Compare: Breville Dual Boiler vs. Barista Express

What happens when you pit one show pony against another show pony? Only the strong will survive! And since you know how much we adore grudge matches between inanimate objects (primarily because it results in 100% less blood loss), we decided to take Breville’s machine + grinder combo, the Barista Express, and measure it against their new Dual Boiler (paired with their Smart Grinder).

Watch Gail take us through each model’s features, specifications, pros and cons and whip up some lattes to show how they compare in terms of performance and end product.

6 comments for “Compare: Breville Dual Boiler vs. Barista Express

  1. Kevin
    November 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Kat,

    What grind setting do you have the BES860XL set at? I’ve probably gone through about 20lbs of beans trying to “dial in” a good setting. I’ve found a setting of 9, with an overfilled filter basket (makes it hard as heck to screw on the portafilter), produces an okay extract, but a bit on the bitter side. I’ve also found a setting of 14 and a “normal” fill of the filter basket produces an okay extract, smooth, but could be creamier/better. I’m fearing I might have to go to a finer grind than the built-in grinder can provide, but Breville says they don’t have a shim kit for the BES860XL as they do for the SmartGrinder. Obviously in your video, you’ve managed to find a sweet spot for a good extract… what is it? BTW, I’m tamping at about 30-35 lbs (using the Swedish made “click mat” to confirm).

    Thanks!

    • Kat
      November 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Kevin,

      I answered this on YT and sadly I don’t recall the setting and we have since moved the machine, messing the setting. I will make a note of it the next time we dial this guy in to see if I can give you a better reference point to work from (although all grinders will be different and the coffee variable also makes it a little rough, but hopefully it will get you closer) :)

      - Kat

  2. patricia
    July 23, 2012 at 1:56 am

    which one does better froth or should I say which one makes a better latte? Also for the average consumer which one would you recommend? I tend to like milk based drinks and the quality of steamed milk plays into it for me. You mentioned you like the final quality of espresso from the dual boiler in the video, is it that much better then the B. e.? I really need help making up my mind.

    • Kat
      July 23, 2012 at 10:44 am

      The froth quality on the DB is significantly better, as it’s coming from a boiler vs. a thermoblock — you have more control and drier steam than on the Barista Express. Additionally, the shot is quite a bit better as the temperature is more stable on the double boiler.

      I think the DB is a great investment if you want to get into crafting cafe-quality drinks; but whether or not spending double over the Barista Express is kind of up to you and your budget. The BE will get the job done, the end cup quality won’t be quite as good as you get with the DB, however.

      - Kat

  3. Mike
    November 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    How about a throwdown between the Breville Dual Boiler and Rocket Giotto and/or other E-61 machine(s)?

    • Kat
      November 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Sure – I’ll put it on the list :D

      Kat

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