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Briel Lido Espresso Machine - Skip Thomsen's Review
Posted: January 10, 2004, 1:07pm
review rating: 6.6
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Briel Lido Espresso Machine
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Arrow The Briel Lido Espresso Machine has 15 Reviews
Arrow The Briel Lido Espresso Machine has been rated 5.81 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Briel Lido Espresso Machine reviews have been viewed 77,125 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Andy Panda 10.00
Skip Thomsen 6.60
Lane Wilkins 6.33
Kevin Johnson 6.00
Joel Stevens 6.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.8
Manufacturer: Briel Quality: 7
Average Price: $130.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $100.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Don't recall Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 1 year Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: For the money, there's nothing comparable.  If you can afford $200, you can do much better.
Positive Product Points

My Dear Bride hates coffee.  I live coffee.  So the purchase of this machine was based upon partner input of "why on EARTH would anyone want to spend $100 on a coffee maker?"

For the money, this is a great machine. It’s been a little over a year now, and my faithful Lido is still cranking out the espressos and caps.  The caps are inconsistent because the frothing capabilities of this machine are marginal, at best.  But the espresso while rarely a “10,” has been at least as good as I get in most of our local coffee houses.

The machine is attractive to look at, well thought out in some areas but not in others (see below).  It is easy to use and to clean up, has a proper-size drip tray that is quick to clean, and the function switches and lights are well marked and intuitive.  Contrary to other reviews, I have experienced no "leaking or puddles."

Negative Product Points

Not much here, except that the frothing capabilities of this machine are pitiful.  Regarding other reviewers' feelings that this unit is good for a year or so and then will need to be replaced, for some reason I cannot figure out, the espresso from this machine does not taste as good as it did when the machine was in its first few months of use.  I cannot discern the off-taste as anything in particular, like bitter, acid or burnt; it just doesn’t have that super-rich flavor we all lust for.  Also, the crema that this machine produced when new was terrific, but that, too is not as it was.  It’s OK now, but certainly not terrific.

I have disassembled the machine, cleaned every orifice, descaled it every few months, and I use only PUR filtered water.  The bottom line: I just ordered a new machine, again under the watchful eye of one in the family who does not drink.

I cannot honestly come up with any particular negative points except for the lousy frother.

Detailed Commentary

I have to start by saying that the only reason I purchased this particular (very inexpensive) machine is there are people in this world whom we love dearly but to whom coffee is clearly not a passionate sensory experience. My Bride is one of them. She has an issue with the price of my “coffee makers.”

Over my year of using the Lido, I have found that the trick to obtaining the best shots possible is to follow a simple protocol – to the letter. If I just start up the machine and expect the little lights to tell me when to make my next move, the result is anywhere from mediocre to undrinkable.

First, I start with a fine espresso grind, done in a Bodum grinder tweaked to the terrific instructions found on this Web site. This grinder, by the way, is often billed as a minimum-standard beginner unit, not suitable for real espresso.  My experience has shown it to be a terrific machine.  Granted, my two or three uses per day do not qualify for heavy-duty, but this has been going on for a year now and the machine shows no signs of wear.  Out of the box, the so-called espresso grind was way too coarse, but with tweaking, you can actually get it too fine, and the way I have mine set now, the grind is perfect and very consistent.

Back to the espresso making, next, turn on the machine, wait until the “OK” light comes on.  Then, without the filter basket in place, I put a cup under the brewhead and run the pump until the light goes off.  Then I install the loaded filter basket and the instant the light comes back on, I make my shot.  This consistently makes a good shot with acceptable crema.

I’ve read in reviews here that the Lido is good for a year or so, and that it makes puddles.  This one has shown no signs of deterioration, except that the pump is a little bit louder now than when new.  There has never been a puddle or a leak.  The frother, in a word, sucks.  It takes too long to come up to temp and when it does, it’s good for about four ounces of milk.  Not an issue with me because except for my first of the day, I drink ‘em straight up anyway. For my first of the day, I’ve gotten into the habit of heating a very small amount of milk in a 6 oz. cup in the microwave and then pouring the espresso into that.  Nothing like a cap, for sure, but it’s a tasty wake-me-up.

Mainly because the machine doesn’t produce the rich espresso it used to anymore, I ordered a replacement. Price was again a deciding factor for the same reasons as outlined above.  After carefully reviewing as much info as I could find on this excellent Web site and others, I decided on a Gaggia Carezza.  In another year, I’ll tell you all about it!

Buying Experience

I don't recall from whom I bought this machine.  I live in Hawaii and have to buy just about everything online. I do recall that the first machine arrived broken in several pieces (the outer carton looked like it had been drop-kicked across the ocean), and the vendor sent a replacement before receiving the broken one back.  Nice touch.

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review rating: 6.6
Posted: January 10, 2004, 1:07pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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