Making espresso is well-known for being a “fine art” as well as a science, one which requires the home barista to meticulously set the settings for grinding and beverage quantity, just to name a couple of the needed settings.
Among 231 customer reviews at the time of this writing, this Breville home espresso maker comes out with an overall average customer rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Whether you are a newbie to espresso making looking for a great way to a crash course, or a seasoned barista, the Breville BES870XL Barista Express home espresso maker offers you unlimited freedom to either easily learn or further explore the fine art of espresso making, right in the comfort of your own home.
- Auto-programming or not – your choice – programmable features include grind size and amount, a purge function (which allows for automatic adjustment of water temperature level after steam, for optimum espresso extraction). You can also choose not to set any programmable options.
- Indicator lights showing when the removable drip tray is ready to be emptied and when the machine needs to be cleaned.
Machine Classification (i.e., super-automatic, semi-auto, or manual)
This machine is in the semi-automatic class of home espresso machines.
Information Regarding Programmable Options
Programmable settings that come with this machine include options for grind size, grind amount, a purge function, which allows for automatic adjustment of water temperature level after steam, for optimum espresso extraction. Also provides a light indicating the removable drip tray is ready to be emptied, as well as another indicator light when the machine needs to be cleaned.
In addition, if you aren’t interested in having this machine auto-programmed for whatever reason, this machine allows the user the option of using auto-program or allowing the user complete control each time the machine is used…your choice!
Info. Regarding Ease of Use
This Breville is reported as being very easy to use for beginners and seasoned baristas alike. As with any new “thing,” there will be some learning curve involved in learning where the different controls are and how they are used. One customer who provided a review stated that the user instructions that arrived with the machine were very comprehensive and thorough.
What types of beverages does this machine make?
All types of espresso beverages can be made with this home espresso maker, including espresso and lungo (tall) shots, Americanos, macchiatos, and more.
Because this machine has a steaming (frothing) wand built into it, any beverages you can order at your local Starbucks can be made, including drinks with and without milk froth and/or latte art.
How much cup “clearance” does this machine allow for?
This machine provides approximately 4 inches of cup height clearance, much more than most other home espresso machines.
Does this machine use pods/capsules or ground coffee?
This machine does not have the capability to use pods or capsules. If it is freshly-ground coffee beans you prefer, this would be a good choice for you.
If you are looking for a machine that uses pods/capsules over something that requires you to grind your own beans or use pre-ground coffee, a better choice for you would be one of the Nespresso home espresso machines, such as the Nespresso Citiz with milk Aeroccino Plus milk frother. Most of the Nespresso home espresso machines utilize only today’s convenient and popular pods/capsules.
However, keep in mind that if you do make the choice to have a machine that uses only capsules, you will be required to keep purchasing the capsules throughout the time you use this machine. If so, there are automatic order options available so that you are assured of always having capsules available for your next cup of java.
Two dual-walled pressurized filters for excellent pressure control, assuring maximum flavor extraction from ground coffee. Or, if you are experienced and are looking for experimentation, also includes two single-wall filters that are non-pressurized, providing even more room for experimentation of various grinds, beverage quantities, and tamping pressure.
Does this machine have a built-in coffee bean grinder?
This home espresso machine has a built-in stainless steel conical burr grinder for bean to cup espresso production and no counter top mess to clean up.
What is the bean hopper size in this machine?
The sealed bean hopper in this espresso maker holds a whopping half pound of coffee beans.
Does this particular machine have an LCD display?
Although there is no actual LCD display on this Breville, it does have a very attractive front panel that not only looks great, but also offers a wide variety of settings for you to choose from. If a front panel LCD display is a feature you absolutely feel you need on the home espresso machine of your choice, a really great choice would be the Philips Saeco Intelia.
What is the frothing capability of this machine?
The Breville Barista Express features a frothing wand that has 360-degree swivel capability.
What is the brew time length of this machine?
