Sage the Dual Boiler Pro Espresso Machine BES9920UK

9.8 out of 10
9.8 out of 10

There are normally around 7-8 different espresso machines in the Sage range at any one time. At trusted coffee reviews we only include products that we believe represent excellent value for money when compared to the features offered and of course the most important thing, the quality of the end result which is of course, the coffee in your cup.

At the price’s that Sage are asking for their coffee machines, we demand that the coffee is equal in quality to what you can expect to get at one of the high street coffee chains.

We have excluded a few of Sage’s machine’s from our reviews because quite frankly the price of some do not compare favourably to the price of others.

For example, a top rated Sage coffee machine is the Barista Express that really does offer great value for money. Sage also do a Barista Touch that does exactly the same thing as the Barista Express except it has a digital display. You pay hundreds of pounds more for the same thing in your cup so in our opinion paying so much more for a digital display is not worth it so we haven’t included it.

The Sage dual boiler pro covered in this review is an espresso machine that sits in an area between home machine and professional machine.

This is a high quality product where the internal component parts need to be fully understood in order to appreciate what this coffee machine offers.

Overall Score 9.8/10

Design 10/10

An area that Sage absolutely excel is their amazing attention to detail across the board. For sure, the most important thing about a coffee machine is the coffee itself but some manufacturers overlook the fact that this is an appliance that will sit prominently on display in full view on your kitchen workshop.

With some of the other brands you get a big black lump of a machine that doesn’t exactly fill you with much enthusiasm.

Sage are well known for their high design appliances and this coffee machine does not disappoint.

This is a stunning looking product. The beauty is in its simplicity.

This is not a coffee machine that has a ton of dials, knobs and buttons and a baffling array of functionality that will require hours of study and this rubs off nicely into the design creating a minimalist look and feel that is very pleasing on the eye.

The brushed stainless steel body exudes class and quality. Sage have cleverly woven in some black into the tamper, steam wand and the feet at the base of the machine that blends perfectly with the stainless steel to create a contemporary, modern appliance that can happily take pride of place in any kitchen.

Although you could argue that the dual boiler from Sage is more of a professional machine than a home coffee machine it’s a lot smaller than you may think.

This machine measures up at 37cm wide, 36cm deep and 36cm tall. A very compact footprint for a coffee machine of this type.

Functionality 10/10

When it comes to the perfect espresso you need to have precise control over temperature and pressure.

The reason that you pay more for an espresso machine is not about what you can see on the outside (although this machine looks incredible anyway) but the component parts that make up what’s in the inside and this is where this coffee machine stands apart from others.

Before we explain what you get that you can’t see with your eyes, these are the 4 main things that make up the perfect coffee

  • The amount of coffee that you use (ground coffee weight)
  • The temperature of the water
  • How much pressure is used to deliver the coffee to the cup
  • The pressure of the steam for milk frothing

First off, this machine does not come with a coffee grinder. If you are going for a top quality coffee machine such as this one then you need to use a burr grinder to get consistent grind fineness every time.

You can find all of the best ones in our burr grinder section. The perfect partner for this coffee machine is the Sage smart grinder

One of the biggest features of this machine is that it has two boilers. (The secret is in the name – “Sage the dual boiler”)

This is very unusual for a domestic use espresso machine because it makes it a lot more expensive and its difficult as a consumer to understand the benefit that you are getting for the extra money.

With most domestic espresso machines there is only one boiler that controls both the pump that delivers the water through the coffee and into the cup AND the same boiler controls the steam for milk heating.

What this means is that you cannot heat the milk and deliver a coffee at the same time. You have to wait for the coffee delivery process to finish first and then you can use the same boiler to heat the milk.

There are downsides to having only one boiler. Firstly, if you make a coffee then steam some milk you may have to wait until the boiler cools down before you make another coffee. This won’t happen with this machine. Make as many coffees as you like one after the other, no waiting, no problem.

Secondly, you are putting a lot of pressure on the one boiler with a single boiler machine which means that the water temperature will vary and if it varies outside of a certain range (91-91 degrees) then the flavour of the coffee can be affected. That won’t happen with this machine as you have a high quality boiler that will perfectly regulate the temperature every time.

Overall, a dual boiler makes a big difference to the quality of the drink that gets produced and you get the added convenience of being able to heat the milk at the same time as making the espresso.

All professional high street coffee machines have a dual boiler so if you are looking for something that gets close to what they have then this dual boiler machine is the direction you should be going down.

Another feature that Sage have incorporated in to this coffee machine is what they call “pre infusion”. What this means is that water is gently soaked into the coffee grounds before it is water is pumped through at high pressure to ensure an even and perfect coffee extraction. Again, this is the kind of feature normally reserved for professional machines.

Included with the coffee machine is a 480ml milk jug and 4 filters. There are 2 x single walled filters and 2 x double walled filters. With a coffee machine of this quality you should always use freshly ground coffee beans and the single walled filters. This is what the coffee shops do.

The double walled filters are to be used if you buy pre ground supermarket coffee (not advised).

You also get a razor dosing tool so you can ensure the correct amount of coffee every time.

You also get a huge 2.5 litre water tank that is about twice as big as the average and a water filter as well to ensure the purest possible water for your coffee.

A neat little feature is that you can refill the water tank via a lid at the front without going all the way round the back of the machine.

The coffee delivery buttons on the front of the machine are super easy to use. Pressing the single cup button will give you 30ml of water and the double cup 60ml of water which is the perfect amount for a single or double espresso. There is also a manual button if you want to choose for yourself.

If your preferences are different from the default then you can also programme what you want the volume of water to be for both the one cup and two cups.

You can also program the exact temperature that you want the water to be delivered at. Most other top end machines allow a couple of different choices but this lets you specify within 1 degree!

There is a dial on the side for hot water for if you want to add water to an espresso to get an Americano or to pre heat your cup.

The steam activation is professional as well. Normally you would turn a dial and increase the steam pressure but this is like the coffee shops with a lever that you simply flick for full power steam to perfectly heat your milk.

Quality of coffee 10/10

It almost goes without saying that you need to combine this coffee machine with some great coffee.

It doesn’t matter how good the machine is if you don’t use great coffee that is fresh.

Spend a bit on fresh beans and only buy them if you know the roasting date, not the use by date. Try and stick to coffee beans roasted in the last 30 days.

Value For Money 9/10

This is not easy because this coffee machine is far from cheap. It sits very much at the premium end of the market.

The hardest thing about it is being able to appreciate that most of the features and benefits are not obvious to the naked eye.

All of those benefits have been fully explained in the features section and what it boils down to is that although this is an expensive purchase you are actually getting excellent value for money because you are essentially getting a professional coffee machine for your home.

If you REALLY want a coffee to rival one of the high street chains then you should give this serious consideration.

In fact, the high street chains don’t even use very good coffee so you can actually get a better coffee if you combine the Sage the dual boiler with some great fresh coffee beans.