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Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine
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- The Infuser delivers optimal espresso flavor in every cup. It pre-infuses ground coffee with low, steady water pressure before extraction, gently expanding the grinds before stepping up to high pressure
- Maximize espresso flavor potential with: Low pressure pre-infusion, PID temperature control that delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 35.6 Fahrenheit increment
- Programmable, semi-automatic function controls the volume of the espresso pour at the touch of a button
- 1650W Thermocoil - Integrated stainless steel water path accurately controls water temperature
- 15 bar Italian made pump, Single or Double Shot Volumetric Control & Manual Over-ride
- Voltage: 110 - 120 Volts, Dimensions: 12.5" x 12.5" x 13"
- Brushed Stainless Steel Construction, 1 Year Limited Product Warranty
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|Sold By||American Retailers||Deal Source Network||Amazon.com||APlusSaving||Amazon.com||Modern Millennial|
|Color||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Silver||Black Sesame||Grey and Black||Black, Stainless Steel|
|Item Dimensions||12.5 x 12.5 x 13.25 in||12.5 x 13.25 x 15.75 in||8 x 9.5 x 14.2 in||15 x 16.25 x 15 in||11 x 8 x 10 in||9 x 9.75 x 11.5 in|
|Item Weight||17 lbs||23 lbs||20 lbs||30 lbs||6.68 lbs||9.7 lbs|
Why the Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine?
For espresso with a well-balanced flavor, flavor needs to be drawn evenly from all the coffee grinds. What is the best way to prepare the grinds for an even extraction?
Rather than starting with bursts of high pressure, the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine starts with steady, low pressure to gently expand the grinds. This helps fills in any cracks, gaps, or irregularities in the coffee puck before full pressure is applied, so even pressure is applied to all parts of the coffee puck and optimal flavor is extracted.
The BES840XL has both automatic features, like temperature settings, and programmable features like volumetric control. The key features that set it apart from other espresso machines in its price range are the pre-infusion technology, the thermocoil heating system, and PID temperature control technology. See chart below for details.
Other helpful features include a cup warmer on the top of the machine and a feature that removes excess water from the filter basket after coffee extraction, so the used grounds form a dry puck for quicker cleanup. The machine goes into 'Sleep Mode' after 1 hour and automatically shuts off after 3 hours. There is extra-tall cup clearance for brewing directly into travel mugs.
Other touches include an ‘Empty Me!’ indicator that lets you know when the removable drip tray is full and a ‘Clean Me’ cleaning alert. The storage tray houses the included accessories. Lastly, all parts that come in contact with water and coffee are BPA free.
- The 61 fl. oz. (1.8 L) removable water tank is a top-fill tank with a handle. It has a replaceable water filter to reduce impurities and scale.
- The 1600W thermocoil heating system circulates the water through a heated coil, heating water ‘on demand’ for better temperature consistency. It also uses PID technology to regulate the temperature.
- A 54mm stainless steel portafilter with commercial style spouts and a 54mm tamper are also included for expert tamping control. The tamper is stored magnetically on the machine, but is easily removable for tamping.
- The dry puck feature removes excess water from the ground coffee in the filter basket for easy disposal of the coffee puck.
- The espresso pressure gauge helps you monitor espresso extraction pressure, so you know whether the espresso is being over- or under-extracted.
- The volumetric control functionlets you set shot volumes. Use either the preset volumes or manually over-ride them with your own preferences. Once you figure out what volumes you prefer, you can program it to remain at your customized setting.
- The dedicated outlet for instant hot water (for making Americanos, hot chocolate, and for warming cups).
- The steam wand is used for effortless milk frothing for making lattes and cappuccinos. It is made of stainless steel and swivels 360 degrees to accommodate different size frothing jugs.
- The auto purge function automatically adjusts the temperature of the water used for steaming milk and extracting espresso. The function automatically begins to cool the boiler to the optimal temperature for espresso extraction after using the steam wand.
