My Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine: Checking In 2 Years Later

I wrote a review back when this blog was brand new all about my Breville 800ESXL coffee machine, which I had purchased a few months earlier and had fallen in love with, despite a few flaws.

Here it is, 2 years on, and I thought I’d check back in with an updated review in case anyone is thinking of purchasing one of their own and wants to know what it’s really like to own and live with a Breville 800ESXL.

First of all, before I say anything else about this machine, I will say this (again):

IT IS VERY, VERY, VERY LOUD!

Did you hear me?

I said,

IT IS VERY, VERY, VERY LOUD!

Loud as in, it sounds like it should belong out in the garage next to the table saw. Loud as in, you will get tinnitus if you don’t protect your hearing while using it. Loud as in, if you have guests sleeping over they will never, ever come back to visit you again if you turn it on first thing in the morning. Loud as in, if you have teenagers that you DON’T want sleeping in you will love it because it will cause them to jump up and run out the door when you turn it on.

Seriously, it is LOUD.

I even made a video to show how very loud it is:

 

I was shocked at how loud it was!! So that’s a consideration. Yet I quickly learned to get over the noise because I was pleasantly surprised at how great it made espressos and steamed my milk. I also thought it was very well made and the quality in the end product is obvious.

Overall I am still very (VERY!) happy and use my Breville 800ESXL at least once a day, if not two or three times a day since coffee is my medicine. It still works beautifully and is as loud as ever (but not louder, so that’s good!).

It does take some upkeep, of course, so I thought I’d share the steps that Breville recommends to take in order to insure your machine stays working for a good long time (in case you get one for yourself, which I highly recommend as it has paid for itself and then some!):

After Brewing Espresso

  • Remove the Portafilter from the Brew head and empty the grounds by turning it upside down over a trash bin or the BCB100 Knock Box and tapping gently on the edge. The filters are held firmly in place to help prevent them falling out when emptying the ‘puck’. Do not discard of the grounds in the sink as they can clog up the drain.
  • Rinse the Filter and Portafilter under running water to remove all coffee particles. Turn the Filter upside down and tap it repeatedly on a hard surface such as a cutting board or chopping board to make sure that all coffee particles are loose and out of the Filter holes. Also the fine holes can be cleaned individually with the Cleaning Tool.
  • Wipe the interior of the Brew Head with a damp cloth and periodically run water through the machine with the Portafilter in place but without any ground coffee to clean out any residual coffee particles.

After Steaming Milk

  • Allow the Steam Wand and Froth Enhancer to cool down after use, these will be very hot if the steaming has just been done.
  • Remove the Froth Enhancer and rinse it under warm tap water. Ensure that the fine steam holes on either end are clear, the Cleaning Tool is very helpful with this.
  • Wipe the Steam Wand thoroughly with a damp cloth to remove any residual milk.
  • Direct the Steam Wand back into the Drip Tray and briefly set the Steam Dial to the ‘Steam’ position and press the HOT WATER button. This will clear any residual milk from the inside of the Steam Wand.

Every 3 months

Over time, mineral deposits from water will build up and crystallize along the inside of the unit. How soon this happens depends on how hard your water is.

We recommend using filtered (not distilled) water in your espresso machine to slow mineral buildup.

Decalcifying

1. Mix 1 part of white vinegar with 1 part of water to make about 3 quarts (3 liters) decalcifying solution (50/50).

Remove the Froth Enhancer from the Steam Wand and the Portafilter from the Brew Head. Fill the Water Tank of the machine with your vinegar solution.

Pour the remaining solution into a bowl and soak your Filters and Froth Enhancer in it. Leave to stand for about 8-10 hours. The acidic quality of the vinegar will slowly dissolve any calcification.

2. When they have soaked enough, rinse the Filters and Froth Enhancer thoroughly under running water and dry. Keep these off the machine for the next steps.
3. Turn on the machine, set it to ‘Standby,’ and wait until it is heated up. Place a large container under both the Brew Head and the Steam Wand.
4. When the brewing temperature is reached, set the Steam Dial to the ‘Espresso’ position and let half the decalcifying solution from the Water Reservoir run through the Brew Head.
5. Next, set the Steam Dial to ‘Steam’ and allow the remaining solution to run through the Steam Wand.

When the solution stops flowing, set the Steam Dial back to the ‘Standby’ position. This will flush the whole inside of the machine with the solution.

6. Rinse the Water Tank and fill it with fresh cold water, and again brew and steam all of it through (as in Steps 4 and 5) to rinse any remaining vinegar from the machine.

By following these steps you can keep your Breville 800ESXL functioning at top performance level for many years to come.

Enjoy!

 

xo Michelle Dellene

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My MCAD Diet: Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I don’t know if it was the liquor or what, but my mother in law gave up her mother’s highly coveted, take-to-the-grave chocolate chip cookie recipe a few years back during the holidays and since it’s so amazing I thought why not share it with the world?

