Breville Barista Express BES860XL Guide

Buy Breville Barista Express BES860XL
(2 Cups, Burr Grinder, Milk Frother)

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Rating Summary

4.4 Stars

Overall rating collected from:

150 Users | 1 Retailer

Quick Facts:

  • 30 out of 150 buyers have good things to say. Read the summary >
  • 17 buyers dislike this product because of technical issues and DOA product. More details here >
  • This espresso machine is best for home usage, indoor and users with skills in espresso brewing.
  • Newbie will also find it useful as it has a beginner friendly filter system. More details on the benefits >
  • It’s the best machine for expert barista as a stepping stone, not the final machine they’ll die for.

Breville BES860XL: Overview

BES860XLFeeling like to brew a cup of espresso at home? Or make your own Cappuccino, Americano, Cafe Latte or Con Panna? Well, you don’t really have to visit the local cafe shop if you own this espresso machine from Breville.

Breville Barista Espress (model BES860XL) is a high-class semi-automatic espresso maker that is so user-friendly that even beginner could brew a cup of tasty espresso. you can practically make all of the espresso recipes mentioned just now with this machine. As a bonus, the company even give you 9 espresso recipes and few desserts menu in their manual guide to help you get started!

Breville BES860XL is an all-in-one espresso machine that come with built-in milk frother, and an exceptional burr grinder (but could be problematic if you don’t be careful) to grind coffee beans. It has few features that would make brewing espresso an easy stuff and you can read more of it further down below. Stay with me if you want to know more about this machine.

Features and Benefits

Let’s start by looking at the features of this machine, which could be translated into the benefits that you can enjoy from this luxurious machine. There are few features that you can enjoy and some of the are the best selling points for this machine when comparing with other espresso machines out there. The most favorite feature voted by users are listed below:

Features Benefits
Built-in conical burr grinder with half-pound sealed bean hopper Breville has shaved some of your expenses on additional/external coffee bean grinder by integrating the grinder directly on the espresso machine.Some said that built-in grinder is lousy, however, if you know what you are doing, this conical burr grinder is exceptionally good. Even better, it has come with a sealed hopper for the coffee beans to keep the bean fresh and safe.The good things about conical burr grinder vs. ordinary blade grinder:

  • It’s optimized for flavor extraction from the coffee beans by maximizing the surface area of the grinds
  • Faster grinding process when comparing with other grinder type
  • You can get freely adjust the fineness of the grinds, it even support super fine grinding for more unique coffee settings
  • Definitely lower noises when grinding, while the blade-type grinder is noisy as hell.
Dual-wall créma system This machine comes with four different filters: single wall and dual-wall filters for each single and double-shot mode
Grind size and grind amount selector dials For me, I’ve always like something that could be adjusted to my free will. Fixed in a place, and I would not bother to pick them up in the first place. Luckily, thanks to the conical burr grinder, you can freely adjust the grind size (from fine to coarse setting) and you can also control the amount of ground coffee you need using the selector dials. one at the side for grind size, one at the front for the amount (the little knob sandwiched by two glowing buttons).
Large 2 Liter (67 oz) water tank One of the most important factor in brewing a tasty cup of espresso is the water. Breville Barista Express is excellent as it come with a large water tank with charcoal water filtration system. This charcoal filtration system will ensure that the water is free of odors caused by impurities in tap water. The water tank also allow you to easily refill when it has reach the bottom line by opening the top cover. How easy is that?
Hands-free grinding cradle To command the grinder to work, all you need is a push of the portafilter to the cradle to the left and the ground coffee will be dispensed directly. Before anything, the portafilter should be properly set up with the wall filter of your choice (single or dual).
5mm Tamper tool with magnetic storage Breville has really include everything you need in one box. Something that you should purchase separately such as the jug (pitcher), cleaning tablets, cleaning tools, built-in grinder, built-in milk steamer, and the tamper tool. It’s like a one stop solution in BES860XL box. No need to pay extra price for other stuffs, unless it’s important one. See the Compatible Accessories for more details.
Volumetric control This machine will let user (you, in this case) to reprogram the shot volumes. However, without reprogramming, you’ll get two preset setting for 1 and 2 cups.
Espresso pressure gauge Another important thing to monitor is the pressure. If you’ve seen some lower end of espresso machine, you might figure out that they don’t come with a pressure gauge like this guy over here.breville-bes860xl-pressure-gaugeThis gauge allow you to monitor the pressure while brewing. If it’s lack of pressure, you’ll immediately know the quality of the shot you’ll get later. Different pressure produces different espresso taste. It might be sour or bitter in the end.
Thermocoil heating system Pressure is one, temperature is another. Miss the correct temperature setting, and you’ll break the taste. Breville Barista Express is coming with thermocoil heating system, which shape like a big stainless steel cylinder with a spiral water hole that run from top to lower side. The cylinder is preheated so all water that come in will be running hot instantly when traveling through the spiral route. This process ensure that the water is in the correct temperature all the time and hastening up the priming time.
All circle swivel steam wand for milk steaming Make cappuccino, latte or cream topped espresso easily with this machine because they also have a built-in milk frother/steamer. Steaming milk require a bit of practice, just like finding the right ratio for your espresso. However, once you’ve mastered the skill, you can make the creamiest milk froth using this little silver tube that swivel 360-degree in your desired position. Again, no need to purchase additional milk frother, which also mean more money saved!
Removable Drip Tray with “Empty Me!” funny indicator Notice that the drip tray on the lower part is quite big and spacious. This is a good thing as it can hold a lot of spills before emptying. The drip tray also asking for attention with it’s “Empty Me!” indicator at the lower side of the tray. This is pretty funny IMHO.Also, it’s like a Ninja tool, BES860XL has a secret chamber hidden inside the machine. You can access it by removing the Drip tray and slide the compartment out from its hiding place. Inside here, you’ll find place for storing filters and cleaning kit, or you can use it for something else.breville-bes860xl-hidden-storage

