Author: SuperDee

Lavazza Expert Review and Comparison with Lavazza Blue

Lavazza is a company that needs no introduction. The Italian brand is a leader in the world of coffee beans and has been around for ages, for over 120 years.

If you’re a fan of Lavazza’s coffee, a single-serve coffee maker like the Expert Classy Plus would make a great addition to your kitchen or office. You’ll be able to enjoy Lavazza coffee drinks with a press of a button.

Features of Lavazza Expert ‘Classy Plus’

Lavazza Expert Coffee Bundle Classy Plus All-In-One Machine LB 400 + 1 Welcome Kit of 36 Capsules + 1 Extra Vessel
  • First ALL-IN-ONE Espresso & Coffee Brewer Machine
  • Able to brew six selections of beverages: Espresso, Lungo, 8 oz. Coffee, Macchiato, Cappuccino and Latte
  • Works only with Lavazza Expert Capsules
  • 1 Lavazza Classy Plus All‑In‑One Machine LB 400 Includes a Vessel (Milk Frother)
  • 1 Welcome Kit 36 Capsules + 1 Extra Vessel (Milk Frother)

The machine comes preset with 6 selections of beverages: espresso, lungo, 8 oz coffee, macchiato, cappuccino and latte. For black coffee drinks like espresso, lungo or coffee, all you have to do is insert a capsule and press a button. But if you want to make a milk based coffee drink like a cappuccino or a latte, you’ll need to use the included milk frother vessel.

The milk frother that comes with the Lavazza Expert looks different than any other I’ve seen with a single-serve machine. It is actually a large glass cup that the machine will directly heat, froth and dispense the espresso into, and you can drink right out of it when the drink is ready. Of course, you can also transfer the drink to another cup, but that will mess up the aesthetics of your drink.

Pod Compatibility:

Lavazza Expert is compatible with pods from Lavazza that are labelled for Expert or for Blue machine. Beware when purchasing your pods, as Lavazza also makes pods for Nespresso and Keurig K-Cups, and none of these will be compatible with the Expert line.

So far, Lavazza has four blends available Expert and each of these blends/intensities are available as espresso or coffee pods. If you choose to use pods from Lavazza Blue, you’ll find additional blends to try, but they are only available as espresso pods.

Lavazza pods are available for purchase from many online retailers, including Amazon or Lavazza’s online store.

What I Like About the Lavazza Expert:

  • All in one solution.
  • The unique milk frother/glass combination means that you’ll only froth the amount of milk you need (no leftovers like most built-in frothers), and you drink right out of the cup, meaning less parts to clean.

What I Don’t Like About the Lavazza Expert:

  • The milk frother/cup combination (yes, I know I just mentioned that I like it). What I don’t like though, is that it is designed for a single person use only. What happens if I want to make two or three cappuccinos? Do I transfer each drink it makes to another cup or do I buy additional vessels/frothers (they are available for purchase separately).
  • The pods are limited at this point. But there are enough to make delicious coffee drinks at different intensities.

Lavazza Expert vs. Blue (Classy Plus vs. Classy Mini)

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Lavazza 041953000648 BLUE Classy Mini Single Serve Espresso Coffee Machine LB 300, 5.3" x 13" x 10.2"
  • Works with Lavazza Blue capsules
  • 2 Coffee selections: simple touch controls, 1 programmable free dose and 1 pre-set.
  • Visual alerts: fitted with a visual indicator to show when the water tank is empty or the capsules drawer is full.
  • Capsule drawer: maximum capacity of 5 exhausted capsules.Frequency: 5060 Hz
  • Transparent water tank capacity: 0. 2Gl

As its name suggest, Blue Classy Mini is the smaller version of the Classy Plus. The Blue model has two drink options only, Espresso or Lungo. And it does not include a milk frother.

The Blue model has a small 23 oz water reservoir while the Expert has 42 oz reservoir.

So what if you want to make a milk-based drink using the Lavazza Blue? You’ll have to buy a milk frother separately. The Lavazza frothing jug/vessel that comes with the Expert is NOT compatible with the Blue model, so you’ll have to go for an electric milk frother of any kind, many brands are available to pick from.

How Do You Choose Between Lavazza Expert or Blue?

It’s a simple pick between the Expert and Blue:

Do you enjoy milk based drinks? How often do you drink them? If your answer is yes, then it only makes sense to go for the Expert model.

If you drink espressos/lugno mostly, but enjoy a cappuccino or latte every once in a while, or maybe you have a friend/visitor that might enjoy one, you can buy the Blue model and include any milk frother to your purchase. This is also a great option if you find the Expert to be out of your budget. The Blue model is an inexpensive choice in comparison, and you can find any milk frother that fits your budget.

Which Is Better, Nespresso or Lavazza?

Nespresso OriginalLine is probably the most comparable to Lavazza’s Expert or Blue machines.

Nespresso has been in the single-serve coffee making business longer than Lavazza. They have a bigger range of products and options to choose from.

