Sage Precision Brewer Review
Our coffee connoisseur Louise Woffindin takes this mid range coffee machine for a spin in our Sage Precision Brewer review. Find out how she got on with it below…
The Sage Precision Brewer is a high-spec coffee maker that’s full of features. For anyone looking for an automatic coffee machine that makes a perfect brew each time, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. As this isn’t cheap, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting for your money, which is why we’ve done the hard work for you. You’ll find everything you need to know about this coffee maker in our review. We’ll tell you all about what we thought about the machine, how to use it, its unique features and – most importantly – how the coffee tastes!
Read on to see what we thought in our full Sage Precision Brewer review.
First Impressions Of The Sage Precision Brewer
As soon as you take it out of the box, you can tell this is a high-quality item. It looks smart and of high value. The brushed chrome finish is a really nice touch.
Like all products from the Sage brand, we found the Precision Brewer was very well-built. We thought it was both robust and strong, and worth its value in this regard. This does mean that it’s heavy, but it’s not the sort of thing you will lift a lot, so this didn’t put us off.
We were a little surprised that the water tank is part of the machine rather than being removable, but this didn’t hinder our experience of making coffee – you just need to be a little more creative when filling it up! Thankfully, it’s a large tank so it doesn’t need filling too often.
As coffee aficionados, we really valued all of the intricacies this machine offered its users. If you’re a casual coffee drinker, you won’t need something this complex; it’s a true coffee-lovers dream.
Sage Precision Brewer Specs and Features
The Sage Precision Brewer has a 1.8-litre capacity, which is the same as around 12 cups of coffee. The machine measures 32 x 17 x 40 cm and weighs 4.6kg. It comes with a 1m cable and has a power rating of 1650w.
The clue is in the name: Precision. What this means, in reality, is that you can adjust the machine to produce a cup of coffee to your exact requirements. You can control the flow rate, contact time, and temperature. This means that you can adapt your machine to suit whichever coffee you want to use. So, if it’s more earthy, fruity, or floral, you can really get a precise brew to bring out the flavour.
Sage has a patent pending for its Steep and Release technology. This valve keeps water in direct contact with the coffee for when you want to brew coffee in small volumes rather than in a large carafe.
Two filter options
The Sage Precision comes with two filter baskets that allow you to perfect your brew. One filter basket is a flat-bottom basket, which is ideal for emphasising floral, chocolate, dried fruit, and sweeter flavours. The other is a semi-conical filter basket that is better at emphasising citrus, berry, and full-bodied notes.
Six programmed modes
It goes without saying that we were keen to try out all six of the unique pre-set brewing modes! These different modes include:
- Cold Brew
- My Brew
Gold – In the Gold setting, the filter coffee machine will automatically adjust the brew time and water temperature to make the best cup of coffee. This setting gives you European Coffee Brewing Centre (ECBC) quality coffee. The ECBC is an independent testing authority that has existed for over 50 years. The organisation tests coffee to The Gold Cup Standard, which is based on scientific research.
Fast – For when you don’t have time to spare, the ‘Fast’ setting is a great option. You can brew the whole 1.8-litre capacity in a little under seven minutes. This is perfect for times when you’ve got guests and want to serve them fast.
Strong – For those who – like us – enjoy a strong brew, you won’t be disappointed in the Sage Precision Brewer’s ‘strong’ setting. This adjusts the brew settings for a greater contact time and higher temperatures in order to produce a more intense coffee.
Iced – This setting is great for those hot summer days where you want coffee but don’t want the heat! This makes a concentrated brew whose taste will work well over ice. You need a special adaptor for this setting, which is sold separately. It seems a little odd not to include the adaptor if the machine has this setting, though.
Cold Brew – The Cold Brew setting produces a developed, rich flavour. As it’s designed to make cold brew coffee, the programme takes between 4 and 14 hours so you might want to set this up to run overnight.
My Brew – The My Brew setting is where coffee lovers really get control over their coffee. With this setting, it’s completely up to you how you customise your drink. You can alter the flow rate, bloom time and water temperature to make the perfect cup. We had great fun tweaking these settings to find something just right.
Accessories and features
As well as coming with the two filter baskets, the Sage Precision Brewer also comes with a coffee measuring scoop and a starter pack of paper coffee filters. You can also test the hardness of the water and adjust the settings to compensate for this.
Unlike some coffee makers, the coffee isn’t kept warm on a heated plate. Instead, it is the brushed stainless steel carafe with its dual walls that keeps the coffee warm for you.
Using The Sage Precision Brewer
Now you know more about what this coffee maker has to offer, we’ll give you a little insight into how to use it. The manual is very detailed and goes through each of the settings and how to use them. For the purpose of this review, we’ll discuss how to set it up and brew your first carafe of coffee.
