Breville The Infuser (BES840XL/A) Espresso Machine Review for 2020

breville bes840xl the infuser review

Looking for an affordable espresso machine that has everything you need? Then try the Breville BES840XL. Also known as the Breville Infuser, this espresso maker is one of the best for its versatility and customization.

To begin with, the Infuser features PID control, a feature rarely seen in espresso machines, especially at this price range. PID control allows you to finely adjust the temperature to your needs.

Adding to that, the Infuser also features a hot water outlet for Americanos. And to top that off, it’s made from brushed stainless steel, which only adds to the durability.

On the downside, it doesn’t include a burr grinder. And you can’t use it with coffee grounds, which limits your use of the machine.

So what’s the endgame here? Is the Breville Infuser really a product worth your time and money? 

We take an in-depth look at the espresso machine and compare it to two similar products. Have a look!

Pros

  • Great for commercial use.
  • Quick and easy heat up.
  • Includes PID control.
  • Compatible with ESE pods.
  • Highly versatile – can be used for Americanos.
  • Easy to clean and wipe.
  • True to the value.

Cons

  • Incompatible with coffee grounds.
  • Does not include a burr grinder.
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Pre infusion function applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for an even extraction; Water Tank Capacity: 61 ounce
  • 1600 watts thermocoil heating system with integrated stainless steel water coil accurately controls water temperature; Settings: Single or Double Shot Volumetric Control & Manual Over ride. Dimensions : 13.7 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Auto purge function automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature; 15 bar Italian pump provides complete volumetric control preset, manual over ride or re programmable volumes
  • Accessories: single & dual wall filter baskets, coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning disc & tablets, cleaning tool, water filter with holder. Please note: There is a “Black Plastic” insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter, this is meant to reduce heat loss experienced when espresso hits cold metal also prevents any “splashing” from the dual wall pressurized filter baskets
  • PID temperature control that delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degree Celsius increments; Power 1700 Watts. Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts

Is A Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine What You’re Looking For?

Semi-automatic espresso machines are the norm for home users and professional baristas. But what exactly does this word mean? 

You see, when you want to pick out an automated espresso machine, you have two options. You can either go for the semi-automatic ones or the super-automatic ones,

In a semi-automatic espresso machine, you control how much coffee you want to let into the shot. It means that you can control the amount of saturation as well as the dosage. Some machines may allow you to program this your own way. 

In contrast to that, a super-automatic machine controls everything for you. You just need to set your preferences, and you’re good to go.

Most people opt for the semi-automatic kind since it’s easier to use and doesn’t require much programming. This is especially of use to baristas and café workers who want to decide how saturated the shot is. 

Comparison Chart:

FeaturesBreville Infuser BES840XL/ABreville Barista Express BES870XLGaggia Classic Pro
TasteSaturated taste with even heating.Saturated taste with even heating.No burning, highly rich taste.
Brewing capacity61 oz.67 oz.72 oz.
User-friendlinessPush buttons, pressure gauge.Push buttons, pressure gauge.Rocket switches.
Design and materialsStainless steel, chrome-plated brass, aluminum.Stainless steel.Stainless steel, chrome-plated brass, aluminum.
Cleaning and maintenanceEasy backflushing and descaling.Easy backflushing and descaling.Easy backflushing and descaling.
FrothingFully articulated steam wand and hot water dispenser.Fully articulated steam wand and hot water dispenser.Left-to-right steam wand.
GrindingNo grinder.A conical burr grinder.No grinder.
Additional featuresPre-infusion, PID, auto-purge.Pre-infusion, PID, auto-purge.Improved pump mount, enhanced frame.
Value for moneyMeets the value.Meets the value.Somewhat meets the value.

Breville BES840XL/A the Infuser Review:

Taste:

First up, let’s discuss the taste. The Breville Infuser uses unique pre-infusion technology. It permits a more saturated extraction. In this system, water at low pressure is applied when the extraction first begins. This expands the coffee grounds, which gives you a more even espresso extraction.

What’s more? The Breville Infuser comes with a built-in PID. For those of you who don’t know, a PID is a device that lets you control the temperature very precisely. Here you can adjust the temperature in 2 degrees C increments (approximately 3.6 degrees F). 

Through the use of this PID system, you get full control over the temperature of your coffee, which means that each shot of espresso has a balanced taste that doesn’t lean towards burnt.

You can see the same technology being used in the Breville Barista Express. There is a PID that lets you monitor water temperature closely. So you don’t have to rely on the machine – you get to decide how hot your coffee is.

