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.
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. --------------------------------- We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
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