Breville Dual Boiler, five+ years on - Page 2

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#11: Post by SAB »

pcrussell50 wrote: Fortunate that I can afford whatever I want, my plan to get a proper saturated brew group machine nevertheless remains on hold, until this machine either limits me, or can't be repaired for a pittance. Neither of the latter is even beginning to loom.

My experience, as well, Peter. In the last year or so, I've upgraded my roaster, my grinder, and added a lever. :D I thought I would upgrade my machine as well, but really do not feel compelled. There is a LOT of capability with the BDB (I have the 900). I especially like the ability to pull shots at a lower pressure (I've changed the OPV to 7 bar, so that I can do long preinfusions as well). With my EG-1, Slayer-style shots are accessible and pretty amazing. And of course, there's the ease of changing temperature...

I'm four years in to the BDB with no significant problems. You'd have to spend a LOT more to get a machine with more capability.

The mantra holds true. In decreasing order of importance are 1) beans 2) grinder 3) machine. Spend your money where it's most important might find out that other upgrades are unnecessary...

pcrussell50 (original poster)

#12: Post by pcrussell50 (original poster) »

RogerB wrote:Peter,
Which one do you have? 900 or 920? Sorry I don't recall when the 920 came out.
Mine is a 900 too. But it's a latter day 900, that uses the 920 group. Somewhere on the box it says 900 /B. I had an original 900 but Breville replaced it free, off warranty for a problem I have not seen or heard of since, and in reality was probably an easy fix. That was four years ago.
RogerB wrote:Or "Year 3 and I'm on my 3rd machine,"

Finally a long-term review with some expertise behind it. Thanks again.
Yes, well the review is only"good" up to the five year point. What the farther future holds is yet to be discovered. But I'm going forward with open eyes and mind.

ETA: A week ago, had the solenoids listed as: "Backorder, no ETA" Last night on a whim, I checked and they had one in stock. I bought it. Everybody with a year or older BDB should have a spare solenoid, IMHO. Ordinarily, I'd say not, but these things are out of stock about half the time, so if you don't want any downtime, it's probably best to keep a spare around.

LMWDP #553


#13: Post by mrjag »

I've been with the BDB for 5 years as well. Originally a 900, it was swapped out for a 920 under warranty about 3 years ago. As with anything I do have some nitpicks, but at the end of the day I'm quite happy with it and see no need to upgrade to a different machine. I'm probably due for new o-rings and valves, but that shouldn't be a big deal. I've been tempted to do the pressure profile mod but have been holding off until I need to swap o-rings so that I don't have to open the case multiple times.


#14: Post by sammys »

Thank you for your informative post, Peter. I've been running two BES900 machines in a commercial setting for just over three years. Each machine has over 15,000 extractions on the clock. I've almost completed a three-year overhaul of the older of the two machines. It had a temperature instability that has taken a while to diagnose because I didn't want to replace many things in one hit so I can see/learn what effect each replacement has.

There's little chance anyone at Breville will read this. However, a huge thank you to the product development team at Breville for building such a tough machine that outperforms commercial machine extraction quality without needing little tricks like flushing the group etc at a fraction of the cost. I chose these machines because I can set up the grind and coffee/water amounts then my less experienced staff can then extract above average coffees.

The downside... the machine wasn't designed for a commercial workload so there are some parts that struggle to hold up. Parts that can't take the load are the o-rings, the coffee pump, the needle valve for hot water and the ball valve for steam. I've recently switched o-rings to EPDM and it's too early to report whether they will last longer but I'm pretty sure they will. I'd love to get my mitts on commercial quality valves though I have not even begun to look into it. I've almost convinced myself to replace the coffee pumps with Fluid-o-Tech rotary pumps using custom controllers... Almost.

Hopefully someone will get some use out of this information.


#15: Post by Bret »

Yes, thank you for this post! I've been wondering about the profiling approaches, but have not had time to dig around and find the tidbits here and there.

Much appreciated!


