bambooculm Senior Member Joined: 16 Jul 2007 Posts: 11 Location: Sydney Australia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Breville BES860 Barista... Grinder: Sunbeam EM0480 Drip: Braun Roaster: Dog Bowl and Heat Gun
Posted Thu Jan 7, 2010, 5:27am Subject: Re: Any thoughts on the Breville Barista Express?
Stacey, There may be a problem with your technique. Look at the videos on this website: http://www.breville.com.au/coffee/cc_dvd.asp?videoID=2 I actually do own one of the machines, and I have had not had any problems with it. I actually think that it is a good machine that is indeed good value for the money. It is better value than a Gaggia Classic. Please do not believe everything you read on the internet. There is a lot of deliberate bias and deliberate misinformation and propaganda. The machine is the latest model Breville, and very few 110 volt machines have yet been produced. When more arrive in the US, Gail Williams of Seattle Coffee Gear will do a video review of it. Check out her website: www.seattlecoffeegear.com for truthful reviews and advice. Look at the videos. Also check out the ratings for Gaggia machines. Trust me when I say that the ratings have progressively gone downhill over the last 18 months.
One post is hilarious. He may have had a Breville machine in the year dot, but not a recent model. There is a very strong espresso culture here in Australia, especially in Sydney and Melbourne which have large Italian communities. He may have met an Australian he did not like during World War 2. See for example: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/ or http://baristabrothers.com/ as just 2 examples of what I mean. The Sunbeam 6910 is another example of an Australian designed machine that is a great product. It is not available in 110 volt form, and not sold in the US. There are many youtube videos of it and excellent reviews. Most machines are in fact 240 volt, as is mine. The machines in Italy are all 240 volt as well (220-240 volt) Stacey, persist with the machine, and follow the advice in the videos suggested above. If there are still problems, then exchange it. It is common for steam arms to spit a little water before proper pressure build up. Just aim it at the drip tray, until that happens. You want the steam to be as dry as possible. I am assuming that you are real. All small grinders need to be kept topped up, and your coffee will be fresher this way. Even large grinders need to be constantly topped up, to ensure an even grind. Please read this again, and then make a great cup of coffee.
Grenfell Senior Member Joined: 3 Aug 2006 Posts: 74 Location: Ontario, Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 Grinder: Baratza Vario Drip: Ubiquitous Cuisinart
Posted Thu Jan 7, 2010, 6:44am Subject: Re: Any thoughts on the Breville Barista Express?
Thanks for all the advice, everybody. This machine got great reviews elsewhere so were it not for you I'd most likely think I was crazy and try to make the thing work. Any advice on how to better spend my money? I checked out gaggia and silvia - are these too advanced for beginers? My biggest fear is that I'll invest in a great machine that is just beyond me that will then sit on the counter collecting dust while I head out to Starbucks.
I'm still relatively new to espresso and just upgraded recently. I went with a Silvia and I love it. I can't offer more than the excellent advice you have already received but I thought I would chime in to reinforce one aspect - the grinder.
If you are going to have a go at making decent espresso, get a really good grinder first. Buy the best you can and get a less expensive espresso machine. I tried to make my Silvia work with a cheaper grinder (The Starbucks (Solis) Barista) and even modified to grind finer it simply wasn't up to the task. The difference between it and the Vario I now own is incredible, night and day.
I somewhat ignored the advice of a grinder thinking 'how much difference can it really make?' as my grounds from the Barista looked incredibly fine already. They were not.
P.S. I also chimed in as my first machine - and introduction to this forum - was a Breville 800. Gorgeous machine, but I ended up returning it promptly. The worst was the portafilter basket design where there is the one tiny hole for the espresso to exit from. Once that gets blocked by an errant coffee grind, that's it...good luck fixing it. It's too bad as it is definitely a beautiful looking machine. ;-)
Just to be clear, you are speaking of the Breville, and that people on this site are deliberately lying and misleading people -- is that what you are saying?
Bill, if I knew you better, I would take offense. Either that, or suspect you worked for Breville . . .
