Breville is an Australia-based home appliance company that specialized in blenders, coffee machines and toasters.
Breville initially started off by making radios and mine detectors during the era of the World Wars. However, after the war, they directed their attention to making home appliances.
The Breville ESP8XL is one of the crowning achievements of Breville’s espresso machine lineup. It is an attractive yet sturdy machine that is perfect for use in both commercial and home settings. It has a stainless steel body, which serves an aesthetic as well as a utilitarian function.
The machine keeps the consumer market in mind, and delivers quality consistently. This machine is compact and is designed to perform like the bigger, commercial machines.
Its ergonomic design is stunning, and every button can be operated with just one hand. This puts the Breville ESP8XL into the top tier of one of the best espresso makers on the market.
The Breville ESP8XL is priced at a modest price for an espresso maker. For the robust set of features that this machine comes with, the price range is quite appropriate.
15 Bar Pressure System:
Pressure is one of the most important determinants of the flavor of an espresso. Only when the water is adequately pressurized, it can efficiently “pull through” a shot to make a strong cup of espresso.
There is a misconception that higher pressure equals a better coffee. This is not true, as with higher pressure, the coffee is usually over-extracted and becomes extremely bitter. This can completely ruin the flavor profile of the coffee, leaving the bitters to dominate.
On the other hand, when the pressure is too low, the coffee can be flat and weak, tasting like hot water. There needs to be at least 8 bars of pressure for the coffee to taste like anything but hot water!
However, most coffee aficionados have reached a consensus regarding the appropriate coffee pressure. And that is, 15 bars! 15 bars of pressure is the precise pressure level that lets you extract a flavorfully balanced cup of coffee.
The Thermoblock system is one of the most revolutionary innovations in the field of espresso machines. It has completely changed the brewing process by saving time and making the espresso machine a versatile product.
This system is seen in home espresso machines as well as some commercial machines. The thermoblock is made up of a coil, which instantly heats water to a fixed, unchanging temperature. It can heat up water in a few seconds, saving you a lot of time, and making it much better than having a boiler in the machine.
The thermo block can also efficiently manage heating and divert it to two channels: one for the steamer and one for pulling the espresso shot.
By doing this, the machine becomes versatile as it can also froth milk. The Breville ESP8XL’s steamer, in fact, is one of the best on the market and gives you consistent, barista-grade frothing every single time.
Dual-wall filter system:
As mentioned before, Breville ESP8XL lets you divert water at two junctions: one for pulling the shot of espresso, and the other for the frother.
This is done to increase the utility of the machine and significantly reduce the time required to make a cup of coffee. You can now brew coffees and make art with your frother just like the baristas!
The dual-wall filter system is also separated by insulation, which ensures that there is no temperature fluctuation and that the water is contained at a fixed temperature. The dual chambers also never come in contact with each other, which ensures that the water does not mix.
The machine also comes with a froth enhancer, which can be attached at the end of the frother. This ensures that the micro foaming is easier, and adds a great texture to the milk. This is done through directed steam which is more precise when the froth enhancer is added to the machine.
This makes your espresso look like something straight out of an established cafe, giving you a lot of room to improve your latte-art skills!The froth enhancer also lets you create a lot of froth very easily, letting you manage just the right amount of head that you may be looking for in your coffee.
The bubbles produced when the froth enhancer is attached are finer and the milk is extremely smooth, making it the perfect companion for your espresso, latte and cappuccino needs!
Removable drip tray:
The removable drip tray will is easy to clean and remove, and can be washed in a dishwasher. This tray can hold a full cup of coffee, which is a blessing in case of any sort of spillage. The drip tray is a standard in all the coffee machines.
However, Breville takes it one step further. Since the tray itself is made of stainless steel, it does not leave ugly, brown stains in case of spillage!
The stainless steel design hence comes in handy here, adding yet another point to the utility aspect of the machine. The ergonomic choices to make the machine better can be seen in these small details!
Cup-warming plates are very important in commercial brewers. When coffee is poured into a cup which is not warm, or rather, is at room temperature, it can interfere with the flavor.
This is because the hot coffee is suddenly exposed to the cold cup, which leads to the flavor going a bit stale. Cup-warming trays, hence, are crucial for coffee connoisseurs and we are glad that Breville has included one in the ESP8XL.
Simply place the cup on top of the machine and the cup will heat up to the appropriate temperature.
Large Water Tank:
The water tank is quite large, and can hold a large quantity of water. This ensures that you don’t have to worry about refilling water every few brews!
