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Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

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  • Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

    I have spent may hours reading this site an many others regarding my new Breville Ikon BES400 Espresso Machine and Breville BarAroma Coffee Grinder package I recently picked up from Target for the excellent deal of just $299 for the lot. I found that while all the information is out there no one has summarised it into one place so I thought Id give it a go....

    For the record I am not a coffee snob, nor in fact a coffee drinker! I am dating a coffee snob and am a engineer whos brain is wired to enjoy the technical aspects of this sort of thing. I have owned an older Krupps unit that was never hot enough so my coffee drinking friends never wanted a coffee. So time to upgrade. I bought the Ikon in defiance of Choice magazines average review for taste hoping that the good folk here were correct in that a change of filter baskets would mean it would produce a good brew. The fact it looks great (in my opinion) also played into it too! The grinder came with it so I could get the Sunbeam unit people seem to prefer. Speaking to a friend who has this unit (Sunbeam EMO450 or EMO480) it seems while it is a good unit is can create a mess (due to its external shute) and the "fill direct into the filter holder option" is less useful that it appears as you need to tamp mid way through to be able to hold enough grinds without over flowing. (Choice have the, pretty much equal billing.)

    When I first tried to make a coffee using the supplied double cup pressurised filter basket I found the machine pumped as expected then "stalled" with the pump clearly straining. I released the pressure by opening the steam valve and thinking I have tamped too hard or filled to high tried again with the same result. (FYI: I was using pre-ground supermarket Lavazza coffee for this trial). I then tried the same thing with the single cup filter and all was well. I called Breville who mailed me out a new dual cup filter and that worked fine. (Breville service was very good). I have since found reviews of people in the US with the same fault so it seems Breville may have a quality control issue with their double cup filter baskets!

    My next move was to purchase an non-pressurised filter basket. I have read entries of plenty of people recommending the Krupps units (part #0907163 for the basket, #620342 for the seal) with the draw back being they are a slightly smaller diameter and thus do not hold tightly in the filter holder. The other option is the filters from the Breville Bar Italia (ESP4). I purchased one of these from my local Breville factory outlet/service centre here in Melbourne. The Breville web site will tell you your nearest service agent if you need to track one down. I believe the part number is the ESP4/51 as mentioned elsewhere on Coffee Snobs. I have also read of complaints that the holes in the these filters are larger and this lets coffee grounds pass through. This is not quite true. There are in fact two version of the filter which look similar. I suspect the other version is from the older ESP2 machine. This filter (ESP2/41, I believe) is slightly deeper (which means it works better with the eject function of the filter holder for which the ESP4/51 is not really compatible) but is more easy to distinguish by the fact it has a dull inner surface finish compared to the bright finish of the ESP4/51. I would suggest that if you are purchasing one of these you ensure it is the one from the ESP4 like I did.

    The next thing is the tamper. The supplied tamper is useless for generating form of pressure. Unless you have the funds for a Pulman (and even if you do how can you spend more than a third of the price of the costs of a machine and grinder on a simple tamper anyway?) I have found that the InCasa 52mm Stainless Steel tamper (from "The Coffee Company" in Balaclava, Melbourne - they sell online too) fits just about perfectly and works a treat. I grabbed a nice tamper mat from them too!

    So - are the "snobs" happy? Yes! Still learning how to pull the perfect brew but I am certainly happy with the setup (especially for the price). Oh: I have included a photo of my new set up too!

    Please let me know if I missed anything....


  • #2
    Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

    Thanks for this info, particularly the part nos for the Breville non pressurised baskets.

    I am watching an auction on trademe at the moment for a factory 2nd at $130, just cant bring myself to do the buy now.

    Already have the 6910 at home and am very happy with it, but the old Melitta machine we have at the shop for our mid-morning fix just isnt cutting the mustard anymore.

    Do you froth milk with the sleeve on the milk wand or have you taken it off. Can you possibly show a pic of the seam arm without the "froth enhancer" (this is one of the things I dislike about the melitta at the shop, milk almost always resebles a frothy milk shake)

    Sen

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    • #3
      Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

      Steam arm without froth enhancer. Cant see too well but it is a single hole in the middle of the tip, which is removable (and therefore I assume swappable).



      I ditched the froth enhancer pretty quick. It doesnt really help at all. Steam wand does fine by itself, although Im not a big fan of milk drinks so it doesnt get a great workout with me. Also, it used to be much shinier (machine is nearly 2 years old).

      And just because I had the camera out and I like showing off my shots at the moment I pulled a quick single ...

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      • #4
        Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

        wow, now thats some crema. too fresh beans?
        thanks for the photos too

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        • #5
          Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

          Indian High Grown Plantation 795 about 10 days post roast. I took the photo pretty quick so it was still settling a bit, but since I upgraded to the Mazzer Ive been getting fantastic amounts of crema. The issue of whether the Ikon is a capable machine (when paired with a decent grinder) has well and truly been laid to rest.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

            Hi - I called Breville Australia & they mentioned that the ESP4 either has a 1-2 cup filter basket or a 2-4 cup filter basket. They lady I spoke to didnt know the /51 part#. Are you able to confirm which is the filter basket you are using (1-2 or the 2-4)?

