When it comes to making your favorite coffee drinks, there are two routes to take. First, is the most convenient, the single-serve machine. The other one would be a classic espresso machine.

Each method of these has its pros and cons. People who go for single serve espresso makers want a quick cup, convenience, and simple one-button operation. On the other hand, the quality is less than perfect. You get a great cup, a nice (but not perfect) milk froth and an overall good experience. If you enjoy crafting your coffee drink from scratch, you’ll like using a classic espresso machine where you’ll have to grind the coffee, dose it, measure it, and manually froth the milk. These machines come with a learning curve, it takes time to get the hang of it, but once you get it, you’ll love every cup you make.

With the Creatista Plus and Barista Express, Breville offers the very best of each type of machine. The Creatista Plus, being a single-serve espresso machine, gives you results that are as fast as any other single serve, but the quality is higher than average thanks to its professional steam wand that textures milk rather than just frothing it.

The Barista Express, a semi-automatic espresso machine with built-in grinder, allows you to create your espresso and other coffee drinks from scratch. But if you find it difficult to get things right from the beginning, it has all the presets to help you achieve a great cup.

Let’s have a look at the features of each espresso machine.

What Is The Difference Between Breville Creatista Plus vs Barista Express?

Right off the bat, these are two completely different machines in how they work:

Creatista Plus is a single-serve espresso machine that uses capsules only (you can’t use ground coffee). And the Barista Express is a traditional espresso machine where you can only use ground coffee, that the machine will conveniently dose and measure for you automatically.

Ease of Use and Convenience:

If convenience is what you’re aiming for, then a single-serve, the Creatista Plus in the case, is what you’ll want. The pre-measured pods, the pre-set drinks and the automatic milk frothing guarantee that you’ll get the perfect drink each and every time. And thanks to the customization options, you can play a little with the recipes to fine-tune it to your liking.

The Barista Express, while it does have some presets and it does automatic grinding and dosing, you still have to do the work. You’ll tamp, insert the portafilter, heat and texture your milk manually (which can go wrong the first few tries). Then there’s the clean up process after.

Taste and Quality:

Now here’s where you get to compromise a little. With the Creatista Plus, you’re using Nespresso capsules (either from Nespresso or from other brands, as long as they’re OriginalLine capsules). These capsules hold about 5 to 7 grams of coffee in them. While the espresso shots produced from these capsules are not bad, they’re not comparable to an espresso shot that is produced from the Barista Express which uses about 19 grams of coffee.

The Barista Express makes a more authentic shot of espresso than the Creatista Plus, or any other single serve espresso machine. You’ll also be using your choice of coffee beans, and at the freshness you choose them to be. That makes a lot of difference in your drinks quality for sure.

When it comes to milk froth, the Creatista Plus has a steam wand that no other single-serve espresso maker has (as of the timing of this post). Usually, single-serve machines will use your average whisk to create froth. The Creatista Plus, on the other hand, uses a steam wand that is comparable to any professional espresso machine’s wand. It actually textures milk and produces micro foam that you can use to create beautiful latte art, and it does it automatically so you don’t have to worry about creating the wrong milk texture.

The Barista Express has a steam wand too, and you can achieve the same results, but you’ll have to do it manually. This is where you’ll have to do some learning and practicing until you get your milk temperature and texture right.


The Creatista Plus is highly priced for a single-serve machine, but for the features you get, it’s totally worth it. The Barista Express, which gives you everything you need from grinder, to tamper and pretty much whatever you need to get started, is offered at a great price, too.

The two machines are in the same price range. But you have to keep in mind that with the Creatista Plus, you’ll have the on-going expense of buying your coffee capsules. How much would that be? It will totally depend on where you get your capsules. 3rd party capsules are less expensive than Nespresso’s.. so how much you’ll end up paying will vary for sure.

Which Do You Buy? Creatista Plus or Barista Express?

You really need to know what you’re looking for here:

Do you want a good cup of coffee with a push of a button, less hassle, total convenience? Then go for the Creatista Plus.

Do you want a better and more authentic cup and you’re willing to learn your way through it? Then the Barista Express is your machine.

Features of Breville Creatista Plus:

  • Single serve espresso machine compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine capsules, including capsules from 3rd party brands.
  • Features a built-in professional steam wand that heats and textures your milk professionally and fully automatically.
  • Display allows you to customize your drink in terms of volume, temperature and milk texture level. It also guides you through the process of making each drink.
  • Fast 3-second heat up time.
  • Choose from 8 preset coffee drinks: ristretto, espresso, lungo, cappuccino, cafe latte, latte macchiato, flat white and milk.
  • Choose from 8 milk textures and 11 milk temperatures ranging from 133 to 169F (55 to 76C).
  • Milk frothing wand self cleans after each use.
  • Machine includes a sample box of capsules and a milk frothing jug.
  • Water reservoir capacity: 60 oz
  • Dimensions: WxHxD 16.1 x 6.7 x 12.2 in

Click here to learn more about the Breville Creatista Plus, read the customer reviews and buy it.

Also available from Breville.com.

Features of Breville Barista Express:

  • Semi-automatic espresso machine with built-in conical burr grinder.
  • Automatically grinds the right amount of coffee for your selected shot (single or double) directly into the portafilter.
  • Portafilter cradle allows for handsfree grinding.
  • Built-in tamper.
  • Digital Temperature Control ensures water is delivered at the optimal temperature for a great espresso extraction.
  • Simple dial control for adjusting your grind size.
  • Steam wand for heating and texturing your milk.
  • Control buttons for single shot, double shot and for manual override.
  • Gauge allows you to see what temperature stage your machine is at.
  • Includes: razor dose trimming tool, 54mm portafilter, single and dual wall filter baskets, stainless steel milk frothing jug, cleaning disc and tablets, coffee scoop, water filter holder and water filter.
  • Dimensions: 13.2 x 12.5 x 15.8 inches

Click here to learn more about Breville Barista Express, read the customer reviews and buy it.

Also available from Breville.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Can The Brew (Water) Temperature Be Changed in Creatista Plus?

The machine offers adjustable milk temperature, but not brew temperature. So, no, the water temperature cannot be adjusted.

Which Pods To Use for Creatista Plus?

Any OriginalLine pods will work, whether you buy Nespresso’s own pods or third party pods.

Can You Use Pre Ground Coffee in Breville Barista Express?

Yes you can. You’re not obligated to use the built-in grinder if you have pre-ground coffee. Simply measure your pre ground coffee and add it directly to the portafilter basket. You want to make sure you are using the correct ground coffee, though. They have to be finely ground for espresso use. Any coffee that is coarse or even medium coarse won’t work.

Can the Barista Express Make Coffee?

It’s an espresso machine, it’s not designed to make drip style coffee. The closest you can do is make an americano by brewing a shot or two of espresso and adding hot water to it.

Can You Do Latte Art with Barista Express?

Yes, you can! However, that would take some work and practice on your part. The steam wand allows you to create amazing milk texture for latte art, but it’s not an automatic process, it’s something you have to learn to do.

About the Author


Enjoying coffee, one pod at a time. Bringing all my coffee expertise to this blog.

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