Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine Review

Last Update: July 7, 2021
The Breville BES870XL, also called the Barista Express is a popular espresso machine with a large following. Read the review about its features.

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world with about two billion cups consumed globally every day. This means possibly more than a quarter of the world’s 7.6 billion population enjoy coffee daily.

But have you ever thought about what makes coffee special? Why do so many people enjoy this drink? Well, we could say a lot about this, but at the core of what makes coffee special is how it is brewed. We can all agree that no one wants to drink a cup of hot water with coffee flavor. However, no one can say no to a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. So, every day, we spend money at the coffee shop getting our favorite drink. As you may know, the cost quickly adds up. The problem is it can be tricky to create a masterpiece cup of coffee at home without years of experience.

What if I told you that you can make a specialty cup of your favorite coffee right at home and avoid having to spend money on coffee every day? Yes, it's possible – just get an espresso machine. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot of money. But it's not necessarily the case. There are expensive coffee machines, but there are also relatively inexpensive ones that are just as good.

Breville BES870XL review

In this post, we’ll review one of the top-rated, versatile, powerful, and affordable coffee machines available on the market today – the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine.

Breville is a top rated espresso maker. The company has been around since the 1930s and has a vast array of household electronic appliances in its collection, including coffee machines. Breville is known for making innovative, versatile devices that are known for their excellent performance. The Breville Barista Express bears the undeniable mark of quality that we’ve come to expect from Breville machines. Let’s take a closer look at this device.

What is Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine?

The Breville BES870XL is an upgrade to the BES860 and the BES870. It is larger and comes with some notable improvements in its design including a bigger bean hopper. It is portable and has an aesthetic appeal that makes it a nice addition to your kitchen.

The BES870XL creates better espresso than many more expensive coffee machines, and it is very easy to use. You don’t need any training or experience to figure out how this coffee maker works, just a little patience. It's the perfect coffee maker for use at home. You can brew coffee from raw beans in less than a minute.

The Breville Barista Express is a dream-come-true for coffee aficionados. It is a semi-automatic, all-in-one espresso machine that comes with everything you need to make coffee – from grinding the beans to heating water, frothing milk, and so much more.

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

The Breville BES870XL is quite portable so it won’t take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter. Like other espresso machines from Breville, the Barista Express uses the company's proprietary four keys formula to create rich, flavorful coffee with every brew. The machine comes with everything you need to start brewing coffee – the only things missing are your coffee beans and milk.

When using the Breville Barista Express, you can choose any of the pre-programmed settings or customize the settings according to your personal preference.

Ready to start brewing with the Breville BES870XL? Everything starts with grinding your coffee beans. Simply put in your coffee beans, choose the desired grind size and the machine starts working. The digital temperature control Thermocoil controls the temperature of your water for optimal coffee extraction. The milk frother is highly effective too. It produces well-textured milk foam after just a few minutes.

If you don’t feel like making espresso or any specialty coffee, there’s a hot water dispenser for tea or Americano. You can also use the hot water to preheat your cup. What more can you ask for? The BES870XL stands for versatility and high-performance.

Although this coffee machine has been on the market for a few years, it continues to be highly rated. If you want a beginner-friendly coffee machine that allows you to make specialty coffee in a hassle-free way, this is a great choice.

Breville BES870XL black
Breville BES870XL Barista Express
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Pros

Here are some of the most remarkable things about the Breville BES870XL Barista Express.

  1. The Barista Express comes with a built-in grinder so you don’t need a separate machine to grind your coffee beans. This is a noteworthy feature because the next-generation version of this device, the BES920XL, doesn’t have a grinder.
  2. The precision temperature control Thermocoil heater is very effective. It heats water pretty quickly – in less than 10 minutes – to the right temperature so you get the full flavor of your coffee.
  3. You can adjust the grinder to determine how fine or coarse you want the coffee grounds to be. This is a nice feature.
  4. The tamper on this coffee machine is magnetic. You can reattach it to the device after you use it.
  5. There is an indicator light that comes on to notify you when you need to clean this machine. It is very easy to clean.
  6. The BES870XL is essentially a commercial-grade coffee machine in a compact size. It is quite affordable too.
  7. It is simple to operate this espresso machine – either automatically or manually. There are a lot of options to customize your cup of coffee, and you don’t need to put in a lot of effort to operate it.
  8. There is a learning curve with this device if you’ve never used a coffee machine before, but it is easy to figure it out. Anyone who has experience using coffee machines will have no issues operating this Breville espresso machine.

Cons

Although the Barista Express is a very good espresso machine, it has some cons. These are all the cons we could come up with.

  1. A bit noisy. You can hear the machine humming loudly when you press the power button, and also when the milk frother is working.
  2. The steam wand is slow to start and is not very powerful. It takes the steam wand some time to start producing full power steam.
  3. The water tank isn’t very big so you may need to refill it more than once if you’re making many cups of coffee at once.
  4. This is a single boiler machine so you can’t make an espresso and steam milk at the same time. Although this means you have to wait for a minute or two more before your coffee is ready. This is pardonable because the coffee machine is very affordable.
  5. It can be a little tricky to figure out the dial that allows you to control how much coffee you want to put in your portafilter.
  6. The cup warmer on top of the espresso machine isn’t very effective. However, you can use the hot water dispenser to preheat your cup.

