So you’re relatively new to espresso and considering a home espresso machine. You’ve done some research, and maybe you’re a little overwhelmed with the number of choices and the range of prices. Today, a look at the Duo-Temp Pro from Breville. For those considering a semi-automatic espresso machine for home, they’ve probably come across names like the Gaggia Classic and Rancilio Silvia.
Those espresso machines have been around for awhile and have devoted fans. Now price wise, the Duo-Temp Pro sits in the middle between the Classic and the Silvia. What the Duo-Temp Pro offers that those traditional espresso machines don’t is technology which makes it a little easier to use, easier to get consistent results and faster at doing its job.
The big technology is PID temperature control. That’s what’s used on high-end prosumer and commercial espresso machines to get the ultra-precise temperatures so critical in producing excellent espresso. And until the Duo-Temp, PID was unavailable in a espresso machine in this price range. In-fact, PID is so desirable Silvia owners will spend an extra $200 or more to modify their espresso machines to include it.
The Duo-Temp Pro has another trick up its sleeve and that’s an auto-purge function. To steam milk, single boiler espresso machines must increase temperature from the 200 degrees or so used for brewing up to 260 or so.
On espresso machines like the Classic and Silvia it’s a manual process to get rid of excess steam and cool down the boiler before pulling another shot. The Duo-Temp Pro does the work for you. When you’re done frothing it automatically releases the steam and adds water to the boiler to get it back to brew temperature.
So we said the technology driven Duo-Temp is temp is faster than traditional espresso machines. And that’s due to the way it heats water. It uses a high power stainless steel thermo-coil that heats water on-demand. Turn it on in the morning and it’s ready to brew in minutes
Compare that to traditional espresso machines, which keep a volume of water heated all the time. With those, it may take 15 minutes or more to reach operating temps and be ready to brew.
The high-power thermo-coil produces endless steam of constant pressure. Compare that to traditional espresso machines which drop in steam pressure over time as they use up the steam in the boiler.
For brewing espresso the Duo-Temp uses a 54mm stainless steel portafilter. Included with the espresso machine are standard single and double shot baskets as well as single and double dual-wall pressurized baskets.
You’ll get best results using the standard baskets, but the pressurized baskets allow for the use of pre-ground coffee as they’re more forgiving of imperfect grind size. With them
Brewing control is simple. We suggest always running a blank shot - attach an empty portafilter and run a few ounces of water through to heat things up.
For brewing load the portafilter and press down the coffee with the included tamper which has a convenient magnetic storage point on the espresso machine. If you like, you can use the Breville razor dose trimming tool which is included.
Attach the portafilter and turn the dial to brew. The espresso machine starts with a low pressure pre-infusion. This wets the coffee for a fuller extraction. Pre-infusion also helps to reduce channeling by swelling the coffee before applying full brew pressure.
We’re looking to extract about 2 ounces of espresso from a double shot basket in 20 to 30 seconds from the first drip. When brewing is complete, turn the dial back to the center position. One note, the unit does not have a 3-way solenoid valve to remove excess water after brewing so coffee pucks tend to be a little sloppy
For steaming milk, turn the dial to the right. This purges water from the steam system. Turn the dial back to center for a moment and then back for steaming. You’ll hear the espresso machine start to pump and produce steam. Time to full steaming power is under 30 seconds, including purging, which compares well with traditional single boiler espresso machines.
Steam is delivered through a commercial style single-hole steam tip. The steam wand is on a 360 swivel joint which makes for easy positioning in the included stainless steel frothing pitcher.
The steaming wand can deliver hot water for americanos, tea and other uses as well. Just use the button to select hot water and turn the dial to the right.
Like most Breville Products the Duo-Temp Pro comes well equipped. Included are four filter baskets, frothing pitcher, water filter, cleaning tool, cleaning disk, the dosing tool and cleaning tablets.
The espresso machine has a large 1.8 liter water tank. It’s removable for filling or can be filled at the espresso machine by lifting a lid. There’s a large heated cup warming surface up top. The exterior features a brushed metal finish.
The drip tray is large and has a pop-up indicator for emptying. Slide the tray out and a drawer comes with it for accessory storage. Overall the espresso machine features a modern look which reflects its’ features and contrasts with traditional design.
So our thoughts on the espresso machine. It’s easy to use and ready to go minutes after turning on. It requires less skill to use than traditional single boiler espresso machines and has desirable features like PID and the auto-purge function. It’s well equipped with tamper and frothing pitcher included.
We’re a little bummed the espresso machine lacks a 3-way solenoid valve. Without it, coffee pucks are a little soupy. But most users should be able do deal with that.
If easy, quick and consistent is what you’re looking for the duo-Temp Pro is worth a look. Just understand you give up some of the skill side of more traditional espresso machines like the ability to play with brewing temps.
That’s the Breville Duo-Temp Pro. It’s available now at Whole Latte Love. Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel to get the latest on everything coffee.