If you’re in the market for an espresso machine, two popular options that you may come across are the Breville Barista Express and the DeLonghi La Specialista. Both machines offer similar features and functionality, but there are some key differences between them that could sway your decision one way or the other.
From experience with using both machines, the Breville Barista Express stands out as the preferred choice. It has a better grinder with 16 settings, allowing you to brew high-quality espresso, along with a powerful steam wand and a durable build quality.
While the DeLonghi La Specialista is also a great option, the Barista Express offers more value for your money. Additionally, the Barista Express Impress model has an assisted tamping function, making it an ideal choice for those new to brewing espresso.
That said, the De’Longhi La Specialista has its advantages, such as ease of use for beginners, faster milk-steaming time, and a dual heating system, but its limited grind settings and inferior build quality are notable drawbacks.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Breville Barista Express vs. DeLonghi La Specialista, comparing their features, performance, and overall value to help you decide which one is the best fit for your home brewing needs. Whether you’re a seasoned barista or just starting out, read on to learn more about these two popular espresso machines.
Breville Barista Express Overview
The Breville Barista Express is a compact and powerful espresso machine that allows you to grind, dose, and extract delicious coffee in less than a minute. Designed for third-wave specialty coffee lovers, this machine lets you experience the four keys formula used by professional cafe machines.
With an integrated conical burr grinder featuring 16 grind settings, the Barista Express delivers the perfect amount of coffee on demand for maximum flavor. The 54mm stainless steel portafilter, with dual and single wall filters, delivers full-bodied coffee with rich and complex flavors.
Thanks to the low-pressure pre-infusion, followed by a high-pressure (9 bar) extraction process delivered via the 15-bar Italian pump, you can enjoy an opulent, creamy, and caramel-colored espresso. The Thermocoil heating system with PID temperature control delivers water at precisely 200°F for perfectly balanced flavors. The powerful 266°F steam pressure creates silky and velvety microfoam milk, perfect for lattes and cappuccinos.
The Barista Express has a simple interface that includes volumetric shot control, allowing you to choose between 1 & 2 shots, or manual control over how much espresso ends up in your cup for the perfect shot every time. To help reduce mess and waste, this machine comes with the Dosing Funnel™ attachment for the portafilter. Made from BPA-free materials and dishwasher safe, this attachment prevents coffee grinds from overflowing.
In summary, the Breville Barista Express is a versatile and easy-to-use machine that delivers third-wave specialty coffee at home. It’s compact design and powerful features make it an excellent choice for coffee lovers who want to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee in the comfort of their own homes.
Delonghi La Specialista Overview
The DeLonghi La Specialista is an espresso machine designed for passionate espresso and coffee drinkers who crave a personalized and authentic espresso experience at home. It features innovative and exclusive technology that allows you to handcraft espresso to your liking. The Sensor Grinding Technology delivers precise, consistent grinding and the optimal dose for espresso, every time. The Smart Tamping Station enables you to tamp the ground coffee with the right pressure for perfect results without removing the portafilter, making it a mess-free experience.
The Active Temperature Control ensures the best temperature stability for optimal coffee extraction and milk texturing. The La Specialista is equipped with two independent heating systems, one thermo-block for extracting coffee and an independent heating system for steaming milk or frothing, which ensures immediate beverage preparation.
The Advanced Latte System enables you to choose your style of froth: micro-foam frothing for Latte Art or rich froth for a cappuccino. Just place your cup under the spout and select Flat or Foam. Once it’s finished, you can enjoy your flat hot milk or the perfect foam to express your latte art creativity.
The 1-Second Quick Start feature allows you to power the machine on, grind and tamp your dose, then immediately brew authentic espresso without additional heat-up time. Thanks to a second heating system dedicated to the Advanced Latte System, you don’t have to wait to steam your milk either.
