Sage BES875UK Barista Express review

November 2020
Sage BES875UK Barista Express review

Create great tasting espresso, from bean to cup in under a minute using the Sage BES875UK Barista Express. With control over each stage of the process, you can produce café quality coffees, without the Barista or the high street cost.

 

A superior coffee starts with fresh beans and so the integrated conical burr grinder allows you to grind fresh coffee beans on demand. Highly configurable with 18 grind settings, you can easily adjust the coarseness of your grind as well as tweak the dosage.

 

The built-in Digital temperature control (PID) ensures the correct amount of water is heated to the ideal temperature, ensuring the optimal flavour extraction for ultimate coffee. If you prefer, you can use pre-ground coffee instead to create tasty drinks.

 

A hot water wand allows you to create a wider range of drinks, including teas, hot chocolate as well as Americano coffees. Use the high-pressure steam wand to texturize milk for cappuccino, lattes and flat white. The package even includes a milk jug with a temperature control feature.

 

A transparent removable water tank sits hidden and holds 2 litres. As this feeds the machine, there’s no need to place the unit near a tap or plumb it in. Easily check the water level using a gauge which ensures you can always have plenty of water in the tank.

 

Maintaining a coffee machine does involve a bit of work as it needs regular cleaning. Thankfully Sage has made this task easier as most parts are easy to remove, and many are dishwasher safe.

 

As one of the best bean-to-cup coffee machines on the market, the Sage BES875UK Barista Express scores an impressive 9/10.

 

 

Pros

  • 15 bar Italian pump
  • Digital temperature control (PID)
  • 2 Litre water tank

Cons

  • Uses a proprietary ‘ClaroSwiss’ filter
  • No water level indicator

 

 

 

Design

Featuring a compact design, the Sage BES875UK Barista Express measures 33 cm (w) by 31 cm (d) by 40 cm (d), meaning it can easily slot on a kitchen countertop or in your bedroom.

 

Looking at the unit, the first thing you’ll likely to spot is the 250g bean hopper. Underneath the hopper is the integrated conical burr grinder. To the right, is a small cup warming tray, ideal for espresso shot glasses or two mugs.

 

The sleek control panel is next and wraps around three sides of the machine. On the far left is a grind size selector, which allows you to adjust how fine the beans are ground. Below this sits the 2-litre removable water tank, which is hidden from view.

 

On the front of the Sage BES875UK machine are a grind amount control and activation switch. Next, is a filter size button which allows you to select either single or double shot. A stylish espresso pressure gauge sits in the centre.

 

To the right, are LEDs for Clean me and steam/hot water. The final two buttons are for programme selection including the 1 or 2 cup option. Completing the controls is a steam/hot water dial.

 

Below the control sits an integrated removable 54mm tamper and the grind outlet. A hands-free grinding cradle enables you to collect grinds in the 54mm stainless steel portafilter.

 

To the right of the cradle is the group head, which is positioned at a sensible distance, allowing you to use full-sized mugs. Next to this is a dedicated hot water outlet and a 360º swivel-action steam wand.

 

Finally, there is a removable wet and dry coffee separator drip tray, which allows you to collect excess water. The Sage BES875UK comes with four filter baskets, milk jug, cleaning disc and tablets, and assorted tools.

 

 

Sage BES875UK review side

photo by Sage

 

 

Features

Take control of every step of the coffee-making process using the Sage BES875UK Barista Express. Whether you plan to use pre-ground beans or use the inbuilt grinder, you can easily create a full range of coffees and other hot drinks.

 

The integrated conical burr grinder draws bean from the hopper and is highly configurable, allowing you to control the taste and texture of your coffee. With 18 grind settings, you can easily tweak the coarseness of your grind with ease.

 

A dosage control, allows you to adjust the amount of coffee in each shot, allowing you to further tailor the taste to suit you. The Sage BES875UK takes less than a minute to grind beans and produce a refreshing espresso.

 

The grinder supplies a 54mm stainless steel portafilter, which sits in a cradle. So, if you prefer to use pre-ground coffee, simply fill the portafilter directly without having to remove excess grinds or clean the machine.

 

At the heart of the Sage BES875UK is a 15-bar pressure pump, which ensures the even and efficient extraction of flavours. The built-in Digital temperature control (PID) heats the water to the perfect temperature for the optimal flavour extraction.

 

A dedicated hot water outlet allows you to create a range of Americano or non-coffee hot drinks. It’s also useful for providing hot water for cleaning the machine.

 

Many invest a bean-to-cup machine as they enjoy lattes or cappuccino and want to reproduce barista-style coffee at home, complete with micro-textured milk. The high-powered steam wand allows to warm and froth milk, allowing to enhance the milk’s flavour and even try producing latte art.

