For those who can't get started with their day before a strong cup of coffee meets their lips, or who can't think of anything more luxurious than an after-dinner espresso, having one of the best coffee makers in their kitchen is essential. Being able to craft the perfect latte or cappuccino in your own kitchen is a game changer.
The Breville Barista Touch Impress aims to simplify the process of creating that flawless coffee, starting with its puck system. Intelligent dosing, assisted tamping, and auto-correction of the next dose help users achieve a more precise grind, and auto MilQ has three new alternative milk settings. These calibrate pressure, temperature, and timing to suit more kinds of milk. In short, it promises to be one of the best espresso machines on the market.
We tested out the Breville Barista Touch Impress to see if it could really deliver everything it promises, pitting it up against plant-based milks as well as a coffee-lover who has only previously enjoyed Barista-level coffee when made by a Starbucks employee.
Over a period of several weeks, Caroline tested the Breville Barista Touch Impress, using the machine for her daily coffee fix. She experimented with different strengths, settings, and types of drinks to assess the machine's performance, as well as having friends and family members give their verdict. Testing was done in a small kitchen, with three different brands of coffee beans used.
|Row 0 - Cell 0
|Row 0 - Cell 1
|Water tank capacity
|H16.4 x W12.9 x D14.1 inches
Breville Barista Touch Impress: Price & Availability
The Breville Barista Touch Impress is priced at $1,499.95 in the US and is currently available to purchase from major retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. It is also available in the UK for £1,199.95. Note that Breville is known as Sage in some international markets.
You can also buy the machine directly from Breville on the brand's website.
Breville Barista Touch Impress: First impressions
While we'll get onto the compact design of the Breville Barista Touch Impress, the unboxing process still involves its fair share of heavy lifting. Once unboxed, though, there are surprisingly few things to assemble and build to get the machine in working order.
The only things were the bean hopper up top, which easily clicked into place, the rubber-sealed cover, and the removable water tank with a filter positioned at the back of the machine. Once assembled, you can fill these with your beans and water, respectively. All in all, it took us around ten minutes.
The box also contains a stainless steel milk jug, single/dual wall filter baskets, a portafilter, and a razor trimming tool. Our filter basket was already equipped with the dual wall filter we used throughout the testing process.
You're also not short on cleaning tools, with a cleaning disc, tablets, brush, descaling powder, and tool for keeping the steam wand gleaming. The drip tray also slides out for easy washing and emptying.
Disappointingly, the packaging involved a lot of polystyrene and plastic alongside the main cardboard box.
Breville Barista Touch Impress: Design
The Breville Barista Touch Impress is shockingly compact, considering how much it can do. The whole thing measures in at H16.4 x W12.9 x D14.1", meaning it likely won't be the smallest appliance in your kitchen, but it would also fit into a corner quite nicely. As you can gather from our photos, the Touch Impress was snug in our kitchen but also didn't make a nuisance of itself during the testing period.
The only size-related concession we had to make was removing our mug while steaming our milk, but this is hardly a problem and completely normal.
Looks-wise, the machine looks gorgeous, though we'll admit to preferring the black and white models more compared to our stainless steel. This is because of the usual issue of every drip, fingerprint, and scratch showing up on the steel, ruining the aesthetic. Just be aware that you'll need to wipe it down after every use.
Breville Barista Touch Impress: Performance
The Breville Barista Touch Impress is absolutely stuffed with features that any coffee lover will appreciate, and be assured that at the end of it, you'll perhaps get the best coffee you've ever brewed at home.
The special thing about the Touch Impress is the touch screen, which sets it apart from similarly-specced machines. Immediately when turning it on, you'll be greeted by a menu of drink options to choose between. You can also create your own preferred drinks, but this involves changing each setting manually.
We chose to follow the Barista-grade advice, which includes the perfect grind size, milk temperature, and froth level. When you select your drink, the screen will display these elements side by side, and you can easily adjust the strength and preferred foaminess. You can also select the milk type, but we'll go into detail on this later.
Grinder and puck system
The first thing you'll need to do is fill the bean hopper, and you can ask the machine to determine the ideal grind size based on the beans you've purchased. We tried three different types during testing, and the results didn't vary a ton. The advice remained on or around '17', but you can easily adjust this using the wheel on the side.
After grinding, you will be instructed to use the tamp lever to press the coffee into the puck. The intelligent system detects whether you need more or less coffee for the optimum drink, and - here's the really clever part - remembers for next time. Once we had used the machine a couple of times, we didn't have to use the included razor at all, and rarely did it produce too little.
Next is the fun part - the extraction. As said, you can adjust the strength using the options on the screen, from one shot of espresso all the way to 2+ (which we assume means boss-level caffeine). You can see how well and quickly this process works in the video above, with Breville's promise of rapid 3-second heat-up holding true. If you want to add extra water, this is also super-fast, making your kettle obsolete.
The coffee itself comes out creamy and strong, as well as completely consistent with every brew.
One of the features that Breville has been keen to really shout about is the Touch Impress' ability to froth different types of milk. This is an understandable boast since many of us who prefer or require almond, oat, soy, or other options can often be left with sad, limp drinks while our dairy-drinking friends get all of the froth to themselves.
But whether the claim could hold up was another matter. You can choose the type of milk in the second menu, with special settings for diary, almond, soy, and oat available.
We compared the results side by side by using semi-skimmed lactose-free cow milk and an oat milk brand designed for baristas. Exactly the same amount of milk and coffee was used, as well as the same-sized mug and settings:
Our test may not have been totally scientific, but it still demonstrates (along with our inability to create latte art) that the machine is excellent at creating similar results across different types of milk. If anything, the flat white with oat milk tasted creamier than its counterpart.
Another nifty feature is the steam wand's self-cleaning, which involves more hot water being channeled through into the drip tray.
How does the Breville Barista Touch Impress compare?
We recently tested the Breville Barista Express Impress, which is similar to the Touch Impress in a number of ways.
The basic construction of the two machines is the same, but the cheaper Express Impress lacks a touch screen and many of the automated features that come with it. Still, the dose level is still controlled with a slightly cruder (but more tactile) light level, and many who know their way around a coffee machine will prefer fewer bells and whistles.
Both machines were awarded 5/5 by us.
Should you buy the Breville Barista Touch Impress?
|Price & availability
|Compact and well designed, but steel gets mucky easily
|Touch-screen, amazing customisation, delicious coffee
Buy it if...
You spend a lot of time at coffee shops
The Touch Impress is certainly expensive, but its results mean you'll never need to pop into your local coffee shop again.
You want some expert guidance
If you're no totally confident with what goes into the perfect brew, the guided menu and advice here will be a delight.
You don't drink dairy
The Breville machine does a great job of getting creamy results from alternative plant-based milks.
Don't buy it if...
You already have a decent coffee maker
While the Touch Impress is - if you'll excuse the pun - impressive, those who are already adept at getting the perfect coffee from their existing machine may not want to upgrade.
You're on a budget
This is not a machine that falls into the 'affordable' category, and there are other options at a cheaper price, but with only slightly fewer features.
How I tested the Breville Barista Touch Impress
I tested the Breville Barista Touch Impress over several weeks, swapping it out for a very basic filter coffee maker that had delivered mixed results. I used the machine to make drinks daily, experimenting with different strengths, settings, and types of drinks over the testing period.
It was also trialed by coffee connoisseur family members, whose opinions were used to inform the opinions written above.
Read more about how we test
First reviewed: September 2023