In the FWIW Dept., while I have no doubt there are LOTS of Aussies that own and love their Brevilles, I haven't seen that love cross to the North American continent. No one I know who has purchased a Breville espresso machine in the US has kept it for more than a year. Some have returned it the next day. Despite that, I am sure many people still have Brevilles at home -- purchased, primarily, through department stores and kitchen stores (that are also the #1 source for capsule machines like Nepresso), rather than what I would term "serious" espresso/coffee equipment vendors. I would respectfully suggest that the people who buy their espresso machines in department stores are not as "into" coffee as someone who seeks out advice from a dedicated site on the internet.
As far as Gaggia is concerned, I personally believe there is a HUGE difference between the "Gaggia of Old" and the "Gaggia post-Saeco acquisition." The only Gaggia model I ever recommend is the tried-and-true Classic, a model Saeco hasn't ****ed with very much, if at all. I have never recommended a Saeco-designed Gaggia machine, and I agree with you that the quality of Gaggia has gone downhill -- not only over the last 18 months, but since shortly after the acquisition, IMHO.
Machines which are designed to run on 220-240v (Europe, Asia, Australia -- basically everywhere but North America) invariably suffer when run on 110. Parts are changed out, the overall machine is "weaker" in its performance, and so on and so on . . . it's quite possible that, at 220-240v, Breville machines are fine. All I know is that, at 110v, the 3-4 Breville machines on which I've attempted to pull shots on paled in comparison to the quality of the shots pulled on my now-discontinued Gaggia Coffee; all I know is that, when Breville owners pulled shots on my Gaggia Coffee, they became ex-Breville owners within a relatively short period of time.
Personally, it doesn't matter to me what machine Stacey -- or anyone else -- buys. I retired after 35 years in the wine trade and now manage my wife's law office. I do not work for, nor own stock in, Gaggia/Saeco, Breville, Elektra, Mahlkönig, Cimbali or any espresso machine or grinder company. What does matter is that Stacey, and others who come to this site to ask questions or seek advice, get those questions answered and the advice they seek.
If I recommend a particular piece of equipment, I try to always say why I am recommending it, and try to make it clear whether I have owned or used that equipment myself, or -- if not -- on what basis I am making the recommendation.
Based on my own (admittedly limited) experience with Brevilles, and the experience of many other individuals who I know and trust -- when it comes to the subject of Brevilles -- I shall continue to quote Monty Python and say, "Run awaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy!"
Posted Thu Jan 7, 2010, 10:38am Subject: Re: Any thoughts on the Breville Barista Express?
Regarding the Breville machines..... you can polish a turd, but it's always gonna be a turd. These machines look the part and have some interesting features for the average non-CoffeeGeek, but it can in no way compare to a decent semi-auto in any way, shape or form. That video is a joke to say the least. Same with the Sunbeam line of machines and grinders. Barely adequate by most standards....
Iluvdabean Senior Member Joined: 7 Mar 2005 Posts: 1,058 Location: California Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia... Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro... Drip: Capresso MT 500/Pour Over Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jan 7, 2010, 10:54am Subject: Re: Any thoughts on the Breville Barista Express?
I concur with ZIN1953 and he has echoed my sentiments exactly. I was that person who bought a Breville and returned it after a few weeks,that was 2 years ago. I bought a Gaggia Classic and it was immediately like day and night. My conclusion is that the Breville is a piece of junk.I dont care who says what,who endorses what or which Seattle Espresso machine shop sells them,they are selling junk.Frankly there are no redeeming quailties in the Breville. To question the credibilty of the main body of opinion from experienced users here, who have logged a millennium of collective hours making espresso is laughable. I also share Zins questioning of new Gaggias and the tinkering from Saeco. I know the Gaggia Classic works well...I have one. I really think a lot of folks just dont want to hear the truth frankly,I mean it wasnt really a great feeling for me two years, ago after getting the Breville and trying for weeks to get it to pull a good shot,to come here and find others had suffered the same fate.I sucked it up...and changed course and guess what these folks were right. So dont tell me they work....thats easy....show me they work, take the Gaggia Classic and put it next to the Breville and pull some shots.You will see a huge huge huge difference between the two machines.
