Sage Duo Temp Pro Review
If you are looking for your next espresso machine, it is quite likely that you have already come across the Sage Duo Temp Pro – but is it any good? And, more importantly, is it the right machine for you and your coffee-related needs?
Well, let us help you out there, with this complete Sage Duo Temp Pro review, in which we are going to look a little about Sage as a company, the features of this machine and then put it to the test – we will then help you make your decision by looking at who the Sage Duo Temp Pro would be perfect for, before delivering our final verdict.
So to begin with, who are Sage? Well, Sage is only a name that is recognised in Europe – that is the brand that the parent company Breville deploy in this part of the world. Breville have been making quality household products for nearly 100 years, and are based in Sydney.
Sage was originally launched as Sage by Heston Blumenthal in 2013, as the unique and creative celebrity chef was involved in the design process of many of their products. As a result, the company quickly built up a reputation as being high end, but also at the forefront of innovation and creativity in the kitchen appliance market.
The creation of Sage as a brand coincided with the increasing popularity of domestic coffee machines – an industry that has thrived with innovation and creativity. It seemed perfectly apt, therefore, that Sage quickly moved into making coffee machines, and the Sage Duo Temp Pro is one of their mid-range products.
So let’s take a close look at it now, and see what you can expect.
Sage Duo Temp Pro Specs & Features
I always like to take a few moments to take a look at the appearance of a coffee machine before I get into what it can do. While the appearance may not make or break a machine, after all it is the coffee that we are most interested in, I think it is important as this machine will be a permanent feature in your kitchen or office.
I think what most people want when they buy an espresso machine, is something that looks a bit special, but without being too ‘in your face’ – something that has a quiet style and sophistication to it. Well, that is exactly what you get with the Sage Duo Temp Pro.
The stainless steel finish is what takes your attention first of all. It has a crisp, clean, brand new feel to it, which is also very easy to maintain – this machine won’t show much sign of ageing.
The little bits of black detailing help to offset this; the portafilter, the tamper – even the lettering – it all adds to the crisp look.
In terms of size, it measures 33.7 x 44.6 x 39.5 cm, which is a nice size – not so big that it takes up all of your space on the kitchen counter, but big enough to give it some reassuring heft. You don’t want a flimsy little machine, you want something sturdy, and this is definitely that.
So, on to what it can do. We’ll start with the Thermoblock heating system. To be honest, this is pretty standard in coffee machines these days, but it is still nice to have. Basically, it means that the machine will be ready to make coffee within a few seconds of it turning on. No hanging around, straight to it.
That’s not it though as there is also a digital temperature control built into the heating coil. This PID technology is the same as what many commercial coffee machines employ and what it basically does is ensure that the temperature of the water is always at precisely the right temperature – one degree above or below could have a major impact on the flavour of your coffee and this prevents that happening.
Another feature that is designed to get the best flavour possible is the pre-infusion. This is where the water is initially pushed through the coffee slowly at first, and then gradually increasing in speed.
The idea behind this is that it will prevent channelling – where the water only passes through the coffee at a few points of least resistance, rather than spread evenly throughout the coffee. Channelling can happen if the water is forced through too quickly, so low-pressure pre-infusion ensures that more coffee is infused, which should result in a fuller flavour to your drink.
The user interface is very straightforward in terms of design. There is a dial right in the middle of the machine which can be set to ‘standby’, ‘espresso’ or ‘steam’ – which is all pretty self-explanatory.
The button on the right controls the transition between steam (which you would use to froth and heat your milk) and hot water, which you can use to top up your espressos in order to make an americano.
The milk frothing wand is quite advanced for a machine in this range. You will often find the Panarello wand used for machines that are aimed at people who perhaps have never had an espresso machine before. Those wands are great for beginners but can be quite limited when it comes to getting the right texture for a range of drinks.
The wand on the Duo Temp Pro is more like the kind you would find on a professional espresso machine and therefore makes it much easier to produce milk capable of latte art. It has a full, 360-degree rotation, so you can always get the correct angle into your milk, before replacing it back above your drip tray.
After you have finished using the steam wand, the machine will perform an auto-purge. As the machine uses a single boiler, which controls the temperature of the espresso water and the steam, a purge ensures the water is back to the correct temperature for another espresso, so you don’t have to wait until it cools down. Very helpful if you are making a number of drinks in one go.
Next up, there are the maintenance alerts – the machine will let you know when it needs a clean or when the drip tray needs emptying. These little nudges will ensure your machine is always running at full capacity, and there is no impact on the flavour of your coffee.
Finally, I think it is important to mention the little extras that you get in the box with your machine. I don’t do this for every review, but I found these to be really helpful, so I made an exception here.
On top of the machine and the integrated tamper (which you will use every time you make a coffee), you also get both pressurised and non-pressurised baskets (in single and double espresso sizes), a disk for back flushing to clean your system, a pin tool to clean the steam wand and, best of all, Sage’s Razor Precision Dose Trimming Tool which you can use to ensure you get the perfect dose every time.
You might not expect any of these extras, but they really add to make the experience of owning the Sage Duo Temp Pro a little bit more special.
What It’s Like To Use The Sage Duo Temp Pro
That’s all good in theory, but how does the Sage Duo Temp Pro work in practice? We tend to find the best way to give you an idea of the whole experience is to run through the process of making a coffee with the machine, step by step. That way you can see how difficult, or easy, it is, and it will also work as a handy guide if you are to purchase one.
