Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

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Are you torn between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express? As espresso lovers, we understand the struggle of finding the ideal espresso machine that meets your brewing preferences and budget.

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll delve into the key features, performance, and overall value of these two popular espresso machines.

Whether you’re an aspiring home barista or a seasoned coffee enthusiast, read on to discover which machine will take your espresso experience to new heights.

Overview of the Gaggia Classic Pro: An Espresso Powerhouse

The Gaggia Classic Pro stands out as an exceptional entry-level home espresso machine that brings the authentic cafe experience right to your kitchen.

Crafted and manufactured in Italy, this impressive machine combines thoughtful updates with durability, enabling you to brew rich and flavorful espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, and more.

One of the standout features of the Classic Pro is its robust construction.

The body is meticulously crafted from one-piece 17-gauge brushed stainless steel, elevating its quality and longevity.

Unlike machines with plastic veneers or thinner steel frames, the Classic Pro exudes a solid and professional aesthetic.

Equipped with a 58 mm chrome-plated brass portafilter, the Classic Pro maintains a resemblance to commercial-grade machines.

This portafilter, weighing in at 1 lb., is 13% heavier than competing 54 mm alternatives, contributing to a substantial feel in your hand and enhancing the machine’s overall stability.

In addition to its superior build, the Gaggia Classic Pro introduces several noteworthy enhancements.

A new commercial-style steam wand with a two-hole steam tip allows you to effortlessly create velvety microfoam for latte art or perfectly textured milk for your favorite beverages.

The front-facing controls feature convenient ready lights, making it easier than ever to monitor and control the brewing process.

Additionally, a cutout near the reservoir enhances the visibility of water levels, ensuring you’re always aware of when it’s time for a refill.


  • Reliable and easy to repair, ensuring longevity with proper maintenance
  • High-quality parts, including a commercial steam wand and a 58mm chrome-plated brass portafilter
  • Straightforward user interface, making it beginner-friendly
  • Aluminum boiler facilitates efficient temperature control for optimal coffee extraction
  • Solenoid valve allows for precise pressure adjustments when pulling espresso shots


  • Relatively heavy compared to other espresso machines
  • Simple analog system lacks advanced features, which may not appeal to those seeking more customization options

Overview of the Breville Barista Express: Your Path to Specialty Coffee at Home

The Breville Barista Express is a highly sought-after domestic espresso machine renowned for its ability to produce third-wave specialty coffee within the comfort of your own home.

Designed as an all-in-one solution, this machine combines a built-in grinder, PID temperature control, and a steam wand, making it an ideal choice for those embarking on their coffee journey.

With the Barista Express, you’ll find a perfect balance between control and simplicity.

The machine offers ample customization options without overwhelming beginners.

You have the freedom to adjust crucial variables such as grind size, grind amount, and extraction time to achieve your desired taste profile.

One of the standout features of the Barista Express is its built-in grinder.

This eliminates the need for a separate grinder, streamlining your coffee preparation process.

The PID temperature control ensures precise and consistent water temperature, optimizing the flavor extraction from your coffee grounds.

Affordability is another key advantage of the Breville Barista Express, making it an attractive option for novice home baristas.

It delivers an exceptional espresso experience without requiring a substantial investment.

While regular cleaning is necessary to maintain the Barista Express’s performance, it is relatively easy to keep tidy compared to more complex super-automatic machines.

This user-friendly aspect ensures that your brewing experience remains hassle-free.


  • Built-in conical burr grinder for convenient and consistent grinding
  • Temperature control feature ensures optimal water temperature for espresso extraction
  • Built-in steam wand for frothing milk and creating creamy microfoam
  • Adjustable grind size allows customization for different coffee beans and brewing preferences
  • Solid and durable construction, providing long-lasting performance


  • Lack of milk frothing temperature control, limiting precise control over milk texture
  • The grinder may have limitations when it comes to achieving the finest grind size specifically for espresso brewing

Design and Build Quality: Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

When it comes to design and build quality, both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express showcase their commitment to utilizing real metal in their construction, ensuring durability and a premium aesthetic.

While they share a relatively small and compact form factor, there are notable distinctions between the two machines.

The Gaggia Classic Pro boasts a more traditional and simple design, reminiscent of classic espresso machines.

It features a boxy shape that exudes a timeless charm. Available in various colors, the Classic Pro offers a choice that suits different preferences.

The hardy and scratch-resistant steel used in its construction enhances its overall durability.

On the other hand, the Breville Barista Express embraces a more modern and sleek design, predominantly crafted from stainless steel.

This design choice not only gives it a contemporary appearance but also makes it slightly easier to clean compared to the Gaggia Classic Pro.

In terms of build quality, the Gaggia Classic Pro exhibits a sturdier feel.

Its single metal piece shell and sub-frame construction result in reduced creaking and enhanced stability, particularly noticeable when locking in the portafilter.

However, there are certain areas where the Gaggia Classic Pro falls short in comparison to the Breville Barista Express.

The steam knob, portafilter handle, and drip tray of the Gaggia Classic Pro, unfortunately, feel cheaper and less robust than their counterparts on the Breville Barista Express.

Considering these are components you interact with frequently, this disparity in quality may be disappointing to some users.

Ease of Use: Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Breville Barista Express

Both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express are semi-automatic espresso machines that require some level of skill and knowledge to operate.

However, there are notable differences in their ease of use and user experience.

The Gaggia Classic Pro is recognized for its user-friendly operation, particularly when using traditional Italian roast coffee.

It features a straightforward user interface that is easy to navigate. Additionally, there is a wealth of information available online, offering tips, hacks, upgrades, repairs, and accessories for the Classic Pro.

This availability of resources further enhances the ease of use for users.

