Breville Barista Express BES870XL Review 2020
Espresso drinkers can be categorized into two categories. In the first category are the ones that don't bother about their elixir's place of origin. They don't care to know how it was made or what its cost price is. The only thing that is important to this set of people is its quick availability.
The second category comprises of those who would save money and dream to duplicate the espresso alchemy in their homes even if it meant to dirty one's own hands. If you resonate with the latter category, the semi-automatic Breville Barista Express is your ultimate espresso machine to fulfill this dream of yours.
I. Main Features of the Breville BES870XL
1. ½ pound bean hopper & integrated conical burr grinder
This increases the grinding surface area which helps optimize the flavor extraction from the coffee beans.
2. Dials to choose grind amount and grind size
It lets you decide the required grind setting from the vast options available depending on whether you want the coffee beans to be ground very fine or left little rough. The espresso quantity also can be determined by you for the machine to use. This feature encourages experimenting very well.
3. Hands-free grinding cradle
On pushing the portafilter inside the cradle, all the ground espresso will be sent straight towards the filter. Since it is an automated system, the grinding will stop automatically on dispensing the required coffee amount.
4. Filter size button
It comes with a button indicating the filter size, that is whether the double-wall or single-wall filter basket is being used by you. Based on this, the right coffee amount can be dispensed by it.
II. Additional Features of the Breville BES870XL
You need to make around twenty espresso cups daily in order to ensure it works fine. This is not a machine for commercial purpose.
It can be used anywhere in the United States of America as it is 110V/60 Hz.
It has all the add-ons that will be needed by you to make your espresso.
Primarily it is designed for grinding espresso beans. But, for beans of other quality, you change the settings of the grinder as per requirement and grind the beans in the same machine.
Clean the filter basket and the portafilter handle assembly after each use. Also, for complete cleaning, you can dislodge the grinds if any, bypassing little water through the group head.
Barista Express is best because of its controls that are very adjustable. Also, the manual settings are so user-friendly that it gives you the feel of being the real barista. Its performance is as good as other expensive machines. The beans are ground straight into the portafilter and it is simple to use. However, not everyone can afford this gadget because it demands extra patience and effort while operating it.
The Breville BES870XL gives freshly ground coffee each time you fill your cup. This is possible because of the integrated burr grinder that is conical that has dosing controls. You can grind the beans and also dose in less than 60 seconds straight into the filter.
It comes along with two filters that are double-walled. One filter for double shots and the other filter for single shots. It has been designed keeping in mind the importance of flexibility and convenience. This is the perfect espresso machine for beginners.
However, for those that enjoy making coffee just like creating art, the BES870XL does also come with single-wall filters. These make it possible for them to have their own tamp. If you wish to use a double-wall filter, this innovative model comes along with a special tamper that has a magnetized detachable lock. You attach it to the machine when you want to use the double-wall filter and detach when you want to use the single-wall filter.
You can program your Barista Express to brew you a double or single shot. Settings of the grinder can be adjusted according to your needs. The Breville BES870XL with a perfect mix of super and semi-automatic features is a well-developed machine.
The frothing and brewing are made simple by the thermocoil system for heating and the 15-bar pump that are part of this machine. Since the espresso is pre-programmed, you can make a double or single shot by just pressing the respective button. The preset options of your espresso can be overridden if you wish to manage the drink volume.
This machine has a portafilter holder that is hands-free. On selecting the desired filter size and after placing the portafilter in its place, the machine automatically doses the exact coffee amount. There is a button to this portafilter holder that enables you to get a set dose of coffee or customize it as per your requirement every time.
An auto dose is possible by pushing this button once while pushing and holding the same button lets you decide manually how much coffee needs to be ground. This Barista Express has an ample 67oz reservoir that is removable in addition to the water filter of carbon resin. This makes sure the water is clean and the espresso tastes wonderful. It also has a 360⁰ swivel commercial-style steam wand which has a frothing attachment made of stainless steel.
The attachment needs to be used only if a large quantity of milk is going to be frothed. If not, the wand should suffice for daily use. The new feature of this model is the hot water spout. This is excellent for making hot chocolate, tea or Americanos.
The Barista Express is a highly intuitive machine because of its knob and button-based controls. The machine has a contemporary stainless steel finishing. It is easy to read the large pressure gauge placed above the panel in front. Overall the BES870XL is a machine that is durable and user-friendly.
The built-in conical grinder made of stainless steel let’s one adjust the grind settings as per their convenience. To get the desired results, you can either select the Dual wall grind settings that are already present or choose from the 15 grinding size options.
