(GUIDE) How To Make Espresso On Breville Barista Express?

The Breville Barista Express is a popular espresso machine that allows coffee enthusiasts to create café-quality espresso beverages in the comfort of their own homes. This versatile machine is equipped with a built-in grinder and a steam wand, making it convenient and easy to use. In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at how to make espresso on the Breville Barista Express, including the step-by-step process, tips and tricks for perfecting your technique, and how to properly clean and maintain the machine.

In Short: How To Make Espresso On Breville Barista Express

To make espresso on the Breville Barista Express, you will need freshly roasted coffee beans, a calibrated grind size, a proper coffee dose, the right water temperature, and proper tamping technique. The steps to make espresso include grinding the beans, tamping the coffee grounds, extracting the espresso shot, and steaming milk (if desired). It’s important to follow the instructions in the user manual and experiment with different variables to find the perfect balance for your ideal espresso shot.

Key Takeaways

  • The Breville Barista Express is a versatile espresso machine that allows you to grind fresh coffee beans and extract espresso shots.
  • Use freshly roasted coffee beans for the best flavor and aroma.
  • Calibrate the grind size to ensure proper extraction.
  • Use the right amount of coffee dose and distribute it evenly in the portafilter.
  • Preheat the machine and ensure the water temperature is correct for optimal extraction.
  • Tamp the coffee grounds with the right amount of pressure.
  • Experiment with different variables, such as grind size, coffee dose, and extraction time, to find the perfect balance for your espresso shot.
  • Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for keeping your machine in top shape and ensuring consistent performance.

Understanding The Espresso-making Process

Before diving into the step-by-step guide for making espresso on the Breville Barista Express, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the espresso-making process. Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee at high pressure. The result is a rich, dark, and flavorful beverage with a layer of crema on top.

To achieve a perfect espresso shot, several factors come into play:

  1. Coffee Beans: The quality and freshness of the coffee beans greatly impact the flavor of your espresso. Choose high-quality, freshly roasted beans for the best results.

  2. Grind Size: The grind size determines how quickly the water will flow through the coffee grounds. For espresso, a fine grind is essential to slow down the extraction process and allow for full flavor extraction.

  3. Coffee Dose: The amount of coffee used, also known as the coffee dose, is crucial for achieving the right balance of flavors. Too little coffee will result in a weak espresso, while too much coffee will lead to over-extraction and a bitter taste.

  4. Water Temperature: The water temperature when brewing espresso should be between 195°F and 205°F (90°C and 96°C) for optimal extraction. If the water is too hot, it can scorch the coffee, resulting in a burnt flavor.

  5. Tamping: Tamping is the process of compressing the coffee grounds into a compact puck using a tamper. Proper tamping ensures even extraction and prevents channeling, where the water finds a path of least resistance and doesn’t extract the full flavor.

  6. Extraction Time: The time it takes to extract the espresso shot should generally fall between 25-30 seconds. This ensures that the flavors are properly extracted without any bitter or sour notes.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the espresso-making process, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide for making espresso on the Breville Barista Express.

Step-by-Step Guide To Making Espresso On The Breville Barista Express

  1. Grinding the Coffee Beans

The Breville Barista Express is equipped with a built-in grinder, making it convenient to grind your coffee beans just before brewing. Follow these steps to ensure the optimal grind size:

  • Fill the hopper with your desired amount of coffee beans.
  • Set the grind size dial according to your preference. Start with a medium-fine setting and adjust as needed to achieve the best results.
  • Position the portafilter under the grinder chute and activate the grinder by pressing the "GRIND" button. The grinder will automatically stop when it has ground enough coffee for a single or double shot. You can also manually stop the grinder by pressing the button again.
  1. Dosing and Tamping
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Proper dosing and tamping are vital for achieving consistent extraction and flavor. Follow these steps:

  • Remove the portafilter from the machine and wipe it clean with a dry cloth.
  • Tap the portafilter gently to distribute the ground coffee evenly.
  • Using a coffee scoop or your fingers, add the desired amount of coffee grounds to the portafilter. For a double shot, a typical dose is around 18-20 grams of coffee.
  • Level the coffee grounds and ensure they are evenly distributed in the portafilter.

