Buying new, I would buy something better, but yes, I would buy a Breville based on my discoveries. Especially if it was a boiler model not another theromoblock.
Positive Product Points
Solid construction, Clean looks. Not too big in kitchen, Very easy to clean. After making espresso and foam, the puck is nice and firm. No water on top. It taps out in a compacted disk you can pick up and crumble apart with fingers.
Negative Product Points
No steam control - makes getting nice foam tricky and is hard to get steam wand into milk without blowing milk everywhere. takes practice.. Instruction manual was so wrong. Filter basket is rubbish. Too much pressure for no flavour. If you use very fine grounds the pressure undoes the filter and can break mugs.
I got this machine for $10 at a Salvation Army op-shop.
It took me only a couple of coffees to pull out the guts of the portafilter by undoing the screw at the base, to make room for the small basket from one of my Krups machines and tried that. A few changes of grind and I got about 40ml of coffee with about 6ml of foam on top in about 25 seconds. Have tweaked it a little since then by tamping pressure.
Tasted like mud, but looked great! It was also only about 60 deg C, No matter what I did the thing was putting out warm coffee.
I have learned gradually some tricks.
Get the grind right. My Sunbeam Cafe Series 480 grinder uses setting 9 with my favourite over the counter beans for this machine, but setting 7 for the Krups.
Tamp level with the 1 cup mark. And don't tamp too hard. I tamp lightly to level it, then have the basket in the palm of one hand and use the other hand to press. Sort of like some gym exercise.
Run the machine for a while before you use it. Maybe 10 minutes after the red light goes off. ALWAYS run some water through. I run maybe half an inch or a little more of water into the cup, through the portafilter, but with the basket removed. This makes the portafilter HOT, the cup hot, and also gets the water to a decent temperature.
Get a marked cup and measure the amount of coffee being produced in about 25 seconds. Go ahead - waste some beans. Practice until you regularly get 30-45ml in that time. And before you throw the stuff away - taste it! Eventually you'll get something that actually tastes interesting.
Once you have your grinder set, mark it. Once you know how hard to tamp and have something that tastes a bit like espresso, Think about the milk.
I had problems getting the samefine foamy milk that I get out of the Krups. I was getting fine froth, not foam. What I want in my drink is milk that makes the drink taste nice without sugar. And it has to look nice. Semi gloss, no bubbles. Sort of like shiny whipped cream. I want to be able to eat it with a spoon, and be able to turn the spoon upside down and have a ball of this shiny stuff with coffee swirls hanging there.
First trick is to throw away any kind of frothing attachment. The hole in the bottom of the wand is perfect for microfoam. Second is to let the steam heat up. Third is to get a milk thermometer, and use it. I don't use a frothing jug. I use a stainless steel mug from a camping store. About 1/3 full is just enough milk to double in size and heat nicely.
Always make the espresso first. Then set it aside and turn the knob to 'steam'. Then - WAIT !!!. That's right, wait - until the steam is coming out hard and in a dense cloud. You can hear it getting louder as the pump is working. Once it looks about maximum strength, quickly slide the end of the nozzle down the side of the milk container and into the milk, then let the milk start to swirl. There are tutorials on coffeegeek on how to foam milk.
As the milk heats, watch the needle on the thermometer. Shut off the steam when the needle is a few degrees before the red line and hold the container until the bubbles stop.
Set the milk container down, turn the steam on for a moment to clear the hole, then wipe the wand down with a wet cloth.
Do the swirl and tap thing and pour your foam into your coffee.
That's it really, Sorry it is a long story, but I read some negative reviews about this machine, and there are a lot of them available second hand.
I have my coffee strong, but after several months of trial and error, this machine now makes a strong flavoured cappuccino drink that I can drink without sugar. Just the sweetness of the milk, but still a full strong coffee.
I hope this encourages some people that have one of these to mess with it a little before consigning it to scrap or garage sales. main think is to get the temperatures up before you cook, either coffee or milk :-)
Got it from a Salvos Op-Shop, so it cost $10. Can't fault it, but it needed a bit of water through it. It has had a hard life before I got it, but is working like new.