Breville Barista Express – BES870XL
The Breville barista express espresso machine is the perfect machine that will enable you to create cafe style coffee at home. It is both easy to use, but also has more advanced features and controls that will help you improve your skills and find the perfect extraction and make amazing coffee at home. It also has a build quality to match.
|Ease of Use|
|Cost (Initail outlay)|
Where does it fit in Breville range
This machine is one down from the dual boiler machine version and is certainly a lot friendlier when it comes to budget. Not only is the machine itself cheaper but it also includes an integrated coffee grinder.
Don’t think that because of the lower cost you have to sacrifice the quality of the coffee you going to be drinking. Yes, there is less control of the whole brewing process when compared to the dual boiler version but unless you are already a reasonably experienced home barista this will make it easier to create a good coffee.
….before I go any further please don’t let this statement put anyone off buying the Breville dual boiler version as this is, in my opinion, is an amazing home coffee machine, the almost perfect balance between home brewing convenience and commercial barista control of the brewing process… but with these controls comes great responsibility, a steep learning curve and a requirement for practice, as well a desire to learn and understand the art of a barista and how all this control affects the output. The express has many of these controls along with a bit of automation to help you in your art form
Breville Barista Express Review
So, why is the Breville Barista Express Coffee Machine with integrated Grinder a good choice?
The Breville Barista Express has been around a few years now, in fact, there is now a pro version available which adds a few digital options and different boiler technology but nothing that should put you off buying this version. Especially as the pro is a little more expensive and you lose the pressure gauge which I think would be a shame. Being an established model you can see the reviews it gets almost universally good and I would say there are very few options that come close to it for the quality and features at this price point.
Cost of the Breville barista express
Don’t get me wrong this is by no means a cheap coffee machine but it is something you will be able to use to get a cafe-quality coffee from and also comes with a good quality integrated burr grinder, which if bought separately would make this machine a similar price to a lower quality one with a separate grinder.
A history of great reviews
As mentioned earlier this has been around for a while and we all know an important factor to consider when buying any product is what existing customers think of it. This machine is almost universally loved by its customers, with the great build quality, the versatility of the machine, even price all getting a mention. Just have a look at the reviews on amazon.
If you are serious about trying to recreate the cafe style coffee at home a grinder is probably a going to be a must-have at some point in your journey. Yes, you can buy you coffee already ground, even get your favourite cafe to grind it in front of you so you know it was freshly ground. But as soon as the beans have been ground the flavour/freshness clock starts ticking and you only have a matter of days before the opportunity to get the best brew has gone. If you buy beans you can keep the flavour locked in for longer( weeks rather than days) and grind it as you make the coffee…..ok ok this may not be a big issue initially but at some point, you will probably appreciate this extra freshness and will want a grinder. The burr grinder with the Barista Express is not only good but also quite fast at grinding coffee beans. Some grinders are quite slow and noisy but the Breville Barista Express coffee machine will get the job done in seconds with a noise level that will not upset the Mrs while watching her favourite soaps.
Just as a little example of the features and control you still get with this machine, the extraction is performed using two stages, first a low-pressure pre-infusion cycle which essentially pre-wets the grounds, then your normal pump pressure to finish the extraction. This pre-infusion pressure can be manually set so you could have it set at @66, 64 or even experiment with 56 which is very low but you set it to what you want. You can also manually override the timing of the pre-infusing during extraction by pressing and holding the manual button which keeps it in pre-infusion mode until you let go. And to demonstrate how this machine also manages to be easy to use, you could buy and use the barista express and never even know anything about this pre-infusion process.
Another example of the blend between control and automation the Barista express also comes with the ability to set you dosing amount. It will then automatically grind the correct amount of coffee based on your setting so no guessing involved.
One caveat here though, you probably need to keep checking the setting is still consistent in what it produces…and also keep in mind at some point in your journey for the perfect most consistent brewing experience you are probably going to buy some scales and start weighing your grinds. But that’s fine and this machine will still be with you on the journey you will just be enhancing the auto dosing feature that doesn’t even exist on other machines anyway.
If you want your coffee with milk, I am thinking Cappuccino, Latte, Flat White etc this guy is the reason you have purchased an espresso machine and it needs to powerful enough to do the job and create that perfect microfoam. The good news is that this machine will not disappoint so be careful when you first use it as it is quite powerful but makes this process very easy.
Negatives of the Breville Barista Express?
The Breville barista express is a superb machine but this is no clunk click Nespresso machine, what makes it a great machine is it’s blend of easy on one hand but with the option to make things complicated so there is a learning curve. It is also not cheap and maybe more than many people want to spend on a coffee machine. But if you can justify the price then this is probably the one to go for in the mid-price range, anyway check out the current price you may be surprised.
I am maybe a little biased here as this is the machine I purchased and kept as my first home-based espresso machine(and still use now), it cost a bit more than I initially wanted but I tried a few others and instantly understood the limitations and knew I would want a new machine at some point soon. Don’t get me wrong the cheaper machines produced great tasing coffee but creating an espresso using the Breville Barista Express allows you to appreciate the art of trying to create the perfect brew, yes it takes effort and practice, but with practice comes perfection. Plus by the time I factored in the grinder cost, you probably end up spending the same anyway if not more, it’s just all upfront.
As mentioned before the barista express has a nice blend of easy to use, but with the ability to experiment along with excellent build quality so that it will last to the point you where you are ready to experiment more.