Really enjoy the Breville 800ESXL, needs a modifaction and a courser grind but would recommend to anyone.
Positive Product Points
The Breville looks great. For the money, the espresso is great. Overall it is a very good machine.
Negative Product Points
It needs a new basket to give good shots.
I bought this machine for my wifes birthday, and used this site to help me pick it out. I hope that I can add to the information about the Breville to help anyone else who is looking to buy an espresso machine. First, don't pay $399 for it. I think the machine is worth it when you compare prices of similar machines though. You can find the machine cheaper, I bought it new so I don't about the refurbished machines. There is a modification that is NEEDED. The unpressurized basket is a must, the one recommended by Randall Ehren works great and is only $7.99. The basket fits great, like it was made for the portafilter. Here is the model and web site. (Model: MS-0907163 - www.krupsonlinestore.com). I've noticed other reviews say that the basket is hard to find, not true. Krups online sometimes says that it is "out of stock," this only means it takes longer to ship, not that it is unavailable so you can still order it. Another common gripe is about the tamper that comes with it. It isn't the best so think about getting another, 50mm is a good size. I think 51mm will work also. I bought mine locally, it was hard to find, the big chain stores don't have them so try online. They can get really expensive so look around. I paid $15 for mine and am very happy with it. One thing that I didn't find in the reviews was grind. I don't own a grinder and don't plan on buying one for awhile. If you watch the video from Breville about how to work the machine it talks about grind, and says the grind can't be too fine or too course, pretty vague. I found this to mean it must be more course than a normal espresso grind. I buy espresso form the Starbucks near my house, normally when asked to grind beans for espresso the baristas set the grinder at 3. This is too fine. Ask for the grinder to be set at 4 1/2. This was the most important step in getting good shots for me. I think 5 might work but 4 1/2 is good. The baristas told me a 5 setting is used for cone filter coffee machines. My wife worked at Starbucks when we were undergrads and said that all the Starbucks she knows of use the same grinder, so the settings should be the same everywhere. Once the unpressurized basket was in place and I got the grind right the shots have been great. -good luck-
I bought it new from amazon, and have had no problems.