The Breville Barista Express BES860XL espresso machine is one of the most popular kitchen appliances purchased. This is not a fully automated machine, but with its integrated grinder and dosing control, you can produce a good brew in a couple of minutes. Apart from the stylish design, it has a 15-bar pressure pump, an integrated conical burr grinder, a good-sized bean hopper, and a better-than-average water tank, which has its own filtration system. The machine has automated or manual settings and is ideal for the beginner barista who is working up the skills to produce the perfect brew.
If you’re looking for a convenient, no-brainer way to make a good cup of espresso (or any espresso-based beverage, such as Latte, Cappuccino, and Mocha) – the Barista Express is a good choice. It consistently churns out a good cup of espresso when you use the dual-wall filter, which works in tandem with the pre-programmed dual-wall settings. In addition, the burr grinder, which doesn’t normally come integrated in professional machines, is a definite plus.
Important Features at a glance
- 15 Bar Thermoblock pump – produces the perfect, consistent pressure to make the best espresso every time you brew up.
- Sealed bean hopper – the 8oz capacity hopper keeps your beans fresh. It has a good rubber seal around the lid that keeps a firm closure on the container.
- Integrated grinder – a conical burr grinder is much better than a blade grinder, producing an even grind with settings of your own choice
- Removable water tank – the tank holds 67oz of water, and has an integrated water filtration system. Even so, for a longer life for the machine, you would do best to use your own filtered water.
Why do people like the Breville BES860XL?
- It makes great espresso. This is the most common comment made by purchasers. And this, after all, is why you would buy an espresso machine!
- It is well built, sturdy, and stylish. It will fit in with your modern kitchen design and is not so big that it dominates a small kitchen. It is also designed to last.
- Easy to clean. Again, this is a frequent comment from those who purchased and used the machine. With not many removable parts, it is simple to keep clean. A clean machine makes for good coffee!
- Dry Puck feature – based on user reviews, the manufacturer updated this feature to remove excess water.
- Steaming control – the steam wand uses minimal amounts of water to get a consistent temperature and pressure.
- A choice of dual-wall filters (to help beginners keep consistent control over the brew) or single-wall filters for the more experienced barista.
- A choice of grind size and pressure options give some freedom of choice in the brewing process, unlike many fully automated machines.
What people don’t like about the Breville BES860XL
- It takes a little practice – it helps to read the enclosed instructions thoroughly so that you can be producing perfect espressos in the minimum amount of time. The automatic features with the dual-wall filter mostly overcome this limitation.
- The grinder occasionally gets blocked and jams. Earlier models had more frequent grinder problems, but that has since been resolved by the manufacturer. While it is not easy to dismantle, the use of a pin or toothpick to clear the jam is not hard.
This espresso machine is the #1 best seller on Amazon and has many excellent reviews. Like any product, there are a few negative reviews, some of which are from a couple of years ago. Amazon sells the Breville Barista Express BES860XL machine for a good discount (between 25-40%). You can get it here.