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Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Talk me out of...  
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apinstein
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville 840XL
Grinder: Breville 800XL
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2012, 6:12pm
Subject: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

Hi All-

So, I've searched the forums and read several good posts about why I shouldn't do it, and should instead go with something like this:

Lelit PL41 w/PL53 Grinder

They're about the same price, and clearly from this forum I know what your answer is.

However, after reading a bunch of reviews and such, I am still undecided for a few reasons.

  1. I'm buying this for my wife who is probably not as excited by gadgets as I am. She got jealous of the Krups Espresseria that I bought for the office, which we've been pretty happy with despite its flaws. That said, I am worried it's going to be too hard to get good espresso with it; the Breville seems more entry-level and foolproof.
  2. The brass boiler take 5m to warm up? Dang that's a long time!
  3. The FAQ is huge -- I am worried about having to hack/fix/repair the thing. Not that I can't, just that I don't really want to.
  4. The Breville looks a bit nicer and more compact than 2 separate machines, and we lack counterspace.
  5. The cost will run up a bit more by the time I get a nice tamp and frothing pitcher.
  6. This model is specially engineered/designed by 1st choice. How much of a PITA will that be if I have issues?

So I guess I'm wondering, even if not the Breville, is there a better entry-level setup than going with a clearly better but more finicky setup of separates?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Alan
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,932
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 5:49am
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

Your choice is clear but may not be easy for you.

You have defined the issue fairly clearly.

You can buy an all in one with poorer quality components on both sides or two, better quality components for the same money. For some people, they like the bling better than quality drinks. Decide what is more important to you then buy accordingly.

Please understand, ALL MACHINES REQUIRE HALF AN HOUR TO WARM UP REGARDLESS OF THE ADVERTISING PROPAGANDA 5 minutes just is not realistic for any machine, not just the boiler needs to warm up but the entire machine. That is just reality.

Only you can decide what you want to look at and what appeals to you but this is where your priority of values comes into play, better looks (to you) or better drinks.

Breville inspires only one primary reaction here (with the exception of the BDB which many people like but is $1K and it is not on the table for consideration here) .......

RUNNNNNN AAWWWWAAAAAYYYYYYYY!

I am still not sold on the quality of the BDB but it is the ONLY possible exception that I have to the above statement.

And as to being finickey, the better your grinder, the better and less fussy the espresso will be, to a point but at this price point, it makes a big difference.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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mrh372
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Greencastle, PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville ESP8XL
Grinder: Breville BCG800XL
Vac Pot: not yet
Drip: Bunn Brew ST
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 6:42am
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

I've been looking on this forum for quite a while and have been quite surprised at all the Breville bashing that goes on here.  Has everyone who has complained about Breville actually owned and had issues with them?

I use an old Breville ESP8XL with non pressurized baskets that I use twice a day minimum and it hasn't given me a lick of trouble.  And I get excellent espresso out of it; better than any espresso I've had out anywhere.  That is including several DC shops, and recently in Milan and several other areas in Italy.  I have also done a cupping with Counter Culture where we also did some espresso and what I have had come out of my Breville was IMO better.

My SmartGrinder also has been flawless though I've only had it for a year.  I can see that it would be nice to have more adjustment in grind size but at least for what equipment I'm currently using it is a non issue.  

I know there are other brands that are higher quality.  I'm not going to pretend my old ESP is a GS/3 but it is a competent and reliable entry level machine.

I'm not looking to start yet another Breville fight I just question whether everyone who complains about Breville has actually had personal experience with them.  I feel that from one coffee fan/ one consumer to another I personally have had very positive results with them.  Maybe I'm one of a limited few that managed to get a reliable one.

-mike
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,932
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 6:48am
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

Mike, good question and in my case, my use of a Breville machine was thankfully short. They are what they are, consumer grade, starter, counter top appliances (wedding gifts). They are not quality starter grade machines and there is a LONG history of poor quality from this manufacturer.

I am sure that someplace, someone will be defending a Yugo, hey it is a low price car that gets them where they want to go, whats wrong with that? Well, in a nutshell, they are not worth much more than the scrap value of the metal due to poor design. Breville is one of the Yugos of the espresso world.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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mrh372
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Greencastle, PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville ESP8XL
Grinder: Breville BCG800XL
Vac Pot: not yet
Drip: Bunn Brew ST
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 7:11am
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

What went wrong with your Breville?

