Breville Duo Temp Pro Review
Pros: Pulls excellent shots, great milk steaming
Cons: Has a learning curve, no pressure gauge to help beginners, no grinder
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Breville Duo Temp Pro
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|Pros||Pulls excellent shots, great milk steaming||Great espresso, impressive milk steaming performance, compact design||Great taste, exceptional lattes and cappuccinos, mostly automated milk steaming||Good espresso and milk steaming, quite inexpensive||Easy to use, quick and convenient, good taste, makes brewed coffee also|
|Cons||Has a learning curve, no pressure gauge to help beginners, no grinder||No built-in grinder||No built-in grinder, automated steam wand isn't ideal for microfoam or latte art||Doesn't quite achieve cafe quality results, somewhat slow, no built-in grinder||Uses expensive capsules, only a limited number of espresso flavors available|
|Bottom Line||An excellent machine if your familiar with the process of manual brewing, and already have a high-quality grinder||One of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe-quality results||A top-notch machine that pulls great shots and offers the best mostly-automated milk-steaming we've found||Offers good taste and overall quality at a far below average price||Great if you don't mind paying for convenience and want the ability to make brewed coffee too|
|Rating Categories||Breville Duo Temp Pro||Breville Bambino||Breville Bambino Plus||Gevi||Nespresso Evoluo|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (15%)|
|Milk Steaming (15%)|
|Specs||Breville Duo Temp Pro||Breville Bambino||Breville Bambino Plus||Gevi||Nespresso Evoluo|
|Dimensions||15.5" x 13.3" x 17.6"||7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2"||7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2"||13" x 10" x 16"||9" x 12.2" x 12.3"|
|Milk Frother||Steam Wand||Steam Wand||Automatic Steam Wand||Steam Wand||None|
|Water Tank Capacity||61 oz||47 oz||65 oz||42 oz||54 oz|
|Cost per Shot||$0.47||$0.45||$0.47||$0.45||$0.85|
|Lifetime Cost per Shot||$0.64||$0.58||$0.68||$0.50||$0.93|
|Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make Up List Price||158||118||198||51||93|
|Number of Cafe Replacement Lattes to Make Up List Price||94||70||118||30||52|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Duo Temp Pro can make cafe-quality rinks right in your own kitchen. Just keep in mind that it is a semi-automatic machine, so it presents a bit of a learning curve for beginners. It also does not have a built-in grinder, so you'll have to buy that separately or purchase pre-ground coffee which doesn't allow you to tweak the grind when and if needed. Bottom line, this machine made some of the best espresso milk drinks we tasted. That said, it does carry some of the difficulties inherent in a semi-automatic machine.
Should I get the Duo Temp Pro or the Barista Express?
If you've narrowed your choices down to these two machines and aren't sure which to get, consider a couple of things. The main difference between these two is that the Barista Express has a built-in grinder, while the Duo Temp Pro does not. If you already have an espresso-capable coffee grinder (we're talking one that can produce multiple sizes of fine espresso grinds, not one that simply claims its finest grind size is small enough for espresso), then the Duo Temp Pro is the clear choice.
However, apart from grinders, the Barista Express does have one main advantage over the Duo Temp Pro: its pressure gauge. This gauge lets you see whether or not the brewing process is hitting the right pressure, which in turn will let you know if you need to adjust your grind size or tamping pressure. This is a great feature for beginners, who may not be able to pick up on the subtle clues that they need to switch things up. So overall we think the Barista Express, with its pressure gauge and all-in-one construction, is the more beginner-friendly of the two options. It also costs more, but with the added features — especially if you also need a grinder — it's worth the modest jump in price.
The Duo Temp Pro was one of the top performers in our taste testing. This machine is one of just a handful of models we tested that can truly match the quality of a cafe drink. The espresso is rich and bold and produces a nice crema. Combine that espresso with the nearly perfect microfoam this machine's steam wand can produce, and you've got a cappuccino or latte that tastes like your favorite neighborhood barista just handed it to you.
Ease of Use
Like all of the machines we tested that can make truly cafe-quality drinks, the Duo Temp Pro is semi-automatic. This means you have to grind, tamp, and brew the coffee yourself, and also steam the milk manually with a steam wand. This process isn't particularly difficult but does present a bit of a learning curve to beginners. Because of this, the Duo earned a somewhat average user-friendliness score. If you're looking for a more automated and convenient option, take a look at a super-automatic machine like the Gaggia Anima Prestige. Just remember, moving to a super-automatic machine generally brings a drop in drink quality.
Though the Duo Temp does present the inherent challenges of a semi-automatic machine, it does a fairly good job of lessening those difficulties as much as possible. The portafilter is well designed, doesn't leak, and thus generally dos not make a mess. The steam wand is easily moved and is short enough to hang over the drip tray, meaning excess milk ends up in the tray and not on your counter. Intuitive controls make it clear which settings need to be selected to pull a shot or use the steam wand. The tamp has a nice feel and heft to it, and conveniently stores in a magnetic slot. Both the drip tray and water tank are easy to remove and carry over to the sink.
Overall we think the Duo Temp is slightly easier to use than other similarly-designed machines. This mostly comes down to the pre-infusion feature, which hits the grinds with a splash of lower-pressure water before ramping up to full pressure. That pre-infusion tends to flatten out the coffee and correct for any small errors in tamping, and to an extent grind size, resulting in a greater success rate for beginners.
Ease of Cleaning
Here again, the fact that the Duo Temp is a semi-automatic machine means that it requires a bit more work than most of the super-automatic machines. You have to clean and wipe out the portafilter, wipe down the steam wand, and periodically empty the drip tray. All of this pushes its score down a bit relative to some of the other machines.
That being said, the Duo Temp doesn't have any egregious water or coffee spillage issues, so all of those extra semi-automatic related cleaning tasks aren't too arduous. The descaling process can be done with vinegar and water, so you don't have to buy any fancy solutions. The whole process took us 30 minutes, which was slightly above average but didn't feel too ridiculous for a task that only needs to be completed every 4-6 months. Bottom line, the extra cleaning required when compared to super-automatic machines isn't too bad and is well worth the upgrade in the quality of taste.
The steam wand on the Duo can make perfectly creamy microfoam. Our professional barista tester remarked that it was easy to get similar results to what she makes in the cafe with this wand, and even beginners were able to get some really nice texture in their milk after just a few attempts. If you're looking to truly recreate a coffee shop latte at home, this steam wand is up to the task.
One thing to note is that the Duo Temp cannot steam milk and pull a shot at the same time. In fact, after pulling a shot it sometimes takes up to a minute for the machine to be able to get enough pressure to the steam wand to begin steaming. During this time your espresso shot is oxidizing and getting more acidic and bitter. This can be stopped by putting just a splash of cold milk in the espresso right after it's brewed, or even just putting whatever syrup you might be planning to use in your drink. This holds the espresso's flavor and will improve your end result.
The Duo Temp is a decently high-value machine. It doesn't include a grinder, which will set you back more, but if you already have a capable grinder this could be seen as a good thing. For the quality of drinks you can achieve with this machine, we think it's well worth its comparatively modest price tag.
The Breville Duo Temp Pro can make cafe-quality espresso drinks at home, but it does take a little bit of practice for beginners and requires that you buy a separate, espresso quality coffee grinder.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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