About three years ago, I ordered the Breville Infuser direct from Breville to replace my De’Longhi EC-155. Both are great espresso machines. I only wish that the Breville had lasted longer.
So what happened? In short, age.
Unlike the higher-quality, and more expensive espresso machines, the Infuser has a lot of plastic inside. This is one of the reasons it costs only 500 USD. Yes, I know I said “only”. Trust me, though, if this were made with higher quality parts instead of plastic plumbing parts, it’d be a bit more expensive. And the build of the machine makes it a little difficult to service at home.
At this point I’m certain, based on what I’m observing and what I’ve read, that one of the plumbing parts — whether it’s tubing, junctions, or what have you — is clogged. The machine is no longer able to put pressure through the group head, and is instead dumping all the water through into the drip tray — when I attempted a descale recently, it seemed more water was being evacuated to the drip tray than was coming through the group head. This again tells me that something is clogged, and I’d likely need to tear it apart to find out what.
So my options on this were varied. I could send the machine back to Breville (I bought it direct from them) and have them “remanufacture” it and send it back. I could try to get ahold of all the various parts myself and figure it out, with no guarantee I’d be able to do that. I could try to pull things apart and clean them out myself, which would only be kicking the can down the road until I replaced the parts.
I decided on another option. I took this as a chance to upgrade away from the Breville Infuser, something I’d been considering for a little over a year.
Now as I’ve said before, the Infuser is a great machine. It served me well for three years, and I wish I’d gotten more out of it given it carries a 500 USD price tag. But then I’ve read reviews of the De’Longhi EC-155 where the owners said they’d had it for several years while mine lasted only about 15 months before I started experiencing problems I couldn’t correct.
If I was better on upkeep — e.g. descaling, clean cycles, paying attention to the shower screen — then it’d probably still be in working order.
Sure I could’ve gotten better mileage with a machine like the Racilio Silvia — easily the most popular mid-level consumer espresso machine on the market, and the one with the best reputation. It’s also likely much easier to service at home compared to the Infuser. The only thing that turned me off to the Silvia is its recommended 30 to 45 minute warm-up time (in part because the boiler isn’t insulated out of the box, but can be), while the Infuser has no warm-up time due to its thermocoil.
Also unlike the Rancilio and De’Longhi, the Breville Infuser is programmable, and that’s a major feature for a mid-level machine. You won’t get that on the Rancilio Silvia without installing a PID.
But otherwise, again it’s a good machine that is actually a great value in all. It comes with everything you need out of the box: tamper, pitcher, and pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, single and double shot, along with water filters and cleaning tablets. The only thing you’d have to buy is additional filters and tablets as needed.
Which for 500 USD is a decent value, even for the longevity I got out of it. Again if I’d taken better care of it, I probably could’ve done better. But as I said I’d been planning an upgrade for a little over a year now, so it’s time to sign off on the Breville Infuser.
If you are considering the Infuser and have any questions about it, feel free to ask in the comments below.