Breville Duo Temp Pro | $499.99
For the would-be home barista, the Breville Duo Temp Pro is an easy-to-use espresso machine that makes a great cup of java without a lot of effort. Espresso comes out at the perfect temperature every time, there’s a steam wand for frothing milk, and the stainless steel design looks wonderful on any kitchen counter.
The Duo Temp Pro is pretty straightforward, but it’s likely best for coffee lovers who have a little bit of experience making espresso or cappuccinos. That said, the instructions from Breville are simple to follow, and will give anyone a good primer on taking care of the machine and making the perfect espresso.
Best of all, with a real espresso machine, you aren’t locked into using the manufacturer’s coffee pods. The Duo Temp Pro uses real espresso for a true espresso experience.
Starting at the back, the Duo Temp Pro has a large 1.8 litre removable water tank that includes a filter to protect the machine while also keeping some impurities out of your espresso. The tank is easily removable, and large enough to handle numerous cups of java.
On the front, the bottom of the machine features a removable drip tray that warns you with a little pop-up sign when it’s getting too full, and hidden behind the tray is a storage compartment for extra accessories. On the left of the machine is a removable tamper to press down your grounds in the filter basket, while the center of the Duo Temp Pro is devoted to the grouphead, where you attach the portafilter basket. On the right is the steam wand, which can be aimed in almost any direction for frothing up your milk.
The top of the machine is devoted to the warming tray so you can pre-warm your cups before making the espresso, a step which is important to maintaining a good temperature for your drinks.
The Duo Temp Pro features a 15 bar Italian pump, and a 1600W thermocoil heating system. The system also includes an auto purge so that it will automatically disperse steam after you use the steam wand to ensure the perfect espresso temperature.
The system also uses low water pressure before the espresso extraction to help expand the grind to get the most flavour out of each and every cup.
Included with the system are four filter baskets, including 2 single-wall filters and 2 dual-wall filter baskets for 1 and 2 cups each. The single-wall baskets are meant to be used with fresh espresso, while the dual-wall baskets are meant for pre-ground espresso, to help pull the most amount of flavour out of the grind as possible. This works because there’s only a small hole in the outside of the filter where the espresso can escape, allowing the water an extended amount of contact with the coffee grounds.
There’s also a dose trimming tool, 54mm stainless steel portafilter, a 16 oz stainless steel milk jug, cleaning tools, and a water filter to get you started.
To start with, I turn on the Duo Temp Pro to warm up my cups on the warming tray, or I rinse the cups in warm water and dry them off. For the best results, and because Breville recommends it, I rinse out the portafilter and basket under the grouphead, which also helps rinse out the groupheads so there’s no accumulation of coffee grounds or used water inside the system.
Next, I grind my espresso beans using the Breville Dose Control Pro, which you can buy separately and gives a lot of control over exactly how fine you want your espresso, and then I tamp down the grinds in the portafilter, and swivel it into place under the groupheads.
Finally, I turn the knob on the Duo Temp Pro to the left, which starts the pre-infusion process and the espresso starts to pour. For a short espresso, it takes about 20 seconds to pull a shot, and for a long, it may take about 30 seconds, but it’s really up to you how much espresso will be in each shot since the length of a shot is controlled by how long you leave the machine running.
The trick of this process is getting the perfect coffee bean, with the perfect grind, and tamping the grind just right so it’s solid, but not too dense that the water can’t push through it. When everything is just right, you’ll get the perfect espresso that’s neither too light, nor too dark, or too bitter. Depending on your beans, the grind, and the tamping, you should also get a really nice, thin layer of crema, which is a kind of froth, on top of the espresso.
With the steam wand, you turn the dial on the machine to the right to get an even flow of steam to whisk up your milk. Using the provided milk jug, it’s fairly easy to steam the milk for a cappuccino or latte, but it does take practice. If Americanos are more your style, you can press the button on the machine and then turn the dial to the right to get a stream of hot water out of the steam wand instead.
Don’t be surprised if after you finish steaming milk that you get a big cloud of steam rising out of the machine, which is how the Duo Temp Pro vents the extra steam before it’s ready to make espresso again.
One of my few complaints with the Duo Temp Pro is simply that there’s a fair amount of water still in the portafilter when I finish making an espresso, but this can partly be due to how firmly I tamp down the espresso grounds. That said, it’s wise to let the portafilter sit for a minute or two if you don’t want to risk dripping grounds and espresso over your counter on the way to the garbage.
Generally, I also find there’s a fair bit of espresso splatter from the portafilter, which is just due to the stream of espresso falling into your cup. It’s very likely you’ll need to clean the tray area once a day or two to avoid it getting really messy, but it does depend how much espresso you will be making, and the size of the cup.
The espresso from the Duo Temp Pro is excellent otherwise, and people are generally really impressed with the coffees you can make once you start frothing milk. My machine has become a staple for my home office, and when we have company, and the addition of a great grinder will help to improve your drinks and recipes–they’re well-worth the price if you’re serious about your java, and the good ones will grind for any ground size, from espresso to drip coffee.
In terms of the price, the Duo Temp Pro is a good deal for a quality home espresso machine. Higher-end systems come with extra bells and whistles that will automate a lot of steps in your process, but in terms of the basics for making great coffee, the Breville Duo Temp Pro covers all of the must-have features.
Aside from my minor complaints, I heartily recommend the machine for any espresso or coffee lover who wants to start making the real thing at home, or if they’re tired of the multitude of pod machines out there. After you have this machine, it’s really just a hunt for the perfect espresso bean.