- The removable drip tray is partitioned for both wet and dry spills, with an 'Empty me!' indicator for when it’s full.Breville Consumer Support is 1-866-273-8455
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BUT FIRST - A SIDE NOTE: Less than two months ago, I bought a Nespresso Inissia and Aeroccino Plus milk frother combo. For a home "espresso" system, it is absolutely impossible to find an easier to use setup, not to mention they are ridiculously inexpensive. With those two devices, I could make a "latte" in under 2 minutes starting with a powered off machine all the way to finish and clean up. Like any sensible Nespresso owner does, I began to make my own pods (the Capsul'in disposables are the only way to go) and my Capsul'in packed pods were on par with the real branded Nespresso pods. They also only cost about .30 cents to make instead of the .70 to .90 cents for a "real" pod. This fiduciary delta in pod costs really adds up when you soon realize that you need 2 or 3 pods to make decent tasting drinks. In fact, I would imagine there are many Nespresso people out there who consume one sleeve, aka 10 pods, DAILY at the cost of up to $1.00 per pod that is a $300 a month pod habit! Keep in mind those little pods only hold about 6 grams, so a "double shot" from pods is only giving you about 12 grams versus the 16-18g you will tamp when making a real double shot with a portafilter and a single walled double basket.
Having said all that, the Nespresso machines and pods are super convenient, incredibly fast, and perfect for the "Betty Homemaker" types who just want a fast, easy and somewhat OK tasting drink. At about week 2 of my Nespresso ownership I started to research actual/real espresso machines because I knew I was headed that direction and would ultimately be giving away my Nespresso stuff which is precisely what transpired.
ONTO THE BREVILLE RIGS.
I did a LOT of research. I read a lot of forums. I did a lot of Googling. I read a lot of reviews. I watched a lot of YouTube. I researched not only the hardware (machines and grinders) but also the techniques, the theory, what makes a good extraction vs. totally screwing the pooch. I did not have any sort maximum budget so machines that were 3x or 4x the cost of this were also on my radar and I went with this combo vs. other fancier stuff simply because I did not need all of the extra features, double boilers, bigger portafilter, ITALIAN name, etc. MAYBE in a few years once I have completely mastered this machine and my technique is very, very good I will plunk down a few grand, but for right now this machine and this grinder won out and they are BRILLIANT.
As you research, you will come across the "coffee snobs" on the various forums who seem to do nothing but bash Breville - it is what they do and I don't get it. I read all of the reviews on this 840XL on Amazon and the 99% of the negative reviews (other than those who clearly have a bad machine which is a very small handful and is bound to happen form time to time) are NOT because of the machine but user error. This is why in some cases you will see people who bought the machine and sent it back because they thought it was broken only to have their second "replacement" machine arrive and do the exact same thing.
Because I did so much research, I was already very familiar with this machine and this grinder before I even took them out of the boxes so it was a very smooth transition for me once I got them setup. I will only get better in time but am already beyond thrilled and pleased with my purchase. I could have spent 2x the cost on a Baratza Vario grinder and spent 4x on a Spaziale S1 machine but I cannot imagine the difference in taste would be THAT MUCH BETTER than what I am getting now. I think those super high end machines are really just so you can say "I have a super fancy Italian made machine" while you drink your shot with your pinky in the air. Yes, the S1 will very likely stretch milk faster and you can pull a shot and do milk simultaneously but I really have NO need to do that. Then again, I could be totally wrong and maybe the S1 makes $1,500 better tasting espresso - I don't plan to find out any time soon.
As for negative reviews left for this machine: the "broken" pressure gauges, faulty steam, bad espresso, weak crema, all of the factors and reasons that would make someone post a 1 star review of a machine that does NOT deserve such a low rating in ANY capacity, I witnessed first hand how much of a difference the grind and dose makes, so let me explain.
I use only the single wall non-pressurized double basket - I've never touched the other 3 types.
