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Calphalon Temp iQ vs. Breville: Guide and Comparison

Semi-automatic Espresso Machines, Automatics Over $500, Breville Espresso Machines Apr 11, 2022

Calphalon is an American brand that specializes in premium kitchen appliances and kitchenware. The name Calphalon is synonymous with high quality hard anodized aluminum cookware, but they also have several appliances, just as premium, and an espresso machine is one of them.

Calphalon’s Temp iQ espresso machine with built-in grinder, which is model we’re reviewing here, is usually compared to Breville’s famous Barista Express espresso machine with built-in grinder, especially since both are priced similarly.

In this post, we’re looking at the features of Calphalon’s espresso machine and how it compares to Breville’s Barista Express.

Calphalon vs. Breville Barista Express – Top 5 Differences

Calphalon Espresso Machine with Coffee Grinder, Tamper, Milk Frothing Pitcher, and Steam Wand, Temp iQ 15 Bar Pump, Stainless Steel
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Calphalon Espresso Machine with Coffee Grinder, Tamper, Milk Frothing Pitcher, and Steam Wand, Temp iQ 15 Bar Pump, Stainless Steel
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Built-in Grinder
Portafilter Size
Reservoir Capacity
97 oz
64 oz
Pressure Gauge
Calphalon Espresso Machine with Coffee Grinder, Tamper, Milk Frothing Pitcher, and Steam Wand, Temp iQ 15 Bar Pump, Stainless Steel
Calphalon Espresso Machine with Coffee Grinder, Tamper, Milk Frothing Pitcher, and Steam Wand, Temp iQ 15 Bar Pump, Stainless Steel
Built-in Grinder
Portafilter Size
Reservoir Capacity
97 oz
Pressure Gauge
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Built-in Grinder
Portafilter Size
Reservoir Capacity
64 oz
Pressure Gauge

Breville Barista Express is a widely popular espresso machine. It is packed with everything one might need to get started as a home barista. It is user-friendly, has a built-in grinder and all the technical specs you need to produce a great cup of coffee. When it comes to features, Calphalon and Breville are neck-and-neck. So, are there any differences and how do you pick between them?

If you need to read a full review of the Breville Barista Express you can click here.

There are actually several differences between them that I can bring to your attention

1- Although both machines have built-in conical burr grinders, how you adjust the grind settings is quite different. On the Barista Express, you have the Grind Amount and a dial for increment settings, but you have very little to no control over how precise your grind size is. On the Calphalon, you have control over the actual grind numbers giving you more control over your grind.

2- Portafilter sizes are different. The Barista Express has a 54mm portafilter, while the Calphalon has a 58mm portafilter. Does that make any difference to you? Although both filters can, technically, hold the same grams of ground coffee (up to 22g), having a larger portafilter (Calphalons) allows for better water distribution at pre-infusion and as the espresso being extracted. That’s why 58mm is the standard size used at coffee houses.

3- The steam wand design on the Calphalon is more of a commercial design than the one on the Barista Express.

4- Calphalon’s water reservoir is quite large at 97 oz (2.8L). Barista Express’s reservoir is 67 oz.

5- The Barista Express has a pressure gauge that shows you when your machine has reached optimal pressure. Calphalon doesn’t have a gauge, but uses light indicators instead.

Which Machine Is More User Friendly For a Beginner?

Both machines have been designed with beginner home users at mind. But both will require some trial and error until you get things right. Especially if it’s your first time using an espresso machine.

Things you’ll have to experiment with:

Milk frothing – getting that silky microfoam milk froth requires some practice.

Grind Size: if it’s your first time using an espresso machine, expect to make some terrible shots before you make the perfect one. Getting the right extraction depends on your precise grind setting, and the right grind setting will change depending on the type of coffee beans you use. This is why you’ll have to try different settings until you get the correct one.

Take a few minutes to watch the following videos of how each machine operates…

The Verdict – Which Is Best?

The Calphalon iQ is a competitor to the Breville Barista Express in almost every aspect, yet, the Bartista Express wins this race. It delivers more consistent results, uses better materials, the temperature is more stable than Calphalon’s… and overall, it’s a better bang for your buck!

Calphalon vs. DeLonghi La Specialista Espresso Machine

Another espresso machine comparable to the Calphalon is La Specialista by DeLonghi. Although both have built-in grinders and few similar settings, there are some differences to set them apart:

De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Knock Box
  • FRESHEST COFFEE, EVERY TIME: Integrated grinder with Patent Pending Technology delivers consistent grinding and optimal coffee dose.
  • Knock box in the set - enjoy the ultimate espresso experience at home with additional convenience
  • HANDCRAFTED PRECISION: Smart Tamping Station ensures the right pressure for flawless results
  • 1 SECOND QUICK START: Power the machine on and immediately start grinding
  • ACTIVE TEMPERATURE CONTROL: Provides ideal temperature stability for optimal coffee extraction

Let’s start with the grinder. La Specialista’s built-in grinder has 6 grind settings to adjust the flavor of your shot. Of course, it goes from fine to coarse, but all are within the espresso grind range. Adjusting the grind only fine-tunes the taste of your coffee to make it stronger or milder. The Calphalon has the same adjustment options.

