The Sage Duo Temp Pro has a stylish brushed steel exterior and produces rich espresso. The milk frothing wand isn't great, however, and it doesn't include a built-in grinder. If true bean-to-cup models are outside of your price range, it could be a good option though.
- Beautiful design and durable construction
- Great espresso taste
- Simple to use
- Milk frothing arm isn't as effective as other models
- Can be messy - especially as the spout height can't be adjusted
- No built-in grinder
But before we get started, this is not a full bean-to-cup coffee machine. It’s an espresso machine – click here for more information about the distinction – so you’ll need to purchase a separate grinder. The reason we’re reviewing it is because it’s one of the most requested models for us to feature – and many people want to know how it compares to Sage’s more expensive models.
- Attractive brushed steel exterior
- 1700W thermocoil heating system
- 15 bar pump
- Digital PID temperature control for precise temperature during extraction
- Milk frothing arm
- Heat purging system for correct espresso temperature after using frothing arm
- Low-pressure pre-infusion system for a more even flavour
- 54mm portafilter
In-Depth Review of the Duo Temp Pro
The Duo Temp Pro is at the lower end of Sage’s espresso machine range. It’s still not what we could call “cheap,” but is less expensive than premium models, such as the Barista Express or Oracle. It’s also designed to be simple to use, yet still able to produce cafe-standard espresso.
Appearance and Design
The Duo Temp Pro’s brushed steel exterior makes it instantly recognisable as a Sage coffee machine. It’s slightly smaller than the company’s larger models (dimensions: 26x30x33cm), but is still solid and durable. While some of the components are plastic, they are strong and have a commercial feel.
It also looks great. So you won’t be embarrassed to display it on your kitchen counter!
At its core, the Sage has a 1700W thermocoil heating system and 15 bar pump. This, combined with the digital PID temperature control, helps provide a consistent and precise temperature during extraction. In fact, the PID system is usually only found on much more expensive coffee makers, so it’s great that it’s included with the Duo Temp Pro. There’s also a micro-foam milk frothing arm, integrated tamper and 1.8 litre water tank (with built-in scale feature).
An interesting feature is the automatic heat purging system. Using the steam wand increases the internal heat, which can affect the taste of the next espresso. To prevent this, the purging system reduces the temperature, so that any subsequent espressos are made at the correct temperature. If you’re planning to make multiple drinks, this is a brilliant feature.
The Duo Temp Pro also uses a low-pressure pre-infusion system. This gradually increases pressure during the extraction phase, which helps to draw out a more even flavour.
Sage has opted for a simple control panel for the Duo Temp Pro. There’s a central control dial with three options: standby, espresso and steam. If you select the steam option, there’s a separate selector for steam and hot water, so you can use the hot water option to make a long black or Americano.
This simplicity is brilliant if you just want a rich espresso with minimum input. There’s no option to automatically adjust settings such as water temperature and cup size though.
Speaking of simplicity, there’s also no built-in grinder included with the Sage Duo Temp Pro. For this feature, you’ll need the Barista Express, Barista Express Touch, or Oracle. While it’s not that much extra effort to buy a separate grinder (we recommend a burr grinder), this adds to the overall cost and is less convenient than a true bean-to-cup machine (like the models on our list here).
Of course, there’s also the option of using pre-ground coffee. We don’t recommend this if you want a fresh flavour and rich crema though.
Aside from the machine itself, Sage has included 2 non-pressurised and 2 pressurised baskets. The right option depends on whether you’re using pre-ground or freshly ground coffee, and whether you want one or two cups.
Finally, the portafilter is easy to lock in and convenient to use. It’s a 54mm portafilter though, so it can be difficult to find accessories and extra filters.
As we mentioned, the Sage is a straightforward machine, so there aren’t many customisation options. Even the espresso shot volume needs to be controlled manually, so it takes some practice to get right.
A drawback of this system is that there is a slight delay when switching off the machine. This can lead to dispensing more coffee that you originally wanted – at least until you get the hang of it.
