After playing around with this for the past month I can truly say I am very happy with this machine. It took a few times before I discovered the perfect grind and dose amount, but once I got it the results were amazing. You do have to change it up a bit when you are using different coffee beans, but once you master the settings your in for a real treat. I have discovered it is best if you buy small amounts of coffee beans and use them within ten days for optimum taste and creme. This machine won the 2013 Award for best new consumer product by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
This semi automatic machine combines both brewing and grinding it one unit, and has some features you will only find on higher level professional machines. Those features are PID temperature control for extremely accurate brew water which is important for consistent shots (adjustable by 4 degrees each way up or down), a dry puck feature, and a purge system which releases excess steam in the drip tray so coffee is not burnt by residual steam in the boiler.
This Barista Express has everything you need except the coffee beans and water to get you started. It has a beautiful stainless steel finish. My friend worked at starbucks and a few other high end coffee shops so for this to impress him that says a lot. The best thing to me is being able to make those espressos, cappuccinos, Lattes, Macchiatos, Americanos, Ristrettos, hot chocolates, or teas in your own home without having to go out and pay an arm and a leg for a good one. With some experimentation with some syrups, coffee beans and or other flavorings you are sure to find the perfect coffee drink for yourself.
The steam feature on this machine also takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it works absolutely flawlessly. Simply flip the switch and wait for the steam, turn off, insert nozzle and turn steam back on. I do recommend using a very small amount of milk if you want a full froth as with high levels of milk it doesn’t get as frothy.
Another added feature of this machine is the neat hot water feature. This feature makes making hot chocolate and other powdered drinks a blast. I have also used it for my instant oatmeal in the morning.
See also: Choosing the best espresso maker
The machine comes with some very handy tools as well. You get an espresso press for pressing the grounds firmly into the espresso cup. A cleaning kit for the machine, and an espresso razor which helps to ensure you make the exact right amount of espresso everytime.
Overall I have been beyond overjoyed with this product and would highly recommend it as the best espresso maker in the market.