of buttons along with a digital display screen. The screen will display things like grind size and extraction time. Overall the control panel is very intuitive and easy to follow.
The Breville Barista Touch features a touch screen. Once you’ve turned the machine on with the power button, the touch screen takes over. The touchscreen displays a menu of drinks to choose from and guides you through the steps, allowing for easy customization of your coffee preferences.
You interact directly with the buttons to make a beverage using the Barista Pro. There is a grind button and then two separate shot buttons, one for a single and one for a double. It is a no-frills, direct, streamlined way to make your espresso drinks.
Once the machine is programmed, it grinds the preset amount of coffee grounds, and you just need to tamp the ground coffee and press a button to pull your espresso shots.
With the Barista Touch, even though so many of the processes of the machine are automated, you are actually touching and interacting with the machine more. You first have to select what type of drink you want from a side-scrolling menu, use the touch screen to customize the drink, and then again a few more times as it guides you through making the beverage.
Depending on your knowledge and comfort with espresso drinks, this might be something you either really enjoy or find tedious.
The Barista Touch does make it a little easier to find and use cleaning and maintenance functions over the Barista Pro.
The Breville Barista Pro only has two programmable buttons, which you can use to program shot times or shot sizes you use most often. You can also choose your optimum extraction temperature. Other than that, most of the customization on the Barista Pro has to be done manually and depends a lot on the user’s skill and knowledge of the machine and how to make espresso and frothed milk.
The Breville Barista Touch, however, is incredibly programmable. Once you select the drink type you’d like from the menu. You can then customize things like coffee strength, milk temperature, and milk texture.
From there, you can easily name and save that drink for later, with no limit to how many customized drinks you can save. It is a handy feature for households with multiple espresso machine users, for users who have difficulty remembering their customizations, or for users who know what they like and don’t want to go through all the customization steps every time.
The Breville Barista Pro features a manual steam wand. Using a dial on the right side to control the steam, it is up to the user to steam the milk to the desired temperature and texture.
Learning to steam milk can be tricky. However, a manual steam wand can be a little faster, and it gives you the control to learn how to create exceptional steamed milk that is better suited for latte art.
The Breville Barista Touch has an automatic steam wand. Once you’ve selected the temperature and texture of milk you want, just slip the steaming pitcher of milk under the steam wand, and it takes care of the rest.
Once you’re done steaming, it automatically flushes steam out of the wand to clear any milk that may have gotten sucked into it. This is an excellent option for anyone who wants a café quality coffee drink without learning how to steam milk or create latte art.
The Barista Pro is priced slightly lower than the Barista Touch. The Pro is under the $1000 range, while the Touch hovers somewhat over that.
Breville Barista Pro vs Barista Touch – Similarities
While there are some critical differences between the Breville Barista Pro vs Touch, there are many similarities.
Regardless of which Breville espresso machine you choose, the mechanisms that make the espresso in these two machines are the same.
The Built-in Grinder
Grind size is incredibly important when it comes to a good shot of espresso. Not only does your espresso grind affect the taste, but it can affect how shots pull and how much water comes in contact with the ground coffee beans.
Both the Breville Barista Pro and Touch have a built-in conical burr grinder with 30 grind settings to ensure you are getting the right amount and right size of espresso grinds for the best-tasting at home espresso drinks.
The Breville Barista Pro and Barista Touch both feature Breville’s ThermoJet heating system with digital temperature control. Ready to go in only three seconds, Breville’s ThermoJet system keeps the water at a steady 200° and provides a very short transition time between steaming and brewing.
Both Breville machines are great for people who do not have much time to wait for their espresso machine to heat up in the morning before they can make their beverage and get on with the day.
Because the Barista Pro and the Barista Touch have the same grinder, the same heating system, the same espresso settings, and the same level of pressure, they are capable of producing espresso of the same high quality.
There is a human element to shot quality. Once you learn how to tamp and customize your espresso correctly, you will be able to pull more consistent and consistently delicious shots with optimal espresso extraction. Variations in shot taste from the Pro to the Touch will not be because of the machine.
The Breville Barista Pro and the Breville Barista Touch both come with a 54mm stainless steel portafilter with pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets, a 480 ml steel jug for steaming, a water filter, cleaning kit, and the Razor Precision Dose trimming tool.
They both include a tamper that stows away in the machine. Also, the drip tray of both espresso makers pulls out and has a small drawer to keep accessories.
The Verdict – Who is Breville Barista Pro and Touch Suitable For?
Choose Barista Pro (BES878) if you want a machine that gives you control. If you are a barista, have barista experience, or want to teach yourself the science and art of pulling the perfect shot and frothing the ideal micro foam milk to make latte art, the Pro will give you an advantage over the automation of the Touch.
If you want to purchase a machine because you are passionate about espresso, the Barista Pro is the one.
It is a less expensive machine, so it is also a good choice if you have a lower budget and do not mind using a manual steam wand and learning espresso drink recipes on your own.
Choose Barista Touch (BES880) if you want convenience. If you are purchasing an espresso machine primarily to cut down on trips to the coffee shop, the Touch is the right one for you. It is a perfect machine for someone who doesn’t have experience using an espresso machine or making espresso drinks. The Barista Touch takes all of the guesswork and most of the need for previous drink-making knowledge out of the equation.
It is also an excellent choice for a family or for a house full of roommates where there will be multiple users. Everyone can program their favorite beverages and make their own pre-programmed drinks.