Breville the Barista Express™ - 3 Colors

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Breville the Barista Express? - 3 Colors
Price: $349.99
Shipping Options:: $5 Standard OR $10 Two-Day OR $20 One-Day
Shipping Estimates: Ships in 1-2 business days (Monday, Nov 14 to Tuesday, Nov 15) + transit
Condition: Factory Reconditioned

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Good review here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5Nr-Dftouk

This is a great machine. We’ve had ours for two years now. The original had a problem, but Breville replaced it under warranty with no fuss and the replacement unit has been flawless ever since. This is my sixth espresso machine. I have a Gaggia, a La Pavoni, two Saecos, and a Salvatore Famosa semi-pro. For the money, this may well be the best machine you can get south of $1,000. Let me know if you have any questions… I’ll check back.

This looks like a no brainer to me. Anyone wanting to jump into home espresso should get one

That said, if you want to be uber sure before committing, read reviews of this machine over on Home Barista, Coffee Geek

One word of caution however…

Good home brewed espresso requires fresh roasted beans, forget about using whole beans any older than 10 days, so the can and bagged stuff at your grocer is out

Seriously, you either buy from a local roaster, or buy from a roaster and have it shipped, or start roasting your own

Others may have better and different ideas

6 months isn’t a long warranty, especially for a re-furb. Is there any longer warranty for sale as an extra option?

We have had luck with Squaretrade.com" for electronics. A $399 appliance would run $114 for a 3 year plan but I don’t know exactly what that covers. Nothing specific for these machines. Check them out for this. Wish we had the counter space for this.

We’ve had ours for years and it makes amazing espresso drinks. Never had an issue with it. You can buy the cleaning tablets in bulk from Amazon. I take the grinder apart once a year for deep-cleaning. As has already been said, this machine needs fresh beans to live up to its full potential. I’m genuinely thinking about buying a second machine for my office.

We’ve had ours from Woot for two years now and love it. The only negative is the price was lower then than now at $300.

I have had the breville coffee maker with grind control and it is by far the best coffee maker I have ever had and the customer service is beyond great. I now look for breville products as the first source for quality. btw I am 62 and consider myself as a coffee enthusiast.

Questions:

A> Where are these made? I have serious questions about Chinese quality control.

B> How do these stand up to hard well water?

I use a La Pavoni lever machine and have a separate Macap burr grinder and a small Nesco roaster.

I’ve owned two now that have had the same issue. During the descaling process, small particulates come off the side of the boiler and then get trapped in the solenoid, which then creates a really harsh grinding noise.

Pressure is reduced and you think the thing might blow up.

My 2nd machine is on it’s way back from warranty repair right now.

It’s a known issue with all of the Breville machines

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fboCkDHYeBk

Not my video, but just google “breville espresso solenoid noise” to see what’s up.

My machine made that initial buzz but for the entire length of the extraction cycle.

My guess would be these refurb units are repairs from this issue.

Over the course of 4 or so email and phone calls, customer service told me they haven’t changed or improved anything, they’re just replacing parts.

YMMV.

The machine I previously purchased broke out of warranty. I found it impossible to get replacement parts. Naturally, the part that needed replacing was specialized and not something you could easily substitute.

I’ve had this unit for almost two years (we bought it as Christmas present to ourselves). Bought new in store and paid full price. We use it twice daily (min) more for parties.

I haven’t had this problem but I use distilled water. We have really hard water were we live and it’s been a problem for other appliances as well. With the distilled there have been no issues.

I have never heard that sharp buzz in the video. The grrrrr noise is normal.

It’s been a great little unit and we’ve saved a ton of money. You do have to find fresh beans and experiment but that is part of the fun!

It is difficult to calibrate for multiple servings sizes (single/double) so I’ve calibrated for doubles and leave it there. Cleaning tabs are much cheaper on Amazon than Breville. You will find yourself needing an additional pitcher which can be found on Amazon as well (get 18/8 stainless so it doesn’t rust and hand wash only, hand wash everything here). We also bought an additional portafilter handle and double cup filter so we can quickly serve when guests are over.

