The Sage Barista Express, or Breville Barista Express, by Heston Blumenthal is the ideal manual espresso machine for a new home barista.
It’s one of the better machines available in its price range. This machine stands out as a high-end home coffee machine of the highest quality.
Our Sage Barista Express review will cover everything you need to know about this machine.
Sage Barista Express Review in a Nutshell
The Sage Barista Express bean-to-cup machine pours an even and creamy espresso in under a minute. This Sage coffee machine works efficiently without cutting corners.
With minimal effort from you, this bean-to-cup machine uses a predictable and consistent ground level and volume for every espresso.
Thanks to the 15-bar pressure pump, the steam wand provides a consistent burst of steam which makes frothing milk easy.
Our Sage espresso machine review found that the built-in grinder works wonders and has 18 grind levels to choose from.
The smart features on the device allow for a true barista sensation:
- Users can set their ground dose for each shot as well as the amount of water poured through.
This provides a true consistency in both flavour and strength for each espresso.
- The espresso machine has a built-in temperature gauge that prevents water from overheating and burning the ground beans.
- There’s also a separate hot water arm meaning you wouldn’t need to boil water on the side.
The machine also comes with a stainless steel milk jug and tamper. These are necessary tools if you’d like to froth milk like a pro.
The Barista Express BES875UK is a perfect all-in-one machine for your kitchen.
The Sage Barista coffee machine’s features are above the expectation for its price and don’t cut corners, but provide fantastic quality.
Let’s get into the details of this Sage Barista Express BES875UK review.
Our Barista Express Sage review found that this machine’s specifications blew away its competitors. Here’s a list of what to expect from your coffee machine.
|Accessories||Razor dose trimming tool
54mm stainless steel portafilter
One-cup & two-cup single & dual wall filter baskets
Stainless steel milk jug
Cleaning disc and tablets
Cleaning brush, tool, and allen key
Water filter holder and water filter
|Capacity||Bean hopper capacity: 250 grams
Water tank capacity: 2 litres
|Pump Pressure Bar||15-bar|
|Construction Materials||Brushed stainless steel|
|Maximum Mug Height||100 mm|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||32.5 cm x 31 cm x 40 cm|
|Heating System||Integrated stainless steel 1850w thermocoil|
|Pre Infusion Function||Gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction|
|Purge Function||Automatically adjusts water temperatures after steam for optimal espresso temperature|
|Settings||Single or double shots
Adjustable grind amount
|Warranty||Two-year repair, replace, or refund guarantee (at the sole discretion of Sage appliances)|
In our review of the Sage Barista BES875UK Express we found a clear all-rounder of a coffee machine.
The features included in such an entry-level machine are why we added this to our top 10 bean-to-cup coffee machines.
- Integrated Grinder with Dose-Control: The integrated bean grinder by Conical Burr helps deliver a consistently fresh dose for each espresso.
The grinder has 18 settings. This customised grind size allows the user to control how fine they’d like their grounds.
The front panel also has a ground amount knob which allows you to control the amount of ground coffee released from the hopper.
This feature makes it easy to switch beans and readjust the espresso machine for making a perfect espresso.
The coffee bean hopper holds 250 grams, which is the size of a regular coffee bag.
But, you may only want to add 80 to 100 grams at a time to avoid your beans from going stale.
The Sage Express has a cradle that holds the portafilter while releasing the dose.
This also provides a place to leave the portafilter while not using the espresso machine.
- Precise Espresso Extraction: The digital temperature control (PID) is a special component that delivers water at the correct temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction.
The Sage Barista Express coffee machine includes a pre-infusion function.
This function gradually releases the water pressure, ensuring that the grinds expand and the espresso extracts evenly.
- Steam wand: The steam wand releases a consistent amount of steam at high pressure.
This allows users to handle their milk well, and easily create a vortex when frothing the milk.
The milk jug that comes with the machine provided the last milk frothing tool that a barista needs for a flat white.
The jug includes a temperature gauge that shows users the milk temperature.
A trained manual espresso machine barista will have no issues extracting the natural sweetness from their milk while creating micro-foam for latte art.
- Stainless Steel Finish: The stainless steel finish allows for a classic yet modern and minimalistic look.
Sage ensured that their Barista Express both looks and works professionally.
A stainless steel coffee machine demonstrates the quality and durability behind the machine.
At only 32.5 cm wide and 40 cm high, this machine’s compact design doesn’t take up too much room in your kitchen, but still has a professional look.
These compact dimensions are impressive considering the machine includes an integrated grinder.
