Breville Barista Express Review – Living up to the Name?

Review Summary

Editor’s rating: 4.5 Star Editor's Rating

Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL
The Barista Express coffee maker by Breville is a great machine for people who like to have more control over their machine’s coffee-making process. The machine comes with all the bells and whistles that you could imagine for a coffee maker at its price range. It’s such a nice coffee maker that some might argue that it offers a lot more for its price than it should.

This semi-automatic espresso machine will take the taste of your coffee to the next level. It has nice brewing and steaming technologies, cleaning it is a piece of cake, and it looks professional. These things make the Breville Barista Express a very attractive machine in the eyes of many.

Key Features:

  • Semi-automatic
  • Doses from 19 to 22 grams of coffee per cup
  • PID temperature control
  • 1600 watts thermocoil hitting system
  • Pre-infusion technology
  • Manual milk steaming with a steam wand
  • Adjustable grind size
  • Precise espresso extraction
  • Single or double shots
  • Internal pressure pump
  • Steel portafilter
  • Hot water nozzle
  • Water tank
  • Drip tray
  • Many accessories included

The good

  • Makes good coffee
  • Has a lot of useful features
  • Highly programmable
  • Easy to clean

The bad

  • It will take you longer than usual to learn how to use it

Breville Barista Express Look and DesignDesigned With an Industrial Look

The Breville Barista Express coffee maker has a very interesting and industrial look, similar to the look of the Rancilio Silvia or to some of the stainless steel machines by Gaggia. It comes in multiple colors, among which black, silver, and red. Its chassis is made of stainless steel, but its internal parts are made of plastic.

This coffee maker has a lot of buttons, dials, and other parts that are visible on its outside. You can spot the power, grind amount, and filter size button on the left-hand side of the coffee maker. The program and the two brew buttons are located on its right side.

The pressure indicator of the internal pressure pump is located in the middle of the coffee maker’s control panel. Furthermore, the coffee maker also has a built-in bean hopper with a grinder.

This coffee machine measures 16’’ x 13.5’’ x 12.5’’ and is a bit larger than some espresso machines at its price range.

How to Make Yourself Some Coffee

Fun fact: The Morning Call Coffee Stand team considers the Barista Express by Breville to be the best espresso machine under $1000. That said, it’s completely justifiable to expect the machine to make way-above-average coffee drinks.

To make coffee, you need to first put coffee beans in the bean hopper of the Barista Express. After that, you should decide which of the four filter baskets you want to use. Once you pick your portafilter, press on one of the filter size buttons to tell the machine what kind of basket you’ve chosen.

Once you’ve made your decision, you should put the portafilter you want into the grinding bracket. The portafilters can be double or single (for double or single shots) and pressurized or unpressurized.

If you push in the bracket briefly, the grinder will grind a standard amount of coffee for your drink. However, if you push and hold the filter basket, the coffee maker will grind as much coffee as you want. The grind amount is adjustable with the Grind Amount button on the control panel of the machine. Furthermore, you can also adjust the grind size of the coffee with the dial on the left-hand side of the Express.

When you’re done grinding, take the basket out and tamper it with the tamper that’s located on the left-hand side on the Express. Then, put the basket inside the brewing bracket, lock it, and brew your coffee.

The Express lets you adjust your coffee and the brew water temperature to your preferences. These two features make sure that the coffee you get in your cup has the flavor that you want.

Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL Frothing Milk on the Breville Barista Express

To add milk froth into your coffee, use the 360˚ swiveling steam wand. You can adjust the wand at just the right angle in your container with milk to get the foam texture that you want for your coffee.

To turn on the steam function, switch the dial on the right-hand side of the Express. The thermocoil heat exchange boiler system makes sure that the machine can brew coffee and froth milk without losing on temperature. This is how you get good-quality coffee and froth.

Cleaning the Coffee Maker

Cleaning the Breville Barista Express is not hard. Clean the milk system after each use by letting some steam pass through it. Also, wipe the steam wand after you’re done frothing.

The machine will tell you when it’s time to clean it by turning on the Clean Me light indicator on the control panel. Also, a tiny note that says ‘Empty Me!’ will pop up out of the tray once it’s time to empty it.

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FAQ About the Breville Barista Express

1. Can I use the Breville Barista Express to make 50-100 cups of coffee in my coffee shop?

We wouldn’t recommend you do that. This machine was designed for home use and will probably not be able to last for long if it makes 50-100 cups of coffee on a daily basis. Furthermore, it is a slow machine which makes it inadequate for using it in a coffee shop.

2. What kinds of coffee drinks can this coffee maker make?

It can make all sorts of drinks, from espresso and Americano to coffee drinks with milk.

