Dear Readers and enthusiasts alike;
I am submitting this review on the Breville Dual Boiler v. the Brugnetti Aurora Simona single boiler.
I had the good fortune to get the Breville at a steep discount below $1K USD v. the $1.6K I have invested in the Brugnetti Simona (aurora) single boiler.
First to be fair, the Breville is perfect or was after I with the help of a Youtube video, set the OPV on the Italian Pump, looks almost like the Ulka in the Brugnetti, to around 10 bar v. the stock 13+. One point about the OPV, the YOUtube video says use a screwdriver...it's actually marked at the pipe to the pump and the screwed down to max OPV - a blackdot on each, at first it took a slight wrench(it's a nut not a screw) then I was able to free the OPV and use 2 full hand turns lining up the black marks each time to make sure.
I had a devil of a time with the best efforts of the Rancilio Rocky and the Reg Barber tamp getting the grind right no matter what portafilter basket I used in order to get the shot time down to 30 sec and bar at below 13.
The Bar meter condensates and stays that way; that is a negative.
Finally, I went with removing the spring in the Breville portafilter and the black plastic insert, then added my 58 mm triple basket. I like with my decaf, which is all I drink - the extraction of a triple.
Once the pump was forced to around 10 bar - things went quickly; say 200+ shots over weeks of time.
The dual set up takes some getting used to since my habit is to make milk first with the Brugnetti steam pipe, then place the stainless pitcher under the group and brew/extract a ristretto triple.
The new Breville makes me ambidextrous and I use a separate vessel for the extraction a few seconds after I start the milk texturing, which by the way is more like, much more like latte milk in flavor and texture than the Brugnetti milk; which is always much more like a classic cappuccino.
The prefusion and percentage of pump v. no prefusion I have yet to see a difference in extraction although it makes it slightly quicker; the decaf comes out more chocolate/butterscotch like if you will than the chocolate like flecked and striped Brugnetti extractions - same grind, same coffee. Both machines produce prodigious amounts of fresh guiness like crema from the less than 10 day old coffee I use.
I have no experience with fresh single origin and caffeinated; I strictly drink decaf. a few days a week. The coffee I chose to use for this flavor comparison is freshly roasted swiss water process: Allegro Coffee organic house decaf espresso and Buddy Brew Mana blend decaf - which is full city + and works really well for espresso (Royal Gold blend). I ran the machine through the paces over the holidays and the guest concensus was not much of a difference on either although the Breville milk was liked by most and for hot chocolate for the kids.
What I discovered over this period of ownership and testing is that the Breville is a great engineering masterpiece, but only time will tell on the performance and parts failure. Going into the machine, I found tubing that is not copper as in the Brugnetti and stainless boilers unlike copper boiler in the Brugnetti. I was not happy with the thin skin of stainless steel after dismantling the back of the machine nor the thin stainless steel drip tray cover v. the Brugnetti...old steel v. new steel.
While I was in the machine I tested for lead, copper and iron + the quality of water. I had always prefiltered via Pur dual filter pitchers (Ph, Chlor and alk). All tests were within range either from the pitcher or Breville filter after pitcher.
I tested for lead and iron at the group, wand and all tubing...nothing. I left milk on the steam wand and cleared it and cleaned best I could then checked for bacteria - ZERO.
Even on the Brugnetti with the brass distribution disk, as a lark - NO lead or metals at all - so much for all the worry over the long term affects of copper and brass! Maybe it has all leeched out over the 20 + years of use
You may ask why the testing on the machines and water? There was a lot of water work in the area and mains flush + a friend of mine had good quality test kits that mirror (duplicate copies and results) those of his lab. He works in a chemical test lab...he double verified the results - so Breville and Brugnetti do a good job with safe materials.
I believe the softness of the milk and extraction by just a bit with the Breville is due to the water ph/alk; which is different on the Breville than the Brugnetti.
The Rocky produced the right grind and each machine did a very good job, although stopping up/bogging down the Breville was hard; the Brugnetti is testy and this is more easily done.
The 3-way solenoid on both machines for pressure release was fine. Puck removal on the Breville with the triple basket I have, which sits very tight in the Breville portafilter required ultimately (many tries and a few failures and broken nails - it's a tight fit) the removal of the Breville spring and black plastic disk. The latter with a screwdriver, then the triple basket just sat and was easy to put in and take out/wash.
The complaints about bright coffee and lack of steam on the Breville seem unfounded. At least I couldn't find this to be an issue (of course the OPV adjustment made a big difference). I stressed out the machine as much as I possible could - no problems. If anything the steam paddle is tricky to get used to v. a knob on the Brugnetti.
The Breville has a certain edge over my practices with the Brugnetti. Both warm up and cold function + versatility. The Brugnetti is a lot of manual work, performance order and ritual that, if not done right and in the right order, won't come out well. With the Breville this was never the case. No matter if I started with milk or espresso, or milk first, then hit the manual button for espresso in a separate vessel, or waited and then ran espresso into my pitcher to drink; which is my usual practice, the results were consistent for temperature and flavor with the Breville.
I was unable due to the lack of a bottomless portafilter on the Breville and the proprietary ears -slots to add my home brew pressure gauge to the portafilter or use a bottomless to see what was going on at extraction or under pressure how much is actually at the group v. gauge/meter with a 30ml/30 sec flow.
All in all, I'd say I really like the Breville. There is still some fooling around I have to do with the prefusion and pressure to see if it makes for better or worse extraction, but the temperature setting and stability are really nice things. One does not have to guess as it's always ready. No rebound like the Brugnetti, which is about 1-1.5 minutes.
Thanks for reading this and if anyone has ?'s or comments I welcome them + if you want me to try something or a different brew (donkey blend or intelligentsia) let me know and I can post some feedback.
I think Breville thought this out at a price point and it's not a high end machine, but it's pretty nice so far - not that I would ever buy one (a higher end machine), but I did want a dual boiler and this shaves 10 minutes + a lot of set-up and clean-up time off my experience; which adds to the utility of the Breville. I was once offered a Della Corte (I think - I could be errored on the name but that was the dual boiler model) from Brugnetti (private labelled?) - all steel and nice, but the refill tank seemed a bear to use/clean...the Breville excels at this with the dual entry point for water and the sliding 5th's leg/wheel setting to move the machine.
(edited for errors and clarifications - 11.29 5:37pm EST)