La Specialista also features a separate Hot Water Spout for added convenience, allowing you to brew an authentic Americano. The spout also delivers hot water for tea without the residual coffee taste transferring from the brewing unit. Overall, DeLonghi La Specialista is an excellent choice for espresso lovers who want to enjoy a customized and authentic espresso experience at home.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Feature Breakdown
In the following section, we will provide a complete breakdown of each feature present in both the Breville Barista Express and DeLonghi La Specialista, comparing and analyzing each aspect to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each machine. We will also declare a winner in each category to assist you in making an informed decision. Get ready for the ultimate espresso machine showdown!
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Design And Build Quality
When comparing the Breville Barista Express and the DeLonghi La Specialista, there are a few similarities and differences in terms of their design and build quality.
Both machines have similar features such as a removable, rear-mounted 67 oz water reservoir, integrated grinder with a 500-gram bean hopper, a cup warmer located on top, a dedicated hot water outlet, digital temperature control (PID), pressure gauge, and steam wand.
However, the Barista Express has an additional tool storage compartment behind the drip tray which the La Specialista lacks.
The La Specialista is slightly larger in size compared to the Barista Express, with dimensions of 14.48 x 15 x 17.5 inches and a weight of 29.7 pounds, whereas the Barista Express has dimensions of 12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches and weighs 23 pounds. Both machines can fit under kitchen cabinets, but they need to be slid out to reach the water tank, which can be inconvenient.
In terms of build quality, the Barista Express is the clear winner as it has fewer plastic parts, is made of stainless steel, and feels more durable. The La Specialista also has a stainless steel body, but it feels cheaper due to its many plastic parts such as the portafilter handle and bean hopper.
Despite thoroughly cleaning the water tank and running over 10 flushes, the DeLonghi La Specialista continued to emit a strong plastic odor after turning on the machine. This issue persisted for a few days of constant running, even though the manual stated that one flush of each outlet should have been sufficient.
The Barista Express, on the other hand, feels like a better-built machine overall, which is disappointing since the La Specialista is slightly more expensive in most markets.
The La Specialista’s portafilter is also a concern as the plastic handle feels flimsy and may not last long with constant use. There have been reported durability issues with the La Specialista’s water sensor and rubber seal, leading to water leaks and machine malfunction.
Both machines use dial knobs and buttons to operate, and the Barista Express has a more intuitive user interface with clearly labeled buttons for grind amount, filter size, and single/double shot options. The La Specialista’s interface is more confusing with more dials and buttons with vague symbols.
Overall, the Breville Barista Express is the better option due to its more robust build quality, fewer plastic parts, and simple user interface. While both machines are aesthetically pleasing and made by reputable brands, the Barista Express has a clear edge in terms of design and build quality.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Espresso Performance
When it comes to the most important aspect of an espresso machine, which is how it brews espresso, the Breville Barista Express, and DeLonghi La Specialista are comparable.
One key difference is in the heating system, with La Specialista using a dual heating system for both brewing and steaming, resulting in no wait time between activities. The Barista Express, however, uses a thermocoil system that heats up in 30 seconds.
Both machines offer pre-infusion technology, where the water goes through the coffee grounds at low pressure before being forced through at high pressure for the best extraction and flavor. Additionally, both machines have a PID sensor that controls water temperature to ensure optimal extraction and flavorful espresso.
In terms of performance, it is a tie between the DeLonghi La Specialista and the Breville Barista Express. While the La Specialista heats up in just one second, the Barista Express takes longer but comes with more filter baskets. For even faster heating, one can look at the Breville Barista Pro or Breville Barista Touch, which have a Thermojet with a 3-second heat-up time.
Both machines also heat the top of the machine, so leaving your mug on top will result in a warmer espresso. Overall, both the DeLonghi La Specialista and Breville Barista Express are great options for making a flavorful espresso.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Filter Baskets
In terms of filter baskets, the Breville Barista Express is the winner when compared to the DeLonghi La Specialista. The La Specialista only comes with a 51mm pressurized filter basket, which some argue does not produce high-quality espresso. The Barista Express, on the other hand, comes with both pressurized (dual-wall) and non-pressurized (single-wall) baskets, providing users with more options.
