The Sage Barista Express is a semi automatic espresso coffee maker machine 2020 from Sage (or Breville, as they’re called everywhere except Europe, as the Breville brand name was sold in Europe in the 80s), which features an integrated grinder. The Barista Express has been around for a good few years, and there’s a newer model now called the Barista Pro – they’re similar enough for me to include them both in one go. The differences between the two:
One is price, the Barista Express has a hundred quid lower RRP than the Pro, but as the express has been around a lot longer, you can usually get it for less than this.
They’re £545.95 at the moment directly from Sage Appliances, although if you shop around they’re sometimes available for quite a bit less. The best I can see at the moment is £449 (or from £13.50 per month), I’ve occasionally seen them a bit cheaper on Amazon UK but they’re quite a bit more than this at the time of writing, to see the current Amazon UK price. If you’re a costco member, it’s worth checking them out there, they’ve been on offer at cost co for among the lowest price they’ve ever been available.
As well as the price difference, the new Barista Pro features the new therms jet system, for faster steam and quicker steam ready time. The pro also has more grind settings, 30 vs 18 settings with the barista express, and the finish on the pro is slightly different.
There’s also the touch screen version creatively named Barista Touch, which features auto steaming, and personalised one touch coffees. You can completely customise each espresso including milk temp and milk foam, as with the Oracle and Oracle Touch, but this machine really belongs in the bean to cup section.
Except for the touch version, the Barista machines aren’t bean to cup espresso machine, despite the fact that they’re usually classified as such due to the integrated grinder, these are definitely machines meant for home baristas. The only similarities the Barista Express and Barista Pro shares with bean to cup machines are the integrated grinder, and the lack of grind settings, which leads to the Barista express having a similar limitation when it comes to properly dialling in and getting the extraction bang on.
Barista Express has 18 grind settings, which is more than most bean to cup machines, but still isn’t enough to properly get dialled in with a wide range of different coffees. Barista Pro has 30 grind settings, so that’s better, but you’re still going to be limited vs having a stand alone grinder.
So with the barista express, and with the pro too although not quite to the same degree, you’ll just have to dial in as close as you can and then make do – which is likely to be closer to perfect than with a bean to cup machine with 5-10 grind settings, but not as close as you’d get with a stand alone espresso grinder.