For true espresso aficionados, Breville thinks they’ve come up with the perfect at-home solution for brewing third-wave coffee. We’ll let you be the judge of that, but we do have some insight to share when it comes to the Breville Infuser’s features and settings.
Read on to learn more about why Breville claims you’ll get the “perfect espresso” out of their Infuser—and whether it’s the right fit for your cup.
What to Know Before Selecting an Espresso Infuser
If you enjoy specialty or third-wave coffee but don’t want to pay coffee shop prices, an infuser might be the perfect solution. An infuser focuses on flavor and delicate handling of your specialty blends—no burned-out character here.
Customizing your cup takes a few presses of buttons—like volume selection and milk texturing selections—and the value is incomparable versus retail coffee shops.
While a lot of espresso machines—including Breville’s espresso maker—include an onboard grinder, you won’t find that with the Infuser. Therefore, this machine might be a better fit for those who already love their grinder (or purchase ground coffee from the start).
Getting a great cup of espresso isn’t the only priority when you’re choosing the best espresso machine for your kitchen, of course. You’ll also consider the size of the appliance and how well it suits your counter and kitchen space. To that end, the Breville Infuser could fit in tighter spaces than alternative models.
About the Breville Infuser BES840XL
The Breville Infuser—BES840XL—infuses ground coffee for balanced espresso flavor. It promises precision control over what winds up in your cup, from the shot count (single to double or even manual) to custom latte art.
The BES840XL is a similar espresso maker to Breville’s BES870XL—with a few key differences. The BES870XL—the Barista Express Espresso Machine—features a built-in grinder. Its bulkier footprint (though its height is lower) takes up a bit more counter space, but you also get the onboard grinder.
For those who don’t need that feature, the Infuser is a standalone espresso brewing station. You’ll dial in your coffee volume and shot selection, adjust the temperature, top it off with micro-foam milk texturing, and receive visual alerts when the machine requires cleaning.
Things We Like
- Manual override settings for everything from the shot selection to dosing means you can curate a cup to your specifications
- Three color options are available to match your appliances/décor
- The steam element is a useful addition for topping your mug with a creamy finish—and experimenting with latte art
Room for Improvement
- It can be challenging to figure out the dosing—a feature not present on all espresso makers—so trial and error is necessary
- More guidance from Breville on cleaning and descaling practices would be helpful
Features & Benefits of the Breville Infuser
Here’s more on each highlight of the product, including why it matters for your everyday brewing routine.
Since coffee tastes vary widely, Breville recognizes the need for volume control. You can dial in the volume of each pour to ensure the right strength of your brew. Of course, this means a bit of trial and error is necessary, so you might need some practice before you achieve that grade-A pour.
But overall, the ability to tweak your espresso down the most minute detail is one of the clear perks of the Infuser. No more taking a sip of your takeout coffee and knowing right away it has the wrong volume of coffee per shot.
The pre-infusion function sounds fancy, but it’s instrumental in achieving a flavorful cup of coffee. According to Breville, the pre-infusion increases water pressure gradually. This means the grinds expand—gently—and make the extraction evener.
In short, you’re not making a quick-and-dirty espresso. Instead, the machine takes its time heating up and producing a balanced cup. You won’t find scorched bean flavor here—pre-infusion helps protect the flavor of your third wave grounds. Of course, the time it takes to create your perfect beverage can vary.
Precise Espresso Extraction
The extraction on the Infuser involves gradual pressure increases, variable temperature controls, and a pressure gauge that lets you keep an eye on the process. So, what does that all mean for your brew?
You can get your favorite shot down to a science by experimenting with pressure and temperature settings. Sure, there are automatic settings—which you can use if you want. But you can also adjust nearly everything to your specifications, no barista necessary.
While a single button for brewing might be convenient, Breville’s additional options put the power in your hands. If you feel so inclined, you can study up on how each setting works and experiment to see how the pressure, temperature, and timing affects each coffee variety.
Micro-Foam Milk Texturing
Not every latte lover needs a micro-foam art piece topping their cup. But we can’t deny that micro-foam texturing is a fun feature. The perfectly steamed flavor might be the icing on the cake when it comes to full-flavored brews, too.
The 1650W element delivers high-pressure steam so you can get a delicate micro-foam that’s manageable for making art. At the same time, you’re not scalding milk or damaging the flavor of your latte. In all honesty, that’s something that would be hard to achieve without a built-in milk texturing wand.
Instead of a separate milk frothing appliance, you have the option to use (or skip) your machine’s steam wand. Fortunately, the addition of the feature doesn’t mean a larger footprint for the machine—which is another perk.
Flexible Shot Control
No judgment from Breville if you want more than two shots of espresso in your next cup. Select from single or double shot buttons if you’re craving caffeine balance. Or, custom-tailor the serving to suit your desired specialty beverage of the day.
Shot control is especially handy if you’re trying new beans—or old favorites—and want to hit a set potency. In combination with the extraction adjustments and volume controls, the shot option puts you in complete charge of your espresso.
If you’re ready to learn how to use the Infuser to make a latte, check out Breville’s video below for a quick overview:
Cleanup isn’t the most fun part of owning an espresso machine. That said, Breville tries to make it easy by incorporating maintenance indicators on the front panel. Light-up alerts for cleaning and drip tray upkeep let you know when it’s time to pause the brewing and start a cleaning cycle.
While you can always descale and clean with hot water (and maybe vinegar), Breville has its own cleaning system. When you buy the Infuser, it comes with a cleaning disc and tablets, plus a cleaning brush. There’s even an Allen Key to access the recessed areas of the unit. Then again, poking around in the unit’s inner workings isn’t for everyone.
We appreciate that the cleaning equipment comes with the Infuser. The only issue is getting the routine down for cleaning can present a learning curve. Whether this is your first espresso machine or your fifth, it takes some practice to properly prep and cleans your machine.
Accessory Set Included
Most espresso makers come with filter baskets and coffee scoops. But with Breville’s Infuser, you also receive a razor dose trimming tool, a water filter holder and water filter, and a stainless-steel milk jug.
You might be wondering why you need a razor dose trimming tool. But true coffee savants know that sometimes, your grounds need precise measuring to guarantee the right balance in the finished product. Therefore, the razor trimming tool helps you get the perfect amount of grounds in each serving. It’s also hugely satisfying for perfectionists to pack and trim every spoonful of grounds you drop into the Infuser.
Water filtration is an excellent addition since the flavor of your coffee depends heavily on water quality. And whatever type of milk you’re adding to your brew, the stainless-steel milk jug cuts down on awkward finagling while attempting to create your micro-foam art.
Final Thoughts & Alternatives
If you’re a perfectionist when it comes to your third wave or specialty coffee, Breville’s Infuser might be the ideal fit for your in-kitchen espresso setup. The customization features practically guarantee you can find the balance that’s right for your palette (and your favorite beans).
The ability to change up your settings per batch or bean type is helpful, and the size isn’t too hefty for most kitchens. Especially if you’re interested in foam art or balancing your espresso with a creamier flavor profile, the steam wand is an invaluable tool.
The Infuser is especially handy for those who have a favorite grinder already—or if you buy your blends pre-ground. Of course, if you really want a built-in grinder for the freshest brew possible, Breville’s Barista Express is a suitable alternative with a similar range and features.
Or, if budget is a concern, you may also like the more affordable Bambino Plus by Breville. It lacks the expansive features of the Infuser and similar models, but it can perform essential functions for dedicated espresso drinkers.
Plus, the sparser design also means you’ll have more space on your countertop for other vital appliances—if you truly need anything other than an espresso machine.