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Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,468
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 3:50am
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

To build on my first statement, the 840xl is a thermoblock machine, only a small step above a steam toy, I think part of the reason you can't find anything on it is that it really isn't worthy of serious consideration, at best it wets your feet but it will never make quality espresso, there is nothing new about the "new thermoblock"  it simply is a thermoblock, a very unstable device regardless of how they control it. IMHO. I have seen a lot of TB machines and they are a sad rip off for honest people seeking a low cost entry Into a very expensive hobby.

The fact that B has the gall to ask $500 for this machine floors me. The best advice I can give anyone who has bought one is to return it and for the same money buy a machine that CAN make quality espresso.

Vastly better performing machines can be had in this price range. B is hanging bells and whistles out rather than quality in the brew system where quality matters most. Please don't be fooled, you can not buy quality espresso gear at Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond or Macys. And I don't care how many great reviews of these machines you find on Amazon, Amazon is rank consumer driven, not high end or even quality coffee based.

If you found this thread while looking for information about this machine, look at other machines

If anyone continues to own or buy one of these machines, it is now on you,you have been warned.

I am not trying to offend anyone, sometimes the truth hurts. Honest, well meaning people get sucked into poor gear all the time and that goes for any field of hobby or study, not just coffee.

Breville may be able to make a toaster or a blender that will be OK for a while but they are not quality coffee equipment makers. The BDB, continues to be a sore point, many here love their BDBs, even though they may be on their 4th one under warranty. Others have not had any issues... yet. For a long time I took a wait and see stance on the BDB, I now am biased against it, not on an irrational hate for the company but on the devices track record. I also understand how if you spend $1K on something, you hate to give up on it and may overlook small issues, it is natural and normal but if you have not gone down that path yet, don't!

You can not make a Yugo into a Lexus, you can not turn a sows ear into a silk purse, a thermoblock machine is a sows ear Yugo, please don't waste your money.

 
In real life, my name is
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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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,213
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 5:14am
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

john1938 Said:

I am currently using a Breville BCG450XL grinder and have now ordered a Baratza Vario which should be better and I will be able to use the Single wall (non-pressurized} filter baskets. I am putting as much coffee as possible in the double shot pressurized filter basket now and tamping as hard as I can (about 35 lbs.)
I have watched the demo videos on the Breville site so I have some idea of how I should be doing things.
I will update this topic after I receive my new grinder.

Posted August 20, 2013 link

in addition to what Calblacksmith said, you need a digi scale, one that measures to .1 grams. Just packing the basket doesn't really work that way. Vario is an awesome grinder so you should see a difference with the single wall. The BCG450 isn't remotely capable or comparable to the Vario.

Gotta agree with Cal though, I've used this machine with a Preciso and single wall, and the espresso pales vs the normal single boilers in this class like the way cheaper Classic. Mainly b/c the thermoblock isn't temp stable. The original rumors were that it was supposed to be basically a single boiler version of the dual boiler machine, if they did that at this price point that would have been awesome, but they stuck a thermoblock instead. And you need longer warm up then 30 seconds, all thermoblocks and small boilers fet to temp pretty quickly,  but the rest of the machine (heat sucking parts and path way to flow) need to be warmed up as well, 20 min at least.
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,217
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 6:49am
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

What Calblacksmith has said is true. I was here five years ago with a similar experience but a different low end Breville. I through the whole thing in a box and took it back to W&S
and got all my money back. I listened to the people here and was pointed to a few options. Quite honestly because i was trying to save money I passed on
Rancilio Silvia and purchased a Gaggia Classic and Gaggia MDF grinder which is still working everyday like it did for me but my daughter has them both.
Sometimes it isnt what people want to hear but its none the less true with the low end Brevilles.

Click Here (coffeegeek.com)
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john1938
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Aug 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Breville Infuser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 1:02pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Hi Calblacksmith,
I am tamping on a countertop so I can't put my full weight into it, but I did measure it on a bathroom scale and it was over 30 lbs. pressure when I pressed down as hard as I can with my arm. I have found that even using the pressurized filter if I don't tamp hard the puck ends up being mushy instead of nice and dry. I will try the single wall filter when my new grinder arrives and see what happens.
John
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,468
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 1:36pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

John,
I know it isn't what you wanted to hear but the best move you can make is to return the machine and buy something that WILL make good espresso, sorry that this one does not fit the bill but you still have time to get out of this, as you have only had it a week. PLEASE trust us, this is a bad machine to invest any money in.