It’s not as bad as you might think. The mechanical parts of the machine aren’t likely to break any time soon, so the vulnerability is with the electronics, which tend to either last forever or die quickly. Our machine had a problem with, I believe, the pre-infusion solenoid circuit. Breville support worked with me for a while (I got a Woot! refurb) until it became apparent that the machine needed to be replaced. They shipped a new one out, instructing me to send the old one back in the box the replacement came in, and the replacement machine has been flawless for the last 1.5 years. But if you’re worried, go for the Square Trade warranty.
Oh: Stainless is the best choice, imho.

This is an extremely good price for this machine. I am a little mad because I wanted this model, but recently purchased the model without the grinder on amazon for the exact same price. Oh well, i have a nice grinder. But I am very happy with the build quality and performance at this price point. I definitely reccomend this machine for newbies and those looking to upgrade to a PID unit from something like a Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia.

Designed in Australia, made in China. Hard water will probably be a problem; you might want to buy distilled. (There’s a filter in the water tank, but that’s really for particulates.) I’ve also experienced the “buzz” others have talked about, but it’s intermittent and usually a water purge (leave the portafilter off and hit the 1-cup button) takes care of it. Plus I decalcify regularly.

I have the Infuser (this same basic unit without the grinder) and have had good luck with it. Of course I bought mine new for $500 … plus the separate grinder. :slight_smile:

My only caveat about this one is that the grinder is tuned for espresso, so it doesn’t have the range of a stand alone grinder. No french press for you! :slight_smile:

I also agree with what others have posted about fresh beans. I have found a few with a roasted on date in my local grocery store, but it’s rare. Generally you want to use it between 7 and 14 days or roasting. You’ll probably need to tweak the grind a bit every time you try new beans. I haven’t settled on a particular coffee yet, so I still tweak a lot.

Oh, also prepare to go through a pound or so playing with the machine if you haven’t made espresso before. I wasted so many beans figuring out what I was doing wrong. :slight_smile: And I still suck at latte art.

Does this include the dual and single wall filters?

My model did (it was refurbished as well) years ago when I bought it in 2012. However, the grinding performance just isn’t fine enough to use a single wall filter; it can’t build up pressure to extract properly even with over tamping. You will have to use the double wall filter in stock form.

That said, shimming the upper conical burr with the Breville shim kit (they will send you the shims, which are just stainless steel washers, free if you call and ask) helps substantially. Just install one washer at a time…I only needed to use one to make a powdery-fine coffee grind.

The other tweak I learned about and performed was adjusting the over-pressure valve (OPV) because it is conservatively set at the factory. Each of these machines, being mass produced, are not individually calibrated (which also explains the grinder performance) so a safe baseline value is set. Most peoples models on the forums have a factory calibration around 9 bar, almost half of the pumps capability. This is a very easy adjustment but it does require taking the top cover off the machine and locating the OPV pressure line, disconnecting, and rotating the internal check valve clockwise (to close
arrow the passage through the line.)

Although the pump is capable of 15 bar, most people say 12-13 bar should be the highest safest limit to consider. I chose 12 bar (it took almost a full turn and I went 1/4 turn at a time, then testing, to get there, but my model was around 8 bar at the factory which is VERY low.)

The reason the forums recommend staying below 15 bar isn’t because the pump will blow (although it is a lot of strain) but the OPV is nylon not brass like a true 15 bar coffee house machine.

However, OF COURSE, there is a mod for that as well:

http://www.home-barista.com/espresso-machines/breville-dual-boiler-bes900xl-brass-opv-and-pump-mod-t43690.html

Simply put, these are amazing machines. They will do an adequate job in stock form, but an exceptional job with years of reliability if you tweak them a bit.

I had this machine (Barista Express) before finally taking the dive to the Double Boiler (BES900XL) a year later.

Every Breville product I’ve ever owned has been refurbished because it’s the only way I can afford them. The retail prices are just ridiculous (but ironically reasonable for what you get, case in point the Double Boiler is $1000 retail, which seems insane, but it’s still the cheapest dual boiler espresso machine you can buy anywhere on earth, most of them are $1500-$2500)

As far as reliability, my Barista Express was totally reliable for the year or so I had it. I have a Breville Tea Infuser, the Dual Boiler, and a toaster.

The Dual Boiler got the same OPV tweak the Barista Express got. Simply pop the top off, locate the OPV line, disconnect and turn 1/4 turn and reassemble. Repeat until you get ~12 bar with the silicon cleaning gasket in the porta filter (a complete flow block-off)