When breaking into home brewing, a beginner espresso machine should have a good balance of quality, price, and difficulty. Since its launch in 2001, Breville, an Australian home appliances brand, has been making waves in the espresso community. Automated, user-friendly, and high-quality, their espresso machines are developed to be easy and fun for beginners and masters alike.
One of the advantages of the Breville brand is the wide range to choose from – so what works best for your home and taste? Although you’ll need to take into account your personal price range and needs, we’ve put together five of the best Breville espresso machines to choose from in 2021. There is also a range of options for complete newbies, experienced beginners, intermediate users, and coffee experts. When looking for customization or simple usage, look for the automation features. However, even if a machine is semi-automatic, it can still range from easy for a beginner to pick up to letting a borderline barista handle the changes.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy answer, Breville’s Oracle is our top pick with the automation options being its key feature and price being the primary downside. For affordable and easy, The Duo Temp Pro is a hands-on, semi-automatic choice; however, there’s no built-in grinder and it’s one of the noisier models. Right along the middle is the Dual Boiler, a semi-automatic machine that gives you great customization options while being on the higher end of the price range.
Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro
Starting with the basics, the Breville’s Duo Temp Pro is a great machine for those looking for the rich and creamy taste Breville machines have to offer without clearing out their wallets. Duo Temp refers to the ability to use different temperatures when pulling espresso shots and when frothing milk. Don’t let its placement at number five fool you – this model is just as capable as the larger machines on our list. Weighing 13 pounds, sitting at 10” x 11” x 13” and with the capacity to hold 61 oz. of water, this is a simple machine without many additional features.
The price range doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the espresso made from this model. With low-pressure, pre-infusion, you get the same smooth, rich flavor in your espresso shot that’s consistent across all Breville machines. The size also doesn’t reduce the key addition of 1- and 2-cup single or dual wall filter baskets, giving you the option to use your favorite freshly ground or pre-ground coffee beans. Additionally, while it doesn’t have the 3-second heating capabilities some of Breville’s other models guarantee, the 1600W thermocoil system doesn’t waste any time in extracting your espresso at the perfect temperature.
If you don’t have a good grinder available, you won’t get much use out of this machine. Unlike other Breville models with the built-in grinder feature, you’ll need to add your own ground coffee beans to the machine. There’s also a learning curve for those that don’t have some existing knowledge of espresso machines. The Duo Temp isn’t made for fresh-out-of-the-box learners – without a pressure gauge, new homebrewers may not know when to change the grind size or tamping pressure.
What we liked:
- Smooth, rich flavor
- Practical additions without complicated extras
What could be better:
- Doesn’t include a built-In grinder
- Doesn’t include a pressure gauge
Breville BES880XL Barista Touch
When looking for a set-and-go automatic espresso machine, the Breville’s Barista Touch is one of the better choices for you. With an easy-to-operate and user-friendly LED touch screen display, you have the ability to customize your morning coffee by grind, brew, and milk. Test out different temperatures, textures, and of course strengths to adjust the settings to your taste. The Barista Touch weighs just under 26 pounds, takes up a space of 14.5″ x 16.7″ x 17.6″, and can hold up to 40.6 oz of water. There’s also a built-in coffee grinder with a 1.5 lb. capacity.
Two of our favorite features from this automated model are the presets and pre-programmed options. If you’re looking for a hot, strong coffee on the weekdays but something with smooth with more milk on the weekends, you can save up to 8 combinations on the Barista Touch. This is a great addition for full households that are all fighting for their morning cup. If you’re just getting started or you’re just interested in a concoction from Breville, this model also has 5 pre-programmed coffee options to choose from.
While this model has great built-in automation, you will need to have a bit of experience as an espresso machine user. Some users may not be familiar with what it takes to make the right tasting cup of coffee and will burn through some product to get it right. You’ll also need to understand how to precisely tamp your own grounds, which isn’t necessarily difficult but can be messy for beginners. Finally, with high quality comes a high price. This model is in the higher price range for most beginner coffee makers, going for between $1,000 and $1,500 on Amazon.
What we liked:
- Save 8 presets for choice combos
- 5 Pre-programmed Coffee Options
- ThermoJet heating system reaches optimum temperatures in three seconds
What could be better:
- You’ll need to tamp your own grounds
- High price model
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler
If you’re looking to be more involved in the brewing process, the Dual Boiler is a great choice. The dual broilers within the espresso maker allow you to control the temperatures for the brew and steamer independently. You’ll be able to have your favorite espresso ready in about five minutes when you’ve got the understanding behind what you’re doing. This machine weighs about 30 pounds, takes up a space of 14.7″ x 14.8″ x 14.7″, and can hold up to 84 oz. of water. However, this is another model that doesn’t have a built-in grinder.