            Many thanks.


            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

              Originally posted by jpwel link=1229668955/0#5 date=1231203754
              Hi - I called Breville Australia & they mentioned that the ESP4 either has a 1-2 cup filter basket or a 2-4 cup filter basket. They lady I spoke to didnt know the /51 part#. Are you able to confirm which is the filter basket you are using (1-2 or the 2-4)?

              Many thanks.

              A warning to anyone who wants to purchase a fitted tamper (or even close to a fitted tamper)...

              The ESP4 baskets.... both the 1-2 and the 2-4 taper a lot from the top to the bottom and have the graduation numbers and levels stamped inwards on the wall of the basket.....

              Only a very loose tamper will go into these baskets..... Ive tried to make "fitted" Pullman tampers for these..... and at best they can be made for one level and just one basket (the baskets also vary considerably in size)..... so a VERY poor candidate for a fitted tamper!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                Originally posted by Astranomical link=1229668955/0#0 date=1229668948
                The other option is the filters from the Breville Bar Italia (ESP4).
                Does anyone know if this BES400 has the same portafilter / baskets as the BES820? Your pf looks the same heavy thing that mine is, but pictures wont tell for sure. It would make sense to me if Breville used the same one, but I just dont know.

                many thanks,
                Iain.

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                • #9
                  Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                  jpwel: You need the 1-2 cup filter as the 3-4 is too tall for the handle.

                  iaindb: I am not certain but I believe they are the same. You could check next time you are in Myer or where ever else stocks both. Interestingly the Breville Bar Italia filter baskets also fit my girlfriends Sunbeam EM4800C so it seems that the size is fairly common.

                  JavaB is correct ragarding the slight taper of the Bar Italia filter baskets. I do not find this a problem as all coffees I have made so far are doubles. I suspect (although I havent tried it) that a 51mm would work at the 1cup filling mark. This would mean you would need two tampers but it is still much less than the cost of the Pullman!

                  Finally, Senator: I am surprised that the bright finish on the steam arm is now matte. I find I have to wipe (rub!) the arm down after each use to keep it shiney or else its gets a fine layer of milk stuck on it. Have you tried cleaning it with a stainless stell cleaner (or bi-carb)? I would say it should come up all shiney again!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                    all steam arms should be cleaned after each use. not quite sure where you got your question from, I just wanted to see a steam arm without the froth enhancer to make sure it should work without one. Hate the frother on the Melitta at the shop with avengence, but the Ikon one looks like it should do the business quite well

                    Sen

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                      Originally posted by Senator link=1229668955/0#9 date=1231294967
                      all steam arms should be cleaned after each use. not quite sure where you got your question from,
                      I think that should have been aimed at 22a, from his picture and quote:

                      Originally posted by 22a link=1229668955/0#2 date=1229721475
                      Also, it used to be much shinier (machine is nearly 2 years old).
                      Originally posted by Senator link=1229668955/0#9 date=1231294967
                      I just wanted to see a steam arm without the froth enhancer to make sure it should work without one. Hate the frother on the Melitta at the shop with avengence, but the Ikon one looks like it should do the business quite well

                      Sen
                      The Ikon steam arm looks identical to my BES820. I was a bit disappointed that it is so short, as the froth enhancer makes it look long in the ad.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                        Grrrrrrr... bought my icon today from the breville outlet. Was assured it was ex-demo, not reconditioned. However, there is coffee in the machine before I have even used it to make coffee!!!!! PLus I bought the ESP4 basket but they gave me the 4 cup one -Doh!!! So I will be heading back there tomorrow to rectify. Like I need this with a 7 week old baby (not to mention the other 2 & school holidays!) - what I need is some decent coffee!!!
                        But looking forward to trying it out when I eventually get it together!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                          Oh, you guys are right, my steam arm IS ugly  

                          Its clean though. Just seems to have lost its shine over the years.

                          Anyway, I was browsing around yesterday and stumbled on a review of the Ikon espresso machine. The reviewer wasnt too impressed, and was especially critical of the fact that the cup warmer took so long to heat up.

                          Ummm... the Ikon doesnt have a cup warmer.  

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                            I really think that it is a big miss from Breville not including at least 1 non pressurised basket with the machine.

                            I received 1 single and 2 doubles with mine, all of them pressurised. Why not package this up with one of their burr grinders (as per some examples on this board at circa $299) and non pressurised filter and hey presto, a bargain "true" coffee machine.

                            As for the "cup warmer", lol. I find the top of the machine is hot enough to warm the cups given it seems to be on top of the boiler(?).

                            Might have to visit the local hardware shop to see if I can get a steel cutting attachment for the cordless drill. The hacksaw didnt seem to make much impact yesterday >

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Breville Ikon (BES400) Summary

                              I now have the correct basket (the roma 1-2 cup one) $9 from the breville outlet... cant you get hold of one in cc?

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