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Why all the Breville Bashing?
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DTJ
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Feb 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Infuser
Grinder: Bodum
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 3:20am
Subject: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

( I have been looking for a replacement espresso machine for my broken old Saeco Aroma for several months (hoping to stay in the $500 range). I'm just wondering what everyone's big problem with Breville is? Specifically, I have been reading about the Breville Infuser (BI), which I found on a great deal ($389 CAD new) that seems to hit a price sweetspot for me.

It's really hard to find reviews for the BI on sites like CoffeeGeek (ie. sites with self professed amateur coffee geeks), and the couple of posts I have found seem to recommend against going Breville, without having anything specific to base it upon. Is it just that the BI is relatively new and not yet well tried and tested? Are people basing this upon past Breville machines? Or has anyone had an actual negative experience with the BI?

Many "professionals" speak in favor of the BI;
- our own Mark Prince lists it as the best sub $500 machine available: ("CoffeeGeek Holiday Gift List 2013 - Under $500")
- 3 of the Seattle Coffee Gear staff rate it as their favorite single boiler machine (2 Crossland CC1, 3 Via Venza)... I know it's technically thermcoil (Click Here (www.seattlecoffeegear.com))

Seattle Coffee Gear even goes so far as to compare it favorably to the Rancilio Silvia (Blasphemy!):
- Click Here (www.seattlecoffeegear.com)

There are some lemons with every brand, but user reviews are generally at least as positive as for other similar to more expensive machines (ie. Gaggia Classic, Crossland CC1, Rancilio Silvia)... over 100 reviews from Amazon:
- Click Here (www.seattlecoffeegear.com)
- Click Here (www.amazon.com)
- Click Here (www.zappos.com)
- Click Here (drinks.seriouseats.com)
- Click Here (www.williams-sonoma.com)

CoffeeGeek is not the only "barista" website to speak poorly about the BI:
- Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

I admit still may be some reliability questions with the BI as a new machine, but to be honest there are more reviews about problems with my other considerations (Gaggia Classic, Crossland CC1, Rancilio) than there are for the BI. Is it just that people haven't had a chance to try it yet. Is it that Breville isn't a "coffee only company". You guys do realize that Gaggia and Saeco are now owned by Phillips and apparently use some similar parts, definitely not a coffee company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaggi).

I confess that I am more new to this than a lot of you, but I am honestly confused by this. I guess it's hard to see past the last 20 years for some of you.

Cheers and no offense intended
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 849
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
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Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 7:00am
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

  1. Look at your list. Everybody who's speaking glowiingly of it is trying to sell it to you, except for Mark, and for what there is to compare it to, calling it the best sub-$500 machine is a lot like calling a Yugo the best sub-$5000 car.

  2. While a thermocoil might, in theory, be an elegant solution, it has a lot of practicaly problems. It takes very little scale to throw a thermocoil-based machine out of whack, so while a brand new machine might work okay, 6 months down the line will be a totally different story unless you're using non-scaling water and totally on top of all maintenance chores.

  3. The history of Brevile is to make disposable appliances that you replace every couple of years. The users of sites like CG and HB are likely to be looking for machines with a much longer life, which use standard parts so the average service life will be measured in decades, not months. Unless Breville is changing their business model almost entirely for their espresso machines, they are not building them with the intention of having them last.

Just as an example, I've got a 20-year-old Nuova Simonelli Ellimatic. It's an HX machine that can make pro-shop quality shots, and, as long as basic parts like gaskets and shower screens are available, it's probably good for another 20 years. I just bought a Londinium I lever machine, and, though it's a heavy upfront investment,  it's likely to last me the rest of my life, while making spectacular espresso (as long as I feed it properly sourced and roasted beans of the proper grind).