 
In real life, my name is
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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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 1:51pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

calblacksmith Said:

PLEASE trust us

Posted August 21, 2013 link

In my experience this kind of language is usually a bad sign.

We make effective decisions based on objective evidence, not innuendo or strongly held personal opinions.

If Wayne believes the machine is bad, he can share the reasons why he believes this.  Perhaps he can ask CMIN for ammo, since CMIN appears to be the only person who has actually used the product.

Usually, the way these questions are settled is to do taste tests, preferably blind.  Otherwise, premature conclusions about shot quality are notoriously unreliable.

As an owner with limited experience I can't say for sure what the 840 is capable of.  And I certainly can't speak for others -- that would be irresponsible.  But the machine does make good espresso.

Beware of people who want to convert you to their religion.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,468
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 2:03pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

MJW Said:

Beware of people who want to convert you to their religion.

Posted August 21, 2013 link

Et tu, Brute

It is exactly because of new peoples limited experience that I used the words I did, Your "religion" in this case is an over priced, low quality but high with fancy lights and bells machine.

Thermoblocks do NOT make good quality espresso. I don't need ammunition from anyone, I have been in the hobby for a pretty long time. I have seen fads come and go. I have seen even QUALITY espresso machine makers fail at thermoblock machines, the maker of counter top appliances from A to Z has not discovered the KEY to making a thermoblock work.

I have purchased and used a thermoblock machine made by Expobar, the price was low (an equipment auction from a failed business), the machine was new and not defective and in a sealed box. I had already been using vastly better equipment for some time, as anyone would expect (who has been in espresso for a while) the results in the cup was poor, more or less drinkable but poor none the less.

I used the parts of the brand new machine to rebuild a Sylvia as many parts were interchangeable. It was a much better use of the money spent on the machine. Thermoblocks can not react fast enough to prevent scorching the espresso at the start of the shot and be too cold at the end of the shot, physics, the time is just too short for the mass to adjust. The thermo COIL is nothing more or less than a block of metal with the water running through it, a thermoblock plane and simple.

I do not need to eat dog poop to know that dog poop does not taste good. Likewise, I don't need to have hands on your particular machine to know that the tech behind it just does not work well, sorry if an ox, er religion was gored.

You have been warned, you may choose to ignore the warning, spend your money any place you choose. Perhaps you will never grow from the need for less than competent starter gear, that's fine but when you DO move on if you do, you will understand that the warnings were real. YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
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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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 2:50pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

john1938 Said:

Hi Calblacksmith,
I am tamping on a countertop so I can't put my full weight into it, but I did measure it on a bathroom scale and it was over 30 lbs. pressure when I pressed down as hard as I can with my arm. I have found that even using the pressurized filter if I don't tamp hard the puck ends up being mushy instead of nice and dry. I will try the single wall filter when my new grinder arrives and see what happens.
John

Posted August 21, 2013 link

John I'm sensing that your intent with the hard tamp is to increase pressure.  My suspicion is that the extra weight on the tamping is not going to have much effect.  (The mushy puck is interesting but I have no idea on that...)

I want to emphasize that there are no hard rules when it comes to espresso, and that experimentation such as the kind you're doing is usually encouraged.  By the time the Vario comes you'll be an expert on pressurized baskets and can tell everyone how awful they are!
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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 3:02pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

calblacksmith Said:

You have been warned

Posted August 21, 2013 link

Thanks for your input.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,213
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013, 3:48pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

I really feel that Breville should have done a scaled down pid'd (that's adjustable) single boiler version of the dual at this price point, that would have been very competitive and a good machine at that price point or another $100 or so to undercut the CC1, so priced like $600. I'm not sure why Breville has been so intent on thermoblocks on so many of their entry level machines, when others even a cheap Delonghi use boilers, or even the cheap Saeco Aroma that's popular. If anything it should be extremely easy and cost effective for Breville with their cash and economies of scale that pretty much blow away multiple espresso maker companies combined. Thermoblocks are fine for steaming, my CC1 has a boiler and a separate thermo for steaming, but their just not effective for temps or stability while pulling espresso. Rest of the machine as far as build quality doesn't seem much different then the dual boiler, it's fairly solid. My friend got his from BBB with an employee discount from someone he knows there. He's happy with it though and that's what matters.

John - not sure if you missed my other post but you need to get a digi scaled that measures to .1 grams. So that way you know your dose is right and consistent. Otherwise you may be overdosing by filling the basket up and have other issues like channeling or over extraction if you use the single wall baskets. I got mine cheap off Amazon.
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