 

 

Set-up

Getting the Sage BES875UK Barista Express set-up is straight forward. You need to install the water filter in the tank and then fill it with fresh, cold water. With the water tank full, ensure the hopper is locked into position and power the unit with mains power.

 

Next, you’ll need to position the steam wand over the drip tray, press the 2 cup button to run hot water through the group head. Every 10 seconds, you’ll need to rotate the steam/hot water dial from STEAM to HOT WATER and back. Repeat this until the water tank is empty.

 

After completing this, refill the water tank, and you’re ready to start using your Sage BES875UK.

 

The next step depends on whether you will be using beans or pre-ground coffee. If you’ll be grinding grind beans, then you’ll need to fill the hopper. Otherwise, select the right filter basket and fill the portafilter with pre-ground coffee.

 

It’s important to use the right filter basket in the portafilter for the type of beans. Four arrive with the Sage BES875UK and consist of two single shots and two double shots. One set is designed for fresh ground coffee, the other is for pre-ground coffee.

 

If you’re using pre-ground coffee, fill the portafilter with grind. Next, using the integrated tamper, press the portafilter so that the grinds are compressed and level. Finally, attach the portafilter to the group head and select either 1 cup or 2 Cup.

 

The process is slightly different if your grinding beans as you’ll first need to adjust the grind settings to control the size of the grounds and the amount used to make a coffee. You’ll want to make a few coffees and experiment with the settings to find your sweet spot.

 

Creating the ideal textured milk take time and experimentation. So you’ll want to have a play and watch some YouTube videos to learn the skills involved.

 

 

Sage BES875UK review action

photo by Sage

 

 

Performance

We admire how simple the Sage BES875UK Barista Express is to use. There are no hidden menus, presets or mobile app. This simplicity allows you to focus on always creating superb coffee.

 

It’s easy to understand the concept of a bean-to-cup coffee machine, yet getting it to produce a drink to your standards can be quite tricky So, don’t worry if it takes a few attempts to make a great-tasting coffee with the Sage BES875UK Barista Express.

 

That said, once you’ve experimented with the settings and found what works for you, it will produce coffees on autopilot. Just so long as you keep the water tank and hopper filled. You’ll want to replace the water daily for the best results.

 

Another benefit of not having to navigate menu is you can easily experiment without having to read the manual. This is especially useful if you like to try different beans.

 

An element we’re yet to touch on is cleaning. A clean machine is one that offers peak performance. Sadly, the Sage BES875UK doesn’t flush itself after every drink, so you’ll want to clean it weekly. That said, it does have a LED which indicted when it needs cleaning.

 

Included is a special clean disc, which fits into the portafilter. With the disc fitted, add a cleaning tablet and run the 5-minute cleaning cycle by pressing the power, 1 cup and 2 cup button together for 10 seconds. After the cleaning cycle, rinse the machine by pressing the 2 cup button.

 

Depending on how hard your water supply is, you’ll need to descale your Sage BES875UK every 60 to 90 days. Again, you’ll need to use special cleaning disc and descaler chemicals to properly clean the machine.

 

 

Is the Sage BES875UK worth buying?

If you’re looking for a professional quality bean-to-cup coffee machine, then it’s worth considering the Sage BES875UK Barista Express.

 

Thanks to its design, it’s easy to operate and highly configurable. It’s far from a set and forget machine like the Miele CM6150, which offers 10 drink presets, automatic milk texturing and LCD touch screen as well as mobile app control. That said, this Sage machine allows you to be far more creative with your coffee.

 

It does have a few negatives. The fixed heigh between the group head and the drip tray isn’t ideal if you only drink espressos! It doesn’t automatically flush between drinks. You could remove the portafilter and press the 1 cup button to run hot water through the machine.

 

Thankfully, many of the Sage BES875UK parts are dishwasher safe, allowing for easy cleaning. Plus the running the two cleaning cycles is straight forward.

 

The 2-litre water is a generous size, easy to refill yet hidden. Having a water level indicator and being able to see how full the bean hopper allows for quick operation. Great, if you’re in a rush, but desperately need a coffee!

 

It’s worth repeating, with any bean-to-cup coffee machine, the Sage BES875UK included, there is a steep learning curve. There is much more to making a good coffee than adding hot water to beans. So, don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to find the perfect combination of settings.

 

Texturizing milk is a complete subject within itself, which again takes plenty of trial and error to find your way of frothing milk. And of course, you can use the machine to supply hot water for a range of other drinks, thanks to the dedicated hot water outlet.

 

Overall, the Sage BES875UK Barista Express allows you to create a range of coffees and hot drinks with ease. It’s well-built, stylish and available in either black or silver. 9/10