Is Breville's $800 Espresso Machine Worth the Hype? Here's Our Honest Review

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To many — myself included — waking up in the morning to a cup of coffee is one of the best ways to start the day. As a former barista, I've always had an extra appreciation for coffee and the process of making it, so I jumped at the opportunity to review the Breville Barista Pro, a semi-automatic espresso machine that has all the features you need to create cafe-quality espresso drinks at home. After a few months of testing out the Barista Pro, here's my honest review.

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(While I did receive the Breville Barista Pro in exchange for an honest review, all of the following thoughts and opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced by Breville, in any way.)

Specs

The Breville Barista Pro is a semi-automatic espresso machine designed to be a step up from the brand's best-selling The Barista Express. At $799.95, the Barista Pro has a built-in steel conical burr grinder with 30 grind settings, a manual steam wand for milk texturizing and latte art, a hot water spout for tea and Americanos, and an intuitive digital interface that helps you customize and program each espresso shot — from temperature to size — to your liking.

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For an at-home espresso machine, it has quite the brewing system. Due to its ThermoJet heating system, it has a three-second start-up time, along with a 15-bar pressure pump and digital temperature control for optimal extraction and flavor. Made with stainless steel housing and aluminum castings, it stands at 13.9-by-16.1-by-16 inches with a 67-ounce water tank and weighs approximately 20 pounds.

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Additionally, the machine comes with coffee-making accessories, including a 54mm porta-filter with an optimal 19-22 gram capacity, single and dual-wall filter baskets, tamp, razor trimming tool for precise dosing, 16-ounce stainless steel milk jug, cleaning kit, and water filter.

Pros

One major pro of the Barista Pro is how fast it heats up. In a matter of three seconds, the machine is ready to go, thanks to its ThermoJet heating system. After pulling an espresso shot, you can immediately start steaming your milk. Another pro is the built-in grinder. With 30 grind settings, it offers precise grinds to make the perfect shot of espresso. It also saves counter space since it's conveniently part of the machine and you don't need to buy another small appliance.

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Aside from the features, my favorite thing about using the Breville Barista Pro was that I feel like it made me slow down and be more mindful in the morning. As much as I love my automatic espresso and coffee maker, using an espresso machine with manual features allowed me to appreciate my cup of morning coffee a little more since I took extra time and care to make it myself.

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Cons

Compared to automatic espresso and coffee makers, I found that the Breville Barista Pro required more maintenance and cleanup with each use. When using the grinder, the grounds tend to build up a little and I need to use the brush (which comes with the espresso machine) to clean it up. Thankfully, the grounds fall into the drip tray, but that means it can get messy fast. I clean my coffee station after each use, so it's become part of my routine and doesn't bother me; however, it's something to consider if you want a more low-maintenance coffee maker. Another thing to add about the grinder is that it can be loud when using it. Not a total surprise, as I've yet to encounter a quiet grinder, but something to note.

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Another potential con is that there can be a learning curve when using the Barista Pro (or any manual or semi-automatic espresso maker, really). As much as I hoped my barista skills would magically resurface, it still took a little time, patience, and YouTube tutorials to dial in a solid espresso shot. Even though I personally enjoyed the process of learning about the machine and didn't mind the trial and error, it might be frustrating for someone who wants a more streamlined process, especially if you haven't had your cup of coffee in the morning.

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Verdict

Image Credit: Pauline Lacsamana/Hunker
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Overall, I loved making the Breville Barista Pro part of my morning routine. It helped me get back in touch with my inner barista, slow down in the morning, and appreciate the coffee-making process even more. If you're looking to take your at-home coffee making to the next level with a semi-automatic espresso machine, the Breville Barista Pro is worth the investment. Not only is it a great upgrade for your own kitchen, but it also makes an amazing gift, whether it's for a housewarming or the holidays.

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And there's never been a better time to buy it than now. With the holidays right around the corner, you can find the espresso machine for up to $100 off at multiple retailers in different colorways. Interested in testing out the espresso machine yourself? Shop the Breville Barista Pro, below.

Sur La Table Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine, $1,350 $699.96

Williams Sonoma Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine, $799.95 $699.95

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