Breville Bes840xl Review Introduction
The Breville BES840XL is not your typical espresso maker; whilst most brands tend to focus on speed, Breville has adopted a different approach, one that should find favour with the hobbyist crowd.
Breville have given its BES840XL the “Infuser” moniker, a title that most coffee machine purchasers won’t have seen before – yet it makes a whole difference to the way your espresso is made and more importantly, how it tastes.
The Breville uses a much slower brewing method than most modern machines, slowly filtering the hot water through the basket to infuse the coffee flavour throughout the brew.
This draws an even amount of flavour from the entire puk, leading to some pretty strong cups of coffee, without the need for double shots!
This espresso is not the cheapest out there but we have a strong feeling this machine was designed with the coffee connoisseur in mind.
Design & Quality
Like most espresso machines within this price range, the Breville is adorned with high quality metals and plastics, all finished in glossy silver for that coffee shop look. If you’re looking for something a bit different, the 840XL is also available in satin black and a rather garish pink tone.
In our opinion, the silver wins in the design stakes with satin black a close second.
We won’t mention the pink, it’s pretty horrific and gives the Breville the cheap look of a $100 Nespresso machine, not good at all!
Anyway, back to the nicely finished silver model! As you’d expect from Breville, the controls are located on the front top and feel nicely weighted. The individual knobs feel machine finished and have a wonderfully tactile alloy quality to them.
The only major issue we would have is the weight. The Breville is a really lightweight piece of kit, which you might think is a good thing; however, what does happen is that the base shuffles about when trying to change the water or undo the basket.
It’s not a huge issue and we solved it by placing a non-slip matt underneath the base. In our opinion it’s the trade-off you’ll have to make for having a machine with such a small base. The Breville is only 10 inches wide so will easily fit into the smallest of kitchens.
In our opinion, the Breville Infuser passes the “designer kitchen” test with ease. It should nestle in quite easily with all the trappings of a modern executive kitchen and with a footprint of roughly 10 x 12, it shouldn’t dominate your counter space.
Please don’t buy the pink one though, it’s horrid!
We managed to test drive the Breville over a two-week period and set it to work in our office. One thing we noticed straight away, was the small footprint of the machine. It’s under 10 inches wide which puts it well under most espresso machines in its price range.
As far as brewing time goes, the 840XL is a little slower than average, mostly due to the infusion process. We timed the complete brew time at 1 minute and 25 seconds, not outrageously slow but certainly not up there with machines like the Delonghi ECAM.
The brew you patiently wait for however, is completely worth it! The infusion process really does extract every last drop of flavour from each basket, leaving a brew that’s packed full of flavour. Many of our team actually stopped going for the obligatory “extra shot” because the Breville managed to extract enough for a decent cupOf course, this might end up being a double edged sword for those who prefer a mellower brew. However, we did trial filling the basket just 2/3 full for a brew – which worked perfectly.
If you do prefer a slightly weaker brew, just keep this in mind.
We were extremely impressed by how quiet the pump was in operation. This is one machine we would definitely recommend if you have to avoid using your current machine early in the morning – the Breville will be unlikely to wake anyone up!
The brew process leaves a perfectly created puk, dry and well compressed. This should make keeping the Breville clean nice and easy.
Keeping It Clean
Breville have spent some time making the 840XL easy to keep clean, and it shows! As we just mentioned, the leftover puk is always left compressed and dry to the touch, making it easy to move.
The drip tray is wonderfully easy to keep clean and doesn’t require “breaking down” to get at the important bits. The wand, hopper and basket are easy to rinse out with most parts being made of aluminium or high quality plastic, this is one coffee machine that should last the test of time.
Final Words And Final Rating
After a week, the Breville started to win us over to its design and the infusion brew process. Sure, it’s a little slower than its main competitors; however, once finished you’ll be left with a superb cup of coffee that should impress any “strength guru” out there!
There aren’t that many controls and buttons on the 840XL, keeping it nice and easy to use. This may frustrate the hobbyist out there; however, we’ve a feeling that Breville have been canny enough to realise a combination of infusion plus ease of use should cater for both groups.
Design is completely spot on for a middle range machine aimed at the designer kitchen market. Both the silver and back editions look fantastic, the pink much less so!
During testing, we were really impressed by the lack of noise during the brew process. The pump makes very little noise which should make this machine perfect for late night or early morning users.
Breville Bes840xl Review : Our Verdict
Should you buy it? Well, if you’re looking for your second upgrade machine and want something a little bit different, then why not? It’s also a great buy if you prefer your brews with a little more gusto to them, the little Breville really does extract every drop of flavour from the basket.
It’s also a great buy if space is an issue for you.
The only proviso with this would be if speed is important or you value having features like a large water tank; Breville obviously had to make cut backs to bring the machine in on size and budget – neither of these things we feel are “faults” as such, just part of the design concept.
If you’re really getting into espresso making, this tiny Breville should put a real smile on your face.