Functions wise, both can make the same coffee drinks. Although I find that Nespresso’s Aeroccino milk frother to be more convenient to use than Lavazza’s, especially when entertaining guests and wanting to make multiple drinks at the same time.

When it comes to pod compatibility, Nespresso OriginalLine is now compatible with a wider range of capsules, either from Nespresso or 3rd party brands (including Lavazza).

If you’re an avid fan of Lavazza, then you’ll enjoy their machines, no doubt about it. But if you’re looking for convenience, and wider range of capsules to try, then go for a Nespresso OriginalLine machine. Even if you love your Lavazza espresso, you’ll be able to buy Lavazza pods for Nespresso, as well as other brands like Illy, Starbucks, and many more.

Read more about Nespresso OriginalLine machines in these posts:

Does Lavazza Make Hot Chocolate Pods?

Lavazza has hot chocolate as well as tea pods that are for BLUE machines, but are also compatible with Expert. However, after doing some research, I found that these were really hard to find for purchase. You might find some European vendors selling these, but you’ll have to keep in mind that overseas shipping can cost you a lot (If you live in Europe, then problem here). If you want hot chocolate pods that are readily available in the US (or locally in other countries), then again I will recommend going for a Nespresso OriginalLine machine, you’ll find hot chocolate pods from compatible brands like Bestpresso, Gourmesso or Podista.

Flair Signature Espresso Maker Review and Comparisons

What Is Flair Signature Espresso Maker?

Flair Espresso Maker is a manual, portable espresso maker that requires no electric power to operate.

It’s a lever-press style espresso maker, which you’ve probably seen before. But being portable and non-electric, Flair Signature allows you to make a shot of high quality espresso at home or anywhere you want.

Although it looks easy, making espresso on the Flair Signature (or other models) requires some practice. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy a nice shot of espresso wherever you decide to set this machine: at home, office, camp, or even a hotel room if you’re a constant traveler.

Features of Flair Signature

Flair Signature Espresso Maker - An all manual espresso press to handcraft espresso at home (Pressure Kit, Black)
The Flair Signature Espresso Maker provides an elegant way to handcraft your own espresso from home
  • Fully manual, non-electric and portable espresso press.
  • Uses ground coffee only, no pods.
  • Detachable parts for easy cleaning and allows you to easily store it in a carrying case for travel.
  • Includes a standard Bottomless portafilter.
  • Also includes a pressure gauge.

Specifications:

  • Reservoir capacity: 60ml
  • Dose: 12 to 18 grams
  • Shot volume: 45ml
  • Brew Head: Standard – detachable for cleaning.

What You’ll Get in the Box (Signature Model):

Matte Black, White or Chrome Base and Post & Lever with Copper-Plated Portafilter Base
Custom pressure gauge, stem, stainless steel plunger and pressure gauge guard
Bottomless 2-in-1 Portafilter
Stainless Steel Dispersion Screen
Brewing Cylinder
Dosing Cup
Funnel
Drip Tray
Stainless Steel Tamper
Carrying Case
Screw for Affixing Post to Base Permanently
Brewing Guide

How Does Flair Espresso Machine Work?

When you unbox your Flair Signature, you’ll see a lot of parts and pieces that you’ll have to put together that it might intimidate you a bit. However, putting the machine together it very easy and clearly explained in the included guide. It is intentionally designed this way to make it as portable as possible. Being able to fit a lever espresso maker in a carrying case is totally awesome. And time after time, putting your machine together will be a snap.

Now, let’s get to how you’ll actually make your espresso shot. There are some tools that you’ll need, and if you’re not new to the espresso/coffee game, you already have these:
a kettle to boil water

  • a scale, and
  • a burr grinder

The included brew guide will tell you the exact measurements you will need for a shot of espresso. Measure your beans, grind them and add the coffee ground to the portafilter.

Do you have to measure and grind? No, it’s totally up to you if you want to use pre ground coffee. For the best results though, you’ll want fresh coffee and consistency (using exact measurements helps).

What you need now is your hot water. Once the hot water is ready, you will fill the brew head all the way to the top. All that’s left for you to do now is press the lever down. You’ll want to press down slowly. The ideal extraction time would be between 30 and 45 seconds for a 45ml shot.

So even though the steps are not that hard to do or follow, you’ll still need some practice to get your shot to perfection. Sometimes you’ll extract too slow or too fast, which means you’ll have to adjust your grind.

Comparisons

Flair Signature vs Pro 2 – What’s The Difference?