Pressurized filter baskets have a dual wall that creates a higher pressure, making it easier to get a shot with velvety smooth crema even if the puck isn’t perfect. Non-pressurized filter baskets, on the other hand, require more precision and can create a more refined espresso with a richer taste.
While some people prefer the convenience of pressurized filters, many espresso aficionados claim that non-pressurized filters produce better-quality espresso. The Barista Express includes both types of filters, catering to both convenience and quality.
It’s worth noting that even if you were to buy non-pressurized filters for the La Specialista, the built-in grinder only has a very small range of grind steps, meaning it would be difficult to dial in the correct grind for a non-pressurized basket. Therefore, the Barista Express is the clear winner in terms of filter basket options.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Grinder
The main contrast between DeLonghi Specialista and Breville Barista Express lies in the number of settings available on their grinders. The Barista Express offers 16 different settings, while the La Specialista only has six. This disparity in the number of grind settings greatly affects the extent of control you have over the espresso produced by each machine.
Both the Breville Barista Express and DeLonghi La Specialista have built-in precision conical burr grinders that deliver consistent grounds quickly.
However, the Barista Express offers a better coffee grinding experience with 18 grind settings compared to only 6 settings on the La Specialista. This means you have more control over the grind size with the Barista Express, making it easier to achieve the perfect taste for your espresso.
The number of grind settings makes a significant difference in how well you can control the espresso on each machine. With more grind settings, you can grind coffee with the fineness or coarseness suitable for more beverages.
Additionally, different beans need different grind sizes to get the taste right, and the Barista Express makes it easier to get the best-tasting espresso with more grind settings.
Users have complained that the DeLonghi La Specialista grinder cannot produce fine enough grounds for a non-pressurized filter, even if you were to purchase one separately. This limitation is why the machine only comes with a pressurized filter.
In contrast, the Barista Express has more than double the number of settings, allowing for a better grind size for each bag of coffee beans and more precise extraction.
In summary, the Breville Barista Express wins in terms of its grinder, with 18 grind settings and the ability to grind much finer coffee than the DeLonghi La Specialista.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Steaming Performance
When it comes to steaming performance, the DeLonghi La Specialista has a clear advantage over the Breville Barista Express.
While neither machine can brew and steam at the same time, the La Specialista has a dual heating system that allows for a much quicker transition to steaming pressure. This means that you can start steaming your milk much sooner after pulling your espresso shots. In fact, the La Specialista takes only 50 seconds to reach a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius, while the Barista Express takes 75 seconds.
In addition to its faster heating time, the La Specialista also has a Panarello-style steam wand, which allows you to easily control the amount of air that goes into your milk. This makes it easier to create the perfect froth for your cappuccinos, lattes, and flat whites. The Barista Express, on the other hand, has a single-hole steam wand that requires more manual control to achieve the desired texture and temperature.
Overall, the DeLonghi La Specialista is the winner in terms of steaming performance. Its faster heating time and advanced latte system make it easier and quicker to create the perfect froth for your drinks, while the Barista Express requires more skill and practice to master.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Workflow
When comparing the Breville Barista Express and the DeLonghi La Specialista in terms of ease of use and workflow, there are some significant differences to consider.
The DeLonghi machine has three pre-set coffee drink options, including Espresso, Americano, and Coffee, while the Breville machine doesn’t have any pre-set selections. However, the Breville machine does allow you to adjust the grind quantities, coffee extraction volumes, and use the hot water and steam spouts to prepare the coffee of your choice.
In terms of ease of use, especially for beginners, the La Specialista is the winner. The grinding process on the La Specialista is self-contained, initiated as soon as you lock in the portafilter. Grinding on the Barista Express can get messy unless you stop halfway through to level out the grinds or use a dosing funnel.
If you prefer Americano, you’ll appreciate the automated modes of the DeLonghi La Specialista that dispense hot water automatically after pulling your shot. In contrast, on the Breville Barista Express, you’ll need to manually move the cup and start the water yourself, although it will still stop automatically at the correct volume.
Additionally, the La Specialista has an integrated tamping system with a pressure limiter, meaning you don’t have to tamp the coffee manually. In contrast, the Barista Express has a basic manual tamper with a magnetic holder next to the grinder.
