Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Review 2020

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If you move around your machine a lot, the Cafe Roma EXP8XL by Breville would be a nice choice to have. But what does it have to offer besides being compact and lightweight? We will go through all the tidbits you need to know before putting your money on it. 

Cafe Roma EXP8XL is a smaller version of semi-automatic machines by Breville that produces a milder tasting coffee as compared to the big guns like the Breville Barista Express or the Breville Oracle. But it is rich in crema and your cup will be very smooth in flavor and taste. 

It has some exciting automatic features and Breville has designed it having convenience in mind. But is it the best deal you can get…! We’ll get everything sorted out here. 

If you don’t want to do all the stuff with your final cup this machine would suit you well. You don’t have any customized operation. It can only produce a single coffee recipe. Looking for some variety in your coffee cups, you need to look somewhere else. 

Pros

  • User-friendly.
  • Only two controls to use. 
  • Quick and easy to make a cup.
  • Straightforward to descale and clean. 
  • Stainless steel body with a compact footprint.

Cons

  • No inbuilt coffee grinder.
  • Not suitable for small groups.
  • Too simple for coffee aficionados.
Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
  • Stainless-steel espresso machine with 15-bar thermoblock pump
  • Dual-wall filter system for excellent crema; froth enhancer, cup-warming plate
  • Accesories: Stainless steel frothing pitcher Tamping tool/measuring spoon/cleaning tool
  • Removable drip tray and grid; Frothing jug included
  • Measures 9 x 9 x 12 inches; 1-year limited warranty

Fully automatic vs semi-automatic espresso machine

A fully automatic machine would be a great choice for anyone who wants a perfect barista. If you don’t want to have any control over temperature, pressures, volumetric dosage, or anything else associated with your final cup, a fully-automatic machine will work for you. 

In a fully automatic machine, you just have to press buttons and knobs for your favorite coffee. Some of them just come with a touchscreen that allows you to select your favorite coffee recipe. Operating such machines is just a walk in the park. 

A semi-automatic machine, however, puts you in control of the final beverage that comes out of the machine. You can control the water and coffee content in your shots. You can also control and pressure the temperature. 

To get the best taste, you need to know how different coffee recipes work. You have to think like a barista and for that, you must have some coffee-making experience. There is no touch-and-go here. The final beverage will be the true masterpiece of your creation if of course, it’s your recipe. Hence, working with semi-automatic machines requires experience.

Breville Specialty

Breville has been around for a long time, and one of the top industry performers. And how it has managed to maintain its lead, it’s all about innovation and addressing the customers’ concerns. Here are some of the top features that Breville coffee and espresso machines come with.

Stainless-steel body

One of the reasons why Breville is very popular is its durability. Breville uses high-quality stainless steel to make these machines and take a toll. 

Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) 

All Breville coffee machines come with this PID feature which essentially is a temperature controller. Your coffee machine will maintain the temperature between 195F and 205F for the best brewing.

Dosage Technology

With the dosage control feature, your Breville coffee machine allows you to conveniently choose between single or a double shot. Controlling the coffee content in your final cup is an important feature to have and Breville makes it easier for you.

Comparison Chart

Features

ESP8XL

BNE800BSSUSC

BES980XL

Taste

Slightly mild but has a rich crema

Taste and aroma depend upon the coffee pods

High-quality, rich-tasting coffee

Brewing capacity

5 cups (40.5 fl oz)

6.5 cups (51 fl oz)

10.5 cups (84.5 fl oz) 

User-friendliness

Easy usage with 2-control system

Making coffee with pods is just simple and you also get to work with a simple-to-operate display and buttons

Intuitive display plus simple knobs and buttons

Design & materials

Compact footprint and lightweight with stainless steel finish

Compact footprint and lightweight with stainless steel finish

Robust steel construction 

Cleaning & maintenance

Simple to clean and descale

Simple to clean and descale

Automatic wand purging, cleaning, and descaling 

Frothing

Steel wand that provides airier and less creamy frothing

Creamier frothing suitable for some latte art

Rich, smooth, and creamy frothing

Grinding

No grinder

No grinder (only coffee pods)

Inbuilt grinder featuring an 8 oz bean hopper

Additional features

Frothing pitcher, cup warming plate, thermoblock pump, froth enhancer, and dual walled filtration

TFT display, 19 bars pump pressure, different setting for temperature and milk texture, Nespresso capsule system

Dual boiler, automatic wand purging, intuitive display, removable bean hopper, and single-touch Americano

Value for money

Meets the value

Meets the value

Slightly expensive

The Breville Cafe Roma Review

Taste

In terms of taste and aroma, if you are fond of milder coffees, the Cafe Roma will impress you. The fragrance and flavor of this coffee machine are not very bold so all the strong coffee lovers should turn away. 

The coffee that comes out from this machine will be rich in crema and you feel dissatisfaction after drinking your cup. For rich crema and milder taste, you need to have fine-coarse grounds for better flavor extraction. 

With the Nespresso Creatista, you need to use coffee pods. You will get variety in those pods, but you will never get the taste of the coffee beans that have been freshly ground. So the variety is there but the quality in the taste and aroma would be lacking for the coffee fanatics. If you just need a cup of coffee, it won’t be a thing for you. 