The Classic Pro is also highly regarded for its reliability and ease of repair, making it a workhorse that can last for decades with proper care.

Operating the Gaggia Classic Pro is a manual experience.

The shot starts when you flip the switch and continues until you switch it off, requiring attention to achieve the right shot time and volume.

This level of manual control allows for a more hands-on and personalized espresso-making experience.

In contrast, the Breville Barista Express boasts numerous advanced features that set it apart from other hybrid espresso machines.

While it remains relatively easy to operate within the realm of semi-automatics, there is a learning curve involved.

The Barista Express requires you to brew the shot and offers volumetric controls that need adjustment to achieve desired outcomes.

Despite the learning curve, the machine offers ample control over the brewing process without overwhelming users.

Both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express come with single-wall and double-wall filter baskets, providing flexibility for different brewing preferences.

However, there is a difference in spout clearance between the two machines. The Barista Express offers a generous 10.8cm of clearance, allowing for the use of even full-sized mugs.

In contrast, the Gaggia Classic Pro has approximately 3.5cm less clearance, making it unsuitable for larger cups. Nevertheless, when using espresso shot glasses, both machines provide ample room.

Performance: Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

The Gaggia Classic Pro excels in pulling exceptional shots, allowing you to create modern espresso with time and patience.

Its commercial-sized 58mm portafilter provides an advantage over the Barista Express, enabling the potential for better espresso quality.

However, it’s important to note that the larger portafilter size also increases the risk of channeling, necessitating careful attention to puck preparation and consistent tamping.

On the other hand, the Barista Express offers a range of notable features that contribute to its performance.

With a 15-bar pump, the Barista Express delivers powerful pressure for extraction, although 9 bars is typically considered the industry standard for espresso brewing.

A pressure gauge provides real-time feedback during the extraction process, allowing you to assess and adjust as needed.

The machine also features a dedicated hot water spout for additional versatility, allowing for the preparation of Americanos or tea.

Programmable single and double-shot buttons streamline the brewing process, while a hidden tools bin behind the drip tray adds convenience.

The Barista Express includes a built-in high-quality burr grinder for a seamless coffee preparation experience.

Moreover, the machine incorporates a pre-infusion function, which enhances flavor extraction by increasing water pressure.

The purge function further contributes to the machine’s capabilities by ensuring optimal brewing conditions.

In terms of cup warming, both machines feature cup-warming racks on top.

However, the Gaggia Classic Pro tends to provide significantly warmer cups due to its use of a boiler for water heating, as opposed to the thermocoil heating system employed by the Breville Barista Express.

While the Gaggia Classic Pro focuses on the fundamentals of espresso extraction, the Breville Barista Express offers a wide range of advanced features and functionalities that enhance the brewing process and provide more control.

Steam Wands: Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

The Gaggia Classic Pro showcases impressive steaming power, completing the task of steaming milk in just 30 seconds, making it faster than the Barista Express.

The Classic Pro’s steam wand is a notable upgrade, surpassing both standard and aftermarket options previously available for the Classic.

Equipped with a two-hole steam tip, the Gaggia Classic Pro’s steam wand offers a delightful user experience.

In comparison, the Breville Barista Express utilizes a single-hole steam tip on its steam wand, capable of producing latte-quality microfoam with the correct technique.

Steaming milk with the Barista Express takes take around 50 to 60 seconds, slightly slower than the Classic Pro, which typically takes around 30 seconds.

However, there are differences to note. The Gaggia Classic Pro’s steam wand is made of plastic, while the Barista Express utilizes stainless steel.

While this material distinction doesn’t significantly impact the final milk product, it does affect the time required for steaming.

Another difference lies in the purging process. With the Gaggia Classic Pro, it is necessary to manually purge the steam wand before and after steaming, ensuring optimal functionality.

In contrast, the Breville Barista Express automates this process, automatically purging the steam wand when needed.

Grinding: Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

When it comes to grinding capabilities, there is a notable distinction between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express.

The Breville Barista Express comes equipped with a built-in grinder, providing a convenient all-in-one solution for grinding and brewing.

With 16 grind settings to choose from, ranging from fine to coarse, users have flexibility in adjusting the grind size to suit their preferred brewing method.

The Breville grinder deposits the ground coffee directly into the machine’s portafilter, eliminating the need for manual packing.

This feature streamlines the coffee creation process, resulting in faster and smoother preparation.

On the other hand, the Gaggia Classic Pro does not include a built-in grinder.

However, it is worth noting that the grind quality of the standalone Breville Smart Grinder Pro is nearly identical to that of the built-in Breville grinders found in the Barista Express.

Pairing the Gaggia Classic Pro with the Breville Smart Grinder Pro brings both systems to a similar price range.

Ultimately, the Breville Barista Express offers the advantage of a built-in grinder, providing convenience and integration into the coffee-making process.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express: The Verdict

Choosing between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Breville Barista Express ultimately depends on your personal preferences, brewing style, and desired features.

Both machines offer unique advantages that cater to different needs within the world of home espresso brewing.

If you prioritize a traditional espresso experience with a straightforward user interface and a focus on manual control, the Gaggia Classic Pro is an excellent choice.

Its reliable performance, durability, and ease of repair make it a long-lasting workhorse that can produce fantastic shots with the right technique.

The Classic Pro’s solid build quality and classic design also contribute to its appeal.

On the other hand, the Breville Barista Express appeals to those seeking a more advanced and feature-rich espresso machine.

With its built-in grinder, volumetric controls, and various automated functions, the Barista Express offers convenience and customization options.

It strikes a balance between control and simplicity, providing opportunities for experimentation and growth in your espresso-making journey.

The sleek design and additional features, such as the pressure gauge and automatic purging, further enhance the overall user experience.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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