Assuming that the average service ilfe of the Infuser is 3-5 years, in the 40 year projected life of my Ellimatic, you'd go through 8-13 Infusers at $500/ea, or between $4-6.5k.
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hotwasabipeas
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hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 180
Location: Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: KitchenAid ProLine
Drip: Keurig Vue, B70,Tassimo T65,...
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Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 10:19am
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

Oh Oh - I wouldn't have started this thread if I were you.  You are living dangerously.  Watch out. Mr Blacksmith is gonna come in here and then you will be in a world of hurt :)

 
Please visit my website!

www.planetwasabi.com
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mariog7
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Mar 2011
Posts: 210
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano
Grinder: Vario
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 10:50am
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

Yeah, Calblacksmith is gonna reply with his negativity.  It's getting real annoying.

My guess is that the hatred is because the machines are not as reliable as Italian ones, but comparing against those twice the price.  The Brevilles cam make some amazing shots and lattes, just as Mark Prince states.  

My advise is to read as much as you can on the forums and go for what's best for you!
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mariog7
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Joined: 7 Mar 2011
Posts: 210
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Vetrano
Grinder: Vario
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 11:00am
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

Oh, and even more importantly, no matter what machine you go with, fresh coffee no more than 15 days post roast and a quality grinder are even more important!
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,349
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
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Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 11:53am
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

GVDub Said:

... and for what there is to compare it to, calling it the best sub-$500 machine is a lot like calling a Yugo the best sub-$5000 car.

Posted February 15, 2014 link

LOL!

My Uncle bought one many, many years ago. iirc, he took it back to the dealer on the second day and tossed the keys on the manager's desk under his state's lemon law. My second question would have been, "Why did it take you two days?"

 
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ericcomposer72
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Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 56
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Oscar, Silvia, Breville...
Grinder: Vario
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 5:33pm
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

I owned a Breville "Barista Express" (BES 860) for over a year.


After my experience with that, I would also strongly urge people to avoid Breville:


1) After about 6 months, the pump on my BES860 could no longer sustain its full brewing pressure throughout a shot: pressure would dip, brewing would slow, and then suddenly rev up again, making it impossible to get an ideal extraction.

This problem could be something that tends to happen with vibratory pumps--the problem is, Breville's support refused to acknowledge there was a problem; they kept telling me how to "adjust dose and grind" to try to fix the problem. This problem would happen when the coffee was not choking the machine. The only time the pump didn't dip, etc, was when the grind was so coarse that a shot would come out too fast for acceptable espresso. I had to speak with 2 or 3 representatives on multiple attempts. I even sent video documentation to the email address a representative finally gave me. I never got a response, even after following up.

2) The machine started leaking all over the place after just over a year. I'm lucky this problem occured, because they actually acknowledged it. Because it was out of warranty, they offered to send me a "factory remanufactured" model, which I accepted.

I'm happy about this, because I then sold this on eBay the moment I received it ("new in box" Breville items, even factory remanufactured, sell for a decent price on eBay), and upgraded to a Vario/Silvia setup, and now just recently, to an NS Oscar. The "feel" of both of these machines--Silvia & Oscar--as compared to the Breville, feel like the different between a toy and two pieces of professional equipment.



I have heard that customer service at Breville may have a decent track-record at replacing faulty machines (which seem to pop up too often for comfort). However, given my experience with their customer service, I would say that their apparent lack of knowledge and experience of all of the "ins and outs" of espresso brewing and equipment increases the likelihood that you may encounter a problem that they have no experience with, which they may then not even acknowledge as a problem. I wouldn't risk this, or advise anyone else to do so.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Senior Member
CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,450
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
Grinder: Breville Smartgrind,...
Vac Pot: Vintage Silex, Nicro...
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Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 6:12pm
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

frcn Said:

LOL!

My Uncle bought one many, many years ago. iirc, he took it back to the dealer on the second day and tossed the keys on the manager's desk under his state's lemon law. My second question would have been, "Why did it take you two days?"

Posted February 15, 2014 link

I saw one parked in front of a car wash the other day.  It was being used as a billboard to advertise the place.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
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Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 7:14pm
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

frcn Said:

My Uncle bought one many, many years ago. iirc, he took it back to the dealer on the second day and tossed the keys on the manager's desk under his state's lemon law. My second question would have been, "Why did it take you two days?"

Posted February 15, 2014 link

You know why Yugos have rear-window defrosters?  So your hands will keep warm when you have to push it.

