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Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
About this item
- Make sure this fits by entering your model number.
- Dose control grinding: Integrated 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 the bean
- Precise espresso extraction: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal Espresso extraction
- Micro foam milk Texturing: The steam wand performance allows you to hand texture micro foam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art
- Grind size dial: Simple and intuitive, giving you control over the grind size no matter what type of bean you're grinding
- Hands free operation: Innovative grinding cradle allows any at home Barista to grind directly into the espresso port filter
- Bean Hopper Capacity: 1/2 lb.; Water Tank Capacity: 67 oz.
- Settings: Single or double shots; Adjustable grind amount & manual overrides;
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From the manufacturer
Kitchen appliances designed to inspire people to produce perfect food and beverage results in their own homes with ease. From espresso machines to food processors, the innovation in each appliance delights. Breville makes the process a pleasure and the end result perfect, every time.
The Barista Express by Breville, BES870XL
Everything you need for barista quality coffee, in a compact footprint. From bean to espresso in under a minute.
Create great tasting espresso in less than a minute. The Barista Express allows you to grind the beans right before extraction, and its interchangeable filters and a choice of automatic or manual operation ensure authentic café style results in no time at all.
The 4 keys formula for third wave specialty coffee at home:
- Rich, full flavor
- Perfectly balanced taste
- Irresistible body
- Silky, velvety mouthfeel
The 4 keys formula for third wave specialty coffee at home.
1. Rich, full flavor
Full-bodied coffee with rich and complex flavors is created using the right dose of 19-22g of freshly ground beans. This dose allows the coffee to fully express the incredible aroma, intense flavors and distinctive character of the coffee, for a true cafe quality result. Anything less than the optimal dose results in a weak and watery taste experience.
2. Perfectly balanced taste
Sweet, delicious and nuanced flavor notes begin with precise control over water temperature. Digital temperature control (PID) technology precisely controls water temperature for a perfectly balanced coffee extraction, giving you the control and consistency for delicious tasting coffee every time.
3. Irresistible body
An opulent, creamy and caramel-colored espresso starts with low pressure pre-infusion that soaks the grinds, allowing water to pass evenly through the coffee during the high pressure (9 bar) extraction process, delivered via our 15 bar Italian pump. This results in a rich, sweet and viscous espresso.
4. Silky, velvety mouthfeel
Savor the silky taste and velvety mouthfeel of true microfoam milk. The milk is steamed with pressure that creates thousands of tiny bubbles, enhancing flavor and mouthfeel, while the temperature brings out the milk’s sweetness, exciting your taste buds, for a harmonious blend of rich, sweet milk and syrupy, golden espresso.
Special Features of the Barista Express
Integrated 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.
Grind Size Dial
Simple and intuitive, giving you control over the grind size no matter what type of bean you're grinding.
Precise Espresso Extraction
Digital temperature control delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction.
Micro-Foam Milk Texturing
The steam wand performance allows you to hand texture micro-foam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art.
|the Bambino Plus||the Infuser||the Barista Express||the Barista Touch||the Dual Boiler||the Oracle|
|Interface||Button Control||Analog Gauge Button Control||Analog Gauge Button Control||Swipe & Select Touch Screen||Analog Gauge Button Control||LCD Screen; Button Control|
|Hands on like a barista||-||✓||✓||-||✓||-|
|Cafe Quality Microfoam||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Precise Milk Temperature, Automatically||✓||-||-||✓||-||✓|
|3 Second Heat Up||✓||-||-||✓||-||-|
|Good for Entertaining||-||-||-||✓||✓||✓|
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping. Details||FREE Shipping. Details||FREE Shipping. Details||FREE Shipping. Details||FREE Shipping. Details|
|Color||Stainless Steel||Brushed Stainless Steel||Black||Brushed Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Item Dimensions||12.50 x 12.60 x 13.10 inches||13.00 x 12.00 x 13.00 inches||12.20 x 19.30 x 15.00 inches||9.50 x 8.00 x 14.20 inches||11.50 x 13.70 x 13.25 inches|
|Item Weight||23.00 lbs||20.00 lbs||6.68 lbs||20.00 lbs||17.00 lbs|
|Material||Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
The barista express from bean to espresso in under a minute create great tasting espresso in less than a minute. The barista express allows you to grind the beans right before extraction, and its interchangeable filters and a choice of automatic or manual operation ensure authentic café style results in no time at all.
