Breville Espresso Machines: premium quality and features

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BEST OVERALL
Sale 14%
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large

The Breville BES870XL finds the sweet spot between the more affordable and super expensive models from the brand. It comes out on top thanks to the conical burr grinder that will automatically grind the precise amount of beans for freshly brewed coffee.

PID control, a 15 bar Italian pump, and a large capacity water tank will have you back to brew silky smooth espresso time and again. That’s assuming you can figure the complex control system.

BEST VALUE
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100

Though the Breville BES840XL is more affordable than its big brother, that doesn’t mean it won’t make delicious espresso. The lower price point is, in part, because this brewer lacks a built-in grinder, which is not a problem if you buy pre-ground or own a dedicated grinder.

This particular espresso machine has the same 15 bar Italian pump and PID control as the BES870XL to ensure that aromatic espresso is available to you without having to leave the house.

Breville’s heritage in the premium small kitchen appliance industry is almost unrivaled. Yes, their products are super expensive; however, the build quality is impressive, and the appearance of their machines always meets the lofty price points.

Making espresso is one of the most complex ways to brew coffee, and while Breville makes superb appliances, their machines aren’t for the faint of heart. Prior knowledge of this brewing method would be advantageous or be prepared for lots of research to dial in your skills.

We’re going to take a look at three of their espresso machine models and their pros and cons to decide which would be best suited for your needs.

Espresso machines require some maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep, and failing to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines can reduce the machines’ longevity.

1. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

BEST Breville Espresso Machine
Sale 14%
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, Large
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches
  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Color: Stainless Steel or Black Sesame
  • Wattage: 1600 Watts
  • Bean Hopper Capacity – ½ lb
  • Water Reserve Capacity – 67oz

Pros

  • Premium quality
  • Automatic grinder
  • 15 bar Italian pump
  • PID control
  • Single or double shot capacity
  • Thermocoil heating
  • Heavy duty & small footprint
  • Built-in water filter

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Typical Breville customer service
  • Only two color options 

Design

It’s clear the BES870XL Barista Express espresso machine has the Breville DNA. With their distinct brushed stainless steel exterior (also available in black, but not red as with similar Breville appliances), this appliance is a thing of beauty, as we’ve come to expect from this brand.

All the dials and knobs are sturdy yet have a smooth action, while the conical burr grinder sits on top of the espresso maker like some kind of coffee crown.

As with most high-end Breville products, the BES870XL is made from top quality materials.

Features

  • Exact temperature control: Brew the perfect cup to your preferred temperature.
  • Dose control: Grind the exact amount of beans for the freshest brew possible with minimal waste
  • PID temperature control: PID delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) increments.
  • Grind Size Dial: Select your preferred grind size with this handy feature.
  • ½lb capacity hopper: The hopper holds enough beans for approximately 20 espresso shots.
  • Large water reserve: The reservoir on this espresso machine holds 67oz.
  • Grind size dial for personal control of the size of the granules.
  • One-shot or two-shot capacity: Single or double shots with the Breville BES870XL.
  • Cleaning Reminder: There’s a light notification for when the unit needs cleaning.
  • Milk Steamer Wand: For micro texturing, which is a great built-in function. 

Performance

Thanks to the 15 bar Italian pump, PID control, and burr conical grinder with dose control, the Breville BES870XL delivers a silky smooth shot at the perfect temperature in under a single minute.

The high-quality, high-performing espresso machine from Breville not only makes delicious coffee, but it’s also easy to clean. The appliance will even let you know when it needs cleaning. Unfortunately, as with any electronic product, issues can occur (albeit extremely rarely with this model). When it does, many consumers find the Breville customer service frustrating and inadequate, to say the least.

Final Verdict

Best for the for at home, personal brewing.

The Breville BES870XL model is a step up from the BES840XL model for about a hundred dollars more. This model boasts an espresso bean reserve, which will measure and grind the precise amount of beans for the perfect strength coffee. It also provides a dial to control the grinding size, helping you create that perfect cup.