The Pro 2 is Flair’s top of the line model. It has a larger capacity cylinder and portafilter:

  • Dose is 16 to 24 grams
  • Reservoir is 70 ml
  • and shot volume is up to 56ml

It also has some part upgrades to give you an even better experience:

  • improved bottomless portafilter
  • Removable stainless steel spout
  • Silicone handle grip
  • Silicone wrap to protect the pressure gauge

Flair Signature vs Neo

The NEO, by Flair Espresso - An all manual lever espresso maker for the home, no pods and no plugs (Gray)
  • ALL MANUAL HOME ESPRESSO MAKER - The NEO is an all manual espresso machine, featuring a hand lever press. No electricity or coffee pods are needed to brew delicious espresso at home with this manual espresso maker. Just add your fresh coffee grounds, lower the lever on your espresso press, and watch as beautiful espresso brews into your cup. Add 60ml of boiled water and a dose of up to 18 grams to yield a 40 ml shot with beautiful crema.
  • FLOW-CONTROL PORTAFILTER - The NEO features Flair Espresso's Flow-Control Portafilter, which makes home brewing manual espresso simple and easy. The Flow-Control Portafilter restricts the flow of your brew water through your grounds to ensure consistently good extractions and crema in every cup of espresso. Use any grinder and don't stress about dialing in your shot. The Flow-Control Portafilter will do the work for you.
  • ESPRESSO BREWING MADE SIMPLE - Brewing manual espresso with your NEO manual espresso maker is a simple four step process. Add your freshly ground beans to the portafilter, preheat your brewing cylinder, prep your brew head by adding boiling water and then lower the lever. No need to dial in your grinder or buy expensive equipment. The NEO is a manual espresso machine that makes espresso brewing easy and fun.
  • EASY TO CLEAN - The NEO, by Flair Espresso, is the only manual espresso maker with a completely detachable brewing head. This patented design allows for users to completely remove the brewing head, separate the parts, and rinse under cool water to clean.
  • BUILT TO LAST - Now with an upgraded, stronger base, post and lever! Made from durable materials like cast aluminum and stainless steel, you can be sure your manual espresso maker, by Flair, is built to last. Both the aluminum press stand and the stainless steel brewing head are backed by a 5-year warranty.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Neo model, which is made specifically for beginners. It is designed to be more cost effective and easier to use than other models.

Neo has a flow-control portafilter. This makes brewing simpler by controlling the water flow through the coffee grounds, even if you haven’t used the best ground coffee (inconsistent or not correctly dialed).

When it comes to capacity, it is the same as the Signature model:

  • Reservoir: 60 ml
  • Dose: 12 to 18 grams
  • Shot volume: 45ml

The Neo model does not include a pressure gauge, but it can be purchased separately.

Flair Espresso Machines Compared to Other Brands

Flair Espresso vs. La Pavoni

La Pavoni EPBB-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine, Black Base
  • Delivers espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte, and other coffee drinks
  • Lever permits crafting espresso to personal taste
  • Makes 8 cups continuously without heating more water
  • Includes automatic milk foamer, measuring spoon, 1- and 2-cup filters
  • Measures 11 by 7 by 12 inches; 1-year warranty

La Pavoni makes lever manual espresso machines that look and somewhat operate like Flair’s espresso machines, but not exactly.

To start, La Pavoni’s espresso machines are electric. So they’re not made for portability. They also have a water reservoir and a steam wand for milk frother.

When using a La Pavoni machine, you do not have to heat up the water separately. Since it’s an electric machine, it has a heater and a pump that will deliver hot water automatically. However, you’ll still manually extract your espresso shot by pulling the lever.

When it comes to cost, Flair comes at a fraction of La Pavoni’s price. It’s a great entry-level machine in you’re looking to get into lever espresso machines but still don’t have any experience. Flair is also the best option if you’re looking for something portable.

There are technical differences, too. But I can’t get into those in detail because there are many different La Pavoni models with different specification. But that sums up the major differences.

Flair Espresso vs Rok

Rok is another non-electric manual espresso maker, so it is quite comparable to Flair’s Espresso machines. Both espresso makers follow the same process for brewing a shot of espresso. However, there are differences in measurements:

  • Rok’s portafilter holds 7 to 8 grams of ground coffee to pull a single espresso shot and that would be enough to extract 25ml of espresso.
  • Flair’s dose is 12 to 18g of ground coffee with a max output of 40ml (for the Signature model).

When it comes to accessories:

  • Rok includes a carrying metal tin, manual milk frother, scoop, tamper (plastic) and double shot spout.
  • Flair includes carrying bag, stainless steel tamper, dosing cup, bottomless portafilter and a pressure gauge (depending on model).

Overall, I find Flair Espresso machines to have better design, better accessories and offers a nicer experience. Flair also has more product range, giving you more options to choose from.

Best Breville Espresso Machines – a Comprehensive Guide

An Espresso machine for the home can be quite an investment. You’ll want something that fits your budget, makes decent coffee drinks, and is a high quality product that you’ll want to use every day.

Espresso machine can go anywhere from $30 to thousands of dollars. Going for a cheap espresso machine, well honestly you shouldn’t expect much. You also don’t have to spend thousands, if you don’t want to.

The great news is, Breville makes some of the best espresso machines for home fit for every budget. Their machines combine quality, easy of use and innovation that will give you an overall pleasant experience. And since espresso machine are not a one-size-fit-all kind of thing, below I will list the best espresso machine by Breville in each category. Whether you’re looking for a machine with a grinder, without one, or a single-serve espresso maker.

