Breville BES870XL Review
Last updated on: 2019-02-16
#1 Rated Espresso Machine in Category: Best Coffee Maker
For anyone who enjoys a good cup of coffee in the morning, having a Breville BES870XL that produces a consistent cup of delicious coffee is crucial. This makes buying this premium coffee maker a wise investment.
Breville Barista Express BES870XL Espresso Maker is just marvelous. With its integrated conical burr grinder and dosing controller, the machine produces the best pathway from espresso bean to thick crema in fewer than 100 seconds.
Consumers opinion: Breville BES870XL earns an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 from more than 1,861 Reviews on Amazon, one of the best selling in category Espresso coffee machines.
Are you looking for an affordable espresso machine that delivers wonderful coffee? A lot of products on the market tend to either be affordable but fail on flavor or astonish you with amazing espresso at a price you can’t afford.
Then came along the Breville BES870XL Barista Express, producing a flavor that is comparable to the fully-automatic machines. The barista-quality coffee takes less than one minute to make from bean to espresso.
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express includes a grinder to make it easy to have freshly ground beans every time you have an espresso. The steam wand provides smooth micro-foam to compliment lattes and cappuccinos. Both are combined to produce a full-flavored cup of coffee.
The cost is only a few hundred dollars more than the majority of the models available at the lower price point. When you consider all the money you will save from not buying your coffee from pricey cafés, it won’t seem as expensive.
What is Important
This review contains a wealth of knowledge when it comes to researching espresso machines, more specifically the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. Besides reading opinions about flavor, all the features are explained and compared to some of the other available options.
Here are some key topics that will be covered:
- Factors that help determine the quality of espresso produced and how this machine measures up.
- Why the Breville Barista Express stands out from other machines currently on the market.
- How performance and maintenance are evaluated for quality and ease of use.
Four elements for café-quality shots include – dose, temperature, pressure, and steam.
Here is why they are important and what you can do to optimize your results:
- Dose – This machine provides an approximate dose of 19-22 grams. Typical coffee machines usually only deliver a dose of 11-13 grams of ground coffee. This is not enough to produce that rich taste.
- Temperature – The infuser uses digital temperature control technology, known as Precise PID Temperature Control. This helps to ensure the temperature is always within its best range, reducing fluctuations during the extraction of the espresso, returning a balanced taste.
- Pressure – There is a low-pressure pre-brew that evenly soaks the ground coffee, causing it to expand. A flat shower head distributes water in such a way that it evens out coffee grounds in the coffee puck. This provides sweet and creamy results.
- Steam Manually – Obtaining the correct amount of steam pressure draws in air and makes micro-bubbles. The manual steam wand for the infuser turns milk into a silky-smooth micro-foam, perfect for lattes and cappuccinos.
Mastering Your Techniques
The Breville Barista Express is easy to learn how to operate once you read the instruction manual very thoroughly. However, it can take quite a while to learn the correct techniques to create the perfect shot of espresso.
Obtaining the best results require a mixture of art and science. Careful readjusting will be needed. Semi-automatic machines can end up with undrinkable shots due to the slightest variations.
Different amounts of coffee, the coarseness of the grind, how hard you tamper the filter, or a combination of all three can affect your outcome. It might take a little bit of trial and error, but eventually, you will get the hang of it.
Other Items to Note
For steam or micro-foam, you will need to wait for the steam boiler to reach the required temperature. This takes between 20 and 30 seconds.
The machine automatically adjusts the water temperature after the steam is used to ensure it is providing the optimal espresso extraction temperature. A large majority of other machines can’t handle this operation because they are not powerful enough.
A grinding cradle holds the steel portafilter in place under the brew head. Ground coffee is automatically deposited into the portafilter.
The included 54mm metal tamper is used to slightly press the grounds into the portafilter. The tamper is magnetized for easy storage after you are done. Don’t overfill, or there is a slight chance coffee grounds may get into the water reservoir or cradle area.
Some people have complained about the beans getting too hot if they are left in the hopper/grinder area. If you feel this is the case, you can always use the included scoop to pour fresh beans in each time you use the machine instead of leaving any beans in the machine.
It is recommended that you keep beans in an airtight container to maximize flavor. If left out, beans can become stale and affect the taste.
There are built-in reminders that will notify you when to clean the appliance. It comes with cleaning tools that are conveniently stored in the bottom of the machine. All machines need to be cleaned on a regular basis to keep them working properly.
