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Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Breville...  
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 30, 2013, 5:16pm
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

I think there's been some topic creep here and I just want to clarify my position. As I have said in other threads the BDB has its supporters, but it's just not the machine I would choose personally. I'm sure it's a fine machine in its own right and now that the Cuadra is no longer under a grand, it's the BEST MACHINE UNDER $1000. Period. Take that how you will. I'm not a huge fan of the BDB, but certainly wouldn't mind having one if it was what my budget called for. They're okay but I would urge users who have a machine budget a little higher to look into a more robust HX option before settling on the BDB. I would much rather have a BDB than a Silvia or Gaggia, no question.

However, the OP asked about the Breville INFUSER. All Breville machines apart from the BDB are crap. They're crap. Junk. Hunks of overpriced, over-marketed, space-age garbage. Objectively bad for the price. Let he/she who thinks the Breville 800 series offers a better value than the Silvia, CC1, Gaggia, or even Saeco please stand up. The Breville machines that aren't the BDB are the ones I meant are aimed at noobs who haven't done their homework or who value aesthetics more than function. They're wedding gifts. They're toys. Have I made my point? My vitriol is aimed at these lower end offerings from Breville because they take $500 out of the budget of someone who COULD be enjoying real espresso and give them instead a watery mess out of a pressurized PF.
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Iluvdabean
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Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,271
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 30, 2013, 6:17pm
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

Good point Markarian thank you for the refocus. I just realized I shouldn't even have been commenting because I wouldn't recommend any of them. Im slipping I guess.
Thanks for the good catch.
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LauraH
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Xico, Mexico
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Posted Wed Oct 30, 2013, 9:41pm
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

There are lots of different levels of coffee geeks here but one thing is for sure, no matter what level, the advice is from the heart as most here are nuts about coffee. Don't discount  anyone because they are at a different level than you are. Their experience is golden and it is a LOT easier to learn from someone else's mistakes. Your needs may be different than the next person but factor in the advice and your needs. BOTH are improtant.
Now, with that said, look closely at the Oscar. Or perhaps it is better said, TASTE what the Oscar can do.  It seems to fit ALL your needs but looks.  This little guy has so much beauty in the cup the outside will start look lovely as well.  Best of luck to you in your decision and enjoy!
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 1:08am
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

Seriously. All it takes is the wrong equipment choice to put someone off espresso for good. We want to nurture talented hobbyist baristas and see them enjoy the art, not fight their machine or grinder. The Oscar is a real diamond in the rough, but only used. Simonelli either needs to revamp them or sell them for $899.
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Cafeshio
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jun 2013
Posts: 17
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Cunill El Cafe Tranquilo
Vac Pot: wha..?
Drip: My fawcet
Roaster: Car without a rof?
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 1:36am
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

Thanks to everyone for a very nice conversation.

Let me provide a bit more context why I narrowed it down to these three (now two).

The BDB is a contender because it sits at the high end of my budget and every review I came across, including Seattle Coffee Gear, is positive. Yes, I get it that there were teething problems and that perhaps for some standards, it may still fall short. Plastic underneath, loaded with electronics, made in China - irrelevant for me unless the plastic structure is prone to breaking, the electronics fail constantly or it is made with radioactive Chinese materials; many people are quick to dismiss Chinese manufacturing, but they fail to realize that China is a huge country with a vast spectrum of manufacturing capabilities and quality. You want ultra-cheap low quality items? You got it. You want very high quality and less cheap things. You got it. The vast majority of mass produced items around the world are manufactured at least partially in China, including parts for very high end products such as luxury cars, first tier electronics and computing devices, optical equipment and on and on. But I digress.

I just want decent coffee - I'm upgrading from a moka pot so the bar is not terribly high. In any case, I don't see many complaints on the quality of the shots from the BSB. Reliability would be a concern if customer service was not responsive, but I see time and time again positive experiences in this area. They stand behind their product and that is a big plus for me. Sure, it is inconvenient to ship the machine 2 times until they get it right. But if the machine you end up having is good, that is not a major issue for me. Not saying for everyone else, just for me.

The CC1 looks nice and had good reviews - if I recall correctly there were some early issues as well, but the owner worked hard to fix them. It seemed to me that at $700 plus tax, that is a better option than the Silvia or anything else in that range that is not used. But the key is to compare it to the BDB - in other words, is the BDB better enough than the CC1 to justify a $300 premium? (Bed Bath & Beyond has the BDB for 1,200, minus 20% plus Seattle tax, comes at around 1,050). It seems to me based on the double boiler and consistency in the shots, that the answer is yes. As a newbie, consistency is a strong selling point.

