Breville Espresso Machines

Following in a Long Line of Outstanding Small Appliances

In this article, we will talk about three espresso machine: Breville Café Roma, Breville Ikon and Breville 800ESXL. But first, we will have a brief look at the company that makes these espresso machines.

The Breville company has been in business since the early 1930s when two Australian friends, Harry Norville and Bill O'Brien combined their last names and agreed to begin manufacturing radios. The company has adapted many times to fit the needs of its customers during its 70+ year history and now produces a wide variety of small appliances that are sold in more than 30 countries around the world. Breville espresso machines come in several styles that appeal to discriminating buyers in many locations.

Breville Café Roma

Breville Café Roma espresso machine This attractive stainless steel unit is designed to look great on your countertop and help you create drinks reminiscent of those found in a genuine Italian cafe. It comes equipped with a 15 bar thermoblock pump that forces water through your coffee grounds with the perfect amount of pressure so that you get rich, tasty espresso shots. It has a water tank that is larger (1.3 quarts) than most models designed for home use, meaning you can pull several consecutive shots.

The Café Roma employs a double-wall filter system. The first wall of the portafilter has 333 pores. Beneath that is a second steel wall with a single exit hole that creates backpressure as the liquid is forced through the system. This process results in plenty of delicious crema. The machine is shipped with a set of stainless steel cups and a frothing jug.

Its price tag of just below $200 causes users to recommend the Café Roma as a good starter machine. Most reviews cite its attractive appearance and ease of use as positive points. Other customers complain that the double filter is difficult to clean, however, and some even state that they have had problems with the filtering system becoming so clogged that the machine ceases to function. This is issue seems to be caused by using a grind that is too fine or inconsistent (such as when a blade grinder is used). On the other hand, some folks have used it for years with no problems at all and overall the Breville Café Roma is a very good machine for the price.

Breville Ikon espresso machine

Breville Ikon

Breville Ikon is priced around $300 and just like the other two models it features a 15 bar pump. The main thing that sets Ikon apart is the stainless steel boiler system.

The Ikon comes equipped with three filters (pod, single, and double) to meet the needs of most home users. The baskets are pressurized, which means that you will not have as much control over your final product as you may like. Some users have solved this problem by substituting inexpensive non-pressurized Krups baskets and were pleased with the results. This model uses a unique Easy Eject system used in the Ikon, which should make it easy to remove, clean and exchange the filters.

As mentioned earlier, Breville Ikon has a stainless steel boiler rather than a thermoblock. Here is a quick summary about what that means.

Boiler vs. Thermoblock
The main advantage of a boiler is that it provides good temperature stability which means that your espresso shots will be more consistent. With thermoblock, on the other hand, there is inconsistency in the temperature of the water, and therefore a variation in the quality of the shots.

The main plus of the thermoblock system is that there is no wait for the machine to heat up before you can start making espresso. With a boiler, you need to wait for the machine to warm up first.

Thermoblock has got another significant drawback: if you allow scale to builds up, it may be extremely difficult to remove - rendering your machine useless.

Owners of this model are pleased with their purchase for the most part. They cite the soft touch control pad as an easy-to-use and eye-catching feature. Some reviewers praise the Ikon for its compact size, quiet performance and reasonable price. Most users like the steam wand as it can produce a nice microfoam. On the negative side, some owners find the water tank a bit awkward to fill and to clean and a number of users complain about the pressurized filter baskets that comes with the machine If you are a new user of Breville espresso machines, you may want to read the helpful hints by E.H. here.

Breville 800ESXL espresso machine

Breville 800ESXL

Equipped with a thermoblock heating system, and a 15 bar pump made in Italy, this espresso machine is capable of producing a rich, tasty brew. The steam wand is mounted on a swivel and can be manipulated easily for making dry steam or froth, or for dispensing hot water.

Many users report owning this Breville espresso machine for four years or longer without experiencing any kind of maintenance issues. Most users are very happy with this model mainly because it is quick and easy to use and it is very aesthetically pleasing. Some coffee aficionados may object to the grind that the 800 requires, which needs to be slightly coarser than that used by many other espresso machines. The main complaints about this machine are about the pressurized filter baskets. Just like with the other two models, some people find that they clog quite easily while others don't seem to experience such problems.

If you are thinking about buying Breville 800ESXL, I would recommend you to read this excellent user review that sums up the main points very nicely.

Breville Barista Express BES860XL machine with grinder

Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express is a rather special espresso machine. It is a semi-automatic machine that has a built in grinder and a programmable dosing control. It comes with both pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets. This is great as the pressurized filters allow even a very inexperienced user to make delicious espresso. With more experience, one can then experiment with the non-pressurized filter to try to get that "perfect shot".

Just like other Breville machines, Barista Express is beautifully designed and very well built. It has a number of small little touches that people love - for example the "dry-puck" feature, the magnetic tamper that is attached to the machine or the little neat storage area under the machine.

The best thing about this Breville espresso machine are the excellent customer reviews that indicate very high satisfaction with this product.

Many owners of all these Breville espresso machines report that the Breville Company provides excellent customer service if troubles occur or parts need replacing. If you are interested in purchasing an espresso machine for the first time, one of these appliances by Breville may be the perfect way for you to earn your stripes as a barista.

Further Reading

Breville Coffee Maker BKC600XL
Gaggia Espresso Machine
Saeco Espresso Machines