The second step would be to tamp your ground coffee. La Specialista has a built-in tamper. So as the portafilter sits in the same cradle where it collects the coffee ground, you pull down a lever and it will tamp it for you perfectly. Neither the Calphalon or Barista Express have this option.

When it comes to pre-sets, La Specialista has a few extra of those settings. You have your single and double shot presets, which are the standard in any machine. Then you have a few recipes to pick from: espresso, Americano and Coffee. As we all know, Americano is prepared by adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso, so that’s exactly what the machine does. After extracting the espresso, it will add hot water using a dedicated hot water spout. What about the Coffee option? Coffee, in this case, is another variation of an Americano, so you shouldn’t expect this machine to make a traditional drip coffee. It will prepare Coffee using the same Americano recipe but with different measurements/ratio of water and espresso. Another great option is the ‘My’ button, which allows you to program your own recipes and save it.

Like the Barista Express, this machine has a gauge on the front panel to help you read the pressure of the machine. Included accessories are: 2 filter baskets, dual-wall single and dual-wall double baskets. Also includes a stainless steel frothing jug.

Should You Buy an Espresso Machine with Built-in Grinder or Buy the Grinder Separately?

Before you decide whether to go with the Calphalon, DeLonghi or Breville’s Barista Pro or Express Express, here are some thoughts on espresso machines with built-in grinders:

  • It is important to keep in mind that the built-in grinder in your espresso machine is good for just that – grinding for Espresso.
  • So if you’re someone who also enjoys drip coffee, or any type of coffee other than espresso, you will not be able to use the built-in grinder in your espresso machine for other brewing methods. Grinders built-in to espresso machines have limited range of grind settings that are optimized for espresso grinds only, so all they offer is fine grind settings. If you want a grinder that can does it all (drip coffee and espresso), I highly recommend getting the espresso machine and grinder separately.
  • Built-in grinders are also somewhat harder to clean than separate grinders. You cannot take out the grinder on a built-in espresso machine and put it upside down or shake out older grinds.

Features of Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Built-in Grinder

Calphalon Espresso Machine with Coffee Grinder, Tamper, Milk Frothing Pitcher, and Steam Wand, Temp iQ 15 Bar Pump, Stainless Steel
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of espresso extracted will vary depending on the grind size and amount and reprogramming may be needed when the size and amount are adjusted.Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use.Filter type:Reusable
  • 15-Bar Italian pump delivers the right amount of pressure for maximum flavor extraction and produces a beautiful layer of crema for your Espresso
  • Freshly grind your beans to your preference With the integrated conical burr mill Grinder with 30 adjustable grind settings
  • Pre-programmed settings for single and double shots, and dial interface for selecting steam, or hot water
  • Includes single- and double-shot single wall filter Baskets

The Calphalon Temp iQ espresso machine is a pretty sleek machine that delivers solid results. It has the standard 15-bar pump, so you should expect a flavorful and nicely extracted espresso shot.

On the control panel, you’ll find three buttons. Two of them a pre-set for a single or double shot, the third button is for manual extraction. A dial knob allows you to switch between steaming or hot water, which is useful for instant hot water either for Americanos or instant drinks.

Thermoblock heating as well as PID temperature control (digital temperature control) deliver consistent temperature either for extraction or steaming. The machine will ensure it reaches optimal temperature for each task before it starts.

When it comes to the included portafilter, the Calphalon includes a 58mm portafilter basket, which holds more ground and allows for more even water distribution.

The Calphalon has a generous 94 oz water reservoir that is removable for easier refilling and cleaning.

What’s Included with Your Calphalon Espresso Machine:

  • Stainless steel milk jug.
  • Tamper
  • Cleaning disc
  • Cleaning pin
  • Cleaning brush
  • Single and Double shot basket filters

Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine (Without Built-in Grinder)

Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Steam Wand, Stainless
  • 15-Bar Italian Pump: Delivers required pressure for maximum flavor extraction
  • Dial Interface: For selecting steam, hot water, and programmed shots
  • 58mm Porta Filter: Ensures even water dispersion and extraction
  • Thermoblock Heating & PID Temperature Control: For consistently great-tasting Espresso
  • Large Capacity: Includes a removable 2.0L water reservoir with hinged lid for easy filling

If you like Calphalon’s espresso machine but decided for a machine without a built-in grinder, this would make your best pick. It has the same features as the model with the built-in grinder, but this one is slightly smaller, so expect a smaller reservoir. But everything else should be the same, including the accessories.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro BCG820BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Stainless steel conical burrs designed to minimize grinding heat and protect the essential oils in the coffee bean
  • 60 precise grind settings from the finest Espresso to the coarsest French Press Grind. Voltage: 110 120 Volts. Power: 165 Watts
  • Precision Electronic Timer allows users to adjust grind time in 0.2 second increments and consistent dose every time
  • 18 ounce coffee bean capacity with locking system for easy removal, storage, and transfer of the bean hopper
  • Grind directly into portafilter, grinds container, gold tone filter basket or paper filter

You will still need a grinder though, and I highly recommend Brevill’s Smart Grinder which makes a great entry-level grind that has 60 grind settings from espresso fine to coarse grind for french press and everything in between.