First, many thanks to the folks at Wirsh for sending us their Home Barista Plus espresso machine.
As always, we used the machine for several days before even taking notes. We really like to immerse ourselves into any kind of coffee gear… before we sit down to write a review.
That said, there was one thing we immediately liked about this machine, before even plugging it in.
It’s only six and a half inches wide! Perfect for any kitchen that is tight on counter space, like ours. Most espresso machines are about twice that width, and it makes a difference.
That said, although the body of the machine is narrow, it still has the solid build you’d associate with larger machines. You can feel the heft of every part of it, including the steel, plastic-free portafilter.
Coming with a powerful 20-bar pressure pump, the Wirsh Home Barista Plus includes a removable 42 oz water tank for easy filling, a cup warmer, and a brushed stainless steel build, with black accents.
It's equipped with touchscreen controls and a built-in milk frother, which also dispenses hot water for tea.
The portafilter has two stainless steel filter sizes… for one shot or two shots of espresso. First time around, we found the fit of the filters a little tight and they were hard to remove. But our guess is that the fit will loosen a little with more usage.
We’ve made quite a few shots of espresso with this machine! And we’ve used the milk frothing wand to prepare the milk for cappuccinos and lattes.
It took us a little time to get a get the exact results we wanted from the wand. Nothing unusual there, as our experience is that it takes a little practice to get the best from the wand on any new machine.
One of the things we like the most about this machine is the old-school, analog pressure gauge. This shows you the pressure during the pre-infusion and extraction phases.
Vary the pressure you apply with the tamping tool to the ground coffee in the portafilter, and you’ll see changes to the pressure on the dial. When the extraction phase is in the red zone, that’s a good sign.
Honestly, the gauge really helps you get to know the machine, and arrive at a point where you feel you can make the perfect shot every time.
That said, most of the controls are digital, on a touch-screen surface just below the pressure gauge. This is where you turn the machine on and off, choose between one or two shots, or select to use the frothing wand.
Full-sized machines of this build and functionality usually come in at about twice the price.
Yes, this is a smaller, narrower machine than most. But honestly, for many of us the narrower size is a plus, not a minus.
Overall we are very happy with the machine. In particular, we really like that non-digital pressure gauge… because it helps us make better espresso. You’ll see gauges like this on those big machines in your favorite coffee shop, but it’s rare the see the same gauge on a home machine in this price range.
For us, this is a keeper. Right dimensions, with just the functionality we look for in an espresso machine.Get $25 OFF when you get your Wirsh Home Barista Plus at the Wirsh website...
How to make cappuccino, latte, caffe mocha and other espresso-based coffee drinks. Full instructions here...