Water hardness testing
After putting all of the parts of the coffee machine together and turning it on for the first time, you’ll see the LCD display showing “Hard”. This is to inform you that you need to input the hardness level of the water. You need to follow these steps:
- Press the ‘select’ dial once
- Dip a water hardness test strip into the water – one second is enough
- Wait a minute for the result to be revealed
- Rotate the ‘select’ dial until you see the appropriate water hardness level
- Press the dial to choose the water hardness level
Another thing you’ll need to do before your first use is a water flush so you can clean the system. Here are the steps to follow:
- Make sure you have inserted the coffee basket (empty) and put the empty carafe in place
- Fill up the water tank to the MAX line with cold water
- Press the Start/Cancel button to turn the coffee maker on
- Turn the ‘select’ dial to ‘fast’
- Press the start/cancel button again
- The water will be dispensed through the system into the carafe.
- After flushing, empty the carafe – you’re now ready to brew a coffee!
Brewing a carafe
Now for the fun part – making your first coffee brew! After all the setting up, water testing and flushing, we were keen to get started.
For our taste testing, we brewed a carafe using both filters. The cone-shaped filter should be used when making fewer than eight cups and the flat bottom filter should be used for anything above this.
When you’ve decided how many cups you want, you’ll need to tell the machine which filter you’ve used. The display will show ‘basket’ or ‘cone’. You should rotate the ‘select’ dial to show the correct basket and then press it to set. Don’t forget to ensure you’ve filled the water tank!
In our testing, we used whole bean coffee that we ground just before use. The ideal grind was medium to coarse. If you use espresso coffee, you might find the coffee basket overflows.
We first decided to brew a full 1.8-litre carafe. After all, when brewing a large amount of coffee, it’s often hard to get right, so we wanted to test this first. As per the manufacturer’s instructions, we used 12 level scoops with the Sage scoop, which equated to 99g. This works out at 1 coffee scoop per 150ml of coffee produced. Sage has a coffee-water ratio guide in the manual, which is handy.
Before starting, ensure you have inserted the correct filter papers before adding your ground coffee, then insert the basket. The carafe lid needs to be locked before it’s placed under the outlet. Now you’re ready to start!
To start the machine, rotate the ‘select’ dial to your desired mode then press the start/cancel button. As your coffee is brewing, you’ll be able to see its progress on the machine’s display, which is a nice feature. You’ll see the following:
When the process has finished, you’ll hear three beeps and be able to see the ‘time since brewed’ on the display.
We used the ‘fast’ brew mode and were pleasantly surprised just how quickly the machine delivered the full 1.8 litres of coffee! It certainly seems to be one of the fastest of its kind.
Sage Precision Brewer Taste Test
This machine is ideal for people who love to experiment with the science behind coffee making. Getting the perfect flavour is just as much about the coffee beans as it is the grind and the production. We found the best flavours were produced with a medium-coarse grind. Too coarse and your brew will be too weak, too fine and you risk the filter basket overflowing. Ensuring the right grind will prevent bitterness.
Taste-wise, it’s good and worth the money. We particularly liked the Gold setting. The coffee tastes very clean and doesn’t have as much body as other ways of brewing coffee (e.g., a French press). However, it was still a delicious cup that was both flavoursome and smooth.
For the best flavours from the Sage Precision Brewer, you should also ensure you have the right coffee-to-water ratio. You can perfect this by weighing your coffee on coffee scales and measuring the water used.
What Makes the Sage Precision Brewer Different?
When buying coffee machines, it’s always nice to have something special or unique about it. With the Sage Precision Brewer, it’s the two filter baskets that make it unique. This is the only drip coffee maker that offers conical and flat-bottom filter baskets.
Lots of coffee drinkers don’t realise just how different coffee can taste when it’s brewed in a different basket shape. You can really emphasize different notes with a different-shaped basket. The two baskets offered by Sage mean that you can experiment with lots of elements of your coffee making. For the money, it really is a great machine with lots of functions.
I think it’s safe to say that we really liked this coffee maker. Yes, it’s on the more expensive side but for the functionality and quality, it’s very good value for money. This would be an ideal machine for people who know a little about the intricacies of coffee making and want to experiment with taste. It’s also great for people who need a large amount of coffee in a short space of time.
There wasn’t anything we didn’t like particularly. We would have preferred to have a removable water tank, but you soon get used to having a fixed one. It’s also a little big for anyone who has limited counter space. The manual comes with detailed instructions but they’re easy to follow.
Overall, it is an excellent coffee maker that’s built to last. It not only does the job well on all of the functions (we did try them all!), but it looks great as a focal point in your kitchen.