Breville Dual Boiler, five+ years on - Page 4

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
Posts: 10
Joined: April 11th, 2017

Postby jtcipro » Aug 03, 2017, 3:34 pm

baristabazza wrote:My response was to mcknightp's post where he said that it was his preferred machine over everything on the market. As the LMLM was designed, built and marketed as a home machine, I think it is fair to say that it is in the same market as the BDB, if in a completely different price point.

Also I typically make up to 10 milk based drinks at a time at home while entertaining and found the BDB frustrating when making 4+drinks. I wouldn't call that catering, but whatever. I still maintain that it is a great machine for making 1/2 milk based coffees at a time. It's one hell of an achievement from breville, and I can understand why phil is so one eyed about it. If you are in NZ and want to prove to me that you can pull god shots off a BDB then be my guest, I will post here about how useless I am if you can. That's it from me.

If you want to make conclusions on some statements he makes its fair, I mean you aren't technically wrong. But in my opinion, he didn't give specifics so really anyone could make many conclusions from what he said. For me, I prefer the BDB over everything on the market based on its price and features. Its been a beast for me and enjoy my 1-3 milk drink/day from it. I recommend it to all who needs a machine on a lower budget, drinks the amount I do and has a killer grinder to pair. Sure it might not last 10+ years but even at 5 years I would have made the most with my money which I think is important.

As for the god shot comment, I think it can make a god shot (whatever that means) and if you can define what exactly a god shot tastes like then I am sure people would take you up on that offer. But in reality, taste is subjective and if it doesn't make a god shot for you then thats too bad.

Posts: 125
Joined: July 11th, 2015

Postby mrjag » Aug 03, 2017, 11:33 pm

I've had my BDB since March 2012 and am quite happy with it from a cost/benefit perspective. I would agree that the La Marzocco machines pull better shots, particularly some of the nicer commercial ones. (All my favorite cafe's are running LM) But if you call LM's shots a 10, the BDB is good enough at a 9. I'd wager that the barista and grinder it gets paired with plays a larger role in coercing a god shot out of the respective machines.

I matched mine initially with a Smart Grinder, quickly upgraded to a Vario, then recently bumped up to a Compak E10. Maybe I got lucky in my machine's stability, but I can crank out around 4 milk drinks back to back without issue. I do run into steaming issues when trying to entertain particularly large parties (Thanksgiving for 20 for example), but it's hardly something I'd expect a "home" machine to handle anyways. It's easy enough to socialize for two minutes while I wait for the boiler to recover before pulling another set.

I don't know what a typical lifetime is supposed to be for an espresso machine, but I estimate my total cost of ownership for a decade of home use will be around $1800. This takes into considering the usual discounts you can get on the machine in the US as well as the expected lifespan of the machine and the refurbish/repair costs via Breville USA when it eventually stops working.

Posts: 22
Joined: April 9th, 2017

Postby baristabazza » Aug 04, 2017, 2:02 am

pcrussell50 wrote:G'day Brian. Love NZ. Spent a year of Uni there at Vic in Wellington.

Five and a half years in, and my only costs have been $10 to Amazon for several lifetimes worth of o-rings, and about $50 for a new solenoid, where the old one was still working fine, but was getting buzzy sounding. The pumps are widely available, standard Ulka's but they don't seem to fail very often. I don't know of any. So far, the only failures that seem to have come up are leaks from o-rings that should have been replaced, and the damage from those leaks that could have been avoided if the leaks were dealt with as they happened... or before. The occasional steam valve leak, but that seems to be hit or miss... Not everybody has this problem.

You say you had trouble pulling truly excellent shots with your BDB? Can you tell why? It's Scace testing seems to fall into the saturated brew group territory.


That's good to hear. I really don't know why I couldn't pull great shots out of it. Also I might be overreacting on the repair costs, I have had a few issues with various breville machines and mine had the leaking steam wand, buzzy solenoid and I think there was something else? I can't quite remember. Maybe some context will explain my situation:

I started off with crappy thermoblock machines that I quickly realised the limits of and ended up with the smart grinder and a brasilia club (think butt ugly silvia) with fresh beans as my first real introduction to espresso a couple years later. This combo was capable of producing an amazing shot once I had the temp surf rain dance down right, and is what converted me to drinking espresso straight. I still remember my first thick syrupy ristretto shots and how much they blew me away with their amazing flavours. Even though I had a fairly inconsistent run, I could get great shots 1/2 the time and most of the rest were fairly drinkable. As with most single boilers the milk steaming routine drove me nuts.

About this time the BDB was announced and was getting some serious hype. I was thinking "no way, a better shot and it can steam milk well?!" "Its not 3k!" "I gotta get me one!" So I saved hard (was a student at the time) and blew my summer savings on a BDB in march 2012 after selling the brasillia club. And I couldn't get the same quality of shots. I scoured the internet to find what I was doing wrong. The thick body and depth of flavours were gone and I seemed to be tasting a shadow of what I used to enjoy. I thought with flasher baskets maybe my distribution was the culprit so I tried WDTing it. No change. Some people said that the smart grinder wasn't suitable for getting the most out of the BDB so I picked up a used La San Marco SM90 and put new burrs in it. No change. Tried different beans from different roasters. Still no good. Tried convex tampers, flat tampers etc, no good. One thing that was nice was that I learnt through the BDB how to adjust temp by taste, so I am pretty sure that the pids were all good. Also while I moan about its steam power, the steam quality was excellent and I consistently got good microfoam out of it.

