I really enjoy drinking the coffee once I get it to my liking. Better than a cheapo machine. Not as good as a $1,000. one.
Positive Product Points
The stainless steel finish and die-cast lends weight and durability to the Breville 800ESXL. All parts seem to be well built and I had no problems unboxing it and getting it going quickly. Having both Steam and Hot water function will come in handy some day. Comes with large stainless steel pitcher which is a plus. Easy to clean and easy to fill up the water tank.
Negative Product Points
Espresso is not hot enough. Steamer could be more steam, less water. Tray which holds extra parts cannot be reached unless you pull out the water tank and then it's kinda stuck back there. Not a big deal, because like most people, I leave the porta filter, tamper and jug on top when not using them.
My main issue is that the espresso isn't hot enough. Breville says that the temperature should be between 158-187 degrees. I get 146-165 degrees. Although seems to get hotter after first shot. Since I only drink Lattes, my steamed milk makes up for that. It would be nice though to have a hotter cup of espresso. Yes the tamper is plastic, and yes the Crema is forced, but but $140, what do you want? Mine was a refurbished machine, so I'll have to do a follow up on durability over time. Not knowing a lot about pressurized vs unpressurized filter baskets, I may try the unpressurized one. I got my beans from Starbucks and had it ground at about a 5. Seems to be the right consistency but the double filter basket leaves a soppy wet goop instead of a puck. I'm a little perturbed at that but I am biased as I have a $3K machine at work which makes shot after shot after shot perfectly.
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Three Month Followup
as mentioned in my comments, I ended up returning it. I like everything about it except how hot the espresso was. Good or Bad, I now have a Saeco Spidem Villa semi- automatic. It makes great espresso with a touch of a button. fresh grind, tamp and expels puck. $599 retail, i paid $270 refurbished.