Since these two machines are often recommended to people who are interested in honing their coffee brewing skills in order to get excellent espresso quality, we have put Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro in a head-to-head comparison. Continue reading below to find out which semi-automatic espresso machine will suit you better.
After reading this article, you will understand better all about:
- The design and dimensions of Breville Barista Express and Gaggia Classic Pro
- The comparison of their operation and ease of use
- The additional features of Breville Barista Express and Gaggia Classic Pro
- The potential disadvantages of Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro
- Whether you should get Breville Barista Express or Gaggia Classic Pro
Breville Barista Express: Design and Features
Breville Barista Express is one of the most popular semi-automatic espresso machines in the market now. It comes with a built-in burr grinder and a steaming/frothing wand. It also includes everything that you need to start brewing coffee, including a nice stainless steel portafilter, a precise trimming tool, a tamper, along with single-walled and double-walled filter baskets for one-shot and double-shot brews. Read also: Breville Barista Express vs Touch.
Although it is semi-automatic, Breville Barista Express actually is still fairly easy to use, as it will guide you through every step of the process. For example, if we compare Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro, the latter can be a bit more confusing and intimidating if you don’t know what to look for. On Breville Barista Express, there are indicators, and there is also a vintage-looking pressure gauge on the center of the front panel.
Of course, in terms of size, Breville Barista Express is quite bulky and heavy, but this is because of the built-in grinder and the large 67-oz water tank, which is further equipped with a charcoal filter. On the positive side, if you choose Breville Barista Express, you won’t have to dedicate another space for a separate grinder. The espresso machine is backed by a solid one-year warranty.
|Breville Barista Express||Gaggia Classic Pro|
|Best Price||click here||click here|
|Product Dimensions||12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches||9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inches
|Shipping Weight||23 pounds||20 pounds
Breville Barista Express: In Use
The built-in grinder of Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro is definitely a big advantage if you don’t have a dedicated grinder and don’t want to spend extra money to buy one. It may not be able to match the quality of a high-end dedicated grinder – for example, it only has 18 grind settings, whereas a dedicated grinder of good quality may have 50 or 60 grind settings – but it works, and can get the job done nicely.
After adjusting the grind setting, you need to adjust the grind amount. There is a button for switching between single-shot and double-shot doses. Then, you need to tamp your ground coffee, which is a fairly easy thing to do thanks to the weighty tamper. The trimming tool will help you ensure that the ground coffee is distributed evenly. Finally, you can clean the portafilter a bit from excess ground coffee while monitoring the pressure gauge, and then lock the portafilter into place and pull your shot.
With proper brewing skills, Breville Barista Express can deliver exceptionally rich and tasty espresso. It is also quite consistent, thanks to the built-in PID temperature control. It delivers similar espresso quality from the same settings. It can deliver shots after shots of espresso with good consistency, though it is not really fast in the initial heat-up.
The steaming wand is great, too. The steaming wand is quite easy to use. It can be used for creating frothed milk with a very fine texture. It also works well for doing latte art.
Breville Barista Express: Considerations
When choosing between Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro, you should consider if the built-in grinder is really necessary. The general recommendation is to get a dedicated espresso machine and a dedicated grinder.
This is due to the fact that a truly good dedicated grinder can give you the very best espresso quality. However, a dedicated grinder can cost a lot of money; if you have a limited budget, Breville Barista Express can give you the best value with the built-in grinder.
The other thing to consider is if you really want to fine-tune everything. Breville Barista Express is semi-automatic, but it doesn’t provide as much control as Gaggia Classic Pro. The range of the temperature adjustment is limited, and the pressure can’t be adjusted.
Gaggia Classic Pro: Design and Features
Gaggia Classic Pro is also a great choice for people who want to learn how to dial an espresso machine. It offers a slightly more hands-on approach. It is also much more compact and lightweight. The build quality is exceptional; a lot of its users have used Gaggia Classic Pro for years without any problem.
In terms of design, Gaggia Classic Pro is quite plain and vintage. It may appear like something that belongs to an old cafe or your grandparent’s kitchen. It has a metallic body and several control switches. The only thing missing to complete the vintage style is an analog pressure gauge, but this is not a big issue.
There is no built-in grinder, but Gaggia Classic Pro possesses a nice steaming wand, a drip tray, and a warming rack. It also includes everything needed to start brewing (except the grinder). Unfortunately, the tamper is made of plastic, and is not really easy to use. You may want to get a stainless steel tamper with more weight if you choose this espresso machine.
Gaggia Classic Pro: In Use
Gaggia Classic Pro is more-or-less ready for use right out of the box. After you clean the water reservoir and fill it, you can turn the espresso machine on. This will allow the espresso machine to heat up while you are grind your fresh coffee beans. You can also warm the portafilter on the espresso machine.
After you have loaded the portafilter with your coffee and tamp it, don’t forget to clean it from excess coffee. This is important if you don’t want to clean the brewing head every so often. Lock the portafilter into place, and don’t forget to place your cup. Once the light indicator is turned on, you can flip the switch that will let your brown liquid pour down from the dual holes of the portafilter.
In terms of consistency, there is a notable difference between Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro. If you use Gaggia Classic Pro right out of the box, you may be surprised that the consistency is not very good, especially if you try pulling multiple shots of espresso continuously. However, one important trick with Gaggia Classic Pro is to install a PID temperature control to ensure a more consistent performance.
The steaming wand is simple, just like a typical steaming wand, which is a good thing. It is adjustable, and it also works well for frothing and for doing latte art.
Gaggia Classic Pro: Considerations
As mentioned above, one major difference between Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro is the fact that Gaggia Classic Pro doesn’t have an integrated grinder. As a result, you may potentially be able to achieve even better espresso quality by getting a high-quality dedicated grinder.
However, this also means more money. A high-quality burr grinder usually costs several hundred dollars. Not to mention that you will also need to spare even more space in your kitchen for the dedicated grinder.
Then, there is the need to install a PID temperature control. Though it is possible to run without this accessory if you are comfortable with temperature surfing, installing a PID temperature control is generally more recommended for a more consistent performance.
Breville Barista Express vs Gaggia Classic Pro
Breville Barista Express is generally better if you are starting from scratch without your own grinder. It comes with a built-in burr grinder, and it already has a PID temperature control to ensure a consistent performance. It will give you the best value for the money. However, Gaggia Classic Pro is also a great machine, and can be a better choice if you don’t mind spending extra money for a grinder and the PID temperature control.