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TonyVan
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Joined: 24 May 2010
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Espresso: GS/3, La Pavoni
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Posted Tue Nov 22, 2011, 10:17pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Well Joel, I suppose your original post gave rise to several pages of spirited discussion, which provides its own entertainment value.

But a lot of people spent a lot of time attempting to think through your situation and write out good advice.  It's sad that a re-read of your several posts confirms that the entire pretense was a sham, leading the rest of us on a pointless chase when you were never seriously considering following through.  

The vast majority of contributors to this site are serious enough about coffee to welcome new folks and go above and beyond to provide information and help out. But no one has time for empty exercises: "Oops, my bad!" is always forgiven.  "Never mind, I wasn't really interested" - not so much.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
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Location: Berkeley, CA
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Posted Tue Nov 22, 2011, 10:29pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

joeldamianicigan Said:

If only some of the electronics of the Breville BES900XL could find their way into a higher end "prosumer" machine like the Izzo Alex Duetto II or Rocket Giotto Premium Plus.  I like those machines a lot but they seem to be missing some of the little "bells and whistles" of the Breville BES900XL.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Joel whoever-you-are-now -- ;^) -- perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems that it's the bells and whistles that attract you, and not (necessarily) the quality of the machine.

joeldamianicigan Said:

Since the current Rockets are nearing the end of their life cycle I would anticipate a new machine to be released sometime soon.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Who says?  Rocket is a (relatively new company), a partnership between some New Zealanders and the (now adult) kid of the Italian who started ECM.  ECM decided to focus on their commercial lines, and Rockets came into the marketplace in 2008 or 2010.  While the Giotto and Cellini machines are indeed modeled on the those manufactured by ECM, the Rocket Evoluzione line was just introduced into the US in 2009 or 2010, IIRC.  

joeldamianicigan Said:

I feel I need to hold off until then to make my first purchase of an espresso machine.  I really like the look of an E61 grouphead as well as the polished stainless steel casing.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Interesting . . . it's a very good design, a 50-year old bell (or is it a whistle?).

joeldamianicigan Said:

The PID and menu system of the Izzo Alex Duetto II is commercial in nature and leaves more to be desired.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

But the PID is a whistle (or is it a bell?).

joeldamianicigan Said:

What I mean is that it's not as "user friendly" as the Breville's LCD and designed more for a commercial / "prosumer" application.  Plus, you could get burned if you're not careful with it's placement.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

I can count on one hand the number of times I've burned myself on my espresso machines over the past 35+ years, and have fingers left over.

joeldamianicigan Said:

For most, what ends up in the "cup" is all that counts.  For me, the process of pulling the shot and the aesthetics of the machine itself mean equally as much.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

In the six years I have been posting on this site, I have never said anything even remotely like, "I speak for all of us when I say . . .  Indeed, I usually go out-o-my-way to say "Speaking for myself . . . "  But I'm going to go out on a limb and say, I speak for all of us when I say that, while the end result -- i.e.: what's in the cup -- is indeed the goal, it's the process that counts.  As I (and others) often say, "Enjoy the journey."  After all, if the only thing that counted was the contents of the cup, we could go to a third wave café (well, those of us who have one in the neighborhood), and buy literally a thousand or more drinks before exceeding the cost of the equipment.  No, Joel, it's the process . . .

joeldamianicigan Said:

I like the industrial look of the prosumer machines but wish they included some of the electronics that are geared to the consumer.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

The whole point of a "prosumer" machine is that it fills a niche between "consumer" and "professional."  It is a HORECA (HOme, REstaurant, CAfé) machine -- made with professional (commercial) components, it can be used in a home, but is powerful/durable/tough enough for low(er) volume commercial applications.  

joeldamianicigan Said:

Slayer espresso is supposedly coming out with a machine for the home.  Their commercial machine is pretty awesome as it incorporates a newer technology in terms of temperature profiling.  Perhaps they will release their machine around the time that I will make my decision...

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Hmmmmm . . .  And your overall budget is --

Remember these?

