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Breville Barista Express Review – Still as Powerful?

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The Breville Barista Express aka BES870XL  is most definatelly one of the most sought-after espresso machines. Why? Well, it is for the same reason you are reading this review.

The Barista Express comes with a built-in conical burr grinder for freshly ground coffee. Its PID temperature control system ensures consistent and precise temperature regulation for optimal flavour extraction.

Furthermore, with an intuitive interface, it’s easy to control brewing parameters and make perfect espresso even if you are a complete beginner!

So is it worth it? Should you get it? To get answers, read my Breville Barista Express review, I will provide an in-depth analysis of the espresso machine, covering its features, performance, pros, and cons.

Breville Barista Express Overview

Breville Barista Express Review


  • Brushed stainless steel
  • Built-in grinder
  • Steam wand
  • 15-bar Italian pump
  • Thermocoil heating
  • PID controller
  • 67 oz water tank
  • Cleaning kit


Simple and easy to use

Adjustable espresso brewing

Excellent temp control

Durable construction

Pre-infusion feature


Lower steam power due to a single boiler setup

Can’t micro-adjust grinder settings

When I was looking for my first home espresso machine, Breville Barista Express came to my radar instantly. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that it is a great machine, with lots of awesome features, all for a decent price.

Here is a quick overview of my first experience with this machine-

Starting with the user interface, the Breville Barista Express features dedicated buttons and dials that allow you to control various aspects of the brewing process, such as grind size, grind amount, and extraction time. The buttons are easy to navigate, and the knobs are finely tuned.

Design-wise, the Barista Express is a sleek and stylish machine. I didn’t expect anything less from Breville. The machine’s build quality is top-notch, with quality materials and craftsmanship that make the machine feel reliable and solid.

One of the most notable features of the Breville Barista Express is its built-in grinder. I’ll talk about this feature a bit later in my review.

The Express has a generously sized water tank that’s easy to refill and clean. With a capacity of about 67 ounces (2 litres), it provides enough water for multiple brewing sessions. The machine also has a hot water dispenser for Americanos or preheating cups.

Then, there is a high-quality portafilter. Barista Express comes with single and double-shot filter baskets, so you can make espresso the way you like it.

For milk-based espresso drinks, the Barista Express has a steam wand. You can adjust the steam wand to get the texture and temperature you want thanks to thermocoil heating system and PID temperature controller.

All in all, as I was saying, I was awe-inspired by Express. However, there are some drawbacks such as a single boiler setup. And the grinder, though it is a flagship feature, is not going to satisfy the espresso nerds like me (more about this later).

In the rest of my Breville Barista Express review, I will dive deeper into each one of these features (and more) to see what this unit is capable of.

Build Quality & Design

When it comes to design, you can see that the Barista Express is a Breville, if you know what I mean. It features a well-known brushed stainless steel exterior. I personally like this design. It feels timeless and sophisticated.

The built quality of Barista Express reflects a well-thought-out design that is built to last. The machine is constructed with high-quality stainless steel and brass materials that are used to ensure durability, longevity, and consistent performance.

Breville Barista Express Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
Super build quality and craftmanship on Barista Express.

Its group head is made of solid brass, which is an excellent heat conductor. The Barista Express’s burr grinder is made from stainless steel, which is not only durable but also ensures the coffee beans are ground precisely.

I like that the machine is relatively compact (W12.5″ x D13.8″ x H15.9″). It should fit even small-sized kitchens and countertops. Make sure to measure your space before making any decisions.

I really like a clear and easy-to-use display that shows you all the information. Some semi-automatic machines, such as DeLonghi La Specialista tend to be overwhelming. That’s not the case with Breville Barista Express.

Main Features

Heading over to the main features of Barista Express, I was equally impressed and overwhelmed with the amount of stuff put into one compact package.

Built-In Grinder

As mentioned earlier in my review, the Breville Barista Express has an adjustable canonical burr grinder that features 16 different grind settings.

