Delonghi La Specialista Vs Breville Barista Pro: Which Coffee Machine Is Better?

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Delonghi La Specialista vs Breville Barista Pro: Both are excellent choices for home baristas on a budget. Both were released to the market in 2019 and quickly received countless accolades. And after careful consideration, the Breville Barista Pro stands out as my top choice.

The Breville Barista Pro features a ThermoJet fast-heating system that heats up in just 3 seconds. I was also impressed with the fact that it offers up to 30 grind settings, providing ample room to fine-tune and achieve the perfect coffee grind size. It uses a manual wand, meaning there is a learning curve here. But with practice, it offers greater precision and control over the frothing process.

The Delonghi La Specialista is equipped with a patented Panarello wand and an Advanced Latte System to simplify making milk froth for your favorite milky drinks. This one is also one of the cheapest machines equipped with a dual Thermoblock boiler system, allowing it to brew espresso and froth milk at once.

Delonghi La Specialista Vs Breville Barista Pro: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville the Barista Pro Espresso Machine, Medium, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Stainless Steel, EC9335M, 1.3 liters
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Delonghi La Specialista
Dimensions/Weight
8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches/25 lbs
12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches/26 lbs
Heating System
Single Thermojet Boiler System
Dual Thermoblock Boiler System
Interface
LCD Screen
Buttons & Knobs
One Touch Drink Options
2
4
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/12 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 liter/0.24 liter
2 liter/0.26 liter
Pump Pressure
15 bars
19 bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
6
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Panarello Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
Price not available
$539.96
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville the Barista Pro Espresso Machine, Medium, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Dimensions/Weight
8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches/25 lbs
Heating System
Single Thermojet Boiler 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
Price not available
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Stainless Steel, EC9335M, 1.3 liters
Model
Delonghi La Specialista
Dimensions/Weight
12.5 x 13.5 x 16 inches/26 lbs
Heating System
Dual Thermoblock Boiler System
Interface
Buttons & Knobs
One Touch Drink Options
4
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/12 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 liter/0.26 liter
Pump Pressure
19 bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
6
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$539.96
More Info

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Delonghi La Specialista Vs Breville Barista Pro: Differences

The Breville Barista Pro wins the Delonghi La Specialista with a score of 4-2. Keep reading to figure out which machine will be best for you!

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Built-in Grinder

Removing the conical bean feeder from these machines will reveal an integrated steel conical burr grinder that takes care of crushing the beans to extract maximum flavor and aroma from them. You can easily pull the inner burr out to clean both.

Having a built-in grinder spares you from finding an individual one and saves space on your countertop. Also, since the burr grinder crushes the beans rather than chopping them, it offers a consistent grind, resulting in better extraction. In fact, acquiring such a good quality standalone burr grinder might have you digging deeper into your pockets.

True espresso lovers all know how important it is to dial in the right grind size for a perfect shot of espresso, apart from the freshness of the coffee beans. The Delonghi La Specialista has only 6 grind settings, compared with up to 30 settings on the Breville Barista Pro. To my mind, the former doesn’t offer the range required for precise adjustments.

delonghi la specialista vs breville barista pro's grind settings
Delonghi La Specialista vs Breville Barista Pro’s grind settings

The DeLonghi La Specialista uses a 51-mm portafilter, while the Barista Pro comes with a 54-mm portafilter. I was very satisfied with their build quality, although there remains a lot of spirited discussion about whether a 58-mm portafilter, which is more of an industry standard and can be found in the Breville Dual Boiler and many commercial and high-end domestic machines, offers the best extraction. 

delonghi la specialista vs breville barista pro's portafilter
Delonghi La Specialista vs Breville Barista Pro’s portafilter

Time and again, the frail plastic tampers that came from most semi-automatic machines have left a sour taste in my mouth. Fortunately, the Breville Barista Pro restored my faith with a well-made stainless steel tamper, which can be attached to the on-board slot for storage via magnet. The Delonghi La Specialista even features a Smart Tamper system, and all you need to do is gently give the lever a short pull.  When used properly, this system works like a charm and leaves a mess-free countertop behind, but, of course, it does demand some patience.

delonghi la specialista smart tamper system and breville barista pro magnetic tamper
Delonghi La Specialista Smart Tamper system and Breville Barista Pro magnetic tamper

The Barista Pro comes out of the box with four filter baskets, including pressurized and non-pressurized variations for both single and double shots. Meanwhile, you’ll only get two pressurized filter baskets with the Delonghi La Specialista. The pressurized filter basket is much more forgiving and beginner-friendly, but you can only get professional results with the non-pressurized basket.

