It’s now been a month since I became a proud Sage owner and since then I have used it a hell of a lot. Too much probably and now I reckon it’s been long enough for me to be able to write a long term review sort of thing.
So to recap on what I have: I bought the Sage (Breville everywhere else) Barista Express in sesame black, a single boiler bean-to-cup espresso machine. If you read my post from when I first bought it you may recall my complaints that the grinder dosage selector is a bit clumsy, the steam outlet used for dumping excess water in the drip tray is a bit crap and the mug warmer is a waste of time, well I’d like to amend some of them. I still maintain the cup warmer is a waste of time but the complaint I had regarding the steam outlet seemed to just be a bit of a gremlin in the system. Either that or just a running-in type of issue. My other complaint about the grinder dosage being clumsy may have been a bit prematurely made. With repeated use I have found that the grinder has become more controllable so, again, it may have been a running issue.
Aside from these little niggles, no more have really arisen. The main issue is keeping the thing topped up with beans and keeping the milk in the fridge topped up which, much to my disapproval, I have discovered is incredibly expensive and just generally a pain in the arse.
One thing I have learned that really irks me is that if you try to use “cheap” coffee beans in then the machine really doesn’t like it. Even if you use the included pressurised filter baskets it’s still not ideal so the coffee you buy and use has to be as fresh as possible but having said that, you should be using freshly roasted coffee anyway even though you can quickly rack up a substantial bill for it all.
Overall though I bloody love this machine. I honestly think it’s one of the best options for someone that wants a bean-to-cup espresso machines at the lower end of the price scale. If you don’t want to invest in a stand alone grinder etc then it really is something to consider. The build quality is exceptional and all the internals are top notch. I love the little touches like having a nice stainless steel portafilter, a magnetic tamper that has a little holder and they even give you a milled stainless steel razor tool to get your dosage amount spot on every time. It’s just lovely and I couldn’t be happier.