Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker

Thu, Dec 16, 2010

Breville Espresso Machines

Anyone who has been in the espresso club for a couple years would have heard of the Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma. Last year I had debated on getting this espresso machine myself, after finding all the rave comments about it.

Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma

Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma

A Bella Signora in the Kitchen
On first glance, this stainless steel espresso machine looks really sleek and compact. Anyone who has little room to spare on their kitchen counter top would love the small footprint of this babe.

Once the Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma heats up, it makes a good cup of espresso with crema and the milk frothing is really good too. The rubber frother head should either be fully submerged into the milk, or taken off to use just the metal part of the wand to get the smoothest foam.

Needs Some Practice
The double filter in this espresso machine is great at producing crema for your espresso, but you’ll have to experiment with a few types of grind to get the right one. Too fine a grind will leave you with clogged filters and a headache for the cleaning.

The machine comes with a plastic tamp, but I’d advise the investment in a good quality stainless steel tamp if you’re serious with espressos.

As with most semi automatics, the tamping also needs a bit of practice. This machine works well with a softer tamp, but if you like a lot of crema, tamp harder until you find the amount of pressure that will give you the most crema without stopping the flow altogether.

Easy Cleaning
Cleaning is not particularly difficult. The portafilter empties easily with a knock, and the drip tray has an indicator to show when it’s full. You need to descale it once in a while, and if you don’t know how to do this, check out my guide here.

One gripe is that the window that shows you whether the water in the tank is running low is always steamed up so it’s actually a useless feature. Oh well.

I wouldn’t recommend Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma as an entry level machine; it would require some barista skills to use, but it would be great as an upgrade from your first one.

Other espresso machines in the similar range would be Rancilio Silvia and Breville 800ESXL. If you are looking for a cheaper but decent alternative, I’d recommend the Gaggia Classic, which is also a semi automatic. If you need something more automated but affordable, go for the Nespresso C100-US-AERO Essenza.

More types of espresso machines can be found in my Best Espresso Machine main page.

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