- Portafilter: The portafilter helps provide a full barista sensation. Many bean-to-cup coffee machines in this range don’t include a DIY portafilter.
The included portafilter comes with a single and a double shot basket for personal preference.
The cradle holds the portafilter while not in use which contributes to the device’s minimalistic look.
The Sage Barista Express includes a Razor™ precision dose trimming tool which is handy at moving the coffee grounds across the basket evenly.
Ensuring that your puck tamps evenly is essential to keeping the espresso full and consistent.
You’ll notice the difference this tool makes when examining a puck that you used the tool with, and a puck you did not use it with.
The one you used the tool on will be an evenly wet puck. This indicates even expansion of the coffee grounds, and universal water penetration.
- Front panel: The front panel of the device has multiple options to adjust your espresso shot.
- Power Button: For turning the device on and off. The machine will automatically turn off after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- Grind Amount Knob: This allows the user to control the amount of ground coffee released from the hopper.
- Filter Size: This button determines whether the machine releases enough ground coffee for a single shot or a double shot.
- Single and double shot buttons: These buttons determine the amount of water released when pouring either a single or double shot.
By default, they’ll pour 30ml and 60ml retrospectively, though they can be programmed for personal preference.
- Programme Button: Mainly used to reset and adjust the single or double cup shot volumes.
You can also use this button to program other machine functions, like pressure and water temperature.
- Clean me LED: A white LED that indicates when the device needs to be rinsed and cleaned.
- Hot Water Steam LED: A white LED that turns on to indicate when the steam wand is ready for use.
- A Steam Knob: On the left of the machine is a knob used to release steam or hot water from the steam wand.
Issues to Consider
As with most things, this machine isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It has some issues to consider before buying it.
- Cleaning and Descaling: the manufacturer includes all necessary cleaning tools for the device.
However, cleaning this device isn’t as simple and easy as some other bean-to-cup coffee machines.
The drip tray is small and you need to empty and clean it after every use of the Barista Express. This can become quite tedious.
The blind filter works just fine. You should use it often to ensure your machine is clean and that no gunk hinders your machine’s performance.
Descaling the machine is essential for a machine of this quality.
Although how often you do it depends on personal preference, we suggest descaling and cleaning out your machine regularly.
Our descaling guide will help to ensure that you descale your machine correctly.
- Grinder: We’re impressed that the machine has an integrated grinder with 18 adjustment levels.
However, you can’t compare this to having a free-standing professional grinder like Sage’s Smart Grinder Pro. They often have up to 60 adjustment levels.
The integrated grinder provides consistency, but it’s arguable whether it can grind coffee beans fine enough to be considered a “true espresso grinder.”
The grinder doesn’t have a function where you can hold a button and grind all the beans out of the hopper.
Using an espresso machine is great. However, sometimes you just want filter coffee, such as when you’re making coffee for multiple people.
- Single Boiler: Okay we may be a little fussy here, but having a single boiler machine means you can’t steam your milk while the espresso is busy pouring out.
This means your espresso shot will stand out for a minute or so before you can pour your milk into it.
This affects the taste and removes the perfect crema aspect which is a benefit to the machine.
This also slows you down when you want to make a quick cup of coffee or coffee for multiple people.
Setting up Your Sage Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
No Sage coffee machine review would be complete without a look at setting up the machine.
Setting up the Sage bean-to-cup machine is a simple process and takes about 15 minutes on average.
- Location: Find the best location in your kitchen to keep the item.
- Hopper: Fit the bean hopper at the top of the machine. The fit is snug and locks in to ensure the beans are air-tight.
The Filter Size LED will flash if the hopper isn’t locked in correctly.
- Water Filter: Fit the water filter in properly.
- Take the water filter and holder out of the packaging and soak the filter in clean cold water for 5 minutes (You should replace the filter every 3 months)
- Insert the filter tightly into the filter holder.
- Install the filter holder into the water tank.
- Align the base of the filter holder with the adapter inside the water tank.
- Push down to lock into place.
- Water Tank: Fill the water tank with 2 litres of cold water.
- Power: Plug the power cord into a 230V power outlet. Press the POWER button to switch the machine on.
The POWER button light will flash while the machine is heating.
- Rinse: Rinse all the machines’ internal components by running water through the system as follows:
- Press the double shot button to run water through the group head.
- Position the steam wand towards the drip tray and run hot water through it for 10 seconds.
- Repeat two to three times.
- Grind: Add beans to the bean hopper and select your preferred grind size. The grind size will change according to the bean and its roast level.
