The new standard for espresso machines under $1500.
Positive Product Points
Water tank is easy to fill, has a backlit volume indicator, and an electronic empty signal.. Automatic or manual infusion and pull options. PDI shows temperature at group head.
Negative Product Points
Has to go to a service center to be decalcified. Steam pressure should be higher. Would prefer more metal than plastic, but that would increase the weight and price.
My day to day espresso machine is a Vibiemme single boiler purchased five years ago. I purchased the Breville as a replacement for my Elektra which although beautiful to look at was starting to wear out after ten years. The first thing you notice about the Breville is the electronic layout. Virtually everything can be electronically controlled or overridden. Particularly happy about being able to change the temperature at the group head. Factory setting is 200, I prefer 202. Using a manual 10 second infusion and a 25 second pull, the result is almost identical to the VBM. It's also possible to adjust the automatic settings to your preference rather than pulling manually.
Although the spill tank is relatively small, when the tray is full a little sign floats up through a hole that says 'empty me.'
My only real complaint is the time it takes to froth, about twice as long as the VBM and it never quite gets to the 'power froth' possible with a VBM. Unfortunately one of the few adjustments that cannot be made by the user is the pressure in the steam boiler.
Purchased from Amazon. Arrived two days later in excellent condition.
Three Month Followup
Although I'm still not pleased with the steam pressure, it is possible to get decent froth by following their directions exactly: Leave plenty of room for expansion, use very fresh milk, start with the frothing stick close to the edge and make sure you have a decent swirl before you raise the stick to the edge of the air.
One Year Followup
After a year of practice, I have a process that results in acceptable froth. Open the valve about halfway and hold the milk pitcher at a 45 degree angle and follow all the instructions below and you'll get a decent combination of steamed milk and ample froth.