Specifications

General

  • Breville
  • BES860XL
  • Semi Automatic

Drive Mechanism

  • 15-bar Pump system designed and made by Italian

Machine mode

  • Single-shot and Double-shot

Water Tank Size

  • 67 oz (1.98143 liter)

water-tank-size

Type of Housing

  • Die-Cast / Heavy Duty Stainless Steel

Grinder Type

  • Conical Burr Grinder (built-in)

conical-burr-grinder

Bean Storage

  • 8 oz (250ml) Sealed Bean Hopper

Milk Frother

  • built-in, 360-degree swivelling steam wand

Approximate Weight

  • 24.68 lbs (11.2 kgs)
  • 30 lbs ( 13.6 kgs)

Dimensions (L x W x H)

  • 13.25-inch x 11.5-inch x 14.5-inch
  • 33.7cm x 29.2cm x 36.8cm

Power Source

  • Common US household wall outlet

Wattage

  • 1450 Watts (max)

Made in

  • China

Product Origin

  • Australia

Included Accessories

bes860xl-accessories

  • Cleaning kit
  • Tamper tool
  • Frothing pitcher
  • Coffee spoon
  • Cleaning tablets
  • Hexagon (Allen) key
  • Mini cleaning brush

Manufacturer Details

It would be much easier for me to clip the words from Wikipedia, but here is the deal. Breville is not some new boy in the town when we are talking about their product. Being formed at 1972 in Australia, this company has gone through a lot of success stories in creating small-appliances product such as sandwich maker and juicer.Espresso machine is one of their specialty as well, and most of their product has undergone heavy design and construction to ensure their quality. Yes, this Breville BES860XL was said to be made in China. But it doesn’t mean that the product is crap and cheap. It’s has under their specific quality control before the product could be sold in the market, so you can rest assure that the one you get from Australia or China is the same thing with identical quality.

U.S. Corporate Location

  • Brand: Breville
  • Website: Breville Barista Express
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 1-866-273-84553
  • Address: Breville USA
  • Address 2: 19400 South Western Avenue
  • City: Torrance
  • Country: United States
  • State: California
  • Zip Code: 90501

What’s In The Box

breville-barista-express-box-artThe design of the box is pretty straightforward. Nothing fancy but it’s pretty big! However, that’s not the thing you need to worry about. Just remove the content and keep the box for later use (i.e. when something happen and you’ll want to ask for replacement. Without the box, the process might fail).

