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How to Choose the Perfect Espresso Machine: A Guide to Key Features and the Breville 800ESXL

Espresso machines come in all shapes, sizes, and varying levels of sophistication. Some are automatic and require little human intervention, while others require a skilled barista to operate.

There’s also a wide range of prices, with some models costing thousands of dollars. In this article, we’ll look at the Breville 800ESXL, one of the most popular espresso machines on the market, and the key features you should consider when shopping for an espresso machine.

Importance of Considering Key Features When Shopping for an Espresso Machine:

Before we dive into the specific features of the Breville 800ESXL espresso machine, it’s worth discussing why it’s important to consider a machine’s features before making a purchase. Firstly, espresso machines can be expensive.

As we mentioned earlier, prices can range from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. When you’re spending that much money on a machine, you want to make sure it has all the features and capabilities you’re looking for.

Secondly, espresso machines are an investment. While a quality model can last for years, you don’t want to end up with a machine that doesn’t meet your needs and ends up collecting dust on a shelf somewhere.

Lastly, every espresso drinker has their preferences. Some prefer a stronger, bitter cup of espresso, while others prefer a lighter, sweeter one.

Different machines have different capabilities, so it’s important to choose a machine that can brew your ideal cup of espresso. Now that we’ve discussed why it’s important to consider key features when shopping for an espresso machine, let’s look at some of the things you should consider before making a purchase.

1. Automatic and Manual: Experience vs Convenience

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when shopping for an espresso machine is whether you want an automatic or manual model.

Automatic espresso machines use a built-in grinder to grind the beans and a pump to generate the pressure needed to extract the espresso. They’re easy to use – all you need to do is fill the hopper with beans, place your cup under the sprout, and press a button.

An automatic machine is a great option if you’re looking for convenience and consistency. Manual espresso machines, on the other hand, require a little more time and skill to operate.

You’ll need to grind the beans yourself, fill the portafilter, and manually generate the necessary pressure by using a lever or pump. A manual machine is a good option if you’re looking for an espresso-making experience and want to experiment with different variables such as pressure, grind size, and tamp.

2. Age and Quality

When shopping for an espresso machine, you have the option of buying a new or used model.

While there are pros and cons to both options, it’s important to consider the quality of the machine above all else. New machines come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which can give you peace of mind knowing that any defects or problems will be covered.

They’re also likely to have the latest technology and engineering advances. However, new machines can be expensive.

Used machines are generally less expensive, but they may have underlying problems that the seller isn’t disclosing. It’s important to thoroughly inspect a used machine before making a purchase, or buy from a reputable seller that offers a warranty.

Another thing to consider is the quality of the machine itself. High-end machines use high-quality materials and boast more advanced features, while cheaper models may be made of plastic and have fewer features.

A higher quality machine is generally more reliable and will produce a better cup of espresso.

In conclusion, shopping for an espresso machine can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

By considering the features we’ve discussed in this article, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and choose a machine that meets your needs and preferences. Whether you opt for an automatic or manual model, new or used, high-end or budget-friendly, there’s an espresso machine out there that’s perfect for you.

The Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine Review:

Overview of the Breville 800ESXL:

The Breville 800ESXL is a semi-automatic espresso machine that’s popular among both coffee aficionados and beginners. It features a sleek stainless steel design, a large water tank, and comes with a variety of accessories that make it easy to use.

One of the standout features of the Breville 800ESXL is the dual-wall filter system. This system ensures that your espresso is perfectly extracted every time, regardless of your skill level.

The machine also includes a tamper and pre-measured scoop, making it easy to measure and tamp your coffee grounds.

Pros and Cons of the Breville 800ESXL:

Like any espresso machine, the Breville 800ESXL has its pros and cons.

Lets take a closer look at what sets it apart:


  • Large water tank: The Breville 800ESXL comes with a 75oz water tank, which means you won’t have to refill it as often as with other machines.
  • Dual-wall filter system: The dual-wall filter system ensures consistently great espresso, even for beginners.
  • Easy to use: The machine comes with helpful accessories and a clear interface, making it easy for users to get started right away.
  • Steam wand: The steam wand allows you to froth milk, which is particularly useful for creating cappuccinos and lattes.
  • Auto Purge Function: This function ensures optimal extraction by automatically adjusting temperatures between shots.


  • Large footprint: The machine is fairly large and may take up a considerable amount of space on your countertop.
  • Limited customization: Since the machine is semi-automatic, there is less opportunity to experiment with customizing your espresso shots.
  • No built-in grinder: If you don’t already own a grinder, you’ll need to purchase one separately.

Additional Features that make it great for beginners:

In addition to the features mentioned above, the Breville 800ESXL has several features that make it an excellent choice for beginners. These include:

  • Simple interface: The machine has a clear interface with intuitive controls, making operation easy even for those new to espresso making.
  • Pre-programmed shot sizes: The machine comes with pre-programmed shot sizes that help ensure consistency, which is particularly important for those new to espresso making.
  • Dual-wall filter system: As we mentioned earlier, the dual-wall filter system makes it difficult to screw up your shots, which is ideal for beginners who are still learning the ins and outs of making espresso.

The Auto Purge Function ensures your espresso is perfectly extracted:

One of the features that sets the Breville 800ESXL apart from other machines is the Auto Purge Function. This function automatically adjusts the water temperature between shots, ensuring optimal extraction.

The function works by purging the machine of the hotter water used in the previous shot to prevent the next shot from being over-extracted. This functionality is essential, as water temperature can greatly impact the taste of your espresso.

If the water is too hot or too cold, your espresso may taste bitter or weak. The Auto Purge Function ensures that your espresso is perfectly extracted, shot after shot.

Don’t buy the Breville 800ESXL if… While the Breville 800ESXL is well-suited for beginners and intermediate espresso makers, it may not be the best fit for everyone.

You should avoid buying this machine if:

  • You are a seasoned barista looking for more advanced customization options.
  • You want a machine with a built-in grinder.
  • You have limited kitchen counter space.

The Verdict:

Overall, the Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine is a great choice for those who want an easy-to-use machine with consistent and tasty results.

The machine is designed with a focus on functionality, making it an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate espresso makers. While it may not be the best fit for more advanced baristas, it offers enough customization options to satisfy most people.

Overall, the Breville 800ESXL is a great value for its price point and is well worth considering for anyone in the market for an espresso machine.

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