What is noteworthy is that the grinder has a dedicated cradle and a Dosing Funnel that helps keep the portafilter in place during the grinding process, minimizing mess and wastage.

The Barista Express built-in grinder also has dose-control settings. You can set the amount, and the grind size, and simply place the portafilter in the cradle to start grinding.

Breville Barista Express Grinder
The built-in grinder of Barista Express helps to grind fresh coffee every time.

It also features a removable bean hopper, which makes it easy to access the burrs for cleaning or calibration.

I will go over the grinding capabilities later in my Barista Express review, so no worries, there are more details to share.

If you want to explore more units with a grinder, check out our list of best espresso machines with a grinder. Spoiler alert! The list includes the Barista Express as well!

Water Tank

The water tank in the Breville Barista Express has a capacity of 67 ounces (about 2 litres). The key feature is that you can remove it from the machine for easy filling and cleaning.

Another unique feature of the water tank in the Express is the inclusion of a water filter. The filter helps to remove impurities from the water, making sure that the espresso produced is of the highest quality.

Although I applaud this move, keep in mind that you will need to replace the water filter included with your machine after 90 days or 10.6 gallons of usage. That’s an extra cost!

Steam Wand

I really like the fact that Breville decided to equip Barista Express with a commercial-grade steam wand. The powerful steam wand produces sufficient steam pressure and heat to froth milk for your latte or cappuccino.

Compared to a steam wand on a Gaggia Classic Pro, Express falls short. But it is still a high-quality feature if you love making milk drinks.

The wand is lined with a soft silicone tip that can be moved up and down to control the froth quality and speed. The steam wand can also be purged after use to prevent residual milk build-up. And it rotates 360 degrees.


In my opinion, the Portafilter is an essential component of any espresso machine. The good news is that the Breville Barista Express includes a commercial-style 54mm portafilter.

Breville Barista Express Portafilter
High-quality portafilter on Barista Express locks in the brew head nicely.

The portafilter features a double-shot spout and an ergonomic handle that fits comfortably in your hand. It also includes a single-wall filter basket and a dual-wall filter basket.

I would recommend using-wall a filter basket if you are an experienced barista who wants to experiment with different coffee blends and grinds.

The dual-wall filter basket, on the other hand, is an excellent option for those new to brewing espresso, as it helps to regulate the flow of water and produces a consistent shot.


It’s no surprise to me that you get a tamper with this machine. As I said at the beginning of the review, guys from Breville made sure that you don’t want anything with Barista Express.

The 54mm tamper in the Breville Barista Express is located on the left side of the machine. The tamper’s magnetic design maintains the tamper in the right place and could be attached and detached quickly.

I like this design because it saves you time that would otherwise be spent finding the tamper. It also saves you the hassle of purchasing one separately.

Keep in mind that it’s not a top-quality tamper, but it will serve the purpose. You can always get a more professional unit later.


Breville Barista Express is already an all-in-one espresso machine if you ask me. What I like about this manufacturer is that they will always make sure that you have everything you need, which includes a set of useful accessories.

  • Hot water outlet – this allows you to quickly and easily get hot water for americano or other hot beverages. This is a feature that not all espresso machines have, but it’s one that can come in handy.
  • The pressure gauge – this is essentially a tool that gives you insight into the extraction process, which can help you fine-tune your shots and improve the overall quality of your espresso.
  • The cleaning kit – Breville Barista Express comes with a variety of useful tools, including a rubber backstop disc, espresso cleaning tablets, a branded brush, and a pin for cleaning the steam wand.
  • The milk pitcher – It’s designed to be beginner-friendly, with a built-in temperature strip that indicates when the milk is at the perfect latte temperature.
  • The razor tool – this tool is used for levelling the grounds in the basket after dosing. Though not everyone may find this tool necessary, it can be helpful if you prefer to eyeball your measurements rather than using a scale.

Grind Quality

I’m done naming the features. Now, it is time to review how the Breville Barista Express performs! Let’s start with the grinder.