Top reviews from the United States
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1. I am a guy, who knew nothing about espresso machines before this. I am very mechanically inclined and don't usually read instructions. This was different - this machine is NOT self-explanatory and you NEED to read the instructions (which are well written, and even include a troubleshooting section). Don't get frustrated with this machine until/unless you have read (all) the instructions.
2. This is not a 'stand-alone' purchase ... this machine costs around $500 (give or take), you need to invest another $100 right from the start (preferably at the same time) to get the most out of it, enjoy it to the fullest, and not get unreasonably frustrated by making your own lattes and mochas.
3. The other things you REALLY should order at the same time (and all are available on Amazon) are:
a. ($29) 100-pack disposable 20oz. cups with lids and sleeves (sold by Yes!fresh). Trust me, you want to get these. It's only $0.29 per cup and are far more convenient that trying to clean out a million dirty coffee cups from your car/office each week. These are worth twice what they cost in the long run. And when your friends are over, you need not 'loan' them a nice coffee cup to go (which you may never see again) - just give them a paper cup to take with them.
b. ($5-15 for 25 oz. / $20-30 for 64 oz.) Torani syrups and sauces, AND the pump tops that go with them (always sold separately). IF you drink the same thing on a regular basis (like I do) such as a white chocolate peppermint mocha, buy the 64 oz. white chocolate sauce and not the smaller 25 oz. bottle.
c. ($14) Amazon Basics Cotton Washcloth - 24 pack - grey (the grey matches the espresso machine, but the color doesn't matter). Again, trust me, you want a nicely folded stack of these sitting next to the machine - you will use 1 each time you make espresso, and then it will be dirty and needs to be washed. At my house (3 people using the machine) we bought two 24-packs because we make so much coffee - two 24-packs is not too many for our house (I'm thinking about buying a third pack).
d. ($10 for pair of single shot size, $15 for pair of double shot size) Set of double-walled espresso shot glasses. Do NOT buy the rounded ones (ie: Cutehom espresso coffee cups) because they will not pour very well and drip all over the place (down the side) each time - very frustrating. Buy the JoyJolt Javaah Double Walled Espresso Glasses instead - you'll be glad you did in the long run. And, if you're planning to make mostly double-shot lattes/mochas, buy a set of Dragon Glassware 6 oz Espresso Cups (also double-walled) so that you don't have to keep fidgeting with the single shot cups to keep them in the right spot under the coffee dispenser. It's important to buy double-walled glasses for two reasons. First, it keeps the espresso hot while you're steaming your milk, second, it keeps you from burning your fingers when pouring the espresso into your coffee cup.
e. ($15) Breville BCB100 Barista-Style Coffee Knock Box. Again, TRUST me, you want this right next to your machine - the coffee grounds will start piling up quickly and you don't want your portafilter anywhere near a garbage can. This thing is a must.
4. Space requirements: This machine (and all that you want to go with it) will take some counter space - allow AT LEAST 34-inches of counter width to accommodate - slightly more is even better. You will from my picture, this is a 34-inch setup, and there is no room to spare.
5. Making espresso. After you read the instructions, here are some tips that they don't include to help avoid frustration:
a. When the beans are grinding, lightly knock on the top of the hopper lid (just like knocking on a door) so that the beans keep feeding down to the grinder (sometimes they get hung up - a light knock each time keeps this from happening). Do NOT overfill the portafilter (after tamping) or it will jam coffee grounds into the water outlet and could possibly damage the portafilter or locking guide. After the grounds are tamped down in the filter cup, the silver part of the tamper should be just hidden beneath the rim of the portafilter (the machine includes a tool you can use if you accidentally overfill the filter cup, but after a short while, you'll figure out how much to grind each time and the tool will not be necessary).
b. You ALWAYS want to watch the pressure gauge when making espresso. It NEEDS to be in the dark grey area of the pressure gauge (and ideally in/near the middle of the grey area) during the brew cycle, otherwise you are not making good espresso - rather, you are making either watered down espresso (not enough pressure) or not enough espresso which is too rich (too much pressure). There are two key things that affect pressure: the fineness at which the coffee is ground (which is adjustable) and the volume of grounds in the portafilter (also adjustable). Although there is a one or two shot size setting, I have found it best to do two, 1-shot grinds, tamping down the grounds in-between each single-shot grind. I have the grind (volume) setting on the 4th click setting, and I have the grind (fineness) setting on either 2 or 3 (play around and see what gives you the best results). IF the pressure is too low, then either your coffee is ground too coarsely, or your have not tamped it down tight enough, or the filter is not filled with enough coffee grounds, or a combination of any/all of these things. IF the pressure is too high, then either your coffee is ground too finely, or you have tamped down the grounds too hard (tightly), or a combination of the two.
