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Topic: Breville ESP8XL (3 msgs / 63 lines)
1) From: Brian Mitchell
Anyone have any experience using the Breville ESP8XL espresso machine? I am
a little new to the espresso making world and was just looking for some
feedback on it. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

2) From: Chad Sodolak
Brian,
   
  I was hoping that someone with a little more espresso experience than me (2 whole months) would comment on this machine but since that hasn't happened, I'll give you my opinion of the Breville EXP8XL.  I got this machine as a Christmas gift from my wife and have used it consistently everyday since then.  I did a minimal amount of research on low-end espresso machines before I decided on this version.  If I had it to do all over again, I would probably have spent the extra money and purchased a Silvia instead.  Here's my review of the machine:
   
  Pros
  - Makes a decent cup of espresso (better than any local coffeeshop).  Some owners complain that the espresso is watered down.
  - The milk steaming/frothing function is extremely easy with good repeatable results.
  - Produces really good milk-based drinks.
   
  Cons
  - A little noisier than I would have hoped for.
  - Seems to be inconsistent in the quality of the espresso shots (probably the operator).
  - Getting a 25-28 second extraction is difficult without stalling the machine or creating a leaking joint on the portafilter gasket.
  - Weird sized portafilter (50 mm???) that doesn't fit in my Gaggia MDF grinder very well.
   
  After lots of practice, I can now get a reasonably good shot of espresso from this machine.  I typically give it 30-45 minutes to warm up and pull a couple of blank shots to get the portafilter/grouphead up to the appropriate temp.  The portafilter baskets are equipped with a crema enhancer (usually frowned upon by experienced espresso drinkers) which creates a reasonable amount of crema on nearly every extraction.  I can say from experience that the existence of crema does not guarantee a drinkable shot.  I have made lots of crappy shots with this machine that had a decent crema.  My extractions tend to be a little short (20-22 seconds) since I don't like deadheading the internal pump during a stall.  I don't have a lot of friends that drink espresso so I don't have any second opinions on the quality of my shots.  I haven't received any complaints on the quality of the milk based drinks though.   
   
  This is by no means a commercial grade machine, nor does Breville advertise it to be a commercial grade machine.  For a newbie like me, I think this machine is a good starting point to determine if you will truly enjoy making espresso or espresso based drinks.  I don't see this machine lasting for 10+ years but for the purchase price of $250, I will be satisfied if I see 2-3 years of service.  Most reviews on other coffee sites usually give this machine around a 6 on a scale of 1 - 10.  I would probably agree with that rating.  
   
  Hope this helps.
   
  Chad S.    
Brian Mitchell  wrote:
  Anyone have any experience using the Breville ESP8XL espresso machine? I am a little new to the espresso making world and was just looking for some feedback on it. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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3) From: Brett Mason
Brian, have you already purchased a machine?  If so, then this reply won't help.
If not, I would encourage you to look at what Tom offers in the
"starter" market - he has Gaggia's that can make good espresso,
starting in the 200s...http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.gaggia.shtmlI have owned a Silvia, and although prettier, I don't think they offer
significantly different value when it comes to drinking the
espresso...  I have since upgraded to a fleet of semi-working HX
machines, and almost have a working model again...
Brett
  RWA
On 2/21/07, Brian Mitchell  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com


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