With 40-millimetre burrs, this grinder is designed to produce a consistent grind. You can choose between 16 grind settings, from fine to coarse.

Breville Barista Express Adjustable Grind Settings
You can easily adjust grind between 16 different settings on Barista Express

What I like about the Barista Express grinder is its quiet operation. Unlike many other grinders on the market, this one produces very little noise while in use.

However, it can be rather limiting when it comes to producing a precise grind for espresso. What I mean to say is that while the machine is capable of producing a consistent grind, it’s impossible to make those critical micro-adjustments.

This limitation can be frustrating for more advanced users who demand a high degree of consistency and precision from their equipment.

However, for beginners who mostly brew milk-based drinks, the Breville Barista Express grinder is an adequate option that can produce a decent shot of espresso with minimal fuss.

Brewing Performance

As someone who has had their fair share of experiences with espresso machines, I can confidently say that the Breville Barista Express exceeded all my expectations.

One of the first things that caught my attention was the ability to choose between 1 and 2 shots or manually control the volume of espresso. This level of control is awesome as it allows you to tailor your coffee exactly to your liking.

Next, the boiler.

Unlike the slow-heating single boiler found in other machines in this price range, the Barista Express is ready to go in around 30 seconds thanks to a Thermocoil boiler.

The downside is that you can’t steam milk and pull espresso shots at the same time. But thanks to the advanced temperature control technology, the Barista Express switches between the two functions really fast.

The rest of the espresso brewing process is just as impressive.

The automatic low-pressure pre-infusions followed by a high-pressure extraction process delivered via a 15-bar Italian pump ensure a perfectly balanced flavour.

And the Thermocoil heating system with PID temperature control delivers precisely 200°F water for optimal results.

Breville Barista Express Brewing Performance
Thanks to advanced features, Barista Express brews consistently good espresso

Perhaps what impresses me most is the temperature management.

With other machines in this price range such as Rancilio Silvia, temperature surfing is necessary to ensure the water is at the right temperature. But with the Breville Barista Express, it’s straightforward and effortless.

Overall, this compact machine brews one heck of the espresso! As an advanced barista, I like the level of customization it offers, and yet, it’s simple and straightforward if you are a complete espresso newbie.

Milk Frothing & Steaming

As a coffee lover and home barista, I can confidently say that the Breville Barista Express is an exceptional machine for its price range. The milk frothing and steaming performance is impressive, although it takes some practice to master.

The manual wand used in this machine puts you in full control of the milk-frothing process. This isn’t an automatic frother that will do the job for you.

This means you need to have a good understanding of the right techniques to make silky-smooth microfoam. But don’t worry; once you get the hang of it, you’ll froth milk like a pro.

And to assist you, a stainless steel 360-degree wand is a unique feature that makes the process intuitive. You can easily find the right angle for your steaming pitcher and achieve your desired milk temperature.

As I mentioned earlier in my review, the Breville Barista Express is a thermocoil machine. This means that you can’t brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously.

But this shouldn’t be a big issue since it’s pretty standard among machines in this price range. I’m sure you won’t be using it in a commercial setting.

One thing to keep in mind is that the milk frothing process might require some extra cleanup effort. You’ll need to disassemble and wash the wand after each use to avoid milk buildup and bacteria growth.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Breville Barista Express if you are into both espresso and milk-based espresso drinks. With a bit of patience and practice, you’ll be able to enjoy café-quality lattes and cappuccinos from the comfort of your home.

Maintenance & Cleaning

I must say that cleaning and maintenance of Breville Barista Express are simple and easy. That’s mostly thanks to its user-friendly design and easy-to-read indicators that tell you when cleaning is necessary.

When it’s time to clean and descale, the light turns on on the front of the machine. And when the drip tray is full, a little yellow thing pops out with a note to clean me! Simply remove the drip tray and water tank and clean them with warm, soapy water.