c. IF using two, single-shot espresso glasses to collect a double-shot brew, keep an eye on them during the brew cycle and make sure they are centered under the espresso being dispensed (this can be avoided by using a double-shot size collection cup).
d. IF making a mocha or other syrup/sauce drink, pre-mix the espresso and syrup in the glass and stir thoroughly before adding the steamed milk.
e. Steaming milk is 1/2-art, and 1/2-science (seriously), and it does not come naturally. If you've never worked at a coffee shop and been trained to steam milk, do yourself a favor and watch a few good (short) YouTube videos on the proper way to steam milk. You will THANK yourself for taking 5-10 minutes on You Tube and learning the proper way to steam milk (and things to avoid). Understanding the steaming process will allow you to control the amount of foam on top and not make big mess.
f. Before you steam your milk, VENT the steam wand to remove the residual water from the boiler line (you don't want a few teaspoons of water in your milk). Vent the line, then turn the steam off ... wait 5 full seconds ... then insert the steam wand into the milk, then turn the steam back on. Hold the handle with your left hand, and place your right hand underneath the stainless steel milk steaming cup, when the cup is too hot for your right hand to touch (I mean really to hot to hold), keep the steam wand in and start counting along with the pump (which sounds like a metronome in the background ... dit ... dit ... dit ... dit ...). For a semi-hot latte/mocha keep the steam wand in the milk for 30 double-dits (don't start counting until after you can non longer touch the bottom with your right hand ... "and-one, and two, and three" and so on until you get to 30 (the equivalent of 60 single dits). For hot (but still drinkable) count to 40 double-dits, and for very-hot, 50 double-dits. Anything above 60 and you risk burning the milk (which will ruin the flavor and you will need to toss it out and start over). When finished, turn the steam off, and remove the steam wand from the milk about 3-5 seconds before it finishes blowing steam (to avoid having milk sucked back up into the steam line).
g. After you steam your milk, VENT the steam wand again to remove any milk that inadvertently got sucked up into the steam wand line and prevent any from making its way into the boiler. IF milk makes its way back into the boiler unit (because you failed to vent the line after use) you will DESTROY the boiler (permanently), in that, the milk cannot be cleaned out, will burn during the next use, and every cup of milk you steam in the future will have a burnt-milk smell/flavor - yuck! DO yourself a favor and vent the steam line religiously after each use - and make sure others who use your machine know that they can ruin it if they don't do so also! (there goes $500!)
h. The bottom tray is easy to remove, empty and clean (comes apart in 3 pieces). You should empty this every 2-4 days of use because it fills up despite you not pouring liquid into it - reason is, each time you finish using the steam wand or hot water dispenser, the machine auto-vents out the line from the boiler into the bottom tray (sneaky little devil) ... so even though you don't realize it, it's filling up a little with each use. (Fun fact - the hot water dispenser can be used for instant hot water to make tea!).
6. Cleaning up.
a. I unfold a clean washcloth each time I make espresso. When you tamp down the grounds, it will help avoid damaging/scratching your counter, and will catch the spill-over grounds (there will always be some spill-over).
b. When finished, use hot water (from your kitchen sink) to rinse the espresso cup(s), milk steaming cup, portafilter and filter insert (remove the filter cup from the portafilter each time you clean them), then use another clean washcloth to set them out to dry upon.
c. The washcloth used to make espresso: fold it in half, twice (into a square), and use the hot water dispenser (on the machine) to get one corner of the square wet with hot (boiling hot) water, then fold the square into a triangle so that the boiling water corner is exposed, then fold that triangle into another triangle around the steam wand and thoroughly clean the steam wand. It will take a little time and firm pressure - make sure the wand is clean so that you don't get nasty milk residue build up on your steam wand.