The Oracle is by far the best option out of these three as it can produce rich tasting coffee with aroma. For a smooth cup, the Oracle is your best choice and you get to grind coffee beans fresh because of an inbuilt grinder.

Brewing capacity

Breville Cafe Roma Brewing & Capacity
Breville Cafe Roma Brewing & Capacity

Cafe Roma can brew up to 5 cups without any refills. So this machine is an ideal choice for personal use. It’s not going to help much if you have too many coffee lovers around you. For that, you will have to go through a lot of refills which can be very inconvenient. 

Thankfully, it is very simple to refill with an easy-to-remove water tank, that makes life simpler. But removing the water tank, filling it with water, and getting it back into the machine might feel a lot of work at some time. Therefore, it is a suitable option only for individual use. 

The Nespresso Creatista comes with a brewing capacity that is slightly better than the Cafe Roma and can produce up to 6.5 cups. Hence, it is not going to help much in an office environment. It will only allow you to make an extra one and a half cup. 

The Oracle comes with a brewing capacity of 10.5 cups. Therefore, it is much more suitable for office use. Even at your home, if you have multiple coffee drinkers, this machine will get you through the day without many refills. But of course, you need to have enough space on your kitchen counter or inside your cabinet. 

User-friendliness

Breville Cafe Roma User Friendliness
Breville Cafe Roma User Friendliness

There is no better machine than the Cafe Roma. You only have a button to turn it on or off and a knob to brew and froth. There are no complications involved. You won’t get to select different coffee recipes because this machine cannot produce variety. It is made for convenience and it does that part very well. If you have a hectic routine and need a quick cup of coffee to start your day, Cafe Roma is an excellent choice for your kitchen.

The Nespresso Creatista also offers a similar kind of freedom when it comes to making quick coffees. But you also get to choose different flavors as it uses coffee pods. The controls are very simple and you may select from eight different coffee recipes.

The Oracle, however, gives you more control over your coffee and comes with an intuitive touch display. There are buttons and knobs to work with and very simple to use. You don’t have to be an expert or be a true barista to get the right taste using this machine.  

Design and materials

Cafe Roma features a very simple design. With a few buttons and knobs, the machine makes sure you quickly make a cup for yourself and get to work. Everything that it does is automated and you just need to select the control. The machine doesn’t have a large footprint so you can place it on your counter or inside the cabinet comfortably. 

The Nespresso Creatista comes with more features than the Cafe Roma but it also keeps things simple. You don’t have to be in control of your cup and end up with a bad taste. This machine has a compact and sleek footprint and you can place it on your kitchen counter. It also has a screen that displays the current operation that the machine is executing. 

On the other hand, the Oracle has a much larger footprint as compared to the other two options and you will have some space on your counter to place it. All the controls are easily accessible and the display keeps you updated with the current status of your coffee machine.  

Breville uses stainless steel to make their coffee machines, so all these three machines have a durable construction.

Cleaning and maintenance

Another ideal feature of Breville coffee machines is its cleaning and descaling is very easy. Even if you don’t know how to descale your coffee machine, you have the instructions manual with you to go through the process step-by-step. 

Cafe Roma comes with a self-cleaning process that makes maintenance of this machine very simple. You can always take guidance from the manual but there is not much to look after. The only thing you have to do is, remove the coffee dispenser and water tank to clean it manually. 

Descaling tablets are available on the market to use with this machine. It is not much difficult to clean and maintain because you don’t have to take care of a lot of things. You just have to remove the water tank and the coffee dispenser. You can also use descaling tablets to get rid of the coffee gunk over time. 

Cleaning and maintenance of the Nespresso Creatista are also very simple. You can go through the entire process with some aid from the manual. This machine goes well with the descaling tablets too. It comes with a self-purging wand that cleans itself after each cup. 

Oracle’s cleaning and maintenance are simple and again consulting the instructions manual to descale it will prove to be very useful. It also comes with an automatic wand purging feature that comes into action right after you use it. 

Frothing

Breville Cafe Roma Frothing
Breville Cafe Roma Frothing

There is nothing difficult about using the frothing wand of the Cafe Roma. Though it’s not the ideal wand to create that marvelous latte art. The forth it can produce is a bit airier than normal. In terms of creaminess, you will be left asking for more. But if you are in a hurry, you just need a good tasting cup because you don’t have time to create any art in your cup. 

But that is not the case when we talk about Nespresso Creatista because this machine can create some good latte art that is thicker and creamier. That is why your coffee will feel milder than usual as you use coffee pods in this machine. 

But the Oracle is a completely different ball game when it comes to frothing. It features a stainless-steel wand that allows you to create some quality latte. It will add a subtle richness to your cup and the taste will become just right to satisfy your taste buds. The frothing features are fully automatic so you don’t have to do anything to get it. Certainly, you can make any latte art but when taste matters, looks become the second priority. 

Grinding

If you happen to own a burr grinder then the Cafe Roma will be a suitable choice for you because it doesn’t come with an inbuilt grinder. 