As for the Gaggia Classic Pro, you don’t get PID control built-in, but you can install one yourself. Overall, all three espresso machines produce coffee that has a balanced and rich taste.

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Pre infusion function applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for an even extraction; Water Tank Capacity: 61 ounce
  • 1600 watts thermocoil heating system with integrated stainless steel water coil accurately controls water temperature; Settings: Single or Double Shot Volumetric Control & Manual Over ride. Dimensions : 13.7 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Auto purge function automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature; 15 bar Italian pump provides complete volumetric control preset, manual over ride or re programmable volumes
  • Accessories: single & dual wall filter baskets, coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning disc & tablets, cleaning tool, water filter with holder. Please note: There is a “Black Plastic” insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter, this is meant to reduce heat loss experienced when espresso hits cold metal also prevents any “splashing” from the dual wall pressurized filter baskets
  • PID temperature control that delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degree Celsius increments; Power 1700 Watts. Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts

Brewing Capacity:

Breville Infuser Brewing
Breville Infuser Brewing

Coming on to the brewing capacity, the Breville Infuser uses a removable water tank of 1.8 liters. Considering the ideal single shot to be 4 fl oz., this machine can make up to 15 single espresso shots. 

For the double shot, considering it to be 8 fl oz., you can make up to 8 double shots with this device. The water tank capacity is actually pretty commonplace among espresso machines of this size. 

The moderate brewing capacity is why this espresso machine is highly recommended for use in homes and offices. The tank won’t require much filling, and one refill can last for up to 2 days, depending on your espresso habits.

Breville’s Barista Express includes a bean hopper along with the water tank. The bean hopper can hold half a pound of beans, and the water tank can hold 67 fl oz. It means that you can make up to 17 single-shot espressos. 

Regarding the brewing capacity, the Gaggia Classic Pro tops them all. This machine has a capacity of 72 fl oz. of water, and it can make up to 18 single shots and 9 double shots. All three are great for use in offices as they don’t require frequent refilling. 

User-friendliness:

Breville Infuser User Friendliness
Breville Infuser User Friendliness

The Breville BES840XL/A simplifies user-interface through the use of a minimal design. There are four buttons at the very front with some very obvious markings. In the middle, there is a pressure gauge, something which isn’t featured in many higher-end espresso machines.

Along with that, there’s a tamper holder and a steam wand with a handle on the elbow. What’s more, is that there is a 15 bar pump that provides the facility of manual override and volumetric control. Through this feature, your Breville Infuser becomes more programmable. You get to control how much espresso ends up in your shot.

And there’s also the PID technology to consider. Combine all of this, and you get both manual and semi-automatic control over the espresso machine.

The Breville Barista Express uses a similar design, except it also includes a bean grinder and ground dispenser. The pressure gauge and simplified push-button control stay. You also get a manual override to precisely control the saturation of each shot.

The Gaggia Classic Pro, however, takes simplicity to the next level. There are only three rocket switches on the front, with a steam dispensing knob on the side. But this level of simplicity isn’t always good because the Gaggia doesn’t include a pressure gauge, volumetric control, or even a PID system.

Design and Materials:

Breville Infuser Design
Breville Infuser Design

The Breville Infuser takes durability up a notch by using a complete stainless steel housing. Stainless steel is practically resistant to corrosion and rusting. 

This stainless steel trend follows from the main body all the way to the drip tray and cups warmer. In fact, even the boiler’s heating element is made of steel. The only thing that isn’t made of steel is the portafilter, which is made of chrome-plated brass. The brew group is also made from aluminum, which is lighter and more durable. 

You may find that the steel heating element isn’t the most efficient choice. Steel is not as thermally conductive as brass or copper. And hence, it takes more time to heat up.

The Breville Barista Express takes it even further, with even the portafilter and brew group being made of stainless steel. Like we said, steel isn’t the best for thermal conductivity. So a variance in materials would have been good here.

As for the Gaggia Classic Pro, there is significant material variance. The heating element is made of aluminum, and the brew group and portafilter is chrome-plated brass. Everything else is made from stainless steel.

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Pre infusion function applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for an even extraction; Water Tank Capacity: 61 ounce
  • 1600 watts thermocoil heating system with integrated stainless steel water coil accurately controls water temperature; Settings: Single or Double Shot Volumetric Control & Manual Over ride. Dimensions : 13.7 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Auto purge function automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature; 15 bar Italian pump provides complete volumetric control preset, manual over ride or re programmable volumes
  • Accessories: single & dual wall filter baskets, coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning disc & tablets, cleaning tool, water filter with holder. Please note: There is a “Black Plastic” insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter, this is meant to reduce heat loss experienced when espresso hits cold metal also prevents any “splashing” from the dual wall pressurized filter baskets
  • PID temperature control that delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degree Celsius increments; Power 1700 Watts. Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts

Cleaning and Maintenance:

Regularly cleaning and carrying out maintenance on the Breville Infuser is no challenge. It’s simple and easy. 