Best Value
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large
Best Automatic
Breville Maker Barista Touch Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
Best Without Grinder
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100
Best Single-Serve
Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Espresso Machine, 1, Stainless Steel
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large
Breville Maker Barista Touch Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100
Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Espresso Machine, 1, Stainless Steel
Best Value
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large
Best Automatic
Breville Maker Barista Touch Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
Breville Maker Barista Touch Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
Best Without Grinder
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100
Best Single-Serve
Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Espresso Machine, 1, Stainless Steel
Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Espresso Machine, 1, Stainless Steel

Breville Espresso Machines For Beginners: Barista Express / Bambino Plus

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Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art

This is an all in one espresso machine with a built-in grinder and every feature you need to make every espresso based coffee drink. It comes preset with optimal settings to give you great results from the start, but you’ll still need to experiment with grind settings to adjust the flavor. Another thing you’ll have to experiment with is milk frothing and texturing.

The Barista Express has a pressure gauge to help you see which stage the temperature of the machine is at, this is how you’ll know when to switch between frothing and extracting espresso. The built-in grinder automatically grinds and doses the right amount of coffee for you. Using the built-in cradle, it will grind directly into the portafilter.

All presets on the machine can be reprogrammable. There’s also a manual option which allows you to manually stop the flow of your shot.

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, One Size
  • The Breville Bambino Plus delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Bambino Series that offers the faster way to professional results at home in a compact footprint: serious espresso, serious value
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 54mm porta-filter with 19 grams is the key for full flavor and cafe quality coffee
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • FASTER HEAT UP TIME: Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

This is a smaller machine and it’s not as wholesome as the Barista Express, since it doesn’t have a built-in grinder, you’ll want to buy one separately, if you don’t already have one. However, it is one of the simplest machines to use and it gives you excellent professional-like results.

Bambino Plus is preset with a single or double shot. But what makes it special is it’s automatic steam wand that produces a nice microfoam milk texture without any work on your part. It has three foam selection and three milk temperature selections, simply choose your preference and the machine will do the rest.

Breville has realized that milk foaming and texturing is one of the hardest skills for a beginner. So they came up with this innovation that will give you a great cup of coffee right out of the box.

Best Breville Espresso Machine without a Built-in Grinder

I have two picks for this category as well. One is a budget-friendly pick and another that’s more expensive, but makes a great choice if your budget allows it.

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100
  • The Breville Infuser delivers optimal flavor in every cup creating third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula, ensuring the right dose of beans, optimal water pressure, precise temperature control and microfoam milk for latte art
  • VOLUMETRIC AND SHOT CONTROL: Control the volume of each pour at the touch of a button and choose 1 shot, 2 shot or manually control over how much espresso ends up in your cup for the perfect dose every time
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Maximize flavor potential with low pressure pre-infusion, digital PID temperature control, adjustable in 4 ⁰F increments complete with pressure gauge that guides you to the right extraction every time
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: High power 1650W element for high pressure steam wand and faster heat-up to create the microfoam necessary for a third wave specialty taste and essential for creating latte art at home

I call this Barista Express’s little sibling. It has the exact same features, minus the built-in grinder. You get presets for a single/double shot as well as manual override. You also get the pressure gauge, built-in tamper and the same steam wand as the Barista Express.

Who should go for the Infuser instead of the Barista Express?

  • If you already have a burr grinder and do not need one built-in.
  • If you make coffee using brewing methods other espresso, you’ll want a standalone grinder with more grind settings to suit every brewing method you want to use.
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 14.7 inches x 14.8 inches x 14.7 inches
  • The Breville Dual Boiler with commercial features delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula; It has a professional Dual Boiler construction that delivers unparalleled temperature control and simultaneous extraction and steaming
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 58mm porta-filter with 19-22 grams is the key for full flavor and third wave specialty coffee
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: The Over Pressure Valve limits the maximum pump pressure throughout extraction, helping prevent bitter flavors; Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Dual stainless steel boilers and heated group head controlled by digital temperature control (PID) brings water to precisely the right temperature (+/- 2⁰F) to extract maximum flavor potential every time
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk of commercial machines that enhances flavor and is essential for creation of latte art

This higher-budget machine has commercial features but still easy enough for the home user. What makes this model special is, as its name suggests, has two boilers instead of a single one. What does that mean for you? It means that it’s quicker and more powerful. Dual boiler machines can perform both espresso extraction and milk heating/texturing at the same time without the need to wait between tasks.

the Dual Boiler also comes with a 58mm portafilter, which is larger than the Infuser’s and Barista Express’s 54mm filter. This means it can hold more coffee ground, which gives you a more flavorful shot.

The machine pretty much includes everything you need to get started, except for the grinder.

