Sage coffee machines are in our opinion the best way to make a professional cup of coffee at home without spending thousands.
There are 9 products in the range and at trusted coffee reviews we recommend 7 of them and rate them accordingly with one receiving a full 10/10 rating.
We have very deliberately not even reviewed the other 2 because in our opinion we would not recommend them at all. This is not because they are not good machines – they are.
They have not been reviewed or recommended because they are variations on other machines in the range but they cost significantly more (hundreds of pounds more) but do not represent any value for money for the extra you pay. You can get the same coffee with one of the other variations but pay hundreds of pounds less.
The easiest way to classify all 9 Sage products is first to break them down into 3 different price bands. Entry-level, Mid Range and Top End.
Sage Entry Level Coffee Machines
You have 2 products at the entry-level for Sage which are The Duo Temp Pro and The Bambino Plus.
They are slightly deceiving because both of them do not come with an integrated coffee grinder which you will need to add at an additional cost. If you go down this road then you should select a burr coffee grinder as opposed to a blade grinder because you will get a far better quality of grind which you will need to complement a quality coffee machine.
With The Duo Temp Pro, you benefit from features like pre-infusion which soaks the beans in water first before pumping water through them and into the cup. This pre-infusion process does not take place on cheaper machines.
It also has an auto-purge system that reduces the internal temperature of the coffee machine after each espresso delivery so that the next espresso is delivered at 93 degrees. Again, cheaper machines do not have this feature and can be prone to overheating the water which in turn affects the flavour of the coffee.
If you are on a budget but you want a high-quality espresso machine then this is worth a look but for us it’s a little too manual as you need to turn it on to start coffee delivery and turn it off when you are happy with the amount of coffee in your cup.
From there it steps up to The Bambino Plus. As well as the features of The Duo Temp Pro you also get to choose from 3 temperatures for your milk. Just place the jug underneath the steam wand and it will automatically stop when that temperature is reached. One button starts the coffee delivery and it will stop automatically.
It’s not a big jump in price from the Dup Temp Pro to The Bambino Plus and in our opinion, the extra features are well worth the small upgrade price.
If this is the level at which your budget stops we would recommend The Bambino Plus over the Duo Temp Pro.
Sage Mid Range Coffee Machines
There is a choice of 3 products when you step up from the entry-level to the mid-range and Sage have named them all “Barista”
There is The Barista Express, The Barista Pro and the Barista Touch.
You can achieve the same thing from all three of them, it just depends how much you care about the extra things one comes with over the other and whether you are prepared to pay for it.
The Barista Express is our number one rated home espresso machine from Sage and enjoys a perfect 10/10 rating.
This is the machine that I have in my kitchen and have been using for the last couple of years. You get everything you need to replicate the process they use in Costa or Starbucks to produce your coffee of choice better and more delicious than you will get in any coffee shop.
It has an integrated grinder with 16 different levels of grind fineness to choose from so you can fine-tune the grind level to precisely how it should be to deliver espresso correctly and extract the coffee to optimise the flavour profile.
There are multiple settings for grind quantity as well so you get just the right amount of coffee in the portafilter and the tamper is magnetically attached to the machine so its always at hand for you to compress the coffee before attaching it to the machine ready for the shot to be pulled.
The steam nozzle is very powerful to get coffee shop quality milk froth and you can heat it to the right temperature using the included milk jug with thermometer strip so you never overheat and burn your milk.
In our opinion, it has the perfect balance between quality and value. This is the minimum if you want to properly control all of the variables that make up a true comparison to a coffee shop coffee.
The Barista Pro is the step up from the Barista Express. It does everything the Barista Express does and in addition enjoys a digital display that allows you to do things like select from 30 different grind settings and choose the length of time that the coffee is ground for.
It will also be ready for use within 3 seconds of turning it on whereas the Barista Express will take 60 seconds. If you want to control everything at a very fine level of detail through an LCD digital display then it may be worth paying the extra.
Both the Express and the Pro are excellent coffee machines but we still rate the Express ever so slightly ahead of the Pro because in our opinion you don’t need 30 grind settings on the Pro v 16 grind settings on the Express and turning a dial to get the correct amount of coffee ground works fine on the Express and you don’t really need to select it by the second on a digital display.
These additional options are a nice to have but are you willing to pay hundreds of pounds for them? You can make a fully informed decision as the review for The Barista Pro makes a number of comparisons versus the Barista Express.
We haven’t included the Barista Touch in our reviews because we don’t think it is worth anywhere near the money they are asking for it. You basically get a touch screen to select a drink that alters the amount of water that is delivered and for that you pay many hundreds of pounds more. Where the Barista Express is brilliant and well priced, the Barista touch is just overpriced.