This time we’re starting with a mixed-signal review – something that’s not great if you’re a new home brewing beginner, but great if you’ve got a bit of experience already under your belt. The Breville’s Dual Boiler requires you to be a little more hands-on than other models, as it doesn’t have a built-in grinder and you need to understand good steaming and temperature practices. Luckily, once you’ve got this figured out, you can program the brew temperature, pre-infusion pressure, and even the auto-start time. For a beginner, you’ll just need to take a bit of time to get used to this customization understood.
Unfortunately, when it comes to price this is the second most expensive product on this list. The unit can cost about $1,500 whether from the Breville site or purchasing off of Amazon. As we mentioned earlier, the prospect of a semi-automatic machine can be daunting for new users. This machine is large and proud of its customization, which can be intimidating for a beginner home brewer. While set up and use may be straightforward for those with a little experience under their belt, beginners will need to take a bit of extra time to get to know this machine to reap the benefits it was designed to provide.
What we liked:
- Independently heat your brew and steamer
- Programmable features
What could be better:
- Second most expensive on this list
- Requires a bit of experience
- No built-in grinder
Breville BES870XL Barista Express
The Breville’s Barista Express is a semi-automatic model that has amazing features for being a mid-price range model. While we’ve discussed semi-auto machines being intimidating and a possible negative feature for beginners in this list, the Barista Express is probably the best semi-automatic a beginner can choose. This model weighs about 23 pounds and takes up space with the dimensions of 13.25″ x 12.5″ x 15.75″. This can hold 67 oz of water and it comes with a built-in grinder that has a 1.5 lbs. capacity.
Getting the technical positives out of the way, the Barista Express is packed with Breville’s newest feature options. The integrated conical grinder is one such addition – this gives you the ability to load the hopper with your favorite coffee beans and you’ll get perfectly ground coffee in the portafilter in less than a minute. You also have the option to adjust how much is dispensed with the Grind Amount setting, in case you have an aversion to the typical setting standards.
Your semi-automatic settings are easily adjustable as a beginner. Outside of this drawback, you do have a bit of a noise issue. If you’re in a household with light sleepers or you’re not interested in high volume early in the morning, the brewing process of the Barista Express can become problematic. Another small, on-time issue a beginner may run into is the set-up time. While detailed and helpful instructions are included, this model does have a more extensive and laborious setup than its counterparts. While the process thankfully isn’t exactly confusing, it can be a time-consuming process as opposed to other ready-out-of-box options.
What we liked:
- Mid-price range
- Integrated burr grinder
What could be better:
- Semi-automatic: learning curve for new users
- Lack of volume control
Breville BES980XL Oracle
Breville’s Oracle espresso maker is currently our top choice for Breville Espresso Makers of the year. While it is one of the more expensive units Breville has to offer, the number of features, customization, and quality control that is provided by the unit can make any beginner feel like an expert barista in their own home. While some settings may not be easy to manipulate and change at first, this is a beginner’s product that can be studied as you have time to better adjust and tinker with the more in-depth settings. This is one of the larger models, weighing about 45 lbs., taking up the space of 16.2″ x 15″ x 18″ and includes a reservoir capacity of 84 oz of water. There’s also a built-in coffee grinder with a capacity of 1.5 lbs.
The Oracle is one of the high-tech models on the market that’s designed to cater to any level of user experience. This is why it’s considered a ‘hybrid’ machine, with the ability to shift from a super-automatic device to a semi-automatic machine. The features included on this machine are extensive, as well: a hands-free steamer, dual boilers, dual Italian pumps with PID, a built-in grinder that gives you the exact dose and tamps it for you, and additional customization features. You’ll be able to adjust the milk temperature and texture or have a simple Americano with the single or double-shot espresso and hot water buttons.
As we said earlier, this is one of the more expensive units Breville has out on the market today. It can cost about $2,500 without shipping and is one of the largest units to be delivered to your door. While you might need help lifting it onto your counter, it’s important to know there are retractable wheels that help you move it around once you’ve got it up there. Of course, some beginners may also feel overwhelmed with all of the additional features and customization options. While there are preset standards and settings, it can be an excessive machine for a new home brewing user to have in their kitchen.
What we liked:
- Easily shift from in-depth automation to semi-automatic settings
- Customize settings with new smart technology
- Dual boilers and PID technology
What could be better:
- One of the most expensive Breville espresso maker models
- Can feel like feature-overload
Before You Buy
Even as a beginner, quality shouldn’t be one of the traits you sacrifice in your new espresso maker. As your experience grows, so will your appreciation for starting with a well-balanced model that gives you premium coffee. When buying a Breville espresso machine, you’re getting an industry-leading product that often guarantees some of the best espressos you can have in-house. While you’ll need to have some level of understanding of your tastes for a few of the models on this list, the user-friendly interfaces of these products help even a novice become quickly acquainted with the dos and don’ts of making coffee to their liking.
