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People often see this and think, “Wait a minute, the Dual Boiler doesn’t even have a built-in grinder! How can it be twice as much?!”
The answer is that the Barista Pro is a home espresso machine that looks professional, while the Dual Boiler is a commercial-grade machine you can put in your home.
The Dual Broiler is on another level in terms of technology and quality. That’s also why it doesn’t have a grinder.
You see, professional baristas who use commercial-grade machines are extremely finicky about their grinders. The grind affects the quality of espresso more than anything else, so they don’t mind having a separate grinder. In fact, they prefer it. They want their grinder built by a grinder company, not an espresso machine company.
While a built-in grinder is a great convenience for the home barista, if you put one on top of a commercial-grade machine like the Breville Dual Boiler, it’s a sign to serious baristas that this is not a serious machine.
Let’s take a closer look at these two coffee machines.
As its name suggests, the Breville Barista Pro is built to make amateur baristas feel like professionals. It looks like a complicated machine—and it sort of is. You’ll want to read the unit’s operating instructions thoroughly before getting started on your first espresso. Fortunately, the manual is an easy read.
The Barista Pro features that smart integrated grinder on top that delivers a good grind for espresso and saves you the trouble of having to buy a grinder separately. Serious baristas will tell you that this grinder is not capable of the fine grind tuning that a dedicated espresso grinder excels at, and they’d be right.
But for home baristas who aren’t going to obsess over minute tweaks to grind size, it does the job.
The big selling point with the Barista Pro is the speed with which it heats up. It takes just three seconds to start up and deliver a steaming espresso shot.
Getting that shot delivered from bean to cup is made easy thanks to an intuitive interface accessible via the LCD display on the machine’s front.
- Fully loaded—the ideal choice if you want a great espresso machine that includes a grinder.
- If you really want to nerd out on grind size, you’ll probably want your own grinder and the one on top of this machine will become redundant.
- Extended shared drip tray can get messy, so expect a fair amount of clean up after each use.
- Among Breville’s larger models. If space is a concern, consider taking measurements before you buy.
- LCD screen is fantastic for synthesizing the process of grinding and pulling espresso, but digital displays aren’t for everyone. Those who prefer a more analog or manual machine should look elsewhere.
The Breville Dual Boiler is one of the most expensive Breville espresso makers in the company’s lineup, so it isn’t the right choice for everyone. Where the Barista Pro is a home espresso machine made to look kind of professional, the Dual Boiler is a professional espresso machine designed for home use. We’re talking commercial-grade. It’s big, it’s bold, and it delivers a truly fantastic cup of coffee.
The Dual Boiler gets its name from having two internal boilers. Doubling up on the boilers means you’ve got one boiler for your espresso water and another for your steaming water. They can be kept at different temperatures, meaning you can brew at the same time as you steam—or immediately afterward, without having to wait for the temperature to rise or fall.
- Durable, heavy-duty machine that won’t quit.
- Pressure gauge on front of machine.
- Professional E61 group head, just like many of the top machines.
- Precision dials enable you to fine-tune everything from temperature to milk texture.
- Very expensive.
- Not fully automatic.
- Despite its high price, this machine lacks some features you might be expecting from an espresso machine at this price point—a built-in grinder, in particular. So you’ll have to buy that separately and grind your own coffee before you hit the brew button and let the Dual Boiler jump into action.
Making Your Decision
As we said in the intro, you’re going to need a grinder if you buy the Dual Boiler. That might have you thinking, “OK, I might as well get the much cheaper Barista Pro then.” But wait.
It all depends on how deep you want to dive into the intricacies of making espresso. The grinder on the Barista Pro is convenient, but limited. It’s perfectly capable of grinding fine enough for espresso, but if you’re the sort of person who wants to dial in your grind size to the micron, you might prefer a dedicated espresso grinder—in which case there’s little advantage to buying a machine that has a lesser grinder built in.
If you can afford it, the Dual Boiler is much closer in quality and technology to the big name Italian brand espresso machines. It’s a good match for a proper, professional grinder.
Just want to make a good espresso or cappuccino every morning without too much fuss? Save your money and go for the Barista Pro.