Breville BES840XL Review

The Breville BES840XL, known as the Infuser Espresso Machine, is the ideal machine for those of us who want all the benefits of the Breville BES870XL but want to grind our beans separately.

Breville BES840XL The Infuser Espresso Machine

This espresso maker looks similar to the BES870XL, except that it has no burr grinder or outlet port built in. It comes in at nearly $100 cheaper. So is there anything else you don't get, that you would with the 870?

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Taste is Everything

What everyone wants from an espresso maker like this is great tasting coffee. Of course, good looks count as well, but these come as secondary by quite a margin.

The Breville Infuser does, in fact, look good, and is compact enough for small work tops. But its main distinguishing feature is what Breville call its pre-infusion function, which enhances the taste of the coffee.

We all know how the coffee grinds have to be completely saturated so as to release their flavor fully, and that this is invariably done through a sprinkler method with the water being forced in under high pressure.

The trouble with this is that if there are gaps and other irregularities in the coffee puck (as there often are) the water can sometimes bounce off parts of it and fail to capture the full flavor, and this weakens the final taste.

The Breville 840XL overcomes that problem by releasing the water onto the grinds under low pressure at first. This allows it to seep into all the grinds, allowing them to expand at a more natural rate. Then the water pressure is increased to squeeze all the goodness out of the grinds and into the coffee itself.

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A little complicated, perhaps, but it results in superbly tasting coffee from this remarkable espresso machine. It heats to the right temperature in around a minute, and in 5 minutes it will have made 2 cups of coffee. This is fast by any standard. It also takes only 45 to 60 seconds to steam regular fat milk, and is equally fast with other kinds of milk.

Full Temperature Control

Other models from Breville feature an auto purge function that automatically adjusts the water temperature downwards after it has steamed the milk, so it's not too hot for extracting the espresso. The Breville BES840XL has that very same function as well.

The replaceable water filter in the 61 fl oz tank will deal with all the impurities in your water supply. The result of all this is to bring you some of the best tasting coffee that it's possible to make.

No-one can say that Breville are taking any chances with the taste of your coffee.

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Breville BES840XL Build Quality and Design

The build quality and design features of Breville domestic machines are legendary. At the heart of the Infuser is the 1600 watt thermocoil heating system with control over the water temperature being achieved through an integrated stainless steel water coil.

A 15 bar Italian pump ensures that you won't have any problem getting the water pressure sufficiently high. Automatic settings, such as temperature and pressure, work in tandem with programmable settings such as the volume of grinds you use, and the degree of grinding and tamping you decide upon.

Indicators show when the drip tray needs emptying or the machine itself needs cleaning. And, of course, Breville's distinguishing feature - the pressure gauge - tells you whether or not the extraction pressure is correct.

The design oof the Breville BES840XL is such that you don't have to stick with your usual coffee cups or mugs - a travel mug can be accommodated as well.

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Total Control With Complete Ease of Use

The volume of each shot is pre-set, and you can accept these or over-ride them manually, or even re-program with your own preferences. And as with other Breville espresso machines the steam wand that dispenses the milk froth can be rotated round 360 degrees for complete control over your lattes and cappuccinos.

From the cup and mug warmer on the top to the magnetic tamper that clings to its appointed place when not in use, Breville have gone to a lot of trouble to make this espresso maker easy to use.

No Hassle Cleaning

The Breville BES840XL has a system that removes excess water from the ground coffee in the filter basket, making removal of the resulting residue very easy. The drip tray and water tanks can easily be removed, and you should replace the water filter every two months or so.

Even though you have a water filter, as with all coffee makers, it's best to use filtered water anyway and to decalcify your espresso machine every three or four months using white vinegar. But at least you don't have a grinder on it to clean as well - a separate grinder is invariably easier to clean.

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Take a look at this 3-minute video showing the Breville BES840XL in action:

Features and Specifications:

  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 12.5 x 13.2 inches ; 17 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 23 pounds
  • Item model number: BES840XL
  • 1600 watt thermocoil heating system
  • 15 bar Italian pump
  • Pre-infusion function
  • Auto purge function
  • PID temperature control
  • Sleep mode 1 hour; Auto shutoff 3 hours
  • Water tank: 61 fl oz / 1.8L

Breville BES840XL

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great tasting coffee consistently
  • Good looking and compact
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Semi-automatic, giving you complete control

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve required
  • You need a good burr grinder as well

Breville BES840XL
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Consumer Ratings

At the time of writing, over 390 users have left reviews on Amazon and awarded this espresso maker an average score of over 4 stars.

Most of them love how easy it is to use, clean and understand. Most agree it's a great machine for the price, though the alleged savings of $300 have been called into question.