This espresso machine comes equipped with a steam wand for foaming milk, the ability to make single or double shots, and can make a shot in about a minute. Of course, Breville’s award-winning technology means precise temperature control, ensuring each cup is optimally brewed. Size-wise, it has similar dimensions to the BES840XL, so its compact size is perfect for countertop brewing.

Ultimately this model won out for us in terms of price and features (the bean hopper reserve is probably the most significant advantage this model has—which means you fill it and forget it.)for

2. Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine

Best Value Breville Espresso Machine
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 100
  • The Breville Infuser delivers optimal flavor in every cup creating third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula, ensuring the right dose of beans, optimal water pressure, precise temperature control and microfoam milk for latte art
  • VOLUMETRIC AND SHOT CONTROL: Control the volume of each pour at the touch of a button and choose 1 shot, 2 shot or manually control over how much espresso ends up in your cup for the perfect dose every time
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 13.7 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Weight: 17 lbs
  • Color: Brushed Stainless Steel, Cranberry Red, Sesame Black
  • Wattage: 1700 Watts. 
  • Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Affordable option
  • Gorgeous style & superb build quality
  • ‘Auto Purge’ adjusts water temperature for perfect espresso extraction
  • 15 bar Italian pump delivers optimal pressure for rich, sweet espresso
  • Pre-Infusion Technology

Cons

  • Broken parts can be difficult to source
  • No water reserve
  • Drip-tray is too small
  • Poor customer service
  • No built-in grinder

Design

The Breville BES840XL Infuser espresso machine is a gorgeous looking appliance with a small footprint. The understated design is accentuated by the superb build quality and high-end materials used to produce it.

This espresso machine is available in three striking colors, so you can choose the right one to match your kitchen decor.

Features

  • Pre-infusion technology: Pre-infusion gently expands grinds for an even, smooth extraction
  • PID temperature control: PID delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) increments.
  • Flexible volume control: Choose between one shot, two shots, or more.
  • Maintenance indicators: This Breville espresso machine alerts you when it needs cleaning or maintenance work.
  • Microfoam milk texturing: A built-in steam wand for latte art and perfectly steamed milk.
  •  

Performance

The Infuser produces consistently good espresso. It uses an automatic pre-infusion function to evenly coat grounds with low-pressure water at the beginning of extraction for a creamy, smooth tasting shot. 

Pre-infusion technology is usually only found on espresso machines with a higher price point, so its inclusion on the Breville BES840XL gives this espresso machine a considerable advantage over other appliances of similar cost. 

There is a limit to what you can do with the Infuser as differences between espresso quality have more variables than just whether or not pre-infusion technology is used. You won’t get a ton of control over some of the more fine-tune parts of espresso-making (such as grain size, pressure) so consider that if you are looking for more hands-on adjustments over your machine.

The manual steaming wand is perfectly fine for a machine of this caliber and will give you decent milk for latte art. You can also easily switch between steamed and frothed milk for cappuccinos and lattes.

Final Verdict

Lower cost than the other models but evens out due to needing to purchase your own grinder (or use pre-ground espresso.) Suitable for those who prefer simplicity.

The Breville BES840XL espresso machine is an excellent mid-range espresso machine, with fewer frills than some of the other units available from Breville but still featuring a robust set of functions to create the perfect cup at a fraction of the cost. 

The pre-infusion function is a unique feature that uses low pressure at the beginning to gradually expand the granules for even extraction, making the most of your espresso beans and delivering silky smooth shots of espresso. 

Breville’s flexible shot choice (one shot, two shot, or manual override capacity) lets you take more control of how you brew. Unfortunately, since it doesn’t include a built-in grinder or water reserve, those looking for convenience may find this model lacking when other models are only slightly more expensive, like the BES870XL. The cost may even out if you have to purchase your own grinder, but fewer moving parts also mean fewer breakable parts.

Ultimately, for those who don’t need bells and whistles and just want a hardy and robust espresso machine, this is an adequate model.

