It’s Sage, its new technology, its exciting, but is The Barista Pro worth the money?
The Sage range of coffee machines has remained intact and untouched for a number of years but they have decided that there is a gap in the market to add to their already comprehensive portfolio of semi-professional coffee machines with the introduction of an exciting new espresso machine which they have dubbed Sage The Barista Pro.
This is an upgrade from the already very successful and excellent Barista Express that demands enough respect to have been given a top rating of 10/10 when compared to other pump espresso machines in this class of coffee machine.
All Sage coffee machines sit in that middle ground in between the domestic home market and the professional products that you will find in your high street coffee shop.
If you view coffee as something that you don’t just make but you create, something to savour and something that excites the senses, then a Sage coffee machine is in our opinion the best way to create a coffee just the way you like it and that rivals and surpasses anything that you will be served up in any coffee shop.
But……. there were already 7 coffee machines in the Sage range before they introduced the Barista Pro so what does this model do that all the others cannot do and why should you buy it over any of the others?
The Barista Pro sits in the middle of Sage’s range from a pricing perspective with the Oracle at the top end and the Bambino Plus at the bottom. None of them are cheap but all of them give you the flexibility to create a coffee how it should be made and just how you like it.
This review will make a number of comparisons to the Barista Express which is already our highest rated pump espresso machine and whether or not it is worth paying hundreds of pounds more for the Barista Pro.
Overall Score 9.9/10
The Barista Pro comes with the same level of high design as all of their other coffee machines and you could argue that they have raised the bar even further with this model.
All of their other machines are finished in a lovely brushed stainless steel but they have chosen to make this one in a polished, high shine, chrome finish that could have been a bit risky but in the flesh, it actually enhances its character and makes it look even better than the matt finish of the other models. This is a seriously tasty looking appliance that simply exudes class.
This review is for the all-chrome version but it also comes in a blend of black and chrome that looks equally incredible if not more amazing.
It’s much smaller than you might think with a footprint of 40.6cm deep, 39.3cm tall and 35.5cm wide so a really nice compact appliance that will fit into most spots in any kitchen.
It’s worth mentioning what you get in the box in addition to the coffee machine itself because you need to use some of these tools to produce the right quality of coffee and there are a few that you don’t need to bother with.
You get 4 filter baskets. 2 x single and 2 x double. We are not sure why Sage supply double-wall baskets. It makes it easier to not mess up the delivery of coffee into your cup but it can have a detrimental effect on the quality of the coffee. We won’t get any more technical than that in this review but we suggest only using the single wall double filter for the best double shot of espresso.
You also get a razor that is used to level off the dose of coffee to help with making sure the coffee extraction goes as smooth as possible.
We like the milk jug that is included as it comes with an integrated thermometer so you can see when the milk gets to 65-70 degrees without having to guess and/or burn yourself.
You also get a water filter to ensure the water is as pure as possible which is great because there can be a noticeable difference in flavour if your water is full of limescale.
All of the functionality is controlled through a digital display compared to a manual control panel on the Barista Express. This allows more precision when it comes to controlling all of the variables like grind fineness and grind time.
The grind fineness has 30 different settings compared to 16 on the barista Express so it really does depend on how much you want to fine-tune the grind. You could argue that 16 is plenty but having a few more certainly does no harm.
The bean container (or hopper) holds 225g of beans which is the same as the Barista Express. It’s a good size and is good for 10-15 cups before needing to be refilled.
The water container holds 2 litres of water which is a really good volume for a machine of this size.
We love the way that you activate the grinding of the beans. Just insert the portafilter into the holder and a slight push forward activates a sensor and the coffee is ground according to your settings.
You get to choose the length of time in seconds that the beans are ground for along with the ground fineness. You can tweak this until you find yourself having a double espresso delivered into your cup within 25-30 seconds. Once you achieve that you have got it just right.
This is the benefit of this type of espresso machine over a fully automatic bean to cup machine. With a bean to cup machine, you can’t control the variables in the same way and if you choose the wrong machine you will never get a good cup of coffee no matter how you change the settings.
With the Barista Pro everything is in your control with 30 different grind settings and by the second control of the amount of coffee that gets ground.
With the Barista Express it takes 60 seconds from when you switch it on to be ready for action but Sage has introduced some new technology called a “thermajet heating system” for the Barista Pro that makes it ready to go in about 3 seconds which is a pretty impressive improvement.
Hot water is available via a dial on the side allowing you to quickly add some water to your espresso to create an Americano if that is your drink of choice or you could even use it for a cup of tea if you can’t be bothered to boil the kettle.
For milk simply turn the dial on the right of the machine to activate the steam wand and heat up your milk to 65-70 degrees and add as required for cappuccino or latte.
Once you have the grind time and grind duration set up this is a very surprisingly easy machine to use.
Just tap the portafilter forward to fill it with freshly ground coffee then insert it into the coffee outlet holder and press a button. The result will easily be a coffee that equals or beats anything you get in Costa or Starbucks.
Quality of coffee 10/10
If you are using a coffee machine that is capable of producing coffee at a level as high as the Barista Pro be sure to use the freshest and best quality coffee beans you can find. Combine that with this coffee machine and you will get a truly memorable experience every time.
Sage have raised the bar with the Barista Pro offering more precision than ever before in the quest for the perfect coffee.
The Barista Express is the product that it is most comparable to and we asked ourselves whether or not the benefits you get with the digital control panel are worth paying a few hundred pounds more for.
This is a really, really good coffee machine and if you like a digital control panel that allows you to fine-tune everything to the nth degree then it will provide you with many years of high-quality coffee.
It’s a very close call between this and the Barista Express but we still give the Barista Express a very small edge simply because in our opinion you can use the manual settings on the Barista Express and get the same results.