We were disappointed with one aspect of the DeLonghi La Specialista, as we found that the bean hopper couldn’t be removed when it was full of beans. Someone who enjoys experimenting with new coffee beans may prefer to try them right away. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option with the La Specialista, as once you add beans to the hopper, you’re stuck with them.
DeLonghi added a flip-down shelf for shot glasses, which is supposed to make the machine easier to use. However, it isn’t that particularly useful. It was meant to make pouring espresso shots more convenient, but it only made the front of the machine more cluttered. Additionally, it was difficult to access due to the spout and steam wand.
The user interface on the La Specialista may not be very intuitive compared to machines from other brands, with many dials and buttons labeled with vague symbols and words. However, the Barista Express has a more simple layout that is elegant and simplistic.
The DeLonghi La Specialista also has water hardness adjustment features, and you can program the water hardness into the machine, which means less descaling. There’s also an energy-saving mode for power conservation, while the Breville Barista Express doesn’t have any of these features.
Overall, the DeLonghi La Specialista is easier to use for beginners due to its pre-set drink options and integrated tamping system, while the Breville Barista Express offers more flexibility and customization options and would be more suitable for experienced baristas.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Espresso Quality
When comparing the Breville Barista Express and the DeLonghi La Specialista, the most significant difference is the quality of the coffee they produce.
The La Specialista system claims to produce “professional-inspired,” café quality espresso, but this is not entirely accurate. The machine comes with a 51mm pressurized filter basket, which is similar to those found in lower-end or super-automatic machines.
While the pressurized basket makes it easier to get a decent shot of espresso without having to go through the process of dialing in, the espresso produced by the La Specialista tends to be thin, watery, and lacking the body and velvety smooth crema that makes espresso enjoyable to drink.
In contrast, the Barista Express uses a non-pressurized basket, allowing it to produce true, high-quality espresso. The machine includes both types of filters to cater to those who prefer the convenience and those who want to take the time to experience a café-quality espresso at home.
The Barista Express is capable of creating a genuine café-quality experience, while the La Specialista is limited to only a pressurized system. Even if a non-pressurized filter basket were available for the La Specialista, the built-in grinder has a small and broad range of grind steps, making it impossible to dial in the coffee correctly.
In summary, the quality of the espresso produced by the Barista Express is superior to that of the La Specialista. While the pressurized basket may be convenient, it cannot provide the same quality of espresso as a non-pressurized basket.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a machine that can produce authentic café-quality espresso, the Barista Express is the better choice.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Tamping
In terms of tamping, the DeLonghi La Specialista has an integrated tamping system that makes it easier to make a cup of espresso. After the coffee is ground, pressing a lever on the side of the machine will perfectly tamp the coffee in the filter basket, eliminating the need to remove the portafilter and tamp it manually. This system saves you the trouble of making a mess and is ideal for those who are new to making espresso.
On the other hand, the tamping process with the Breville Barista Express is more traditional, with a basic manual tamper. This method may be a bit messier and can be challenging for beginners.
However, with practice, it is easy to get used to. While the Barista Express may not have the convenient integrated tamping system of the La Specialista, some espresso enthusiasts prefer the traditional method because it allows for greater control over the tamping pressure and results in a more personalized shot of espresso.
Breville Barista Express And Delonghi La Specialista Key Similarities
The Delonghi La Specialista and Breville Barista Express have many similarities in both their functionality and physical appearance. Here are some of the key similarities between the two machines:
- Both machines have a water tank capacity of 2 liters.
- The Breville Barista Express and Delonghi La Specialista both come with a pressure gauge, which allows users to match the right pressure for optimal results.
- Both machines have built-in conical burr grinders with adjustable grind settings.
- Both machines have a hot water spout that can be used to prepare different types of coffee.
- Both machines have a steam wand for frothing milk.
- They both have a built-in tamper to ensure even distribution of the coffee in the portafilter.
