First, let me say I know coffee pretty well. In fact, I was a barista at Starbucks for several years. In addition to that, my husband is an Italian who naturally longs for the perfect espresso, macchiato, and cappuccino. He takes joy not in just consuming caffeine but also in the crema and flavor of the perfect espresso shot. He researched the best semi-automatic espresso machines with his characteristic attention to detail and he selected Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL as his top choice. I got him one for his birthday and I will share my Breville Barista Express Review with you here.
Why The Breville Barista Express?
Well, the path to this Breville Barista Express Review was convoluted but we have finally arrived at pure satisfaction.
Knowing that my husband longed for the perfect espresso shot, I procured a very expensive fully automatic espresso maker from Krups. Those are valued at around $1000, but my husband was not enamored with the fully automatic aspects of the machine. He wanted to have more control over pulling the perfect shot, steaming the milk to his liking, and adding the quantity he wanted.
So in a classic swing of the pendulum, I got him a fully manual espresso maker from ROK. Well, that was okay but not quite what he had in mind either.
This time, I took the surprise out of the gift but let him pick it for himself. He wanted a top of the line semi-automatic espresso maker that allowed him to control the coffee grind, the pulling of the shot, and the steaming of the milk. He picked the breville the barista express espresso machine bes870xl. It offers all of those things, has exceptional quality, and has excellent consumer reviews. So that is why we chose the Breville Barista Express! Now onto all the fabulous features that are making us so happy.
Key Features Of The Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL
As a Starbucks barista, I worked for the company when their machines were semi-automatic and I can tell you that you really do get the real barista level experience when you use the Breville Barista Express.
Built In Burr Grinder
“Dose control grinding: Integrated conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean.”
This is right on track with the real barista experience because it is how you get the best bean with the most flavor. In fact, at Starbucks, we only ever made espresso with freshly ground espresso beans. Only freshly ground coffee delivers that heavenly coffee experience. Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL has a built in burr grinder. This is the best kind of grinder, known to deliver a very even grind, which is super important to getting the perfect espresso shot.
The hopper holds half a pound of coffee and you control the grind size dial so you can adjust it to the type of bean you’re grinding. You simply insert the portafilter into the holder and push. It grinds and doses for you- just like it used to do for me at Starbucks back when I was a barista!
Then you use the Breville integrated tamper, which has a handy dandy magnetic storage spot right next to the portafilter grinder cradle, to press down on the dosed ground espresso and pack it.
“Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction.”
This dial is how you know you are getting an espresso machine that delivers exactly the amount of pressure for the perfect shot. It is also what allows you to make little alterations in search of the perfect shot. This precise water temperature control is what allows for the extraction that creates a high quality espresso shot.
When you see the golden crema come out over that nice, dark espresso shot, you know satisfaction. This machine makes a great espresso shot which is of course the basis for all espresso drinks such as lattes, Americanos, mochas, etc.
“The steam wand performance allows you to hand texture micro foam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art.”
Seriously, I love the steam wand. You know how picky my husband is about his perfect espresso? Well, that is how I am about the perfect foam. I love it to be perfectly steamed with foam that is full of tiny bubbles that makes it taste creamy. That automatic espresso maker we had did not do this.
With the steam wand, you can make perfect foam and you can make as much or as little foam as you want. Plus, you can heat it to the perfect temperature for you. I love the control this steam wand gives you!
The only thing I don’t like about the Breville Barista Express is that the water level is kind of hidden behind the machine. I have just started checking the water level every time before I use it so that I don’t accidentally run a shot through without enough water!
I do love that the water tank has a water filter because filtered water is so important to a good espresso shot.
How To Use Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine
Despite all the options for control, the Breville Barista Express is still easy to use.
- Press power
- Insert portafilter into cradle and push in to start the grind and automatic dosing (which just means the perfect amount of freshly ground espresso drops into your portafilter).
- Twist portafilter into extraction port.
- Press single or doube shot and watch as perfect espresso shots drop into your cup. Drink or proceed to next step if you want an espresso drink.
- Pour milk into pitcher, insert steam wand into milk, turn steam dial to start. Swirl the milk a bit a raise and lower wand in the milk as it froths. Turn steam off. Pour milk into espresso. Enjoy!
You will, of course, have to clean your Breville Barista Express to keep it in good working order. After each use I run 1 shot of hot water through them empty portafilter to clean it out. I also clean the steam wand right away with a wet rag or sponge.
The Barista Espresso Machine also has a hidden drawer where you can keep your occasional cleaning tools and descaling tablets.
Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL Specs
The Breville Brushed Stainless Steel all-in-one espresso machine.
Dimensions (WxDxH)12″ x 11″ x 13.5″
- Razor Dose Trimming Tool
- 54mm Stainless Steel Portafilter
- 1 cup & 2 cup Single & Dual Wall Filter Baskets
- Coffee Scoop
- Integrated Tamper
- Stainless Steel Milk Jug
- Cleaning disc and tablets
- Cleaning brush, tool and Allen Key
- Water Filter Holder and Water Filter
Bean Hopper Capacity: 1/2 lb.
Water Tank Capacity: 67 oz.
You can get the Breville Barista Express at your local retailers or learn more and order yours at breville.com
So, do you want to stop spending $5 at your local coffee shop every day and start making your own amazing espresso drinks for yourself and friends? I promise, this espresso machine, will knock their socks off!