Descaling mainly requires you to place the cleaning disc in the portafilter and run a full cycle. It’s not too different from the process employed in other espresso machines. 

As for backflushing, the unit can be backflushed with ease, just like any other unit. You need to use the rubber disc included in the portafilter to allow the water to backflow. You also need to place the cleaning tablets in the portafilter. Now run the backflushing cycle for up to 5 minutes.

General maintenance is also made easy. Simply wipe down the body with a damp cloth. You also get a few cleaning tools to help you keep the device in top shape.

Cleaning the Breville Barista Express is simple and easy too. Backflushingand descaling are made easier with the help of a rubber disc. Backflushing will hardly take 5 minutes, and you can wipe down the main body with ease.

Similarly, the Gaggia Classic Pro doesn’t require cumbersome maintenance. The updated design and materials mean that you can simply wipe down the body. And descaling and backflushing are a breeze as well.

Frothing:

Breville Infuser Frothing
Breville Infuser Frothing

In the Breville Infuser, you have a 1650 watt heating element working in the steam boiler. The boiler heats up the steam faster and with more pressure than most other espresso machines. 

The steam wand is fully articulated, rotating about a ball joint. This allows you to move the wand in all directions. Unfortunately, you’ll find that the wand is prone to overheating, which can lead to burns. The Infuser does make this easier, though, by incorporating a rubber-padded elbow with a rubber handle. 

With the steam wand, you can master latte art and micro-foam milk texturing. The steam is thick and foamy and contains more water than air. 

The Breville Barista Express, coming from the same family, uses the same steaming wand. The wand can move freely in all directions, and there’s a rubber handle to prevent burns. 

However, the same cannot be said for the Gaggia Classic Pro. The steam wand can only be rotated left to right, and it doesn’t have a rubber handle. The elbow is rubber padded, though, but many people can forget to hold it from there and end up with burns.

Grinding:

Next, we take a look at the grinding. The first time you look at the Breville Infuser, you’ll notice one major thing that’s missing: the grinder. This unit does not come with an in-built grinder and only takes E.S.E pods into the portafilter.

This is a bit of a downside. For one thing, many people rely on pre-ground coffee and capsules for their daily espresso. Furthermore, if you were able to grind the coffee yourself, you could have an endless variety in size and texture.

If you want to buy a grinder, try the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. It makes a good pair with the Infuser and a few other Breville products.

Coming on to the Breville Barista Express, this is where it adds value. The Barista Express comes equipped with a bean hopper and a burr grinder. 

Following in the Infuser’s footsteps, the Gaggia Classic Pro also doesn’t feature a grinder. However, the difference is that this machine can accept both ESE pods and coffee grounds.

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Pre infusion function applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for an even extraction; Water Tank Capacity: 61 ounce
  • 1600 watts thermocoil heating system with integrated stainless steel water coil accurately controls water temperature; Settings: Single or Double Shot Volumetric Control & Manual Over ride. Dimensions : 13.7 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Auto purge function automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature; 15 bar Italian pump provides complete volumetric control preset, manual over ride or re programmable volumes
  • Accessories: single & dual wall filter baskets, coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning disc & tablets, cleaning tool, water filter with holder. Please note: There is a “Black Plastic” insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter, this is meant to reduce heat loss experienced when espresso hits cold metal also prevents any “splashing” from the dual wall pressurized filter baskets
  • PID temperature control that delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degree Celsius increments; Power 1700 Watts. Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts

Additional Features:

Breville Infuser Features
Breville Infuser Features

When it comes to special features, the Breville Infuser likes to go all out. Perhaps the most prominent feature in this machine is the auto-purge function. Through this, the temperature is automatically adjusted to maintain optimal extraction. This is why each shot brewed through the Infuser is highly saturated and rich in flavor.

Adding to that, the brew boiler contains a 1600 watts Thermo coil that controls the water’s temperature accurately. You can manually set the temperature as well using the Volumetric Control and Override features.

What’s more, is that the Breville Infuser includes a hot water outlet. This can be used for Americanos and hot chocolates. It’s a very low-profile nozzle, though, so you may not notice it at first.

The Breville Barista Express features a conical burr grinder. You can use the Dual Wall preset, or you can choose from 15 different grinding sizes. You also get to see the 15-bar pump and the thermocouple in this espresso maker.