In the same way, the knob placed above the panel allows you to enjoy the preset settings of the Dual Wall or you could manually select the grind volume.
The bean hopper which is transparent and removable stocks 8oz beans. The detachable burrs allow you to enjoy easy maintenance.
Breville BES870XL Machine is one of the best espresso machines that are semi-automatic. Beginners can use them easily. Experienced baristas will love the controls which are highly customizable.
Breville has undergone many changes in terms of improvements in comparison to the preceding version (860 XL). Design makeover is one of the remarkable improvements apart from making it possible to have more control over the brewing temperature.
III. Things To Know Before Buying A Breville Express BES870XL
When we fall in love with something we find it perfect and without any flaws. This brewer is incredible but not ideal for everyone. You must know certain things before you think of buying it. Your experience and skill level will come in handy.
Breville is an intermediate machine that offers attractive additional features. As an espresso beginner at home, you would like to know how to use this machine effectively.
For those who have been brewing espresso since some time now at home, this will be like a good challenge. It will challenge you to keep learning through the barista journey.
The Breville machine is semi-automatic which is very crucial. Because by this feature you can handle steaming or dosing hassle free. You can increase your experience for espresso brewing because of its semi-automatic nature. For those looking for easy and quick homemade quality espresso, you should try the automatic model.
Have an open mind and a set budget when you go shopping for this machine.
This world of espresso machines has a lot of choices and prices. You can get a budget machine for as low as below $100, and a great model for thousands of dollars. It is important for you to know which machine fits in your budget before you learn all its features.
Once you have decided which model suits your budget and requirements, the next thing to know about is this machine's reviews.
Excluding the milk and the beans, the Breville Barista Express's integrated all-inclusive features has it all to help you go on your brewing adventures at home.
The brushed body is made of stainless steel which comes along with a thermacoil 1600W system that helps maintain the espresso's and water's optimum temperature using a rich PID temperature control. This makes it simpler for you to have your coffee brewed without any fuss and with consistency.
Apart from its brewing capabilities, this machine’s quality build ensures you brew well to get a good tasting espresso like that of Italy. This is possible because the parts of this machine are made in Italy.
IV. Pros Of The Breville BES870XL
In any great espresso, the coffee grounded should be fine and at the same time, the grinding should be quick.
This machine BES870XL has Burr Grinders. These grinders can grind the coffee beans very quickly, like in a matter of a few seconds after which the ground coffee is sent to make a quick espresso.
For first timers, the pressurized dual-wall filters will be loved by them as this monitor the pressure apart from optimizing the coffee extraction. Thus giving them the perfect espresso.
They do not have to worry about any complex functions in order to make the desired espresso. And for experienced ones, they will prefer the non-pressurized single-wall filter as it will allow them to play with the various grind sizes, tamper pressure and grind amount.
The themocoil system that is used for heating in the machines gives a good espresso experience. It has made a huge improvement over the 860XL which is its predecessor. The water temperature is accurately regulated because of this heating system. In addition to this, it has the pre-brew mode which ensures that the coffee is distributed very well from the excellent coffee pluck.
Below are the additional pros of the Breville BES870XL
1. Everything included
The conical burrs made of stainless steel including the sixteen different grinds settings provide different options and quality. It allows fine-tuning the grinder to suit your requirement. And also allows you to dose using the single -wall or double-wall filters or use the manual option available.
Any beans that are unused can be offloaded and stored in airtight containers, to keep them fresh. This is possible because the machine has a removable hopper.
2. Great design
A quality espresso from a beautifully designed machine is worth flaunting.
This machine without any doubt attracts attention. When not in use, it can replace the centerpiece of the kitchen table adding beauty to the kitchen. The brushed stainless steel body and the very polished “coffee shop-esque” design, is what makes this machine a beauty.
3. Easy to use
The multiple baskets that come along with the portafilter, let’s you brew a single shot or double shots. And the manual option for dosing allows you to improve the way you brew till you brew the perfect cream and shot.
The storage is made easy because of the brewer's nifty magnetic tamper.
You can be a pro at steaming your milk as the Breville warms up in thirty seconds and has a 360⁰ control.
You could add some features of “commercial class" to these like….
The PID temperature control which gives brewing consistency.
The “dry puck" quality of Breville that helps clean up easily.
The pressure gauge for brewing that ensures the right pressure needed to brew a perfect espresso.
