I have never been so sorry to return a product in my entire life. We had had Krups cappuccino maker for about 5 years before the handle broke. I almost did a jig when it did, because this meant I got to upgrade to the beautiful Breville one. I honestly hadn't even thought that it might not work or make good coffee.
So, I got it home, and made my first cup of coffee. Sure, it had a nice crema, but it was weak! Then I decided to try again. Only pulling it out there was a soupy mess, rather than the puck that I got even from my Krups one. I tried various things to see what could be done, then went online to see what I was doing wrong.
I later found a card that said "it's supposed" to be like that. And, if I didn't want it that way, I could grind it more coarsely. Well, I didn't think that sounded right. But, I went online to check and see if perhaps all this time I'd been grinding my coffee too finely. Turns out, as expected (and as I'm sure everyone on this site knows), you are supposed to grind espresso very finely if you want a strong espresso. Well, at that point I packed it up and returned it. I have never tried so hard to justify something.
But, then I was in a huge pickle. All my research had made me see the light, realize that I might as well have been living in a cave drinking the espresso from my Krups cappuccino maker (which still tasted better than the Starbucks down the street). I felt like I was never going to be be able to have a decent cup of coffee at home unless I spent 20 minutes making it, or $1500 on coffee machine and conical burr grinder.
I found a light at the end of the tunnel though--Saeco's Easy. It has an integrated conical burr grinder, plenty of flexibility to make it stronger and weaker and, as the name implies, EASY!! the coffee's great, and 3 minutes after I turn it on I have a perfect cappuccino. After looking at the specs for the higher end Saeco's, too, it appears that this is pretty much the same in terms of all of the internal plumbing, just doesn't have all of the pre-programming ability. But, since I don't change my drink, this is great for me. Plus, at $500, it's an absolute bargain when you consider that I was going to buy a grinder and a Rancilio or Gaggia espresso maker. I have had it for about 6 weeks, and my espresso consumption has gone up substantially. I did worry about writing a positive review though, because I worry that the moment I do, it will break. Keep your fingers crossed.
At any rate, DON'T buy the Breville.