CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive promotions and regular updates on everything coffee!
This is an example right here of improving on their own product. The Breville BES 920XL is based on the earlier 900 model. On the 900, you couldn’t descale the machine at home. on the 920 you can. Plus, they upped the manufacturer warranty from one to two years. The only visual difference up front are the 2 screws on that allow you to drain the boilers for descaling. Now that also comes in handy if there’s any chance the machine could experience freezing temperatures... say, if it was going to be shipped.
A couple of other improvements: You can adjust the steam boiler temperature from 265 to 285 degrees, Shots are now programmable based on time or volume and it comes with a water hardness test which you enter into the machine. Based on that info and use the machine lets you know when to descale.
So let's talk about brewing. On this machine you get a lot of control. With PID, brew temperatures are extremely accurate and they’re adjustable from 190 to 205 degrees. Then Breville takes temperature stability to another level with a a heated group head. That means extra precise brew temps and faster warm-up.
And the machine does pre-infusion. Now you can program the time of the pre-infusion and in a very unique feature you can adjust the pressure of the pre-infusion also. So super accurate temps with the PID and super fine control with programmable pre-infusion.
The portafilter is stainless steel and commercial sized at 58 millimeters. You know with the PID, heated group and super adjustable pre-infusion you’ve got the ability to do some serious fine-tuning of your shots. And the nice thing is the technology breville builds in makes it easy to control. When you get dialed in for a particular coffee it’s going to be easy to repeat it.
We don’t see to many dual-boiler machines with with programmable shot volumes. But this one has programmable presets for singles and doubles. Another unique feature, those can be programmed by volume or time. Or, you go completely manual with a dedicated button for that.
It’s got a pressure gauge. That will help you dial in the grind, temperature and pre-infusion settings by letting you know when you’ve got the right pressure at the brew head. And speaking of pressure, the machine has an OPV valve to relieve excess pressure so you can’t go to high and end up with bitter shots. Another pro feature is a 3 way solenoid valve. At the end of a brew cycle it relieves pressure and excess water from the system so you end up with a nice easy to knock coffee puck.
As it’s a dual boiler, you can brew and steam at the same time. As we mentioned, the steam boiler temperature is adjustable. So you can set that to give you more or less pressure depending on how you like it.
It’s a 3 hole steam tip. The wand is mounted on a ball joint for easy access. It’s not a no burn wand, so it has the finger grab. And it's got a lever to turn on and off. A lot of people prefer the levers to knobs you have to turn. Now on most machines, you get hot water out of the steam wand. The 920 has a dedicated hot water outlet that just comes straight down.
Let’s get into some of the other convenience items. My favorite is the programmable turn on. It’s so nice to have the machine all heated up and ready to go. Just set it to turn on every morning about 15 minutes before your ready to use it.
One thing I really like with Breville products is they usually give you everything you need. So this machine comes with a steaming pitcher, a decent tamper that holds on the machine with a magnet and 4 filter baskets. So you get single and doubles, pressurized and non-pressurized. So you can use pre-ground coffee with the double wall pressurized baskets. More Breville touches are the hidden tool storage tray where you can keep the included backflushing disc, steam tip cleaning tool, allen key and their “razor” dose trimming tool.
As far as capacities, the water tank is large at 84 ounces. You can fill it from the top, or if you pull out the trip dray you turn a dial and a roller ball pops down which makes turning the machine very easy. Then you can remove the water tank from the back.
The 920 comes with a water filter which installs into the tank. Up top is a passively heated cup warmer. The drip tray is fairly large and has the cute little “empty indicator” which pops up when it needs emptying. The exterior of the machine is wrapped in stainless. Overall, this modern take on a dual boiler machine is much smaller than a classic italian design. But even at 30 pounds it’s got a solid feel when turning in the portafilter. So the 920 is small and solid in build, and affordable in price - hundreds less than classic dual boiler machines with PID.
A lot less than Italian machines. But, it’s really got more in features as far as precise control with programmable volumes and the unique pre-infusion. What you give up compared to those machines are things like a rotary water pump and all metal construction.
That’s the Breville BES920XL. It’s available now at Whole Latte Love. Thanks for watching and be sure to subscribe to our channel to stay up on the latest of everything coffee.