3. Breville Oracle Touch Espresso Machine

Breville Oracle Touch Fully Automatic Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Oracle Touch with touch screen delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula; It has a professional Dual Boiler construction that delivers unparalleled temperature control and simultaneous extraction and steaming
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: The integrated precision conical burr grinder automatically grinds, doses and tamps 22 grams of freshly ground coffee, for maximum flavor
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: The Over Pressure Valve limits the maximum pump pressure throughout extraction, helping prevent bitter flavors; Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction

Specifications:

  • Weight: 37.2 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.7 x 14.5 x 17.6 inches
  • Color: Stainless Steel
  • Power: 1800 Watts.
  • Voltage: 110-120 Volts

Pros

  • Touchscreen Controls
  • Automatic Dose Grinding
  • PID Temperature Control
  • Customizable
  • Easy To Use
  • Automatic Microfoam Milk Texturing

 

Cons

  • Astronomical Price Point
  • Extremely Heavy
  • Takes a While to Heat Up
  • Poor Customer Service

Design

Breville market the Oracle Touch as the ‘Next generation in super-automatic espresso machines’, and it’s easy to see why just by looking at it. 

The appliance’s body is made from the instantly recognizable quality brushed stainless steel that Breville loves to use on many of its products. All the components on this machine are fashioned from quality materials that go a little way to justifying the massive price tag that comes with this espresso machine. However, those quality materials make this espresso machine one of the heaviest devices on this market, so you’ll want to find a permanent home for it, so you don’t have to keep moving it around.

The crowning glory of the Oracle Touch’s design is the premium touchscreen that looks excellent. As we’ll cover, it is super helpful in walking you through the complicated process of making espresso.

Features

  • Touchscreen Controls: The one-touch control system is fully automatic and will adjust all the settings depending on your coffee choice, simplifying this usually incredibly complex coffee-making process.
  • Automatic Dose Grinding: As part of the fully autonomous system, the dose-grinder will grind the precise amount of beans needed for delicious espresso and minimizing the waste of precious beans.
  • PID Temperature Control: The Oracle Touch comes with the standard PID control, as do most of the premium Breville coffee machines.
  • Customization: If the standard settings don’t quite meet your tastes, you can make micro-adjustments and save your personalized settings for future use, making the process more efficient every time you use it.
  • Automatic Microfoam Milk Texturing: This self-cleaning steam wand gives you cafe-quality microfoam milk without having to leave your home.
  • 24-Hour Programmable Timer: Programme the Oracle Touch to make your espresso at the precise time you want your coffee fix.

Performance

Let’s not beat around the bush, the Oracle Touch is one of the best home espresso machines that money can buy, but with a price tag of well over $2000, you’d expect premium quality.

The level of technology that goes into this appliance is mind-boggling. We could write whole articles on the internal workings alone, but it not only does its job in delivering rich and silky smooth espresso, it also simplifies a typically very complex process.

It may take a while to heat up, but this can be negated by using the fully programmable timer.

Unfortunately, modern technology tends to fail on occasion, and when an appliance is crammed with working parts, as is the Oracle Touch, it can fail more often than you’d like.

It’s something we have to accept, but what isn’t acceptable is a brand not moving heaven and earth to rectify a problem, especially when you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a product. Breville’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired, so be prepared to spend a lot of time on hold if you buy an Oracle Touch.

Final Verdict

The Breville Oracle Touch isn’t for everyone. If you’re not passionate about espresso, then move along; there’s nothing to see here. Still, if you have coffee running through your veins and a large disposable income, this appliance delivers the best results outside of a coffee house.

But best of all, the Oracle Touch makes it easy. PID, dose control, and a ‘swipe and select’ touchscreen do all the tricky calculations for you to produce beautiful results. It holds your hand and is perfect for people who love cafe-level espresso but don’t have time to undertake barista training.