Jmanespresso Senior Member Joined: 18 Jan 2009 Posts: 2,108 Location: Westchester NY Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto II Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5 Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Thu Jan 7, 2010, 11:34am Subject: Re: Any thoughts on the Breville Barista Express?
If you are able to get good results from your Breville Machine. . . Then congratulations. You are the first person I have seen who has been pleased with their machines.
I do agree with Jason, that "Not believing everything you read on the Internet" is good advice. There a plenty of coffee and espresso related sites, where there are reviews of mediocre-at-best machines, that are "glowing".
However.. I do not think such advice holds as much water on this website(Or on Home-Barista, CoffeeSnobs, Or Coffeed). People who frequent these sites daily have a burning passion for espresso. We strive, each and every day, for a better cup of coffee. It has been a long time since coffee was a beverage to many people here.. It has become a passion.. No.. An obsession. We research equipment, we read everything, and form our OWN opinions on things. There is constant disagreement, and that is what makes for great discussion. But there is also constant agreement, on many things. One topic in particular, that there is almost a full agreement on.. Is low quality machines. Not JUST breville, there certainly are others as well.
"There is an ass for every seat." As I just explained, people who frequent this board daily, and who try to give good advice to newcomers about purchasing equipment.. Are NOT looking for "A cup of Coffee". We, as a whole, want Coffee Excellence. And Im sorry, but Breville machines are not capable of that. Machines that house Thermoblock heating systems, do not deliver consistent results.
Do you know of ANY espresso machine, which is ready to make espresso in 45 seconds, from the time it's turned on? Because if you do, please point it out.. Im sure many people will want one. The fastest machines, that I know of, to heat up properly, are the Gaggia's. 15Minutes, with a bit of flushing through the group is plenty to have everything nice and toasty. FWIW, I wasn't able to find, in writing, that the machine in question, "fresco", was a thermoblock machine. However, I feel 100% comfortable saying it is a TB machine.. Simply by the claim that it is ready in 45 seconds. The fact of the matter is.. maybe A BIT of the water inside that thermoblock is warm.. but NO other part of the machine is.
It is 100% reasonable to conclude that, maybe, in Australia, Breville machines have better performance, because they run on 220V power.. but here in the USA, they are not even adequate to make good espresso. NO Thermoblock machine is.
On the other hand, Gaggia machines ARE 100% reliable, solid machines, capable of producing GREAT espresso. Machines like: The Gaggia Classic, Baby Class, Baby, New Baby, and those models with the volumetric dosing features.. ALL house the same, original aluminum boiler, and high powered, 1250W heating element. The NEW Espresso Models(Pure,Color and Dose) have a new boiler setup.. And do not preform as well as the original design. I have personally used a Gaggia Classic, right next to a Gaggia Espresso Pure.. And while the Espresso Pure DID preform decently, the results were not only better overall, they were more consistent. The Gaggia Classic has been an incredibly popular choice, for over 25years, for the new home barista. In fact, in America.. The Gaggia Classic and The Rancilio Silvia, are THE two machines, against which EVERY other single boiler/dual use machine is compared. The are the Standard.
So while yes.. It IS good advice to "not believe everything you read on the internet", I personally take a bit of offense to the fact that you would suggest that other, long standing members of this website(not including myself) are simply "biased", or providing DELIBERATE Misinformation.. Or(my favorite) PROPOGANDA.. As opposed to what I, and many others actually DO provide.. Which is good, solid advice.. Backed up by research, as well as personal experience.
You ARE entitled to your own opinion about what goes on here.. But, You are wrong.
Follow Your Bliss
Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
I was that person who bought a Breville and returned it after a few weeks,that was 2 years ago. I bought a Gaggia Classic and it was immediately like day and night. My conclusion is that the Breville is a piece of junk.
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