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's capabilities.)
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at ay one time? (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's ability to work continuously.)
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  (This will tell us what you need in terms of a machine's durability.)
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir?
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit?
6)  What is your budget?  Does that include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?

joeldamianicigan Said:

I was told that Rocket should be releasing a new machine sometime in the near future.  Actually, Kat at Seattle Coffee Gear confirmed my notion.  Not sure how reliable that source is but with all this new technology (i.e. Slayer's machine) most companies should jump on the bandwagon and embrace it.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

OK, so you think everyone should "jump on the bandwagon and embrace" the new technology, but you're enamored of the E61 grouphead, which is 50-year old technology . . . I admit it:  I'm confused.

joeldamianicigan Said:

The Breville BES900XL is a nice machine but I'd probably only test it out for 90 days and then return it.  It's not something I'd really want displayed on my granite countertop amidst a Viking range and other high-end industrial appliances.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

OK, most vendors have what's called a "Buyer's Remorse" program, but if I knew you were buying a machine with the idea of using it 90 days and returning it -- which everyone who reads this now knows -- I would either not sell it to you, or refuse to take it back!  But that's me; hopefully vendors out in the real world are nicer and more understanding than I am . . .

joeldamianicigan Said:

I've never seen the machine in person though, only videos and pictures on the Web.  The look of it doesn't impress me much.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Gee, and just a short while ago, you seemed convinced that . . .   Oh.  Wait.

joeldamianicigan Said:

It's features piqued my curiosity...

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Uh, a) that would be "Its" (possessive), not "It's" (a contraction for "It is"); and b) to quote Tony Van,

TonyVan Said:

. . . a lot of people spent a lot of time attempting to think through your situation and write out good advice.  It's sad that a re-read of your several posts confirms that the entire pretense was a sham, leading the rest of us on a pointless chase when you were never seriously considering following through.  The vast majority of contributors to this site are serious enough about coffee to welcome new folks and go above and beyond to provide information and help out. But no one has time for empty exercises: "Oops, my bad!" is always forgiven.  "Never mind, I wasn't really interested" - not so much.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Ah, well, c'est la vie, et bonne chance, but I'm done.

Cheers,
Jason

P.S.  Note that, in the picture, the Elektra is sitting atop a granite countertop.  I drilled two holes through the granite to plumb the machine into the the water supply and drain line.

JasonBrandtLewis: cg.jpg

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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joeldamianicigan
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Posted Tue Nov 22, 2011, 10:58pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

TonyVan Said:

Well Joel, I suppose your OP gave rise to several pages of spirited discussion, which provides its own entertainment value.

But a lot of people spent a lot of time attempting to think through your situation and write out good advice.  It's sad that a re-read of your several posts confirms that the entire pretense was a sham, leading the rest of us on a pointless chase when you were never seriously considering following through.  

The vast majority of contributors to this site are serious enough about coffee to welcome new folks and go above and beyond to provide information and help out. But no one has time for empty exercises: "Oops, my bad!" is always forgiven.  "Never mind, I wasn't really interested" - not so much.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Not sure I understand what you're trying to say here.  What does "OP" stand for anyway?
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TonyVan
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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 1:21am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Great photo and beautiful counter, Jason.  A real pity about those holes though - you may have to cancel that Architectural Digest photo spread.  

Oh - and I guess the Elektra and the K10 are ok too.
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EricBNC
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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 3:12am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Why do these Breville threads start off lovely and then turn into an interesting and lively train wreck - always a lot of good info from the regulars and then some constant pot stirring by a less veteran poster pushing buttons to keep the thread alive.  

In another thread it was asked of the OP (not this OP) why the fuss over something they didn't own or intend to own... just like this thread.

Makes you wonder who has the most to gain from the buzz to help pump out $1,300 machines this holiday season and what lengths they would go to in creating the buzz?

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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calblacksmith
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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 6:16am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

joeldamianicigan Said:

Not sure I understand what you're trying to say here.  What does "OP" stand for anyway?

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Original Poster. The starter of the thread.

 
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Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 8:51am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

joeldamianicigan Said:

If only some of the electronics of the Breville BES900XL could find their way into a higher end "prosumer" machine like the Izzo Alex Duetto II or Rocket Giotto Premium Plus.  I like those machines a lot but they seem to be missing some of the little "bells and whistles" of the Breville BES900XL.  

Since the current Rockets are nearing the end of their life cycle I would anticipate a new machine to be released sometime soon.  I feel I need to hold off until then to make my first purchase of an espresso machine.  I really like the look of an E61 grouphead as well as the polished stainless steel casing.  The PID and menu system of the Izzo Alex Duetto II is commercial in nature and leaves more to be desired.  What I mean is that it's not as "user friendly" as the Breville's LCD and designed more for a commercial / "prosumer" application.  Plus, you could get burned if you're not careful with it's placement.