3. Which accessories does this coffee maker come with?

It comes with a 54mm portafilter, single and dual pressurized and unpressurized filter baskets, a razor dose trimming tool, a stainless steel milk container, cleaning brush, disk, and tablets, water filter and filter holder, and tool and Allen key.

What Are Some Alternatives to the Breville Barista Express?

Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid, Brushed Stainless Steel The Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro

If for some reason you don’t like the Breville Barista Express, you could check out the Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro espresso machine. This coffeemaker heats up fast, has a steam wand, rocker controls, a three-way solenoid valve, and uses portafilters to make coffee. It’s in the price range of the Express and it offers good value for money.


Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine in Silver. Pannarello Wand Frothing for Latte and Cappuccino Drinks. Espresso from Pre-Ground or Whole Bean Coffee. The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine

The Gaggia Brera super-automatic espresso machine is another great alternative to the Express. This machine has a bean hopper and a bypass doser, froths milk, and it has a removable brewing system. Furthermore, the Gaggia Adapting System helps this coffeemaker’s grinder adapt to the properties of your coffee beans and then grind them.


The Breville Barista Express coffee machine has a nice design, great features, and makes good-quality coffee. It might be a little tricky to learn to operate, but that’s because it has a lot of useful features. Of course, these features help your coffee gain on quality.

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We hope that our Breville Barista Express review helped you learn more about this nice coffeemaker. If you like this machine, consider cleaning your kitchen counter and getting the Express for yourself.

11 thoughts on “Breville Barista Express Review – Living up to the Name?”

    • Hi, Aaron!! :)) ☕ Thanks for reaching out to us!

      The Breville Barista Express uses 54mm filter baskets which can be single or dual wall ones.

      We’re off to have a shot of espresso now!! Stay well and may your coffee always taste delicious! :)) ☕

    • Thank you for contacting us during these winter days in Paris. :)))))) ☕

      Jura espresso machines use the IPBAS (Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System) technology to wet the coffee grounds with water at low pressure before the coffee extraction begins. This technology allows the machine to wet the grounds with that amount of water that is suitable for the quantity of coffee grounds with which the machine will make you your coffee shot. This feature sets Jura espresso machines apart from many other espresso machines available on the market.
      When it comes to the Breville Barista Express, the pre-infusion process is also done at a low pressure and you can adjust the pre-infusion time if you go in Manual Mode. Of course, you can also use the automatically preset pre-infusion time on the machine and you can program a new pre-infusion time as well.

      Long story short, a Jura machine automatically ‘calculates’ how much water your coffee grounds need depending on how much coffee you’re going to use for your coffee drink. The Barista Express lets you experiment with the pre-infusion time when in Manual Mode, program the pre-infusion time for different coffees, or stick to the preset pre-infusion time.

      We hope that our answer to your question was helpful. Pre-infused or not, enjoy the coffee drink you’ve made for yourself today!! :)) ☕

    • Thank you for your question!! :)) ☕

      Amazon is one of the places where you can purchase cleaning tablets for the Barista Express. Here’s one link where you can buy the tablets from:

      Make sure that the tablets fit your espresso machine first by entering your machine’s model number in the model number search bar on the page!

      Of course, you can also get cleaning tablets on as well. However, they seem to be sold out right now. Here’s the link to Breville’s page, just in case:

      Coffee makes the days a bit better, right? Did you already enjoy yours or are you about to? Take care! :)) ☕

  1. @morningcallcoffeestand What a great machine! I’m thinking about buying it, but just in case, do you happen to know what the most common issues are with the machine? I want to be well-informed so that I can avoid them.


    • Hi, Jessica! What a great machine indeed!! :)) ☕

      The only thing we found to be an ‘issue’ with this espresso machine is that there’s a learning curve. However, we consider this learning curve not to be only about learning to operate the machine but to also learn about and ‘build’ your coffee preferences. Do you think you’re up for that experience? :))

      As far as for any issues related to the functionality of the machine, there’s not a recurring issue that these espresso machines come with. However, you might want to plan where you’re going to place the Breville since it has its water tank in the back. The machine also alerts you to clean it approximately every second week, so you might want to have that in mind as well so that you can always have some cleaning tablets around. In case you’re interested to know how to troubleshoot Breville the Barista Express, here are links to Breville’s official site and to the instruction booklet of this espresso machine:

      Remember, most of the problems that you might experience with this and every other espresso machine are solvable!!

      Cappuccino, espresso, or macchiato? What is it going to be today, Jessica? Take care and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions!! :)) ☕

    • Hi there, Ivan!! :)) ☕

      We’re very glad that you found the espresso machine that best meets your needs!!

      Thank you for reading our article, thank you for loving coffee!! :)) ☕

      • Great review! I’ll just add that the budding barista would also have to buy a separate grinder if they get a Gaggia Classic Pro.


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