7. Keeping things stocked:
a. Milk. If your family uses milk for other things (cereal, baking, etc.) and up until now you have been a '1-gallon at a time' household, it's time to go up to a 2-gallon at a time household. Trust me - once you (and others in your house) discover the delicious lattes/mochas which are quick at hand, the milk will begin to disappear quickly (my house is now a 3-gallon at a time household with 3 people regularly using the machine).
b. Keep a spare box of to-go cups/lids on hand, when you open it, order another one - it is not cost prohibitive and you never want to be out of to-go cups in the morning.
c. Keep a spare bag of coffee beans on hand - also not cost prohibitive and if you run out of beans, well, there's no reason to ever run out of beans.
d. Keep a spare bottle of your favorite syrups/sauces. If you run out, all the fun is over.
8. Quirks and tips.
a. Keep a close eye (and refill often - like every morning) the water tank in the back (you need not pull it off each time, just take a 4-cup measuring cup and refill it when it gets 1/2-way down). Reason being, the machine is not smart like a Keurig - it has no sensor telling it when the water is out and it will run itself (to its peril) dry when the water runs out - this is not particularly good for the machine or the pumps.
b. Use top quality beans - I recommend buying 1 lb. bags of Starbucks Espresso Roast beans - whole, NEVER pre-ground. WHY would you spend $600 on a coffee bar setup and then use crap beans or pre-ground (aka: not fresh) coffee? When you use top quality Starbucks beans (I have no financial interest in Starbucks by the by - so if you prefer something else like Pete's or Dutch Bros., fine - but make sure you're buying whole bean bags of their Espresso Roast). 2-4 double-shot lattes/mochas per day will go through a 1 lb. bag of beans every 1-2 weeks.
c. Transitioning to decaf beans...? Nope, not easy, nor was the machine set up for an easy transition. To transition from regular espresso beans to decaf beans you must unlock the bean hopper and remove it - then pour the regular beans into a ziplock bag, then take your vacuum cleaner (I'm not joking) and vacuum out the remaining regular beans from the grinding gear mechanism, then replace the (empty) hopper - lock it in place, then fill it with decaf beans. We did this once at my house ... and will never do it again.
I hope you enjoyed my review and it helps you make awesome lattes and mochas!
Update August-6-17: Still going strong after almost two years!
Original Review and Tips:
I love this thing. I've been using it multiple times a day for almost a year I think. Every day it makes amazing espresso, and as long as I keep it clean it preforms beautifully. This thing is also easier to maintain and requires less cleaning than other cheaper espresso machines I've tried.
A tip for anyone looking to make actual espresso at home, I recommend looking for a local roastery in your area. I use to buy bulk beans online like many people, but once I tried local whole beans and found a blend I liked, the difference was amazing. Bean choice is very important if you actually want to enjoy your espresso!
A few tips I picked up for using this machine:
1. A few people complained about the grind amount knob not going low enough. To counteract this, I changed the cup size to "Single" and increased the grind amount by turning the knob to the right. This gives me the perfect amount of ground coffee every time.
2. If the machine keeps going over or under on the pressure gauge, try cleaning the grinder. And remember to clean the grouphead with those desolvable tablets when the clean me light comes on!
3. You can get cheap replacement cleaning tablets here on amazon. I chose Urnex Cafiza Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets here on amazon, and they work great!
4. You do not need to order a separate tamper, the one included is perfect.
5. The included frothing cup is small but works for me. Some might need a bigger one.
6. Do not underestimate the need for a burr grinder. Trying to make good espresso without one is like trying to hammer a nail with an inflatable hammer!
Some of the features I love (Pros)*
1) The grinder. I know many would rather use a separate burr grinder, but this thing works perfectly fine, and is easy to clean. Many complained about the coffee machine heating up the beans too much if you leave them inside the hopper, but I actually store my beans in a special container outside of the hopper, and use the included the scoop to pour in the beans when I grind them.
2) The frother is amazing. Much much better than cheaper machines.
3) Clean me light is awesome. Always reminds me to keep up on this things maintenance, and helps prolong the life.
4) The Stainless steel is beautiful. (It is not 100% stainless on the outside though, a little bit of plastic, see cons.)
5) The pressure gauge. Absolutely invaluable in making good tasting espresso. I would not recommend buying any machine without one. It really helps with learning and getting it right!
6) The included tamper is perfect.
7) Creates perfect pucks of coffee to dump out in the trash.
8) The hot water dispenser is an awesome addition!
9) Is an all-in-one, meaning I don't need to buy a separate grinder!
10) Just makes good coffee.
11) Great manual included for lots of useful information.
12) Has an automated cleaning cycle to clean the insides of the grouphead. Awesome!
