CONS: You Need to Turn it ON 20 minutes in Advance for Good Results
Some people just want a cup of coffee or espresso; they are not concerned about the minute changes in taste. For such people, any simple espresso or coffee maker like the Bonavita BV1900TS is good enough to do the work. Whereas others want that cup exactly the way, they would like. So, for someone who loves to have a cup of espresso that is brewed perfectly to the taste they want, Breville Barista Express is what they need. It is an semi-automatic espresso machine that lets you do a ton of customizations to things like grind sizes and drip pressure. You also get to choose between a single, double shot, or steam want too, which further adds to the process of making yourself a good espresso. In short, it is a real barista express; you can do a lot to get the cup you will love the most. Besides, it performs better than many other espresso machines, which are way more expensive. This one is available for a little above 450 bucks, which is optimal for such an amazing espresso maker.
Breville Barista Express Review & Features
|Capacity||1 / 2 Shots|
|Brew Time||1 Minute|
|Brew Temperature||196°F – 204°F|
Breville BES870XL Barista Express has a stunning stainless steel design. It looks fancy enough to be placed anywhere, at work, or at home. The machine won’t occupy a lot of space and is very easy to use once you get used to it. OK, on the top left lies the bean hopper where you add your coffee beans, and they are passed onto the grinder. The bean hopper is easily removable and has a lock in the middle. Once you remove it, you get access to the burr for cleaning purposes. Top burr is removable and by removing it you can reach out to the bottom burr as well, in case you want to clean it. A button for adjusting the grind size lies on the left side of this espresso machine, but it’s more a scrolling knob, not a button, though.
The water tank is equipped with a charcoal filter on the back of the machine, where you can add up to 67 ounces of water. Also, it’s easy to remove or put back in. Starting from left to right on the front first of all, you will see an integrated tamper. It is attached to the machine through magnets; you can easily pull it out when needed and then lock it back in. Next is where you lock in the empty 54mm stainless steel portafilter, and the ground coffee drops into it. You get 4 baskets for the portafilter, 2 pressurized (single and double shot), and 2 non-pressurized (single and double shot). We’ll talk about what they do later on. After this comes the area where you lock in your portafilter again, but this time it has coffee grounds in it. This is where hot water flows through your coffee grounds and pours out a shot of espresso; you can go for a single or double shot.
After this comes the water dispenser and steam wand. You get a knob on the machine’s right where you can either go for water or steam. Now about the buttons, from left to right, the power button next to which is the grind amount control knob. Then comes the filter button, where you choose if you are using a single or double filter basket. At the center is the pressure meter; it only tells you if everything is going right. Every time it hits the top, you should know that things are going fine. And then comes the programming, single cup, and double cup button. Everything on Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine is pretty neat, which makes things easy to use.
At the bottom is the drip tray, where all the spills go. It also has an indicator; when it is complete, the small indicator floats, telling you to empty the tray. Behind the tray lies a goodies box where you can put all your accessories. Among accessories, you get a 16 ounces milk jug, a brush for cleaning, and a needle tool for cleaning the wand from the inside. You also get a razor with it, which you can use on the portafilter having coffee grounds in it. Finally, and perhaps an essential thing for many people, it comes in three different colors: brushed stainless-steel, cranberry red, and black sesame.
Features & How to Use
Breville, the Barista Express BES870XL, is a fantastic espresso machine. Still, for you to make that perfect cup of espresso, it may take some time when getting used to it. You will only be able to brew an excellent cup after you use it a couple of times. This is because everything in the espresso machine depends on details and accuracy. You should know what grind size will match which filter basket and the brew temperature. You can also change the brew temperature in this espresso machine.
As mentioned earlier, the bean hopper lies at the top left of the machine; this is where you add your whole coffee beans. It has a burr grinder, which is better than a blade grinder, to which most people agree. Besides, there are two burr grinders in the system which ensure proper grinding of the beans. You can adjust both grind size and grind amount. For changing the size, you will have to use the knob on the left of the machine ranging from 1-16, which indicates fine to coarse, respectively. And for choosing the grind amount, you will have to use the second button from the left on the front; it is basically a knob where you can go from less to more. The proper amount and grind size will only be finalized once you use the machine a few times.
So, the machine does not grind any beans until you start the brewing process. This means you always get freshly ground coffee for your espresso. You will have to use the portafilter for brewing, which we mentioned earlier comes with 4 different filter baskets. As soon as you attach and lock it to the first pipe, it will automatically start the grinding process and pour coffee grounds into the portafilter. Once you have them, you can either use the tamper or the razor which comes along with other accessories of this machine.
This will enable your coffee grounds to get more compressed so that the brew is rich in taste. Next, you have to attach the portafilter to the next pipe, where this espresso maker will pour water through it. There is an automatic infusion system, it wets your ground coffee before starting the proper brewing process. Once the infusion is done, water is poured through the grounds, and you get your espresso shot in the cup places below. That’s all, now you can use the steam wand for frothing your milk and get your espresso ready. Amazingly, all this is done within a minute, which is insanely quick. But, there is something important you need to do. Before brewing, make sure you turn ON the machine 20 minutes in advance. This warms up the machine as a whole, and the brewing process is perfect. If you start making your espresso directly, the taste won’t be what you would love to have.
For temperature control, Breville Barista Express uses a digital system. The water temperature is set to 200°F at all times, which is the most optimal temperature for brewing. But you can also change the temperature if you want to. There is no direct button for it; it involves a series of steps. And you can set the temperature anywhere between 196° to 204°F. Here is how you can do it.
- Press and hold the program button and then press the power button. You will hear a double beep sound, then press the filter button to decrease the temperature by 2°F from the default temperature.
- Press and hold the program button and then press the power button. You will hear a double beep sound, then press the power button to decrease the temperature by 4°F from the default temperature.
- Press and hold the program button and then press the power button. You will hear a double beep sound, then press the single shot button to increase the temperature by 2°F from the default temperature.
- Press and hold the program button and then press the power button; you will hear a double beep sound. After this, press the double shot button to increase the temperature by 4°F from the default temperature.
- And finally, if you want to come back to the original default temperature, you have to press and hold the program button and then press the power button. You will hear a double beep sound, now press the program button again; this will bring the temperature back to the original, which is 200°F.
You get four different filter baskets that you can place inside the portafilter. Two of these are pressurized (each for a single and double shot), and the other two are non-pressurized (each for a single and double shot). The pressurized baskets will have the least perforation at the bottom; this means everything will stay as per your settings. And the non-pressurized baskets have lots of holes at the bottom; this automatically adjusts to a better and decent taste despite the settings you have set.
Water Dispenser & Steam Wand
On the rightmost side, on the front, you will see a steam wand next to which, on the left, is a water dispenser. There is a knob on the right side of the machine where you can either go for hot water from the dispenser or set it to steam which will turn on the steam wand. In case you want to froth your milk. Both these are very useful for getting a nice cup of espresso.
Breville, the Barista Express BES870XL, has more surprises for you. It really is an actual barista express, based on the features. No matter the amount of experience you have with making an espresso, this espresso maker really turns you into a pro barista. So, for keeping your cups warms, there is a cup warming area at the top. The area beside the beans hopper is where you put your cups, and they are nicely warm when using them.
Moreover, there is something even more to how it operates. If you let the machine idle for 1 hour, it goes into sleep mode, and you wake it back up by pressing any of the b