Brew time length is incredibly quick – from whole coffee beans to completely brewed espresso generally in less than one minute. The large bean hopper size and water reservoir assures you will have water and beans already waiting a good majority of the time, requiring just the push of a button or two for fresh home-brewed espresso.
How many cups at a time can be made with this machine?
Allows for presetting the machine for either one- or two-cup volumes of beverage at a time.
Does it have a cup warmer?
This home espresso maker does have a cup warming tray.
What colors is this machine available in?This machine is available in stainless steel, cranberry red, and sesame black. There is sure to be one that fits into pretty much any kitchen decor.
What type of housing (outside casing) does this machine have?
This Breville home espresso maker is constructed of stainless steel.
What type of water heating system does this machine have?
This machine does not have a boiler like lots of the home espresso machines howadays have. Instead, it features a stainless-steel Thermocoil water heating system.
Does this machine have dual boilers?
Not applicable – The water used in this machine is heated with a Thermocoil heating system, which is reportedly one of the best heating systems available for espresso makers.
Is this machine noisy?
As with all of the home espresso machines evaluated thus far at this site, this one is also somewhat noisy. If you definitely want a home espresso machine, you likely will not be able to find one that makes as little noise as a standard coffee maker does.
What is the bar pump pressure information regarding this machine?
The BES870XL by Breville has 15 bars of pump pressure.
Water Tank Size
Features of this one include a very large 67-ounce (2 liter) water reservoir, which is sufficient to brew many espresso beverages before needing a refill.
Info. Regarding Water Tank Access
The water tank is removable and is a top-fill water tank. It removes from the back of the machine, which requires the user to slide the machine out from under cupboards if the machine is underneath cupboards.
Info. Regarding Ease of Clean-Up
The combination of a built-in coffee bean grinder and a removable drip tray allows for ease of clean-up.
The built-in grinder means you won’t have the fuss and muss of cleaning up ground coffee off your countertop.
Although the drip tray does catch most or all of any spills, the drip tray does need to be periodically emptied.
This machine weighs 23 pounds. If you are searching for something not quite as heavy, consider one of the Nespressos, such as the Nespresso Citiz.
Machine Dimensions (Measurements)
This home espresso brewer is 13.2 x 12.5 x 15.8 inches. If you don’t want something quite that large due to lack of counter space or other reasons, you might want to consider one of the Nespressos, such as the Nespresso Citiz.
Shipping and Warranty Info.
If you are an Amazon Prime customer and order from them via one of the links at this site, shipping is totally free.For those of you who are not Amazon Prime members, the shipping weight is 29 pounds.
This Breville home espresso machine has a 1-year limited warranty.
This Breville uses 1,600 watts of power.
Customer Reviews – Pros & Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons that are actual reports from customers who have purchased and used this espresso machine.
- Makes a great cup of your favorite espresso beverage.
- Features include no-slip feet, which keep the machine from sliding across the counter when in use.
- Tons of settings provide for a great deal of options when it comes to brewing the perfect espresso beverages.
- The beautiful stainless-steel housing on this machine ensures it will look great with any decor, particularly with the range of colors it comes in, which include black, silver, and red.
- Those people who love a cup warmer with their machine will love the Breville BES870XL, as it does, in fact, have a cup warmer.
- Steaming of milk was felt to be very easy with this machine, as well as the clean-up of the wand afterward.
- People who are new to using an espresso machine absolutely can learn to operate this machine pretty easily, although there will be somewhat of a learning curve for someone who has not made espresso before.
- Some owners of the Breville BES870XL have stated it does require some clean-up after use, which was attributed to the distance between the drip tray and the espresso outlet.
- The water tank located on the back of this machine was considered to be inconvenient by some.
- The noise this machine makes is about the same as most or all other home espresso machines (i.e., it is noisy).
If you are unsure of exactly what you are searching for in an espresso maker or the actual making of espresso, this article may help you understand some things you don’t understand.