Breville Dual Boiler Vs Barista Pro: A Detailed Face-Off Comparison

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Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Pro: Without beating around the bush, my vote is for the first one, and allow me to elucidate why.

The Breville Dual Boiler has two boilers – of course it does. That means you can pull a shot and use the steam wand to froth milk simultaneously. Also, it has some nice-to-have features like a top loading door to refill without removing the water tank or a front window to monitor the water level. However, a built-in grinder is notably absent from its feature set.

The Breville Barista Pro, on the other hand, features a high-quality grinder with up to 30 grind settings. This one can pull nice shots of espresso and froth milk, but it takes some practice with its professional steam wand. On top of that, it comes with an attractive price tag.

Breville Dual Boiler Vs Barista Pro: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Dual Boiler
Breville Barista Pro
Dimensions/Weight
16.3 x 15 x 15 inches/30 lbs
8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches/25 lbs
Heating System
Dual Boiler Heating System
Single Thermojet Heating System
Interface
LCD & Buttons
LCD Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 liter/None
2 liter/0.24 liter
Pump Pressure
15 bars
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Yes (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
Price not available
$849.95
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Dual Boiler
Dimensions/Weight
16.3 x 15 x 15 inches/30 lbs
Heating System
Dual Boiler Heating System
Interface
LCD & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 liter/None
Pump Pressure
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Dimensions/Weight
8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches/25 lbs
Heating System
Single Thermojet Heating System
Interface
LCD Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 liter/0.24 liter
Pump Pressure
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$849.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-06-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Dual Boiler Vs Barista Pro: Differences

The Breville Dual Boiler takes the cake with a 3-2 triumph over the Barista Pro, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for a deeper dive into the details.

Coffee Flavour

Winner:  Breville Barista Pro

Built-in Grinder

The Breville Barista Pro features an integrated conical burr grinder like most Breville machines, whereas the Dual Boiler is a non-grinder machine. So, if you opt for the latter, be prepared to set aside an extra budget for a high-quality stand-alone grinder, such as the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. Not to mention, you will need to prepare additional space for it, which can be frustrating for those with limited kitchen countertops.

breville dual boiler has no grinder
Breville Dual Boiler has no grinder

The burr grinder itself is the best choice for espresso machines because it provides a uniform grind size for optimal flavor extraction. Even better, the Barista Pro’s grinder offers a remarkable 30 different grind settings, which outpaces most built-in grinders in other espresso machines, like those from Jura. So you can freely personalize the coarseness of your coffee beans while your selected grind setting is conveniently displayed on the LCD screen.

the barista pro has up to 30 different grind settings
The Barista Pro has up to 30 different grind settings

Thankfully, the Dual Boiler comes with a magnetic tamper, even though it lacks a grinder. But such a commercial-grade machine should use a well-made stainless steel tamper like the one with the Barista Pro instead of a flimsy plastic one. My guess is that people who opt for it will quickly upgrade to a high-quality 58mm tamper like this one.

Oh, right, the Dual Boiler uses a commercial-grade 58-mm stainless steel portafilter, which is better for extraction compared to the 54-mm one on the Barista Pro. Both have four different filter baskets, including pressurized (double wall) and non-pressurized (single wall) versions for both single and double shots. So whether you’re a beginner with inconsistent grinding or tamping or a more experienced barista who wants more control over the extraction process and more nuanced flavors, there’s always something for you.

Heating System

True to its name, the Breville Dual Boiler features two separate boilers, allowing you to simultaneously pull an espresso shot and steam milk with the steam wand. Each boiler is independently controlled to ensure that the temperature is precisely tailored to the needs of each task. The brewing boiler is optimized for lower temperatures, while the steam boiler provides higher temperatures for milk frothing.

On the flip side, the Barista Pro has a single Thermojet heating system that can heat up in just 3 seconds. Undoubtedly, it’s the quickest single-boiler machine when it comes to transitioning between brewing and steaming, leaving older-generation Brevilles like the Barista Express with Thermocoil technology in the dust. So, I think the absence of a dual heating system is hardly a deal-breaker in this case.

To ensure your espresso is consistently at its peak temperature from the moment it’s dispensed to your final sip, I highly recommend preheating the portafilters and your cups. This can be easily done by pulling a couple of blank shots and utilizing the machine’s built-in cup warmer. By the way, the Dual Boiler has a large cup warming tray due to the lack of a bean hopper.

the breville dual boiler's cup warmer
The Breville Dual Boiler’s cup warmer

Brewing System

Pre-infusion? Right, I’m glad Breville didn’t bypass this function on these machines since it leads to a more balanced cup of espresso. In short, it is a process where a small amount of water is applied to the coffee grounds before the full brewing pressure is used, allowing the coffee grounds to bloom, releasing trapped gases, and ensuring a more even extraction. It also helps minimize channeling, which results in uneven extraction. Even better, they both allow you to play with the length of this process.

