Praised by such high a luminary as Oprah, referenced on the tongue in cheek horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead, and generally known for innovation in the appliance industry, the Breville brand has truly stood the test of time. But that puts a lot of pressure on its new offerings, such as the Breville Cafe Roma espresso maker.
Does this product do the original founders proud, or does it bring shame to the names of O’Brien and Norville? Well, at the end of the day, it’s perhaps a little bit of both, but you can read further and decide for yourself.
Like all things, the Breville espresso maker isn’t divinely perfect, but it’s not half bad, either. To start with the negative and get it out of the way, the Achilles heel in this espresso maker is the double wall filter. It’s not to say that they’re bad at filtering… far from it! In fact, they’re so good that they result in some of the smoothest espressos you could ever ask for.
However, because they’re so fine, these filters can sometimes get clogged, and the pumps for the Breville espresso makers aren’t quite strong enough to counter that. This means that you’ll be spending a lot of extra time cleaning them out on a fairly regular basis.
Besides being a lot of needless trouble, the cleaning process can also be expensive. However, not all individual models clog up frequently. But sometimes bad luck of the draw will screw you over, and you’ll wind up with one that manages to get clogged up on a weekly basis, which is enough to make anyone want to tear their hair out. In addition, the inner workings for the filter are just fiddly enough to be mildly annoying when doing mass batches of coffee.
This isn’t really a product meant for business use or large parties. It’s clearly intended for personal use with individuals and small families, where messing with the filter is done only once or twice a day or so. But lest you think it’s an unredeemable product, let’s take a look at the good side of the Breville Roma espresso maker.
The same filters that cause so much trouble also result in excellent quality espresso, as mentioned above. In addition, the frothing is incredibly smooth, and the frothing wand can handle everything from skim milk all the way up to fairly thick cream.
This espresso maker makes cafe quality coffee, no doubt about it. Actual coffee aside, it has many minor conveniences as well to make up for those darn filters. The temperature is adjustable within a fairly broad range. The stainless steel makes it a cinch to clean, too. And despite the machine’s general versatility and quality of output, it’s easy enough to use that even the uninitiated can quickly get the hang of it. So, is the Breville espresso maker worth it?
Really, the answer to that question depends on your needs. If you’re willing to put in a little extra work for a great cup of coffee, then hands down this is a great choice for you. However, if you want something that ‘just works,’ then you may find this Breville offering to be a waste of your presumably scarce time. While not quite as efficient or streamlined as it could be, this model certainly makes great coffee, so it’s just a matter of figuring out your priorities for time versus coffee appreciation.