Breville BES870XL Review
Breville BES870XL offers high performance, at the cost of easy maintenance. This is by far one of the most cost-effective ways to produce an artisan shot of espresso within the comfort of your home. The Barista Express model is semi-automatic, easy to use, and it comes with its own grinder.
- Built in grinder
- BPA Free
- Thermocil heating system
- 2L removable water tank
- Temperature control
- Coffee sludge
Specs & Features
|Product Weight (lbs.)||29|
|Boiler Material||Stainless Steel-lined Aluminum|
|Reservoir Size||67 oz|
|Warm Up: Brew Time||1 minute|
|Warm Up: Steam Time||70 seconds|
The Breville Barista Express is a semi-automatic espresso machine that combines excellent value and performance. Because it is not entirely automatic, you get to play barista to your heart’s content. Why waste money buying expensive coffees when you can get the same thing at home and not have to wait in a long line?
Whether you like the satisfying feeling of pulling your own shots of espresso, or just want top quality coffee made precisely as you like it, the Breville BES870XL could be the machine for you.
It’s simple enough to operate once you get the hang of it and it comes in at a really nice price as well. It is not going to suit everyone, though – this is not a machine that you just plug in the settings for and let it do its thing. You have to put in some effort to get your coffee precisely as you like it.
The upside is that you won’t be able to tell the difference between coffee made with this machine and coffee made with a much more expensive model. The Barista Express is impressively designed and has all the features that you might need. For this reason, it tops our list of best home espresso machines!
It may take a little trial and error initially to be able to get the exact taste right. The machine does allow for the beans to be ground straight into the filter and so you would need to experiment with the quantities of beans and the coarseness of the grind.
You might be lucky and get it right the first time, or you may need to adjust the settings. What is good about a semi-automatic machine like this one is that you have a lot more control over your brew. With this machine, you have control over the settings that matter, and you will be able to enjoy great coffee if you persevere.
This has a height of 16 inches and is just over 13 inches wide. You are going to need to devote a little counter space to the machine but not an excessive amount. Having said that, it is not the most compact model out there.
It has a brushed stainless-steel finish and looks really good. The bean hopper is a nice size and the pressure gauge and burr grinder help to complete the impression that this is a machine that really looks like something a professional would use.
The machine has been designed to look sleek and resemble the much more expensive models. It has been put together well and has a robust finish that is easy to clean.
The pressure gauge is centered conveniently on your control panel, and you can see whether or not the pressure is right for the perfect flavored coffee by looking at the dial. This is where the machine stands out from other cheaper models – it offers consistent pressure to ensure that the best flavor is obtained
Finding your way around the machine is easy enough as everything is clearly labeled. You can select the size of the filter and set the program by clicking on the right button. Adjust how many beans to grind with the turn of the knob.
One design feature that makes things easier is that the beans are ground straight into the filter. All you need to do then is to tamp them with the tool provided and put everything under the brewing head.
The steam wand and water nozzle are conveniently located on the right of the brewing head. All you do to use them is to turn the knob on the side of the machine.
The drip tray can be cleaned off very quickly, and the water tank is a cinch to remove.
Ease of Use
If there is a reason to mark BES870XL down, it’s that there are a lot of buttons, knobs, and dials to get used to. This is not one of those appliances that you just plug in and start using without the manual.
If this is your first espresso maker, it can take some getting used to – professional baristas make it look so easy, but when you are doing it on your own, you realize that it takes some practice.
Save yourself the aggravation and have a look through the manual before trying it out. Once you understand what all the buttons, etc. do, you will find that it is easy enough to operate. From then on, it’s just a matter of playing around a bit so that you get the results you want.
It is a pretty simple process – put water in the tank and beans in the hopper. Then choose the setting for the grinder and positioning the filter so that the grinder can get to work. You will have to decide whether or not you prefer a finer ground or a coarser ground coffee.
When the grinding is complete, you gently tamp the grounds down and then lock the filter under the machine’s brewing head. Then you choose whether you want a single or a double shot of espresso and put your cup in position to catch the coffee.
A lot of things can influence the taste of the coffee, from the beans used through to how hard you tamp the grounds down so expect to have to practice a little before you get the exact blend you want.
Once you have gotten the hang of it, though, only you will know that it was not made by a professional barista.
All in all, this machine offers a good blend of value, functional design and performance. Whether or not it is right for you will depend on how much work you want to put in to get that perfect cup of coffee. If you are willing to put in some extra effort, this is ideal.
If you just want to be able to press a button and have coffee come out, this is not the ideal option for you. For the price, though, it is going to be hard to find an automatic machine that offers similarly impressive results.
Looking to spend a bit less? Check out Mr. Coffee’s Cafe Barista machine. It costs less than $200 and makes a decent shot of espresso.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.