After this low-pressure process, their 15-bar pumps provide the ideal pressure for espresso extraction. Unlike drip-brew coffee makers, they rely on pressure to force water through the coffee grounds instead of gravity. The common standard for espresso extraction pressure is around 9 bars (measured in atmospheric pressure units, or “bars”), although some machines might operate slightly above or below this range, such as these Brevilles. 

As expected, both were capable of making creamy, rich espressos with a luscious layer of golden crema on top that closely resembled the work of a skilled barista. What else could you wish for from these mid-tier semi-automatic espresso machines?

Milk Frothing System

They are equipped with manual 360° swivel-action steam wands. So you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and let your inner barista out to froth milk yourself. The learning curve might be steep if you’re a novice, but a manual steam wand is a must for anyone who wants to become a skilled latte artist.

breville dual boiler vs barista pro manual steam wands
Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Pro manual steam wands

The Breville Barista Pro uses a 4-hole manual steam wand, compared with a 3-hole tip on the Dual Boiler’s wand. That means the former distributes steam more evenly, resulting in better aeration and better microfoam milk. Don’t expect them to compete with the professional frothers you’d find in a professional café, but they work fine for most at-home baristas and can help them up their latte art game right in your kitchen.

The Breville Barista Pro's 4-hole manual steam wand
The Breville Barista Pro’s 4-hole manual steam wand

To steam and froth milk with these wands, all you need to do is fill a stainless steel milk jug (included in the package) with cold milk, turn the steam dial on, position the wand at a 2-3 o’clock angle, and insert it roughly 1 cm below the surface. Then, lower the pitcher a bit to bring the wand’s tip to the milk surface, and keep going until the pitcher is too hot to hold comfortably (about 60–65 °C). It took about 42 seconds for the Dual Boiler to steam milk to 140 F (60 °C), compared to just 40 seconds for the Barista Pro. They can swivel 360°, making it a breeze to find the perfect angle for steaming.

During testing, I found they steam milk beautifully. I could make both thick foam to top off a nice macchiato or cappuccino and latte-art-worthy microfoam. Of course, there’s a learning curve, which can be quite steep, for texturing the perfect milk foam. If you prefer a hands-off approach, Breville offers models like the Breville Oracle with automatic steam wands.

Design & Usability

Winner:  Breville Dual Boiler

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Breville Dual BoilerBreville Barista Pro
Dimensions16.3 x 15 x 15 inches8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches
Weight30 lbs25 lbs

These Breville semi-automatics are not on the compact side, but I believe they will still fit nicely on most countertops as long as you do some rearranging before finding a suitable spot for them. Just keep in mind that if you’re leaning toward the Breville Dual Boiler, remember to set aside extra space for an independent grinder. 

these brevilles aren't bulky but aren't particularly compact either
These Brevilles aren’t bulky but aren’t particularly compact either

Speaking of external build quality, they are made almost entirely out of plastic with just some steel parts, such as the portafilter handle, the drip tray, and the machine’s core body. This gives them a somewhat less premium feel compared to traditional espresso machines from Rancilio, Gaggia, and Rocket. But hey, they are mid-range machines, after all. 

Their user interfaces are super easy to navigate. You might find yourself consulting the user manual for the first few days, but it’s safe to say it will soon become a relic, stored away and forgotten. 

The Dual Boiler includes some buttons to let you adjust almost any parameter of the espresso-making process. There is a prominent pressure gauge in the center that shows whether your espresso is being extracted at the optimum pressure – Once you get more experience, it will really help you dial in each shot. On the left-hand side, an LED screen provides real-time updates on your espresso extraction.

As for the Breville Barista Pro, its LCD digital display is among the aspects that I love about it. While it’s a text-only screen, all the menus are intuitively laid out, offering clear guidance as you navigate through the various stages of your espresso preparation game. If you’re keen on a more smartphone-esque user experience, the Breville Touch, with its touchscreen interface, is worth considering.

breville dual boiler vs barista pro's user interfaces
Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Pro’s user interfaces

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Breville Dual BoilerBreville Barista Pro
Espresso
Hot Water
Espresso
Hot Water

These machines serve as your personal espresso laboratories, giving you precise control over almost every aspect of their espresso preparation, such as grind size, pre-infusion time, coffee strength, shot volume, one or two shots at once, and brewing temperature. So you can freely explore and experiment with different combinations to find the optimal settings that match your taste preferences and the characteristics of the coffee beans you’re using.