I wish there was a store anywhere close to here that I could actually go and see/ demo a higher end machine.  Every store I come across seems to be on the west coast.  Probably best this way.  My wife thought motorcycling was an expensive hobby, coffee is slowly creeping up...

-mike
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,932
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 8:29am
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

Motorcycles VS espresso?
See my avaitar.
I have FAR more invested in espresso than bikes LOL!

I guess there wasn't anything "wrong" with it, just a lack of quality that, when you use better built machines, becomes readily apparent. I know people need to start someplace and not everyone can spend a fortune on gear but when you spend money, do it wisely to get the best value for your money even if that means you need to spend just a little more. Some people will be happy forever with a starter machine, others will move "up the chain" so to speak, the upgrade bug is strong for some and it is hard to EVER be 100% happy with something. I have moved up enough so that I have reached the point of not having the bug bite me hard, OH SURE I may look lovingly at some new treasure but then I remember how much I already have invested and what is this new "thing" really going to do for me, and I am able to talk myself off the ledge before I jump. It would take a LOT to make me "upgrade" from where I am as I am 99.5% perfectly happy with my gear.

Then again, there are those who fall to either side of me. Some would say that I am nuts to have what I have and others would look at my gear and consider it starter gear.

No matter where you are in the hobby, there is more to explore and spend money on, there are those who you think are nuts (I guess I am in that camp for 99.9% of the members here) and there are those who totally understand and feel sorry that you are stuck with what you have (not many would fall into that camp here..... I think ?????) In the end though, I am but one voice among many, I have no more authority or correct opinion than anyone else. I do what I can to help others and to give the best advice I can. Some will agree and others will not. YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,045
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 9:53am
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

I will say these wise words again, it takes no time to ruin a reputation but a long time to fix it.  Breville just started fixing it, it takes time for them to prove they have changed.
Breville bashing aside, Combo machines are bad at both things as a rule or at the very least mediocre.  If you care about what is in the cup you will want a good stand alone grinder.  The grinder is the most important part and as such you will want it to be the best you can get and not just one they stuck on a machine because it fits.  Also think about how many fax/printer/scanners that get tossed when one function breaks.  Now think about the machine with a grinder built in..... you get the picture.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Stuart
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Feb 2012
Posts: 113
Location: TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Air Crazy popper
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

I started out about this time last year thinking the Breville 860xl was what I wanted. Reading these forums over was enough to convince me I was mistaken, and it wasn't negative experience with Breville hardware or customer service that convinced me. It was the negative effects on the coffee of
1) having the beans sitting on top of the boiler
2) having limited grind settings

I ended up with a machine I enjoy using that makes great espresso and is more consistent than I am, which are two main criteria. (The third is longevity/reliability/durability -- one year isn't enough time to prove that particular pudding).

I've read enough good things about the Baratza Preciso, and enough negatives about the LeLit, that I'd be leaning in that direction for an entry level grinder. As for the espresso machine itself; I talked myself into a dual boiler machine only to find that, after living with really good espresso for the past year or so, I rarely make myself a milk-based drink.
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Skylar
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Apr 2004
Posts: 137
Location: New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: lelit espresso
Grinder: lelit grinder
Vac Pot: B. D. Electric
Drip: chemex
Roaster: wok roast and popper, heat...
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 1:22pm
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

Sorry for the topic drift but could I please be directed to the negative stuff about the lelit grinder. I know it is espresso only, being a pita to go from epresso to other grinds, but are there other complaints? I have had mine since spring of 2009 and it has not been problematic (for me).
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,104
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 1:47pm
Subject: Re: Talk me out of the Breville 860xl as an entry-level setup
 

Stuart Said:

.........................
I've read enough good things about the Baratza Preciso, and enough negatives about the LeLit, that I'd be leaning in that direction for an entry level grinder. ..................

Posted November 27, 2012 link

Quite the opposite in my experience. I've had my eye on the Preciso since it was introduced, while owning the Le'lit PL53 for about 5 years. The Le'lit with the well proven Tespade burr set has been solid reliable while there are many reported problems with the Preciso burr carrier.  I'm a fan of Baratza grinders and their excellent support, but I would not use the Preciso for espresso grinding over a solid Trespade burr grinder.  If you go for the Baratza for espresso grinding, get the Vario.
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