Is the Breville bes920xl dual boiler worth it? A Full Review
to the point...
The Breville bes920xl (who named this thing? come on, Breville!) is a highly rated and incredibly popular dual boiler espresso machine from appliance giant Breville. Topping off at around $1,200, it's a pretty good price point as far as dual boilers go. But, is it worth it? Containing features typically found on premium domestic machines like pre-infusion and dual boilers and some not, like programmability, it's no wonder the bes920xl is popular!
disclaimer - Cliff & Pebble may receive a commssion from some of the links in this article should you click on them and make a purchase.
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine - Worth it?
Dual Stainless Steel Boilers
This is massive. Stainless steel boilers are typically found on machines 3x this price. Most premium espresso machines from Italy will have copper boilers. As you get into the higher price ranges ($2k-$5k) you'll start to see manufacturers start to go to stainless steel boilers. The fact that the Breville bes920xl dual boiler has stainless steel is a massive plus for this machine - maybe enough reason to buy it right now.
Heated group head
Another feature normally found on the much more expensive Italian-made machines. If you know your espresso machines, you've no doubt heard of the E61 heated group head. Being the most popular group for Italian manufacturers, the biggest advantage of an E61 is the fact that it's heated.
Heat is an incredibly important component to making quality espresso on a consistent basis. A heated group head, whether you'll notice it or not, will ensure consist espresso shots time after time. The bes920xl does not, however, contain thermosiphon like the Italian machines. This system keeps warm water flowing throughout the machine - even when it's not in use. This flaw can be forgotten with a simple 5 second group head flush before use.
An Alternate (And Cheaper) Option From Breville
PID Temperature Control
Control the interior temperature of your boilers with the LED screen on the Breville bes920xl. An incredibly convenient feature giving you a direct connection to your boiler's temperature. Is PID really necessary though? Some of the most popular premium machines don't even have it - so why do you need it?
You don't. Rather, it's a nice feature and incredibly convenient. Another plus for the bes920xl.
Low pressure pre-infusion
Pre-infusion is a neat function that will evenly douse your coffee grounds right before extraction. It ensures your extraction will come out even and tasting perfect. Without it, your extractions will be less consistent and flavors will be lost from your beans.
What customers love about this Breville Espresso Machine
- Style - simply put - it's a good looking espresso machine that doesn't take up too much space. Wrapped in stainless steel, the Breville bes920xl dual boiler is perfect for an aspiring at-home barista, office or business location. Coming in at only 14.7" tall, you won't have to worry about it fitting underneath your cabinets.
- Simplicity - the bes920xl is incredibly easy to use. The process of making espresso has a learning curve and this machine makes that curve smaller. It's programmability really comes into play here as well making it a true semi-automatic espresso machine.
- Brand name - most know or have heard of the brand name Breville. There's a certain comfort factor that comes into play knowing the reputation of the brand when you're spending this much money on something.
- For the price, it can't be beat - as mentioned in almost every feature listed above, the bes920xl from Breville can hold its own with the likes of the bigger, Italian manufactures. In our opinion, however, it won't last as long as an Italian-made machine as the materials used in those guys are far superior.
- Everything is included - the machine comes with everything you'll possible need to get started right away. A tamper, dosing tool (the razor), milk steaming pitcher, additional baskets and more.
Things to consider about this Breville Espresso Machine
- If you want better, you'll have to pay - the next step up would be an Italian-made espresso machine. They're certainly better and just like anything else in this world that's better, you better be ready to pay for it! Shop our curated list of espresso machines. There are better, more expensive options that will have you asking whether or not the price is justified - the answer? Yes!
- Buy from a retailer? or Amazon? - if you ask us, this one is a no-brainer. Amazon has the most lenient return policy in the history of e-commerce. Buy it from Amazon and don't worry if it breaks - just return it or have them replace it! It's usually cheaper on Amazon too! (like most things). OR your can try your luck at Sur la Table with coupon code GIFT17 (20% off).
- You'll be needing a quality grinder - unlike its little brother, the Breville Barista Express, which contains an attached burr grinder, the bes920xl does not. DO NOT buy pre-ground coffee when looking to make espresso. Your bean and grinder selection is just as important than the machine itself - trust us.