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Sage Barista Express or Barista Touch? Which one should I choose?

Sage has several different models and we often get questions about the differences between the two models Barista Express and Touch. From the looks of it, the two may seem very similar but when compared they are completely different machines. In this comparison you will get a better understanding about the two machines and the important differences to help you choose which one is right for you.

About the Sage Barista Touch

The Barista Touch is a machine by Sage that focuses on allowing the customer to have the best coffee possible at home with features that make the espresso brewing process, which can otherwise be perceived as complicated and difficult, easier and simpler. Barista Touch as the name suggests has an easy to navigate touch screen with pre-programmed coffee drinks and has an automatic milk frothing function where you can easily select the temperature of the milk and the amount of froth.

The Sage Barista Touch comes with an integrated coffee grinder and with a boiler that only has a heating time of 3 seconds.

This espresso machine is a hybrid between a fully automatic espresso machine and a manual one but on the other hand has more control over the brewing process and thus can produce coffee drinks that are much tastier than fully automatic espresso machines. Something that makes the Barista Touch stand out from the crowd is the in touch screen where you have control over brewing temperature, brewing time, milk temperature and foam as well as being able to save up to 6 custom coffee drinks where you can name them anything you like.

About Sage Barista Express

The Sage Barista Express is the perfect espresso machine to introduce you to espresso brewing and is fully capable of creating coffee drinks as good as the other more expensive models by Sage but lacks the auxiliary features like automatic milk frothing and integrated touch screens. The Barista Express focuses only on the essentials of espresso brewing and is one of the easiest espresso machines to work with. The Barista Express comes with an integrated coffee grinder, two programmable buttons single and double espresso as well as hot water outlets for tea and amercano and a manual steam wand for your coffee drinks with milk. Everything you need for a perfect cup of coffee.

Sage Barista Touch vs Barista Express: a complete comparison

Now we'll go through all the aspects where the two machines differ from each other.

Type of espresso machine

Both offer a unique bean-to-cup experience and can grind freshly roasted beans within minutes and brew a coffee drink that's almost as good as a barista would make. Because the beans are ground on the spot, you get a unique opportunity to get all the great aromas, flavours and quality out of the beans. The grinder has stainless steel conical grinders and both machines have a dial on the left side of the machine where you can adjust the grind level according to the beans. Both have the same grinder but the Touch offers 30 steps of adjustment while the Express has 18 steps. This in practice means that with Touch you can get finer adjustments.

Ease of use


s no point owning an expensive espresso machine if it's far too complicated to use. With that in mind, the ease of use of a machine is very important and thus, the features, navigation of a machine can play a big role.

The Sage Barista Touch has a well-designed touch screen that is very easy to navigate and use. The menu is divided into three stages; grinding, brewing and milk frothing. The touch screen allows you to easily change parameters such as brewing time, temperature, grinding time, texture of the milk and milk temperature. To make it even easier, you can grind the coffee directly into the parta filter for

brewing. The degree of grinding can be adjusted with the knob on the left and the setting is clearly displayed on the screen.

Something that the Barista Express lacks is the simple touch screen that you have an overview of your brewing but since the Barista Express only has two programmable buttons, it is very easy and smooth to use. Barista Express allows you to set the grind level in 18 steps. Like the Barista Touch, you can grind the coffee directly into the portafilter and with tamper that can be attached to the left of the machine using a magnet, the whole process is very smooth. Using the dial on the front of the machine, you can select the amount of coffee ground and choose whether it's for single/double espresso.

When it comes to ease of use, both machines are very simple and smooth to use but the Barista Touch is ahead with its touch screen where you can easily change different parameters for brewing. The downside of the Express is that it can feel a bit more complicated when you want to change certain parameters such as brewing temperature, but this is something that changes very rarely and therefore you shouldn't put a lot of weight in your decision based on this aspect.


To help you out, espresso machines usually have a certain amount of customizability so for example, save your favorite drink. This feature can be useful to have if you change beans frequently and want to be able to save settings to quickly return to previous beans. When it comes to customizability, Barista Touch has a big advantage over Barista Express. With Touch, you can save up to 6 custom drinks with custom brew settings and milk textures, as well as being able to name them anything you want. Barista Express, on the other hand, only has two programmable buttons and thus has no such feature. Should you change beans, the Barista Express will need to be reprogrammed to the new beans for best results.

