Breville Barista Express Review: the Beautiful BES870XL
Coffee lovers everywhere are losing their s**t over the Barista Express Espresso Machine, an easy alternative to café brewed espresso, and a device that is unrivaled in its category.
And guess what – so are we!
We’re excited to bring you this Breville Barista Express review today, and for good reason.
Breville’s best has done it again - if you're in the market for a good semi-automatic espresso machine, you do NOT want to miss our Breville BES870XL review...
The Breville Barista Express 'In A Nutshell'
The Breville Barista Express delivers a fresh, fast espresso by integrating a host of unique features that are perfect for a blooming coffee barista.
From the built-in coffee grinder to the easy dosing, preset shot features, and the professional level steam wand, this machine allows you to deliver a heck of a shot at a cafe level quality.
Minimal clean-up and easy to use cleaning features from the drip tray to the water tank also makes the morning brew efficient and easy.
Things To Consider Before Getting A Breville Express BES870XL
Of course, even though we’re head over heels about this incredible brewer, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone. There are a few important factors you’re going to want to consider first!
Keep your skill level and experience in mind
If you’re new to making espresso at home, you’re going to want to make sure you can handle all of the bells and whistles that a more intermediate machine like the Breville can offer.
If, on the other hand, you’ve been brewing at home for a while now, this can be the perfect challenge to keep you learning as you go through your barista journey.
Convenience versus experience
The Breville is a semi-automatic machine. This is an important point, as it is can leave several otherwise programmable things in your hands, such as dosing or steaming.
A semi-automatic machine is a great way to increase your overall espresso-brewing experience, but if you’re just looking for quick and easy, yet quality espresso without heading to the nearest cafe, you may want to consider an automatic model.
Go in with your eyes open ...and your budget set
Finally, the espresso machine world is vastly different. From budget machines to high-end models up in the thousands, you need to know what you can afford before taking the deep dive into all of the features.
Alright, now that we’ve got our head in the game, let’s get on to the review!
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Review
The all-inclusive features that are integrated within the Breville Barista Express means you’ll have everything you need to start your home brewing adventures ...except the beans and the milk, of course!
A brushed stainless steel body coupled with 1600W thermacoil system allows the water and espresso to maintain an optimum temperature through the elite PID temperature control.
This makes all the difference when you need your coffee delivered with consistency and without a fuss!
In addition to the brewing capabilities, hands down, the quality build of this machine — which consists of Italian made parts — ensures that the espresso you are brewing is true to the finest tastes in Italy.
PRO TIP: Always consider the warranty! There is a one-year limited warranty tagged to the Express.
- Has an inbuilt burr coffee grinder
- Removable water tank makes refilling easy
- Easy to clean thanks to built-in reminders and included cleaning gear
- Requires a bit of a learning curve, not as easy for beginners to use
- Only 1-year limited warranty
1 - The built-in grinder makes it an all-inclusive brewer
Right from the getgo, this machine has got you covered with it’s built-in grinder.
The unit’s stainless steel conical burrs and 16 grind settings give you both quality and options, allowing you to fine-tune your grind to your exact preferences. It also gives you single, double, and manual dosing options!
The hopper is also removable, allowing you to offload any unused beans back into an airtight container to keep them fresh!
2 - A design you’re going to want to show off
While the features on this bad boy are already impressive, who doesn’t love to have quality espresso coming out of a machine that they also want to show off?
From the brushed stainless steel to the professional, “coffee shop-esque” design, this machine is built to turn heads, and it can serve as a centerpiece of any contemporary kitchen.
3 - The high-end features can develop your barista skills
The portafilter comes with multiple baskets that allow you to brew single and double shots, while features like the manual dosing option and steam wand allow you to tweak your brewing style until you get the perfect shot and cream!
The nifty magnetic tamper that comes with the brewer allows for easy storage.
And don’t forget that steaming wand! With 360 degree control and a very quick 30 second warm up, the Breville Express is equipped to allow you to steam your milk like a pro.
