There comes a time when basic, subpar coffee machines just don’t cut it anymore. Tastes evolve and become more refined over time, and one morning, you just might wake up and realize that you’re in need of a new espresso machine that’s sophisticated enough to satisfy your needs. Luckily for you, Breville makes some of the sleekest, most barista-quality home espresso machines on the market.
The Breville BES920XL and the Breville BES980XL are both excellent options for the espresso snob looking for coffee-shop quality espresso at home. However, there are a few key differences between the two models that might make one of them more well-suited to your particular needs.
Wide Variety of Settings
This powerful, yet versatile espresso machine is equipped with a variety of settings that allow you to customize your coffee exactly the way you like it. It can be operated manually or automatically, so you can pump the espresso machine’s lever yourself or allow the predetermined settings to control the amount of water that goes into your espresso shot. You can also choose between a single or double shot, as well as personalize the exact temperature of your coffee.
This barista-quality espresso machine also has many settings to choose from. You can program the built-in coffee bean grinder to produce coffee grounds at a specific level of fineness or coarseness.
You can program the milk dispenser to heat and steam your milk to a specific temperature and texture. You can customize the temperature of your coffee, choose between one or two shots of espresso, and even program the machine to dispense pure hot water, perfect for making tea, instant noodles, and oatmeal.
Conclusion: Both the BES920XL and the BES980XL come with a wide variety of customizable settings. Because the BES980XL is a more complex machine than the BES920XL, it naturally comes with more settings that allow you to finetune the bean grinder and milk dispenser, two features that the BES920XL does not have. The BES920XL still does come with many key customizable settings, including number of shots, manual vs. automatic operation, and espresso temperature.
This espresso machine has two separate boilers, one for espresso and one for steam. The espresso boiler uses electronic PID temperature control to precisely maintain the exact water temperature necessary to make your perfect shot of espresso. The steam boiler can function at the same time as the espresso boiler, allowing you to perfectly steam your milk as you dispense your espresso. Both boilers are made of durable stainless steel and are controlled by an Over Pressure Valve (OPV) that perfectly heats and pressurizes water particles.
This espresso machine also features the same stainless steel dual boiler system and OPV controls as the BES920XL. It also includes a triple heat system made up of the steam boiler, espresso boiler, and heated group head, which maintains perfect thermal stability throughout the entire espresso brewing and milk steaming process. The steam boiler is hands-free and programmable for your perfect milk temperature and texture. It also automatically funnels excess steam through the built-in steam wand to keep your machine as clean as possible.
Conclusion: Both the BES920XL and the BES980XL feature the same dual boiler technology that allows for perfectly pressurized and temperature-controlled espresso and steam that can run at the same time. The BES980XL has an additional heated group head component that further stabilizes the temperature of your espresso and steam, as well as a steam wand that keeps your machine mess-free as you customizably texture your milk.
Each BES920XL comes with a razor dosing tool, which allow you to dose your coffee beans precisely, creating consistency in each shot of espresso you make. It also allows you to start preheating the machine at a specific, programmable time each day, so you don’t have to wait for the machine to warm up before enjoying your morning cup of coffee. This espresso machine is also designed with an at-home descaling function to remove any mineral build-up in your water tank and keep your machine nice and clean.
The BES980XL comes with a bean hopper that allows you to grind your coffee beans to a customizable fineness and extract espresso using the same machine. With this espresso maker, you won’t need to buy a separate bean grinder. It automatically grinds, doses, and tamps your coffee beans to your specification. It also has a one-touch Americano function that allows you to transform your espresso shot into a delicious Americano by dispensing hot water after dispensing espresso.
Conclusion: One of the major differences between the BES920XL and the BES980XL is that the 980XL includes a built-in, customizable bean hopper and grinder, eliminating the need for pre-ground beans or a separate grinding machine. In lieu of the bean grinder, the BES920XL comes with a razor dosing tool that helps you create consistency in your bean doses before separately grinding them.
Barista-Quality Espresso in the Comfort of Your Own Kitchen
Both the BES920XL and the BES980XL will allow you to make high-quality espresso shots and frothed milk drinks at home.
If you already own a quality bean grinder or are just looking for a slightly smaller, more streamlined espresso machine, the Breville BES920XL will absolutely satisfy every one of your espresso needs with its dual boiler system and wide variety of programmable settings. If you want an espresso machine that’s virtually identical to the ones in your local coffee shop, the Breville BES980XL is the machine for you.
Its built-in bean hopper and grinder, triple heat system, automatic extraction preparation process, and auto-purge steam wand function make it equally as powerful and versatile as any commercial espresso machine.
With this machine, you can hone your barista skills and learn to prepare espresso drinks as delicious as any that you would buy at a coffee shop. No matter which model you choose, you’re sure to enjoy endless amounts of professional quality espresso drinks with no muss or fuss!