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Brim Espresso Machine Review: A 19 Bar Knockout!

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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In today's Brim espresso machine review I'll be looking at the manufacturer's most powerful and expensive offering. Still, that's not saying the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker is going to break the bank.

In today’s Brim espresso machine review I’ll be looking at the manufacturer’s most powerful and expensive offering. Still, that’s not saying the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker is going to break the bank.

In fact, the machine’s $230.00 price tag is more than reasonable.

As it happens, this is the first time Brim has featured in my espresso machine reviews. That said, I am familiar with the manufacturer and the quality of what it produces.

So, let’s jump right on into this Brim espresso machine review; I’m looking forward to seeing how this thing performs!

A solid entry-level machine

Brim 19 Bar Espresso Machine

Exceptional value for money

Compact and affordable

Dedicated hot water outlet

Heavy duty tamper

Durable metal housing

Looks great

portafilter feels cheap

No water filter

Brim Espresso Machine Review Overview

Coffeeness readers of a certain vintage will already be familiar with the Brim name. Apparently, the company made its name in the 1960s by producing decaf coffee in cans.

Fortunately, that’s a distant memory, and Brim has been radically reimagined as a manufacturer of specialty coffee equipment. These days, Brim is riding the third wave of coffee culture, offering a range of affordable and thoughtfully designed products.

As it happens, I recently reviewed the Brim 8-Cup Pour-Over Coffee Maker, and I was very impressed by how it performs. So, I have high hopes for the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker.

Incidentally, before going any further with this Brim espresso machine review I just have to address the elephant in the room. I’m talking about the fact that the 19 Bar Espresso Maker is eerily reminiscent of a Breville espresso machine. I mean, take a look at the Brim’s design – everything from the pressure gauge to the ridged cup warmer is Breville-esque to the max.

In fact, put this machine next to the Breville Infuser, blur your eyes a little and you’d barely be able to tell them apart.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. Plus, the Brim 19 bar espresso machine features plenty of stainless steel in its construction, which always bodes well. Still, I can’t imagine the folks at Breville are too pleased, especially given the Brim’s competitive asking price.

Getting back on track, the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker seems very promising. Aside from its sleek good looks and reasonable price, the machine features low pressure pre-infusion, programmable volumetric control and a dedicated hot water dispenser. So, can the Brim back all that up with superb espresso and milk foam? I really hope so!

Brim 19 Bar Espresso machine Features

Size and Design

Listen, I promise not to keep harping on about how much Brim has borrowed from the Breville design manual. Still, even the buttons have that same crystal blue glow when they’re illuminated. Coincidence? I think not!

Brim Espresso Machine
Brim Espresso Machine Side View

Anyway, the Brim 19 bar Espresso Maker looks sleek and classy, with a vintage industrial vibe that’s enhanced by its prominent pressure gauge. As I already mentioned, the machine features solid stainless steel construction as well as a die cast warming plate up top. This only wins points from me – I love a machine that keeps plastic to a minimum.

In terms of size, the Brim espresso machine is fairly compact, although it clocks in at over 17 pounds (7.7 kilograms). So, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot for the Brim in your kitchen, but moving it around won’t be easy.

User Interface

In keeping with the Brim espresso maker’s low-key aesthetic, the user interface is fairly straightforward. Comprising a handful of simple buttons and indicator lights, the control panel is easy to navigate.

As I already mentioned, there’s a large gauge front and center, which isn’t just there to look cool. Rather, the gauge measures pressure at the group head, giving you valuable information on your shot as it’s extracting.

While some espresso snobs will tell you a pressure gauge isn’t actually necessary, I beg to differ. In reality, the gauge is a valuable tool for beginners, who can use it to identify rookie mistakes and develop their skills.

Volumetric Control

While the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker doesn’t offer much in the way of adjustable settings, you can program it to deliver your preferred amount of espresso.

That comes as a relief, seeing as the factory set amount for a double espresso is a whopping 4 ounces (118 milliliters). Seriously, that’s not a double espresso it’s a long black!

Anyway, you can either stop the extraction manually by pressing the button again, or program the machine to produce your preferred volume. I’ll leave it to the user manual to explain the latter scenario.

Pre-Infusion

It’s always a relief to learn that a home espresso machine has an automatic pre-infusion function. After all, dampening the ground coffee under low pressure is a vital first stage of any espresso extraction, as it allows aromas to develop.

Personally, I would have liked to see programmable pre-infusion, given that some coffee beans benefit from variations in pressure profiling.

However, I doubt that most of the folks buying this espresso machine will care about that. Ultimately, it’s just good to know the Brim espresso machine is the real deal.

Filter Baskets

In my opinion, the one aspect of the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker that looks cheap is its portafilter. That’s surprising, given the high-quality components everywhere else. Still, you can’t win ’em all at this price point I guess.

