Breville BES870XL Barista Express Review [2017]

Editor rating

4.4/5 on March 7, 2017

User's rating

1,447 reviews

Honestly, I don’t know how I used to function in the morning without this thing in my life to get me going. It’s like the old commercials of waking up to those rich aromas and being lured out of bed. Only in reality it’s not just some cheap coffee anymore, but a thick and flavorful little cup of crema and caffeine. The first thing I will tell you before you get this machine is the importance of ingredients. It took me a little while to learn and that’s why I’m telling you now. From the first use I could see the difference between what this thing could do and my old coffee maker, but if still seemed a lot of trouble for what I was getting from it. Then a friend told me to try buying whole beans and grinding them myself with the built-in grinder and Oh Man does it make a world of difference.

  • Push button control settings
  • Cappuccino option for steaming milk or cream
  • Thermal coil used to boil water and regulate temperature
  • Built-in stainless steel grinder
  • Removable 67-ounce tank for holding water
  • Pressure regulation system with visible gauge
  • Durable machine built to last
  • Tamping control

Breakdown of the Features

The tamping control and the built-in stainless steel grinder ensure that this machine will go above and beyond in bringing the highest quality of product. With push-button control settings, and even a cappuccino setting for steaming milk and cream, you’re going to have the perfect texture and consistency every time. The water reservoir is removable for ease of use, and the thermal coil that’s used for temperature regulation was designed with durability in mind.

My First Impression

My first Impression after I purchased this machine was how easy it was to use from the first try and how easy it was to control every aspect of the brew. I was not a huge coffee connoisseur when I got this machine (which came highly recommended by the same friend who told me to upgrade my grounds). It seemed like a big expense at first for something I didn’t put too much thought into to begin with so you can imagine my apprehension when it arrived (fast shipping too, by the way). Now, after using it for over a year I don’t know how I ever go on without it. It simply makes my morning better and with how much I hate mornings every little bit helps.

The Advantages of the Product

The first thing I started to really appreciate was the built-in grinder. Like I mentioned before I had been using some store-bought stuff beforehand, and though I still noticed a big difference between espresso and the coffee my old machine used to make, it didn’t seem like enough to justify buying a whole new machine. Until I started grinding my own fresh coffee that is. Don’t consider any machine that doesn’t have this feature. Plain and simple. You can get a separate grinder, but the built-in one would really cut down on mess and cleaning I think. Either way, having freshly ground beans makes a world of difference. Even if you get the expansive grounds from the store there is just no way to keep all of the oils needed in order to make really good espresso once it’s ground up and bagged.

Another thing that’s enjoyable about this machine is that it also comes with a tamping control device which is handy for ensuring the consistency of your coffee. I’ll admit I had to look up what tamping was in order to understand what that option could be used for but it’s pretty important for the texture of your drink and avoiding making big messes. There isn’t any build up on the inside to cause water flow obstruction, and it consistently creates fantastic cups of espresso.

The other thing I really like about this machine is the pressure gauge on the face of the machine which indicates how much water pressure is being used to flash boil the grounds. This is really important because if your espresso machine doesn’t have enough pressure two things will happen. The first is that the water might start leaking out of the portafilter, which will not only result in a mess but also crappy and weak espresso (I’d probably just call it weak coffee at that point), along with a substantial mess. The second thing that will happen if you don’t have enough pressure is that the oils in the coffee won’t properly emulsify and you won’t get that distinct espresso consistency.

The last thing I’ll say about the benefit this espresso machine has to offer over the competition is the size of the water tank. It’s almost seventy ounces which is more than enough for daily use, so you don’t have to bother remembering to fill it every night. I think this is a pretty handy feature, but I imagine it is geared more toward industrial practicality that personal use.

The Disadvantages of the Product

I guess the only downside might be how intimidating all the features might be to a novice. I’ll admit, it looked like a lot at first and as I mentioned I had to look up what tamping was because that’s not something you have to worry about when you use a coffee maker. But, honestly the whole thing was super easy to use and just required a little research about espresso making in order to understand what I was looking at. At the end of the day it really wasn’t a big deal, but I could see how some people might be a little put off by everything going on in the front of this thing.

What’s in the Box?

As I mentioned above it comes with the built-in grinder and it has a nozzle for heating cream to make different espresso drinks (I drink mine black so I’ve never used this option). It also comes with a user manual to help you figure out which buttons do what and a one year warranty.

The Final Verdict

Overall, I am more than happy with the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine and highly recommend it for the coffee connoisseur in your life, or if you simply want to make your morning routine more bearable. The aforementioned machine is one that should definitely be tried, and possibly incorporated into your daily lifestyle.

Buyer’s Guide: Best Automatic Espresso Machines