The unit is well built, heavy, definite upgrade from the Cafe Roma.
The boiler responds quickly to initial heating as well as repeat pulls
Easy to clean
Nice eye appeal
Lighted water level
Able to use large cups to capture the espresso
Frothing wand moves out of the way and "over" the tray (unlike Cafe Roma)
Froth is acceptable, but have had better from other machines
The manual is easy to understand - quality printing
Negative Product Points
I use a small 4oz stainless pitcher to catch the espresso. You have to watch it as the vibration will cause the pitcher to move on the tray, missing the espresso
The warming tray takes too long to heat up to be usable
Top scratches - Would have been nice to have a cast top like the new Cafe Roma instead of the burshed stainless
Scoop/Tamper - A nice stainless would have been a welcome addition
No espresso cups and saucers included like the Cafe Roma
I really have nothing but good things to say about the 800ESXL even though there are items in the negative section of the review. The quality of the unit and espresso are excellent. The negative items are more related to the "extra" features that would have brought my Quality rating to a 10 vs 9.
Be sure to remove the porta-filter after each use to allow the seal to relax, avoiding premature failure.
This unit at the same roast and grind was 3 seconds faster than the Cafe Roma and producing less crema. The grind with the Breville Conical Grinder was on the right edge of Espresso for the Cafe Roma and is now set at about two clicks in on the left side of Turkish to get the same results. I suspect that it is the fault of the prota-filter. I emailed Breville 4 weeks ago, resent, and have not heard a word from them. Typical in my dealings with them. My suggestion would be to purchase from a very reliable local vendor who has liberal return policies.
We use the machine 3-5 times a day and expect a long life and relationship. Would I buy it again? Yes, but only from a local, quality vendor.
Breville customer service (lack of) was not used to influence the product rating.
This was the result of a return of my Cafe Roma ESP8XL due to a boiler failure after 6 months. Breville and customer support do not go hand in hand. It was good of Macy's to replace the failed unit with the upgrade (cost me less than $25) as they were out of the ESP8XL. I gladly went for the upgrade. Got that unit home and it leaked all over the table. Returned it and this time got a good one. Macy's is a 10+ on customer service. The buying experience with Macy's is second to none, service with Breville is a 2-.
Included in this buying experiece (due to Cafe Roma failure) I decided to purchase an extended 3 year warranty from Square Trade Warranty for $35. I use them for many of my more expensive purchases - camera, copier, etc.
Three Month Followup
It has been three months and still loving my Breville 800ESXL. My ratings remain the same as do the positive and negative comments. Since I wasn't getting the same crema as with the previous unit, I contacted Breville and d.a.y.s later they told me the problem was the quantity of the extract. I disagree, but dropped the issue, as it really wasn't worth pursuing. I have added a little Robusto to the roast and that helped with the crema and with a little more "kick."
In the beginning I didn't think that the noise was going to be an issue, but it is a little bothersome. It is primarily caused by the vibration of the drip tray and water reservoir. There are inadequate rubber cushions to absorb the pump vibration, and there needs to be more "gripping" so as not to allow the reservoir and tray to move. When the reservoir gets low it can move enough to cause water/steam release tube not to flow into the drip tray. When this happens it will run onto the counter/table.
A co-worker brought in an older Starbucks Barista to the classroom for me to use. I make Lattes for some of our high school admin staff throughout the week. It is much quieter, but does not make near as good a cup as the Breville. Is not nearly as well built and considering at the time it was about $300, not nearly the value of the Breville.
After three months would I buy another? You bet! Would I upgrade to the programmable? Maybe. If Breville made one that was automatic - grind, extract, dispose - I might consider it.
All in all, a fine quality machine with which I am very happy.
One Year Followup
Well, I have no complaints about the performance of the Breville Die-Cast and have had no need to contact Breville. I know that I have made well over 1,000 espresso/lattes and not once has it ever "hiccupped."
Changes I would like to see made:
Quieter - Less vibration
Brushed/Cast top - it gets scratched
The polished stainless tray would be better brushed so not to show scratches
Stainless cups and saucers like come with the Cafe Roma