Best Budget Breville Espresso Machine

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Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
  • Stainless-steel espresso machine with 15-bar thermoblock pump
  • Dual-wall filter system for excellent crema; froth enhancer, cup-warming plate
  • Accesories: Stainless steel frothing pitcher Tamping tool/measuring spoon/cleaning tool
  • Removable drip tray and grid; Frothing jug included
  • Measures 9 x 9 x 12 inches; 1-year limited warranty

If you want the quality of Breville, but not looking for a lot of extra features, you’ll like the Cafe Roma model. This is a manual espresso machine, no presets, no grinder, nothing. Only a simple knob that allows you to switch between extracting espresso and steam function. What you produce out of the Cafe Roma is totally up to you. For the best results, you’ll want to measure the volume of your espresso and time the extraction.

A machine like the Cafe Roma is widely available from other brands, possibly for less of its price, too. What you get with this one though is quality build. Cafe Roma has full stainless steel housing, which many other brands don’t offer. It also includes everything you need: stainless steel frothing pitcher, tamper, measuring spoon and a cleaning tool.

Best Automatic Breville Espresso Machine

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Breville Maker Barista Touch Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, 12.7 x 15.5 x 16 inches
  • The Breville Barista Touch delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: With a single touch, the integrated precision conical burr grinder with dose control delivers the right amount of coffee on demand, for maximum flavor
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • FASTER HEAT UP TIME: Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

If you want high quality barista-style coffee drinks, but don’t want to go through the learning process of each drink and perfecting them, Barista Touch is the machine for you.

This incredible machine allows you to customize every thing in your coffee drink, from shot volume, level of foam or milk temperature. A nice colored LCD display is preloaded with five coffee recipes to get you started, but you can also create your own recipes and save them under any name you want – up to 8 recipes.

The built-in grinder will automatically deliver the right amount of coffee ground, all you will have to do is tamp it and start the brewing process. On the steam side of it, just like the Bambino Plus, this steam wand is automatic and will steam your milk at your choice of milk temperature and milk texture level. After use, the steam wand will automatically purge hot water to clean itself, but you’ll still have to wipe out any milk residue on the outside.

Having a ThermoJet heating system, the Barista Touch has an insanely fast heat up time – 3 seconds!

The machine includes everything you need to get started: 54mm portafilter, stainless steel jug, water filter, trimming tool, cleaning kit and water hardness test strip.

Further Reads and Comparisons on Breville Espresso Machines

About Breville:

Let’s start with what Breville is and where it comes from. This iconic brand started in Sydney, Australia in 1932. Being a leader in the industry of kitchen appliances, Breville not only introduces just another appliance, they focus on innovation that will make their customers’ lives easier.

Breville makes all kinds of kitchen appliances: ovens, blenders, food processors, toasters… you name it. But since we’re a coffee related website, I will be focusing on their espresso and coffee makers, which grew increasingly popular over the years.

Common Questions About Breville Espresso Machines

Are Breville and Sage the Same Company?

Yes, Sage Appliances are the same company as Breville. In the US, they go by the name Breville, but in the UK and Europe, their appliances are sold under the name Sage. There’s no difference to the actual appliances, only a difference in the brand name.

Are Breville and Nespresso the Same?

No, both are separate companies. Nespresso is a Swiss company known for its single-serve espresso makers. Breville does have a Nespresso powered espresso machines: the Creatista, which is available in three models. Also, they are distributors of many Nespresso machines, which is why you’ll see many of Nespresso’s machines labeled with Breville’s name.

Are Breville Espresso Machines Good?

This can be quite a subjective question. But here’s what I can tell you:

Breville has several espresso machines fit for every need and budget. What makes Breville’s espresso machines so popular and highly rated is that they combine great quality, beautiful design and easy of use. Whether you’re totally new to the world of at-home espresso, or you have some knowledge, you’ll find the right machine for you. That’s what makes Breville’s espresso machines a great buy.

Do You Choose an Espresso Machine with Built-in Grinder or Without?

Having a grinder is an integral part of espresso and coffee making. It’s not something you want to skip, at all. But the question here, do you go for a model that has built-in grinder or a separate one?

Personally, I prefer a separate burr grinder to the built-in ones, here’s why:

  • a built-in grinder in an espresso machine is made just for that, to grind for espresso. The grind settings only allow you to go between fine grind settings to fine tune the taste of your espresso shot. So if you ever decide to grind coffee for another brewing method, you will not be able to use the built-in grinder.
  • Having a standalone grinder with several grind settings gives you the freedom to use your grinder for any coffee brewing method you choose. You’ll want to choose a burr grinder that can make a consistent and proper grind for espresso, these are usually costly.

So if you’re on a tight budget, then go for the Barista Express with the built-in grinder which is guaranteed to give you the right grind for espresso.

Is Breville Barista Express Worth It?

Being Breville’s most popular espresso machine, many people wonder if the Barista Express is worth its price.

The Barista Express provides excellent value for its price. Once you get the hang of it, you will be making coffee house quality drinks at home, and it will save you tons of money on cafe purchases. Really… you will be surprised by what you can accomplish with this machine (or by having an espresso machine at home, generally). And if espresso/espresso based drinks are the only kind of coffee drinks you will be making, then hvaing a built-in grinder is an excellent option since it’s dialed for espresso use and will automatically dose your shots. However, if you plan on using different brewing methods, and don’t already have a burr grinder, I would suggest going for the Infuser and pair it with a conical burr grinder.

