A great looking machine that will take pride of place in anyone’s kitchen. Packed with features including touch operation, automated settings, pre-programmed drink selections, and an amazing milk frother for anyone looking to treat themselves or move from coffee lover to home barista the Sage Barista Touch is the coffee machine for you.
What is the Sage Barista Touch Espresso Machine?
In a nutshell it’s a bean-to-cup coffee machine. But to say the Espresso Touch is a coffee maker is like saying a Ferrari is a nice little runabout. This is a serious piece of kit. And while it isn’t a commercial coffee machine it has all the bells and whistles, and more besides, that any barista needs.
One thing that will surprise you about this machine is how compact it is. It will fit comfortably in most kitchens and doesn’t take up much space at all. It measures just 31 x 33 x 40cm and weighs in at only 10.9 Kilograms.
When you look at the Barista Touch it just looks the part doesn’t it? But its stylish looks are backed up by the quality of its build and the materials used by the manufacturers. It’s a very solidly built machine and you can really feel the quality.
The touch screen is large and crystal clear so you should have no problem using it. On screen instructions guide you through the set up and changing the settings is quite straightforward and intuitive.
We’ll look at everything in more detail below but here’s a brief list of what you can expect from the Barista Touch.
Fantastic milk frother.
Lightning-fast heat up time.
Unique optimal water pressure feature.
Digitally controlled espresso extraction.
Customisable and programmable settings.
Make two cups at once.
Loads of accessories.
Ok, let’s delve into this a bit further and look at why everything we’ve listed makes this coffee machine stand out from the crowd.
Fantastic milk frother
Well, I had to start with this didn’t I? For me a great milk frother is essential for any serious coffee machine. And, as we’ve already said, the Sage Barista Touch is a serious coffee machine. And it has a milk frother to match.
For accuracy I should refer to the frother as a steam wand. And the one on the Barista Touch is automatic. Sage calls it automatic microfoam milk texturing. Basically, it froths milk but does a brilliant job of it.
You can adjust the steam wand to deliver the texture of milk you want at the temperature you prefer. Want a thick hot foam for a latte. No problem. You can also use the steam wand on its own so if you want a hot chocolate, you can make a lovely frothy milk to go with it.
But of course, the great thing about a high-quality steam wand is that you can use it to make any number of wonderful frothy coffees.
The quality of the grind is often overlooked but you’ll have no problems with this machine. The grinder is touch operated and the dose control ensures the exact amount of freshly ground coffee is delivered exactly when you want it. This means you always get a fresh brew. You may need to experiment with the settings, but I’d always recommend a finer grind.
Lightning-fast heat up time
No-one likes hanging around for anything. Waiting in line at the store, stuck at traffic lights, or waiting for a coffee machine to heat up. They all drive us nuts.
But you won’t be getting covered in cobwebs while you wait for the Barista Touch. It’s ready for action almost instantly. It has what Sage have labelled as a ThermoJet heating system. Sounds fast, doesn’t it? And it is.
The machine will reach the ideal extraction temperature in just three seconds. Which is quick by anyone’s standards.
Unique optimal water pressure feature
The water pressure is so important when making espresso. You need the high pressure to create that intense flavour and crema. But the Batista Touch goes the extra mile here. It gradually builds the pressure before delivering the final brew. This gradually increase of pressure helps draw out the full flavour of the beans.
Digitally controlled espresso extraction
The Barista Touch Espresso Machine is full of clever features. But this is really cool. Digital temperature control makes sure the water is delivered at exactly the right temperature. Together with the optimal water pressure feature this ensures you get perfect espresso every time.
Single serve coffee makers like the AeroPress have their place but if you want to make a couple of cups at once they just don’t cut it. The Barista Touch doesn’t have that issue.
You can dispense two cups of coffee simultaneously thanks to the large 2-litre water tank. That tank won’t need refilling very often.
The machine also has a 250-gram hopper. Considering you’d probably use 11-22 grams for a double shot of espresso that is some serious capacity.