Some reviewers have had a problem in getting the pressure gauge to register any reading at all. It turns out that they may have been using too coarse a grind. The answer seems to be to use a finer grind, even a Turkish grind, to fill the portafilter in two or three stages, and to tamp down after each stage so that your grind is compact and firm.

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Summary

I've mentioned that the BES840XL is around $100 cheaper than the BES870XL, largely because it doesn't have a burr grinder built in. But that's about the only thing the BES870XL has that the Infuser doesn't.

Whatever the savings this product is still expensive at nearly $500. However, if you're a serious coffee connoisseur then it will be money well spent, and if you're a regular at Starbucks then doubly so. One user claims that their BES840XL paid for itself in three months!

It's fun to learn how to use, and once you've mastered the art then, provided you clean it when the time comes, the Breville Infuser BES840XL will provide you with world class coffee of all types without complaint for years to come.

 

 

 

'Coffee Lover'

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Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother Review

If you take a quick look at the Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother, all you'll see would be a sleek, stainless steel exterior with just one simple control knob. You'd think that it was just another one of those milk frothers that gives you a choice of two - take it or leave it.

But when you see what this device can do, it's like opening a whole new world of coffee and milk frothing, of exotic drinks of smooth, tantalizing flavors, or creamy froth that you never knew existed before.

So far, so good, but can it really be worth the not insubstantial price tag of not far south of $130?

Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother
Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother

Table of Contents (jump ahead!)
Build Quality and Design Everything?
How Long Does It Take? You'll Want To Know...
What About Cleaning It? Features & Specs
Pros and Cons Consumer Ratings
Summary

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Superior Build Quality and Simple Design

The Breville BMF600XL consists of a base unit, which controls the induction power, and a jug, or carafe, in which the milk froths are made. Both are of stainless steel. The only plastic parts are the lid and the two frothing discs - one smooth, for making lattes, and the other with slits, for making foam for cappuccinos.

The disc that isn't being used is stored on a magnetic hook at the back, so it's almost impossible to lose. The power cord, too, stores away easily when not required.

The carafe has a minimum fill line, and if you fill to that level then you'll have enough milk for two 10 ounce cups of coffee. You can make enough for four cups at a time if you wish.

The knob on the base unit lets you control the temperature of the milk produced. You can have a cold stir for a cold drink (though you won't have so much froth), or you can take the heat up to 160 degrees and all points in between.

A froth needs more than just heat, of course. It needs stirring. The BMF600XL uses its discs for this. They're not turned mechanically, but magnetically. Take the disc you need, according to whether you want foam or not, and press it home into the containing slot. Make sure it's stable before you start. Like any brilliant idea, it's basically very simple and produces great results.

And the build quality is such that there's no reason why it shouldn't continue doing so for many years.

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Breville BMF600XL - The Machine That Does Everything

Frothing milk is actually only one of the functions that this machine carries out quietly and reliably. It's also a hot chocolate maker if you just add the appropriate ingredients, though there is a little skill involved in this (see below).

Apart from regular full-fat milk, you can use almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk or skimmed milk (which produces the largest froth). If you prefer you can add cocoa, agaves or coffee, so that your drink is ready made without having to prepare another part of it elsewhere.

And you don't have to have a froth at all. You can make steamed milk. In fact, using it as a flavored milk steamer is one of its most popular uses.

It does produce very hot milk (though you can, of course, reduce the temperature setting), and it's capable of melting chocolate chips fed into it through the lid whilst foaming the milk. It's quiet too, and if you're up to latte art then this machine won't let you down.

The recipe book that comes with the frother itself contains a number of other dishes, so experiment and discover which kind of brew you prefer, because sometimes it seems this machine can do almost anything.

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But How Long Does It Take?

One reviewer on Amazon describes the Breville BMF600XL as "fast, simple and reliable". If you set the temperature to its highest and pour in milk to the minimum level in the carafe then you'll have your frothed milk ready in between one and two minutes, depending on the original temperature of the milk, and prevailing conditions in your kitchen.

You'll Want To Know About This ...

I'm always mentioning in my reviews about how coffee makers, espresso makers, and milk frothers, are not just kitchen appliances like refrigerators or cookers, which can take a certain amount of punishment through careless handling, and so on.

They are, in effect, precision instruments, and this is particularly true in this case. We've seen how the BMF600XL has two frothing discs, and how you always use one of them, depending on whether you're making a lot of foam or not, to stir the milk while it's being heated.

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The disc must be allowed to spin freely, using the magnetic field generated. So it must be clean. If there's any dust, powder or anything at all on it then it will be out of balance and won't spin properly or at all. Sometimes it may need a slight tap with a spoon to start it off, if it's reluctant to start moving.

The best temperature for producing frothy milk is 140 degrees to 160 degrees. Most users set it to around the maximum to start with, and then adjust when they know their machine better.