Finally, I brought up the Infuser because it is relatively cheap $500 - 20% plus tax is around $450. It is obvious based on the comments that even though the looks are similar, under the hood the Infuser and the BDB are very different, and hence the Infuser is no longer in my short list.

But let me add some more color as to where I'm coming from. Some people here rightfully consider a $500 machine a non-starter, but for a newcomer $500 is still a chunk of change and hard to justify; let alone a $2,000 machine. Sure, you'll likely tell me that a cup of coffee at Starbucks is $4, so you recoup the investment very rapidly. However this is not terribly applicable in my case. First, typically would just do a shot, perhaps a macchiato which only costs $2 or so. It would take 1,000 shots to cover the price of a $2,000 machine. But then, you also have to factor in the cost of the raw materials, the time to clean and maintain the machine and then the equation is less obvious. So, if you were to have a shot everyday you would recoup the money within 3 to 4 years and then still be able to enjoy great coffee for quite some time. Fair enough - however I have free coffee at work; it is a superauto Starbucks machine; is it lovely? No. Is it adequate? It sure is. But the point is that I only do espresso once or twice a week. Now, at that rate it would take me at least 500 weeks to recoup the price of the machine. Give or take 10 years. The payoff is so long, that there is no rational justification for me in buying a $2,000 machine.

The BDB with the same logic will pay for itself in 5 years and the suspicion is that it won't last any more than that. Plus there is the cost of descaling. This makes the BDB also a not quite as great prospect financially. Therefore....

I reasoned, erroneously that the Infuser compromised a bit but was still good and financially it was more palatable - that is the only reason why it made the cut into my short-list.

I understand now that I cannot reasonably expect to have a machine that will give me top notch espresso for $500. Fine, it is the price to play. I still want good espresso because it is hard for me to find good espresso when compared to my South American upbringing. Yes, even in Seattle. Sure, there are treasure coves, but they are also out of my way. Go to Spain or Buenos Aires and you'll hit great espresso 8 out of 10 times. Not here. So, ok, who cares about the financial aspect when I don't even truly enjoy Starbucks? My only hope is to be able to find good grounds and do it myself - and I may end up failing miserably, but at least I'll take a shot (pun).

And I will see if I can try a shot from an Oscar - but the chances of me buying that machine are slim. I get it, it is fabulous. But its looks are a big let down. I am not a design crazed person, but if I really don't like something, then why should I force myself to embrace it if there are other options out there? Again, I have not seen comments that say that BDB pulls awful shots. Has anyone done a double blind tasting pitching the Oscar against a BDB? If you can show that to me and prove that Oscar is hands down the winner, then I would perhaps be inclined to go that route.

Finally, I saw the Nuova Quadra, and I really liked its aesthetics too. But the price is $1300 plus tax and no 20% disc. So we are talking about $450 additional, so it is really out of reach.

So there you have it. I'm now down to CC1 or BDB with a strong lean towards BDB. I appreciate your generous and honest opinions, but I just cannot reach higher than the BDB at this point and I will not buy used (too many unknowns and lack of warranty).

By the way, I am reading the owner's thread on the BDB before I pull the trigger - all 25 pages of it, plus friendlyfoe 5 pages on top. So, yes, I do take your comments seriously. I don't think anyone would try to steer me away from a BDB out of spite. You wish me well. I can see it and I appreciate it. Please feel free to disagree with my views - I value dissent a lot.

Thanks again!
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 2:52am
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

Well the thing is that there ARE decent machines in the $500 range, such as the Gaggias and Saecos, so long as you have a decent grinder. Both can accept bottomless portafilters. Between the CC1 and BDB, there is no contest. Go with the Breville.

The Oscar is going to give you more of a classic commercial machine feel and may not be as refined as the BDB in terms of features. But it feels solid and powerful. It's really a shame that its looks put so many people off. You have to admit, it's very 80s Italian.

I think we slam Chinese manufacturing on here because we're so used to machines built by hand in factories in Italy, that there's an implied disgust that there's people assembling these machines who aren't equally passionate about espresso or don't have an intimate understanding of how the machine works. I think the reason you find "better" espresso in Latin America and Europe is because from what I understand they stick toward more traditional espresso roasts and techniques. A dark roast is always going to give you a more consistent shot (hence Starbucks), but it will be more limited in flavor. PNW coffee shops are part of the so-called "Third Wave" of coffee that involves a 26 year old with an arm tattoo fussing delicately with a roast so light that it's only heard of first crack secondhand from a friend. Once they have poked it with a sewing needle they stick it on a Synesso and pull a big, gooey cone into a latte mug as thick as a toilet bowl and serve it to you with a heart on top. In Little Italy they ground super fine, mashed it listlessly with the built-in tamper on the Super Jolly and pulled a scalded latte on their Aurelia. It was also delicious. Different strokes, etc. I'm making generalizations, but my point is that the US coffee scene is much more wacky and experimental, always trying something new. Sometimes they fail miserably (I'm looking at you, Red Bear!).