Posted November 22, 2011 link

Out of curiosity, what electronics would you wish to see on the Duetto that the BDB has?   Both have dual PIDs already.   The BDB is volumetric, the Duetto isn't.....but that's not a place for feature creep but a result of the intended design, the Duetto is a Levetta group semi, which includes "free" manual pre-infusion if plumbed.  The BDB is a volumetric auto with PPI.   The two feature sets are just different machines, just like how the GS/3 is available as a paddle ("levetta") or an auto volumetric with PPI.  I don't think that's a matter of features that could be transplanted, but a comparison of two very different machines, both desirable in features.  By contrast the Vivaldi is volumetric, one of the biggest differentiators between the Vivaldi and the Duetto.

I'm not sure about the user friendliness issues with the Duetto, Silvano, etc (all use the same Gicar PID module.)  It's no more complicated...no...less complicated than a household thermostat.  Press both buttons to set, then press up or down to set temp.  I'm not sure what an LCD readout could help with for setting the temps.  The LCD is more useful for the volumetric timer and PPI timers, which don't apply to a lever group.  

The Vivaldi on the other hand....I'd agree.  The LED lamps are a bit obscure.  An LCD display on there would be a great upgrade.

And...getting burned....well yes, that's a risk with an E61 machine.  But E61 machines aren't the only group design out there.


Slayer espresso is supposedly coming out with a machine for the home.  Their commercial machine is pretty awesome as it incorporates a newer technology in terms of temperature profiling.  Perhaps they will release their machine around the time that I will make my decision...

If Slayer comes out with a home machine that will be very interesting, especially seeing where it's price point will come out.  I'd be surprised if it was any cheaper than a GS/3 unless it really cuts down on all the goodness that makes a Slayer a Slayer.  But it's something to look forward to seeing!  


EricBNC Said:

Why do these Breville threads start off lovely and then turn into an interesting and lively train wreck - always a lot of good info from the regulars and then some constant pot stirring by a less veteran poster pushing buttons to keep the thread alive.  

In another thread it was asked of the OP (not this OP) why the fuss over something they didn't own or intend to own... just like this thread.

Makes you wonder who has the most to gain from the buzz to help pump out $1,300 machines this holiday season and what lengths they would go to in creating the buzz?

Posted November 23, 2011 link

Indeed it's sad....it's a bad triple cocktail of a Holiday release with extensive marketing, a desire by those who have been lured by that marketing who have little knowledge of the rest of the offerings to want to come here to verify that it is indeed the revolution of espresso they believed it to be (and the resulting desire to ferociously defend that belief once they find out it's not quite that simple, since they already decided to buy it and don't want to feel like they're buying something other than "the single best machine near its price point by a wide margin"), and I imagine an unhealthy dose of "social marketing" which companies like Breville hire sleazy PR firms who are skilled at "social marketing" to handle for them.  (In marketing circles "social marketing" means "leveraging the synergy of Web 2.0 to harness the power of social media".  In all other circles it means "people who are paid to promote a certain idea while pretending they aren't someone paid to promote a certain idea.  See also: deceit and "people who are making sales calls while claiming it's not a sales call, but an opportunity!".  Also see: "It's not insurance, it's peace of mind!" :) )  

Note that for point #2, that comes both from observation and experience.  I didn't always have "Mr. Shiny", and that impulse to defend the machine you previously thought was the best possible and so far above its price when you find out that it isn't a clear winner and that there's a lot more to consider and debate, is almost instinctual.  I know I've done it in the past, and I'm sure most of us have.  It's just hard to observe in large doses centered on a single product :)  Especially when mixed with the clear presence of the instigators of #3.  But it's all too easy to run down a feature checklist of a GS/3 and a BDB and say "it's got all the same things, those snobs just want shiny metal things and think they're better because of it, but my machine is just as good."  Especially when evaluations show that out of the box, it IS pretty good in terms of brewing, it makes it so very hard to separate what other considerations there are to make.

Note that for point #3, I'm not highlighting any specific posters here, nor do I have any in mind....I just suspect that somewhere, somehow that plays a big part in the mood, whether in this thread or not.  There's no need for anyone to get defensive on that topic, it wasn't directed at anyone.  Unless you ARE someone paid to be here, in which case feel free to protest all you'd like and reveal yourself :)  

But I agree the attention of the BDB is getting annoying at best because of the direction the threads take, and the sheer and sudden volume of them.  I understand and can tolerate part of it....I was there once.  But there's more to it than that, and we're not talking about true consumer priced machines still.  If it were a $600 machine, I'd probably join the chorus.  At $1100+ it's far from "best thing to happen to espresso" status.  We already had excellent machines at $1100 and it's still out of reach of anyone that those machines were already out of reach for for the past 20 years.  The way these discussions go one would think it's the first solid performing machine at that price point.  That alone is a good indication that not all hype in that direction is genuine consumer interest, or at least genuine consumer interest that hasn't already been skewed by the powers of suggestion by those who are paid to suggest.