Finally, the Gaggia Classic Pro is best known for its enhanced pump mounts. This technology reduces noise production. The frame has also been updated so that it can be removed and inspected separately. 

Value for Money:

So is the Breville BES840XL really worth the money? We take a closer look at how each component fares against the given price.

Firstly, let’s see the materials. Stainless steel is a sturdy material used here. Next, the design is simple and attractive, which means that you don’t have to pay extra for redundant features.

It’s got all the features you would want in a smaller price range. It includes all the necessary accessories as well as PID control.

Since the Breville Barista Express also comes with a burr grinder, the price is relatively higher. Everything else in the Barista Express is not too different from the Infuser. It’s worth the price, and you won’t regret buying it.

The same cannot be said for the Gaggia Classic Pro, though. It’s priced similar to the Infuser but doesn’t include manual control, PID, or even a pressure gauge. The only thing that does justify the price is the use of chrome-plated brass and aluminum in the construction.

Who Should Buy The Breville Infuser?

If you’re the type of person who likes to program their coffee, then the Breville Infuser will suit you. It allows for both semi-automatics as well as manual control over the extraction and infusion.

More so, if you’re the owner of a commercial café, the Infuser is an affordable choice. It has all the necessary functions at a lower price. And it’s a good investment even for personal use.

This machine is also recommended if you already have a burr grinder and are looking for a decent espresso maker. It’s also a good choice if you use ESE pods, as many machines aren’t compatible with them.

More so, the Breville Infuser is a great choice for versatility as well. Use it for espressos, Americanos, hot chocolate, lattes, and even cappuccinos.

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Breville Infuser?

If you want an espresso machine with a grinder built-in, then the Breville Infuser is not for you. It doesn’t include a grinder, and you’ll have to buy a new one separable if you want grinding control.

The Breville Infuser is also a bad choice for people who use coffee grounds instead of ESE pods. 

Another thing to note here is that you can’t control the temperature of the steam. There are some espresso machines that have this feature, so it’s a drawback.

Pros

  • Great for use commercially.
  • Quick and easy heat up.
  • Includes PID control.
  • Compatible with ESE pods.
  • Highly versatile – can be used for Americanos.
  • Easy to clean and wipe.
  • True to the value.

Cons

  • Incompatible with coffee grounds.
  • Does not include a burr grinder.
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Pre infusion function applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for an even extraction; Water Tank Capacity: 61 ounce
  • 1600 watts thermocoil heating system with integrated stainless steel water coil accurately controls water temperature; Settings: Single or Double Shot Volumetric Control & Manual Over ride. Dimensions : 13.7 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Auto purge function automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature; 15 bar Italian pump provides complete volumetric control preset, manual over ride or re programmable volumes
  • Accessories: single & dual wall filter baskets, coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning disc & tablets, cleaning tool, water filter with holder. Please note: There is a “Black Plastic” insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter, this is meant to reduce heat loss experienced when espresso hits cold metal also prevents any “splashing” from the dual wall pressurized filter baskets
  • PID temperature control that delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degree Celsius increments; Power 1700 Watts. Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts

FAQs for the Breville Infuser espresso BES840XL 

Can you make Americanos with the Breville Infuser?

Yes, you can! You may not have noticed it, but there’s a hot water nozzle right between the brew group and the steam wand. It dispenses hot water, which you can use for Americanos, hot chocolate, and a whole lot of other stuff. 

How long does it take the steamer to steam the milk?

Generally, it should take no more than 45 seconds for your milk jug to get steamed up. However, you can take longer than that to get more or less foam. It’s also recommended to first “purge” the steam wand. What this means is to turn the wand on to release any unheated water and to let the wand get heated up.

Does the machine have a double boiler?

No. A double boiler would mean that you can pull shots and steam your milk at the same time. While there isn’t a separate steam boiler, you don’t have to wait to steam your milk. The infuser uses a heated coil that doesn’t require reheating once you use it for the shot. This still means that you can’t brew and steam at the same time.

Conclusion:

The Breville BES840XL Infuser is no doubt one of Breville’s greatest charms. It’s durable, versatile, and provides more control than any other espresso machine. We recommend it for all types of use. Beware! it doesn’t have a grinder.

If you’re a fan of precisely controlling the temperature of your shot, then you’ll love the Breville Infuser. It features PID control that enables you to manually adjust the temperature in pre-defined increments.

That brings us to the end of our article. We hope you liked the Breville Infuser just as much as we did. And we hope you learned a lot about its operation and value.