My shots were reasonable, and everyone thought my drinks were really good. This thread has got me thinking again about it and the only avenue that I didn't look into was the water going into it. Our water is quite soft here so I don't know if the filter in the water tank might have taken too much out? The water definitely tasted ok, maybe a bit of chlorine taste, but I would fill it from a filtered jug to remove chlorine. There were times when I did run it without the in built filter that didn't seem to make much of a difference.

Having no more money to spend on a machine I stopped caring and accepted that for me it was just a flat white coffee machine. I looked forward to having enough money to replace it with something that will bring back my love for coffee. I ended up selling it in 2014 and have only recently started getting back into espresso with the la scala butterfly I have been borrowing and the linea mini I am picking up tomorrow, both of which I have already made far better shots on than what I made on the BDB.

Posts: 22
Joined: April 9th, 2017

Postby baristabazza » Aug 04, 2017, 2:07 am

Ironically, I just noticed that mcknightp has listed a linea as his machine instead of a BDB. Whats up with that?

Posts: 630
Joined: March 1st, 2009

Postby pcrussell50 » replying to baristabazza » Aug 04, 2017, 5:50 am

He is/was a pro barista and high profile owner of a well known espresso joint in Sydney, if memory serves. Pretty sure that's why he would have pro equipment. He's probably had a lot of it over the years.

LMWDP #553

Posts: 22
Joined: April 9th, 2017

Postby baristabazza » Aug 05, 2017, 5:56 am

Fair point. I didn't realise he was still in the cafe business. Got my LMLM today. It's sooooo good :)

Posts: 11
Joined: May 29th, 2017

Postby B747VET » Aug 06, 2017, 2:24 pm

I started with the BDB 900 5 yrs ago and switched to the 920 2 years ago. I frankly think it is pretty funny when people put these machines down. They consistently pull very good shots. The same cannot be said of most e61 machines. They may be prettier and fancier, but the relatively poor temperature control and limited preinfusion capabilities of most e61's can easily lead to slightly sour or bitter shots that are rarely a problem with a BDB.

Poor steam power is the biggest weakness of the BDB. 50 to 55 secs is simply way too long and can lead to slightly foamy stretched milk. Delicious yes. Easy to do latte art? Not really. The maintenance issues are also somewhat problematic. Especially leaky steam valves. Warranty support is excellent and aims to please. But, I can't help but be annoyed that Breville has a service center 3 miles from our home yet insists that we box and pay to ship a machine requiring work. Which also means doing without the machine for over a week even though the work might take less than 30 minutes.

I've recently tried two high end prosumer dual boiler e61's and the shots from them never consistently beat the BDB 920 for pleasing flavors. I was about to give up because the wife would never tolerate the cost of a GS3, let alone a Slayer. But then I was told to study and consider the newest Vesuvius. I quickly bought one and couldn't be happier. The gear pump and electronics breathe new life into the e61 genre by enabling custom repeatable pressure profiling which is a whole other world for home baristas. But, the Vesuvius is more than 3 times the price of a BDB.

So, all of that having being said, the BDB is now happily ensconced in our desert golf course home and continues to do a very fine job. Overall, there is no machine within twice the price that can easily and consistently exceed the quality of BDB shots.

Posts: 630
Joined: March 1st, 2009

Postby pcrussell50 » Aug 06, 2017, 6:07 pm

Nice write up. I should only add that most of the things we have found that go wrong with the BDB (at least up to the five-and-a-half-year point) in fact are user serviceable, with parts that are available. I've had the BDB since the beginning, and I've never had to send it back. I've fixed everything myself. Near as I can tell, even the GS/3 needs o-rings every couple-three years, same as the BDB, and at least the o-ring job on the BDB is easy peasy.

LMWDP #553

Posts: 40
Joined: April 10th, 2015

Postby BobStern » Aug 19, 2017, 3:47 am

baristabazza wrote:Have you used the LMLM Phil?

Phil's profile says he owns a Linea.

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I recall reading that he worked for La Marzocco before he joined Breville to help them design the BDB.

Posts: 141
Joined: February 2nd, 2017

Postby *sigh* » Sep 10, 2017, 3:00 am

Has anyone had any issues with their shower screen coating wearing off? The group head insert on mine is all distorted so I started doing some digging around for a replacement, but while I was looking at it more closely I realized the shower screen head itself (under the dispersion screen) was all bubbled and had a pretty decent chip missing.

Ereplacement parts doesn't carry the shower screen anymore, so I'm going to call Breville on Monday but I wanted to see if this is an issue anyone else has had? I try and keep it pretty clean and have only used the Breville cleaning tabs as a precaution so I don't think it would be a detergent issue or anything. It's pretty recent as well, I normally drop the dispersion screen about once a month and wipe the shower head down with a soft cloth but haven't noticed any issues.