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Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
|Price:||$182.50 & FREE Shipping. Details|
|You Save:||$67.49 (27%)|
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- Stainless-steel espresso machine with 15-bar thermoblock pump
- Dual-wall filter system for excellent crema; froth enhancer, cup-warming plate
- Accesories: Stainless steel frothing pitcher Tamping tool/measuring spoon/cleaning tool
- Removable drip tray and grid; Frothing jug included
- Measures 9 x 9 x 12 inches; 1-year limited warranty
- 40.6 oz (1.2 L) removable water tank
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|Sold By||Red-Tag Pricing||Amazon.com||The Kitchen Clique||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Color||Brushed Stainless||Stainless Steel||Silver||Silver||Red||Black/Stainless Steel|
|Item Weight||—||9 lbs||6 lbs||20 lbs||9.3 lbs||12 lbs|
"Thermoblock heating system extracts espresso at the perfect temperature. A full 15 bars of pressure maximizes crema for a rich, barista-style aroma and taste. Effortless frothing and foaming." Included Accessories Single, double or pods espresso shots Stainless steel frothing pitcher Tamping tool and measuring spoon Cleaning tool.
Top customer reviews
When it was working for the first number of years, it made good shots, with good crema, and the (rigid) steam head worked OK to froth milk. The basket was pressurized, so it overcame the bad grinds we were getting from the chopper grinder we had. We mostly used bottled D.I. water, and only flushed it with a mild vinegar solution a couple times a year. The pump always seemed to provide enough pressure, though the shots were never super hot. The most we ran through it regularly was 2-4 shots, but occasionally we pulled 8-10, letting it heat up again between every couple. My wife ran it dry a few times, but it seemed to bounce back and keep going, despite our lack of maintenance or care.
It's a smallish unit and looks pretty good. We liked the all stainless exterior with easy to clean parts and exteriors. The plastic tamper worked OK, but not great, and the stainless cups aren't the highest grade material (i.e. they stained, which meant they were releasing chrome into our drinks.) The water reservoir is an OK size also, but we had to always remember to fill it just about every day. All of this was a good compromise for the very small footprint, low running noise, and ease of use.
All worked pretty well, with few complaints until about 4 or 5 months ago; when it didn't turn on morning for a few hours. Then we started having seal leaks (splattering grinds all over the place) about once a week. Little glitches would crop up once a week or so, until last week when the pump just went on and stayed running whenever the power was flipped on. Total unit failure.
That is when I decided to open it up to see if it was reparable (I'm fairly handy, so I figured I might at least see what was wrong). Nope. It looked like the thermoblock had sprung a leak months ago and started corroding everything inside. The switch that failed looked like it just rusted through. Every other piece of metal in it was rusted, and every chrome piece was coated with white oxidation. On a plus note, the structural elements were indeed stainless steel and showed little sign of corrosion. And the top piece was very heavy and well built. Now with all that mess in there, I was actually shocked that it had continued to work all this time. It was getting glitchy, but it still was putting pressure into the portafilter. I was also shocked that there hadn't been an electrical fire, or short-circuit. Good safety design, maybe. or lucky?
So, I have mixed feelings about the unit. The thermoblock seems to have been poorly designed (A thermoblock is probably a bad idea in general), but despite that, all the rest of it was very well put together and durable enough to overcome massive corrosion and part failure for who knows how long. For a unit in this price range, 5 years of solid use with little trouble is probably a pretty good record considering all the QA and durability problems most electronics have these days.
We are replacing it with the more expensive BES840XL, which has a solid, newly designed, one piece thermo coil. Hopefully Breville has overcome the issue of a leaky heating unit, creating a silver bullet for those of us who don't want to shell out the bucks for brass boilers. I would recommend this unit, with the caveat that buyers understand that in this price range it is a lot to ask for a machine to make good shots year after year with no problems. I think ours did a great job for us with this understanding.
My tips for getting the most out of this machine: Because this machine can't quite extract as much as a professional grade unit, it's best to start with a dark roast espresso bean to compensate for some loss of flavor. Grind using your preferred method, but I go for 30-35 seconds in a cheap blade grinder. Grinding finer might start clogging the filter, but can lead to better extraction. Whether making a single or double shot, I fill the large filter basket to the top. Then I apply a fairly large amount of force (>50lb) onto the tamper three times, spinning the tamper in between. The next thing to watch is the color of the espresso coming out. It starts out dark, then brown, and finally turns tan. You want to stop the machine before it gets tan because the tan portion is basically murky water. If you want to go one step further, you can pre-heat the portafilter and cup by running it without coffee for a few seconds.
Overall I'm satisfied with this purchase. Once I adjusted my technique, the machine has reliably produced good espresso for the entire office over the past few months.