#16: Post by BobStern »

pcrussell50 wrote:I don't think you're setting "pressure" I think you're setting flow. Or you may be setting whatever wave shaping or clipping parameter (really stretching my tech here), that Breville has patented.
Their US patent 8973435 says they control the preinfusion power using a Triac to adjust the duty cycle of the AC power to the pump. This is the same as a cheap lamp dimmer.

< ... PN/8973435>

Breville USA publishes a list of all US patents corresponding to their products:

pcrussell50 (original poster)

#17: Post by pcrussell50 (original poster) replying to BobStern »

Just to clear any potential confusion, there is profiling, and there is reduced pressure extraction. Both different things.

The "profiling" you do on the BDB is by direct mechanical manipulation of the pressure path after the pump. It is very linear and controllable. As much so as any I've ever seen.

The reduced pressure extraction, is done by setting pump output on the screen.

LMWDP #553


#18: Post by theoctopus »

Posts like these make me question my decision to go with a much more expensive machine...

The idea of retrofitting a BDB with a logic board of some kind is very attractive.


#19: Post by Montrealer »

Thx for the long term review. I only had mine for 6 months now... I think this review sealed the deal for me!

Just wanted to add that you can still use the water knob to control pressure without removing the switch. You just have to be carefull and not move it further than about 1/8th of a turn as to not trip the sensor and stop the shot.

With the blind filter on i was able to lower the pressure from 10 all the way down to 3 before tripping the stop switch.

I forget how low i dropped pressure during a real extraction but im pretty sure i got it down from 8 to 4-5 ish quite easily.

If you want to lower pressures more than that, the switch removal trick may become nessessary.

Take note that up to now, i only used the knob to try and "save" an extraction that was runing too fast. No profiling for me just yet...


#20: Post by baristabazza »

I have to disagree on this. I bought a BDB based on the hype that it got online and used it for 3 years before getting rid of it. I have an e61 la scala butterfly hx machine in my kitchen now and am about to buy the La Marzocco Linea mini (LMLM). I have used a wide range of machines from thermoblocks to 3 group commercial machinces. Before buying the BDB I owned a brasilia club (very similar to a silvia, but ugly) This is my review of the BDB:

The best thing about it is its convenience and wife acceptance factor (WAF). Set the timer and it is good to go. it's easy as to change temp, preinfusion etc, and coupled with the smart grinder the morning coffee routine is about as easy as it gets.

It's steam is adequate for 1-2 drinks, and can do good microfoam. Its lack of power becomes really apparent when doing more than 2 drinks.

Its shot pulling ability is consistently reasonable to good, but in my 3 years of ownership I could never get an excellent shot out of it. This is with trying multiple grinders, coffees and techniques. I could get a far better shot out of my brasilia club, but had more sink shots because if temp surfing inconsistencies and no OPV. My e61 hx consistently makes slightly better shots, and some excellent shots, but isn't as user friendly. After 2 pulls on the LMLM I had a shot that was better than anything I got in three years on the BDB, and it has awesome steaming ability.

Build quality is the biggest weakness in the BDB and I seriously doubt that many will get past 10 years old without looking very tired and needing major work along the way.

Overall it is a good machine for making 1-2 milk based drinks at a time with a high WAF and ease of use. My family and friends loved it because they knew that they would get cafe quality coffee whenever they came to visit. However, if the pursuit of excellent espresso is your thing, you serve more than 2 people at a time, or you want a machine that will last the distance I suggest you look elsewhere.

If you are wondering about comparisons to more expensive machines, these are my thoughts: To suggest that the BDB could compare to the LMLM is silly. The LMLM is better in every way except maybe temp adjustment. The BDB is similar overall to the e61 hx machines in its own way. I think that the lifetime cost of the BDB would be at least as much an e61 hx due to its cheaper construction (imo) and for someone who fixes their own machines the issue of getting parts comes into play as well(e61 parts are plentiful and relatively cheap). Finally the BDB doesn't look anywhere near as good imo as a e61 hx.

I hope that helps