Inside the box, you get bunch stuffs beside the BES860XL machine. You’ll also get all of the printed manual books mentioned above, cleaning tools, filters and Stainless steel frothing pitcher. Well, Breville is generous enough to include the pitcher so you don’t have to pay for it anymore. Anything you need is all in the box!

Click Here for a quick video unboxing tour by Breville’s crew.

Ratings, Pros and Cons From Real People

In order to collect the most reliable data or feedback from real customer who have purchased the item, I’ll use the customer data found at Amazon or any popular online stores that sell this BES860XL, make a summary and then present it to you in an organized list.

Let’s see what existing users are saying about this product.

Amazon
Rating 4.4 / 5 stars
Total Feedback 149 Users
5 Stars Rater 107 Users
4 Stars Rater 22 Users
3 stars rater 3 Users
2 stars rater 6 Users
1 star rater 11 Users

Pros

  • visually stunning machine with exceptional build and espresso quality, something that you can proudly showing to your neighbors
  • super semi automatic feature of grinding a pre-measure of beans for your brew
  • The box is big, has excellent graphics
  • coming with more than enough guide books with picture description
  • Convenient tamper with mangetic attachment – use it in place or remove for manual tamping
  • Dry puck feature – no more wet ground coffee puck when removing portafilter
  • easy to clean built-in conical burr grinder
  • Have a bunch of filters for beginner or expert (single wall and dual wall filters for single or double shot)
  • additional hidden storage tray for storing filter or small goodies
  • beautiful machine to place on both countertop or an island
  • The built-in grinder is a big time saver
  • thick crema when using single wall double shot filter with very fine ground coffee
  • The steam wand can pull a lot of foam while still keep the temp down to a certain degree
  • The grinder has a good control on its fineness (you can grind under very fine setting) and extremely low noise, unlike blade grinder that is noisy
  • Excellent drip tray that minimize the possibility of the drips to splash out (thanks to the wire grille drip tray design)
  • kudos to the designers of this machine as they designed a large enough water tray. In many cases, I only need to dump the water when trying to refill the water tank
  • Big water reservoir – could last for a handful of shots on each refill

Cons

  • You’ll get wet puck problem on your first few tries
    Solution Keep practicing the skill and you’ll figure out what is the setting to avoid wet puck. See Tips for the configuration
  • Will not work with 220V, only compatible with US 110V
  • need some basic skills in order to pull a better shot
    Solution Practice makes perfect. You can only brew your own best espresso with the ratio (tamp strength, type of beans, how fine you grind it, and what type of water you are using) of your own. Find the golden ratio and you can always make the same tasty espresso day in, day out.
  • At times, beans unable to feed properly into the grinder due to the small inlet on the burr grind or because of the beans are too oily
    Solution open up the cover, stir with fingers or spoon. Avoid using oily beans as it will clogh the burr grinder
  • The grinder tend to throw a small amount of ground coffee out on the counter when the portafilter is getting near full.
  • The beans hopper might be too small for frequent use. Need to refill quite often in this case.
  • If you have a unique personal milk steam technique that requires higher position of the steam wand, you might have a hard time bending the wand (not recommended to bend)
  • The grinder doesn’t like oily beans. If you love to have a very dark roast beans, you might need to get an external grinder instead
    Solution Avoid using oily beans to solve this problem if you want to use the built-in grinder
  • Just a little water slip through the edge of the grinder would end its life for real
    Solution make sure to remove the water reservoir when refilling to avoid splash or drip on the top of the machine

More data coming up …

Manual Book and Warranty

All manuals and ebooks related to Breville Barista Express BES860XL:

In case you’ve got a DOA (dead on arrival) or defected unit, Breville Barista Express is coming with 1-year limited warranty. Depending from where you purchase this espresso maker, Breville suggest that to return the product to them instead of going back to the store where you purchase. However, if you are buying from Amazon, you can peacefully return the machine for an one-to-one replacement if anything happen in the first 30 days.

Also, as far as my investigation goes, Amazon also offering extended warranty options for you in case you want an extra years of protection for this BES860XL. Well, it’s an optional feature that will cost more money stack on the table, but it will worth it if you are living in an unfriendly environment (such as regular electricity problem / blackout).