"Social marketing" as an acceptable medium is one of the most despicable things to happen to human decency since the rise of P.T. Barnum.  Everybody loses except the marketeer.
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frcn
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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 9:53am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

TheMadTamper Said:

But I agree the attention of the BDB is getting annoying at best because of the direction the threads take, and the sheer and sudden volume of them.  I understand and can tolerate part of it....I was there once.  But there's more to it than that, and we're not talking about true consumer priced machines still.  If it were a $600 machine, I'd probably join the chorus.  At $1100+ it's far from "best thing to happen to espresso" status..

Posted November 23, 2011 link

I am skeptical concerning this machine, and the massive amount of positive comments on a machine that is so new and so radically divergent from what this company has done in past years is, indeed, enough to make one take a step back and reconsider. There is enough evidence to show that this machine is not aimed at the sort of audience which populate these various coffee boards.

Joel's original post stated, "Seems like they pack a whole lot into this package and include features like preinfusion and temperature control that a newbie really wouldn't fiddle with." That has to be a first for just about any post concerning "real" espresso machines I have seen in the eleven years I have been frequenting these various forums. It is the sort of comment that would more likely be seen where someone is shopping for their first machine and asks, "Do you think the $500 Saeco super auto machine will be OK for me? I just want to push a button to make espresso and not fool around with all that tamping and grinding stuff." It reflects the new audience that this machine has generated.

"Who needs a temperature control on the stove? Dinner will be ready when the smoke alarm goes off."

 
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 11:19am
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

frcn Said:

I am skeptical concerning this machine, and the massive amount of positive comments on a machine that is so new and so radically divergent from what this company has done in past years is, indeed, enough to make one take a step back and reconsider. There is enough evidence to show that this machine is not aimed at the sort of audience which populate these various coffee boards.

Posted November 23, 2011 link

It's certainly always a possibility that a company decides to seek a new market and builds a product of a completely different level than their normal products which would make comparisons to their former products meaningless.  In this case however, what I've seen of the inside and outside, indicates it is not a divergent product for a new market but a similar build of product with additional features; features which happen to appeal to a different market, but the machine itself still seems to be built with the same materials and methods as their previous products.  The fact that anyone is debating that it sketchy at best.  It's fine to compare it feature wise, price wise, performance wise, etc to other machines in and above its price class.  But there's too much pretending it's the SAME class of machine as much more sturdily built machines, and not enough evaluating of what it is (a compromise of build for features not usually available at this price point, at the same price point as other machines without those features but built more sturdily.)  And to ignore the patently obvious which should be part of the debate going through the mind of someone evaluating what espresso machine to dump over a grand on is folly and hints at disingenuous motive somewhere in the conversation.

My paper cup does a fantastic job of bringing my megalattemericano with me each day.  In fact it does the job I need it to do better than my luxury triple glazed, 1/4" thick, handmade cafe cups that have no lid and are quite small.  However after using it and washing it for 6 months, I don't think it will still perform properly, while my cafe cups will still be identical to when I bought them.  In the long run, the paper cups are much more expensive than the luxury cups and don't look nearly as nice.  But they're still the correct purchase for what I need them to do.

(Both as a testament to the durability of shiny machines and to the usefulness of paper cups, I'll also add that the paper cup, if dropped on the nose of the group head from the cup tray, won't shatter into a thousand pieces and leave a teeny tiny ding in the chrome of the group head that gnaws at me every shot I pull despite being so tiny I have to stand in the right light to see it, either.....just saying...) ;)   Those cafe cups have abused the Duetto twice now....one cup suffered a minor (VERY) minor chip in the platinum, and the cup tray is spotless....the other...the cup landed on the group, shattered completely, the group has a very VERY tiny ding on the top.  I'm sure it'll get worse injuries someday when struck with a PF accidentally or something :P ) From what I've seen of the BDB's facade, and having in my possession other Breville appliances with that same facade, it would not escape with such minor cosmetic blemishes under that kind of abuse.... :) It would walk away looking quite damaged. These are heavy cups....

Joel's original post stated, "Seems like they pack a whole lot into this package and include features like preinfusion and temperature control that a newbie really wouldn't fiddle with." That has to be a first for just about any post concerning "real" espresso machines I have seen in the eleven years I have been frequenting these various forums. It is the sort of comment that would more likely be seen where someone is shopping for their first machine and asks, "Do you think the $500 Saeco super auto machine will be OK for me? I just want to push a button to make espresso and not fool around with all that tamping and grinding stuff." It reflects the new audience that this machine has generated.

