The Barista Express by Breville is an award-winning, extremely versatile espresso machine to help make some of the best homemade espresso shots you’ll every try. In today’s review, we’re going to show you how amazing the Barista Express BES870XL is and why even the most hardcore coffee nerd should geek out over this machine.
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Built-in Coffee Grinder
If you’re looking for your first espresso machine, odds are you’re also in the market for a coffee grinder you can trust. With the Barista Express, you get both grinding and brewing functions in one appliance.
The Barista Express’ hopper stays in place while attached to the grinding mechanism, and it can close completely to help move, store, and switch beans at will. The grinder is made with stainless-steel conical burrs and 16 different grind settings to help you achieve the ideal coffee extraction and your ideal espresso.
Single and Double Dosing
The Barista Express is your go-to espresso machine for single and double shots. Switching between single and double dosing is done by pressing the filter size button until the corresponding light turns on. Next, place the portafilter in the holder and press it in once and wait for the correct weight of coffee grounds to come pouring out.
If you have a specific preference to how you strong you like your coffee, you can also create a manual dose with this machine. Using the portafilter, press and hold until you’ve reached the desired amount of coffee grinds. This manual process does tend to cause a spillage of coffee grounds, but everything is collected and contained in the spill tray underneath.
Large Drip Tray
Something first-time buyers may not consider is how to clean their espresso machine. The Barista Express makes this task as effortless as possible by coming with a pull-out spill tray which separates dry, spilled coffee grounds from liquids.
Behind the tray is a hidden compartment where an assortment of tools can be stored. The toolkit consists of a tiny screwdriver, a measuring cup, and several cleaning tablets to remove calcified buildup. A tab will pop up from the drip tray to let users know when it needs to be emptied, and a light indicator illuminates when it’s time to use one of the included cleaning tablets.
4 Filter Baskets Included
The Barista Express comes with two single and double pressurized baskets as well as two single and double non-pressurized baskets. The pressurized baskets require very little tamping to produce the ideal puck in the portafilter. The non-pressurized baskets will need to be tamped down with the tamper that attaches magnetically to the machine.
Accurate Pressure Gauge
In the middle of the control panel is a large pressure gauge that shows how much pressure water is being shot through the portafilter. The gauge starts at a low-pressure pre-infusion to soak the grinds then kicks it up a notch to reach the ideal brewing pressure for the best extraction.
This gauge is not only accurate, but it can also serve as an aid to first-time brewers who aren’t familiar with the fine intricacies of espresso-making. Figuring out how to brew the best espresso machine requires very little trial-and-error and guesswork so even the most amateurish espresso afficionado will soon get the hang of making their favorite beverage.
2-liter Water Reservoir
Located at the rear side of the Barista Express is a massive two-liter water reservoir. The reservoir can be filled while attached to the machine or filled at the sink by detaching it from the espresso machine. Breville even includes a free water filter with this machine to remove large contaminants which could ruin the taste and feel of your milk-based beverage.
The Barista Express is more than just an espresso-making machine. It can be used to make milk-based beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos thanks to the onboard, flip-down milk frother. The milk frother’s steam wand is attached to the machine with a 360° swivel joint to reach into the included frothing pitcher.
The steamer takes just under 30 seconds to get up to temperature so your drink isn’t left hanging for long. This pro-style wand has a single steam outlet hole to give users full control over how frothy the milk becomes.
Verdict: Should I Get the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine?
The Barista Express is designed to create your ideal espresso, latte, cappuccino, and other milk-based coffee drinks with very little effort. Most of the guesswork is eliminated thanks to the pressure gauge and intuitive controls, and any lingering questions can and will be answered in the included paperwork.
If this is your first espresso machine, you’re setting a pretty high standard for any follow-ups you purchase in the future.