Breville BES900XL - Competition?

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Endo
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Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by Endo » Sun May 22, 2011 1:31 pm

At $1300, this Breville DB machine looks like a real "Giant Killer". Although I suspect we should hold out for some first hand reports (can you say "Breville Smartgrinder").

http://www.coffeegeek.com/proreviews/fi ... dualboiler

Has many very unique features. I wonder how it would stack up against the Mini Vivaldi at $1900?

Only one problem.....that "Breville" logo.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by JohnB » Mon May 23, 2011 9:54 am

I did the last Breville "30 day trial" so I'll let you try out this one. It is loaded with nice features, especially the programmable AND manual pre infusion. I like that you can set it to any length, not just up to 8 seconds as on the S1.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by greenkiwi » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:45 pm

I just wish there was some US availability information...

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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by Endo » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:50 pm

The steaming seems a bit too slow to me. I think they said it's a 750 ml steam boiler with a single hole tip. Pretty small (62
percent the size of the Mini).

Probably not a big deal for most users, but the lack of maintainability for owners is a real turnoff for me.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by lowellw2 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:21 pm

Endo,
You are quite right. Much slower. I don't have much experience with my BDB yet, but I would say my steaming is about 60 sec. to make a 12 oz latte (350cc for you guys north of the 49th). My Mini was 25 sec. and maybe a max of 30 sec. For my wife and I that means I only lose about 7 minutes a week. My first try at a little art was pathetic, but it seems to easily make microfoam, i.e. good texture/mouth feel. My first shots were a little long (40 sec), but I can dial that in. I spoke to a Breville rep and he found better brightness in his shots by shortening the preinfusion to about 4 sec rather than the 7 sec default. He liked pulls of about 35 sec overall. When my life slows down a little I intend to start experimenting and doing the comparison to the Mini. So far there has been no real objection to dedicating the requisite counterspace for both machines. That will change in due course.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by Endo » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:52 pm

The PIDed group head heater seems like a nice improvement compared the the Vivaldi. This would eliminate the 2 warming shots I need to do on my Mini. I like the integrated timer too.

The adjustable preinfusion seems nice as well, though I doubt I would use it much.

Not sure what I would do when it comes to decale time. Are people supposed to send it back to China? :lol:

For the extra $600, I still think you're better off with a commercially rated Vivaldi, rather than a cute home machine styled for housewife appeal. Same reason your better off with a Mazzer rather than a Vario.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by zedex » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:35 pm

Curious if anyone has pulled the cover off the breville to see what plastic bits there are.

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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by lowellw2 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:04 am

I picked mine up on eBay for US$970 so the price differential is somewhat greater. However, the extra grand for a more modern Mini would be enticing. I wonder whena V III will come out. There's a BDB in Quebec at $800 + 50 shipping right now on eBay with a buy it now for $100 more. Descaling will be a big issue. I use RO water with a little unfiltered for taste. I'm on a well with very hard water. Breville really stresses using their filters in the tank and changing every 2 months. The manual talks of 4000 shots before the " brain" says "service" Ive heard that flushes less than 7 sec are not counted. In any event it will eventually have to be sent in. Mine will go to a service center in Dallas which might as well be China. They still suggest a warming flush foriChat its worth. The built in timer and shot clock should be on every machine, even a Mini V III. I just read there are supposedly 2 pumps but I am not too sure about that.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by lowellw2 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:46 am

Here's a picture of my test setup. I've got everything plugged into a 20 amp circuit (Mini in 20 amp mode), but I don't turn them on together to start up. I guess I could test my circuits that way but choose to be prudent. So far, and this is really preliminary, both my wife and I like the lattes made on BDB better. I really think the difference in the cup is the brewing temperature. I have no idea what the offset is on my Mini as I messed around with it some time ago (without noting my changes). I think I may just try to adjust the output temperature of the Mini's brew water as close as I can to the BDB. That can be a starting point. Steaming time on the BDB is around 50 sec for 140F and close to 25 sec on the Mini.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by Endo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:53 pm

That's a big Breville! Looks pretty on its own, but I find the Vario matches the Vivaldi better (with the black display).

Did the Mini shots taste sour compared to the BDB? Usually a Mini with zero offset runs 3 or 4 degrees cooler than displayed. The warm nose can make it cooler as well. The BDB has a PID controlled grouphead heater as well as a PID controlled brew boiler. A nice feature that makes the warming flushes unnecessary.

Once setup properly, I suspect the difference in taste would be your typical overdosed 58mm taste versus the lower dosed 53mm taste profile (the usual Vivaldi flavor profile). That's been discussed forever, and it always ends that one is not better than the other, just a bit different.

Breville looks like a great choice for espresso rookies who out grow the superauto and are looking for a well equipped DB for $1200 (and you can accept owning a Breville). But after having been burned before buying "pretty" home use espresso equipment and having to return it...several times, I think I'll stick with the "tank-like" commercial Vivaldi and its commerical steam power.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by zedex » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:38 pm

And so it begins..... I have noticed that on CG, people with the breville are experiencing problems with the portafilter coming loose when pulling a shot or cleaning. This being so i wonder if the angle of the portafilter ramp is too steep. Could be the gasket is breaking down so you need to crank on the PF to tighten it so it does not come loose. Interesting to see where this goes.