The beans I used are not important because everyone is going to have different stuff and you WILL need to adjust grind anytime you try a new bean. I use a digital scale to measure the dose and my tamping pressure, BTW. I think this is crucial for anyone just learning how to do this stuff.
VERY FIRST shot attempt was with grinder at DEFAULT. 2 Shot, 17.8 Seconds, Grind Size 12. This yielded 16g of grounds and I tamped it to 30 pounds. Shot results: UNDER EXTRACTED, barely any movement of needle, pathetic looking shot, ran for maybe 10 seconds. My reaction was not "OMG Breville Sucks and this Machine Sucks. What a huge p.o.s. I need to return it!". I knew my grind needed to be finer and I likely needed to increase the dose.
(I forget how many test shots in between, maybe 7 or 8? Maybe 9? I kept working my way towards the proper variables - I knew based upon the first horrendous shot that I needed to go finer on the grind and likely increase the dose).
SOLVED SHOT grinder settings. 2 Shot, 19.2 Seconds, Grind Size 5. This yielded 18g of grounds which I tamped to 30 pounds. Result: NAILED IT! STRONG meter movement, pegged the meter right in between the 2 metal screws of the gauge, beautiful mouse tails coming out, 26 second pull and DELICIOUS.
So there you have it. This rig and grinder kick ass, period. The only thing that I will take stars away for an update for is if they BREAK which so far they have not.
I hope this review was helpful to somebody.
** UPDATE 12/24/2015 XMAS EVE DAY **
Just made three delicious drinks, still loving this machine, zero problems!! You can see my super pathetic attempt at latte art in the most recent ic where I attempted to make a christmas tree which turned out very retarded. Let me tell you, LATTE ART IS DANG NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. I have not made a "sink shot" since my initial experimentation after first getting the unit, just making consistent great esresso shots every single time I use this unit.
A very good starting point for your grinder, if you get the same Breville unit, is to set it at 7 and about 17.8 or so seconds. ALSO!! I have realized there is no need to completely OBSESS over how the grounds go into your basket. What I did was removed the "cradle" from the Breville grinder so that I can totally "free style" the porta filter while the grounds are coming out. This allows me to get very even distribution into my basket. I just move it from side to side/ back and forth / rap it on bottom of grinder while its coming out. The result is a nice mound of grounds that are even distro'd into my basket. I do not even bother after that with trying to level stuff because that only has an impact on the very top most part of the basket. I simply grind, move filter around, tap it down, tap side/side and then TAMP it.
LOVE THIS SETUP ABOUT TO GO MAKE ANOTHER CUP.
BTW - I suggest as you learn, to go to your local grocery store and buy 1 or 2 pounds of their cheapest beans. In my case I was able to find some for as cheap as $5.99 a pound. Once you get good then you can get into the good $16 to $20 per pound stuff.
LOVE IT!!! Sure wish I didnt suck at latte art.. man that is not easy!!
If you are new to the world of espresso, or have some knowledge, I wanted to write about my experience buying this machine 3 months ago knowing little to nothing about espresso, to now consistently pulling absolutely delicious espresso drinks on a daily basis with this machine. Here we go:
I waited 3 months after purchasing this unit to write a proper review, and I wanted to give a lot of information I have learned and discovered to help others looking into buying a home espresso setup. I honestly knew little to nothing about espresso before purchasing this machine, and have done A LOT of research, reading, testing, and barista questioning in order to learn how the art of making quality espresso is done. I now make 2-3 espresso drinks a day with the Infuser and am EXTREMELY satisfied with its performance. It's not easy to make a high quality espresso by any means, but once you figure out how to manage all the important espresso variables (type of beans, grind coarseness, dose, tamp pressure), this machine produces truly remarkable results that any professional barista will be highly impressed with (yes I did receive this feedback).
The most important aspects of making this machine work well (and any espresso machine for that matter) are having a quality grinder and fresh, quality beans.
