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Thread: Would an 870 make good espresso?

  1. #1
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    Would an 870 make good espresso?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    My internal debat over getting my first esspresso machine is difficult. I see a lot of people shitting over Breville and I see a lot of people enjoying their 870. And when people complain about the quality of the shot, it seems some are not using fresh beans, or not tamping correctly, or not using the right amount.

    I want to get this machine, it has a lot of nice features (all-in-one saves my counter space, built in tamp, pressure guague, PID), I just want it to also make a decent latte.

    So as someone who will be using absolutly fresh beans and will take the time to learn how to pull the best possible shot, will I be able to make an espresso I will be happy with (not looking for the worlds best, just something not vile)? With that 20% eBay deal ending tommorow, I need to know if I should pull the trigger or not.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akinzin View Post
    My internal debat over getting my first esspresso machine is difficult. I see a lot of people shitting over Breville and I see a lot of people enjoying their 870. And when people complain about the quality of the shot, it seems some are not using fresh beans, or not tamping correctly, or not using the right amount.

    I want to get this machine, it has a lot of nice features (all-in-one saves my counter space, built in tamp, pressure guague, PID), I just want it to also make a decent latte.

    So as someone who will be using absolutly fresh beans and will take the time to learn how to pull the best possible shot, will I be able to make an espresso I will be happy with (not looking for the worlds best, just something not vile)? With that 20% eBay deal ending tommorow, I need to know if I should pull the trigger or not.
    Will you want your shiny new machine to last more than 2 years trouble free?
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  3. #3
    Member AlastairMcG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akinzin View Post
    My internal debat over getting my first esspresso machine is difficult. I see a lot of people shitting over Breville and I see a lot of people enjoying their 870. And when people complain about the quality of the shot, it seems some are not using fresh beans, or not tamping correctly, or not using the right amount.

    I want to get this machine, it has a lot of nice features (all-in-one saves my counter space, built in tamp, pressure guague, PID), I just want it to also make a decent latte.

    So as someone who will be using absolutly fresh beans and will take the time to learn how to pull the best possible shot, will I be able to make an espresso I will be happy with (not looking for the worlds best, just something not vile)? With that 20% eBay deal ending tommorow, I need to know if I should pull the trigger or not.

    I had a BES860 for 4yrs fault free as my first serious entry level machine before upgrading to my HX machine. I bought it because it fitted my budget including grinder. It made good coffee and only issue was that I had to adjust the grinder internally so I had more margin for finer adjustment, otherwise, I had to dose like a mofo on one of the finest settings. This issue probably resolved for the 870.

    I have used a 870 a few times and it made decent coffee but not as smooth as my 860. However, it was pretty new and probably still bedding in.

    I never considered second hand as an option when I bought the 860, but knowing more now, maybe a good condition second hand Rancilio Silvia or Lelit sold with a grinder would have still been good for the same price.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akinzin View Post
    My internal debat over getting my first esspresso machine is difficult. I see a lot of people shitting over Breville and I see a lot of people enjoying their 870. And when people complain about the quality of the shot, it seems some are not using fresh beans, or not tamping correctly, or not using the right amount.

    I want to get this machine, it has a lot of nice features (all-in-one saves my counter space, built in tamp, pressure guague, PID), I just want it to also make a decent latte.

    So as someone who will be using absolutly fresh beans and will take the time to learn how to pull the best possible shot, will I be able to make an espresso I will be happy with (not looking for the worlds best, just something not vile)? With that 20% eBay deal ending tommorow, I need to know if I should pull the trigger or not.
    Strange first post, call me a cynic if you like but reads like an advertorial to me, surely not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Strange first post, call me a cynic if you like but reads like an advertorial to me, surely not.
    Sorry, but its not. Just wonder if I should get it or not before the sale goes off tommorrow.

    I had seen the Lelit Combi aswell and it looks very nice. But is it really really worth the $1,000?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Fair enough.

    The Lelit is in a different class altogether than the Breville, have a read through this Lelit Combi (PL042EMI)

    Is it worth the extra? in my opinion without a doubt.
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    Get the lelit pl042temd and support a site sponsor, and not the rubbish tip.