Perhaps, but what I don't understand is in what way it generated a new audience.  An $1100 machine to make great espresso has existed for quite some time.  Those seeking excellent espresso have found these machines and have decided if $1100 is something they can afford for coffee or not.  The price point has long been the barrier to great espresso, or at least doing it without the pain of an SBDU.  The BDB doesn't change this equation even slighty.  It's in the same price class as "moving to serious espresso" machines have always been.   It doesn't change the barrier to entry at all in the way the CC1 attempts to do.  

The only thing it has done is present the CONCEPT of high-end espresso to people who were previously unaware of high-end espresso.  It didn't change the price barrier at all.  People that never thought of searching online for espresso machines and thought Krups was as high end as it got short of $10k commercial machines, find the BDB and think it's the first time a "professional type espresso machine" has been within reach.  They decide to reasearch it to hear the buzz online before dumping that kind of money on it.  They read some stuff, arrive here, find out there's other machines in that price class.  Then the defensive mode kicks in since there's already time and energy associated with the BDB.  But that certainly can't account for the veracity of the defenses entirely.  Thus the skepticism about source.  

But I think there's a darker thread to all the discussion and defense of it that I mentioned in the "It's arrived" thread.  While not DIRECTLY stated in most discussion the underlying foundation of the "it's the best" and "it changes the game and price point equation" is a resurrection of the age-old "DB is better than HX" argument.  In few places regarding the BDB is that said outright.  But if you boil down the arguments of the defenders, at least the legitimate ones, it comes down to an assumption and belief that, since DB is better than HX, and the BDB is half the price of the nearest DB, then the BDB is the best machine for it's price because everything else priced near it is "only" HX. That kind of thinking arises both from tacit assumption, and explicit suggestion via marketing.

Taken on it's own, it's benign.  If BDB buyers believe DB is best, no problem.  People buying Lineas likely feel that way as well.  But because of the wave of new interest in high-end home espresso the new awareness is generating, that's a dangerous false belief to be allowed to be fostered without recognizing and addressing it.  It risks infecting "group consciousness" with a false reality, undermining what all the collected experience of the members of CG, HB, CS, etc has done for home, and even commercial espresso at large.  It could also encourage newcomers to high-end home espresso to buy a machine that's wrong for them because they felt they "should" because it's somehow "better" in a way they don't yet understand.

Re-read many of the posts in the collected threads.  It may even be subconscious to some of the new members.  But that's the foundation of the arguments for the BDB in many cases.  That doesn't mean the BDB may not be the right choice for them personally, so long as they understand WHY it's the right choice for them and what the tradeoffs are, and they're not relying on blind obedience to numbers or in this case, letters, to tell them what to buy. Fact, debate of pros and cons, and observation of realities have been clouded by passion and hope where the BDB is concerned.  And quite possibly paid debaters.


"Who needs a temperature control on the stove? Dinner will be ready when the smoke alarm goes off."

LOL
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011, 1:24pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES900XL Best For Pricepoint
 

Random thoughts.

TheMadTamper Said:

It's certainly always a possibility that a company decides to seek a new market and builds a product of a completely different level than their normal products which would make comparisons to their former products meaningless.

Posted November 23, 2011 link

Yes, but in any event, the consumer -- aware of that company's previous reputation -- would (probably; at the least) exercise some caution.  If nothing else, it is a new venture for the company . . .

TheMadTamper Said:

In this case however, what I've seen of the inside and outside, indicates it is not a divergent product for a new market but a similar build of product with additional features; features which happen to appeal to a different market, but the machine itself still seems to be built with the same materials and methods as their previous products.  The fact that anyone is debating that it sketchy at best.  It's fine to compare it feature wise, price wise, performance wise, etc to other machines in and above its price class.  But there's too much pretending it's the SAME class of machine as much more sturdily built machines, and not enough evaluating of what it is (a compromise of build for features not usually available at this price point, at the same price point as other machines without those features but built more sturdily.)  And to ignore the patently obvious which should be part of the debate going through the mind of someone evaluating what espresso machine to dump over a grand on is folly and hints at disingenuous motive somewhere in the conversation.

Posted November 23, 2011 link


In the FWIW Dept., and speaking only for myself, while I have often attempted to steer people away from buying previous models of Breville espresso machines, I have not so with this new BES900XL.  Rather, I've admitted my skepticism and said "it's too soon to know" (or words to that effect) and "who knows, a year from now, it (my opinion) may be different."

As always, YMMV; it's my 2˘, and no doubt worth far less . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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