So as you should by now know we love Coffee! Well love is probably an understatement but nevertheless over the course of this blog we have become somewhat Coffee Aficionados, Connoisseurs, Coffeeholics and a million other ways to say Coffee Addicted. Since we have been going all over London to get a good cup we decided why take the trip? So we bought a bean to cup maker this is the scoop….
As always I did my research – weeks and weeks of reading, letting it brew and thinking over it a latte. Eventually after looking over many different machines (trust me there are A LOT) The same machine kept popping up – The Sage Barista Express Espresso Machine.
High reviews, It comes in Black, Could do 2 Cups at the same time and it was also the best machine for beginners (such as myself) So we stopped procaffeinating and bought it as a Birthday present.
Now first things first this isn’t a one button and its done machine you do have to do some work and it may take a couple of goes in order get the handle on things. That being said for the most part the machine does all the work.
You fill the back tank up with filtered water (there is a filter that you must change every now and then) to the max line.
You switch the machine on – whilst the water heats up you can measure your coffee beans – it only takes a minute.
Then pour some beans into the grinder set the serving size and let it grind into the filter – which has a auto stop detection when it reaches the exact amount that you need (I say exact however its more like in the ball park of where you need it – sometimes it overflows sometimes it underproduces) During this process you have to pay attention to the lit up buttons and sensors as they will prompt you into action when you are needed. (Tip – Make sure you get good fresh beans for a better taste) Make sure to also grind and use fresh as the beans lose 50% of flavor in the first few minutes of being ground.
You can skip this step if you are going for pre-ground coffee just remember to change the filter.
There was a manual – which was rather vague but who reads manuals anyway? I do things through trial and error and no matter what I will get my cup of coffee through whatever beans necessary.
Now at this point you need to pay attention to the leveling – isn’t all that precise and sometimes what looks like a lot can be very little once tamped down. The exact amount of pressure that you use to tamp down will have also have a big impact on the machines pressure dial.
Then you place a cup under the the Pipe? Stem? Dripper thingy? As the water has already heated due to the temperature control all you have to worry about is moving the cup once it had done its 1 shot or 2 Now this is when I complain because all of these machines seem to cater to people who have a small 300ml cup instead of my Mega Pint cup. This normally results in very weak coffee for me – so I tend to do 2 sets of double shots – So I guess I am having 4 shots for my cup? During this time you can watch the pressure gauge showing you exactly what is going on – if its over the green area into the red, it means your coffee will end up burnt – much like Tina we salute you. Too low and you will end up with a very watery coffee – like Look mum no hands.
So the gauge needs to stay in the green zone – in all the times I have used this machine it has never gone out of the correct zone – so it’s pretty hard to get it wrong (How does most of Clerkenwell/Hackney manage it every single time?)
Now I have my Coffee Black – Like my heart – so all I have to do is fill the rest of my cup up with the boiling water that comes from a small hose at the right side of the machine.
However almost everyone else I know has milky coffee and this is where the milk frothier comes in. The machine came with a heat censored milk jug (only for right handed users) which shows you the exact temperature of the milk. You pour however much milk you want into this jug and then make sure the steaming wand is situated in the milk and turn it on. The steam creates a textured foamy milk – you can control the consistency. Once at the perfect temperature and frothiness you can make your attempts at Latte art which is so ridiculously hard!
The barristers that make your daily coffee make it look easy but even after my 11th time attempting I have only made a melted blobby smiley face – when trying to do a heart.
There has been some weak coffees but for the most part every cup has been good – this as stated is greatly influenced by the beans that you use.
There is a small issue with the drip tray filling up pretty quickly and the fact that all coffee machines seem to be made specifically for a right handed person.
My small gripe with Sage – is that when ordering the machine there was an offer to receive a years worth of filters upon registering – this was not fulfilled and Sage claimed complete ignorance and since then have removed this offer from all websites. I guess you win some you loose some
So as an overall summery if you want a user friendly bean to cup machine this one is worth a Shot, with a Press of a button you can rest assured this machine will leave you saying ‘You mocha me very happy.’
Ok enough with the puns – stay tuned next week for something different probably not coffee but the perfect blend of something else.