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Breville 800ESXL 15-Bar Triple-Priming Die-Cast Espresso Machine
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- 15 Bar Italian Pump
- Purge Function: Automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature
- The Triple Prime Pump releases 3 bursts of hot water to moisten the ground coffee resulting in greater build-up to extract the fullest flavor
- Thermoblock Heating System
- 75 Fl.oz (2.2L) removable front-fill water tank
- Espresso machine with ThermoBlock heating system and 15-bar Triple Prime pump
- Durable stainless-steel housing; selector dial for espresso, steam, or hot water
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The Breville 800ESXL Die Cast Designed Espresso Machine is incredibly beautiful, as well, as functional! It has a thermo block heating system, 15 bar Italian made pump, dual wall crema system, a pre-brew function and an auto-purge function (anti burn) just to name a few. This espresso machine will look gorgeous on your countertop in your kitchen. It's a functional show piece.
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For one, it uses a thermoblock. This results in a pressure drop and uneven heating compared to a boiler, which is why there is the need for the double-wall crema system. (I'm referring here to pump machines with boilers, not the cheap steam machines.) This is why you'll find that after brewing you have a soupy sludge instead of the hard dry puck considered an indicator of proper espresso brewing. Update: as pointed out by somebody else, this may be more a function of the lack of three-way valve than indicative of poor pressure or heating. I didn't realize this didn't have a three-way valve, but that's just one more reason to avoid this. Regardless, the weakness of the thermoblock is apparent in the difference in quality between a single shot and a double shot. The latter is harsh and bitter, which I assume is because the last part of the shot isn't properly extracted due to a drop in temperature.
Second, the filters and group head aren't made of brass like you'll see in machines of similar price. Brass has a high thermal conductivity and mass, which helps keep the water hot on the way to the grounds, at least when the machine is properly preheated.
Personally, I'm not sure I have a sophisticated enough palette to discern a difference between espresso from this and a machine with better parts. But given that you're considering spending $400 on an espresso machine, I assume you might be a purist and somebody who cares about getting the best for your money. I also feel the need to offset some of the other breathless reviews by people who clearly haven't bothered to do even a minimal amount of research on espresso machines.
Despite the above, the machine produces good espresso, as far as I can tell, and it IS beautiful. My guess is that it overcomes some of its component shortcomings with nice engineering (such as the auto-purge feature to avoid scalding the grounds). However, you have to wonder if you're really getting your money's worth where it counts, when there are machines out there at half the price with better internal components and plumbing. You should be able to find machines with more stable temperature and higher effective pressure for much less money if you're willing to go for substance over looks.
This wouldn't be too bad if you could actually GET filter baskets when you need them. The only online company that carried them seems to be out of business now. And without a filter basket, this is just so much pretty scupture.
UPDATE: You can get the filters from Breville USA, for a price. You can also use a backflush detergent (like JoeGlo) to clear them, although it's a bit time-consuming and messy.
I have owned 15 bar home espresso machines in the past that have been cheaper than this one by Breville that produced slightly better crema and frothed milk a little better. After two uses, I removed the froth enhancer, deciding it to be more of a gimmick than a useful addition to the steam wand. Milk can be textured easily and well without it with a little practice.
The machine is generally pretty easy to use and works really well. The only thing that is annoying is the inability to set the machine to heat up for steam without actually operating the steam wand. The manual tells you to turn the central knob to steam (or hot water) and when steam starts coming out, place the milk pitcher over it quickly so you don't spray milk everywhere!! Again, I have owned at least one cheaper machine that allowed me to select the steam (or hot water) button, then turn the central knob to steam on the front once the correct temperature had been reached to operate the steam function. This seems like clumsy product development by Breville.
I also had to deduct points for another annoying habit of the machine to spray water everywhere when you are using the steam wand, turn it off to remove the pitcher, then turn it back to on to purge the steam wand of milk. Just shows how quickly this machine purges to get to espresso brewing temperature after steaming.
The water tank is also a bit under-sized for the machine - I can make maybe four mug-sized (double shot) lattes and the tank is empty by the time I clean the portafilter and group head (by running water from the machine through both the filter and the group head to remove adhered grinds).
All in all, it has a few annoying quirks but makes a really nice coffee so I would still recommend it to anyone wanting a manual machine without the hefty price tag.
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Breville's website is absolutely horrible. You can't email customer support and most of their links are broken.Read more