Above all this machine lets you be a barista with advanced brewing skills. It also has a surface to warm the cup right on top.
4. Easy Cleaning
No one likes cleaning.
Hence the people who created this machine made sure it could be cleaned easily by having a filtration system and a water tank that is removable. Also the cleaning tables and the inbuilt “clean me" light make cleaning fast and easy.
The drip tray alerts you when it gets full through the “Empty Me!” pop up indicator. It is very easy to remove the tray. Thus demanding lesser time for maintenance.
Also, because the drip tray has the brewer and the grinder on it, all the brewing mess can be found in one spot making cleaning so easy.
However, the best thing in terms of cleaning this machine is that it has it’s own cleaning tools. These are tucked at the machine's bottom.
5. There is nothing lacking because of the size and water capacity
The water capacity of 2 liter/67 fluid ounce for an average espresso is a decent size. This machine and as well as the other models for the home, cannot go above the average shot. This should not a big issue as at home people normally prefer average shots unless they want Americanos.
The Barista Express fits well on the kitchen counter by occupying lesser space. Though the machine is a little bigger and wider, the saves grinder space comes to the rescue.
Who doesn’t want a quality shot of espresso? For a fiddler, Breville will be very fascinating as it gives control over steaming and dosing. But someone who just wants a good cup of espresso, they might as well try the other easier options available in the market.
V. Cons Of The Espresso Machine BES870XL
Despite Breville putting in a tremendous effort on performance and design, the dispenser for hot water could have improved. Also, the machine needs diligent maintenance even though it works very well on its own. And the grinder can become noisy and loud if it is not cleaned on time. Though the grinder can be replaced, it still is its weakness. Since the machine is tall, please do check and compare it with the dimensions of your kitchen, to make sure it can fit in there.
VI. Main Parts Of The Breville BES870XL
1. The Grinder
This burr grinder only favors an espresso. By that I mean it can only grind to make an espresso. That is one drawback and it doesn't make sense. Because the standalone grinders manufactured by Breville are multi-purpose grinders but they have limited the use of such an awesome machine to only brew an espresso.
2. Filling the Hopper
There is a protruding bean hopper integrated into this machine which protrudes from above the machine. You can easily empty the beans from the hopper by removing the hopper instead of tossing the machine totally upside-down. The removable hopper is a savior indeed.
In case you do not wish to empty the hopper, there is nothing to worry. The flavor of the beans will be intact because of the UV-protected hopper. You could easily serve your house guests coffee after dinner because the hopper can store as much as a bit more than half a pound.
3. Setting the Grind
The machine has a tiny dial on its left side that can help adjust the overall grind coarseness. You will have to get used to the dial settings on getting fresh beans till you get the perfect espresso shot. It does get a bit messier when playing with these settings. This is because, in the absence of a portafilter below the spout, your coffee will directly head into the dip tray.
When experimenting with the consistency of the grind, always grind using an empty portafilter. This makes cleaning up way easier.
After you have set the right dial setting for the grind, the espresso dose will need to be adjusted. This can be done using the knob that is placed on the machine’s front side. The knob helps in adjusting the dose and also in dispensing the proper amount needed.
After the grind coarseness and the amount of dose is set, the portafilter basket needs to be filled. The grounds are dispensed by the grinder from a chute which has an integrated portafilter holder which helps slide easily the portafilter into the holder and grind directly into the filter basket. Cleaning up and dispensing thus become extremely easy.
VII. The Espresso Machine
This machine very much resembles the Breville Infuser just like a clone. Breville Infuser is also a type of espresso machine. The machine enables the extraction to be done in a semi-automatic way, has a pressure gauge, buttons for double or single shots, dispenser for hot water, and a steam wand. Not forgetting the magnetic tamper that is integrated into the machine.
Breville has been excellent in selling the Dial Boiler, the Infuser and also the Oracle Machines. They have designed them that well. This machine also has the same engineering as the above-mentioned machines.
1. Water Reservoir
Against the back of the machine, you will find a nicely snuggled water reservoir. This can store two liters of water at one go and hence doesn’t need refilling too often. The impurities from the tap water are removed with the help of the charcoal filter that is part of the reservoir. This way your machine will remain healthy for a lifetime. They don’t have to be replaced too frequently. It is good the machine has this inbuilt.
The daily commuter is mostly in a hurry. This machine is great for them as preheating happens within a few minutes.
The brewer top part starts getting warmer while the machine is heating up. This can help you to preheat the espresso glasses also. You will need to switch on this machine at least ten to fifteen minutes before usage in order to do this.
