Post By z0s0123
Post By CafeLotta
Upgraded from E61 HX to BES920 - my experiences
I spent 7 years with an Isomac Tea II HX E61 machine, and about a month ago ditched it for a Breville Dual Boiler BES920 - thought I'd share my experiences given that this is probably an "unusual" upgrade path (being that the Isomac retails for ~$2000 and the BES920 can regularly be bought for < $700). My grinder is a Baratza Sette.
TLDR: I adore the shot to shot consistency of the Breville, super fast warm-up time and helpful ergonomics. I'm far happier with the coffee produced than I was with the Isomac.
Sure, the Breville looks cheap, feels cheap and surely won't last the 7 years (and going strong) that the Isomac did. But given the price with a 2 year manufacturer warranty (+1 extra year thanks to my credit card) it's a no-brainer even if it ends up in the trash after 3 years.
I really appreciate not having to temp surf, and being able to configure pre-infusion params & temp helps me further explore the various flavours on offer even from the same set of beans. I feel like I was constantly flushing the Isomac and never getting reliable, consistent results.
I also find the steam wand - and in particular the ergonomics of the steam lever (as opposed to twist valve) - to be excellent. My microfoam game has definitely improved.
I used to run the Isomac on a timer WiFi switch so I could get it warmed up well in advance of usage. The Breville can, quite honestly, go from stone cold to pulling shots and steaming in under 10 minutes. It's incredible.
Little things like front/top resevoir access and visual water level indicators are also nice touches.
The bonus was that I sold the 7 year old Isomac for more than I paid for the new Breville.
I had been toying with going into the stratosphere and buying a La Marzocco Linea Mini or GS3 - but in the end my hunger for good value wouldn't let me give them my money. LM do not appear to have a good attitude toward their customers, at least in Australia.
Bravo Breville for producing such a capable machine at such a low price point. Frankly it should put a rocket under the Italian manufacturers selling designs from the 60s at such high prices.
To anyone considering this "unusual" path, from E61 HX to BES920 - I would whole-heartedly recommend it.
Interesting to hear someone's point of view going from an E61 to a BES920. Sounds like you also have realistic expectations of longevity. You're previous experience may help extend the lifespan of this machine (with any luck.)
For sub $700, the BES920 is a steal.
Originally Posted by z0s0123
That is why, when I was having problems with mine, I initially considered blowing $4k on a "real" espresso machine.
But like you said, most of these machines are still 60's designs, just slightly modified from cafe machines, explaining the high startup times, no shutdown periods, high power usage during the day, and uninsulated boilers.
So I popped my dream and decided to fix up my 920.