And in such a scenario to get the best taste and aroma, make sure that you use high-quality coffee beans and a decent grinder. If you own a grinder that comes with adjustable blades then it would be an even better option because you can change the coarseness of the grounds. Freshly ground coffee always tastes better and as the machine itself creates a milder taste you need to have such grounds to ensure that your final cups feature maximum flavor and fragrance.  

The Nespresso Creatista also doesn’t feature an inbuilt grinder. But you do get to use different types of coffee pods for different flavors. If different flavored coffee is your choice, then this machine is hands down, the best option for you to explore. It is not going to produce the flavor of freshly ground coffee but it’s all about convenience and variety of flavors. 

When we talk about the Oracle, it comes with a burr grinder and if you already own a grinder, you can remove it too. It features an 8 oz bean hopper and will get you the flavor of freshly ground coffee that you crave for. 

Additional features

Breville Cafe Roma Additional Features
Breville Cafe Roma Additional Features

Cafe Roma coffee machine by Breville comes with a thermoblock pump and the machine uses it as its heating system. It also boasts dual walled filtering to produce more crema. The best part is your purchase of this machine also includes several accessories such as measuring spoon, tamping tool, and frothing pitcher. Moreover, this machine comes with a milk frothing enhancer and you will find a plate for cup warming as well. 

The Nespresso Creatista comes with a TFT display to keep things simple to operate along with a 19-bar pump pressure for better extraction. You also have access to various settings for milk frothing and temperature. This machine comes with a full Nespresso capsule system. 

The Oracle has a dual boiler heating system that is more effective quickly achieving and maintaining the right temperature for your coffee to brew. There is a designated button for you to make Americano which features more crema but is less bold. You can always program your shot temperature to ensure not to experience any bitter tastes. Plus, you get to use a self-purging wand.  

Value for money

The EXP8XL Cafe Roma coffee machine is a good option to consider if you have a very busy schedule. You just make a cup of coffee and get on with your routine any time of the day. It is a suitable choice for individual use only. But it won’t put you in control of your cup like a true barista, as it features all-automatic features. 

The controls are simple to use and you don’t need to be an expert to operate this machine. You can also use your grinder because it doesn’t come with one. And it will allow you to make your coffee a bit bolder with the freshly ground high-quality coffee beans. 

The Nespresso Creatista makes your life even simpler as you only need to use coffee pods. Therefore, you can always enjoy different tasting coffees with varying flavors without any hassle. It is also suitable for individuals who like their coffee on the milder side. 

The Oracle is made to entertain a small group of people and you can use it in your office too. It features a good brewing capacity. It is not an ideal choice for individuals to use but it can create some scintillating coffee cups. 

Who should buy the Breville Cafe Roma? 

The ESP8XL Cafe Roma can create a mild tasting coffee. But you can make it better by using freshly ground coffee with your coffee grinder. So you need to have one already. It is suitable for individual use because it comes with a brewing capacity of 5 cups. 

You can change your shot dosage with a simple to use button and a knob and is convenient to clean and descale. If you are a newbie, operating this machine won’t be a thing for you. If you have a very busy schedule and want to drink a cup before you take a start or maybe at the end of the day, this machine will be a useful investment for you. 

Who shouldn’t buy the Breville Cafe Roma?

If you are a barista and want to make some delicious tasting recipes with your coffee machine, it is better to avoid the Cafe Roma. It’s just too plain and simple for the likes of you. Apart from that, if you have many people around you to drink coffee, this machine is not going to fit in pretty well. Apart from that, this machine is not for mild coffee lovers and if you don’t own a grinder already, you will have to buy that separately because it doesn’t come with an inbuilt one.

Pros

  • User-friendly.
  • Only two controls to use. 
  • Quick and easy to make a cup.
  • Straightforward to descale and clean. 
  • Stainless steel body with a compact footprint.

Cons

  • No inbuilt coffee grinder.
  • Not suitable for small groups.
  • Too simple for coffee aficionados.

FAQs for the Breville Cafe Roma

What is the ideal coarseness of coffee grounds to use with the Cafe Roma?

The ideal choice of the coarseness of coffee grounds to use with this machine is fine-ground. And the reason is it features a frother that produces airy frothing. If your coffee grounds are not fine, the coffee will taste bitter due to less creaminess.

Is there a control to adjust the steam flow in the wand? 

You can turn the steam flow on when you turn the main knob right in front of you, to the left. There is no flow control here but this simple feature works pretty fine.

Does it make aunty another type of coffee?

No, this coffee machine doesn’t make any other coffee recipes besides the espresso. You have to use the best quality coffee beans to make espressos with this machine. It will be too mild for you.

The Verdict

The Cafe Roma ESP8XL is a decent semi-automatic machine that requires you to use high-quality coffee beans and a grinder to make rich-tasting espresso in no time. The controls are very simple and if you are new to coffee machines this is the right choice for you. For individual use, this coffee machine is a great investment. 

You won’t be able to alter the pressure or temperature with this machine but if you have a hectic day to deal with and need a trusty sidekick to provide you with a cup of coffee when you need it the most, the Cafe Roma fits that role pretty well.