Sage the Barista Pro is the successor to the very popular Sage Barista Express. We’ll be publishing a comparison of the 2 in our next article.
Sage Barista Pro review: Summary
First of all, it is a pleasure to work with this device. Thanks to a new heating system, the Sage Barista Pro can reach its operating temperature in just three seconds and pour the first espresso. This is particularly interesting for all those who want to enjoy a quick espresso in the morning before work as a pick-me-up.
The Barista Pro is also designed with a clear user interface that allows the desired settings to be made effortlessly and intuitively. You can set the degree of grinding and the consistency of the milk foam and also choose whether you want to brew one or two cups of espresso at the same time.
Perfect milk foam for speciality coffees
In addition to espresso, the Sage SES878 is equipped with a milk frothing system which allows you to prepare coffee specialities that are based on espresso and refined with milk or milk foam, like latte and cappuccino, for example.
Check out our video with a full hands-on review and demo at the end of the article.
Sage Barista Pro review: Unboxing
Immediately after the delivery driver has handed over the package to me, I start unpacking. The device is well protected and easy to remove.
Beside the beautifully designed espresso maker you will receive various accessories. There is for example a set of four wall filter baskets. On the one hand these are defined by the coffee size (1 or 2 cups) and on the other hand whether it is for pre-ground or coffee from whole beans. Depending on your needs, the basket of your choice is placed into the portafilter holder when making your espresso. In addition, the so-called Razor precision dose trimming tool is included in the package. You will also receive a beautiful 480ml stainless steel milk jug, which is needed for foaming the milk. The machine also comes with a tamper, a water filter and a cleaning kit.
Setting it all up takes about 15 minutes and you are ready to go!
Sage Barista Pro review: What you need to know
If you haven’t used Sage or a portafilter machine before, there are many things you have to take into account and you will certainly need a few tries to get the coffee you want. This barista machine offers some useful aids.
INTEGRATED CONICAL BURR GRINDER
A very clear advantage is the integrated grinder (adjustable in 30 stages) which saves you an additional purchase and gives you everything you need in one beautiful product. With the Sage SES878 Barista Pro, the amount of coffee powder delivered by the grinder can be regulated over the time of the grinding process.
I found I got the best results for my freshly roasted coffee beans at a setting between 9-12, depending on the roast. In the next step you set, if you are grinding coffee for 1 or 2 shots and the length of time. I’ve set mine to 9.5 seconds, which fills the portafilter just enough, so the grinded beans don’t spill over. All this can be done using the intuitive interface and will be shown on the LCD Display. Very practical.
Sage Barista Pro review: Ease of use
18-22 GRAMS DOSE
The required powder falls conveniently directly into the portafilter. I’ll usually even out the grinded beans and add another 3-4 seconds manually to achieve the right amount (18-19g). Once that is done, it’s time to tamper the ground coffee. For this purpose a magnetically attached tamper is mounted on the left side. Ideally you tamp with a force of up to 15-20kg, which is quite a lot. So feel free to apply a decent amount of pressure to get the best shot.
The important thing here is to press straight, so that the water can be pressed evenly through the coffee powder. Now the portafilter can be clamped in and the espresso making process can be started by pressing a button. You decide whether for one or two cups.
Here you again have 2 options. You press and release the button (1 or 2 cups) and the predefined settings will be put in action. In the settings menu you can easily adjust the length of time and temperature for the coffee extraction to suit your personal preferences.
Alternatively you keep the button pressed, until the first extraction is streaming out of the portafilter, which finishes the infusion. Then you release the button and only press it again, once you are happy with the amount of espresso. This gives you a bit more control over the whole process and an idea, what settings you prefer to automate the process.
Sage Barista Pro review: Performance
The quality of shots you will get can be easily compared with the espresso you get from your favourite barista.
It took me about 3-4 tries until I found the perfect setting for my coffee beans. But the effort is really worth it. After all, you want to achieve the perfect crema on your coffee. Sage is well-known in the industry for consistently producing outstanding espresso machines and the Sage Barista Pro doesn’t disappoint.
MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING
For the milk foam you only have to turn the switch on the side. This switch provides hot steam from the nozzle. Simply pour your milk into the jug, hold the milk under the nozzle at the right angle and wait until the jug becomes too hot to handle – with a little practice you can even feel the correct temperature. Ready is your milk and with a bit of skill your latte Art.
Sage Barista Pro review: Maintenance & Care
One fantastic, but highly underrated innovation is called the “Dry Puck Feature”, which automatically removes excess water from the ground coffee in the filter basket after extraction for easy disposal of the coffee puck.
Whoever had to deal with wet coffee pucks knows what I am talking about and it really saves you a lot of time when cleaning the machine.
A quick rinse of the group head to remove any remaining ground coffee and quickly wipe the steam wand is everything you need to do to keep the machine looking brand new.
Altogether it is possible to create a really good Cappuccino or Latte in around 5 minutes including cleaning up.
Enjoy our Hands-on Video Sage Barista Pro Review
Sage Barista Pro review: Verdict
The Sage SES878 Barista Pro is a great espresso machine, which we can recommend without reservation in its price range. Coffee lovers, who come from the fully automatic and capsule sector will quickly get happy with this machine due to its intuitive operation.
A big advantage of this machine is the extremely fast heat-up time. The operating temperature is reached in just three seconds.
State-of-the-art technology contributes to the Barista Pro to ensure that the coffee is always perfect. Professional pre-infusion and a temperature that remains constant during the extraction process are among the many advantages of this model.
The high level of convenience of the integrated grinder is yet another aspect that underlines the excellent price-performance ratio of this espresso machine.
Sage Barista Pro review: Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the Barista Pro from Sage suitable for?
This machine is basically suitable for anyone who wants to extract high-quality espresso coffee at home. The intuitive operation is so simple that even beginners can quickly get to grips with the machine and achieve good espresso. However, the price of this model is a little above the beginner level. Over the long-term, a machine like this will save you a lot of money without compromising on the quality you are used to from your favourite coffee shop.
The technical features of this machine guarantee an excellent quality of espresso that will satisfy even the most demanding espresso friends. Therefore, the Barista Pro can also be considered the perfect machine for anyone who already has experience in extracting espresso. Several settings that can be set manually, which leave the possibility of personalising the coffee pleasure to your own taste.
Can I also get normal coffee from the machine?
Yes, you can also make normal coffee with the espresso machine. The easiest way is to simply brew two espressos and pour hot water over them.
Is the machine suitable for cappuccino?
Cappuccino can be prepared perfectly in the Barista Pro. There is a milk froth system that allows you to prepare the milk to your own taste. This makes it easy to make a tasty cappuccino.
Does this machine have two heating circuits for milk foam and espresso?
This model is equipped with only one heating circuit, which means that the milk foam and the espresso extraction cannot be used at the same time. However, the fast heating time of the machine makes it possible to perform the two tasks in quick succession. This means that there is only a slight delay, even if you want to prepare several speciality coffees in succession.
Can coffee pods be used in the machine?
No, the Barista Pro is not designed for coffee pods. It can be used with coffee beans that are processed by the integrated grinder. Alternatively, the machine can be used with pre-ground espresso grounds, which are simply filled into the sieve holder.
What is the capacity of the water tank?
The water tank in this model has a capacity of 2 litres. It can be easily removed so that it can be filled under the tap.
Is it possible to grind coffee beans and brew them at the same time?
No, the processes take place separately. First the coffee is ground and only when this process is complete can the brewing process begin.
Is a thermoblock or boiler used for heating?
This model uses a thermoblock for heating, which enables it to be ready in an ultra-fast 3 seconds.
Can the grinder be cleaned?
The grinder can and should be cleaned from time to time to prevent deposits of coffee oil. A detailed description of the procedure can be found in the operating instructions.
Can the water outlet quantity be adjusted?
Yes, the outflow quantity can be adjusted individually for each cup size.