Breville Barista Express vs. Delonghi La Specialista!

Which Should You Buy?

breville express vs delonghi specialty

Today I’m just going to do a comparison between the Breville barista Express and the Delonghi La Specialista!

The differences between these two machines, starting with the grinder.

On the Barista express, you have 18 settings, with the Especialista we’re going down to 5 different settings.

So if you’re at the top end of the bottom end of your grind, (depending on your rate of pouring), you do not have as many places to go with this grinder for your different beans.

Also, the Breville Barista Express has four filters that comes with it. 

You get two doubles and two singles.

One set of them being dual walled. 

In the De`Longhi you get only two filters, one single and one double.

They are both dual walled, so this helps with the pressure. Again, if you’re new to tamping or if you have a bean that you’re not sure about what grind size, it will help get the pressure up, but they don’t it doesn’t, come with the single wall, baskets,

Short overview:

Both machines are great, and you will happy either way.

Personally, I feel the De`longhi is too automated, and the Barista Express gives you more options to play around with, as its manual.

If you are busy and just need to buy a machine right now, I recommend the De`longhi if you want something simple.

Amazon link HERE, and the Barista Express if you are willing to involve yourself and try having fun and learning about being a kitchen Barista 🙂 You can buy that HERE on Amazon.

I’m an affiliate. I hope you love the products I recommend! Just so you know, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Thank you if you use my links, I really appreciate it!

 Okay, another comparison that’s different, would be when it comes to the frothing wand.

On the Barista Express, you have to do a little bit more work and there is a steeper learning curve to get your milk texture right.

Whereas with the DeLonghi you’re working with their patented patter Panarello. Somehow I feel I am losing the feeling of playing Barista on the kitchen counter, with the De`Longhi, soo.. Hard to say what is preferable.

delonghi panorello

Here (image above) if you look closely, you see it at the top of the frothing wand. If you push it up, it’s, going more towards a flat and when you pull it down, is going to introduce more air so that you get the nice micro froth/foam without doing much work.

It’s like being a barista, from the tamp all the way through.

And speaking of the tamp… With the Breville Barista Express you’re doing all manual tamping. There is a nice magnet holder on the sideso it tucks away.

The De`Longhi has a built-in tamper, so it’s hidden inside the machine, so that after you do your grinding and click it down, i’s supposed to put the right amount of pressure onto your coffee puck, which will give you a nice even tamp.

Sometimes when your tamp isn’t exactly right and it goes on an angle. The water will take a path of least resistance, and sometimes it’ll crack inside the puck, which you can’t, see and then not flow properly.

So we’ll start with the Barista Express.

I have the single wall double basket in my portafilter so we’re just gonna start to grind. 

The most important part is the volume of your grinds going into the portafilter. When I pulled the portafilter out, there is usually a little bit of a mess.

Always a good idea to buy a portafilter funnel to fix this issue. Link a good one on Amazon HERE.

With the even tamp you have to get it lined up yourself first, and then lean into it and just give it some shoulder push and a twist. Aim for a 10 lbs or 15 kilo pressure. 

This gives you a nice even tamp, if you know what you’re doing.

So now I’m going to do all that on the DeLonghi la Specialista.

As soon as I lock it into position, you’ll hear it click it’ll automatically start grinding.

Since I had the dual-wall basket in the portafilter. I have the two times button already lit up ready to go for that. Soo… About the tamper, all I am doing is I’m pressing it down and it’s going to give it a nice, even tamp.

La Specialista tamper

When I unlock it, it’s a lot less mess.

The De`Longhi doesn’t polish the surface of the tamp very well, because when you’re doing it yourself, you’re, pushing and turning, but it’s nice, and even so.. I think you just have better control.

I’m, going to lock the portafilter in and make some coffee.

So this is another difference between the two machines.

When I’m, going to brew my double shot on the Breville Barista Express, (Or Sage Barista Express as they say in the rest of the world), it’ll pour the double shot in and then I’ll have to move my cup in order to get the hot water if I am trying to make an Americano, so there is the additional step.

On the DeLonghi it’s one step do all, when you move over to the Specialita, it does the espresso and then America all in one go it’s, a proper pressure zone just inside it did the pre-infusion first that we’re used to with this machine, which is excellent. 