Like other Brevilles, they both have a hot water spout. This is particularly useful for making tea or creating Americano-style coffee by adding hot water to an espresso shot. It’s also handy for practical tasks like rinsing cups or pre-warming portafilters. The icing on the cake? The separate spout eliminates the risk of cross-contamination between milk and hot water.

both have a separate hot water spout
Both have a separate hot water spout

Did I mention they come with pressurized filter baskets? They are excellent for using pre-ground coffee whenever you’re in the mood for decaf or when you temporarily run out of whole coffee beans. It’s also a convenient solution for having a quick drink without needing to grind fresh beans.

Spout & Cup Clearance

Breville Dual BoilerBreville Barista Pro
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4 inches4 inches

They are equipped with portafilters instead of height-changeable coffee dispensing spouts. They can accommodate most cup sizes, and if you enjoy taking your coffee on the go or prefer using larger vessels for your drinks, you can move their drip trays out. I just wish I could lift my espresso cups somehow to maintain the beautiful crema layer.

both have a fixed cup clearance
Both have a fixed cup clearance

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper 

Breville Dual BoilerBreville Barista Pro
Water Reservoir2.5 liter2 liter
Bean HopperNone0.24 liter

Their large water reservoirs are on the back, but the Breville Dual Boiler elevates convenience with a top-access door for hassle-free refilling. And if you want to do that to give it a thorough cleaning, a built-in roller-bearing system makes rotation a breeze. To top it off, a strategically placed front window lets you keep an eye on the water level at all times.

the roller-bearing system on the breville dual boiler
The roller-bearing system on the Breville Dual Boiler

As for brewing espresso, high-quality water is always best, don’t you agree? But unless you use bottled water or pre-filtered water, there are always impurities in your water, more or less. These can not only impact the taste of your espresso but could also potentially shorten the lifespan of the machine. Fortunately, both come out of the box with a water filter as an optional option to purify your water.

The Barista Pro’s conical bean feeder can hold 500 grams of beans. It’s transparent, so you can easily know when it’s the right time to load the beans. Plus, there is an airtight lid that acts as a protective seal, preserving the rich, aromatic qualities of your coffee beans for the long haul.

breville barista pro's bean hopper
Breville Barista Pro’s bean hopper

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner:  Tie

Let’s face it: the thought of cleaning and descaling an espresso machine rarely elicits joy. If you share that sentiment, you are not alone, my friends. However, when it comes to these Breville machines, maintenance is a walk in the park—no technical wizardry is required.

Firstly, you should backflush the machine with clear water after each use to purge any residual coffee grounds, oils, or buildup that may have accumulated. This involves placing a blind basket (a cleaning disc that has no holes) into the portafilter, locking it into the group head, and letting the machine run for 20 seconds.

Likewise, these machines will alert you when it’s time to give them a descale cycle when they detect a sufficient build-up of limescale. This may sound like a daunting task, but actually, you have to do almost nothing but activate an automatic cleaning program. I always recommend using a Breville descaler for the best results and using the water filter to minimize the frequency of cleaning cycles.

By turning on the steam knob after preparing a milk-based drink, their manual steam wands purge a jet of hot steam to ensure the interior stays hygienic and ready for your next milk froth creation. Don’t forget to wipe the exterior with a soft rag.

Finally, you should empty the used coffee grounds box and drain the drip tray at the end of the day. The water reservoir should receive the same care unless you want to develop an algae ecosystem in it – and let’s be honest, who wants that? You can also disassemble the burr grinder to get rid of accumulated coffee oils.

Utilities & Other Features

Winner:  Breville Dual Boiler

Auto On/Off

Both the Breville Dual Boiler vs Barista Pro have an automatic shutoff feature, kicking in after 20 and 30 minutes of inactivity, respectively. That is a cool feature, but it would be better if the duration of this inactivity period could be adjusted to be longer or shorter. The Dual Boiler even allows you to set the clock and specify a time for it to turn on automatically.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Dual Boiler

Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use

Last update on 2024-06-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Two boilers for multitasking.
  • Has a large cup warming tray.
  • Has various adjustable settings.
  • Has a large and easy-to-refill water tank.
  • The manual wand is ideal for latte art.
Cons
  • No built-in grinder.
  • Bulky and heavy.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Pro

Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.39L x 16.59W x 16.09H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 27.20 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1
  • Product Type - COFFEE MAKER

Last update on 2024-06-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Sleek and compact design.
  • Has up to 30 different grind settings.
  • The ThermoJet heating system heats up quickly.
  • Features an adjustable pre-infusion step.
  • Its large water tank is compatible with a water filter.
Cons
  • Quite heavy.
  • Only one boiler.

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