When it comes to the water filter, Breville recommends changing it every 90 days. This ensures that the quality of your coffee remains high and your machine is running smoothly. It’s a simple task that can easily be incorporated into your routine.

It’s also easy to keep your grinder clean too. With a simple twist of the bean hopper, you can access the steel burrs and clean them thoroughly. Always clean the burr grinder after use as they pick up old coffee oils, which become rancid over time.

Furthermore, the brewing unit can be removed for easy cleaning without the need for any special tools. Just don’t dip it in soap. Use a soft brush and cloth and clean water.

What is great is that Breville will assist you with various tools such as a brush, a pin for cleaning the steam wand tip, descaling tablets, etc.

Who Is Breville Barista Express For?

In my experience, the Breville Barista Express is a great choice for those who want barista-quality coffee in the comfort of their own home.

Even those who are new to home espresso machines will find it easy to use and understand. And if you are a skilled barista, the machine also comes with numerous settings and options to customize your espresso to your liking.

That said, Barista Express is a semi-automatic machine. This means that there are parts of the brewing process that need to be done manually and parts that the machine will do automatically.

If you want a hands-free espresso brewing experience, you should then go with a super-automatic espresso machine such as Jura E8.

Cheers to the Seattle Coffee Gear YouTube channel for this video.

Breville Barista Express Review – Final Verdict

All in all, the Breville Barista Express is a great espresso machine. It’s easy to use and clean with all the necessary features available to make amazing espresso-based drinks straight from your home.

With its efficient steam wands, built-in grinder and programmable settings, the Barista Express is well worth the investment if you’re looking for something more upscale with higher performance than other basic models available.

What I like the most is the fact that using this machine isn’t overwhelming for those just getting started in a home espresso-making game.

Furthermore, this appliance can last years with correct care and upkeep – for a fraction of what you would pay for a barista at a cafe.

With its overall good quality and affordability, it’s no wonder why so many people are choosing it over other espresso machines on the market today.

If you’re looking for a reliable espresso maker that won’t break your budget, I highly recommend Breville Barista Express. It’ll make your day better!

Breville Barista Express Review


  • Brushed stainless steel
  • Built-in grinder
  • Steam wand
  • 15-bar Italian pump
  • Thermocoil heating
  • PID controller
  • 67 oz water tank
  • Cleaning kit


Simple and easy to use

Adjustable espresso brewing

Excellent temp control

Durable construction

Pre-infusion feature


Lower steam power due to a single boiler setup

Can’t micro-adjust grinder settings

Breville Barista Express Review – FAQs

Is Breville a good brand of espresso makers?

Yes, Breville is widely regarded as a good brand of espresso makers due to its reputation for producing high-quality machines that deliver excellent performance and functionality. They are often praised for their innovative features, durability, and consistent brewing capabilities.

Is Breville Barista Express worth the hype?

Yes, the Breville Barista Express is worth the hype if you want a high-quality espresso machine with a built-in grinder, customizable settings, and the ability to create café-style beverages at home. Its combination of features, performance, and ease of use make it a popular choice among both beginners and experienced home baristas.

Is Breville Barista Express a good option for newbies?

Yes, the Breville Barista Express is a good option for newbies due to its user-friendly interface, built-in grinder, and included manual with step-by-step instructions. Additionally, its consistent performance and customizable settings allow beginners to experiment and develop their coffee-making skills over time.

How long does Barista Express usually last?

The Breville Barista Express espresso machine typically lasts for several years with proper care and maintenance, and its lifespan can vary depending on usage frequency and maintenance practices.

What is the warranty period for the Barista Express?

The warranty period for the Breville Barista Express espresso machine is typically one year from the date of purchase. However, it’s always recommended to check the specific warranty terms and conditions provided by the manufacturer or retailer.

Photo of author

Author: Ilona Brozincevic

Ilona started working as a barista just to help pay her college tuition. But in the meantime, she grew to love everything about espresso coffee and preparing all its delicious variations. She joined the team at Espressoverse to share her passion for coffee with others and thus, keep her passion alive!

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