/ / / / /

To the OP:  re-read this.  It says it all.

GVDub Said:

Look at your list. Everybody who's speaking glowiingly of it is trying to sell it to you, except for Mark, and for what there is to compare it to, calling it the best sub-$500 machine is a lot like calling a Yugo the best sub-$5000 car.

While a thermocoil might, in theory, be an elegant solution, it has a lot of practicaly problems. It takes very little scale to throw a thermocoil-based machine out of whack, so while a brand new machine might work okay, 6 months down the line will be a totally different story unless you're using non-scaling water and totally on top of all maintenance chores.

The history of Brevile is to make disposable appliances that you replace every couple of years. The users of sites like CG and HB are likely to be looking for machines with a much longer life, which use standard parts so the average service life will be measured in decades, not months. Unless Breville is changing their business model almost entirely for their espresso machines, they are not building them with the intention of having them last.

Just as an example, I've got a 20-year-old Nuova Simonelli Ellimatic. It's an HX machine that can make pro-shop quality shots, and, as long as basic parts like gaskets and shower screens are available, it's probably good for another 20 years. I just bought a Londinium I lever machine, and, though it's a heavy upfront investment,  it's likely to last me the rest of my life, while making spectacular espresso (as long as I feed it properly sourced and roasted beans of the proper grind).

Assuming that the average service ilfe of the Infuser is 3-5 years, in the 40 year projected life of my Ellimatic, you'd go through 8-13 Infusers at $500/ea, or between $4-6.5k.

Posted February 15, 2014 link

One more thing to keep in mind:  most -- but by no means all -- people here are truly and seriously, passionately DEDICATED to espresso.  Sure people come in here and ask about super-automatics, or about Nespresso and pod machines, but the overwhelming majority of the regulars here re passionate about their espresso, and the quality -- in the cup where it REALLY counts -- just isn't there.

And finally, when you say (write),

DTJ Said:

Seattle Coffee Gear even goes so far as to compare it favorably to the Rancilio Silvia (Blasphemy!)

Posted February 15, 2014 link

It's not "blasphemy" at all.  But it is slightly na´ve on your part to think so, and here's why:  The Silvia is far and away the "best known" of "household"/consumer machines.  And it's quite good.  But it hasn't been an "excellent" choice since it was $399 and virtually the only choice around, besides a Gaggia Classic and a Pavoni lever.  Since then, other machines have surpassed it.

Cheers, and no offense intended!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,069
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 Sat Feb 15, 2014, 8:35pm
Subject: Re: Why all the Breville Bashing?
 

Breville
Up until the 900 (BDB) Breville coffee stuff was pretty dreadful, for "in the cup," build quality, service and support.  Did I mention "dreadful?"

The Smart grinder was a half-step in the right direction -- although no good for espresso, it was a helluva value for everything else.  But the 900 kind of turned that around, and it looks like the 920 and 980 Oracle are going to follow in its footsteps.  

We've got a few Breville products in our house, including a Smart Grinder, a panini maker, and a juicer -- they're all pretty good home-kitchen appliances; but there's no mistaking them for real-deal professional quality stuff.  

The Infuser
It seems to me that a lot of folks are pre-judging the Infuser based on Breville's record with the stuff that it made a few years ago.  

Despite the humorous comparisons, in truth, very few of the people in this forum (including me) have any experience with the Infuser at all, and are in no position to judge it for "quality in the cup" or build quality compared to the similarly priced competition -- beyond making an educated guess.  

My experience with espresso machines priced at the Infuser's level, as well as with thermoblock brewers, is they're all pretty darn (wait for it) dreadful.  

Silvia
Given its obsolescence and price, there's no rational case for the Silvia -- at least not compared to competition like the Crossland CC1.  In the context of this thread, that says more about SCG than anything else.

Crossland CC1
As little as you can spend and get an espresso machine which allows you to temp accurately and consistently, and has a group good enough not to get in the way of a good grinder.  Convenient, friendly, loaded with useful features (like pre-infusion), reasonably well built, and VERY high value.  Spending less is false economy.

BDL
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