Anyway, the Brim comes with a 51 millimeter portafilter, as well as both pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets.

What’s odd is the inclusion of a plastic insert in the portafilter that sits below the filter basket. I really don’t know why this is here, although I’ve heard it could be something to do with helping pressurized filter baskets work properly.

Tamping

Upon seeing the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker for the first time, I just assumed it’d come with a crappy plastic tamper. I wasn’t judging Brim or anything, it’s just that flimsy tampers seem to be the norm with home espresso machines.

Heck, I’ve even reviewed prosumer espresso machines that come with a useless tamper/coffee scoop combo.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I learned the Brim espresso machine comes with a legit espresso tamper! I’m talking metal construction, good weight distribution and actually effective! All I can do is congratulate this manufacturer and implore others to follow suit.

Milk Foam

Brim Espresso Machine Milk Foam

Thanks to its powerful commercial style steam wand, you shouldn’t have much trouble creating velvety microfoam with the Brim espresso machine.

What’s more, the steam wand rotates 360 degrees, giving you enough versatility to hone your frothing technique. Plus, I’m happy to see that the wand has a convenient silicone sheath to prevent you burning your fingers in the process.

While I’m not sure the Brim will deliver professional level steam power, there’ll be enough oomph to help you whip up a lovely cappuccino or espresso macchiato.

Thermocoil Heating

Rather than a traditional boiler, the Brim espresso machine is equipped with a 1250 watt thermocoil. Fortunately, this means the machine will be ready to go fairly quickly once you’ve turned it on.

I mean, I love a single boiler machine like the Gaggia Classic Pro, but waiting half an hour for it to heat up can get frustrating.

Bear in mind that you won’t be able to prepare espresso and steam milk simultaneously with the Brim. However, the machine should switch between the two functions fairly quickly and seamlessly.

Cup Height

Unlike a super automatic espresso machine, you won’t be able to adjust the Brim espresso machine’s spout height. Of course, that won’t be an issue when you’re brewing into espresso cups. However, you might need to remove the drip tray if you want to brew into a travel mug.

Speaking of the drip tray, there’s a handy level indicator in there that’ll pop up when the tray needs emptying. That’s a thoughtful touch that’ll prevent unnecessary leakage onto your kitchen counter.

Accessories

Brim Espresso Machine Accessories

I’ve already mentioned a couple of the included accessories in this Brim espresso machine review. However, I feel like I should present you with a list of what’s included, seeing as the manufacturer is so generous:

  • 2 x pressurized filter baskets

  • 2 x single-wall filter baskets

  • Heavy duty metal (!) tamper

  • Stainless steel milk pitcher

  • Measuring scoop

  • Cleaning pin

Essentially, that’s just about everything you’ll need to get started making espresso and steaming milk. Of course, an espresso knock box would have been nice to have, but I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

How to Use the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Machine

I can see this Brim 19 bar espresso machine appealing to beginners for a number of reasons, not least because it’s comparatively affordable and it looks great. What’s more, the Brim is straightforward, approachable and very easy to use.

Anyway, I’m not going to give you an in-depth espresso tutorial in this Brim espresso machine review – I’ll leave that to the user manual and YouTube. However, allow me to give you a quick overview of how to pull an espresso shot:

  1. First things first you’ll need to clean all removable parts by rinsing them under warm running water. Once that’s done, fill the 71-ounce (2 liter) removable reservoir with cold, filtered water. 

  2. Next you’ll need to flush the machine and prime the pump. This’ll take a few minutes, and you’ll find detailed instructions in the user manual.

  3. Now it’s time to pull a shot! Oh, and if you don’t already own a decent grinder, think about making that your next purchase. Seriously, using freshly ground coffee will change everything! Check out my best home coffee grinder guide for inspiration.

  4. Now, hot the power button. Once the machine is at temperature, all the lights will stop flashing.

  5. Dose your filter basket with ground coffee. I like to use a coffee scale for this. Then, tamp the ground coffee and insert the portafilter into the group head.

  6. Finally, press either the single or double shot button and marvel at the beautiful espresso shot flowing into your cup!

Brim Espresso Machine Cleaning

As far as cleaning and descaling goes, there’s really very little to do. Honestly, as long as you rinse the portafilter baskets and flush the group head after every shot, you’re doing great. Oh, and make sure to keep a dedicated damp steam wand towel handy if you’re making milk drinks. Give the wand a good once-over after each use and you’ll avoid nasty buildup.

At the end of each day’s use, remove the drip tray and give it a rinse. And if you were thinking about putting any Brim parts in the dishwasher, think again.

Seeing as the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker doesn’t have a water filter, I’d recommend descaling on a fairly regular basis. After all, mineral deposits will render the machine useless, given half a chance.

The manufacturer recommends descaling with vinegar every six months, but I’d do it more often if you have hard water. I mean, the process is straightforward and vinegar is cheap. Again, you’ll find detailed descaling instructions in the user manual.