Heating System

One of the main differences between these machines is how many boilers they have. The Delonghi La Specialista has two Thermoblock boilers, whereas the Breville Barista Pro features only one.

With a dual Thermoblock boiler system, the Delonghi La Specialista can boil water for brewing coffee and steaming milk at once. Each boiler is calibrated to ensure the optimum and stable temperature for each task. Moreover, Thermoblock technology allows it to heat up in about 20 seconds. Meanwhile, a single-boiler machine typically requires you to wait between these tasks, making the coffee preparation process longer.

On the other hand, the Breville Barista Pro has a single ThermoJet boiler system, meaning this one doesn’t have the ability to do both tasks at once. But its redeeming feature is its ThermoJet rapid-heating system, which is ready to go in just 3 seconds by heating water on demand. This positions the Barista Pro as one of the speediest in transitioning between brewing and steaming among single boiler machines.

To maintain a consistent temperature throughout the brewing process, you should also ensure their portafilters and your cups are pre-heated. This can be done by pulling an empty shot (a shot with zero coffee grounds in the portafilter) and putting your cups on the built-in cup warmer.

the cup pre-warming tray
The cup pre-warming tray

Brewing System

Pre-infusion is an advanced feature that can be found in many semi- and super-automatic espresso machines, including the Delonghi La Specialista vs Breville Barista Pro. 

During the pre-infusion stage, these machines dampen the coffee grounds with heated water under low pressure before the actual extraction. That way, this results in a more uniform coffee ground distribution, enhanced extraction, and an espresso shot bursting with flavor. I also loved that they allow adjustment of the duration of the pre-infusion infusion since how long this step significantly affects the flavor nuances of your espresso.

Following the pre-dampen step, their pressure gauge will move into the perfect pressure zone as the extraction begins. The Delonghi La Specialista has a 19-bar pump, while the Breville Barista Pro’s pump can achieve pressures of up to 15 bars. Anyway, they both deliver the ideal pressure to pull a complex and well-rounded shot, which requires at least 9 bars of pressure.

Well, I found that each shot that these coffee machines extract boasts a rich, flavorful profile, is devoid of bitterness, and carries the flavor and aroma of freshly ground beans. So having one of them in your own kitchen will eliminate the urge to dash to your local barista for your daily coffee fix.

Milk Frothing System

When it comes to milk frothing, the La Specialista is beginner-friendly and makes the job quite easy with a Pannarello-style wand, but the Breville Barista Pro’s manual wand gives you complete control over the frothing process and is the best tool for latte art.

delonghi la specialista's pannarello wand and breville barista pro's manual wand
Delonghi La Specialista’s Pannarello wand and Breville Barista Pro’s manual wand

The La Specialista deserves a perfect 10 for its 360° Panarello wand and patented Advanced Latte System. Seriously, this wand froths milk automatically, eliminating the need for specialized barista techniques, vortex creation know-how, or intricate wand positioning. All you need to do is place the wand into the jug, turn the steam dial, and lounge while the machine gets the job done itself. The Advanced Latte System is just a ring on the wand, allowing you to choose the milk texture by having it set to the “flat” (for Latte Art) or “foam” (for a cappuccino) positions.

advanced latte system
Advanced Latte System

On the flip side, the Breville Barista Pro boasts a well-made manual steam wand, which is, to my mind, on par with many higher-end models. Its wand has a four-hole tip instead of the standard one-hole one for most home espresso machines, leading to more even steam distribution and a better microfoam texture. It comes with a pretty steep learning curve, but once you know what you’re doing, you will find it can do everything and is the best tool to up your latte art game.

Their steam wands can rotate 360°, allowing you to find the most comfortable and effective position for frothing milk with ease. They both also come with a stainless steel milk holder, saving you from making another purchase. 

Design & Usability

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Dimensions12.5 x 14 x 14.5 inches8.7 x 13.3 x 16.9 inches
Weight29.7 lbs25 lbs

These machines are made almost entirely out of plastic, which is standard on most semi-automatic espresso machines, especially at this price point. But they still feel solid and look very premium with a stainless steel casing. These handsome boys are both compact and can fit nicely on most countertops, but be prepared for a little exertion if you need to move them since they are on the heavy side.

