Tried & Tested

On trial: Sage Barista Touch Impress Coffee Machine

Laura Crisp,-Contributing Editor at Large

The daily grind has never looked better

Life has moved on from the days of dusty freeze-dried granules in your mug at home or big milky buckets of what’s essentially a supersized lukewarm babyccino that cost £4. I’ve got cafetières, those drip filters that sit on your cup, stovetop pots and a capsule-fed machine, and they all have their plus points, but I wanted better. 

I wanted to put the Sage Barista Touch Impress through its paces and see if this bean-to-cup machine is the dream. Now I want to tell you why you need one.

First impressions

Looks-wise, Sage never disappoints. Brushed stainless steel, touchscreen controls, compact design (despite a 2-litre water tank) – this certainly looks the part. Setup instructions are a piece of cake (hmm, you know what goes nicely with a piece of cake?) and if you can’t be bothered reading the instructions booklet, the 3D interactive setup will soon get you started anyway. No fiddly filter papers to contend with, either. Hate those. All you need to buy are beans.

How does it work?

Pour your beans in the hopper, savour that smell, then choose from eight preset drinks or one of your own (more on this later). Put the portafilter under the grinder, and tap the first onscreen picture. The machine will grind the beans then tell you to tamp the ground coffee – do this by pulling the assisted tamp lever on the side (it looks like a one-armed bandit but its intelligent dosing and precision 10kg tamp create a barista-grade coffee ‘puck’ every time). The machine will work out if it’s OK or whether it needs to grind a bit more. In the unlikely event it has ground too much, use the razor (sounds scary but isn’t) provided to slice the top off the puck of coffee. I’ve only had to do this once and I’ve brewed approximately 147 coffees. Good odds.

Proceed to the right of the machine and the second onscreen picture of an espresso in a glass. Mmm. Choose a single, double or triple shot, then tap the espresso glass and the ThermoJet system will swiftly heat and brew your best coffee.

Now it’s step three. Tap below the pic of a milk jug to set your desired temperature of milk (hot, hot, hot) and texture (not too much foam, thank you) and tell it whether you’re a dairy, almond, oat or soya person. Tap the jug pic and whoosh, it preps your milk to perfection – and it’s all hands-free, using a thermometer under the jug to give an accurate reading. Pour it over your black coffee, marvel at your latte art, then drink and feel smug. You’re a qualified barista now.


Why is it special?

The Sage Barista Touch Impress is intelligent and it wants you to drink the very best coffee possible. The first time you brew, it asks what kind of beans you’ve got so it can make recommendations about which filter basket to use (single or double-wall) and how coarse or fine the grind setting should be (there are up to 30 grind settings and, like everything here, this is easily adjusted). After making your first coffee, it judges whether the brew was too slow or too fast, and it learns to do it better next time. Imagine.

Although there are preset drinks – flat white, latte, and so on – you can make adjustments for the number of shots, milk temperature and amount of foam, and to save you making those same adjustments every time, you can tap a floppy disk icon (retro) to save up to six customised choices. So next time, you’re just a tap-tap-tap away from your dream drink. 

Save a few for all the people in your home, and your own favourites which, if you’re like me, vary depending on mood, workload and time of day (milky drinks after 10am? No, signora *goes to Italy once*). 


Details – make it snappy

  • Touchscreen with eight preset drinks plus space to save six of your own.
  • Quick setup with interactive guide.
  • Optimum grind to get the best from your beans.
  • Hot water on tap to preheat your cup.
  • Choice of small or large, single or double-walled filters – if your beans have a ‘roasted on’ date, the machine recommends single-wall; a ‘best before’ date on beans means a double-wall filter will give a better result.
  • Choice of strengths – single, double or even triple shot.
  • Adjustable milk temperature and foam volume.
  • 2-litre water tank with filter provided and a handy date marker so you know when to replace it (a filter typically lasts three months).
  • Easy to clean.
  • Good-looking, chic, tidy, strokable.
The metrics that matter
Image of 5 star struck emojis
Looks the businessDid I rearrange my kitchen worktop so that my smart new coffee machine could have the best spot? Yes, yes I did. Do I want Sage everything now? Yesss.
Image of 5 coffee cup emojis
Proper coffeesNowhere does better-tasting coffee than the machine in my kitchen now and – maybe I need to live more – but that blows my mind. The strength, temperature and texture are just right. Every. Time.
Ease to useI don’t want to read a whole book just to set up a fancy machine, and I didn’t have to here. I was expertly brewing coffee 10 minutes after tearing open the box and lifting everything out.

Is the Sage Barista Touch Impress worth it?

Did the Sage Barista Touch Impress impress me much? Oh yes. In fact it has wowed me and ruined all other coffees for me. If it had a strap, I would carry it like a trophy handbag and take it to friends’ houses.

You get what you pay for and this no-mess, no-fuss, reliable, deluxe machine is worth every penny. The autumn/winter trend report is in and it’s saying this season’s biggest must-have comes in stainless steel and smells like heaven. Go get.

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