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Breville BES870XL Barista Express Review

By: Kelly Burgess on January 05, 2017

Bottom Line

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express grinds and brews in one machine. The built-in water spout and steam wand make it even more convenient to create a wide variety of espresso-based drinks. It can be used as a super automatic or semi-automatic espresso maker.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Good flavor
  • Built-in burr grinder
  • Highly customizable
  • Attractive and well-built

Cons

  • A learning curve for some
Our Analysis
Specs
Read Amazon Reviews

Breaking it down

Performance

A top-shelf machine at a good price. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express includes a built-in conical burr grinder, integrated steam wand and dedicated water spout. Reviewing the Barista Express for CNET, Brian Bennett says, "The Barista Express offers just enough adjustable controls and manual settings that you feel like a real barista when using it." He also says it makes espresso that's better than even much pricier machines. Owners agree, saying this machine gives you all the tools you need to make a great cup of espresso, or any espresso-based drink, such as cappuccino or latte. The removable water tank holds a generous 64 ounces. The hopper on the grinder is also removable for storage to keep the beans at their freshest and the included tamper stores right in the machine.

Ease of use

Be as hands on -- or off -- as you like. Whether you like to fiddle with every cup or just pull a quick shot, the Breville BES870XL Barista Express is sure to please -- although CNET notes that it's not as hands off as fully automatic machines (which tend to also be much pricier). With grind-size adjustments, up to 15 bars of pressure, water-temperature controls, and the ability to choose the extraction volume, you can endlessly tweak your brew. Many aspiring baristas love that ability, while others appreciate the intuitive controls and easy-to-eyeball pressure gauge that enables them to just turn out consistent shots without too much fiddling. However, all of that customization leaves some owners confused, because it can make the Breville BES870XL Barista Express seem more difficult to use than it really is. We saw a number of soothing comments directed at overwhelmed users assuring them that if they just follow the basic instructions, using the Breville BES870XL Barista Express couldn't be simpler.

Appearance/durability

A positive addition to your kitchen. Described by reviewers as "solid and attractive," the stainless steel version of the Breville Barista has a look that's more like a commercial espresso machine, rather than a coffee maker, reviewers say. But plenty of others love the other two colors it comes in -- Cranberry Red and Black Sesame. This machine seems very sturdy and users like the rubberized feet that keep it firmly in place. Although, at 13.2 by 12.5 by 15.8 inches, it's not small, since it has the integrated grinder it also takes up much less space than two kitchen gadgets would. Owners say the BES870XL is very easy to clean and they like the removable drip tray and hidden compartment for storing the cleaning tools. It comes with a relatively short, one-year warranty, but Breville has an excellent reputation for customer service.

Our Sources

Brian Bennett, March 18, 2016

Brian Bennett calls the Breville BES870XL Barista Express an "outstanding value in a pricey category." He notes that it makes espresso that's as good as pricier machines, and is easy to use and clean. He ultimately gives it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Cale Guthrie Weissman, May 6, 2016

While the Breville BES840 XL the Infuser is named the top espresso machine in this guide to assembling an espresso setup for beginners, the BES870XL earns praise too. Cale Guthrie Weissman tends to be leery of all-in-one machines, but says that if one is right for you, Breville is the way to go, adding "Since its machines pull great shots, this all-in-one setup is a good bet."

Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2017

Nearly 985 owners give the Breville BES870XL an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Virtually all agree that it makes a great cup of coffeehouse-quality espresso, is easy to use and is an extremely attractive and durable-seeming machine. A few say there is a bit of a learning curve.

Contributors to WilliamsSonoma.com, As of January 2017

In just over 30 reviews, the Breville BES870XL earns a 4-star rating. Most love the machine, but its overall score is brought down by a couple of durability complaints.

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