The Delonghi La Specialista has no display at all, which can make it a bit out of place amidst an era dominated by digital displays. Instead, it includes some solid knobs and buttons and a large circle pressure gauge on the top that shows the exact pressure built up during extraction. Meanwhile, the Breville Barista Pro modernizes the experience with its clear LCD screen and intuitive menu layout, ensuring effortless machine navigation.

delonghi la specialista vs breville barista pro's control panel
Delonghi La Specialista vs Breville Barista Pro’s control panel

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Espresso
Coffee
Americano
Hot Water
Espresso
Hot Water

The Delonghi La Specialista features a huge dial with three settings: Americano, Espresso, and Coffee, so you can quickly rotate it to get the Americano. As for the Breville Barista Pro, you will need to brew espresso first, then dilute it with hot water.

Remember that all the default settings, including the coffee strength, water dosage, and brewing temperature, can all be tweaked until your beverage hits perfection. Once dialed in, conjuring that ideal cup becomes a one-touch affair in subsequent brews.

Interestingly, they both have a hot water spout. This function not only facilitates making an Americano without moving the cup but also provides a quick way to brew tea without sourcing water from another appliance, like a traditional kettle. You can also use pre-ground coffee with their pressurized filter baskets for a decaf option.

hot water spout
Hot water spout

Spout & Cup Clearance

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance12 inches4 inches

The clearance under their portafilters is unchangeable, but that’s not a big deal as they can comfortably fit most cup sizes, including travel mugs. If you want to brew your espresso in a thermos with the Barista Pro, you’ll want to partially remove the drip tray to have more space. Just make sure you don’t unwittingly pull out the hidden storage slot for the four filter baskets. The La Specialista features a small hinged plate to ensure espresso pours closer to your cup, preventing mess and keeping the crema intact.

their cup clearance is unchangeable
Their cup clearance is unchangeable

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper 

Delonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Pro
Water Reservoir2 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.26 liter0.24 liter

Their water containers are placed at the back of the machine, potentially complicating removal and refilling when placed under kitchen cabinets, but their generous size compensates for this. Unless they are located in a high-traffic setting, one refill per day is more than enough.

their water reservoirs are placed at the back of the machine
Their water reservoirs are placed at the back of the machine

The Breville Barista Pro takes the lead here since it offers the option to pair with a water filter to ensure your espresso is brewed with impurity-free water. This is a game-changer if you live in an area with high water hardness since the build-up of impurities can damage machine components and adversely affect the taste of espresso.

Their transparent conical bean compartments allow you to easily gauge how many beans are left, ensuring that they don’t run out in the middle of brewing. Both have an airtight top cover that prevents the entry of air and moisture, thereby helping to maintain the freshness, flavor, and aroma of the beans. These bean hoppers can also be easily disassembled, so you can easily access and remove the burr grinder for deep cleaning or a replacement.

delonghi la specialista vs breville barista pro's bean hopper
Delonghi La Specialista vs Breville Barista Pro’s bean hopper

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Tie

Like most home baristas, cleaning and maintaining an espresso machine is not my cup of tea. Fortunately, taking care of these machines isn’t a daunting task. They will remind you when it’s the right time to descale. Just follow the manufacturer’s descaling instructions included with the box and use the designated descaler, and you can’t go wrong.

After every time you froth milk, give the wand a gentle wipe with a damp cloth. Don’t forget to purge the milk residue by running hot water to maintain hygiene and ensure that no old milk contaminates the next frothing session. 

You can easily rinse some removable parts under the tap, including the bean hopper, portafilter, water tank, drip tray, and dregs container. Yes, under the tap. I’m not sure if they are dishwasher safe, but hand washing is always a safe zone. At the end of the day, don’t forget to wipe the machine’s housing to keep it sparkling from top to bottom.

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Tie

Auto Off

For those who often forget to switch off appliances post-use, this feature will be a godsend. The Breville Barista Pro will automatically turn off after 30 minutes of non-use, while the Delonghi La Specialista offers adjustable wait intervals of 9 minutes, 1.5 hours, or 3 hours

This function isn’t just convenience – it’s an essential safety measure. If left on for extended periods, there’s a potential risk of components overheating or wearing out prematurely. In the worst-case scenario, an overheated appliance could pose a fire risk. Auto-off mitigates these risks.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Pro

Breville the Barista Pro Espresso Machine, Medium, 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 2024-03-02 / 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.

Quick Rundown Of Delonghi La Specialista

Sale

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Compact and elegant design.
  • Has a dual boiler heating system.
  • Thermoblock technology heats up very quickly.
  • The Panarello steam wand is easy to use.
  • Boasts a large and easy-to-refill water tank.
Cons
  • Not compatible with a filter.
  • On the heavy side.

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References

Rating 5/5 - (4 votes)