I bought this machine after becoming very frustrated with my local coffee shop’s drink quality. What once felt like a treat was no longer! Although I have had other machines before (Starbuck’s Barista and Krups), this machine was surprisingly sophisticated. It did require some practice to get the shot quality just right, but the gauge on the front and a very helpful user guide made this pretty self explanatory. The machine is beautiful and the size ideal for my countertop. It’s the best home espresso maker I’ve had yet.
So the good:
It comes with its own grinder. It not the best, but then again its no slouch. It can be taken apart and cleaned. My super never did that. What this means is that as you build up grounds on the Burr, you can pull it apart easily and clean it. It has a hopper that you can remove and place unused beans back in its container, that is just awesome, you can make decaf then switch to a new bean. An espresso machine review gave a good tip that when you first run it, start at the coarse then work it to fine when you start to grind, good advice. I word of caution from me, every different roast of bean will be a new setting for the machine. If you use a oily bean, then you might have to clean the burr a lot in order to get that fine grind. Also be prepared to go through a lot of coffee to figure out the right setting to get that perfect cup.
Temperature control. You can decrease or increase the temperature by 4 degree’s, in 2 degree increments. Doesn’t sound like much, but it can change the taste of your espresso.
Easy to program grind amount, and shot times.
It has a gauge to measure the pressure as it goes through the portafilter. It is a nice touch to be able to tell how things are working, several high price machine you have to feel it out and guess, this you can tell right away if something went wrong and you can adjust.
The steam wand is easy to use, the switch on the side is okay, my super did have a better control knob that you could control the amount of steam that came out, but this one is slow enough that its not that bad to operate.
Clean up is a snap, I really enjoy the fact that I can easily and quickly clean it up.
It has a water filter, where I live we have a high concentration of hard water, so having a second filter to go through is nice.
Parts. Breville has all the parts you can buy to fix your machine if they go out or need replaced. I am talking about new portafilters, rings, hoppers, water reservoirs, ect.
It is pretty, looks really good, makes you want to drink coffee.
The things that are not so nice:
You will go through a lot of coffee. This is most true when you first get the machine and try to figure out how to run it. There is a couple of way things can go down. 1) you drink every cup you make, I suggest you do this alone. Anyone around you will worry you are on something because you will be running at a 1000 mph on that much caffeine, no matter what your tolerance is. You will be wondering why everyone around you is moving so slow. 2) invite people over and watch there reaction to find out well you are doing on making that espresso.
Mess from the grounds. It has a tray, but for some reason my grounds always seem to go further then the tray. I placed a small dish under the grinder it that keeps it contained and its easily cleaned. You can also fill the portafilter, tamp, then fill a little more until you reach the proper level. I place a paper towel down and do the tamp on that, it catches the grounds that fall when tamping.
Don’t expect a piping hot cup of joe. You can get it hot enough, by following their suggestions. I poor hot water in my cup before and do a single shot on a empty portafilter, that seems to do a good enough job.
My latte art is of clouds, mushrooms, cotton balls. I believe that is my malfunction though.