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Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
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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 Mon Sep 16, 2013, 5:32pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Well, I finally received my new Baratza Vario grinder and the problem I was having getting a good reading on the Pressure gauge on my Breville Infuser is solved. I am now using the single wall non-pressurized  double shot filter basket and am able to get the needle to go to the top end of the grey espresso range on the pressure gauge when my grind is too fine. I am still in the process of dialling in the correct grind but I only started to-day so I am sure it will be good when I get it figured out. My last attempt put the needle between the two screws on the gauge which is close to the middle of the grey area on the scale and the time for the extraction was about 23 seconds so I think I am getting pretty close.
I am enjoying the cappuccinos that I am making now and am quite happy with the Infuser so far.
John
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MJW
Senior Member


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

Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Thanks for the update, John.  I agree anywhere between the screws is close to the right pressure.  Have you read Jim Schulman's guide to espresso?  I bet if you search you will find it on home-barista.com.

Jim recommends stopping the shot at the "blonding point", which is the point at which the pour just starts to turn watery.  It's difficult to pinpoint but the key is, the timing is not as critical as the blonding point.  (It does help to keep the shot time under 30 s, according to Illy.

You can save a lot of shots this way.  For example I pulled a shot that just dripped and went for 50 seconds before I finally stopped.  Way too slow, but it tasted OK.  The ones that go too fast never taste good to me.

I also picked up a lot of tips watching Heather Perry and other WBC champions pull shots, and just observing what they do.
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apinstein
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville 840XL
Grinder: Breville 800XL
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 8:16pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Glad to find this thread! I got my 840 about a year ago for only $335 from Amazon, free shipping. Hard to complain about that. Was my first real espresso machine, took me a good week or two to finally pull a decent shot but now I seem to be able to do it without thinking. Been using it without a filter, but with filtered water. Cleaning regularly, de-calcifying regularly. Been a great machine. I was a bit worried about reliability but they seem to have worked things out with their newer thermoblock design. My only complaint is that I don't notice when I'm low on water, a sensor or front-facing window would've been nice.
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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 Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:15pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Hi MJW,
Thanks for telling me about Jim Schulman's guide to espresso. I hadn't read that before but I have now and found it very informative and interesting.
I think i have the right equipment now and just need to practice some more and I will be getting perfect shots of espresso at least in my opinion. My creme doesn't seem as good as it should be yet.
John
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MJW
Senior Member


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

Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:35pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Thanks for the warm introduction Alan.  Yes I'm a little nervous about finding parts if the machine breaks down, but the feel of this machine is excellent.  My complaint is the pointless handle on the water tank.  But I find brewing and steaming both easy.

Oh and the pressure gauge with no numbers!  In reality the gauge is almost as useful because you can learn where 8-10 is.  But I have to wonder at the decision making process. :)
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MJW
Senior Member


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

Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:48pm
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Hi John, you're welcome.  If you're comparing the "height" of crema to videos, one thing I can say is that it is common on the West Coast, and in youtube videos, to dose high, around 21 grams, and pull a ristretto that is very "foamy".  This results in an unbalanced shot that is very sweet and impactful.  They also get almost all crema during the pour.

The Italian standard 14-16 gram dose will lead to a bit less crema partly because of the finer grind necessary at that dose.

Different blends give different amounts of crema also.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
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 Tue Sep 17, 2013, 11:43am
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

Well no, the SS in either of my machines would supply enough Stainless foil for at least 20 Breville machines.  The extensive use of plastic takes the place of more sturdy materials thus the Breville is much lighter in weight and duty.

Brass is also available in a non lead version if that bothers you, check the lable of any brass fitting in a big box store. The lead was only added to aid in machining, it has not been in food contact brass for quite a while.

 
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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lv1
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2010
Posts: 12
Location: PA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Sirena
Posted Thu Sep 19, 2013, 4:59am
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

calblacksmith Said:

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.

Posted August 21, 2013 link

I am considering buying a machine in this price range or less.  On paper the specs look good on this Breville.  PID, 4 filter baskets, 54 mm portafilter.  By the way the heater is not thermoblock but a coil heater.  Would you consider that better?  By the way my previous machines have been the Starbuck Sirena (Saeco) and Via Venezia and I use non-pressurinzed portafilters, do my own ginding with Baratza Vario.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
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 Thu Sep 19, 2013, 6:25am
Subject: Re: Breville BES840XL Owner's Thread
 

lv1 Said:

I am considering buying a machine in this price range or less.  On paper the specs look good on this Breville.  PID, 4 filter baskets, 54 mm portafilter.  By the way the heater is not thermoblock but a coil heater.  Would you consider that better?  By the way my previous machines have been the Starbuck Sirena (Saeco) and Via Venezia and I use non-pressurinzed portafilters, do my own ginding with Baratza Vario.

Posted September 19, 2013 link

Thermo block, thermo coil, are the same thing. A block of metal with a hole in it. Water passes through the hole. The block of metal is heated by a heater, in this case an electric one. Thermo block machines are widely known to not perform well, they just changed the shape and name but the process is the same.

On a SBDU or below and a DB machine you will gain a lot with a PID, HX, not so much but that is not the question.
Paper and real life quite often are not the same thing. 54 mm is a non standard PF and so you are locked into their components. If that does not bother you then that is not an issue but aftermarket parts, baskets, naked PF etc will be harder to get or impossible to get, again if those things do not bother or are not a concern to you  then it does not matter.

Getting a great shot from a smaller PF is possible but harder than it is on standard size PF. As you have had a Saeco, you may be fine here, a personal choice for sure.

Your grinder is fine.

There is no free lunch. Price, Features or Durability pick two, you can not have all three.

A personal pick but a little higher price range, I would take a hard look at the CC1. It uses a thermoblock for steaming which is a good use for it and it works well in that application. It has a boiler and  PID and it has proven to be a quality machine with very few issues.

Another good machine but without the PID is the Le lit pl041 though it has a 57mm pf.  
Click Here (www.1st-line.com)
It is a little lower in price than the 840 machine and has also proven to be a solid performer. A DIY kit for a PID can be done for under $100 if you are handy. Auber offers a lot of parts and kits as do other retailers. I have personal use from Auber and can recommend them but they are not the only place in town for sure. 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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