Tamping is the next important step in the process. Here’s how to tamp properly:

  • Hold the portafilter handle with one hand and the tamper with the other.
  • Apply downward pressure evenly on the coffee grounds, using approximately 30 pounds (14 kilograms) of pressure. The tamper should be level with the top of the portafilter basket.
  • Twist the tamper slightly at the end to polish the coffee puck and create a smooth surface.
  1. Preparing the Machine

Before extracting the espresso shot, it’s essential to preheat the machine to ensure optimal water temperature. Follow these steps:

  • Ensure the water tank is filled with fresh, cold water.
  • Turn on the machine by pressing the power button located at the top of the front panel. The power button’s light will illuminate, indicating that the machine is heating up.
  • Allow the machine to preheat for about 15-20 minutes until the temperature light turns off. This indicates that the machine has reached the optimal brewing temperature.
  1. Extracting the Espresso Shot

Once the machine is preheated, it’s time to extract the espresso shot. Follow these steps:

  • Insert the portafilter into the group head and lock it into place by twisting it firmly to the right.
  • Place a preheated espresso cup under the portafilter.
  • Select the appropriate shot volume by pressing the corresponding button on the front panel. The Breville Barista Express offers preset shot volumes for a single and double shot.
  • The extraction process will begin, and the espresso will start to flow into the cup. The optimal extraction time is between 25-30 seconds.
  • Monitor the extraction and adjust the grind size or tamp pressure as needed to achieve the desired extraction time and flavor.
  • Once the extraction is complete, the machine will automatically stop the flow of espresso. Remove the portafilter from the group head and discard the spent coffee grounds.
  1. Steaming Milk (Optional)

If you prefer milk-based espresso beverages such as cappuccinos or lattes, the Breville Barista Express includes a steam wand for steaming milk. Here’s how to use it:

  • Fill a stainless steel pitcher with cold milk, leaving enough room for expansion during the steaming process.
  • Ensure the steam wand is in the off position and purge any condensation that may have accumulated.
  • Immerse the steam wand into the milk, ensuring the steam tip is just below the surface.
  • Open the steam wand by turning the steam control dial counterclockwise.
  • Position the pitcher at an angle and allow the milk to spin in a whirlpool motion for even heating.
  • Pay close attention to the milk temperature and texture. For a cappuccino, aim for around 150°F (65°C) with a velvety microfoam. For a latte, a slightly higher temperature of around 160°F (71°C) with a little less foam works well.
  • Once the desired milk temperature and texture are achieved, close the steam wand by turning the steam control dial clockwise.
  • Wipe the steam wand with a damp cloth and purge any remaining steam by briefly opening the steam wand again.
  1. Assembling and Enjoying Your Espresso Beverage

Now that you have extracted your espresso shot and steamed your milk (if desired), it’s time to assemble and enjoy your espresso beverage. Follow these steps:

  • Pour the steamed milk into your espresso cup, holding back the foam with a spoon if desired.
  • Gently tap the cup on the countertop to remove any air bubbles from the milk.
  • Carefully pour the espresso shot into the cup, allowing it to mix with the milk.
  • If desired, you can add additional foam or latte art on top of the drink.
  • Serve your espresso beverage immediately and enjoy!
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Tips And Tricks For Perfecting Your Espresso

Making the perfect espresso takes practice and experimentation. Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you refine your technique and achieve your desired results:

  1. Experiment with different coffee beans: Try different types of coffee beans and roasts to explore the wide range of flavors available. Each coffee will have its own unique characteristics and taste profile.

  2. Adjust the grind size: Fine-tuning the grind size can greatly affect the extraction. If the espresso shot is flowing too quickly, resulting in an under-extracted and weak shot, try using a finer grind. Conversely, if the shot is flowing too slowly, adjust to a coarser grind.

  3. Dial in the coffee dose: The coffee dose can also impact the flavor and strength of the espresso. Experiment with different doses to find the perfect balance for your taste preferences. Remember to distribute the coffee evenly in the portafilter.

  4. Temperature surfing: If you notice inconsistent extraction due to fluctuating water temperature, you can try temperature surfing. This involves running a shot of hot water through the machine before pulling your espresso shot to ensure a more stable temperature.

  5. Time your shots: Timing the extraction can provide valuable insight into the flavor profile. Use a timer to track the extraction time and adjust variables accordingly. Aim for a balanced shot between 25-30 seconds.

  6. Purge and clean the steam wand: Before and after each use, purge the steam wand to remove any milk residue and prevent clogging. A clean steam wand will ensure better steam performance and prevent flavor transfer.

  7. Experiment with milk steaming techniques: Steaming milk to achieve the desired texture and temperature takes practice. Experiment with different techniques, such as the angle of the pitcher and the depth of the steam wand, to achieve the perfect microfoam. Practice is key!

  8. Store your coffee beans properly: To keep your coffee beans fresh and flavorful, store them in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moisture. Avoid grinding more coffee beans than you need for each shot to maintain maximum freshness.

Remember, making the perfect espresso is an art that requires patience and practice. Keep experimenting and adjusting various factors to find your ideal espresso shot.

