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Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
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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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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||$3.99||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||ModernHome Center TAX FREE||Amazon.com||Bon-Ton||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Color||Brushed Stainless||Stainless Steel||Silver||Silver||Black/Stainless Steel||Red|
|Item Weight||13 lbs||10.37 lbs||6 lbs||20 lbs||12 lbs||9.3 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
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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.
I do recommend reading the instruction manual as the way it describes the way you tamp and grind the beans impacts flavor.
Overall a great purchase.
Up-front, this is not my first espresso machine; this one replaced my old, small, a little beat-up (but still functional!) Krups. It made a decent cup -- but the Breville puts my Krups to shame! I also tried another couple brands from some big-box outlets and took them all back, unsatisfied. So I am familiar with brewing espresso, even if I'm not a full-fledged barista. :)
These comparisons are mainly made as opposed to my Krups.
1) The warming plate gets noticeably hotter
2) The crema extracted is noticeably thicker and richer looking
2a) In order to achieve this result, I don't have to grind as finely nor tamp nearly as hard -- indeed, I haven't had to tamp with much pressure at all
3) The crema extracted stays a LOT warmer for longer
4) The shot is noticeably less bitter (ie: not bitter at all)
5) The frothed milk is absolutely better. My Krups required 2-3 frothing cycles per batch in order to get anything close to acceptable. This machine accomplishes MUCH BETTER... and in only 1 frothing cycle
6) The drip tray is WONDERFUL... 2 holes for the grouphead to drip it's excess into without dirtying the tray-top and an overflow indicator to warn you before you create a mess
7) With the exception of the measuring spoon/tamper, all of the other accessories were AWESOME. I love the double-walled espresso cups (2 included), and though I probably won't use the matching saucers, they are nice too. The included cleaning tool is SUPERB as it contains (all in one piece) the right sized tool to clean the froth-hole, a smaller tool to clean the pores of the filter-baskets should they become clogged, and a wrench to remove the frother-tip for periodic cleaning. The included spoon/tamper is "OK" -- it's certainly more durable than my Krups one, but it's still just plastic... I would have liked a nice stainless one to match the machine.
8) The water reservoir is a bit larger... and easier to read the fill-level (still not ideal, though, it really should have had a small LED light shining out from inside... but it can be read with a little care... my Krups one pretty much I couldn't ever see the water-level.
This machine is easy to use, easy to clean, and consists overall of less work than my Krups. It's obvious from just a few uses that when it comes time to give it a thorough cleaning (I usually do that about once/month) this one will be MUCH EASIER and the results will be superior.
But in the end what matters most are the results: the product I produced from this machine tastes JUST AS GOOD (if not better) AS MY LOCAL BARISTA. I am *VERY* satisfied! :)
All of that being said, let me emphasize that I am not comparing this to my old Krups as a way of suggesting that NEWER Krups's wouldn't also fare better; I'm sure they would. But my old Krups is what I have to compare this new machine to.
Also, I am sure many of the complaints of other reviewers are probably somewhat valid; however, it should be remembered that this is NOT a $1000 machine... it's not going to do everything for you. You are still going to have to do much of the work, especially clean-up & maintenance. But you are going to get a FANTASTIC product if you are just willing to put forth a little effort... and all for a reasonable price!
I am absolutely satisfied. I'll post my thoughts again in about a month.