The Breville 870BSXL is a step above the rest. I have always been a quad shot espresso guy. I have had to scale it down to only two shots with this machine because of the level of flavor and frankly, the caffeine levels, this Breville can extract!!! Crema? Oh glorious crema! Sweet, orange, thick and rich! Speaking of rich, the Breville makes a latte foam that is suitable for a bed pillow. The micro foam it creates is silky smooth. The built in burr grinder makes fresh ground coffee convenient, easy, and consistent. It took a while to "dial in" the settings to get this machine to make the perfect espresso pull. That is because grind level, coffee amount, and tamping pressure create variables. However, the pressure gauge lets you know if you need more or less tamping or a finer coffee coffee grind. Breville suggests starting with s grind setting of 5. In my experience a setting of 3 is the perfect grind fineness. The build quality and human interface engineering is excellent. It's heavy and feels high quality. Enjoy the best mocha you will ever have.
Fantastic espresso machine. You get your grinder (with adjustable dosage, and two dials to change the coarseness - the second adjustment is directly inside the grinder), pump, steam wand, hot water spout and a nice tamper all in one machine! The accessories you get with it are great as well, you get the porta-filter holder (duh), 4 baskets (single and double serve with single walls and the same in double-wall setup), precision dosage razor, frothing pitcher and the cleaning kit. Really don't need much more than this, so if you're looking for a serious espresso machine with all included, this one is it. And the 1,500+ reviews and average over 4.5 stars just proves that. I debated going with this one or something cheaper. I recently used to have a DeLonghi EC155. That thing started at 4.0 stars or higher, but now I see it lower, I understand why. For a first try of "espresso" coffee, it was okay. I put it in quotation marks, because it was more like a really strong coffee, didn't quite come across as espresso. Maybe I did it wrong. But anyway, I am not reviewing that machine here. With this machine, there is one thing you need to realize (and a video review of Breville, or rather "Sage" as this brand is known in Europe) is this - with this machine, you're not only getting into serious coffee, you're probably getting into a hobby as well, or a new activity. If you are looking for a simple serve machine that prepares a great coffee with one push of a button, look elsewhere, like the Nespresso machines. But, if you are looking for something that is a little more involved, gives you the desired control, allows you to experiment and pulls you into the world of coffee, this is it. There is a reason why you pay so much for just an espresso at a coffee shop. It takes work, it takes skill and it takes time. Once you start pulling your own great (or good for me, I'm not at the "great" level quite yet) coffee, the sense of accomplishment along with a great drink at home feels nice. Don't forget that cheap/stale beans just won't do. I mean, if you got a car for a race track, you probably wouldn't pour in regular 87 gas, no, you'd go with the premium high-octane stuff. Similar with this - you got an awesome, professional-like machine, then feed it quality beans. I mean, you can try to go cheaper, but if you get very oily and stale beans, the coffee will taste burnt and you'll end up spending more time cleaning the thing. Pros: 1) Sense of control - there is so much experimentation you can do. I've had this for 3 months and I'm still at the beginning. I now froth milk in a decent way but boy, there is a lot to learn. 2) All-in-one - you don't have to get an expensive grinder, fancy wooden tamper and a milk frother. I mean, you could, but why would you, if you have that high quality all built into this one? 3) The supplied equipment - kind of goes with point number 2, but you get a frothing pitcher as well, you get multiple baskets and you get everything you need to get rolling (besides the beans). 4) Quality - it is all stainless steel and what isn't (and is plastic) doesn't feel cheaply made. It seems sturdy and high quality. I've had it for 3 months now, so far so good, so ask me in a few months if I still think so. 5) The display/indicators - it tells you when it wants to be cleaned. I spoke to their customer reps and this was their exact email response: "I have confirmed with our technicians, they advised me it will actually come on after 300 shots, and unplugging the unit should not reset the counter. " You also have a dedicated button for filter size, you can let it automatically grind the specific amount of coffee you want - this brings me to one of the cons, however. Cons: 1) As mentioned pro #5, the grinding amount is a bit of a pain. When coffee is ground, it tends to expand. If you let the machine grind the automatic amount, it overfills the basket (because the coffee expands) and you get grounds falling over into the tray. This may not be a design flaw, because when you tap the filter onto the counter, the grinds settle and you do have the right amount, it's just a mess though - someone slightly OCD like myself finds that hard to deal with. I just use the manual grind, I hold it in, let it fill half way, tap it to let it settle, grind some more and tamp. Time consuming, yes, but it's more fun and cleaner. 