There are minimal moving parts and no milk reservoirs to clean. You should get into the habit of removing grounds immediately after use. Rinse the portafilter with hot water and then pump hot water through the brew head to prepare it for its next use.
The drip tray is partitioned into two areas, one for dry messes and the other for wet messes, to help ease cleaning. Because it is removable, it is very simple to clean. There is another indicator to let you know when this tray becomes full.
There is also an automated cleaning cycle that washes the insides of the group head. Using the dissolvable cleaning tablets made specifically for espresso machines will help keep your appliance running well.
The Breville Barista Express features a brushed stainless steel casing. The compact footprint, approximately twice the size of a regular coffee maker, can be easily integrated into many kitchens. Keep in mind that the footprint also includes a grinder.
The boxy shape, large bean hopper, and silver buttons and knobs combine to create a look that is modern and demands attention. This professional looking machine is comprised of Italian made parts, helping to create that genuine taste.
Included are non-slip feet that help keep the espresso machine in place. Due to the vibrations the grinder causes, there’s a chance that the machine can slightly move with each use. The feet help prevent this from happening.
Here you will find a quick breakdown of some of the many features available on the Breville Barista Express:
- Power, Filter Size and Program buttons make it easy to operate the machine.
- Pressure Gauge to ensure consistency.
- Italian-Manufactured 15 Bar Pump Thermocoil Heating System
- Interchangeable Filters designed for beginners and those who are more skilled.
- Preset Shot Sizes that can be reprogrammed.
- Large Bin Hopper that holds up to a half-pound of beans.
- Built-In Burr Coffee Grinder comes with dose-control options.
- Removable Water Tank makes it easy to fill. The tank holds two liters (67 fluid ounces).
- Water Filters help to remove impurities from the water.
- Professional Grade Steam Wand can swivel 360 degrees and provides micro-foam milk texturing.
- PID Temperature Control supplies water at a consistent temperature for a full-flavored espresso.
- User’s Manual provides detailed instructions that should be read before operating.
- Cup Warmer on top of the machine allows you to preheat your cup for those cold winter days.
- Removable Drip Tray includes partitions to keep wet and dry spills apart for minimal cleanup.
- Excellent Customer Service will speak with you through online chat or the phone. You can also fill out an online form to open a new customer service case.
- Dimensions: 16 x 13.5 x 12.5 inches
- Weight: 23 pounds
The most features of this machine were mentioned above. Here are some of those items with additional details about how they work:
This espresso machine comes with two dual-wall filters and two single-wall filters. The dual-wall filters are designed for people who are new to making espresso. These pressurized filters regulate pressure to help optimize espresso extraction.
The single-wall filters are more challenging, created for those who have mastered their techniques. These non-pressurized filters allow you to experiment with different grind sizes, amounts, and the tamping pressure.
The built-in grinder is made of stainless steel and features conical burrs which optimize extraction by maximizing the surface area of the grinds. Freshly ground beans produce crema that is more rich and thick.
The on-demand grinder has dose-control with options for choosing how coarse you want your coffee grounds to be. You might need to change coarseness depending on the types of beans you are using.
The grinder automatically returns the proper amount for one or two shots, or a manual amount, depending on your selection. On the front, the left side of the machine is where you can find a button to select how many shots. Near there is also a knob to determine the grind size, with options ranging from coarse to fine.
The hot water nozzle and professional grade steam wand are located to the right of the brew head and can be activated by a large knob on the right side.
The large bean hopper is removable to make it easy to refill or return beans back to an airtight container to keep them fresh. The hopper can hold up to a half-pound of beans.
In this espresso machine, there is an internal pump that pushes hot water through coffee grounds at optimal pressure. If this is done too fast, you will lose flavor, resulting in soar tasting espresso. If this is done too slow, it results in a bitter taste.
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express comes in at an interesting price point. Only a few hundred dollars more than most low-end models, but a few thousand less than some of the high-end models.
This machine comes with so many features that you normally only find on fully-automatic espresso machines. If you are someone who doesn’t want to have to fuss with the settings, you might want to consider the fully-automatic model.
It can take a little bit of practice to master the techniques needed to make an impressive espresso. Some people can get frustrated with this. The fully-automatic only requires the press of a button.