There’s the option of delivering two cups of coffee simultaneously, however, as there are two spouts. You’ll need to switch baskets for this though.
Despite the lack of customisation options, the Sage Duo Temp Pro produces excellent espresso in a relatively short time. It has a rich aroma and plenty of flavour, so it can match many cafe espressos.
Of course, the taste is heavily dependent on the beans you use. Make sure you only use fresh and high-quality beans, otherwise you won’t get the flavour and crema this machine is capable of producing.
Other Coffee Taste
While the Duo Temp Pro makes excellent espresso, it fairs less well with milky coffees.
The frothing arm is designed to produce microfoam textured milk for cappuccino and lattes. It does a decent job of frothing in a relatively short time, but it’s not as smooth or textured as we would like. It also takes a while to heat up.
Another drawback is that the machine is inconvenient for making multiple milky drinks, such as when you have friends round. This is a common issue with this type of domestic machine though, so we won’t hold it against the Duo Temp Pro.
Ease of Cleaning
The Duo Temp Pro has alerts for cleaning and a full drip tray. This latter warning is particularly useful, as the tray is small and the automatic cleaning functions use quite a lot of water.
There are several cleaning tasks that need to be performed on a regular basis. Sage recommends replacing the water filter every two months, as this reduces mineral build up. You may want to replace it more often if you live in a hard water area though.
The primary cleaning task is to run the cleaning cycle every 2-3 months. Sage provides full instructions for this, and you’ll need to use a silicon disk plus cleaning tablet (purchased separately). There are also instructions for de-calcifying (or descaling), which is important to prevent mineral build-up.
Finally, you’ll need to clean the portafilter to prevent coffee build-up. This is as simple as running water through the machine without any coffee.
Making espresso can be a messy business with this machine though. There’s no option to adjust the spout or drip tray height, so espresso splatters the back plate when using smaller cups. You’ll probably want to wipe it down after each use, which can be frustrating.
On the plus side, the drip tray is easy to empty. The water tank also has a built-in scale feature, which helps prevent limescale build-up.
Other features of the Sage Duo Temp Pro include a cup warming tray, high-quality milk jug and cleaning kit. You’ll need to purchase extra cleaning supplies, but the kit is useful for getting started.
A downside is that there’s no timer switch. This is a shame, as the portafilter produces best results when it’s slightly warm.
Value for Money
The Duo Temp Pro is considerably cheaper than the Barista Express, which is the next model up from Sage Appliances. It produces rich and flavoursome espresso, so we think it provides good value for money.
You will need a separate grinder though. This adds to the cost of the machine, and means it’s not as convenient as true bean-to-cup coffee machines. You also don’t get as many coffee customisation options as some of the best bean-to-cup models.
Note: This range previously was sold under the Heston Blumenthal label.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sage Duo Temp Pro Vs Gaggia Classic – What’s the Difference?
The Gaggia Classic is a similar coffee machine to the Sage Duo Temp. Like the Sage, it’s an espresso maker that doesn’t include a built-in grinder, but has a steam wand, two spouts and a similar price.
Both are great machines for making espresso. We prefer the Sage Duo Temp Pro because of the precise temperature control and heat purging system though.
Where Can I Download the Instructions?
If you’ve lost the instruction manual, you can download a PDF version here.
The Sage Duo Temp Pro isn’t a true bean-to-cup coffee machine – it doesn’t include a built-in grinder – but it produces excellent espresso. It’s also easy to use, has a precise temperature control system and is cheaper than the Sage Barista Express (the next model up).
There are some drawbacks to this machine though. The milk frothing arm is useful for cappuccino, but makes it difficult to produce the creamy and textured milk we all love. You’ll also need to purchase a separate grinder and be content with a lack of customisation options.
Despite these issues, if you want flavoursome espresso without spending more on a bean-to-cup model, it could be a great choice.
We hope this Sage Duo Temp review has helped you decide whether it’s the right model for your home. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.