Bring the coffee shop home with the Breville Barista Express, and you’ll enjoy a perfect cup of coffee from the comfort of your home every time.
I was never a coffee drinker, my wife has always been the coffee lover of our family, but so much has changed since we got the Breville Barista Express. I bought this machine two years ago for my wife on her birthday and it has officially turned me into a coffee drinker. Don’t get me wrong, I still love and have to have my cup of tea every day, but coffee has definitely made its way into my daily rotation as well.
Picking up a cup of coffee from our favorite coffee shop every morning is usually futile when you’re trying to get a kid ready and out the door for school on time. No matter how much we try or plan ahead, it rarely works out, but this machine has brought the coffee shop experience into our home.
There’s a little bit of a learning curve to making espressos on an intermediate, semi-automatic machine like this. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with terms like extraction, grinding, dosing, tamping, and frothing, but if you love coffee, then you will love the process. It took me a few weeks to get the hang of it, but after that, it’s been smooth sailing!
Since I’m usually the one to make our coffee everyday, my wife thought it would be better for me to write this post. So, let’s get started with my review.
When you open the box, you’ll find the unit itself, pressurized and non-pressurized single and double baskets (filters), a razor dose trimming tool (you won’t need this as much once you get the hang of it), an integrated tamper, a stainless-steel milk jug, and some cleaning tools. Everything you need to get started!
The Unit Itself
Let’s start with the superficial side of things before we dive into the features. It looks great in your kitchen! It’s stainless-steel exterior seamlessly blends with the other appliances in our kitchen. The quality of the unit is apparent as soon as you pull it out of the box. You can tell it’s a well made, high-quality unit.
The controls are very user friendly and allow you to dial in the perfect shot. You’ve got the ability to make single or double-shot espressos. One thing I’ve found while experimenting is that each variety and brand of bean usually requires minor adjustment of the grind fineness and amount. It usually takes a test shot or two to dial in the perfect shot.
The integrated burr grinder is one of the best features. This conical burr grinder is so much more precise than a blade grinder. It slowly grinds the beans into even pieces, which is critical to making a good espresso. The grounds should be consistent in size and freshly ground for the best espresso. Plus, you can’t beat the aroma from freshly ground beans.
Having a grinder in this unit gives you the ability to try different whole beans from around the world. I find that pre-ground packages just don’t have the same level of freshness as a bag of whole beans (although you can use pre-ground coffee with the included pressurized baskets). The minute oxygen seeps in, coffee grounds start to lose their flavor so I like to use whole beans so I can maintain the flavor and freshness longer.
Another great thing about this machine is that it has an integrated magnetic holder for the tamper. There’s also a tray that pulls out to hide the baskets you’re not using.
The Steam Wand
The steam wand gets the milk heated up to the appropriate temperature and does a great job of producing a smooth microfoam. It works great with any type of milk.
It’s easy to maintain with the tools provided and won’t take you more than 5 minutes. I make sure to clean it after every use so it’s in top working order and clean and ready to go at any time.
Lastly, the price
This espresso machine is an amazing value for a semi-automatic espresso machine. Shami and I each drink at least one coffee a day so if we were to go to your local coffee shop every day, this machine would pay for itself in less than two months.
Now Let’s talk about what you need for the perfect cup other than the espresso machine!
Double Walled Insulated Glass Mugs. They hold the perfect amount while also keeping your coffee hot and easy to handle because of its double insulation.
Coffee Knock Box. It comes complete with removable knock bar making disposal of your coffee pucks simple and mess free.
Coffee Container. These containers are great for storing your beans. They’re air-tight and help preserve the coffee beans longer.
Bar Mat. These are perfect for keeping things clean and your glasses stationary as you make your coffee. They’re also great for your hot milk and coffee so you don’t ruin your countertops.
Basics Washcloths. Having these on hand next to our espresso machine helps reduce our amount of paper towel use. These are also the towels we use to clean the Breville.
Cup Scoop. This is definitely not needed, but it’s very helpful to fill up the bean hopper quickly.
Syrups. These are great for adding flavor and customization to your drinks. When we add these, we don’t use any other sweetener. They also come in sugar free versions if you prefer.
Syrup Pumps. They’re great to add for easy quick access and dispensing syrups without any mess.
There are so many different coffees you can make with this machine. So far, I’ve made cappuccinos, latte’s, americano’s, latte macchiatos, and just straight-up espresso shots. We’ve also been drinking plenty of ice coffees over the summer. Also, having syrups on hand are great for adding some flavors sometimes. Our favorites are Torani’s vanilla and caramel.
The bottom line is that if you are a coffee lover then the Breville Barista Express won’t disappoint and will pay for itself in no time!
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September 28, 2021