All of which of course means you don’t have to mess around refilling the water tank or adding fresh beans every time you want to make a cup of coffee.
Fill the tank and the hopper in the morning and it’ll probably see you through the full day.
Customisable and programmable settings
We all love gadgets – especially in the kitchen. And this coffee machine has got everything including touch screen operation (hence the name) and the ability for us to create and save eight different settings.
Discover a brilliant way to make your own latte? Name it and save it to the settings and you can enjoy it time and time again. You can adjust coffee strength, temperature, and milk texture to create different drinks. How cool is that?
Gotten bored of a drink you made? Just delete the setting and replace it with something new. And, just in case you don’t want to go through the process of making and naming your own coffees there are five pre-programmed options for you to choose from including:
Long Black (Americano).
Make two cups at once
I’ve already mentioned this, but it is so cool. I know I’m easily pleased but the ability to make two cups of coffee at once is a massive tick in the box for me. You can make two single shot espressos at the same time which is so convenient if you’re making coffee for others and not just yourself.
Loads of accessories
There’s everything you need to make a great cup of coffee. There are probably one or two accessories you may not need but it’s great to have the choice. There’s even a water hardness testing strip and the cleaning kit is useful.
Other bits and bobs which you’ll need are the portafilter and filter baskets and Sage have even included a nice stainless steel milk frothing jug. So, everything is taken care of and once you’ve unpacked the box, you’ll have all the tools you need to be the best home barista around.
Often a coffee machine will work faultlessly for years. But any electrical item with lots of moving parts can go wrong. It’s the nature of the beast unfortunately.
Of course, the risk of breakdown can be mitigated by the quality of manufacture. And Sage always does a good job. They have a well-deserved reputation for reliability.
But even so things can go wrong so it’s good to know the Barista Touch is protected by a 2-year repair, replace, or refund guarantee. It gives you that extra piece of mind when buying a premium product like this Sage coffee machine.
What is Sage 4 keys formula?
In their marketing Sage talk about their 4 keys formula for making third wave coffee at home. This is a bit disingenuous as third wave coffee has more to do with the sourcing and roasting of the beans rather than the machine it’s brewed on.
But, if we look at their 4 keys, flavour, balanced taste, great body, and silky mouthfeel – then it’s fair enough, I guess. The bottom line here is that if you use good quality beans the Espresso Touch will deliver a fantastic cup of coffee. And that’s all we need to know really.
Anyway, enough of all that. Let’s move on to something more practical.
Hint and tips on how to use the Sage Barista Touch coffee machine
Essentially there are three steps to making great tasting coffee with the Sage Espresso Touch; do the grind, brew the coffee, and froth the milk. Nice and easy, especially with the semi-automated nature of the coffee machine.
But, as with everything, there are ways to shorten the learning curve. So, here’s our top tips on how to use the Sage Barista Touch coffee machine.
Experiment with the grinder
You can change the setting on the grinder to get the best result for you. The conical burr grinder adjustment is under the beam hopper. You can remove that to adjust the coarseness of the grind. The default setting is 6 but you may find it better to raise it slightly for a finer grind and go to the top of the scale for a coarser grind.
As there are 16 different grinder settings it may take you a while to figure out which is which and the grind is the one thing with a bit of a learning curve when you use the Barista Touch. But you’ll soon figure it out. If you have one or two failures don’t worry – adjust the grinder and go again. After all, practice always makes perfect.
Put rubbish in and you’ll get rubbish out
It doesn’t matter how good a coffee maker is, or how much it costs, if you use poor quality beans, you’re going to get a very disappointing cup of coffee at the end of it. I don’t want to be some kind of coffee snob who says you should only use fresh roasted beans from the artisan (and overpriced) shop down the road but… do use the best quality beans you can.
You’ll see some remarks that supermarket coffee beans aren’t good enough and yes, some of the beans on sale in the shops aren’t great. But there are plenty which are. Look around and try different brands and grinds. But do use the best beans you can.
