This is a beautiful machine which seems (seemed) extremely well built. I've made my family some cappuccinos with it, but mostly just espressos for myself, twice a day. My drinks were very fast to make (faster than brewing coffee) and the machine was very easy to clean, and also to add water into. To me, every espresso I made was delicious. This machine has a pressurized portafilter, which probably gives newbies like me more consistent results, but, I think because of that, it leaves a wet puck: hard to knock out, though no real trouble for me.
The problem is, after using it for five weeks, something went drastically wrong inside the machine. It's as if a pipe came loose inside, and now it is unusable. As per my owner manual I called the USA service number at 1-866-BREVILLE; I have since called multiple times. I have never gotten through to a live Breville person. All I ever get is a recording that says they are open 8-5 PST M-F, and "if I get a recording", leave my name and number and they will call back "soon". So I did that, yesterday, at 11:45 AM PST. I was disappointed when 5:00 came around, with no return call. Now it is well past 5:00 of the next day, and still no call! So, I returned the machine to the store tonight. I don't like being treated as if I am at the manufacturer's mercy, which I kind of would be if I wasn't able to return it. This morning on one of my calls, I pushed "0" at the end of the message. I got an operator who identified her company by some unfamiliar acronym. I asked for Breville Service and she said "who?". I repeated it, and she thought for a moment and put me through to another number. Then I got another, but different, Breville recording. I left my name and number again, but no call back. Before buying anything from Breville in the USA, I'd suggest you call this number and judge for yourself if you'd be happy with the service department.
I don't know what to replace this machine with (help!). I don't want a fully automatic because it seems like those would not only be even more breakable, but would remove me further from what others here might call the true espresso-making experience. This machine was just right... until it broke.
It is now day 4 of my attempt to reach Breville. (Though all there is to do now is tell them "too late".) They finally returned my call, at 8:19 AM this morning -- well before I get in to work naturally! No apology for my broken machine; just this message, in somewhat of a sing-songy delivery (initials changed): "Hello there, this is AB from Breville. I just wanted to return your phone call and answer any questions you might have. Uh, feel free and call us if you need anything at 866-273-8455. Hope you're having a great day. Buh bye." Guess what, that number is the same 866-BREVILLE number where my call for help sat for nearly 4 days! Very disappointing. All I can say is, ba-a-ad company (in my opinion).