Something that the Barista Express has in its favour is the manual brewing function. By pressing the program once then holding down the single or double espresso button you have a fully manual pre-infusion function. Pre-infusion is a term used in espresso brewing where the coffee puck is given low pressure brewing water to saturate the puck before the actual 9 bar brewing pressure arrives. This usually gives better results and tastier espresso but requires a little more. Barista Express can be recommended to people who want a hands on experience with the espresso machine where everything is done manually but thus giving even more control over the actual brewing process.

Milk frothing

When it comes to milk frothing, the Barista Touch has an advantage with its automatic milk frothing function where it can froth the milk to custom texture and temperature. The Barista Express has a manual steam wand where you can learn how to froth milk to the right texture and perhaps even learn how to make latte art. Should you want to froth your own milk hands on with the Barista Touch, you can do that too. Something to keep in mind when choosing an espresso machine is that the Barista Touch has a stronger boiler, so you don't have to wait for the boiler to build up the steam pressure. This is something that is very notable with the Barista Express where you need to wait about 30-45 seconds after brewing for the boiler to recover and build up to the correct steam pressure.


Both espresso machines have the same capacity when it comes to the removable 2L water tank and the bean container that holds 250g. Both espresso machines also come with a 480ml milk jug.


The Barista Touch has the following dimensions:

Width 322 mm, depth 394 mm and height 407 mm.

Barista Express has the following dimensions:

Width 325 mm, depth 310 mm and height 400 mm

Both Express and Touch have similar dimensions but something that is notable is the depth where Touch is 84 mm deeper than Express. So if space is an issue for you, Express is guaranteed to take up less room than Touch.


When it comes to design, both espresso machines are very similar. Both have stainless steel exterior panels that give a luxury feel. The difference is that the Express has a more classic and retro design with a push-button located centrally in the machine, while the Touch has a large touch screen.


When you shop with us, you get a 12-month warranty on all of our espresso machines. Read more about our warranty conditions.


The price difference for these two machines is quite big despite the fact that in terms of appearance they don't differ that much. The reason is precisely because the Sage Barista Touch has a large touch screen, much faster operation and more efficient internal components that heat up the water within 3 seconds whereas the Express takes more towards 60 seconds. Also also that Touch has better customizability as well as an automatic milk frothing function.

What others say?

As for the opinions of previous customers, the majority are very satisfied with the Barista Touch. Users are especially happy that they get very good coffee with the machine. Provided that good quality beans are used. One of the aspects that customers are very satisfied with is the quality of the milk that the Barista Touch gets as well as the modern look along with the stainless steel exterior panels that give a luxury feel. Something that customers have mentioned as a negative point is that it can take some time to understand and get the tastiest results with the machine. Which is also something that should be expected with a semi-automatic espresso machine. If you buy an espresso machine from us, we will guide and help you get started. Another factor that some have mentioned is that the drip tray is small and needs to be emptied regularly with regular use.

The Sage Barista Express has received a lot of positive feedback over the years and has a very large customer base. Many mention how well the Express can brew coffee and that many love the retro design of the Barista Express. Something that customers most often mention is that this machine is not suitable if you are looking for an automatic machine but that if you are willing to learn about espresso brewing, the Barista Express can deliver extremely good coffee.

One negative aspect mentioned is that the drip tray is quite small and the machine needs to be cleaned often as it gets dirty and greasy quickly with coffee grounds and spills.


In conclusion between the Sage Barista Touch and Express is that both can create equally good coffee drinks that offer different benefits to suit different types of customers.

The Sage Barista Touch comes with an easy to navigate touch screen, automatic milk frothing and very fast with its upgraded internal boiler that has a heating time of 3 seconds. These factors determine the price difference between the two espresso machines.

The Sage Barista Express gives you the ability to brew coffee drinks as good as the Barista Touch but loses out on all the extra features and only has the essentials such as manual steam wand for milk frothing, two programmable buttons with manual brew mode. Thus, Express is recommended for people who are willing to have a more hands on experience.

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