Breville Barista Express 860 Vs 870: What Are Differences & Which Is Better?

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Between Breville Barista Express 860 vs 870, what are the major differences, and which is the better? My answer is definitely the latter Barista Express 870 (or BES870XL). Additionally, the 860 generation is discontinued, so for me, it’s better to purchase the BES870XL to get the up-to-date service and technology of the Breville brand.

The reason is very simple: the Express 870 is the upgraded version of the Express 860. As a newer version, the Breville Barista Express 870 has additional features, including a separate hot water function, a larger bean hopper, a descaling indicator, and an adjustable brewing temperature. Such features help using and maintaining the machine more convenient.

Generally, both the Breville Barista Express 860 and 870 offer comparable espresso pull quality. They feature a thermocoil heating element with digital temperature control technology, allowing them to reach the optimal temperature faster while keeping the water temperature consistent during their operations. They come with a manual steam wand, but the Breville Barista Express 860 includes the frothing attachment for getting foamy milk froth more easily.

Breville Barista Express 860 Vs 870: Comparison Chart

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THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville BES860XL Barista Express Espresso Machine with Grinder
Model
Breville Barista Express 870 (870XL)
Breville Barista Express 860 (860XL)
Dimensions
12.5 x 13.8 x 15.9 Inches
11.5 x 14.5 x 13.25 inches
Power / Voltage
1600W / 110-120 V
1450W / 110-120 V
Water Tank Capacity
67 oz
67 oz
Bean Hopper Capacity
8 oz
7 oz
Grinder Type/ Settings
Steel conical burrs / 16 settings
Steel conical burrs / 16 settings
Heating System
Thermocoil
Thermocoil
Milk System
Manual Steam Wand
Manual Steam Wand with Stainless Steel Frothing Attachment
Interface
Button control & Pressure gauge
Button control & Pressure gauge
Pump Pressure
15 bar
15 bar
Pre Infusion
Flexible Shot Control
Adjustable Brewing Temperature
Separate Hot Water Dispenser
Auto-Purge Function
Auto-Off Function
What I Like
Price
$549.95
$1,199.00
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express 870 (870XL)
Dimensions
12.5 x 13.8 x 15.9 Inches
Power / Voltage
1600W / 110-120 V
Water Tank Capacity
67 oz
Bean Hopper Capacity
8 oz
Grinder Type/ Settings
Steel conical burrs / 16 settings
Heating System
Thermocoil
Milk System
Manual Steam Wand
Interface
Button control & Pressure gauge
Pump Pressure
15 bar
Pre Infusion
Flexible Shot Control
Adjustable Brewing Temperature
Separate Hot Water Dispenser
Auto-Purge Function
Auto-Off Function
What I Like
Price
$549.95
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville BES860XL Barista Express Espresso Machine with Grinder
Model
Breville Barista Express 860 (860XL)
Dimensions
11.5 x 14.5 x 13.25 inches
Power / Voltage
1450W / 110-120 V
Water Tank Capacity
67 oz
Bean Hopper Capacity
7 oz
Grinder Type/ Settings
Steel conical burrs / 16 settings
Heating System
Thermocoil
Milk System
Manual Steam Wand with Stainless Steel Frothing Attachment
Interface
Button control & Pressure gauge
Pump Pressure
15 bar
Pre Infusion
Flexible Shot Control
Adjustable Brewing Temperature
Separate Hot Water Dispenser
Auto-Purge Function
Auto-Off Function
What I Like
Price
$1,199.00
More Info

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Barista Express 860 Vs 870: Differences

Putting the differences between the Breville Barista Express 860 vs 870 into separate categories, the Barista Express 870 leads with a score of 3-0 against Express 860. With several upgrades, the Express 870 offers more convenience in using experience and maintenance.

Coffee flavor & Brewing system

Winner: Barista Express 870

Grinder & Dosing

These two machines feature a nice built-in grinder with hardened stainless steel conical burrs and 16 grind settings. However, the newer Barista Express 870 (BES870XL) comes with the adjustable top burr, while the Barista Express 860 (BES860XL) doesn’t.

The adjustable upper burr can help to extend or shorten the grind range for the optimal extraction, depending on the coffee beans you use. I often set the grind range at 2-3 for the upper burr of my Breville BES870XL. However, it is possible to replace the default upper burr of the Barista Express BES860XL with the adjustable conical burr of the BES870XL because they have the same size and lock position.

The top burr of Barista Express 870 and 860
The top burr of Barista Express 870 and 860

They also include the manual tamper on the left of the grind outlet. To get the proper pucked coffee ground, I need to try and practice dialing in the grind size and amount and tamping force. My grind size is at 5, and my friends like it at 7 or 8. So, you can definitely play with these settings to find the most suitable one.

Additionally, Barista Express 870 and 860 versions provide the convenience of automatic coffee dosing determined by the selected volume. Yet, this automated dosing feature displays some inconsistency around 0.5-1.5 grams more coffee, resulting in a swing in quality between each espresso shot. Thankfully, both these machines allow for manual dosing so that I can weigh the coffee grounds to achieve the desired amounts for my pull.

Can do automatic & manual dosing on both Barista Express models
Can do automatic & manual dosing on both Barista Express models

Brewing performance

The Barista Express BES870XL positions first place in this round because it allows me to change the brewing temperature by ±4oF. Meanwhile, the previous version, BES860XL, does not have this function. 

Apart from that difference, both of them feature the same thermocoil heating element that helps the machines reach the optimal brewing temperature within 5 minutes. Additionally, their heating systems are equipped with digital temperature controllers, which support them to maintain the water temperature consistency. The measured water temperature from the brew group was about 197oF, very close to the temperature the brand stated.