Features and Functionalities

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express comes with a lot of amazing features to give you full control over the brewing process. Its dimensions are 12.8 inches by 12.2 inches by 13.1 inches, and it comes with a nice brushed stainless steel finish.

Here are some of the key features of this coffee machine.

Bean Grinder With Hopper: The fact that the Breville Barista Express comes with a grinder may not seem very significant, but it is very important. A lot of more advanced coffee machines don’t have a grinder so you need to get a separate one.

The grinder on the BES870XL features top and bottom conical burrs, and you can customize how fine or coarse you want the coffee grounds to be using a dial on the side of the device. You can put up to 8 ounces of coffee beans in the hopper at once. You can also program the volume of coffee that you want the machine to put in your portafilter.

When you put the portafilter under the grinder, it clicks a button that automatically activates the grinding process so you don’t need to press any buttons but just wait for the filter to be filled with coffee and tamp it. There is a handy magnetic tool on the machine for tamping your coffee.

Bean grinder with hopper

Water Tank With Charcoal Filter: The Breville BES870XL has a tank that can hold up to 67 ounces of water (around 1.9 liters). Although the tank is small, this is understandable considering the size of the machine. The tank comes with a charcoal filter to eliminate all the impurities in the water before it is heated. The filter guarantees that you don’t get any weird taste from your coffee.

Customizable Brewing: The fact that the Barista Express can be used manually or automatically means you can customize the brewing process according to your preference. You can change the preset temperature of the heater, the coffee ground size, the coffee grind amount put in the portafilter (19g to 22g) and so much more.

The 54mm portafilter comes with four different basket filters – one pressurized single shot basket, one pressurized double shot basket, one non-pressurized single shot basket, and one non-pressurized double shot. Each basket gives you a different brewing experience allowing you to choose a single or double espresso shot.

Digital Temperature Control & Precise Extraction: Like many other Breville espresso machines, the BES870XL is designed with digital temperature control technology. This regulates the 1600W Thermocoil and ensures that the water is heated to the right temperature to extract all the subtle flavor notes from your coffee.

In addition to getting water to the right temperature, another reason why this machine produces the best coffee is that the pressure is increased gradually from low-pressure pre-infusion to high pressure during the extraction process. The 9 bar extraction process brings out all the flavors in your coffee grounds and ensures you get the best cup of coffee with each brew. There is a pressure gauge on the machine that allows you to monitor the internal pressure of the machine.

Precise espresso extraction

Steam Wand: The steam wand on the Breville Barista Express is a conventional wand, not a panoramic one. It has a swivel joint and can froth milk effectively. Although it is not as powerful as a commercial milk frother, it does the job. You can create a latte or cappuccino easily with this machine.

Hot Water Outlet: Like other Breville espresso machines, the BES870XL has a hot water outlet that allows you to get hot water if you want to make tea or if you just want to heat your cup.

There is ample space on top of the espresso machine to heat your cup while brewing. The BES870XL is designed to allow you to make the perfect cup of coffee each time without any room for error. And when it gets dirty, the machine automatically notifies you to clean it.

If you leave the machine for up to an hour without turning it off, it will automatically go into standby mode. If you leave it for up to three hours, it will automatically shut down. This helps to conserve power.

Design and Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12.8” x 12.2” x 13.1”
  • Weight: 27 pounds
  • Construction Material: Brushed stainless steel
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 0.5 lb.
  • Built-in conical grinder with double burrs (16 ground sizes to choose from)
  • Water Tank Capacity: 67 oz (1.9 liters)
  • Heating System: Single 1600W Thermocoil
  • Dosage Control
  • 200 degrees Fahrenheit brew temperature
  • Voltage: 110V to 120V
  • Swivel steam wand and milk frother
  • Manual and Automatic
  • Single or Double Shots
  • Variable Temperature
  • 54mm Portafilter
  • 15 bar Italian Pump for Extraction
  • Pre-Infusion Functionalities
  • Pressure Valve
  • Hot Water Outlet
    Hands-free operation
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty
Breville BES870XL black

Brewing Capability

With a tank capacity of 67 oz., you can get up to 5 or 6 cups of coffee from a full water tank on the Breville BES870XL Barista Express machine.

Here’s how this espresso machine works. You can fill the bean hopper up with 1/2 lb of coffee beans – it works well even if it is not full. The fact that the device comes with a grinder means you can make a fresh brew each time, and you can choose how fine you like your coffee grounds.

Once you grind your coffee beans, you can choose the dosage you prefer (19g to 22g), and then fill up your portafilter. Once that’s done, you can heat the water and start the extraction process. The Barista Express has only one heater so you can’t froth milk while brewing coffee. This means you need to wait until the extraction process is complete before you start frothing. As indicated above, the frothing process is not very fast and it is a bit noisy, but it does the job well.

The Breville BES870XL is designed to automatically adjust the water temperature after you use the steam wand to give you the optimal water temperature for making espresso. So, you will notice that after using the steam wand, the machine heats up and lets out some water in the drip tray. That’s all part of the process.