If your coffee doesn’t taste great
If you’re using good quality beans and you still aren’t happy with the coffee the Barista Touch is pushing out don’t give up. With most sophisticated coffee machine there is inevitably a period of trial and error while you figure out the best settings to use.
We all differ in our tastes so experiment with changing the temperature and extraction rates. And don’t forget you can use the pre-programmed settings to be up and running in no time at all.
Heat the portafilter
Some people have reported that heating the portafilter by leaving it in hot water makes a real difference to the final taste of the coffee. I can’t say this has worked for me but give it a go. One of the joys of a coffee maker like the Espresso Touch is that you can constantly experiment with different ways to improve your coffee. So don’t be shy to try new things.
Empty the drip tray
This may seem obvious, but I always forget. The Barista Touch does purge itself when switched on or off so the tray will quickly fill. Empty it regularly to avoid a mini flood on your kitchen countertop.
Barista Touch – FAQs
Can I just press a button and make coffee?
If you don’t want to customise your settings, you don’t have to worry. The Barista Touch has five pre-programmed drinks including expresso, flat white, cappuccino, latte and long black. These will satisfy 95% of coffee lovers. Of course, you must load up the beans and pour in the milk but apart from that it’s a hands-off experience using the pre-programmed settings.
How does the milk frother work?
As you would expect from a coffee machine in this price bracket the milk frother is a joy to use. And it’s also quite straightforward. What Sage have called automatic microfoam milk texturing allows you to adjust the temperature and even the texture of the milk.
Using a steam wand is very much part of the barista’s art and with the frother on the Barista Touch you’ll master the skill in no time.
When you’re ready, fill the pitcher with cold milk and place it on the thermometer on the right side of the machine. All you do then is to lower the wand into the milk and press the milk frothing button on the control panel. You don’t need to do anything else. The machine will do it all for you. To change the temperature and / or the texture of the milk just go into the settings menu.
Can I make more than one cup of espresso at the same time?
You certainly can. You can prepare two single shots of espresso to be dispensed at the same time. However, if you prefer a double shot in your coffee you are limited to making one cup.
To clarify, the machine can dispense two shots of espresso at once. You can choose whether to make a single shot in each of two cups or a double shot into one cup.
Can I make hot chocolate in the Barista Touch coffee machine?
Yes and no. You can’t put chocolate flakes through the grinder, but you can use the milk frother on its own to make rich, foamy milk that you can add to hot chocolate powder.
Can I use the Sage Barista Touch in my small cafe?
Although this coffee machine has all essential tools any cafe owner would need for dispensing coffee it is not a commercial coffee machine. It may last a few days, weeks or possibly a month or two but while it is perfect for home users it couldn’t possibly handle the volume of drinks any successful cafe would sell in a typical day.
How do I clean the machine?
The machine itself can be wiped down with a damp cloth but for the internal elements there is an automatic cleaning function. Just select the programme and the machine cleans itself. Couldn’t be easier and it only takes around ten minutes for the cleaning cycle to complete.
Should I buy the Sage Barista Touch?
There are so many coffee machines out there that it’s difficult to know which to choose. But, if you’re looking for a premium coffee machine which is easy to use, is packed with features, looks brilliant in your kitchen, and most importantly makes great coffee you should buy the Sage Barista Touch. You can buy it here.
How much does the Barista Touch coffee machine cost?
The machine does vary in price as is the way with anything on Amazon. At the time of writing the RRP is around £1,050 ($1,280) but I’ve seen it on offer for as little as £800. You can check the latest price here.
Pros and Cons
Fast heat up time.
Dose control grinding.
Digitally controlled espresso extraction.
Automatic milk texturing.
Optimal water pressure.
Will be too expensive for some.
New water filters are an additional expense.
The grinder can be tricky to master.
Are there any alternative home coffee machines?
The great thing about coffee makers, even heavy-duty ones like the Barista Touch, there are always alternatives. We’ve previously posted a De’Longhi Magnifica review but for this week’s best-selling bean-to-cup coffee machines see below.
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