Brim 19 Bar Espresso Machine Specifications

Brim 19 Bar Espresso Machine
Manufacturer

Brim

Model number

19 Bar Espresso Maker

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Color options

Stainless steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

19 bar

Maximum cup height

4.7 in / 11.9 cm

Grinder

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

0

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1250 W

Weight

17.4 lb / 7.9 kg

Dimensions

13.1 x 10.7 x 11.2 in
33.3 x 27.2 x 28.4 cm

Warranty

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, Stainless steel milk pitcher, Metal tamper, Coffee scoop, Cleaning pin, 4 x filter baskets

Current price on Amazon

$230.00

All specifications

Brim Espresso Machine vs Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Overview

I’ve already established that Brim has taken more than a little inspiration from a certain Australian manufacturer. With that in mind, I figured it would be a good idea to see how the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker fares in comparison with Breville’s most popular machine.

Costing $549.95, the Breville Barista Express (CURRENT PRIME DAY DEAL! ONLY 549.95 $ INSTEAD OF 699.95 $) certainly represents a more sizable financial investment than the Brim. Let’s face it, though, Breville is a very trusted brand with a proven track record, whereas Brim machines are still relatively unproven.

What’s more, the Breville Barista Express is equipped with a built-in burr grinder, whereas you’d need a separate grinder to get good results from the Brim espresso machine.

Ultimately, there’s a good reason why the Barista Express has been such a hit with consumers. It’s an all-in-one machine that doesn’t cost the earth and is easy to use. Still, if you’re on a budget and already own a decent coffee grinder, I’d say the Brim 19 Bar Espresso Maker looks like a solid bet.

See Also: Breville Barista Express Hands-On Review 2024

Brim 19 Bar vs Breville Barista Express Comparison Chart

Brim 19 Bar Espresso MachineBreville Barista Express
Manufacturer

Brim

Breville

Model number

19 Bar Espresso Maker

BES870XL/BES870BSXL

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Stainless steel

Black Sesame, Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

19 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.7 in / 11.9 cm

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

Grinder

N/A

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

16

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

8.1 oz / 230.0 g

Specialty drinks

0

2

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1250 W

1600 W

Weight

17.4 lb / 7.9 kg

23.0 lb / 10.4 kg

Dimensions

13.1 x 10.7 x 11.2 in
33.3 x 27.2 x 28.4 cm

15.9 x 12.5 x 13.8 in
40.4 x 31.8 x 35.1 cm

Warranty

2 years

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, Stainless steel milk pitcher, Metal tamper, Coffee scoop, Cleaning pin, 4 x filter baskets

Included Accessories: Instruction booklet, Magnetic tamper, Trimming tool, Coffee scoop, Milk jug, Water filter and holder, Cleaning supplies.

Current price on Amazon

$230.00

$549.95

Brim 19 Bar Espresso MachineBreville Barista Express
Manufacturer

Brim

Breville

Model number

19 Bar Espresso Maker

BES870XL/BES870BSXL

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Stainless steel

Black Sesame, Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

71.0 fl oz / 2.1 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

19 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.7 in / 11.9 cm

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

Grinder

N/A

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

16

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

8.1 oz / 230.0 g

Specialty drinks

0

2

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1250 W

1600 W

Weight

17.4 lb / 7.9 kg

23.0 lb / 10.4 kg

Dimensions

13.1 x 10.7 x 11.2 in
33.3 x 27.2 x 28.4 cm

15.9 x 12.5 x 13.8 in
40.4 x 31.8 x 35.1 cm

Warranty

2 years

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, Stainless steel milk pitcher, Metal tamper, Coffee scoop, Cleaning pin, 4 x filter baskets

Included Accessories: Instruction booklet, Magnetic tamper, Trimming tool, Coffee scoop, Milk jug, Water filter and holder, Cleaning supplies.

Current price on Amazon

$230.00

$549.95

Verdict: Brim Espresso Machine Review

A solid entry-level machine

Brim 19 Bar Espresso Machine

Exceptional value for money

Compact and affordable

Dedicated hot water outlet

Heavy duty tamper

Durable metal housing

Looks great

portafilter feels cheap

No water filter

Having reached the end of this Brim espresso machine review, I’m more than tempted to buy the thing to test out. I mean, it really checks all the boxes for a beginner-friendly, high-quality espresso machine.

Not only is the 19 Bar Espresso Maker affordable and easy to use, it looks great and seems like it’ll stand the test of time. What’s more, I feel like newbies won’t grow out of this machine in a hurry. In fact, I think that even a seasoned pro might want to keep this compact espresso machine in their kitchen.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Brim espresso machine review. What do you guys think? Should I get my hands on this machine and put it through its paces? I look forward to your comments!

Your coffee expert
Team Image
Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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