Breville The Infuser REVIEW
Breville The Infuser REVIEW
Wanna make top-notch barista coffee at home? In his Breville The Infuser review, CHARLES JAMESON discovers an espresso machine of excellent quality.
For many years I’ve been a very happy plunger guy. But you know… coffee! Once you get hooked you’re always wondering if the magic brown elixir could taste even better. It was time to lift my game. This Breville The Infuser came with high recommendations from highly regarded consumer review sites, so I took a punt.
Could this handsome sucker make my kitchen bench look swift and make barista-quality espresso? Or even better? My Breville The Infuser review gives the lowdown on my experience.
Before my Breville turned up, I had fairly low expectations about what it was going to be like. I thought build quality, instructions and accessories (if any) would all probably be ho-hum. How wrong I was.
Once The Infuser was unboxed and unwrapped I was pleasantly surprised by its build. It’s rock-solid with clear and easy to follow instructions. It also comes with a range of useful accessories to help me make the perfect homebrew.
For instance, there’s its rock solid and hefty portafilter (a handle gizmo that you use to plonk your ground coffee onto the machine) and two sets of single shot and double shot filters (one designed for pre-ground beans, the other for home grinding machine flexibility). There’s also a little gizmo for cleaning the steam pipe, and another that helps to easily get perfectly level tampered ground coffee in the portafilter.
Then there’s de-scaling tablets, an Allen key and a template in which to deposit a cleaning tab in the portafilter, replacing the filter basket at cleaning time.
“There’s its rock solid and hefty portafilter and two sets of single shot and double shot filters”
The first step was (as recommended) to gently wash all the parts, then install the water filter in the removable water tank at the back of the unit, and select a “two months from now” timeline on a small dial, as a reminder of when to replace the water filter.
All straightforward, although during this Breville The Infuser review, I couldn’t figure out exactly how to open the top of the water tank. It’s a slick double-hinged lid with no obvious clues how it works. Eventually, I got it to pop open and topped it up with tap water to just below the maximum 1.8L level that’s indicated by a white line on the transparent water tank.
Then it’s about plugging The Infuser into a power socket, clicking its start button, and waiting about 15 seconds until most of the bright fascia lights come on, indicating The Infuser is good to go. I did the recommended one-off hot-water flushing of the system (sans coffee) just to wash out and pre-heat the coffee pathways.
Insert the filter basket you want to use (one-shot or double-shot – in my case, the latter) into the portafilter hefty handle thingo. Grind some coffee beans into the filter-basket, and tamp it down with approximately 15-20 kgs of pressure. Then use the little accessory gizmo to ensure it’s at the right level.
“That unmistakable espresso sound and the flow of coffee liquid down the spout and into the cup”
Then lock the portafilter into the machine itself, place a pre-heated empty cup under the spout, and click (in my case) the double shot button. And then it all starts happening: that unmistakable espresso sound, and the flow of coffee liquid down the spout and into the cup. All the while, I check the gauge on The Infuser’s fascia to ensure the flow and pressure are in the right dial zone: within the 9 to 11 o’clock range, ideally. Getting in that zone might take some practice. It’s very much a case of getting the right grind coarseness, enough tamping, etc.
In my case, it took about four attempts to get the gauge needle into the optimal zone, adjusting my home grinder settings to be slightly coarser/finer for each iteration. The dial basically tells you if the water went through too quickly, or too slow. Both result in less optimal tasting coffee.
Once the coffee’s in the cup, you plonk milk in the supplied steel jug and turn the dial on The Infuser’s right-hand side to get the steam wand hissing and spitting after about five seconds. Then you temporarily switch the dial to be back on hold and plonk the wand into the milk and kick-off the steam again, and let the milk heat (perhaps around 65 degrees), swirl and bubble. This takes about a minute.
Once the milk is hot enough, turn back the steam wand dial, withdraw the jug, then turn the steam wand briefly back on to flush out remaining milk that might block the spout. And finally wipe dried-up milk remains off the wand with a damp cloth. This is also standard coffee making stuff that you’ll no doubt have seen good baristas do.
And then, voila! Plonk the milk jug down to release a few bubbles, swirl it a bit, and then pour it carefully into the coffee cup.
“The build quality of the machine is excellent and the range of accessories provided is generous and comprehensive”
The Breville Infuser has clear and well-written instructions, although more about the water tank lid, and its in-house steel mesh filter would be nice. I got the sense the mesh filter is removable, but it might not be. There’s Breville contact info for both NZ and Australia in the instructions.
The build quality of the machine is excellent. And the range of accessories provided is (overall) generous and comprehensive. Although if I was picky, I’d say the addition of a small dump bucket for getting rid of used coffee beans would have been appreciated.
Then there’s the cute ‘Empty Me’ pop-up in the water tray. As the tray fills up with wastewater, a little reminder floats into view (see pic below).
The Infuser has quite a few elements you can customise to your own preferences, including water temperature and infusion time. Me, I’ll stick with the default settings for now.
The quality of the coffee The Infuser produced was excellent. Although the milk softens the flavour of coffee beans compared to the more up-front flavour from a plunger with only a small amount of milk added. Consequently, the next coffee beans I’ll be buying will need to have a sharper flavour so that they complement milk’s softening of the taste.
Overall, I found in my Breville The Infuser review a machine of excellent quality build-wise, and one far superior to what I expected. Altogether, a great buy.