Breville is a popular company that produces a wide range of coffee, latte, and espresso makers, so it was a pleasure to look at their latest model and see what it had to offer in terms of features, brewing process, and maintenance needs.
The Breville Bes870xl Barista Express espresso machine offers just enough manual settings and adjustable controls that you almost feel like a real barista when using it, but you don’t need much experience to get the brew cycle going.
For some, this machine will be simple to operate, while for others, it’s going to take a little practice. Experienced coffee drinkers felt that this machine was able to perform as well as models that cost twice the price.
This machine measures in at a little over thirteen inches wide and sixteen inches tall. It also features a depth of twelve inches, making it roughly the size of a standard coffee maker, but it’s twice a wide so you’ll need plenty of counter space.
This is no super automatic espresso machine that offers a one-button operation and a simple wipe down come cleanup time. This is definitely espresso machine that requires you to get your hands dirty.
So, if you’re new to pulling shots, you may want to search for a more user-friendly model or be prepared to devote a little time and practice to perfect your espresso brewing skills.
Breville Latte and Espresso Maker Overview and Features
This machine means business. The hefty steel portafilter, stainless steel chassis, and handle attachment make for one stunning, professional grade machine. The model’s large bean hopper, burr grinder, and pressure gauge provide you with an all in one system that allows you to grind your beans to preferred consistency and brew the perfect espresso.
Placed front and center on the machine’s control panel, the pressure gauge’s circular dial displays whether or not the hot water is being pushed through the coffee grounds within the desired pressure range.
If the pressure is too low, the water will flow through the grounds too quickly, resulting in weak tasting espresso. Cheaper models often lack pressure gauges in order to mask inconsistent performance or to cut costs.
Located to the right and left of the dial you’ll find large buttons for program, filter size, and power, in addition to two buttons used to determine shot size. Here, you’ll also find a knob that controls the amount of coffee the grinder will produce for either a double or single shot.
This innovative machine also drops grounds directly into the steel portafilter.
The steam wand with the swivel joint mount and a hot water nozzle can be found located on the right side of the brew head. Both are activated by a knob on the right side of the machine. On the left, you’ll find the grind size selector that offers a total of eighteen settings ranging from fine to coarse. Another popular feature is the easy to clean drip tray.
This model also utilizes a fifteen bar Italian pump, purge function, and a sixty-seven-ounce removable tank, complete with its own handle.
Breville Pros and Cons
Pros: At first glance, the many dials, buttons, and knobs can be a little intimidating. But thanks to the detailed manual, after a few practice shots, you’ll have the process down. The number of dials and settings allow you to truly experiment with your brew.
Despite the many settings, the process is fairly easy. First, you’ll start off by filling the water tank and bean hopper. Next, you’ll drop the double shot, double-walled filter into the portafilter basket, pushing it back into the grinding cradle.
With just a single push of a button, the machine will roar to life as the grinder works to automatically fill the filter basket to the size chosen. The grind setting you’ve chosen will also be factored into the brewing process. Finally, just tamp down the grounds, put the portafilter in place, locking it under the brew head, then hit the double or single espresso button.
In the beginning, you may find it tricky to pull a decent shot, but once you hone your technique, you’ll be treated to the best espresso you’ve ever had at home.
You’ll have no trouble frothing milk with this machine. Once the steam boiler reaches the correct temperature, it features plenty of power to easily handle the task. While competing models often timed out after just a few minutes, the steam wand on this model can pretty much run forever.
Cons: Every espresso machine requires extensive cleaning to remain in good working order, and the same is true for this Breville model. Due to the size of the machine, the cleanup process may be a little extensive for some. However, as long as the user remembers to empty out the spent coffee grounds from the portafilter right after pulling a shot, rinse it out and flush water through the brew head, this machine should be good for instant reuse.
Using this machine takes practice. And this is especially true if you’re used to super automatic espresso makers. Even after you get the hang of pulling shots, you’ll spend quite a bit of time constantly cleaning up, emptying drip trays, and conducting daily deep cleaning.
A high maintenance model that can be complicated to use initially, one thing is for sure, this Breville machine was built to last.
Espresso and Late Maker Final Thoughts and Rating
Coffee lovers who are patient enough to stick with this machine and learn the ins and outs will be rewarded with a rich espresso. Ultimately, Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine can save you some serious cash every month, especially if you normally hit your local coffee shop more than a few times a week. Not only is this model able to make better tasting espresso than cheaper machines, it also produces superior flavor than even luxury models, and for just a fraction of the price. Coffee lovers who purchased this model gave it a rating of four and a half out of five stars for taste and overall quality, and that makes it as one of the best coffee latte machines on today’s market.