Pro-tip, my all time favorite blend locally is Top Pot Doughnuts' El Presidente. Good. Lord. It's that good.

Bigfoot Java is also good and easy to work with, though not as complex in flavor. And if you can catch it when it's fresh, WinCo has an amazing single origin Peaberry that pulls shots that will make the world stop what it's doing for a single moment and take notice of its tangy tiger striping.
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friendlyfoe
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 122
Location: toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 3:09am
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

To sum up my five pages what originally had me very interested in the bdb is the quality of espresso it's capable of producing, but what made me decide against it was cost of ownership. Is something breaks the day after the warrantee do you have to send it back to breville at your own cost? Will they even sell you parts? What's it going to cost to have them descale the machine and will I end up having to ship it somewhere for that?

Those were all questions I would have needed to find answers for, and I just lost interest. For 1000 dollars it didn't make sense to buy something that might only last a few years, when I can buy something that for a bit more would last a very long time and that I could work on myself.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 12:41pm
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

FWIW, Shio you may think the Oscar is ugly, but Simonelli's only US service center is right next to Safeco Field and all their parts ship from Ferndale.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,276
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 6:49pm
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

friendlyfoe Said:

To sum up my five pages what originally had me very interested in the bdb is the quality of espresso it's capable of producing, but what made me decide against it was cost of ownership. Is something breaks the day after the warrantee do you have to send it back to breville at your own cost? Will they even sell you parts? What's it going to cost to have them descale the machine and will I end up having to ship it somewhere for that?

Those were all questions I would have needed to find answers for, and I just lost interest. For 1000 dollars it didn't make sense to buy something that might only last a few years, when I can buy something that for a bit more would last a very long time and that I could work on myself.

Posted October 31, 2013 link

An espresso machine is a tool.  A machine which lasts forever and is easily DIY serviced but doesn't make good coffee conveniently and consistently is an investment in frustration -- a poor place to put your money.  First and foremost, you want a machine which will make good coffee without putting you through too many hoops.

Not all machines are created equal in those respects.  As a rule, the cheaper the machine the more difficult it is to use.  That the BDB doesn't conform to the rule, is what makes it special.  

Solid, prosumer quality HXs with E-61 groups run between $1500 and $2200.  After that, you're spending money on appearance (the Musica, for example).  Similarly well built DBPID machines run about $500 more.  In other words, a better-built machine with similar functionality and user friendliness to the BDB (DB; stabilized group; pre-infusion) costs about $1000 more.  And remember, the extra money doesn't guarantee that you won't be faced with repairs.  

For instance, the o-ring between the group and boiler of my $3000 La Cimbali M21 Casa -- widely acknowledged as one of the best built machines in the world -- failed just after the machine went out of warranty.  Because the repair meant tearing the machine down almost completely; because a filter failure in my supply line meant the machine got a lot of very hard water and needed descaling; and because descaling a plumb-in only machine like the Casa is such a colossal PITA, I paid to have it done.  Cost to R & R the o-ring, descale, plus pick up and delivery, $200 and a week's loss of use.

Getting back to budget -- the BDB/Vario combo punches well about its price.  

To do as well in terms of quality in the cup, and better in terms of construction you're looking at something north of $2500 for an HX combined with a high quality flat-burr grinder; and around $3300 for a top-line prosumer DB with a "Titan" level conical.  

If I were buying a machine for one of my kids, it would almost certainly be the BDB.  But if I were buying one for myself with an eye to spending as little money as possible while getting as much quality in the cup and in the machine itself, it would most likely be a Bezzera Strega ($2000).  

BDL
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friendlyfoe
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 122
Location: toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Oct 31, 2013, 7:04pm
Subject: Re: Breville Infuser, CC1 or Breville Double Boiler?
 

So while I look to you as someone on this forum that I can learn a lot from, can you get down off your horse and come talk to the rest of us?

Tools are an investment. If you invest in better tools, they perform better and last longer. If you can invest in a 2000 dollar piece of equipment that will last 10 years it costs you less in the long run than a 1000 dollar machine that lasts 3. I could give an example of mechanics investing thousands of dollars in tools but I don't think that's necessary.

Sure if you can only spend 1000 now, there is probably no better piece of equipment to invest in. That being said for 300 dollars more from what I've discerned the bezzera bz07 is a much better investment. It comes with the same warranty, is potentially capable of equal espresso, and is easier to service.

Long story short, my comment still stand. The conclusion that I came to is as a tool, the bdb isn't worth the money you have to invest in it.
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