    You will get 10 years easily from the lelit if you feed it filtered water and keep it maintained.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyeba View Post
    Get the lelit pl042temd and support a site sponsor, and not the rubbish tip.

    You will get 10 years easily from the lelit if you feed it filtered water and keep it maintained.
    The $1,000 is already pushign it, an extra $250 on top of that is too much, not to mention I would want to get a tamp with it so that is already an extra $25-$50. The machine would still perform beautifuly without a PID... Right?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akinzin View Post
    The machine would still perform beautifuly without a PID... Right?
    Right, just a matter of becoming accustomed to the machine, no big deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Right, just a matter of becoming accustomed to the machine, no big deal.
    Good to hear! Still a few hours left to decide. I like the sound of a machine that will last 10 years. But a decade is a long time also.. Arrg, the choice is so difficult. I do have the money for a combi.. But have a strong urge to save some of that.. But I don't plan on upgrading ever unless the machine breaks, which I would be happy if i could get 5 years out of either.. Someone make the choice for me..

  11. #11
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    If you really want it to last at least 5 years I would NOT buy anything from a throw away appliance manufacturer... their business model has nothing to do with making machines to last that long
    Last edited by Vinitasse; 15th March 2016 at 03:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by akinzin View Post
    Someone make the choice for me..
    Well if you want to get the Breville, just flush some money down the toilet

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    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyeba View Post
    Get the lelit pl042temd and support a site sponsor, and not the rubbish tip.
    Breville is a site sponsor............

    The BES870 is capable of making a very good coffee. The steam wand is very easy to use and has adequate power. It's easy to learn the different milk steaming techniques, probably one of the easiest in my opinion.

    The built in grinder is nice but it's always advisable to remove the hopper unless you are making a coffee otherwise the radiant heat from the machine will cause the beans to stale rapidly.

    The included tamper works well enough and the magnetic storage in the machine is a great idea. However, it's fairly lightweight and upgrading it would see an improvement in the espresso quality I would think. The problem here is that the BES870 uses a 54mm tamper and there is basically no aftermarket for this size of equipment.

    Temperature stability is good and it heats up very quickly, good for morning coffee's if that's your thing.

    To reflect the other poster's opinion, it is an appliance and will certainly wear out within 5 years if you use it regularly. Regular maintenance and getting on top of problems when they occur may extend this time but you will eventually need to replace it.

    It comes down to whether you rate lower initial cost but less reliability over higher initial cost but better reliability. It's up to you.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidle22 View Post
    Breville is a site sponsor............

    The BES870 is capable of making a very good coffee. The steam wand is very easy to use and has adequate power. It's easy to learn the different milk steaming techniques, probably one of the easiest in my opinion.

    The built in grinder is nice but it's always advisable to remove the hopper unless you are making a coffee otherwise the radiant heat from the machine will cause the beans to stale rapidly.

    The included tamper works well enough and the magnetic storage in the machine is a great idea. However, it's fairly lightweight and upgrading it would see an improvement in the espresso quality I would think. The problem here is that the BES870 uses a 54mm tamper and there is basically no aftermarket for this size of equipment.

    Temperature stability is good and it heats up very quickly, good for morning coffee's if that's your thing.

    To reflect the other poster's opinion, it is an appliance and will certainly wear out within 5 years if you use it regularly. Regular maintenance and getting on top of problems when they occur may extend this time but you will eventually need to replace it.

    It comes down to whether you rate lower initial cost but less reliability over higher initial cost but better reliability. It's up to you.
    Well said Noidle, certainly a balanced and less biased response.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Well said Noidle, certainly a balanced and less biased response.
    You guys do know how to make a man spend a lot of money.. It would be used by two people everyday.. Seems like the combi is the best choice, unless anyone objects? I know their is a whole separate grinder and machine thing that if one breaks and upgradability, but being in SA used machines don't pop-up often so this really is the best price (and I'm impatient and want one so bad). All in favor say eye!