Where Are Breville Espresso Machines Made/ Are They Made in the USA?

No, Breville’s espresso (or other appliances) are not made in the USA. Breville’s Espresso machines are designed in Australia and manufactured in China. If you’re worried about getting a cheaply made machine, then rest assured, you’re definitely getting what you pay for with Breville. Their espresso machines are of high quality and very well made.

Here’s the question though, are there any espresso machines made in the USA?

US made espresso machines are very few, and most of them are for commercial use. A brand called Astra has some machines which are good for home use, but definitely not for beginners. And they come with a hefty price of over $3500.

Breville or DeLonghi, Which is Better?

These two brand names are quite the competitors. Many people ask if they should go for Breville or DeLonghi. I will give you two examples here for a comparison:

When it comes to Nespresso machines, Vertuo or OriginalLine, you can pick either one that has Breville or DeLonghi brand name. Why? Because they are %100 the same internally. They’re still Nespresso made and have the same features. The only difference is slight aesthetic and color differences.

Here’s another comparison: Breville’s Barista Express vs. DeLonghi’s La Specialista espresso machine, which both fall in the exact category. You can read a full comparison in this post.

Why Is My Breville Espresso Bitter?

So you already have a Breville Espresso machine and every shot you make is bitter? The solution to this is rather simple, but will require a few tries:

All you have to do is adjust your grind.

Whether you’re using a built-in grinder or a separate one, when your brew is bitter, you’ll want to make the shot a bit coarser, just a tad. This means, you’re still in the fine setting, which is the only right grind for espresso, but dial it a notch within the fine range.

Another thing you can try is change the coffee beans you’re using. If you’re buying your coffee from a supermarket, you’ll want to stay away from beans that are ‘Espresso roasted’ because those are usually very darkly roasted they’re nearly burnt. Instead, try a medium roast coffee. Better yet, if available to you, buy fresh beans from a local roaster. Those are usually freshly roasted, medium roast and are definitely a better buy.

Gaggia Classic Pro Comparisons vs. Rancilio Silvia, Breville Bambino Plus, Infuser and more

If you’re familiar with Gaggia’s Classic espresso machine, you know it’s one of the best entry-level espresso machines out there. It has commercial style qualities, but it’s made with the home user in mind, so it’s user friendly even for a beginner.

The Gaggia Classic Pro builds on the great quality of the Classic model, but comes with many improvements to take your experience even further.

Features of Gaggia Classic Pro

Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Rugged Brushed Stainless Steel housing
  • Commercial three-way solenoid valve. Capacity water tank - 2,1 liter
  • Commercial-style 58mm chrome-plated brass portability and brew group
  • Commercial steam wand. Rotating steam want movement type
  • Easy-to-use rocker switch controls

The Gaggia Classic Pro has a full stainless steel housing, which is the first indicator of a high quality espresso machine. It has very simple control panel with three switches: on/off, espresso switch and steam switch. Remember, this is a manual espresso machine, so there are no pre-sets. You’ll extract and time your espresso shot manually.

The machine comes with a commercial style 58mm chrome plated portafilter. It also has a commercial style steam wand, which is able to create creamy micro foam that you can use to make beautiful latte art.

Gaggia Classic Pro is one of few espresso machines made in Italy. It is available in several colors.

Gaggia Classic vs Classic Pro, What’s Changed?

So, what has changed since the last Classic mode?

  • The design is slightly different. The rocker switches have been changed and placed individually in the control panel.
  • The frother is now commercial style and fully stainless steel. Where with the Classic model, it was a pannarello plastic covered wand. The new frother wand makes a better quality microfoam, where the pannarello made more of a dense foam texture.
  • Updated and improved pump for quieter espresso extraction.

Gaggia Classic Pro Compared to Other Espresso Machines

Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

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Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
  • Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design of Rancilio commercial machines
  • Commercial grade group head for superb heat stability and extraction quality
  • Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion and professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
  • Classic linear design fits most decors
  • Optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available

Another respectable Italian brand, Rancilio and its famous Silvia model is quite comparable to Gaggia’s Classic Pro. This machine is also made in Italy, has a sturdy full stainless steel housing, commercial style portafilter and a professional stainless steel steam wand.

On the control panel, you’ll find rocker switches: on/off button, extraction/brew button, hot water button and steam button. The Gaggia Classic can dispense hot water as well, but it does not have a dedicated button for it.

The portafilter of the Rancilio Silvia comes with two filter baskets, one single shot and another double shot basket. Additional pod basket can be purchased separately. The machine also includes a professional wood-handle tamper.

Like the Gaggia Classic Pro, the Silvia has a single stainless steel boiler, so there’s bit of a wait between each task.