When I first got this machine, I was under the impression you wanted to grind as fine as possible for making espresso. I set my Infinity Burr Grinder to its finest setting, using some peet's espresso beans, and immediately the machine clogged up, not producing any espresso. I tried again, dialing the grind a little coarser, and again the machine clogged up. Same thing with the third time, although this time I was able to produce a few drops of espresso. After about 5 tries I was able to pull an actual shot of espresso which tasted incredibly strong to me but good (at this point in time I didnt really know what to look for in a quality shot of espresso).
Long story short I realized the beans I was using were INCREDIBLY oily and played a huge factor in easily clogging up my machine. Next I purchased some Blue Bottle espresso beans, which got along with my machine MUCH better. Now I was making some great progress, tasting more like espresso, but still not close to what the baristas at Blue Bottle were serving.
I went through a lot of beans & brands playing with the grind coarseness, and soon became familiar of the "sweet spot" settings on my grinder where the espresso came out tasting best. I was now becoming more familiar with what a good shot of espresso was supposed to taste like after spending a bunch of time at Four Barrel & Blue Bottle cafes in San Francisco. I also learned to start timing my shot times and that also helped me immensely improve the quality of my espresso (typically between 24-30 seconds depending on the type of beans you are using).
So now I soon learned my Capressa Infinity burr grinder did not have nearly the adjustability I would need to lock in the perfect grind setting for espresso, so I decided to upgrade to the Breville Smart Grinder. The Smart grinder ended up being a much better grinder, but again long story short, it also seemed to lack the real "fine tuning" ability that I was learning is truly needed with espresso. After using the Smart Grinder for 3 weeks, I decided to pull the trigger on a much higher quality grinder, the very highly recommended Baratza Vario. After getting familiar with the Vario by some trial & error, I must say this was the ultimate step (and proved to be most important) towards producing amazing quality espresso. I've also ground for drip coffee with it a few times and the taste was truly amazing compared to both of the other grinders I had tried.
So, back to the Infuser. After much more research into the art of espresso, I purchased a gram scale in order to weigh my doses of coffee & amount of liquid being extracted from my shots, which also have helped a LOT in improving the quality of my shots.
Now after a couple solid months with all of the above in my home espresso setup, I believe I have dialed in this machine to its maximum potential, and it is really producing fantastic results which I get excited about drinking every morning as soon as I wake up.
Some notes I would like to share which I have discovered that may or may not relate directly to this machine, or to every espresso machine:
-The type of beans used almost always require a different coarseness setting in order to pull the perfect shot. For example, beans like Four Barrel & Blue Bottle always require much more fine grind settings, where beans like Stumptown & Barefoot require much coarser grinds. This seems to be hard to get used to, but now that I have tried many different quality espresso roasts and have narrowed down my favorites (Sightglass is #1, Stumptown #2, Barefoot #3) I know what setting to use ahead of time and I can almost always nail a perfect shot on command.
-The milk steamer does a great job, but now after trying so many quality cappuccinos & lattes through the area, I feel like this steamer does the milk more on the creamy side. I believe I understand the technique for creating quality microfoam to use for cappuccinos & latte's, and im using the same Clover Organic whole milk that almost all cafe's use, and mine always seems to turn out a bit sweeter & creamier. It seems hard to get the microfoam as velvety thin as Sightglass/Four Barrel/Blue Bottle does, and because of this, my cappuccinos dont have quite the "intense coffee bite" but its getting pretty close. I believe this is as good as I can ask for again using a $500 home espresso machine.
-The hot water dispenser is great. One trick I figured out a while back was when I pulled OK shots and didnt want to waste them, I would just instantly make them into Americano's, since its a bit harder to taste a bad shot in an Americano than it is in a Cappuccino or Latte.
And thus has been my experience with the Breville Infuser since purchasing about 3 months ago. I'm sure I will be updating this review further as time goes on, but so far it has been an incredibly positive experience and I would HIGHLY recommend this machine to anyone looking for a semi-automatic machine in this price range. Hopefully this was helpful and not just me rambling.
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