Maintaining And Cleaning Your Breville Barista Express Machine

Proper maintenance and cleaning are essential for keeping your Breville Barista Express in top shape and ensuring consistent performance. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Cleaning the Grinder:
  • Empty the bean hopper and remove any remaining coffee beans.
  • Use a soft brush to clean the grinder blades and chute. Ensure that no coffee residue is left behind.
  • Wipe the grinder hopper with a damp cloth.
  1. Cleaning the Portafilter and Filter Basket:
  • Remove the coffee grounds from the portafilter and rinse it under warm water.
  • Use a nylon brush to clean the filter basket, removing any residue.
  • Let the portafilter and filter basket dry thoroughly before reassembling.
  1. Cleaning the Steam Wand:
  • After each milk steaming session, wipe the steam wand with a damp cloth to remove any milk residue.
  • Purge the steam wand briefly to expel any remaining milk inside.
  1. Descale the Machine:
  • Over time, mineral deposits can build up inside the machine and affect its performance. Descaling helps remove these deposits.
  • Follow the instructions in the user manual to descale the machine at regular intervals.
  • Use a descaling solution recommended by the manufacturer and flush the machine with clean water after descaling.
  1. Empty and Clean the Drip Tray:
  • The drip tray collects excess water and coffee residue. Empty the tray regularly and clean it with warm, soapy water.
  • Remove and rinse the drip tray cover to remove any residue.

Refer to the user manual for detailed instructions on cleaning and maintaining your Breville Barista Express machine. Following a regular cleaning routine will ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With The Breville Barista Express

Even with the best maintenance practices, you may encounter some common issues with your Breville Barista Express. Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  1. Poor Espresso Extraction:
  • If the extraction is too fast and the resulting coffee is weak or watery, try adjusting the grind size to a finer setting and tamp with slightly more pressure.
  • If the extraction is too slow and the coffee tastes bitter, try a coarser grind size and tamp with less pressure.
  • Ensure that the coffee is evenly distributed in the portafilter and the dose is appropriate for a single or double shot.
  1. Uneven Milk Steaming:
  • If you’re having trouble achieving a velvety microfoam, make sure you’re using cold milk and the steam wand tip is just below the surface of the milk.
  • Adjust the angle of the pitcher to create a whirlpool effect, which helps to evenly steam and heat the milk.
  • Practice makes perfect! Milk steaming requires technique and patience, so keep experimenting and refining your skills.
  1. Machine Not Turning On:
  • Check if the machine is properly plugged into a power outlet.
  • Ensure that the power switch is turned on.
  • If the machine still doesn’t turn on, check the circuit breaker and try a different power outlet.
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For more specific issues or if the troubleshooting tips don’t resolve the problem, refer to the user manual or contact Breville customer support for assistance.


The Breville Barista Express is a versatile and user-friendly espresso machine that allows you to create café-quality espresso beverages at home. By understanding the espresso-making process, following the step-by-step guide, and practicing various techniques, you can master the art of making espresso on the Breville Barista Express. Experiment with different variables, such as coffee beans, grind size, coffee dose, water temperature, and extraction time, to find the perfect balance for your ideal espresso shot. Remember to clean and maintain your machine regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity. With patience, practice, and a passion for coffee, you can create delicious espresso beverages to enjoy whenever you please.


How Do I Make Espresso On My Breville Barista Express?

To make espresso on your Breville Barista Express, start by filling the water tank and selecting the desired grind size. Next, fill the portafilter with freshly ground coffee and tamp it down firmly. Lock the portafilter into place and select the single or double shot option. Allow the machine to heat up for a few seconds before starting the extraction process.

What Grind Size Should I Use For Espresso On My Breville Barista Express?

The ideal grind size for making espresso on the Breville Barista Express is a fine grind. This will ensure that the water is able to pass through the coffee grounds at the right rate, and that you can extract the best flavor from your espresso shot.

How Much Coffee Should I Use To Make Espresso On My Breville Barista Express?

When making espresso on your Breville Barista Express, you should use approximately 7-9 grams of coffee per shot. This will give you the ideal strength and flavor for your espresso shot.

How Do I Clean My Breville Barista Express After Making Espresso?

After making espresso on your Breville Barista Express, it is important to clean the machine thoroughly to ensure that it continues to function properly. This includes emptying the portafilter and wiping it clean, as well as cleaning the steam wand and other components.

How Can I Improve The Taste Of My Espresso On The Breville Barista Express?

There are a few ways to improve the taste of your espresso on the Breville Barista Express. These include using freshly roasted and ground coffee beans, ensuring that the water temperature is correct, using a consistent tamping pressure, and adjusting the grind size if necessary. Additionally, experimenting with different coffee blends or single origin beans can help you find the perfect flavor for your espresso shots.

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