Well worth $400. Excellent beginner to intermediate machine.
Positive Product Points
Sexy looking, very simple to operate. Very good espresso at a reasonable price.
Negative Product Points
Frothing wand is slow, takes a while to heat up and froth milk. Water gets in the storage area under the tank.
After six months of use I can honestly say I feel great about this purchase. The Breville makes great shots, heats very quickly, and is easy to use. The pump is a little weak when using pods, and it takes a few minutes to heat up the wand to make froth for a mocha, but this is to be expected from a residential machine for $400. Built like a tank, looks good, and is very quiet compared to its competitors. A few good recipes in the owners manual! The wife used to have me make her mocha every morning with our old machine, but she kind of enjoys using the Breville if she has time to. We have made 3-4 drinks a day with it for the last 6 months or so, and I haven't had a temper tantrum yet (fairly common with our old Gaggia pump machine). I really like that its easy to clean. I can't imagine anyone but the pickiest of baristas being disappointed with the Breville.
Williams Sonoma had several machines plugged in and ready to demo before I bought the Breville. That was a HUGE help in deciding which one I wanted to buy. The salesperson wasn't terribly knowledgeable, but I didn't expect her to be.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
Ok, it's been a year since I bought the Breville and it's still going strong and looking great. Took a little while to get over the used grounds not coming out in a dried up "puck", but it doesn't bother me anymore. I've experimented with grinds and beans and came up with a winner for my wife's mochas and the occasional Americana for myself. The frother isn't as slow as I first thought, and I'm more than satisfied with the purchase.