Top positive review
Solid quality which works well. Fingers crossed it will keep doing so.
19 June 2018
Had this for a month now and used it most days so its time to write a review. It is not a cheap machine but you can see where the money has been spent. For example, the porta filter handle is pretty much a professional one you would see being used in a coffee shop. The supplied milk jug is also solid and pours the milk without drips - a minor miracle.The finish of the machine is good and it feels solidly built. It makes good espresso, although as yet no crema but that's because I'm using up some older beans. You can hear the two stage extraction working and the cool down after using the steam wand. A word of caution - the cool down puts a fair bit of water into the drip tray so keep an eye on the indicator at the front of the tray.
The steam wand works very well, but as I've found in other machines you don't get steam immediately. I put a sponge under the wand to catch the water then dip the wand quickly into the milk. This way the milk isn't diluted as much and the steam takes immediate effect. I've made latte and cappuccino so far and am working up to a proper flat white.
I initially bought a cheaper machine for under £40 mainly to see if I would use it enough to justify a better quality one. I used it most days so decided to buy the Sage machine after a year. The build quality of the Sage is so much better than the cheap machine but I've been able to get similar results from both by using good quality freshly ground beans. The cheaper machine was temperamental needing more work to get consistent results. Temperature control was rubbish and it didn't cool down after steaming milk so kept on getting hotter - too warm for making a good espresso. So the cool down feature in the Sage serves a real purpose. I needed to keep the cheaper machine clean - on average cleaning it every few weeks, whereas the Sage comes with a water filter which will help keep it from furring up. Financially, the Sage doesn't make much sense at all because you can get decent results - albeit with more effort and experimenting - with the cheaper machine (and you can buy 6.5 more as spares in case your first one stops working for the same amount as one Sage....). But it is so much more satisfying to use. The only question is will it last? The 2 year warranty is encouraging, but I intend to help it along by changing the water filter regularly and keeping the machine clean.