The brewing capacity of the Breville Barista Express is applaudable. Whether you want to make espresso, Americano, latte, cappuccino, or any type of coffee, this machine works impressively and makes the process super easy.

Although the Breville BES870XL works to give you the richest coffee flavor, you need to use great espresso beans for the best results.

Breville BES870XL black
Breville BES870XL Barista Express
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Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning your coffee machine is important to prolong its lifespan and to ensure you continue to get rich-tasting coffee. The Breville BES870XL is easy to clean. There are different parts of the machine, and we’ll show you how to thoroughly clean everything. The device comes with a lot of cleaning accessories that you’ll find useful for maintaining the device.

You can clean the body of the device occasionally using a slightly damp rag to remove dust and any dirt from building on it. Make it a point to wipe down the steam wand with a napkin every time you use it. There is a pin tool that comes with the device that you can use to clean the inside of the wand. You have to clean your drip tray frequently to avoid a buildup of water and coffee residue.

When you need to clean or descale the Breville Barista Express, you will see the cleaning indicator light flashing. The light is on the right side of the pressure gauge. Whenever you see the light, it means it is time to clean the device. As indicated above, this espresso machine comes with everything you’ll need to clean it. But you may need to get more cleaning tablets as it comes with just two.

To descale the Breville BES870XL, the first step is to change the filter basket in the portafilter to the single-shot filter. There is a small circular plastic tray in the accessories pack. Put this tray in the filter basket and put one descaling tablet on it. Then reattach the portafilter to the machine and press the single and double shot button as well as the power button at once. The espresso machine will run for five minutes, cleaning the heating components of the device. When the cleaning process is done, you will hear three beeps.

You can then take out the portafilter and then rinse it by running the machine as though you’re making a cup of coffee. Make sure your water tank is filled before you start the descaling process as the cleaning requires a lot of water.

You can also clean the grinding mechanism. The upper burr grinder is removable so you can rinse it out. The lower burr grinder is not removable, but you can use a brush or a vacuum pump to clean it.

Cleaning this Breville espresso machine is very easy. But you don’t need to clean the machine frequently so that’s a big plus. In addition to cleaning this espresso machine, you can change the charcoal filter on the water tank after a few months.

What’s Included (Accessories)

The Breville BES870XL comes with a lot of accessories for making your coffee and also for cleaning and maintaining the device. Here’s a full list of the accessories that you get with this device.

  • 54mm Stainless Steel Portafilter – It feels sturdy and is built to last.
  • Razor dose trimming tool – You can use this razor to shave off the coffee from the top of the portafilter before you use the tamping tool.
  • Magnetic Tamper – This allows you to tamp and balance the coffee grounds in your portafilter for proper extraction.
  • Coffee Scoop – This can be used to fetch coffee into your hopper.
  • Two single shot filter baskets and two double shot filter baskets.
  • Stainless Steel Milk Jug – This is used to froth your milk.
  • Cleaning disc and two tablets.
  • Water filter holder and water filter.
  • Cleaning brush, Allen key, and other tools.
Breville BES920XL parts

To Whom is the Breville Barista Express is for?

The Breville Barista Express is ideal for coffee lovers who want to make specialty coffee in the comfort of their homes. It comes with everything you need to make high-quality coffee with very little experience. The Breville BES870XL is not suitable for use in a coffee shop because it is a low-capacity device. If you want an espresso machine for use in a coffee shop, you need a more powerful device.

The learning curve for the Barista Express is not very steep. You can figure out how everything works with just a few attempts. Although the different buttons may look intimidating, there is nothing complicated about this device.

Are you concerned about having to spend a lot of money at the coffee shop? Do you harbor dreams of being a barista and making masterpiece coffee brews at home? The Breville BES870XL is a good first device. It is highly functional although it is small. As indicated above, it comes with everything you need to start brewing coffee at home.

Verdict

The Breville BES870XL is an excellent espresso machine. It is comparable to many commercial-grade coffee machines on the market today. And the best part is that it costs a fraction of the money you’ll spend on a high-end espresso machine although it comes with all the same features.

The only downside of the Barista Express in our books is that it is a little noisy. With that said, we’ll rate it at 4.6 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking to buy a beginner espresso machine with advanced features, this is a good pick.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Breville Barista Express worth it?

Yes, the Breville Barista Express is worth it without a doubt. It is more than worth its price. You won’t find a lot of espresso machines on the market with the same features for this price. And the fact that it comes from Breville means you can count on its manufacturing quality.

This is an ideal coffee machine for everyone who wants to take their brewing to the next level. It essentially has the same functionality as a professional coffee machine but it comes in a compact, home-friendly size.

Is the Breville Coffee Machine website legit?

Breville has a professional website where it has a listing of all its products, including the BES870XL on its website. You can learn more about the product here.

Does Breville do Black Friday?

Yes, Breville has Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals annually. You can get up to 40% off some of your favorite Breville products during the promotion. Check out the company’s website for more information about its Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in the weeks leading up to the promo.

Breville BES870XL black
Breville BES870XL Barista Express
Check Price on Amazon
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