The BMF600XL needs to be started as soon as you've poured the milk into the carafe. Any delay may lead to condensation being formed and the motor may shut off. Observe the instructions in the User Manual - you need to press the button a second time to start the frothing process.

If you're making, for example, hot chocolate, then don't just dump the chocolate concentrate into the top of the milk. That may disturb the spin of the disc. Wait until the milk is warm, and then sprinkle it in slowly, using the facility in the lid that's there for the purpose.

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What About Cleaning It Afterward?

The Breville BMF600XL is very easy to clean. The carafe is dishwasher safe, though it's almost as easy to rinse it by hand. As it's made of stainless steel, any milk deposits will just rub off.

This 10-minute video shows the Breville BMF600XL doing its job:

Features and Specifications:

  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 10.2 inches ; 3.6 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds
  • Item model number: BMF600XL
  • Induction heating - carafe dishwasher friendly
  • Two frothing discs for magnetic stirring - latte and cappuccino
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Stainless steel construction

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • You can make almost any milk drink with this
  • Easy to clean - dishwasher safe
  • Complete temperature control

Cons:

  • Discs have to be absolutely clean to work properly
  • Needs minimum amount of 8 oz milk to work properly

Breville BMF600XL
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Consumer Ratings

Reviewers on Amazon are very favorable towards the BMF600XL, giving it an average of nearly 4.5 stars in over 940 reviews at the time of writing. They particularly like its versatility, and how it produces delicious milk froths and drinks.

A few have mentioned problems in getting it to start, but with the tips given here, this should present no problem to you. The price is another point sometimes raised, but then you do get what you pay for here.

The great majority of users are more than happy with their milk frother.

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Summary

The Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother is an extremely adaptable, reliable machine that looks good and is easy to clean as well. It can make you a milk drink exactly to your requirements in no more than a couple of minutes, and is quite capable of remaining in regular use for many years. At the very least, this deserves careful consideration for your next milk frother.

 

 

'Coffee Lover'

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Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine – A Review

The Breville BES870XL Barista - One Hundred Per Cent Flavor

One thing has to be clear from the start. The Breville BES870XL Barista is an espresso maker that can extract all the flavor from fresh coffee beans and deliver you an espresso brewed to your exact requirements every time, and fast.

To do this, it has a number of formidable weapons in its armory. First of all, it's powered by a 1600 watt thermocoil heating system (coupled with a 15 bar Italian pump) significantly more powerful than its predecessor, the 860. This is made of a superior aluminum, with a stainless steel lining, so it isn't going to give out anytime soon.

Breville BES870XL Barista
Breville Barista

Table of Contents
Total Control
From Beans to Espresso About the Cleaning
Features & Specs Pros and Cons
Consumer Ratings Summary

Also of stainless steel is the conical burr grinder at the top of the machine. That and the integrated, sealed bean hopper (taller than the previous model) means you can grind your beans as finely or as coarsely as you want.

The grinder actually works separately from the machine itself, so you could use pre-ground beans if you want, but there's really no point because the Barista Express will do it all for you so you can enjoy freshly ground beans.

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Then there are the filters. Four of them. Two are dual walled, and two single walled. Each pair also has one that is pressurized, and one that is non-pressurized. The pressurized is probably best while you're learning the art of being a barista, and the non-pressurized is for more experienced coffee-makers.

There's also a charcoal filter in the massive 67 fluid ounce water tank to ensure your tap water doesn't spoil the taste of your espresso. Many users filter their water anyway, so this provides an extra filtering stage.

Regulation of the water temperature is vital to producing great tasting espressos. The purge function takes care of this, so any excess steam is expelled and not trapped inside.

No less important is how the brewing is actually done. You must have the water distributed evenly throughout the grinds. The pre-brew function and the flat shower head mean that all your grinds without exception are saturated with water and contribute towards the taste.

In short, this espresso maker solves the age-old problem of coffee beans beginning to lose their flavor from the moment they're ground. The integrated burr grinder on the Barista Express 870 doesn't give them the chance.

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Total Control From Start To Finish

This is a semi-automatic machine, so you have as much control as you want. Many users will be happy to let the 870 run most functions on auto, but there are some that require your input so as to produce an espresso to your exact requirements.

First off, how much do you want to brew? The volumetric control lets you select one cup or two, with manual over-ride, and is reprogrammable. On top, the burr grinder and sealed bean hopper can take half a pound of beans, and you have the grind size and grind amount selector dials there, as well as the grind adjuster wheel.

The filter size button lets you tell the machine whether you're using a single or dual wall filter, so it dispenses the correct amount of grinds. Probably the default temperature setting will give you water that's quite hot enough, but this is adjustable to make it hotter or cooler.

Finally, you have control over the milk texturing of your lattes and cappuccinos. The stainless steel steam wand has a 360 degrees swivel action so you can perfect your latte art whenever you want.

