Sage Barista Express Review
High powered steam wand and integrated grinder
Helpful information about a leading Sage coffee machine
Get the best barista-style coffee experience from the comfort of your own home with this popular coffee machine from award-winning manufacturer Sage.
Use the contents below to jump to a specific section of the review, or continue reading to find out all you need to know.
Overview of the Barista Express
This bean-to-cup coffee machine is one of the most barista-like coffee makers on the market. It gives you a lot of freedom over customising grind settings, milk temperature, milk texturing and overall taste.
It comes in the colours: brushed stainless steel or black seasame. So, you have options to match your kitchen.
This machine is complex but made so that you can get the hang of it. There are many helpful indicators such as the temperature gauge, the razor dose trimming tool and precise pressure extraction, which allow you to make good-quality bean to cup coffee.
These easy to use features and automated settings are great for beginners who want to learn how to tailor the machine to their unique preferences.
Ultimately, if you are looking for a machine that delivers you a standard cup of coffee at the touch of a button, then this probably isn’t the right one for you.
However, if you are a fan of quality coffee and want to test out your barista skills, then this may well be the machine you have been dreaming of. There’s a reason it has 4.7 stars on Amazon!
- You will have complete control over your drink – great for someone with a fussy taste.
- High-power steam wand to help you froth milk easily.
- Integrated conical burr grinder for freshly ground beans.
- Dose control grinding and pressure control which takes the confusion out of achieving perfectly ground coffee.
- Digital temperature control.
- Cleaning can be a bit of a faff (but this is be expected with a quality bean-to-cup machine) keep it clean, and you’ll continue to have great coffee.
- It is not a one-button-does-all kind of coffee maker, so, it might take a bit of practice.
Breakdown of the Sage Barista Express and its functions
To help you understand how this bean to cup coffee machine works, we have included labelled images showing off the key functions and what they do.
Find out how to get bean to cup coffee in less than a minute.
Now essentially, the Sage Barista Express is split into two sections.
Grind and dose:
The left side works as a burr grinder. Here you will add your fresh beans and press a few buttons to transform them into ground coffee ready for extraction.
Bean to espresso in less than a minute:
The right side is where coffee gets extracted to create your desired drink. You can also use the steam wand function to heat up and add texture to milk, or use the hot water dispenser for heating mugs and making americanos.
Below we have listed each primary function of the machine:
A. The bean hopper – this is where you store your coffee beans ready to be ground for extraction (using the integrated grinder).
P.S. The bean hopper stores up to 250g of coffee.
B. Grind settings dial – it controls the coarseness of the coffee.
C. This dial controls how much coffee gets dispensed.
D. This button allows you to choose whether you want a single shot of espresso or a double, then the grinder is set to that specification.
E. The tamper. This tool is held in place with a magnet so it doesn’t get lost. It is used to press down (tamp) the coffee once it has finished grinding.
F. This handle (which is known as the portafilter/group handle) collects the coffee ready for it to be expressed. In order to activate the grinder, you simply put the portafilter into this slot and push it back for hands-free grinding.
G. This is the ‘programme’ button which allows you to set your preference for extraction.
H. We have grouped these two buttons, as they are very similar. They represent the amount of coffee you want to extract, do you prefer a single espresso or double espresso?
P.S. When you have the perfect grind, the single-cup button will extract 30ml, and the double-cup button will extract 60 ml.
I. The dial on the right side of the bean-to-cup coffee machine actives the steam wand, which allows you to heat milk and add texture for different coffees. It also actives the hot water function. The hot water area can be used for heating cups, making americanos or even to make a quick cup of tea.
J. This is the pressure gauge. It is there to help you learn how to make coffee to barista standard. It shows if you have the correct amount of pressure at the point of extraction. Or if the pressure is too high or too low.
K. Water tap – this is where hot water gets dispensed.
L. This is where you will insert the portafilter handle, after tamping down the ground coffee. Once you have locked it in, you can then extract the coffee to create a single or double-shot espresso.
M. This is the steam wand (also known as a steam arm). It enables you to have a complete barista experience as you can learn to make a range of cafe style drinks.
Create lattes, cappuccinos and many more!
- Size approx. 35cm x 37cm x 38cm
- Water tank (2-litre capacity)
- 250g hopper
- Drip tray
- Milk jug with temperature indicator
- Portafilter and 2x filter basket
- Automatic and manual settings
- Steam wand
- Hands-free dosing
- Pressure gauge
How much is it going to cost to buy and then maintain this machine?
The initial cost of the Sage Barista Express is around £440 – £599. The price does reflect its quality. It comes with everything you need to start making coffee – well, you do need to buy the beans and milk yourself!
Alongside the initial cost, there is the monthly upkeep for this machine. You will have to buy, coffee, milk of your choice and syrups (if you enjoy sweet coffee). Plus, you will need to spend a little on a cleaning kit to care for the machine and keep it in good condition.
On average you will be looking to spend £10-£20 every month on Sage products and ingredients for your new Barista Express machine. This price can vary depending on how often you drink coffee.
Value for money
Whatever you choose, if you are a regular coffee drinker, cups of coffee will be much more affordable (and better quality) than buying from mainstream coffee shops!
So, what have we learnt?
This in-depth review has taught us that (despite some automated functions) this machine is not fully automatic. It may take some time to learn the basics. It is one of the most versatile coffee machines on the market for its price range.
Once understood, the functions are simple enough for you to utilise the coffee machine and make good coffee.
Besides, this machine does do most of the hard work for you. So you are left with the fun of playing around with milk frothing and creating interesting latte art.
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