There are two concessions you have to make to ensure the Breville Oracle Touch is a justifiable purchase. Firstly you need to be OK with paying an astronomical price for this machine. You could buy an espresso shot from Starbucks every day for three years and still have some change in your pocket instead of buying this espresso machine.

Secondly, if your Oracle Touch breaks (and it’s a high possibility) don’t expect a quick fix; Breville’s customer service is abysmal.

If that’s something you can live with, this is one of the best espresso machines that you could hope to own.

4. Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, 14.7 inches x 14.8 inches x...
  • The Breville Dual Boiler with commercial features delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula; It has a professional Dual Boiler construction that delivers unparalleled temperature control and simultaneous extraction and steaming
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 58mm porta-filter with 19-22 grams is the key for full flavor and third wave specialty coffee
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: The Over Pressure Valve limits the maximum pump pressure throughout extraction, helping prevent bitter flavors; Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction

Specifications:

  • Weight: 30 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.25 x 15 x 15 inches
  • Color: Stainless Steel
  • Power: 1700 Watts.
  • Voltage: 110-120 Volts

Pros

  • Dual boiler system & dual Italian pumps
  • PID control
  • OPV prevents bitter espresso
  • Large capacity
  • Varied shot selection
  • Backlit LCD

Cons

  • Super expensive
  • Complicated to use
  • High power consumption

Design

Compared to the Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, the BES920XL is twice as big and twice as heavy, which means there is a large countertop footprint for those lacking the space. However, The style is still aesthetically pleasing, with its robust design and three colors to choose from to match your kitchen.

Rather than legs, the BES920SL sits on retracted wheels. Under the drip tray is a lever that allows you to lock the front wheels so the machine stays in place. For small space adjustments, tilt the device back slightly, and you can roll it on the back wheels. 

Features

  • Descale alert and LCD assisted descale: Regular descaling will help your espresso machine live longer. The signal and assisted descale gives you a helping hand.
  • Dual stainless steel boilers and dual Italian pumps: For simultaneous espresso extraction and steaming.
  • Over-Pressure Valve (OPV): The pressure value limits extraction pressure to avoid bitter flavors impacting your espresso.
  • Electronic PID temperature control: Delivers water to within 2 degrees of preferred temperature.
  • Auto Start: Preheats the machine at the programmed time.
  • Top-fill 84 oz water tank: Substantial capacity water tank so you don’t have to fill it repeatedly. Easy access.
  • Dedicated hot water outlet: It makes it faster to preheat cups and prepare an Americano. 
  • Shot clock and pressure gauge: More accurately, monitor your espresso machine’s settings, and your brewing process will become second nature.
  • Built-in milk frother and steamer: A handy milk frother and steamer to whip up wonderfully light and creamy milk for a delicious espresso.

Performance

The double boiler method is the standard for brewing a fantastic cup of espresso, and this particular model has that feature built-in.

PID control and the overpressure value work perfectly in tandem to deliver hot coffee that’s silky smooth without the bitter taste that comes with over-pressurized grounds.

Unlike most espresso machines, the BDB provides the ability to drain the boilers efficiently. Other welcomed touches for convenience include a small storage area under the drip tray, the ability to refill the water reservoir from either the front or back of the machine and a cute popup sign that warns you when the drip tray should be emptied.

Final Verdict

For the casual home-brewer, this is likely out of their price range for features that may not be fully utilized while taking up more space, Far more useful for a professional barista.

The highest-priced model in this comparison line-up, the Breville BES920XL, features a dual boiler system designed to make a professional cup of espresso. An Over Pressure Valve reduces the bitter flavors from making their way into the shot by preventing the pressure during extraction from getting too high.

However, most of these features are meant for a professional barista who may make micro-adjustments to their brewing technique for a more personalized touch. Still, for the casual home brewer, the features are likely to not be of much use. The countertop space requirements are also larger, so those with limited counter space or apartment living will find it cluttering.

Ultimately it is still a fantastic piece of equipment for espresso brewing, especially if you want ultimate control. However, the price point is high for those who don’t have the time or patience for it.

 

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