Breville even give you non-slip feet to prevent the machine from moving around on your kitchen worktop. They really do seem to have thought of everything.

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From Beans To Espresso In Less Than A Minute

Just because we want complete control in what we produce, and the fullest flavor espressos that extract everything the coffee beans have to offer doesn't mean we want to hang around while our Breville BES870XL Barista Express does its job.

This machine warms up in just 45 seconds, and Breville claim that it's then less than a minute from beans to espresso. The YouTube video embedded below will help you judge if it really is that fast. We think it is.

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About The Cleaning . . .

Breville obviously thought a great deal about the cleaning aspect when this product (and its predecessor, come to that) was still at the design stage. You have a whole lot more than the obligatory removable drip tray and removable water tank that comes with a handle.

When the machine needs cleaning it activates a "Clean Me" light. But it's not such a chore as you'd expect. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express removes excess water from the filter basket after the coffee has been extracted, which makes for quicker cleaning.

On top, the hopper unlocks easily for cleaning, and the upper part of the burr grinder releases at a twist for removal and rinsing. You can just vacuum the lower part.

In addition, Breville provide cleaning tools for the 870. There's a little storage compartment where they're all kept - out of the way but always accessible.

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Here's a video showing the Breville BES870XL Barista Express being put through its paces:

Features and Specifications:

  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 12.5 x 15.8 inches ; 23 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 29 pounds
  • Item model number: BES870XL
  • Motor: 1600 watt superior aluminum thermocoil stainless steel lined
  • Pump: 15 bar Italian pump
  • Autopurge function
  • Stainless steel conical butt grinder
  • Sealed bean hopper with half pound capacity
  • Water tank: removable, with handle and charcoal filter
  • Water tank capacity: 67 fl oz / 2 liters
  • Removable drip tray with "Empty Me" warning
  • Brewing time: less than one minute
  • Filters: dual wall pressurized, dual wall non-pressurized, single wall pressurized, single wall non-pressurized
  • Integrated burr grinder and half-pound bean hopper
  • Cup warmer
  • Stainless steel 360-degree swivel-action steam wand
  • Non-slip feet
  • Stainless steel casing
  • Storage compartment for the included cleaning tools
  • 54mm tamper
  • Hands-free grinding cradle
  • 54mm stainless steel portafilter
  • Volumetric control
  • Espresso pressure gauge
  • Clean Me light
  • Sleep mode: 1 hour
  • Auto shut-off: 3 hours

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Produces delicious espressos from fresh beans in around 1 minute
  • Auto adjusts water temperature after purging steam
  • You have total control over every stage of the brew
  • Or you can leave most functions on auto
  • Very easy to clean

Cons:

  • There's quite a lot to learn!
  • You have to experiment with the settings to learn your preferences
  • You should run a hot shot through before brewing an espresso

Breville BES870XL Barista
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Consumer Ratings

It's little wonder that reviewers on Amazon love this machine. They like its speed and that there's no guess work involved. They love its stylish stainless steel casing and robust build, and the fact that after a short time they can program it to produce what to them is the perfect brew.

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express scores just under 4.5 stars on average from over 900 reviews at the time of writing, with nearly three-quarters of reviewers giving the full 5 stars.

One or two reviewers have left adverse comments about the taste of the coffee, but bear in mind when reading these that there are a few "rules" that have to be observed. For example, if you use cheap coffee beans that you have ground a couple of weeks earlier then you're obviously not going to get a great taste, even with this machine.

To get the best out of the Breville BES870XL Barista Express you have to use good quality beans, freshly roasted, and preferably espresso roasted. When you use the grinder for the first time, set it to its coarsest level, and then dial it down when it starts ejecting the grounds.

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Keep the steam wand clean by letting some steam out of it for about 10 seconds after each brew. This prevents milk from backing up into the machine and spoiling the taste of the next brew. Do this even if you've just brewed black coffee.

Make use of the cup warmer on top of the machine. Coffee houses never serve their coffee in cold cups (except for iced coffee), and there's a reason for it. If you warm the machine and accessories before use it all helps to ensure better-tasting espressos.

If you ever find that the beans fail to be fed into the grinder, it may be because they're a little oily, in which case just tap the hopper and they'll go in all right.

It's a great espresso maker, as long as you read and follow the instructions, and that should help ensure you'll be giving a 5-star rating to the 870 when it's your turn to review.

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Summary

If you can't take in all of what's written here, then please just accept that this espresso maker is wildly popular with its users, who can't all be wrong. It delivers coffee house quality brews in an incredibly short time and gives you almost total control over each stage.

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Coffee Machine is a versatile, solid, good looking machine that won't disappoint you. Click the button below to check the latest deal on Amazon.

Breville BES870XL Barista
Breville BES870XL Barista

'Coffee Lover'

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