2) If you live in an area with hard water (like I do), be prepared for water spots all over that beautiful stainless steel - again, not a manufacturer's flaw, but worth mentioning. I keep trying to think of other cons, but can't. That's when you know it's a good unit, when you "try" to think of cons just for the review and can't come up with any legit ones. Again, if you want a great coffee machine that will feed (or create) a coffee hobby and make you want to experiment, source local beans and just overall make your own fantastic coffee, go right ahead. I'd say it's worth the money. If you're looking for a m
I bought this about a month ago and thought I'd give it some time to review. This is my first espresso machine, and I must say, I am very impressed. The reason I bought it was mainly because I was tired of reloading my Starbucks card, and I missed real Italian espressos from Italy. I had tried brewing with Moka pots, but it just didn't work out. The Breville is spot-on! At first, like everyone else, I had a bit of a hard time getting the dial to register correctly in the espresso range. Finally I settled on the Starbucks espresso beans with the grind set to 3. When you grind the beans, start off just barely filling the filter, then gently pressing the grounds to the sides. After that, grind a little more just so you can make a little rounded hill. Then, tamp firmly. Milk frothing is a breeze as well. There were some YouTube videos I watched to get an idea of how to do it. Honestly it's not a difficult machine to use. My 11-year old daughter has the whole process down pat and has officially become the family barista. My wife won't drink a capuccino unless my daughter made it. UPDATE--After nearly a year, this thing is still working great. Two things stand out as must-do's to keep it that way: - Clean regularly -- I had let the grinder get clogged up and it wasn't grinding as well. Routine grinder cleaning is essential, as is regular descaling and cleaning using the tablets. Also, I do have to say that you should call customer support when you're not sure what's going on. I had a problem also with the pressure and found out that because of the beans I used, I needed to change the grind size to a finer grind. Not only did they help me figure it out, they also sent me some Breville descaler and cleaning tablets free because the machine was still under warranty. That's worth an extra star in my book!
The lights are so bright you can’t read the labels. There are 1 and 2 cup button for water, but not for the grind. Therefore at least 1 light for 1 cup and 2 lights for 2 cups would be a good start. Would be nice to have a green light, once the water is hot enough, so you don’t get cold espresso. Would be also nice to have a red light if there is not enough water in the tank. Would be also nice if there is a red light if there not enough coffee in the hopper. If you don’t check manually, the machine runs without (enough) water and/or without (enough) coffee and that requires a restart after filling up. This is standard even on the now Phillips-Saeco machines. I really miss the old real Saeco ones. Otherwise it’s working well.
This machine replaced a basic espresso model. The pressure gage, a feature not included on the basic model, gives a better indication of whether the grinding and tamping are optimized for the best and most consistent espresso. Although I am still learning to use it, I have not had much success with the automatic dosing. I have adjusted the grind setting and the amount of coffee delivered, but the machine still does not deliver the correct amount. I always need to top it off. Aside from this potential problem with the grinder, it makes great lattes. I do not know whether it would be worth the additional cost to buy a model that has separate temperature controls for making the espresso and for heating the milk. As each additional feature seems to add $500 to the cost, I would probably not make the investment. That being said, our daughter owns the top end Breville, and I wish that I could have justified paying $2,500 for this model. Based upon the one star reviews of this and other models, I did invest in the warranty program. When I searched for the spare parts that I will probably need over the next four years (e.g silicon seals) I did confirm that replacement parts are not readily available.