Last night I was embarking on my night-time routine as per usual; throw on my gown, slide into some slippers, get out my premier coffee beans, chuck them in the grinder and make my fresh batch of next week’s coffee (only Monday-Friday, though- I make a special blend on the weekend: Starbucks Caramel coffee grounds!).
For some of us, grinding up our coffee is a therapeutic and enjoyable part of the coffee-making process. For others, it may be time consuming- I understand: nobody likes buying the ready ground stuff. I sure don’t! They always add nasties to try and bulk up the bag…what a crime!
I’ll be talking about one particular coffee machine today: The Sage BES875UK Barista Express. Yeah it’s an obnoxious name, but it packs a punch -seriously! I own one of these myself, and will be sharing my reviews with you all.
If you’ve never heard of Sage, you’ve heard of Breville. If you haven’t heard of them, the name must look familiar. They’re an umbrella company of Breville’s and their full name is “Sage by Heston Blumenthal”. They’re a more UK-specific company of Breville’s. They’re a renowned brand worldwide for making top-quality and reasonably priced kitchen appliances. I’ve owned a Breville blender for about 4 years now, and it’s working as new. This company can definitely be relied on to provide quality products with great value.
Some of their most popular products are:
- Coffee Machines
They’re known for making products that are both aesthetically pleasing and perform well at their job.
The Sage BES875UK Barista Express
Heston says that almost every ingredient tastes better when fresh, and coffee is no exception. If you’re looking for that coffee-shop style frothy cappuccino, this coffee machine is the one you’re looking for. Below is a front-view:
- Inbuilt Grinder: This is perhaps the star of the show tonight. I personally believe that this feature is the machine’s main selling point. What better and quicker way to make your coffee than to throw in your whole beans and have the machine do all the work for you? You literally just need to sit back and watch the relaxing process of your coffee dripping into your cup. This machine takes you from whole beans to espresso in under a minute! You simply pour the beans into the top compartment and start the coffee machine.
- 18 Grind Settings: Another great feature about the inbuilt grinder is that it allows you to choose from 18 different coarseness options! You can have it powder-fine, or barely ground. Of course the finer the coffee-grounds, the stronger the taste will be.
- Easy Functionality: The machine can be turned on by simply attaching the handle to the underside of the coffee dispenser and pressed. This activates the grinder and kickstarts the whole coffee-making process. Once it’s ground, you remove the compartment containing the powder and level out the coffee grounds using the detachable tamper onboard. Simply level out the ground by pressing down with the tamper, and you are ready to attach the handle to the machine again, for brewing.
- Modernistic Appearance: This coffee machine is made in the Stainless Steel material which provides it with durability and sleekness. Most coffee machines on the market nowadays have a Stainless Steel version as it is easier to wipe clean and of course a much better alternative to plastic, which can harm the environment. In addition, there is a neat feature where the buttons light up, as seen below:
- Automatic, Hand-free Dosing: This machine allows you to tailor your coffee to suit your preferences. It delivers a consistent volume of consistently ground coffee into your filter with one-touch, making for a cup of coffee that can suit anyone and everyone.
- Low Pressure Pre-Infusion: When the beans are entered and worked with, it gently soaks the coffee allowing it to expand prior to its high pressure extraction for a “balanced” taste. In addition, using this method of bean processing produces a creamy, rich blend of coffee.
- High Pressure Steam Output for “Barista Quality” Milk Texturing: The way in which these baristas manage to create coffee “latte art” is to turn the milk into a type of micro foam. We want to be able to achieve the same effect at home, right? To get that velvety texture in your milk, you need to apply the correct pressure to the steam to draw in air and create tiny bubbles. There is a contraption within this coffee machine called a “manual steam wand for the Duo-Temp Pro”, that turns your milk into the same silky smooth micro-foam.
- Warranty: As I mentioned earlier in this article, having a warranty with your machine is very important. Especially when it’s a large purchase- you want to make sure you’re covered in case you receive a faulty product or accidentally damage it. There’s a 2 Year Repair, Replace or Refund Guarantee with this device, so be sure to check that out.