Sage recommends starting at setting 8, though we suggest a finer setting is a good starting point.
After these steps, you should be ready to start your barista journey on the Sage Barista Express BES875UK!
How to Make an Espresso With the Sage Barista Express
Espresso is the king of coffees and perfecting it can be difficult. It’s the base of your lattes, mochas, iced coffees, etc.
The Barista Express is a great tool for making espresso. However, understanding how to make it is part of the art of being a barista.
So here’s a step-by-step guide to pouring a consistent espresso shot using your Sage bean-to-cup coffee machine.
What You Need:
- Fresh beans
- 150 ml milk
- Small cup (200-250 ml capacity)
- Milk Jug
- Power the machine on and let it idle for about three minutes while it heats up.
- Place your single or double-shot basket inside the portafilter, we suggest double shots.
- Place the portafilter into its cradle under the grinder. Push and release for the grinder to do its work. Ensure that your filter size is set correctly.
- Preheat the cup by running heated water through the portafilter and cup before adding coffee.
- Ensure your grinder releases the correct dose of ground coffee.
The ideal amount is usually between 14 and 18 grams but can vary depending on your tastes and the machine.
A traditional Italian 30ml double espresso is made with a 14-gram dose
- Once the ground is complete, grab the tamper and tamp down firmly. When tamping, do your best to push the grounds down evenly.
If the tamp is uneven, the water finds an easy channel to escape through and gives us the worst coffee ever.
- Use the Razor™ precision dose trimming tool. This helps trim the puck of uneven grounds and ensures the puck is at the correct level for consistent extraction.
- Purge the group head by pressing a single shot button. Water will run for a few seconds ensuring the group head is cleaned from any gunk and previous grounds.
- Place the portafilter in the group head and lock it into place firmly.
- Place your cup under the portafilter and press the single or double shot button, depending on the basket selected.
The golden rule is the extraction process takes about 30 seconds from start to finish.
If you’d like to make a flat white and froth up some milk, check out our guide to latte art.
Sage Barista Express BES875UK vs Sage Barista Pro SES878BSS
Sage has a few really extraordinary coffee makers to choose from, the Sage Barista Pro is one up on the Sage Barista Express.
How different are the two? Is the price difference worth it? This section of the Sage coffee maker review takes a closer look.
With a £100 price difference, It comes down to what your budget is, and what you’re looking for in an espresso machine. Here’s a side-by-side comparison between the two.
|Feature||Barista Express||Barista Pro|
|Interface||LCD Screen & Button Control||Analog Gauge Button Control|
|Shot Process||Hands-On Like A Barista||Hands-On Like A Barista|
|Steam Wand||Café Quality||Café Quality|
|Precise Milk Temperature||Manual||Automatic|
|Grinder||Built-in Conical Burr||Built-in Conical Burr|
|Heat Up Time||One Minute||Three Seconds|
The Pro has features, like the three-second heat-up and precise milk temperature, that minimise the barista’s effort.
The LCD Display is very handy in extracting your espresso to the exact silky smooth shot you desire. The drip tray is also slightly larger.
Although these features are nice to have in a home coffee machine, it’s possible to perfect their related functions on the Barista Express.
Considering the £100 price difference, we peg the Barista Express as the winner here. Let us know in the comments if you agree.
Why Should I Choose The Sage Barista Express Machine?
The Barista Express BES875UK is a brilliant espresso machine that competes well against any other coffee machine at its price range.
We even added it to our top 10 bean-to-cup coffee machines.
The Barista Express has all the components needed by beginner baristas looking to expand their skills.
The espresso machine has a classic look and will catch the eye of anybody who enters your kitchen.
Our Sage Barista Express bean-to-cup coffee machine review makes it clear that the features outweigh the potential issues.
Worldwide, Sage (Breville) is renowned for its quality coffee machines. The Barista Express is proof of that quality. The device checks all the boxes for the home barista.
The machine’s typical retail price is just under £600 though you may sometimes find it on sale for less than £500.
This espresso machine’s performance exceeds our expectations and will certainly be a welcome addition to your home.
Are you thinking about purchasing a machine but this Sage Barista Express doesn’t tickle your fancy? Check out our reviews on the Beko Bean to cup review, Sage Duo Temp Pro, Sage Dual Boiler, Sage Bambino Plus, Sage Smart Grinder Pro, and Sage Oracle Touch.
Dan is a former competition barista and has been honing his knowledge of coffee for over two decades.
He has worked in coffee farms in Peru, as well as roasters in Australia. He now trains new baristas and hosts cupping experiences in Austin.
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