If countertop space is an issue for you, the Gaggia Classic Pro is more compact with dimensions LxWxH 9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inch. On the other hand, the Silvia is 13 x 14 x 16 inches.

Budget wise, the Gaggia Classic Pro makes a less expensive option without giving up on quality. The build and quality of these two machines are quite comparable, not to mention both are made in Italy.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, One Size
  • The Breville Bambino Plus delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Bambino Series that offers the faster way to professional results at home in a compact footprint: serious espresso, serious value
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 54mm porta-filter with 19 grams is the key for full flavor and cafe quality coffee
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • FASTER HEAT UP TIME: Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

Bambino Plus is a compact automatic espresso machine by Breville that is quite user friendly and easy to operate for a beginner.

The machine has pre-sets for single and double shots. But here’s the best part about it: it has an automatic steam wand that makes milk texturing a breeze, even if it’s your first time using a steam wand. It offers temperature and foam selections to customize your milk, and you’re guaranteed to get creamy micro foam milk texture every time. When using an espresso machine for the first time, most people struggle with milk texturing, so the Bambino Plus definitely takes care of that for you.

The Bambino Plus is an easier machine to use. If you’re looking for an espresso machine that does not require a lot of practice and learning to get things right, this is a great choice. Using a machine like Gaggia’s Classic Pro means you’re doing everything on your own, from dosing to measuring and timing the shot, and then there’s milk texturing. If you want this learning experience, and want a machine that’s more on the commercial side, the Gaggia Classic is for you. If you want something simpler to use, then go for the Bambino Plus.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

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Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art

The Barista Express is a popular choice for anyone who wants an all in one solution for their espresso needs. It’s usually the first choice for anyone looking for an espresso machine with a built-in grinder.

Unlike the Gaggia Classic and the Rancilio Silvia, the Barista Express is easier to operate for a beginner since it’s an automatic espresso machine. It can automatically grind and dose your shot, there are pre-sets for a single or double shot. But also, there’s room for experimentation since it has a manual override as well. You can adjust your shots volume and the grind settings to customize your coffee even further.

The control panel on the Barista Express has many press buttons as well as a gauge that displays pressure level, this allows you to understand the temperature of the machine and when it’s ready to perform, either extraction or steaming.

The Barista Express also has a nice brushed stainless steel housing. The steam wand is stainless steel, too. It has a hot water on demand function with a dedicated spout, which is a nice feature.

How does it compare to the Gaggia Classic Pro then? they definitely fulfill different needs. The Gaggia Classic Pro is more on the commercial side, and it requires more of a learning curve that the Barista Express… which is a great choice if you want a budget-friendly all in one machine. With the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia for that matter, you’ll want to include a conical burr grinder in your budget. The Barista Express you’re paying for a machine and a grinder all in one, although its built-in grinder isn’t the best, it works perfectly well and does give good results.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Breville Infuser

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100
  • The Breville Infuser delivers optimal flavor in every cup creating third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula, ensuring the right dose of beans, optimal water pressure, precise temperature control and microfoam milk for latte art
  • VOLUMETRIC AND SHOT CONTROL: Control the volume of each pour at the touch of a button and choose 1 shot, 2 shot or manually control over how much espresso ends up in your cup for the perfect dose every time
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Maximize flavor potential with low pressure pre-infusion, digital PID temperature control, adjustable in 4 ⁰F increments complete with pressure gauge that guides you to the right extraction every time
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: High power 1650W element for high pressure steam wand and faster heat-up to create the microfoam necessary for a third wave specialty taste and essential for creating latte art at home

If you want everything that the Breville Barista Express has, minus the built-in grinder, then the Infuser is it.

Breville Infuser is another automatic espresso machine WITHOUT the built-in grinder, which is a great choice for anyone who isn’t a fan of built-in grinders. You can get the Infuser and pair it with a grinder of your choice.

There are many benefits to having a separate grinder, one of the most important reasons would be that you’ll be able to adjust the grinder and use it for any brewing method you might want to use. Unlike having a built-in grinder, which restricts you to espresso grind only.

And like the Barista Express, the Infuser doesn’t have the commercial-like qualities that the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia have.

Which Espresso Machine Do You Pick?

Of all the espresso machines above, I can separate them into two categories:

  • Commercial-style machines for the home, and these would be the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia.
  • Espresso machines for home, and those would be all the Breville machines listed above.

The Gaggia and Rancilio, although considered to be entry-level, they are higher end machines that are durable and made to last. Using these machines takes some practice and time to get things right. Also, you will need to include the price of a grinder in your budget.

As for Breville’s machines, they’re not as commercial, they’re easier to use and perfect for anyone who does not want to invest a lot of time practicing their coffee making skills.

Out of all of these machines, the Barista Express would be the most budget-friendly since it has a built-in grinder. I believe that’s the reason it’s such a popular choice. For the rest of the machines, you’ll need to include a grinder in your budget, and you’ll want a high quality conical burr grinder to get the best results.

Smeg ECF01 vs. DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine – Which Is Best To Buy?