- Customized settings are available on both machines to adjust the amount of coffee to be produced. On the Delonghi machine, this can be done by pressing the “My” button, while on the Breville machine, it is done by pressing the “PROGRAM” button.
- Both machines have a similar size and weight.
Breville Barista Express Pros And Cons
- Equipped with a built-in conical burr grinder
- Features digital temperature control
- Comes with a built-in steam wand
- The grind size is adjustable
- Yields good espresso extraction
- Produces great milk froth
- Can use both pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets
- Includes user-friendly instructions with a troubleshooting section
- Requires less cleaning than other espresso machines
- Lacks water hardness adjustment
- Occasionally experiences bean jamming in the grinder
- Some users have reported water leakage issues, particularly after regular use
DeLonghi La Specialista Pros And Cons
- High-quality super automatic and espresso-machine combo
- Intuitive setting options and functions
- Fuss-free, fantastic milk froth
- Easy cleaning and operation
- Very quiet
- No mess and waste using the built-in tamper
- Heats up quickly
- Make the Americano with one press of a button
- A lot of work to fine-tune settings
- Only pressurized portafilters
- Only 6 grinder settings
- Cannot take the hopper off when it is full of beans.
Breville Barista Express vs Delonghi La Specialista: Which Should You Choose?
For those looking for a top-of-the-line espresso machine, the Breville Barista Express is the winner. Not only does it offer more value for money than the DeLonghi La Specialista, but it also offers more features. With 16 settings on the grinder, you can dial in the espresso for better flavor.
Additionally, the Barista Express has better build quality and internal components, ensuring that it lasts longer and operates more consistently. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to start and grow their barista skills.
On the other hand, the DeLonghi La Specialista is a good choice for those who prioritize ease of use. The integrated tamping system makes pulling a shot easier, and it has better milk steaming options. However, it falls short in terms of build quality and the grinder, which holds it back from producing the same quality espresso as the Breville.
It is unfortunate that despite having all the right features to compete with other lower-end pressurized machines, the DeLonghi La Specialista is priced too high. This puts it in a league with more capable options that offer better value for the price.
Both the Breville Barista Express and the Delonghi La Specialista have their advantages and disadvantages. The Breville Barista Express is our winner due to its better build quality, more grind settings, and value for money. This machine is an excellent choice for anyone looking to start and grow their barista skills.
However, the Delonghi La Specialista has its place for certain users who prioritize ease of use and better milk frothing options. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preferences and priorities. Both machines can make great espresso and cappuccinos, but the Breville Barista Express provides better value for money and more consistent results.
Is the DeLonghi Specialista worth it?
The DeLonghi La Specialista is a great option for those who are looking for an all-in-one espresso machine with a built-in grinder and automatic tamper. It’s a bit pricey, but the convenience and quality of the machine make it worth the investment for serious coffee lovers.
What is the difference between La Specialista and La Specialista Prestigio?
The Prestigio boasts the same stylish design as the original La Specialista, but with several essential enhancements, such as an improved grinder, non-pressurized single-wall baskets, dynamic perfusion and pressure profiling, and a new high-pressure latte art steam wand, among other things!
Is Delonghi La Specialista a dual boiler?
Yes, the La Specialista has a dual heating system with dual boiler technology, which enables you to brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously.
Who is the competitor of Delonghi?
Some of the main competitors of DeLonghi in the espresso machine market include Breville, Gaggia, and Saeco.
How long should a Delonghi last?
The lifespan of a DeLonghi espresso machine can vary depending on usage and maintenance, but with proper care, it should last for several years. It’s important to regularly clean and descale the machine to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
Is Breville high-quality?
Yes, Breville is a high-quality brand that is known for producing innovative and reliable espresso machines. The Breville Barista Express, in particular, is a popular and well-regarded machine among coffee enthusiasts.
Is it worth getting a Breville espresso machine?
If you are a serious coffee lover and enjoy making espresso drinks at home, then investing in a Breville espresso machine may be worth it for you. The Breville Barista Express, in particular, is a great option for those who want a high-quality machine with customizable features and excellent espresso extraction.