One of the best things about Breville ESP8XL is the extremely compact design, and its very small footprint when compared with other espresso machines.
The Breville ESP8XL is the complete package in a smaller size, which does not sacrifice on any of the features that make a great espresso machine.
That is precisely why this machine is perfect for home use, office use or even commercial use in a cafe, making this machine an all-rounder which is definitely worth the price.
Good and Bad about Breville ESP8XL
There are not a lot of limitations that we came across with this machine. Regardless, there are a few that may impact your wish to purchase this machine. They are listed below along with its benefits, to help you make the best choice when buying your espresso machine!
What is Good in Breville ESP8XL
1. Low Price:
When compared with the other espresso machines on the market, the Breville ESP8XL is priced at a very modest range. Given the list of features, we were surprised that the machine was not priced higher. The machine also comes with a froth enhancer and cups, which is just the cherry on top of the cake.
2. Great espresso:
The machine makes some really good espresso, which is flavorful and at the right temperature. The taste is comparable to big names like the gaggia milano, priced around $1000, which is almost 10 times the price of the Breville ESP8XL.
The 15 bar pressure system delivers the perfect balance between strength of the coffee and the texture and “mouth-feel”.
The size of the machine, as mentioned before, is extremely compact. The machine’s dimensions are 9x9x12, which makes it one of the smallest espresso machines on the market. The Breville ESP8XL can fit just about anywhere, from your kitchen shelf to your office cabinet.
The machine can make cappuccinos and lattes as well, with the exemplary frother that makes professional grade micro foaming. This ensures that multiple styles of coffee can be made with ease.
Whats not so good in Breville ESP8XL
1. Low height: Since the machine is so compact, its height clearance is quite low. This is problematic, as using the steamer is troublesome in this case. You need to tilt the cup in order to steam properly, especially when using the froth enhancer. Because of this, the coffee may spill over.
2. Clogs easily and often: The machine is prone to getting clogged often. This is especially true if your grinds are not fine ground. Unclogging is also quite an arduous and time-consuming process. This is easily one of the worst things about this machine.
3. Noisy steam rod: Be vary when using the steam rod, as it is extremely loud and makes quite a lot of noise. Sometimes it makes a loud hissing noise before the steam begins to come through, which can be loud enough to wake your neighbors!
How to use Breville Cafe Roma ESP8XL
This machine is very intuitive and easy to use. In fact, it can be used with just one hand and requires no effort from your side. It has one of the most practical control panels, consisting of the On/Off switch, a knob for choosing steam or brew, and two light indicators.
Step 1: Switch on the machine.
Step 2: Wait for the heating indicator to go off. This means that the machine has heated up enough to brew an espresso. This takes about a minute. Take this time to fill your espresso cups with coffee.
Step 3: Use the single or double cup as per your liking. Put the coffee into the cup and use the tamper to tamp down so the water flows through every particle of coffee. Make sure not to tamp down too hard.
Step 4: Place the cup in the cup holder and make sure it’s locked. Also ensure that there is sufficient water in the reservoir. The machine should now be ready to use.
Step 5: Turn the knob towards the brew function and the brewing process will begin. This will take a few seconds. You can stop the coffee flow as per your liking.
Step 6: To use the steamer, simply turn the knob to the other side.
Step 7: To clean, place a towel under the cup holder and twist to remove it. The towel will ensure that residual coffee does not drip down on to the machine. Use the towel to clean up the cup holder area. This will ensure that the coffee does not clog.
Maintenance Tips for Breville ESP8XL
- Leave the machine on for a while after use: This is done to relieve any of the built up pressure from the previous brew. Leaving it on for a while will ensure that the pressure is slowly released by the machine, ensuring that the internal parts do not get damaged.
- Clean the cup holder and the chamber regularly: Since this machine is prone to clogging, cleaning regularly will ensure that the stale coffee does not get stuck in the chamber, which can very negatively impact the flavor profile of your coffee.
- Do not tamp down too hard: A lot of machines require you to tamp down hard to ensure that the coffee is tight and secure in the cup. The Cafe Roma does not require such a tamping. Tamping too hard will result in extremely bitter coffee.
The Breville Cafe Roma ESP8XL is one of the best espresso machines on the market, and has a great design, intuitive controls, and a robust list of features that are sure to make your coffee drinking experience great.
The price is also another important factor which comes into pay. Coming in at around $130, this machine is phenomenal, and can be used just about anywhere.