Top of The Range Sage Coffee Machines
You have 4 products at the top end of the market within the Sage range and this where is where domestic coffee machines and professional coffee machines start to cross over.
This is probably the most underrated Sage coffee machine.
It performs in the same way as a professional machine in a coffee shop. As the name suggests it has two boilers so you can steam your milk at the same time as you deliver your espresso and with two separate high-quality pumps you will be delivering café quality coffee for years to come with this machine.
You can also choose the exact temperature your coffee is delivered at down to a 1-degree variance amongst a whole host of other features you expect to find on professional machines much more expensive than this.
At the very top of the range is The Oracle and The Oracle Touch.
These are the all-singing, all-dancing ultimate indulgence home coffee machines. These coffee machines do everything that the mid-range machines do and then some.
The Oracle will even perfectly tamp your coffee for you so all you have to do is insert it into the coffee outlet and press a button. You get to control all of the variables that make up the perfect coffee with the absolute minimum human intervention.
We rate The Oracle very highly in terms of performance but are not convinced that it is worth the price that Sage ask for it which is why it only gets a 9/10.
You can get the same coffee out of The Barista Express for half the price.
The Oracle Touch sits at the very top of the range but we have not included it in our recommendations because in our opinion it is just too expensive for what you get.
You can pick up a half-decent filter coffee machine for about £50 and this one costs about 5 times that so it had better be pretty good to justify paying out that kind of money for a coffee machine that sprays water over ground coffee that then drips into the jug below.
And it is good. Very good. The design is fabulous in an all-over brushed stainless steel with accented black on the filter basket, jug and base to create a modern look that will look good in any kitchen.
You can do all sorts of things with this filter coffee machine that you simply cannot achieve with others with the main benefit being the personalisation options on the easy to use digital display.
You can alter the strength of your coffee, the bloom time and you get to choose the exact temperature that you want your coffee delivered at. It all ends up in a thermally insulated jug that will keep it at the temperature you selected for a good couple of hours.
This is a top-end filter machine that delivers top-quality coffee.
What else is there to consider?
If you REALLY want to be able to make a coffee at home that will taste the same or better than any coffee shop then you should give serious consideration to a Sage coffee machine.
There are many different brands to choose from but when it comes to making a great espresso you should probably stick to choosing from 3 – Delonghi, Sage and Nespresso.
Each one are specialists in their own segment of the coffee machine market so the one that you ultimately go for will depend on what your own personal preferences are and how much you are willing to pay for a home espresso machine.
In a nutshell, a Sage coffee machine will give you the very best chance to create the very best possible coffee that will easily be better than anything you can expect to be served up in a high street coffee shop but there is a caveat. You have to be prepared to put some effort in.
Making a coffee with a Sage coffee machine most closely resembles the process that you see whenever you order a coffee in Costa or Starbucks or Café Nero.
In a coffee shop, the coffee gets ground from whole beans just before your coffee is made. The coffee is ground into a portafilter and is then compressed in a certain way to ensure the best possible coffee extraction. The portafilter with the ground coffee is then manually inserted into the espresso machine and a double shot of espresso is extracted ready to be served as it is or have milk added for a cappuccino or a latte.
When you buy a Sage coffee machine you will need to go through this process each time you want to make a coffee. It’s done that way because it’s proven to give you the best possible results consistently.
It’s important to understand that Sage coffee machines are NOT bean to cup coffee machines. With a bean to cup coffee machine, you press one button and the machine grinds the beans, tamps the coffee and automatically extracts the espresso into the cup.
Grinding and tamping are very important if you want to produce the best possible coffee. Bean to cup coffee machines do a good job but not as good as using manual intervention in the right way which is why the coffee shops do it that way.
With a bean to cup coffee machine you compromise slightly on quality but you gain in convenience. Once you have the settings as you like them you literally press one button and your espresso is delivered. You can also get fully automatic versions that will even add milk for a cappuccino or latte so you don’t have to get involved at all.
Delonghi are the runaway market leaders and have a huge range to choose from so if you want something as close as possible to a coffee shop coffee but without the hassle you can go straight to the best bean to cup coffee machines.
Nespresso take convenience to a whole new level that allows you to get a coffee without even touching any coffee! Just pop in the pod and press a button and in less than a minute you have a double espresso delivered into your cup. Zero hassle. But in our opinion, you make a further compromise in quality because the coffee has already been pre-ground before being added to the pod and coffee definitely tastes best if you grind it just before brewing.