First of all, check to see whether there is enough water in the tank, which is situated at the back of the machine. It has a capacity of 1.8-litres, which is pretty impressive for a machine this size, and should mean that you don’t have to refill it very often at all. Of course, we would recommend against using water that has been standing there for a long time.
A quick note here – there is a filter fitted to the water tank, which helps to reduce limescale.
Next, it’s time to prepare your coffee. If you have a grinder, that is ideal – you can fit the portafilter directly into the dispensing area, and grind directly into it. If you are using pre-ground coffee, simply add your dose (7-11g per shot) directly into the portafilter.
Here you can use the tamper, which fits nicely just to the left of where the portafilter goes, to tamp down with a little bit of pressure. Then use the Razor Dose Tool to scrape off any extra coffee to ensure you have the perfect dose, before reloading the portafilter into the machine.
Turn the control dial to espresso, and the low-pressure extraction will kick into life. You are in charge of how much espresso you get, so when the required amount has been poured into your cup, simply turn the dial back to the centre ‘Standby’ position.
That’s your coffee done, so now time for your milk. Pour the required amount of milk into a jug, and turn the dial to the ‘Steam’ setting. The internal boiler will start building up the temperature to create the steam, which will happen before you know it.
Once it has reached the right temperature, turn back to standby and insert the wand into your milk, before turning the dial back to Steam – and then you’re off!
The next bit is up to you and will depend on what drink you are making – you will need to determine the temperature and density of your foam, but with the Sage Duo Temp Pro you have all of the tools available to get your milk just how you like it, and there are thousands of videos on YouTube to help you as well. One of the fun things about owning a machine like this is the freedom to experiment and perfect your technique.
When you are done, turn the dial back to Standby and give the end of the wand a quick wipe to clean off any milk and foam. The boiler will auto-purge and begin to cool ready for the next espresso.
All you need to do here is pour your milk into the coffee, and there you go! A café-style coffee made in your own home.
Obviously, I have gone into a fair amount of detail there, but the process of making a coffee with the Sage Duo Temp Pro is really quite simple. When you boil it down it is basically:
- Load the machine with water and coffee
- Turn the dial to Espresso to pour your espresso
- Turn the dial to Steam to froth your milk
- Add the two together
In terms of cleaning and maintenance, that is incredibly straightforward as well: the machine will tell you when the drip tray (which is quite large, so this won’t happen too frequently) needs emptying, and when it needs cleaning. You are provided with a disk to backwash – just load the disk into the portafilter holder. It really is quite low-maintenance.
All in all, for a machine that, on the surface, seems like a professional-standard machine, you really don’t need to be a trained barista to use it at all. Basic common sense and a little practice at frothing your milk and you are good to go.
Sage Duo Temp Pro Taste Test
So we know it is easy to make a coffee – great. But that wouldn’t count for very much if the coffee it produces isn’t particularly nice, right? Instant coffee is easy to make, afterall…
It is with great pleasure, then, that I can reveal that the Sage Duo Temp Pro makes fantastic coffee. The pre-infusion, coupled with the temperature control, means that the extraction process really is excellent, and the result is fantastic tasting coffee every time.
We would always recommend using a grinder and ensuring you do a little bit of experimentation to find your favourite coffee beans – these things combined will help you to get the best-tasting coffee, and this machine will do the rest.
Who Should Buy The Sage Duo Temp Pro?
The Sage Duo Temp Pro, like any espresso machine, is an investment. While this is far from the most expensive machine you could buy, it is priced in a range that most people would need to think carefully about before they made the purchase.
With this in mind, I think this would be most suited to people that are just getting into making coffee at home, and want to make a big step towards becoming more of a coffee lover, rather than someone who drinks coffee.
It is a simple machine to use but to really get the most out of it, you need to put in a bit of time and effort – you need to research and practice your milk frothing technique which will take time.
The Duo Temp Pro opens up a whole world of opportunity, without being intimidatingly complicated. You can start creating latte art, experimenting with different amounts of milk and espresso – really take the time to perfect your coffee and create that ‘WOW’ factor when you have people over.
So if you think that you would like to take the next step and become more of a coffee aficionado, then the Sage Duo Temp Pro may be the machine for you.
As you will have probably gathered from reading this review – I am a big fan of the Sage Duo Temp Pro.
What I like most is that it blurs the lines between the entry-level espresso makers, and the super-duper all-singing-all-dancing machines, that cost a fortune. This is priced at a reasonable level but also gives you the capability to create some fantastic coffees, with as much freedom as you would like to have.
Of course, it does require some skill and practice. Frothing milk is something people spend a long time perfecting, but that shouldn’t put you off – if you are considering this machine it is presumably because you already have some experience, or you are willing to learn. That in itself should see that you get the most out of this machine.
As a company, Sage are very well regarded, and that should give you some confidence. If you are spending this amount of money on something that you hope will last you for years to come, then you want to trust the manufacturers. The look and design of this machine reinforce that trust – this is a quality machine that is built to last.
The added little extras are fantastic – really above and beyond what you would expect to receive with an espresso machine. While I wouldn’t recommend buying this purely on the basis of those extras, it all works towards building up that trust and confidence.
All in all, this is a great machine, and if you are looking to develop your coffee-making skills, then this should be high up on your shortlist for your next espresso machine.