Here is the list of options for extended warranty available at Amazon:

  • Canopy 2-Year Kitchen Appliance Protection Plan: Cost $52.99
  • Canopy 3-Year Kitchen Appliance Protection Plan: Cost $74.99

Note: More update on extended warranty options from other company and retailers coming soon.

When the warranty has expired, you can visit the Breville Authorized Service Centers to fix the problem you have with Breville Barista Express. However, please bear in mind that it’s not free anymore.

Here is the list of authorized service centers in PDF file:

Product FAQs

Who is this product for?

Espresso lover who’ve got some skills in brewing espresso. You’ll need to know how hard to tamp the ground coffee on the filter, the fineness setting of the ground coffee, the pressure control and making proper milk froth (for cappuccino or latte). That say, it’s not really a newbie-friendly device, or at less, one should do some homework before operating this machine.

What type of coffee espresso that this machine can make?

Based on the machine type, it can make any recipe that require espresso as the main ingredient. Therefore, espresso drinks such as cappuccino, cafe latte, con panna, and americano is the recipe that you can test it out.

Is the boiler made from brass or stainless steel?

The Breville Barista Express has a stainless steel thermoblock instead of brass. It’s more durable and quick for priming.

Can I use coffee pods or capsule on this machine?

Unfortunately, you can’t use coffee pods or coffee capsule with this type of machine. It’s only compatible with a raw ground coffee and you have to tamp it properly for pulling a shot. The single and dual wall filter system doesn’t allow coffee pods at all.

Why is my espresso shot taste like a sour coffee instead of the usual bitterness?

There are many variable that cause the shot to have different taste. It’s important to learn the basic skill in brewing espresso, and you should watch the pressure gauge, the water volume, the tamping pressure, the coffee beans that you are using and more. On the normal case, experts said that coffee bean is the culprit. They suggested to go for coffee beans like Arabian Mocha Sanani, Aged Sumatra, Espresso Forte and alike.

How to make the best shot of espresso drink with this machine?

The be honest, there is no shortcut to pull the perfect shot of espresso as no one share the same experience and preferences. The only way is to keep practice, practice and practice until you’ve found your own formula that suit your taste. I’ve read so many article by both experts and real life customers, they are all saying the same thing. The things that you should watch carefully is as follow:

  • The grind size – different size produces different taste (bitter or sour)
  • The pressure when tampering – too soft or too hard will produce different taste as well
  • Coffee beans quality – always make sure to get the freshest beans you can find.

Really, you have to keep experimenting until you’ve find the golden ratio for yourself. There is no way around it.

Have more questions?

You can ask your question here by submitting your question to the form below. If your question make sense, I’ll publish it here together with the answers from experts. I would also contact the manufacturer for you if you think you’ll need more specific explanation about the machine.

[Contact Form]

Customer Tips

  1. Always read the instruction manual carefully before beginning to use this machine
  2. Make sure to pre-warm your demitasse before pulling a shot. This machine comes with a built-in cup warmer right next to the burr grinder
  3. Coffee beans from Italy like Illy Lavazza are the worst and cheapest beans around. California roast beans is much better from Italy
  4. Coffee beans are best when buy locally, fresh roasted one
  5. Regular milk gave the best microfoam, but due to cholesterol issues, don’t drink it daily
  6. Cleaning Steam wand is easy. All you need is a damp towel wrapping the wand and get a couple of seconds of steam burst to clean the internal side
  7. Although it has a fast self-priming, it’s best if you let about 10 minutes of warming up before using (if you want best shot on each pull)
  8. Use the included needle to clean filter, or you can also try this tips:put it in a pan of boiling water and hold it down with something. What is boiling up from the bottom of the pot of is air under pressure and by holding the filter up side down over these boiling air streams it will blow the tiny hole super clean.
  9. Can’t have hot enough espresso? Always remember to pre-heat the machine, as well as the demitasse before pulling a shot
  10. Always remove the water tank from the machine when trying to refill the tank. Any splash on the grinder will jam it (grinder will stop working)
  11. Simply follow the guide on the book can help you set things up and make good espresso shot. Trying to outsmart the device when you haven’t had the skill yet will ruin the taste completely.