Let’s get right into it. The Breville Barista Express BES870XL is the best espresso machine for all levels, and it’s a big bang for your buck. If you have more than one user at home who will be making espressos with the espresso machine, and who have varying degrees of barista skills, you’ll love this semi automatic espresso maker.

Fabulous and Thoughtful Design

The design of this espresso machine is “fabulous”, as someone puts it. Here’s what he said:

“I personally think that this machine is gorgeous and looks great on my kitchen countertop. I love the stainless steel. I love the way it is laid out. I love the way the tamper is held. I love the way it looks when you turn it on and the lighting that it has. Everything is easy to access…I think the design is fabulous.” – Adapted from a review by Andrew

The single wall filter gives the barista of the family control over the tamp pressure and the grind size, while the barista-to-be will be assured that the espresso that comes out is perfectly acceptable by using the dual wall filter.

As with all semi automatic espresso machines, this one needs some getting used to. I had to adjust the grind size to get the pressure right for my shot. The amount of grinds also played a role in this. Once I’ve gotten the settings right for a certain bean, making shot after shot of delicious espresso is a breeze.

Built-In Grinder

The deal maker of this espresso machine is the built-in grinder. The Breville BES870XL has a professional burr grinder which is such a nice touch for a semi automatic espresso maker at this price range.

I must say I’m so pleased with the convenience of feeding grinds into the espresso machine directly because now I’m drinking espresso made with freshly ground beans instead of pre-ground beans! The difference may be slight but it certainly improved the taste.

One thing to be careful about the grinder is never to leave the lid open. That way you can be sure you’ll never accidentally drip water into it when refilling the water tank. One drop of water is enough to create a huge mess in the grinder that will take forever to clean and you don’t want that.

Keeping the lid on also keeps the beans from being exposed to air and humidity, and they will stay fresh longer.

I love how normal espresso lovers like us are willing to share their experiences and tips so that even if you’re not so sure you can handle this espresso machine, it is not hard to find a tip to help you along when you encounter a problem. Best of all, the Breville customer support has always been willing to answer my questions about using the espresso machine.

A helpful tip from another reviewer that I’d like to share here after experimenting it myself is that you can get a dry puck if these steps are followed: make espresso shot, don’t remove portafilter but proceed to steam milk, then remove portafilter to empty puck. Works every single time!

Although the Breville BES870XL is not entirely perfect (most people complain about having to fine tune the shots) I still highly recommend this machine if you have the budget to spend. It is good value for money to get a good semi automatic espresso maker with plenty of features to fiddle with and a good burr grinder thrown in the package. Definitely the best espresso machine to buy at this price range.