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 change in the 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 you need. It is a semi-automatic espresso machine which lets you do a ton of customization to things like grind size and drip pressure. You also get to choose between a single or double shot and 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 500 bucks which is an optimal price 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. It won’t occupy a lot of space and is very easy to use once you get to use it a couple of times. 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 it 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 of a scrolling knob, not a button.
On the back of the machine is the water tank where you can add up to 67 ounces of water, it has a charcoal filter in it. And, 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 54 mm 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 right of the machine where you can either go for water or steam. Now about the buttons, from left to right, first comes 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 has an indicator as well, when it is full 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 important thing for many people, it comes in three different colors, which are brushed stainless-steel, cranberry red and black sesame.
Features & How to Use
Breville the Barista Express BES870XL is an amazing espresso machine, but for you to make that perfect cup of espresso, it may take getting used to. You will only be able to brew a nice 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 what should be the brew temperature, because you can also change the temperature of the brew 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, it ranges from 1 – 16 which indicates fine to coarse respectively. And for choosing the grind amount, you will have to use the second button from 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. For brewing, you will have to use the portafilter 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 will pour coffee grounds into the portafilter. Once you have them, you can either use the tamper or the razor which comes along in 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 coffee grounds 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 something important 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 directly start making your espresso, the taste won’t be what you would love to have.
For temperature control, Breville Barista Express uses a digital system due to which 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 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 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 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 double shot button to increase temperature by 4°F from the default temperature.
- And finally, if you want to come back to 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 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 buttons. And if you let it stay idle for 3 hours, it shuts OFF automatically. This time you will have to press the power button to turn it back ON.
Performance wise, Breville Barista Express is one of the best Espresso Makers you will come across. It stays at the optimal brewing temperature almost always. You can easily set the grind size, and it really follows the settings to a minute level. If you check the coffee grounds and rub them in your fingers, you will always feel the difference in each grind setting. Moreover, the final espresso shots and the way the steam wand froths your milk is really cool. The milk texture is what you will love in the mornings for starting your day with.
Popular and perfect espresso makers are mostly expensive. But this one really has a good price when you think about a professional espresso maker. It is worth a little above $500 which makes it a best value espresso machine. It offers lots of features, gets you a perfect espresso, you can do lots of customization and the final espresso shots gets ready in just a minute.
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