Published by MarkDecember 3, 2014 4:34 pm
If you’re looking for a entry-level espresso machine that delivers great value for money, the new and slightly improved Breville Infuser is well worth considering. We had reviewed this machine over a year ago and decided not to carry it because of the brewing temp – we found it to be far too cold, making the shots taste sour.
Breville contacted us about some recent improvements, most important that it now brews at a more proper 202 degrees. We here at Clive went over its features and functionality with a fine-toothed comb to see what we could find.
The first thing you notice when you open the box is the range of shiny, useful accessories that come with the machine. These include a milk jug, cleaning equipment and ‘the Razor’ – a dose trimming tool that Breville have thoughtfully designed to aid dose consistency for the up-and-coming barista.
Although we recommend always freshly grinding your coffee immediately before brewing, the folks at Breville know that not everyone has their own grinder at home. Therefore in addition to the standard single wall filter baskets, they provide dual wall filter baskets for use with pre-ground coffee. With single and double shot versions provided in both single and dual wall formats that brings our grand total of filter baskets provided with this machine to four. It’s good to have options (but to be honest, we’ve never had a good shot made with preground espresso and we kind of doubt you will be able to either).
The 54mm tamper that Breville supplies with this machine is fairly light in weight but it certainly does the job. It just doesn’t have the same feel as other tampers out there. Their great advantage is that they magnetically click into place near the machine’s group head, keeping it dry, warm and out of the way. And this isn’t the only convenient storage feature the Infuser has. When you pull out the drip tray a hidden accessory storage tray is revealed. You can store all your spare filter baskets in here, with room for a few other bits and pieces too.
We dialed in our coffee and proceeded to pull some shots. The Infuser didn’t disappoint. It produced sweet, juicy espresso shots with great crema. The only catch is you have to need the right grind setting and allow a good twenty minutes for the machine portafilter to be warm enough to produce a good extraction.
The Infuser is so named because it pre-infuses the coffee with low pressure hot water for a few seconds before transitioning into full extraction mode. This allows a more even extraction and produces a full-flavoured cup of coffee. This feature is programmed into the machine. While the overall shot volume can be set to your liking the pre-infusion time cannot be reprogrammed, although it can be manually overridden.
A great feature of this machine is the ability to adjust the brewing temperature up or down 2 or 4 degrees from the factory setting. The temperature is not displayed and is changed using various combinations of button presses as prescribed in the user manual. This is a little tedious, but it’s a much needed feature for those that want to dial in the temperature for their favorite coffee.
This machine steams beautiful, silky milk for your cappuccinos or lattes. However, it is a slow process. The steam wand isn’t overly powerful. If you wanted to make a whole lot of milk based beverages for your family or friends, you might not want to be in a rush . But the machine can efficiently pull consecutive shots so producing several espressos or americanos would be no issue. The inclusion of a small hot water tap on this model is a handy feature, though it should be used sparingly to prevent the boiler being overworked.
The pressure gauge, despite its ambiguous scale, is a useful indication of how your extractions are faring. If too low during the extraction phase (after pre-infusion) the coffee is being under-extracted. A high reading means the coffee is over-extracting. Breville’s user manual has great hints and tips to help rectify the situation and get the best out of your beans.
An allen key is provided with the machine. It is used to remove the shower screen to replace the silicone seal when needed. While this is only an occasional requirement, it is inevitable as the seals do wear out over time so it’s nice to see Breville has the forethought to allow users to get this done without the need of a technician.
All in all, we found this to be a well thought-out machine that for a great price can produce a good quality espresso beverage in the home. We are curious as to how a side by side comparison between this machine and the Rancilio Silvia V3 would pan out. Keep an eye out for a future post on this in the next few weeks.
Categorized in: What's New