This is the 3rd espresso machine I’ve owned in my lifetime and definitely my best espresso machine. My previous machine was a Saeco Odea Giro fully automatic. I thoroughly enjoyed that machine until after 6 years, I started having issues with it. It would have cost me $150 to repair it, but I decided to splurge and get a new machine. I love the idea of pushing 3 buttons and bam, there’s an espresso in your cup. But the issue I had with the Saeco was the temperature of the espresso. Sometimes i’d have a nice and hot drink, other times it almost felt cold. My friends would sometimes comment too: “this espresso is a little cold.” Well I had no control over that.
The Breville consistently pours a hot espresso. Love the PID temperature control feature.
In fact, I like all the features of this machine. The water spout is useful even if you don’t use it to make drinks. I use it, per Breville’s recommendations, to heat up my portafilter and cup. I pour hot water into the cup and it’s REALLY hot, then dump it out and place it upside down on the cup warmer tray on top of the machine. It works great to keep the cup warm.
What matters most is the quality of the espresso. It’s perfect! On the Saeco fully automatic, the crema was good, but a tan color. On this Breville, the crema seems to have more texture and more of a golden tan color. When I finish the drink, there’s still some crema on the side of the cup. I didn’t have that with the Saeco. This produces a more pronounced crema. And i’m pulling single shots which is more difficult to produce a nice crema. If I were to pull double shots, i’d probably get a thicker layer. I am using the single wall portafilters. They’re not difficult to use, so I don’t think you’ll need to use the pressurized double wall filters which according to the experts produces a “fake” crema, whatever that means. I’m not an espresso snob and some of the negative reviews irked me. Some claim that this machine is a toy and can’t compare to some other machines. I’d like to see them in a taste test between a properly pulled espresso shot from this machine and a machine that they prefer. I highly doubt they could tell a difference. I’m Italian and go to Italy every summer to visit my relatives. I have an espresso or two everyday. I honestly cannot tell a difference between the espresso I have had in Italy and the one I have had in my kitchen with this machine.
Be patient! Don’t use the single shot filter baskets or the dual wall one. Stick to the double shot filter basket. After lots of research I learned that it’s easier and you’ll get more consistent results to make double shots. If pressure needle is the right spot (grey area) you’ll pretty much get a dang good shot.