They also feature the low-pressure pre-infusion function to infuse the water slowly into the coffee ground uniformly. After about 8-10 seconds of pre-infusion, a 15-bar pump pressure extraction process starts to deliver a rich espresso shot. So, I can produce robust, full-bodied espresso shots with delightful crema.

Both Barista Express models deliver excellent espresso extraction
Both Barista Express models deliver excellent espresso extraction

Milk system

Another difference between Breville Barista Express 860 vs 870 is in their manual steam wand. The BES860XL comes with a stainless steel frothing attachment, which is not included in the BES870XL package. The BES860XL’s frothing attachment is similar to the one on the entry-level Breville Cafe Roma, helping to get more foam for milk texturing. If you don’t like this frothing attachment, you can remove it and use the inner steam wand like the BES870XL’s one.

Using a manual steam wand will take you more time to get used to and master the basis. However, these machines will release the water drips before starting the steam, which will loosen your froth texture. Thus, you need to purge the steam wand before putting it into the milk jug.

The milk wand of Barista Express 870 and 860
The milk wand of Barista Express 870 and 860

Design & Convenience

Winner: Breville Barista Express 870

Dimension

The dimension between BES870XL and BES860XL is relatively similar, but the Barista Express BES860XL has a smaller height than its rival. This can be attributed to the design of the top bean hopper.

Specifically, the bean hopper of the BES860XL is in the rectangle shape and much flatter than that of the BES870XL. Therefore, the BES860XL can fit small spaces (~14-15 inches) under the cupboard. The Barista Express 860 also has a smaller bean hopper capacity than the Barista Express 870, but the difference is insignificant.

Bean hopper of Barista Express 860 and 870
Bean hopper of Barista Express 860 and 870

Interface

Their interfaces are simple button control and pressure gauges. They allow me to choose and change the presets of single and double-shot espresso easily. Moreover, their pressure gauge comes in handy to monitor the extraction pressure, telling me when I need to adjust the variables like the grind size and amount to get the best-tasting shot.

Hot water dispenser

However, the BES870XL comes with a separate hot water dispenser located on the right of the brewing group head. This dispenser is very useful and convenient for me to get hot water after pulling my shot to make americano (without using a kettle to boil water). 

The BES860XL does not have a separate hot water function. The only way to get hot water from the machine is from the brew head by running the blank shot. This I find suitable to pre-warm the cup but not for making americano. So, it is a bit more inconvenient than the Breville BES870XL.

Separate hot water function on Barista Express 870
Separate hot water function on Barista Express 870

Other utilities

The BES870XL and BES860XL all have the auto-off function. The BES870XL will enter the auto-off mode after 3 hours of no interaction. Meanwhile, the BES860XL automatically shut off after 2 hours from the last interaction.

Additionally, both of them have a passive cup warmer that gets the heat from the operated heating system. They include the tool storages behind their removable drip tray, which are useful to keep the unused filter baskets and cleaning kit.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Breville Barista Express 870

The Barista Express 870 has the descaling indicator, while the Barista Express 860 doesn’t. Particularly, the BES870XL includes the descaling alert, realized by the Clean/Descale light is solid on. On the other hand, when the Clean/Descale light of the BES870XL is flashing, it tells you to run the cleaning cycles. 

Meanwhile, on the BES860XL, when the “Clean me” light illuminates, it’s time to do the cleaning process. For the descaling cycle, you have to remember yourself. The recommendation is that you should descale your machine after 3-6 months of daily use.

Barista Express 870 has a descaling alert while the 860 doesn't
Barista Express 870 has a descaling alert, while the 860 doesn’t

Besides, the Barista Express BES870XL offers the descaling mode, activated by holding down the power button and 2-cup button at the same time. In this mode, I just need to dial in the button/switch one time, and the machine will do the rest.

However, on the Barista Express BES860XL, I have to do the descaling manually by holding down the button and noticing the amount of the descaling solution. So, I find that doing the descale is much easier with the BES870XL than the BES860XL.

Apart from that, the rest of these machines are easy to clean and maintain. Their steam wands feature an auto-purge function, releasing all milk and water residues when lowered down. Their drip trays have overflowing indicators and are easy to remove. It is essential to clean and rub the drip tray regularly to avoid unpleasant smells caused by coffee drips and milk residues.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express 870

Sale
Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of coffee art at home, helping you make the perfect cup of latte or cappuccino

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Heats up less than 10 minutes
  • Can adjust the brewing temperature
  • Pulls consistent and full-bodied espresso shot
  • Features separate hot water function
  • Has a descaling alert and descale mode
  • Auto-off after 3 hours without using
Cons
  • A bit tall, sometimes cannot fit under the cupboard

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express 860

Breville BES860XL Barista Express Espresso Machine with Grinder
  • Stainless steel conical burr grinder with ½lb bean hopper
  • 15 bar Italian pump
  • 1450W stainless steel thermocoil heating system
  • Adjustable grind size and grind amount settings
  • Preset, manual over-ride or re-programmable shot volumes

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Brews good-quality espresso
  • Has the frothing attachment for easily creating milk foam
  • Smaller in dimension and fit easily under cupboard
  • Enter power save mode after 30 minutes of inactivity
  • Effective thermocoil heating system with digital temperature control
Cons
  • Need to perform descaling cycle manually
  • Does not have separate hot water function
  • Cannot adjust the top burr grind range

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Rating 5/5 - (2 votes)

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