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Sage Barista Express Vs. Sage Barista Pro

There is a high probability that you know the Sage Barista Express which is one of the most popular model of Sage. This legendary espresso machine is usually the first espresso machine for many precisely with its simple retro design, built-in grinder and beginner-friendly that teaches you the basics of espresso brewing. The espresso machine allows you to use non-pressurized cups i.e. single wall cups which is the professional way of brewing espresso in coffee shops. In 2019, Sage introduced a new model called the Sage Barista Pro. The model is very similar to the previous model Barista Express but has more features and improved internal components. It can be difficult to tell the differences between them and so in this article we highlight the pros and cons and differences to help you with your espresso machine purchase or if you are looking to upgrade.

External design and its features

First of all, the basics: both models have a built-in grinder to get freshly ground coffee before brewing. The grinder is the same for both models but the Barista Pro allows you to set the grinder to 30 different grind levels while the Barista Express only offers 18 levels which means the Pro has a more fine-tuned grind. The Pro also has an updated design with a more modern look but the dimensions don't differ much between the two models. Both models have a hot water outlet for those who want to drink tea or Americano. However, on the Barista Pro, the hot water outlet is located right where the espresso comes out and thus you don't have to move the cup when you want to make an Americano which is a plus for the Pro.

The biggest difference between them is the digital vs analog display. The Express has four buttons and a pressure gauge. In contrast, the Pro has an LCD display with a scroll wheel with smaller buttons. Some prefer the analog pressure gauge that the Express offers, but we don't think the pressure gauge is the ultimate way to see if you're brewing well or not. Rather, by looking at the build time, you can deduce if you've been grinding too coarse or too fine and thus adjust the brew better. In our opinion, the digital display from the Pro provides a better overview and control of the brewing process.

Internal components and performance

It is perhaps the appearance that shows most clearly the differences between them but in fact the internal components and its performance are the main difference and in our opinion the difference that decides which one you choose.

Barista Express has a Thermocoil heating system. Where water is forced through a heated coil to achieve a brewing temperature of between 90 and 96 degrees. This takes about 45 to 60 seconds from the time you start the machine until it reaches its brewing temperature. The Barista Pro on the other hand has a newer Thermojet heating system that reaches its brewing temperature within 3 seconds. This gives the Barista Pro many advantages such as stronger and more efficient milk frothing, you don't have to wait between brewing but can brew cup after cup quickly and efficiently. You don't have to wait when switching from brewing to frothing milk unlike Express where you have to wait for the machine to build up its steam pressure.

Conclusion

Both machines are a great machine to introduce you to espresso brewing. That's precisely why both the Pro and Express are sold side by side rather than a replacement for the Express. Which machine you should buy depends entirely on what you're after. If you are looking for a machine that is efficient and can quickly brew your espresso and milk drinks with a more modern look, the Sage Barista Pro is the perfect option. If you are looking for an espresso machine with a classic retro design with an analogue pressure gauge, the Express is the perfect machine for you. If you've already had a Sage Barista Express and feel like upgrading, the Pro is a great choice.

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