It knows I want double the amount of water for an Americano (which you can override in the program programming on both of these machine). So I just gonna hit the okay button. What’s gonna happen is the same thing again pre-infusion and then it pauses and then hopefully goes up until the optimal pouring zone for you there, it is just inside there.

So right now I’m all the way down at the grind setting to on this machine. I have a little bit more play on the grinder over at the Barista Express so no moving the cup right away.

It knows I want an Americano because I’m dialled in at the americano setting.

With Breville Barista Express you’re, doing your shot and then whatever you want to afterwards. Both of them work the same way that if I hit the ok’ button at any time it’s.

If you are the type that doesn’t want to have to move your cup. You just want to put your cup down hit the Americana button.

I’m going to explain another main difference in how we’re, going to texturize the milk. With the Breville you turn it towards you, and then you just get the stream rolling and then once it starts going thump thump thump, I’m just going to put it in, so at this point in time, I’m, telling it how much bubbles I want by holding it just Below the surface, and then I have to work it and pull the jug as the milk get stretched.

I have to keep pulling the jug away and it’s going in circles, so you want to create that vortex if you have a little while with this one until it gets hot. So if you’re, just a beginner, no problem, you’re, just gonna mix it in together afterwards a little bit more bubbles, pull it down it’s still swirling away.

Something I have to add here in the middle of the article is the feel of playing Barista. 

With The De`Longhi you never get the feeling of being a barista in your kitchen, while with the Barista Express, you feel like you are in control of each and every little thing, down to the detail, and personally, I really love that. I feel when I drink a cup of espresso from my Barista Express, that I made it, while on the De`Longhi I do not have the same feeling, as I not really been involved in the process on the same level, as it is mostly an automatic process.

sage barista Frothing

I do temperature on both of these machine based on feel, even though Breville does have a great jug with a built-in thermometer so you can just look at the temperature and you kind of know what`s going on.

When you’re using it on a machine, you should wipe it as quick as you can you get a little bit of a buildup, so you don’t have to soak it afterwards. So with this, I don’t know if you want to see here it’s, nice and thick with bubbles just a little bit of playing around so what they’ve done over here on the DeLonghi.

So if I want more fun, I will pull this down. Then I’m, going to open up the valve on the side. It’s going to flash here and it’s going to. Let me know: yes, I’m starting to heat up. You just hold it.

I’ve asked it for lots of bubbles, so that’s what it’s going to do! I’m gonna do the same thing, give it a fair shot to hold it to the same temperature as I like.

One thing before I forget that I want to mention about this machine the MSRP. This machine is coming out at a higher price point right now, so just turn it off give it a wipe down right away, lovely thick foam and I haven’t had to do any work, so beginner or somebody who doesn’t want to have to fool around with pounds of pressure for our tamp or more of a mass for the tamp. The main downfall, in my opinion of this machine, is the amount of grind levels.

We managed to get a great espresso americano from this machine, but we actually are down almost at the bottom end of the grinder size settings. So if I’m, changing beans, I don’t have a lot of movement.

What most people don’t realize is that every time you change a being depending on the texture or the blend of the bean, you do have to change your grind settings so that you get a nice even pour with a good crema.

The Breville Barista Express I’m at number eight. I’m right in the middle of my grind settings.

So if I changed my beans, I’ve got movement on both ends, but so, if I needed to go a little bit finer, I have eight more selections to go.

So the one thing that some people don’t like about this, my husband being one of them despite him loving the Barista Express, is it can create a little bit of mass. You just have to be a little bit more careful when you’re dosing out your beans, or use a portafilter funnel as mentioned earlier. You can buy a portafilter for the Barista Express on Amazon HERE.

two coffee beans broken into 260nw 1055417477

You have to make sure you mound at first before pulling it out of the machine and tamping, but once you have that it happens quickly to get your perfect grind and your tamp and then move along this ends up in my opinion, and it’s, a lower cost being my preferable machine, but if you want to come into the store you’re welcome to come in and try both and see what suits your needs.

If you are interested in buying the Barista Express, you can find on Amazon right HERE.

I personally use this in my kitchen daily, and I absolutely love it!

Should you be more of the “I just want my amazing coffee without doing anything” then the De`Longhi is an amazing choice. You can get that on Amazon right HERE. Whatever you end up with, I am sure you will be happy!


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