Add onto these some of the “commercial class” features like...
- The aforementioned PID temperature control (giving you consistency in your brew)
- Breville’s “dry puck” feature (which makes clean up really easy!)
- And even the brewing pressure gauge (which helps to deliver the best brewing pressure for a proper espresso)
...and this machine proves itself to be an excellent jumping off point into some of the more advance barista-brewing skills. It really does have all of its bases covered. It even comes with a cup warming surface on top!
4 - Cleaning made easy
Don't like cleaning?
Neither do we and the creators of this machine must have known this as the easy to use removable water tank and filtration system, as well as the built-in “clean me” light and cleaning tables, make cleaning super easy and fast.
The drip tray also has a “Empty Me!” pop up indicator for when it’s full, and the tray removes as easy as pie, which means less time maintaining and more time enjoying.
In addition, the grinder and brewer being on the same drip tray means all of your brewing mess will be neatly located in one, easy-to-clean spot!
But the best part about cleaning the Breville Express? It even comes with its own set of cleaning tools that tuck into the bottom of the machine (out of sight — to see them, skip to minute five of the video below) and pop out ready to do their duty at a moment’s notice!
5 - Water capacity and size leaves nothing lacking
The 2 liter/67 fluid ounce water capacity is a very comfortable size — if you want larger than the average shot, of course, this unit, as well as most home models, will not go over, but we are talking about espressos here, not Americanos , so this should not be an issue.
In addition, while the size of the machine can be a bit bigger (and particularly wider) than other options in this price range, the truth is, once you take the saved grinder space into consideration, the Barista Express really does fit nicely onto a kitchen counter, taking up very little space in the process!
If you’re a visual learner, here’s a video that breaks down many of the benefits of the Breville Express!
Who Should NOT Buy the Breville Barista Express
The Breville Barista Express is taking the home barista world by storm, and with good reason. But it isn’t for everyone.
Do not buy the Breville Barista Express if:
- You’re new to the world of home-brewing espresso. The Breville is a powerful, flexible machine, but as a more intermediate espresso maker, it requires a little experience to master all the nuances.
- You really only want a good cup of espresso. The Breville gives you control over subtleties like dosing and steaming, which is great for someone who loves to fiddle. But if all you want is a great espresso, there are easier options.
- Your budget can’t stretch to the price. While the Breville isn’t as pricey as some superautomatic models, there are ways to make a simple, delicious cup of espresso for under $100.
Not Sure About The Barista Express? How About These?
Of course, if you’re not completely sold on the Barista Express, we understand.
Not every machine is for everyone, even if it’s as incredible as this one! If you’re not sure about the Barista Express, here are a couple of other options for your consideration.
The De’Longhi EC155
If while reading this review you realized that you might not be quite ready for the jump into such a high-end machine as the Barista Express, you may want to consider the De’Longhi EC155.
This extremely affordable home brewer is a perfect beginner level machine that delivers a decent espresso at a very good price, taking out the hassle of many of the more advanced brewing features while still saving you that trip to the coffee shop.
You can see our full break down of the EC155 here.
The De’Longhi ESAM3300 Super-Automatic
If the price of the Barista Express isn’t an issue, but you’re simply more interested in a quick and easy shot in your kitchen that doesn’t require much of a learning curve, you may want to consider the De’Longhi ESAM3300.
A VERY affordable super-automatic option, this machine is priced similarly to the Barista Express ...and it’ll do all of the work for you.
If magically getting your java “at the push of a button” is what you’re truly craving, you’re going to want to check this one out!
In our opinion, features like the integrated grinder, dosing and brewing abilities, and the ability to easily (and quickly) clean it make the Breville an excellent buy that will bring your home brewing to life!
From it’s intermediate brewing challenges to its utterly smooth espresso production, the Breville Express is a machine that is designed to bring a spark of life to your home brewing adventures!
If you want to get your own Breville Express, check it out here.