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Breville Cafe Roma - Patrick Armstrong's Review
Posted: July 11, 2007, 12:34am
review rating: 7.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Breville Cafe Roma ESP8XL
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Arrow The Breville Cafe Roma has 41 Reviews
Arrow The Breville Cafe Roma has been rated 7.19 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since April 5, 2006.
Arrow Breville Cafe Roma reviews have been viewed 278,516 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Ben Egger 10.00
Charles Gauthier 10.00
Don Ferron 9.00
Marc Tischler 8.50
Dean W 8.33

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.2
Manufacturer: Breville Quality: 8
Average Price: $249.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $180.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Sears Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 year Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: Just starting Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Innova arc
Bottom Line: Works for me
Positive Product Points

Everything seems to work well and it appears to be well made and durable.

Negative Product Points

Haven't seen any (except portafilter for which see below)

Detailed Commentary

I'm new to the game and not inclined to go the full coffee geek route of devoting the rest of my life and all my savings to making coffee. This thing makes espresso, cappuchino and latte that seems as good to me as what I would get elsewhere and quickly too.
The portafilters are double walled and I have occasionally had the problem that the tiny final hole, through which everything has to go, has become plugged. Someone suggested drilling out this hole so as to make it a little bigger. Most of the time I use another filter that I had from an earlier machine.
I find the steam pressure is good (takes a little time to get going and some water at first). I don't use the included rubber tip thingee often and prefer to surf the milk without it and make OK foam. The espresso is pretty consistent (but move your cup out of the way when you're done because the machine continues to emit some  water after turning it off).
I will probably buy another one for the cottage (after the recent failure of the much more expensive Innova Arc) because I can buy another for about twice what the repair on the Arc will cost and, frankly, I always thought the Breville did a better job anyway.
As a nice bonus, the box includes everything you need except coffee and electricity. I gather from the reviews that Breville has improved some details and added cleaning tools to the box in the latest variants.
Obviously this doesn't compare with the super duper machines but it looks like the place to start.

A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER

I did buy a second for the cottage and got the new improved version. The changes are that the top is slightly roughened (I don't know how else to put it -- it's not the smooth SS that the rest of it is) and I suspect that this will prevent the very slight discolouring that cups that are a bit wet produce. The steam wand now moves horizontally and the tip is slightly different in design (and they've stopped bothering with the rubber doohickey). I haven't noticed any performance difference yet, but it's early days. The portafilter now has a spring to hold the basket in, replacing the slider on the earlier model. Bought again at Sears, again on sale for about the same price as the first the year before and about one and a half times what repairing the Innova Arc would have cost. The box also includes a little tool with a pin for the steam wand and a very small pin for the single holes on the bottoms of the filters. Breville obviously listens to its customers and reads sites like this.

Buying Experience

Sears -- waited for it to come on sale and picked it up.

Three Month Followup

I make 5-6-7 coffees a day and each machine still functions as well as it did: nothing is broken, weak or wobbly. I am getting better at making micro foam. The portafilters haven't plugged. I'm still happy.
BTW the top of the second is aluminum and doesn't suffer from the slight markings the SS top gets from wet cups.
Purists will object to the medium-power steam and the fact that the pucks are often sloppy. But (I was just in Italy and drank lots of coffee there) the espressos and cappuccinos these machines make taste good to me. I think this is a good machine to start on and for many to stay with.

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review rating: 7.3
Posted: July 11, 2007, 12:34am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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