14) Includes a beautiful copper dosing tool.
15) Includes tools to clean out the filters.
Some things that bother me (Cons)*
1)The top of the machine is plastic.
2) The bottom sides of the machine is plastic
3) The water tank needs to be refilled often, and it also thick plastic.
4) The bottom water catcher thing (sorry) needs to be emptied often, but its not too bad.
5) The coffee grind separator doesn't really seem to help much, but it does help keep it out of the water below and little bit, which keeps it from smelling!
6) Expensive, but to me, was a very worthwhile investment for how much coffee I was buying from the shop.
7) Can't seem to find inexpensive filters for the water tank, however, I use filtered water instead of tap.
8) The Lowest grind amount is too much on the "double" setting. QC Should have caught this! But not a deal breaker. See above for workaround.
*Might add more later as I think of them!
This thing is also great for making sweet frappicinos and iced drinks.
For caramel flavored drinks I use Hershey's Caramel Syrup (Edit: I now make my own caramel syrup! It's super easy!)
For vanilla flavored drinks I use Torani Vanilla Syrup that I get cheaply from a bulk wholesale store in my town.
For my sweet drink of choice I mix the two, add a double shot of espresso, 2% milk, and top with whipped cream and caramel syrup.
Nothing beats a great espresso in the morning!
Added tons of pictures.
Edit: It seems quite a few people had problems with the machine dying on them, If your machine died on your please comment on this review with any information you think may help, such as the level of maintenance you preformed while your machine was working, the brand of water filters and cleaning tablets you used, etc.
Maybe we can find a common cause of this defect!
Top reviews from other countries
Step 1- WEIGH YOUR COFFEE! To get a perfect double shot of grounds into the hopper, you MUST have between 16-17 grams of ground coffee. If you don't have, you will not get a consistent cup of espresso. That means you set your courseness to what you prefer, then set the amount untill you get 16-17g. I use a small weigh scale, weigh the hopper then add the grounds. Once you get the desired weight of coffee, pack it down with 30 lbs of pressure.
Step 2- The manual says it comes pre programmed for 2oz or 1/4 cup of dispensed water but it doesn't . you are going have to program the output. What I did was after I packed down the 16g of ground coffee and placed the dispenser in the group head, I placed a larger cup with a 1/4 measuring cup resting on the top. Hit the program button once, which will make the cup size selection lights blink. The I hit the two cup option. Once the machine started to drip into the measuring cup, I immediately started the timer. As soon as the measuring cup was full, I pressed the 2 cup selection again (which then programmed the amount of fluid) then hit the timer. This is where you need to waste a bit of coffee beans.
According to MOST information out there, in order to get a good double shot of espresso, you need to get a 23-30 second brew for 2oz of espresso. While doing step 2, you need to time your shot. If you are getting less then 23 seconds, your coffee is ground too course and it needs to be adjusted down. If you are getting a longer brew time or the guage reads above the espresso range, you coffee is too finely ground. I adjusted 1 stop either way until it was 16.5 g, 2oz double shot in 26 seconds.
this seems difficult but all in all, it took me 7 shots to get it down to a science.
Anyhow, after lots of online research my decision was to buy a Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine. This was based mainly on the positive reviews by other consumers, the appearance and functionality, as well as being at a price-point that I was comfortable with. The ordering and delivery process was easy and quick with no issues. I should also note that I bought a 3 year extended warranty feeling it was worth the nominal cost for future peace of mind. Upon arrival of the espresso machine, I read the instructions cover-to-cover and watched a bunch of online videos regarding tips and tricks for doing the initial set up.
Buyers should be aware that it'll take a lot of finessing (and bad shots of espresso) to finally dial in the right grind setting (coarseness of grind), versus the right grind amount (weight of coffee grind in portafilter basket), versus the right water temperature, versus the right tamp pressure, versus the right amount of extraction time; in order to produce the most balanced shot of espresso. For me it was numerous days of slight tweaks after each shot, and overall about a 340g bag of my favourite medium-roast beans being used up as “tests” before I got everything dialed in to my liking. I ended up with grind setting 7, 16.5g for a double shot single-wall basket, I reset the water temperature to make it 4 degrees F hotter than factory default, have a tamp pressure of about 35 pounds, and draw a 26 second extraction.