Believe me, you’ll be happy I did because these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever(!) and I’ve modified this one to be soy, dairy (all forms!) and corn free. You can modify it further to fit your own needs.

Please make extras, you’ll want them!

P.S. – It’s the extra 2 tsp of flour that makes all the difference!

Enjoy!

 

xo Michelle Dellene

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Even In This, I Am Blessed

I try to keep my woe-is-me posts confined to MastCellDisease.com, where I write all about living with, well, mast cell disease (obviously), but today I just felt like this one applies here.

It’s actually not a woe-is-me post at all, although it could be the continuation of one since I just posted this morning all about how I am allergic to my own estrogen and female cycle and how it has left me sitting here about to burst out in hives (and tears) and on the verge of going full anaphylactic if I’m not careful.

It’s really a bizarre reality for me.

Regardless of what my mast cells want or do, my reality also includes three (well, two now) very active fur babies who are also super excited to get outside and run amok in the newly green grass again. Luckily we have plenty of space for them, with a full acre to run:

I mean just look at those faces. They always make me smile and give me motivation even on the very worst of days.

So I made a cup of coffee and reluctantly headed outside to throw a ball and the Frisbee for them and to peek at the tulips again. The morning is absolutely gorgeous. The sun is bright, the sky is brilliant blue and the neighborhood is quiet. Everything is about to come back to life, even though it looks a bit worse for wear after months under the heavy snow we had this winter.

The sun is REALLY bright and it triggers me so my first instinct is to head back inside, but I make myself adjust. I need darker sunglasses, but the ones I have help. As I walk around I can immediately spot all the projects we have planned this summer, like expanding the little patio area out front, and that made me smile knowing how great it will look when it’s finished:

I love my little bistro set! I’m so glad it survived the harsh winter.

We had barely begun work on the side flowerbed last fall and this year we will be adding a lot of flowers and maybe another tree over there:

Seeing my new umbrella tree (something I’ve wanted forever!) and that old manure spreader that I scored for us on Craigslist always makes me smile! I can’t wait to fill it and the other rusty things with flowers now.

The fishies are all gone; we rehomed them before the snow fell because we’re tearing the little pond by the front steps out and re-doing it this year, too:

It definitely served us well for the last ten years but it’s time for a new, better one.

That makes me smile.

I walked around the side yard and spotted our chicken coop, which is in the process of getting an upgrade, and realized that my lifelong dream of living a ‘homesteader’ lifestyle is coming true. Not by want but by necessity now, really. I have to do all I can do to manage this disease and fresh, organic eggs, meat, veggies and herbs are one thing I can definitely do.

We’re planting some more apple trees soon, too, because they are on my “safe” list. I love them, both the apples and the trees, so that made me thankful that this disease is forcing us (practically) to grow more fruit trees, too.

There will be an orchard behind the chicken coop for that.

I came back in through the garage and past the camper, which I’m working on today to get it ready for our upcoming backyard camping adventures:

The boat is still wrapped in tarp, but it will be out soon, too.

On the way back inside, my car was sitting there, clean, shiny and undriven for ages now. The hubby drives me when I need to go, when I can go, but mostly I stay home now.

Where it’s “safe”.

My car is in a state of suspended animation, like me, almost. At first I thought it was sad and thought Gunter might resent not being driven (that’s his name, Gunter). Then I realized how much money we are saving by me not driving him and I grew even more thankful. My car is not losing value by keeping low miles on it, that’s for sure, and I no longer stress about being t-boned in an intersection by a red light runner or sideswiped by a distracted SUV driver.

Still, I do miss driving. I miss a lot of things. I can’t focus on them though or I’ll go mad. Life changes for everyone every few years, mine has just taken a very unexpected sharp turn.

For the worse? In some ways.

For the better? In some ways.

I couldn’t help but smile and be thankful as I came up the stairs, back into the sunless “safe” zone I spend so much time in, past the empty nest remodel work we’re doing on the entry way, and saw the old guy’s happy face when he realized I had come back in to hang out with him:

Honest. Believe me, that’s his happy face.

That’s my boy, Brutus, and he’s ten (!) years old this year. He’s really turning gray quickly and is slowing way down and struggling getting around a bit but I love him to pieces and I am thankful he is still with us and hopefully will share a few more adventures before his time is up.

He’s always just happy to be near me and that makes me smile.

I’m off to make more coffee and chocolate chip cookies using my “safe” ingredients. I am blessed and thankful I can still have chocolate chip cookies. With everything else life has handed me (and taken away from me) this last year or so, I find a great deal of comfort in them.

Who doesn’t smile at freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, right?!

Like I said, I’m pretty blessed.

 

xo Michelle Dellene

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