From a truckload of house plants to a DIY knit-your-own-blanket kit to a sunlounger (even though I don’t have an inch of outdoor space), I have made more than a few questionable shopping decisions over the past few years. But the heftiest of all? A $750 Breville espresso machine that I impulsively bought way back during a midnight shopping spree amid quarantine. First, let me say that I realize I am lucky that I have a job and a steady paycheck. And that this is the most expensive kitchen gadget I have ever owned. But despite my rushed decision, I don’t regret this indulgence at all. On the contrary, it might be the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time.
You see, I, like many, used to start my day with a quick latte stop at my local coffee shop and followed that up with several cups of coffee throughout the day once I got to the office. All this is to simply say that I love my coffee and can’t function without it. So back when WFH orders were issued and coffee shops temporarily shut down, I was left to my own devices to supply my daily coffee needs, and let me tell you, copious cups of black coffee made in a French press can get old rather quickly. But ever since I picked up the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, I have been able to enjoy a huge variety of cafe-style brews right at home — and I couldn’t be happier.
What is the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine?
The Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine is a workhorse; it pulls espresso shots like a total pro, while the steam wand (it does a 360-degree swivel!) heats and froths milk for delicious cappuccinos, lattes, and more. I also really love that it has a built-in water heater so I can simply top my espresso shot with piping hot water for a cup of black coffee or make a cup of tea without using a kettle. During hot days, I swap hot water for tap and ice cubes for a refreshing cold brew. It truly does it all.
While the machine does look intimidating, it’s actually incredibly easy to use. Once I set it up to suit my grind size (thank you, YouTube tutorials), I was able to whip up a cup of coffee within minutes: Turn on the power, use the puck to get the right amount of freshly ground beans, pull an espresso shot, and then use the milk wand to create just the desired amount of froth and heat. Easy!
Why I Love the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
This machine comes with everything you need, including a bean hopper and grinder, a tamper, four filter baskets, a steel milk jug, a coffee scoop, a razor dose trimming tool, and even cleaning supplies for when it’s time to descale the machine. Although I was worried the coffee maker would take up too much counter space in my tiny kitchen, it has a very compact footprint. And my favorite feature? The top portion works like a mug warmer. Let me tell you, nothing beats the joy of wrapping my fingers around a warm mug before the start of a hectic workday.
This coffee maker has also given me the flexibility to choose my own beans, milk, sugar, and toppings rather than rely on whatever is available at the coffee shop. For instance, I used to stick to regular milk and brown sugar, but now I use oat milk and coconut sugar, which feels like such an upgrade. I have also experimented with tons of coffee beans and discovered so many new flavors and favorites.
And It’s Not Just Me Who Loves It
Our Managing Editor, Lauren, also bought this espresso maker during quarantine and is still equally smitten. “My husband and I are new parents, so our espresso machine is our most beloved appliance right now,” she says. “When we’re groggy-eyed and sleep-deprived, we know we can have a perfect shot of espresso with basically a push of a button. Also, being able to have an oat milk latte without leaving our house now is such a treat!” Agreed!
At $699.95, the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine is definitely a significant investment, but think of all the money you’ll save creating all your favorite café-style drinks at home! Plus, if you’re looking for the perfect way to spoil the coffee lover in your life this holiday season, I can guarantee this pick will put a smile on their face — it’s still putting one on mine!
Buy: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, $699.95 (normally $749.95)