The "perfect" shot relies on consistency and repetition. Yes you will waste a lot of your potentially expensive coffee beans, but you must sacrifice your favourite brand of beans from the start in order to dial everything in specific to that bean profile. If you switch beans to a different brand or type, you can start over again with resetting everything. The perfect shot also relies on applying the same pressure during tamping.....it's all about developing "muscle-memory" to do it consistently so you get the same end result. TIP: It’s probably best not to celebrate the purchase of your newly arrived espresso machine by immediately inviting all your friends and family over to enjoy a coffee drink, because it'll literally leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth! Dial in the proper machine settings and perfect your technique for first before making others have to suffer from drinking bad shots!
It will also take a lot of practice using the steam wand to get the "perfect" frothy milk if you are planning on making lattes or cappuccinos. The type of milk (ex: dairy versus almond versus rice milk), the angle of the steam wand in relation to the milk (surface contact), and the amount of time spent steaming to make it hot enough without actually scorching the milk; all come into play and take practice. Once your technique is perfected, you will produce souffle-like micro-foam that is dense enough to balance a small spoon on! Oh, and there should be virtually no noise when you are frothing and steaming. If it sounds like a jet-plane taking off or like you should be wearing earplugs, then you are doing it wrong and need to adjust your steam wand and cup angles, as well as the depth of surface contact.
So yes, expect a definite learning curve and lots of practice before you start producing fantastic cafe-quality coffee drinks with this machine. Don't give up, and don't blame the espresso machine because more than likely it’s your fault than the machines. All-in-all it took me a month of daily use (2 or 3 drinks produced each day) before I got it perfected....and I own a cafe! If that scares you, then you should definitely consider buying an automatic espresso machine (like the Breville Oracle) that will just do everything for you.....but be prepared to pay the premium price as well!
Regarding this actual brand (Breville BES870XL Barista Espresso Machine); the appearance, build quality, internal components, accessories, finish and functionality are all very good, particularly given the price-point. For my needs and consumption level, it holds the right amount of beans and water in the containers to keep them fresh, and I feel the settings all remain true to produce consistent results as long as the same brand and type of bean is used.
Cleaning the machine is also relatively easy and should be done regularly. I do a full clean of the entire system (including the grinder mechanism) once per month. With this in mind, you will need to buy additional portafilter basket cleaning tablets, waterline descaling powder, and water filters because you only get one of each with the machine.
Although overall I am very pleased with this espresso machine, there are a few downsides in my opinion, particularly when it comes to the amount of noise it makes. When pressing the power button each morning to turn the machine on, it is quite loud as it powers up for about 3 or so seconds. Also, the grinder is somewhat loud as it fills your portafilter basket (about 10 seconds). When turning the dial to steam it takes about 5 seconds before anything happens, then there is a loud-ish pumping sound as the boiler builds up and maintains pressure that is remains continuously noisy as it pumps away to disperse steam through the steam wand (about 45 seconds). Additionally, as the boiler builds up and maintains pressure throughout the extraction of the espresso shot through the portafilter basket, it buzzes away steadily for about 30 seconds. So all-in-all, you should know that there is a potential for everyone being woken up in the morning if you have a smaller house or apartment due to the amount of continuous noise. Maybe not an unwelcome wake-up call for some though, knowing that “coffee’s on”!
Another downside to this machine is that due to only being a single boiler system, you can only steam milk or extract a shot of espresso....not do both at the same time. Additionally, after two steamings/extractions (for basically two cups of coffee drinks), the boiler needs a few minutes to regain its composure and build up enough pressure and temperature again in order to produce the same quality of shots for the next round of drinks. That said, if you have more than two people hoping to have coffees at the same time, it won't work out because you cannot produce them quick enough without compromising the flavour and temperature.
Lastly, I found a downside to the grinder in that it will not "portion" a consistent amount of grind, despite the fact that there is a dial to set the grind amount. It basically just keeps grinding continuously until you pull the portafilter basket away. This hasn't been a big deal for me as the grind quality is nice and consistent, and I have learned when I have the right amount of grind in the basket, then I just pull it away to do my tamping, etc.
Anyhow, as mentioned previously, I am very happy with this espresso machine, feel it performs well and has the functionality I need....but it definitely has a learning curve that may frustrate some people. I am glad I persevered over the past four or so months since buying it, and can honestly say it produces as good or even better coffee drinks as at my cafe....just not as quickly or in high volume. I would definitely recommend it to others, as long as they know what they are getting into and have the patience for fussing around with it for awhile.