As for the specifics of the machine:
Voltage: 220-240 volts
Power: 1850 Watts
Capacity: 2 Litres
Dimensions: 31 x 40 x 33 cm
Weight: 10.6 kg
Package Contents: Temperature Control Milk Jug, Coffee Machine
Although this machine is highly rated all over the web, there are certain things that bring this product’s rating down.
These negatives are:
- Inconsistency: Many people on the web including myself can all agree on one thing -this machine is very inconsistent when it comes to grinding the beans. I may enter the exact same amount of beans as yesterday with the exact same settings, but the brew won’t be the same…and that can be quite annoying. When I make a really nice brew I think “wow, I could get used to this”, but the next day I’m just not feeling the same energy from my coffee. This is perhaps the machine’s main flaw.
- Grinding Difficulties: Sure the inbuilt grinder is a major perk when it comes to making a coffee, but this machine seems to have difficulties doing the main task…processing the beans! When I first got my machine, I had to spend a good while emptying and refilling the coffee bean funnel to make sure I didn’t end up breaking it. The coffee beans kept getting jammed causing it to make some *unhealthy* sounds. I managed to figure out a consistent method of preventing this though: Smash the beans lightly before putting them in the grinder. While I don’t find this an issue, I do agree that the purpose of this feature is defeated if I’m having to do more work than I’ve been promised. For this reason, the machine is lacking in it’s best feature.
- Loud: When frothing the milk, this coffee machine has a tendency to make loud buzzing noises. Does this ring any alarm bells? EFFICIENCY! Clearly this machine isn’t as efficient as it claims to be.
- Expensive filters: The filters for this coffee machine are quite pricey…at £14 each. Compared to many other coffee machines out there, this is on the more expensive side for sure.
Evaluating the Coffee Machine
When it comes to buying a coffee machine, there are several things we should consider in order to ensure we can reap the full benefits of our product and unlock its full potential.
These factors are:
- Material: Cheaper coffee machines tend to have a lot of loose parts made of cheap rubber which can easily burn up after time. This happened to a coffee machine I bought from Argos, it was £30, so I guess I got what I paid for: I was brewing my coffee for the 6th time and my machine started smoking up! An absolute waste of money: never buy cheap expecting a luxury product.
- Parts Replacement: When selecting a coffee machine, make sure you look at the price of spare parts. On some occasions, spare parts can add up to near the price of a whole new machine, which is a very inefficient investment.
- Brand Reputation: There’s a reason why everyone runs straight to buying a Nespresso machine: they’re expensive but trusted. They specialise in their coffee machines, so we know they do what they specialise in best! Pick a machine with a good status for the item you’re purchasing.
- Power Output: This is an often overlooked part of purchasing a coffee machine, and I have no clue why! In the UK, the efficiency rating can be classed A-G (A being most efficient). Efficiency can be described as the ratio of total power input/useful power output. I’ve outlined the ideal range for efficiency rating below, so make sure you look out for this when making a purchase.
- Value for Money: Make sure that you always weigh out the features of the product and the price. One way to do this is to read/watch a product review while another method may be to surf the net and compare the price of it to other machines in a similar range. The former can be quite risky, and many online reviewers are sent products specifically in hope of them making a positive review, so it may not be an accurate representation of the item.
- Capacity: For many of us, it’s not a single person in the house who drinks coffee. I live with my boyfriend who also needs at least one cup a day, so for me even a small coffee machine isn’t a problem. For families however, it’s important to be able to make a lot of coffee simultaneously alongside the breakfast duty- otherwise they won’t be too happy. Most machines online state the cup yield of the machine, which is on average 6 cups per brewing session.
The Final Verdict
Although this machine is a great purchase, a wonderful addition to your kitchen, aesthetically pleasing and all, it can be very hard to figure out how it works and eventually achieve a perfect coffee blend. I have a good hand at figuring out how complex products work, and even I found slight difficulties trying to use this coffee machine. Once this has been sorted, I do feel like you’ll be satisfied with the machine. It make’s a lovely cup of coffee, simplifies your life a little, allows you to get creative and replicate the beautiful Instagram latte art as well as mimic a delicious barista style coffee blend. I would rate this machine in terms of various factors below:
Overall Recommendation: 7.5/10