Breville Café Roma Espresso Machine ESP8XL
(Middle Island, NY USA)
Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma
Stainless Espresso Maker
Three years ago I received a Café Roma Espresso Machine ESP8XL as a gift. It was purchased at a local Macy's store. It was a definite upgrade from my previous espresso machine, which was just a $40 toy as far as I was concerned. I was eager to try it out right away.
It has quite a few features that I like: high-pressure steam, a large capacity water reservoir to make multiple successive cups of coffee easy to make, an easy to clean base, and a top with a warming plate to heat up your cup(s) while the machine is heating up or dispensing to another cup.
It turned out to have a few disadvantages and problems, though. The steamer valve was hard to clean, and a hex wrench was not included as part of the packaged kit. (My old cheap machine had a wrench at the end of the coffee scoop. Plastic though it was, it worked just fine to get the end of the steamer valve off and on again. I had to dig it out and try to use it on my new machine, something which I didn't expect!)
The crema was sometimes awesome, but sometimes terrible. There was no apparent rhyme or reason for the difference. Same type of coffee, same grind, same first cup of the day.
And the worst of all, it leaked. I was used to getting dry grounds out of my old machine, so I could get a new cup started very easily. However, with the Breville, the machine leaked after the switch was turned from "coffee" to
"neutral" (I would call it that, the other position was "steam"). This leaking was unacceptable, and began after the first week of use. It left the grounds soaking wet after every use, and made multiple cups a real pain in the butt! I couldn't just tap out the grounds as I did with my old toy machine - I had to scoop them out with a spoon and then wash the messy sieve out every time. I ended up returning the machine for repairs (during the warranty period), but the one they sent me in return had the same exact problem.
I can say though, that customer service was average or slightly better than average. They didn't have a problem taking back the machine, but when I called a second time (after getting the machine back) about the same problem, they told me that was standard behavior for the model. (!?) Not acceptable. I stopped using the machine after a few years, because this was driving me crazy - no more serving all my dinner guests a nice easy cup of espresso. Back to one at a time, start from the beginning. Even worse than my old toy machine!
I do have to say the coffee brewed with the Breville was far superior to my toy machine though, and when I got my single cup, I was satisfied. My strategy became to leave the used grounds in the machine until they dried out, a day later, and then clean it out just before I made my new coffee of the day.
In the end, I would recommend another brand that didn't have this problem.