  16. #16
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Just buy it! You'll be alright with it. Upgrade later when you know what you like and don't like about home espresso.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akinzin View Post
    You guys do know how to make a man spend a lot of money.. It would be used by two people everyday.. Seems like the combi is the best choice, unless anyone objects? I know their is a whole separate grinder and machine thing that if one breaks and upgradability, but being in SA used machines don't pop-up often so this really is the best price (and I'm impatient and want one so bad). All in favor say eye!
    Easy for us to say go ahead and buy it, we're not spending the cash.

    If you can afford the combi go ahead, however if its going to cause financial stress perhaps the Breville will suffice in the interim until your better placed to upgrade.

  18. #18
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    I have a Breville BES920 and it's great. Not sure what all the histrionics are about.

    I also have a VBM Replica single group commercial machine. It's even better and around 25 years old. Extraordinarily easy to maintain. A beautiful, classic design. And it makes sublime espresso.

    Get the Breville, it'll last 5 years if kept clean and scale free.

    And decide in a few years time if you want a 'better' machine.

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    I purchased an 870 5 weeks ago and at first had problems trying to obtain a good extraction even using the finest grind setting (extraction speed too fast, low indicated pressure and watery coffee).
    Breville at first refused to exchange it when they found I wasn't using freshly roasted beans. This turned out to be a lame excuse although using freshly ground beans did improve things a small amount. Breville then sent a grinder 'shim kit' and I fitted one shim of 0.4mm thickness which improved things a little more. Last week I contacted them again for another reason and they sent two documents one being a test procedure for low pressure which I did and it failed the test. Breville then asked me to do a test overdosing the portafilter with the finest grind. They said the coffee should only drip out and the pressure gauge go to the end of the scale. The coffee dripped out extremely slowly but the pressure gauge only went up to about 3/4 and so they then agreed to exchange it.
    I have only used the new machine once so far but already I have noticed that the grinder sounds very different and I am able to use a grind setting with a higher number (indicating a coarser grind but not really) and all without a shim.

    It does IMHO it does make nice coffee and hopefully I will be happy with it for years to come.
    There is a big learning curve for those who have never owned a manual coffee machine (finest of grind, correct dose, collapse and tamping and maybe adjusting the amount of extracted coffee from the default (this and also minor PID temperatures can be adjusted with this machine although annoyingly they revert to default factory settings if you turn the machine off at the power point).

    I think that it is good value for money although if my budget was higher I would have purchased the model with the twin boilers or better still one of those professional looking machines made in Italy (over $2000). Only making 2 cups a day I really didn't want to spend more than I did.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Had mine for 2 years now, no problems with it and also took out the extended warranty.
    However, I would not recommend this machine as you will grow out of it very quickly. Steaming is on the slow side, which is annoying as I drank mostly lattes. You will pull the odd decent espresso but are limited by the grinders lack of fine tuning. Hot water is certainly not hot enough to brew tea. Wouldn't purchase off ebay that's for sure. Pay the extra and go for the Lelit, I'd love one.

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    It sounds like you are in the price vicinity of a separate machine/grinder set up. why not look at a Gaggia classic or Silvia combined with a rocky grinder or similar? Even decent 2nd hand set ups can be bought for around the 1000 mark. That way in the future you can upgrade (or replace) each part as your taste develops or if you need cash you can always sell up! We've found that incremental purchases have landed us with a pro set up that hasn't impacted our finance all at once, therefore minimises any perceived hardship.

  22. #22
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    have a BES870 in the office which has been used/abused for the last 2.5+ years making 10+ coffees a day and still working properly. It was purchased due to the bench space constraint in the kitchen. It makes pretty good coffee IMHO and we're happy with it.

    Yes it probably won't last 10 years, though it only costs 1/3 or 1/4 of the price of a HX machine. and its extremely easy to operate and takes minutes to heat up.

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    I would prefer to change the machine every 3-5 years as the technology now days changes faster than we can even think...who knows even after 2 years what more functionalities would arrive that would again lure us to buy another machine. I would not sink too much money in technology if I am going to get a good option in around half of price.



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