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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by lowellw2 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:21 pm

I have not had that experience yet, but my machine is just barely broken in. I think the gasket is a softer material and that may contribute to a loosening. Endo, I will say my Mini shots did seem a little sour to the BDB so I may kick up the temp and see if that evens out the taste. I don't know if I will be able to sense an overdosed 58mm taste profile though. I have to admit I have not really started a viable comparison yet. However, I just retired 3 days ago so now I have only time on my hands and can work it into my schedule. Popping the portafilter would get your attention. I have a friend that had a machine without a 3way valve and he took the portafilter off without bleeding the pressure. He said all four walls got hit. so far though I'm very pleased with the BDB. Shots have been very consistent and flavorful. Steaming is easier to me. I wonder about a lot of the so called issues experienced on the CG thread. I think the majority may be user caused as my experience has been very positive so far. Time will tell.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by Johnlyn » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:06 pm

Looking forward to comparisson and I will nwo be able to provide my own. My new Mini just arrived and I still hjave my BDB for short period. I do not have the converter cord, so I cannot fire up the Mini yet. But here are some comparissons thus far

Looks:
Both machines take up roughly the same space, the Mini does look wider (and it).

The Mini may not be "gorgeouse" compared to an E61 stainless machine, but it is compared to the BDB. In fact, the first thing my wife said this morning when she saw them both is how much more attractive it is. I agree. The BDB is brushed steel random kitchen applience. Not particularly attractive, but fits in with most kitchen decor. The mini has character that I think someone could like or dislike. Me.... I like it!

I have the timer and it sits apart of course and I'll need a shot clock too which means that it looks more cluttered on the counter than the BDB.

I prefer the finnish on the BDB's portafilters, and 58's are just plain sleeker than 53's which I prefer.

Teh mini has a longer, beafier power cord compared to the BDB which I consider to be a big plus. I no longer need a short extension cord.

That's all I can come up with for now. I am really looking forward to firing it up and comparing shots, steam etc... The BDB is excellent in that department.

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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by Dan Bollinger » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:28 am

I looked into the Breville before buying the VII. The main reason I decided against the Breville was its vibe pump. And, if memory serves, it doesn't come in a plumbed-in version.

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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by Johnlyn » Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:59 pm

Correct, there is no Breville plumb in. I am on resevoire anyway so one way or another I go with the vibe pump. By the way both are similar sound levels with the Mini being slightly higher pitched. A rotary pump sounds much nicer though.

OK, I am rocking both machines for about the next week and will some some comparissons that are completely unmethodical and completely subjective. I have now fired up the Mini and have dilaed in my first coffee, the Stereo Blend from Heart coffee in Portland.

Here is what I don't like on the Mini that is better on the Breville. Internal shot clock, intuitive and simple internal timer, no flashing stand-by buttons, easy visual on water remaining in the tank (LED in tank), hot water pours in a more controlled fashion, and the BDB has a more solid feeling steam wand. The first two have been addressed on the Dream.

Here is what I prefer on the Mini: A timer that programs different times into the week, heats the cups better, and the steam boiler can be turned off.

The steam!!! I prefer the steam bomb that the Mini is already. like seriously, that thing is powerful. I am rarely steaming more than 8 oz of milk if that and it is done in seconds. It is not that hard to control but attention needs to be paid. Many people will prefer the steaming on the BDB because it is mellow and very effective.

PID? not sure if I care yet. I am not fussy on more precise control because I honestly did not taste much difference with a 1 F control on the BDB. I don't think I will miss that and it has also been addressed on the Dream. Consistency I will be looking for and I will see if that is the case over time with the Mini as it has been on the BDB.

In the cup? first session with both machines, lots of coffee tasted, no control groups, no blind testing and coffees almost dialled in on both.... so, worse methodology than some of the SCG video's. very quick impression, coffee is a little brighter coming from the BDB, meaning, same dose, temp, shot time and shot weight but grind adjusted... sourness slightly more pronounced on the BDB, sweetness slightly more pronounced on the Mini. Both enjoyable coffees and more time was spent on dialing in the Mini. I also may be biased :shock:

So do I think the BDB is competition to the Mini, Yes and No. Yes: Features, check; excellent usability, check; excellent in the cup, check; kitchen friendly, check. The only problems, and these are important, are reliability, durability and fixability. Being able to fix it myself, get support to fix it, have technicians available that can fix it all with an excellent reputation for durability, on these points the BDB cannot compete with the Mini.

If the Dream proves to be able to compare with the BDB in terms of usability and consistency all the while maintaining the reputation of durability of the Vivaldi. If the dream then added a group PID and stainless steel boilers then we would be asking whether the Dream is competition to the GS3. I am looking forward to hearing comparisons between the Dream and the BDB.

On the other hand, if Breville stops being proprietary with their technology and allows experienced technicians to work on the machines... look out!

Anyway, don't take me too seriously, i'm just having fun comparing because I can right now and one can certainly dream of the ideal machine at the ideal price.
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Re: Breville BES900XL - Competition?

Post by rhinoevans » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:35 am

I was considering this machine ( Current S1 owner) since I can get one for free with my United Airlines points. I have read every post (over 250) on CoffeeGeek.com. And have decided to pass, even though it would be free. Why? A few reasons

1. I truly believe you get what you pay for
2. Made in China
3. Reliability issue already on more than a few machines
4. Owner repair looks to be very limited
5. Longevity seems short (JMHO)
5. A better than KitchenAId espresso machine for sure, but still in the less than $1000 class


I really wanted this machine to be good, for all that it offered: low price, DB, Timer, Pre-infusion, ext. But at this time I will pass and probably upgrade to a VII if my rebuild on my current S1 doesnt go so well.

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