Founded in Sydney, Australia in 1932, the Breville name came from it co-founders – Bill O’Brien and Harry Norville.
Now, Breville Group Limited is a Public Company that is listed # 647 out of the top 2000 corporations in Australia, trades in over 70 countries worldwide. The group makes the majority of its revenue from the Household Appliance Wholesaling.
Breville’s portfolio of brands includes the following:
- Breville: A variety of kitchen appliances.
- Kambrook: A variety of home appliances including kitchen appliances and homewares.
- Sage: Electrical kitchen goods marketed and distributed throughout the United Kingdom.
- PolyScience: Appliances for food temperature control and specialist cooking accessories.
|Precise Milk Temperature, Automatically||No|
|Dimensions H x W x D (in.)||13.25 x 12.5 x 15.75|
|Item Weight (lbs.)||23 lbs|
Pros & Cons
- Integrated conical burr grinder and half-pound bean hopper for fresh beans every time.
- Grind size and grind amount selector dials for full control over your espresso.
- Filter size button to choose one shot or two.
- Hands-free grinding cradle for automatic dispensing of coffee grounds.
- Removable water tank makes it easy to refill.
- Preset one- and two-cup volumes for shot sizes which can be reprogrammed to your liking.
- Espresso pressure gauge to monitor extraction pressure.
- Thermocoil heating system for temperature accuracy and consistency.
- Cleaning lights that turn on when it is time for a scrub.
- The steam wand that can swivel 360 degrees for ease of use.
- Takes a little time and practice to learn a good technique.
- Although having the ability to customize a lot of features is nice, it would be handy if you had the option for it to be more automated for less experienced people.
- Parts of the machine are plastic and don’t seem as durable as the rest of the stainless steel case.
Breville BES870XL Video Review
Getting to know the control panel
A. ½lb bean hopper – With a locking system for easy removal, storage and transfer of coffee beans.
B. Integrated conical burr grinder
C. Grind outlet
D. Grinding activation switch
E. Hands-free grinding cradle
F. GRIND SIZE selector – Espresso grind settings from fine to coarse.
G. GRIND AMOUNT dial – Adjust the amount of fresh ground coffee dosed into the filter basket to suit the fineness or coarseness of the grind.
H. FILTER SIZE button – Tell the machine if you are using a 1 CUP or 2 CUP filter basket and the grinder will dispense the required amount of ground coffee for a single or double cup dose.
I. POWER button
J. Integrated removable 54mm tamper
K. Group head
L. 54mm stainless steel portafilter – With commercial style spouts.
M. Extra-tall cup clearance for tall mugs
N. Removable wet & dry coffee separator drip tray – With Empty Me! tray full indicator.
O. Storage tray (located behind drip tray) – Houses accessories when not in use.
P. 360˚ swivel-action steam wand
Q. Dedicated hot water outlet
R. Steam/Hot Water dial – Selector dial for steam and hot water.
S. Steam/Hot Water light – Illuminates to indicate that the steam or hot water function is selected.
T. 1 CUP and 2 CUP buttons – With preset, manual over-ride or re-programmable shot volumes.
U. CLEAN ME light Illuminates when a cleaning cycle is required.
V. Espresso pressure gauge
W. PROGRAM button – Re-programs the preset 1 CUP and 2 CUP shot volumes.
X. Cup warming tray
Y. 67 fl.oz (2L) removable water tank – With replaceable water filter to reduce impurities and scale.
For people who want to start making espresso shots at home, this might be an excellent choice for you. Out of most espresso machines, this one gives you the best bang for your buck.
Keep in mind that this machine takes a little practice to get the hang of making impressive and delicious drinks. Most people enjoy being able to play around with the various options, but others prefer simplicity.
So, if you want ease and can afford it, automatic machines could be a better choice for you. They make espressos more consistently with just the push of a button.
Because this item is made by Breville, you know that it will more than likely meet your expectations. The company was founded in Sydney, Australia, in 1932 and has been delivering quality products since.
They serve people living in more than 70 countries with a mission to enhance the lives of others through kitchen appliances and accessories.
In Coffee Corner, I write about all things related to coffee and particularly coffee makers.
After being a self-admitted coffee addict for 20 years and as an experienced barista I would consider myself pretty well-versed on the subject. I will try to provide you as much information as possible about coffee makers and coffee in general, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Last update on 2019-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API