DeLonghi’s Dedica has been a popular choice for a beginner’s semi-manual espresso machine. It’s a user-friendly machine that can give you nice professional results. It’s also a great, budget-friendly machine for a beginner at-home barista.

Smeg, the Italian brand famous for its retro-style home appliances, also makes an espresso machine similar in features to the DeLonghi Dedica.

So if you happen to be in the market for a similar espresso machine and looking at these two brands, here’s a comparison between the two.

To start, let’s look at the features of each espresso machine…

Smeg Espresso Machine

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Smeg Espresso Machine Black ECF01 BLUS
  • TECHNICAL: The Smeg Espresso Coffee Machine has 15 Bar Pressure with a Thermoblock heating system. Uses stainless steel filter holder for powder coffee or paper pods. Features a user-friendly control panel, removable drip-tray for mugs accommodation, and anti-slip feet. Contains a 1 liter removable water tank with optional water filters and includes 3 filters (1 cup, 2 cups, and paper pods).
  • FINISHING: Stainless steel wrap and plastic painted housing. Stainless steel cup holder and passive cup warmer. Chrome zamak steam lever and chromve plated base. 3D Logo.
  • FUNCTIONS: Includes a 1 cup button and 2 cup button and a steam option. Adjustable Cappuccino system, flow stop function to customize your coffee length, adjustable coffee temperature and water hardness, descaling light indicator, On/Off button with automatic stand-by, and can be used as a hot water dispenser.
  • SPECIFICATIONS: 120V, 60Hz, 1300W, the cord length is 1 meter, Slim dimensions: 12" x 13" x 6", 11lbs

The most noticeable thing about the Smeg espresso maker is its design. It has a 50s retro style design that you’ll certainly love looking at on your kitchen counter.

Looks aside, the machine is equipped with a 15-bar pressure pump, which is pretty standard for most espresso machine. It has a single thermoblock heating system, so there’s going to be a bit of a wait between espresso extraction and using the steam wand for frothing milk.

The exterior of the espresso machine, while it looks nice and shiny, is actually made of plastic. So that’s a bit of a letdown for me.

Operating the machine is quite simple. You have three buttons: single-shot, double-shot and steam. The shot volumes are already programmed, but you have the ability to reprogram them with your own choice of volumes. On the side, you’ll find the wand for steaming and frothing the milk. On the back of the machine, you’ll find a 1-Liter capacity water reservoir.

Included with the Smeg espresso machine three basket filters for a single shot, double shot or e.s.e pods. It also comes with a tamper. Top of the machine features a space to keep your cups.

Smeg espresso machine is made in China and it’s available in several colors.

DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine

De'Longhi EC680M Espresso, Stainless Steel, Metallic (Packaging May Vary)
  • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls allow you to make modifications for your personal taste preferences.
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Removable water tank and drip tray make for easy cleanup, and the parts are dishwasher safe.
  • BREW LIKE A PRO: Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the machine brews authentic barista-quality beverages just like you enjoy at your favorite coffeehouse.
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them.
  • EASY TO USE: The machine does most of the work for you. The Automatic Flow Stop feature dispenses just the right amount of espresso while maintaining the ideal brewing temperature.

Dedica’s specs are not much different than Smeg’s espresso machine. It has a 15-bar pump pressure and a single stainless steel thermoblock heating system, too. On the front panel of the machine, you’ll find three buttons: single-shot, double-shot and steam. All shots are pre-set and reprogrammable. The included portafilter also comes with three basket filters for a single-shot, double shot and for a e.s.e pods. So far, it’s identical in specs to Smeg’s espresso machine.

Let’s talk about design. The Dedica has a slim design, which the Smeg also has. But the Dedica has a full stainless steel housing, which gives it a stronger and more durable body that the Smeg. On top, there’s a flat space where you can keep your glasses to keep them warm before use.

DeLonghi Dedica is also made in China and available in several colors.

The Difference Between Smeg EFC01 vs DeLonghi Dedica

When it comes to specifications, these two machines are identical. So when it comes to function and usability, you should expect the same quality from both brands.

Now let’s talk about quality and value in terms of price. Smeg’s espresso machine has a rather beautiful design. It’s an iconic design and it’s the reason why most people opt for Smeg’s appliances. However, they don’t come cheap. The fact that the espresso machine’s housing is made of plastic is disappointing to me. For the price, it should have a housing of higher quality material.

On the other hand, DeLonghi’s Dedica, which also has a nice sleek design, has a full stainless steel housing and it cost about $200 LESS than the Smeg (as of the time of writing – as prices keep changing, always check for the latest price).

Which Do You Buy?

If you opt for the Smeg espresso machine, then know that you’re paying for design only. If you’re a fan of the iconic retro design Smeg offers and don’t mind its price, then go for it. In my opinion, the machine is not worth its price, but I do understand if a design enthusiast wouldn’t mind paying just for its looks.

In terms of value, the DeLonghi Dedica makes a much better choice. It has the same specs and it’s made of better materials which makes it more durable.

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