Updated: Jun 3, 2020
The most common question we get asked is what is the best espresso machine to buy?
The issue not being the lack of options but the price range that they are in. Good home espresso machines are expensive, especially for coffee shop grade espressos.
With coffee shops closing due to the current pandemic, we all want to have the ability to make delicious, creamy espresso at home, and even though it is relatively easy to buy quality coffee beans online, the wrong espresso machine can make your coffee bitter and watery.
In December of 2016, I convinced my wife that we NEEDED to buy a Breville Barista Express. This was a hard task since at the time the machine was fairly pricey (price has gone down about 30%). I would tell her about all the features this machine had such as a coffee grinder and milk frother, how it was pretty much automatic, and how we would never need to buy any more wasteful coffee pods.
Thankfully, she listened and a couple of weeks after Christmas our new espresso machine was shipped, what arrived was one of the most user-friendly devices I have ever owned. The Breville Barista Express which is sold in the UK and Australia as the Sage Barista Express, is a perfect entry level espresso machine that won’t break the bank. The machine has an automatic pump which tops out at 15 bars but if you keep the gauge in the “Espresso Range” especially close to the center, you will be around 9 bars, the recommended standard brew pressure.
This espresso machine comes with multiple features which give you more control of your extraction. The coffee grind size selector has 14 levels ranging from very fine to coarse. We grind our Cumbia espresso blend from 8 to 10, but other coffees will vary depending on how the coffee was roasted and where the beans came from.
The grind amount dial allows you to decrease or increase the amount of ground coffee that comes out. We rarely touch this dial as we normally want 21g which is the size of the double shot basket. The double shot button has a predetermined extraction time, but we like to have more control of the pull, so we use a scale to determine our coffee to espresso ratio.
We drink cortados at home so we put the milk frother to good use, it gets pretty hot and I normally burn myself cleaning the spout but that is all part of the fun. The Barista Express is reliable and easy to maintain, it comes with very thorough user manual which explains how the espresso machine works and how to clean it (we use these tablets).
All in all, this espresso machine has withstood the test of time, we have pulled over one thousand espresso shots and never had an issue. Take your #HomeBarista skills to the next level with the ability to make a Cappucino, Macchiato, Americano, and any other espresso based drinks. If you can stretch your budget to buy one of these, I’d say it is a solid buy.