Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Machine Review
The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Machine straddles the line between mid-range and lower-end high-range espresso makers, but has features and reliability that many more costly machines lack. This durable stainless steel machine features a 15-bar pump, cup warmer, and a very large 1 2/7 qt water tank. It also comes with a set of stainless steel coffee cups and a stainless steel milk frothing jug.
Heavy-duty stainless steel construction
Dual-wall portafilter for extra crema
Foam enhancing feature to add even more crema (or pseudo-crema, technically)
Removable drip tray and grid
Built-in cup warmer for the perfect espresso temperature
1 2/7 qt water reservoir allows many uses between refills.
Stainless steel cups and milk frothing jug included for cappuccinos and lattes
Cafe Roma Breville is notorious for producing very high-end products at mid-range prices, and this is certainly no exception. This is without reservation the most well-constructed espresso machine we’ve seen in the $200-250 price range. The stainless steel provides not only durability but a very sleek veneer, the unit is heavy and its constituent parts all look and feel as if they’re made to last.
This machine, once assembled, heats up relatively quickly (5-10mins) and produces very consistent espresso, both in terms of temperature and taste. We’ve run this thing for over a week and found no deviation whatever in quality. The pump has a strong “give”, meaning both that it’s exerting sufficient pressure on the water and that it’s very well-built. The crema is consistent and rich, and quite comparable to (if not better than) what you’ll get at a cafe.
We’ve also found the assembly very simple to clean, with most parts very easily rinsed and those that aren’t (primarily the filter assembly) easily cleaned with soap and water and/or vinegar.
The stovetop milk frother that comes with this machine is actually very high-quality and easy to use. We’ve got consistent temperatures and foam amounts after a few dozen uses, and it’s very easy to clean (although we would recommend that given the bacterial issues associated with milk you sanitize this at least once every few days).
The cup warmer is a very nice touch, particularly for those of us who like the feel of a piping hot cup of espresso but hate the annoyance of it cooling down rapidly. Warming the cup adds to the experience both by making the temperature consistent throughout and the heat last longer. Plus, you can always set your cup down on the warmer between sips.
Some people report problems cleaning the portafilter. This is understandable given how easy it is to clog. If you’re used to using very finely ground espresso and don’t wish to clean the portafilter after each use, you’ll have to switch to a coarser grind. Furthermore, irrespective of which grind you use you should probably remove the portafilter and at least soak it in water every day. This isn’t an enormous chore and will save you much heartache down the road.
Cafe Roma Breville does not have the greatest customer service in the world. This is an understatement if users who’ve dealt with them are to be believed. Reports of service delays, refusals to replace units, and unavailability of replacement parts abound. There is a one-year limited warranty attached to this product, but the keyword here is “limited”.
Technically Breville can refuse to service any of its products for any reason (always read the terms of any contract you sign), unless explicitly covered by law (and that law, the Uniform Commercial Code, only applies to very limited cases). We thus recommend that you get an independent warranty from the shop where you purchase your espresso machine.
Irrespective of overall quality, every product will have a few lemons, and there’s no sense in having a product break on you in three months and having to deal with substandard customer service. Also, according to Breville, this product is technically discontinued, so getting *any* substantive service on it from them may be a hassle.
Read also: Best Espresso Machine Under 200
Our Verdict of Cafe Roma Breville
This is far and away the highest-quality espresso machine we’ve seen under $300. There’s no equivocation here; if you want a consistently good cup of espresso of cappuccino and are willing to pay a little extra over low-to-mid-range units (such as the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista or DeLonghi EC155) please purchase the Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Machine. Please also, however, get a warranty from your retailer since Breville has discontinued servicing this product.