One trait that makes Breville espresso makers top quality is the PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) control technology. This is the feature that manages the temperature for extraction, so you don’t have to monitor the machine’s condition for fluctuations. The PID is responsible for pulling the espresso shots at optimal temperatures, providing consistency and quality. Without it, beginners may find themselves burning or underheating their coffee.
You’ve also got a luxurious and durable product as almost every Breville espresso maker’s façade is made out of stainless steel. Not only does this help them last longer with tough exteriors, but it makes the unit easier to clean with less worry for deterioration. The stainless-steel bodies are designed to last you for years on end when properly cared for.
Price has been mentioned in almost every product on our list, with our most expensive choice being $2,500 and the least expensive model costing about $450. While Breville can be considered a high-end product, the consistency, and quality of the product are there to help you determine whether the machine is worth it. Two significant factors can help in your decision to purchase one of Breville’s models: their one-year limited warranty and their eligibility for a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Breville provides a one-year limited warranty for all of its home appliance products. If you find your machine to be defective, damaged, or not up to their code of standards, you can return it within their policy. Their warranty policy states that after the defective model has been returned, they’ll either provide you with an identical/comparable replacement to your household (free of charge) or give you additional options to remedy the situation. Some models have long limited warranties, so be sure to check out the product details when purchasing your new model.
Their 30-day money-back guarantee is also available to those that aren’t satisfied with their purchase. So, if you’ve been on the fence about the product and decide that it’s not up to par after you’ve tried it for a week or two, you can take a look at their return policy and procedures. This will not only give you the option to explore other options (even outside of Breville, if you’ve exhausted those resources) but will provide you with a further understanding of the product quality produced by Breville.
If you’re worried about communication issues during returns, refunds, or even general inquiries, Breville has made a reputation for having even industry-leading customer service. They provide support through their call center and online live chat services regarding all of your product questions and concerns. It’s important to note that their services are not available 24/7 – you can reach out to them Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST.
Their dedication to customers and clients is also shown through the dedication of their craft. They’re continuously developing models made to cater to their customer needs and feedback. Each product is designed to be user-friendly and with a range of expertise, tastes, and interests in mind. As you can see throughout our top five Breville espresso makers of the year, they look to create products that can appeal to just about any coffee-lover. And if something is missing, they’re constantly looking for feedback and new ideas through their support channel.
How long does a Breville Espresso Machine last?
With the proper care, your Breville espresso machine should last you anywhere from 5-10 years. It’s important to keep up with maintenance and cleaning, regularly servicing any damaged or deteriorating parts. Though Breville’s customer support, you can quickly and easily find replacement parts if something happens to break over time.
How easy is a Breville Espresso Machine to set up and use?
These machines are easy to set up, use, clean, and in some cases make small repairs on. With the detailed instructions, you won’t have a very extensive setup when first putting together your machine. After that, if you’re unfamiliar with an espresso machine, the steps to making your first round of coffee are included in the instructions as well! Breville espresso machines also come with a cleaning brush and additional care tips to keep your model running like new for as long as possible.
What other drinks can a Breville Espresso Machine make?
With the addition of a milk steamer, your Breville model is capable of making any coffee that uses steamed milk. For example, you can make your own cappuccinos, lattes, and of course, Americanos. Add in your favorite coffee creamer or flavoring and you’ll be running your own personal coffee shop!
When it comes to a well-adjusted balance of quality, price, and user-friendliness, Breville espresso machines are making a name for themselves on the market. If you’re a beginner when it comes to home brewing your coffee, these machines are easy to use without sacrificing the taste of your morning brew. Semi-automated, convenient, and high-quality results give your new espresso machine an edge against the pre-made drive-thru competition.
After you’ve adjusted your budget and decided what features and accessories you need from a new Breville model, take into account our top five Breville espresso machines of 2021. Our top recommendation is The Oracle, with not only a sleek look and fast service, but rich flavors that will leave you craving another espresso shot. For affordable and compact, there’s the Duo Temp Pro readily available for the on-the-go coffee drinker. Right in the middle, the Dual Boiler gives you a hands-on barista environment without needing the complication knowledge required for a barista license.
Looking beyond our list, there are still many variations to choose from that cater to experts and beginners, espresso lovers, and Americano gurus. With Breville’s list of available models and accomplishments, any coffee lover is bound to find their new favorite machine.