Once you have dosed your fresh coffee beans into the baskets of the portafilter, you can tamp the grounds down. Coffee tamping helps get accurate pressure in the machine's portafilter and also helps extract the brewed espresso properly. One needs to buy a tamper for other machines. But for this machine, it has it included. The magnetic 53mm tamper which is removable fits well into the portafilter. Once you are done using it, it snaps back nicely into its place.
After you have tamped your coffee properly, the portafilter needs to be attached to the machine’s group head. Before you extract your espresso, the shot size needs to be selected. You could either go for the single or the double shot. After you have selected the shot size, the machine begins pressuring. Just make sure to place the espresso glass below the machine or the drip tray will receive the tasty shot.
When extracting the shot, the machine gets louder and rumbles. The coarseness of your grind and the dose decide the extraction time of the machine. If all is well, it can extract within 25 to 35 seconds. However since every shot volume is measured by the machine by default, there is a possibility of it to vary.
Extracting the espresso manually is what we would prefer. For this, hold down the double or single shot button. By doing this the machine starts to pressurize. You will see the dial hand move towards the “pre-infusion" section. After this happens, the button needs to release. Once you have got the right amount extracted, the button needs to be pressed again. The extraction will stop by doing this. By manually extracting the espresso, you get more control over the process.
5. Milk Frothing
Frothing milk using the steam wand is made simpler by Breville. You only have to fill the pitcher with the required quantity of milk. The pitcher is made of stainless steel. Make sure to fill the pitcher a little less than what you require as the milk will stretch.
The knob needs to be switched to activate the steam function once the pitcher is filled with the milk. This knob is placed on the machines right side. Just by chance if you had to switch the button in the opposite direction, then hot water would dispense from the dispenser that is placed near this machines group head. This would be ideal when making a tasty Americano.
After switching the knob to steam, you have to make the wand point the drop that’s the hole. The machine will make a pulsing sound after the pump kicks in. This will be followed by steam shooting out from the wand within few moments which heads straight to the drip tray's hole. Initially, the steam will spit a little amount of water. This is good as it will not mix-up with your milk.
Once the water is out of the wand, the steam can be switched off and the steam light will start to pulse. After 10 seconds to switch it on again or the pressure will be discharged. After you have done this on time, slide the wand into your pitcher with the nozzle pointing at an angle downward into the pitcher. Just make sure that it is not more than1/4” deep inside your milk.
You will notice the moll stretching in no time. The creamy silky foam will fill the pitcher up. Switch off the steam after steaming the milk as per your liking. And take a damp cloth and wipe any residual milk from the wand. Lastly, purge the steam wand into the drip tray again.
VIII. Cleaning The Breville Barista Express BES870XL
You can clean the Breville Barista Express daily or have recurring maintenance.
1. After Use
Our suggestion is to clean the machine daily after every coffee cup you make.
Any leftover coffee grounds can be removed by pressing the button for a single shot with no portafilter attached. This needs to be done after you extract an espresso shot. This process does use more water a bit, however, in turn, it helps the brew head remain clean.
After steaming your milk, do use a damp cloth that is warm to clean the wand relieving it from dried milk deposits. This helps your machine remain bacteria free. To avoid the nozzle from clogging, purge the steam wand into the dip tray.
Once you are done with brewing for the day, cleaning the machine is a good idea. You should clean it off any leftover grounds and wipe off any espresso splashes from the stainless steel. Or else, it will get very difficult to clean it after some days.
2. Maintenance on a regular basis
Water Filter: The carbon water filters used, have to be replaced after a maximum of 60 days. It is important to use the filters as the machine’s life span is lengthened and there is less need for the machine to be decalcified.
Clean Me: The machine will automatically signal you that it needs cleaning by illuminating the Clean Me light. You will find this routine's instructions in the manual’s. However, you must not delay cleaning by a few days after this light illuminates. The delay could make the cleaning very difficult with more and more residual building up.
Decalcifying: Breville suggests you decalcify your machine every month. Or else, the machines internal components will have a mineral buildup if the water is hard.
Dip Tray: To keep bacteria away from the machine you have to take soapy warm water to rinse the tray every time you try to empty it. We suggest this because the tray fills way faster than how you would have preferred it and a dark thin coffee sediment film start accumulating on the sides and the bottom of your machines dip tray.
To conclude BES870XL Espresso Machine is a good choice for home use. This requires you to make around twenty cups of espresso daily. This machine has many good features and the pricing is very attractive.