Breville Barista Express BES860XL Review – Best Espresso Machine With Grinder?
The Breville Barista Express BES860XL is one of the most highly rated espresso machines in its price range, and most importantly features an integrated conical burr grinder.
Maintaining a fantastic 4.5 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.com, the Barista Express should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for an espresso machine with a grinder.
Here are our thoughts on this espresso machine.
Why an espresso machine with a grinder?
It is no secret that freshly ground beans make a better espresso than pre-ground mixes. The quality of beans deteriorate quickly after grinding, so the absolute best way to make espresso is by grinding the beans right before you make the espresso.
The Breville Barista Express BES860XL features a powerful conical burr grinder, which allows you to control both the grind size and the grind amount.
Since the BES860XL is not a super automatic machine, there are some manual work involved in making the espresso. For beginners this can be daunting, but Breville eases the learning curve with the inclusion of dual wall filters.
These filters slow the water flow rate when you brew, helping to extract your espresso at the right pressure. All you need to do is set the grind size and grind amount filters to dual wall.
For more experienced users who like to experiment with tamping force and grind sizes, single wall filters are also provided, giving total freedom to those who know exactly what they’re doing. Both the filter types allow for a single or double shot.
Breville Barista Express BES860XL Milk Steaming/Frothing
Breville has provided a very effective swivel steam wand with the machine. In addition to this you get a stainless steel frothing attachment, which produces a lot of froth without hassle. So, for steamed milk, use the wand without the attachment, and for a nice froth add the attachment. Simple and effective.
The product manual also provides excellent instructions on how to steam/froth and texture the milk.
Breville Barista Express BES860XL Espresso Quality
There is little to fault with the espresso produced by the Barista Express. Even beginners should be able to produce a great cup of espresso thanks to the dual wall filters. We found the espresso produced by the machine to be thick, full of flavor and rich in crema.
We highly advise that you read the manual and follow their instructions for making espresso if you’re not very experienced. This can cut down on your trial and error substantially.
Positives, Negatives and Final Notes
The Breville Barista Express has a lot counting in its favor.On Amazon.com it scores overwhelmingly positive reviews, maintaining a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating.
The machine is well built, looks beautiful, and is easy to get to grips with. Providing two types of filters is a nice touch from Breville and allows even beginners to effectively use this machine. The steam wand and frothing attachment does a great job and the machine produces excellent espresso. Finally and very importantly, Breville customer service has a very good reputation.
On the negative side, brew temperature has been reported as a problem. To fix this, let the machine warm up properly for around 10 minutes and then run a double-shot of water through it before making your espresso. This will help the machine achieve a proper brew temperature.
The grinder also doesn’t seem too fond of very oily beans and is prone to jamming when you use them, which may be a drawback for those who like very dark roasts.
Here is a short summary of the good and the bad:
+ Packed with features
+ Dual wall filters to help beginners
+ Single wall filters for pros and baristas
+ Great steam wand
+ Great conical burr grinder
+ Dry puck feature
+ Stylish design
+ Breville customer service
- Not a super automatic (may not be a negative depending on your preference)
- Some concerns around low brew temperature
- Grinder may struggle with oily beans
All in all, this is an excellent espresso machine with almost 90% of customers reviewing it favorably. There are a few drawbacks and issues, but nothing that can overshadow the value offered by the Breville Barista Express BES860XL.