Makes quality espresso
Heavy-duty tamper included
Easy to use
Runs loud when in use
None of the removable parts are dishwasher safe
Making espresso drinks in the home is a must if you’re a big fan of coffee. Whether you love lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos, having an espresso machine saves you money in the long run. Plus, there’s something rewarding about being your own barista.
In choosing an espresso machine, there is a great range of options available that vary in features and price point. One popular espresso machine is the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker. We evaluated its espresso, steam wand function, ease of use, setup, cleanup, and value by making a number of tasty espresso beverages. Keep reading to see what we found.
Design: Simple, modern design with a sturdy makeup
The Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker is an attractive espresso machine, boasting a modern aesthetic. It is made with streamlined stainless steel housing and features dark gray and black accents. The included frothing pitcher and the portafilter are both made of stainless steel. The machine itself is about average in size, weighing 17 pounds and measuring 11 x 11 x 13 inches.
Because the machine is rather wide, we had to do some rearranging to make space for it on our counter. We also found that it wasn’t the easiest to move around. However, its hefty weight assured us that we had received a sturdy espresso machine not made of low-quality materials.
We also liked the simplicity of the buttons and dials on this espresso machine. Everything is clearly labeled and is fairly intuitive, which made using it all the more enjoyable.
Setup Process: Time-consuming setup, requires about 30 minutes
The setup process for the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker takes about 30 minutes, which we found to be rather long. We cleaned all of the accessories and removable parts by hand. Then, we purged the machine by running it through without any coffee grounds or milk to clean out the interior system. The reason it takes so long is that the instructions recommend filling the 71-ounce water tank to the max line and running the machine until the tank is completely empty. We found this to be pretty excessive.
After the machine has been cleaned, it’s ready to make espresso. To begin, we turned the machine on and placed our desired filter basket (1- or 2-cup) into the portafilter. Both pressurized and non-pressurized filters are included with this machine. We primarily used the non-pressurized filters, as those are best when using freshly ground coffee. Next, we pressed the grounds down into the filter basket using the included tamper and placed the portafilter into the machine. Lastly, we pressed the corresponding button (1- or 2-cup button) to pull the espresso shot.
To steam our milk for making espresso beverages, we pressed the steam button on the front of the machine. Once it’s heated, the button will stop flashing. We turned the dial on the right side toward the steam symbol to initiate the steam wand. The wand will dispense water at first, but when it starts to release steam, the dial should be turned quickly to the standby function. We quickly grabbed our frothing pitcher (now filled with milk) and put it under the steam wand. We turned the dial back to the steam symbol and began to move the pitcher up and down until we achieved a smooth microfoam.
The hot water dispenser wand, located on the left side of the machine, works similarly to the steam wand. The dial on the right side must be turned to the water symbol. The water will begin to flow out of the hot water dispenser wand until the dial is turned back to the standby function.
Performance: Makes excellent espresso but runs loud
The Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker, overall, makes high-quality espresso as well as excellent espresso drinks. First of all, we couldn’t be more impressed with the tamper that comes with this machine. It’s heavy-duty with a lot of weight to it, which is ideal for proper tamping technique. We found that this tamper significantly contributed to the high-quality espresso shots we made with this espresso machine.
When we pulled our espresso shots, we were so impressed with the results. The numerous shots we made with the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker seemed to be properly extracted almost every time. They weren’t too watery nor were they over-extracted. We found that the espresso quality was very similar to what we would receive at a coffee shop. Regarding customization, this machine already is pre-set to pull espresso shots at the ideal water temperature and volume for every shot. However, it does allow the user to customize the volume for future shots by following the instructions in the user manual.
The steamed milk we made using the steam wand also turned out velvety smooth once we got the hang of it. We were able to create a foamy milk texture that tasted and looked great in our lattes. We found that it took a few tries to get the right texture, but eventually, we figured out the angle that worked best to create smooth microfoam.
The one thing we did not like about this machine is how loud it is when it runs. It also creates a lot of vibration on the countertop. While espresso machines, in general, are not silent, this espresso machine was one of the loudest we’ve ever tested. This includes both when pulling espresso shots and while using the steam wand. It makes an especially loud screeching noise when steaming milk, which is quite jarring.
Ease of Cleaning: Must clean regularly, not dishwasher-safe
Like all espresso machines, this one requires regular maintenance to keep it running properly. This includes wiping the exterior with a damp cloth occasionally as well as regularly cleaning the filter baskets and portafilter after each use. The tamper, frothing pitcher, drip tray, full bar, and the slide drip tray must all be cleaned and dried by hand. It’s also important to note that the user should let the machine cool down entirely before cleaning to avoid burns.
The steam wand and hot water dispenser wand require special attention and should be thoroughly cleaned following the instructions included in the user manual. There is also a descaling process that this espresso machine should go through about every six months to remove scale.
Price: A bargain
If you’re looking to buy a nice, high-quality espresso machine, you’re looking at prices between $450 and $1,500. The Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker is at the lower end of this price range, retailing for about $699; however, it can often be found for less. To add to its value, this espresso machine comes with a limited two-year warranty. Taking into consideration the excellent espresso drinks it makes and the quality materials that went into making this machine and its accessories, it’s a bargain.
Taking into consideration the excellent espresso drinks it makes and the quality materials that went into making this machine and its accessories, it’s a bargain.
Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker vs. Breville The Barista Express
We also tested Breville’s The Barista Express, which retails for around $700, and is also a popular espresso machine on the market. It’s very similar to the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker in terms of aesthetics and the quality of espresso it produces. The main difference between the two is that Breville’s espresso machine offers an integrated conical burr grinder. This allows the user to grind their beans directly in the machine, which is a handy convenience.
However, considering the significant price difference between the two espresso machines and the very similar espresso quality, we’d say that the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker is the better bargain despite the Breville’s integrated grinder.
- Product Name 19 Bar Espresso Machine
- Product Brand Brim
- Price $699.00
- Weight 17.4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10.75 x 11.25 x 13.25 in.
- Color Stainless steel handle, wood finish handle
- Water Tank Capacity 71 oz.
- Power (Watts) 1,250
- Voltage 120V
- Warranty 2 year, limited
- What’s Included 71-oz. removable water tank, portafilter, removable drip tray, 1- and 2-cup pressurized filter baskets, 1 and 2 cup non-pressurized filter baskets, 12-oz. stainless steel milk frothing pitcher, measuring scoop, solid heavy duty tamper, cleaning pin