Front part of the Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL in stainless steel finish

Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Espresso Machine Review 2021

In Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines by Consumer FilesLeave a CommentLast Updated: November 21st, 2021

Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Espresso Machine

  • Brew Quality
  • Durability
  • Customization Settings
  • Ease of Use

Summary

The Breville Dual Boiler offers a robust selection of customizable options, and you can brew espresso while steaming milk simultaneously. This design makes it suitable for experienced users, but it may be too advanced for novices for the high price and steep learning curve.

4.6

There’s nothing like getting your coffee just right. And after that first sip, you can wake up with a smile knowing you’ll get it right every day. 

That’s the joy of owning a top-tier semi-automatic, and even if it is an expensive buy, it’ll soon make up for the cost of those daily latte runs. In our Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL review, you’ll meet a feature-rich machine that’s got it all.

Breville the Dual Boiler Design BES920XL Overview

We note here in our Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL review that the company comes through once again with an impressive semi-automatic espresso machine that delivers exceptional coffee exactly the way you like it

The Breville 920 is a stunner, with a smooth design, stainless steel finish, and enough convenient and manual options to keep up with your needs on those busy days or laid-back weekend mornings. 

This is a lofty machine, with dimensions of 14.7″ x 14.8″ x 14.7″ and weighing 30 pounds. If you have low wall cabinets or limited counter space, you’ll have to consider the size. 

There are retractable wheels underneath the drip tray– a clever feature that lets you maneuver it around without pulling a muscle.

The Dual Boiler ain’t cheap, or moderately-priced either. This is a professional machine suitable for at-home use or for brewing large quantities of coffee for the office

Built tough, it will last for years (if you follow the time-consuming cleaning ritual) and in time you’ll be making up for the cost of the machine by not having to splurge at the cafe every day.

Features of Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Espresso Machine

So what does Breville the Double Boiler offer in terms of features? For professional brewsters, you’ll be excited to know that you have complete creative freedom to concoct a truly delicious cup, with the added indulgence of convenience when you want it.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Stainless Steel Dual Boiler System

This is the top feature of this semi-automatic, as the cutting-edge dual boiler system allows you to make espresso and steam milk at the same time. There is a steam boiler and an espresso boiler. 

  • The steam boiler can be controlled through a digital menu, and Breville’s steam wand is well implemented to produce powerful steam that gives you that edge to create frothy works of milk art like the pros.
  • The espresso boiler uses a PID to control the temperature, so you don’t have to guess how warm you want your shot- it’s accurate every time.

A third heating element is situated inside the group head to ensure a steady, consistent temperature so that the best aromas and flavors are extracted from the ingredients.

Know that you’ll have to wait 15 minutes for the machine to warm up properly before you can use it. If you’re someone who rushes in the morning, this might have you tapping your foot and glancing at your watch.

BES920XL filter basket filled with coffee grounds

Steam Wand

If you like getting artsy with your milk foam, then the Dual Boiler espresso machine has a strong, world-class steam wand that gives you all of the flexibility and power to whip it and whip it good.

The wand swivels 360° and has three holes in the tip to produce a silkier texture. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works.

1. Fill the milk pitcher until it’s just below the “V” shape of the spout. Place the tip of the wand above the drip tray, then purge any condensed water by lifting the steam lever. 

2. Close the steam lever and place the wand tip about an inch below the milk’s surface, and then let ‘er rip.

3. You’ll have to use that swivel to your advantage and experiment from here until you get the foam thickness you desire. After a few tries, you can get a rhythm down where you’re brewing an espresso shot and creating a fabulous foam at the same time, at optimal temperatures.

15-bar Pump System

This Dual Pump system is responsible for applying just the right amount of pressure to the ground coffee for extraction- it’s where the magic happens.

The BES920 features a 15-bar Ulka for brewing and a 4.5-bar Ceme for steam. It’s an impeccably quiet pump system that turns out shot after shot with the right amount of pressure while the low-pressure pump refills the steam boiler consistently.

Digital Display: Customization Options

You can let your imagination run wild with this dual boiler coffee machine. What makes it a winner for seasoned baristas (but perhaps not beginners) is the number of manual settings that allow you to customize every level of your drink with the utmost precision. 

Everything can be orchestrated from the digital display, including getting notifications for water tank refills and cleaning. The adjustable settings include…

  • Extraction temperature
  • Shot volume and duration
  • Steam temperature
  • Pre-infusion duration/ pre-infusion power. 

Bonus: There’s even a hot water dispenser for making tea and Americanos!

Pre-infusion

A quick word on the pre-infusion feature. This is cool because it ensures the coffee grounds are accurately doused before extraction. This is important, because it delivers a level, flavorful extraction every time.

PID Temperature Control

Group head of the Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL lets users control the interior temperature with ease using the nifty digital display located on the front face of the machine. This gives you direct access to the boiler temperature and allows you to adjust it accordingly to get the best espresso. 

Some top-tier machines, like the Bezzera BZ10, don’t have a visible PID. So why does it matter? It’s an added convenience that takes the guesswork out of adjusting your preferred temperature. You can set it and forget it, which is nice- even for the espresso purists.

BES900XL vs. BES920XL

Breville is a reputable brand known for listening to its customers and improving its models based on feedback. This is exactly what they did with the 920XL predecessor, building on its already excellent features to deliver the 920XL.

Both of these models have the same sleek design and features, only with the 920XL, Breville listened to its customers and added a few extras to make it even sweeter than the BES900.

  • Descale feature: simplifies the cleaning process.
  • Shot duration control:  controls the extraction time when dialing in a shot.
  • Steam boiler control: you can now adjust it for precise steaming.
  • Razor trimming tool: trims your dose perfectly to get the best possible extraction.

Breville BES870 vs. Breville BES920

When comparing these two semi-automatics, there are quite a few differences, although they do deliver the same high-quality performance you can expect from Breville.

The BES870 is ideal for both beginners and pros due to the number of integrated features– such as the burr coffee grinder. It’s also half the price of the 920XL, which makes it an even better choice for beginners to learn the art of espresso without splurging.

Meanwhile, the 920XL may not be best for beginners due to the number of manual settings and learning curve. It’s an expensive machine that you’ll also have to buy a coffee grinder for- so that’s another $100+ expense added to the bill.

Another difference is the size. The Breville Barista Express has a lighter weight at 23 pounds and is more narrow, making it a better choice for smaller environments than the 920XL.

Both models come with an attached steam wand, pressure gauge, and cup warmer. But, the BES870 doesn’t have a digital display while the BES9020 does offer this. 

Accessories of Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Espresso Machine

Sure, the price of the Breville BES920XL is up there, but they spoil you with the number of accessories that are included in the package

  • Integrated tamper
  • Stainless steel milk jug
  • Single-wall & dual-wall filter baskets
  • Razor dose trimming tool
  • Cleaning tool for the steam wand and filter basket
  • Breville Dual Boiler cleaning tablets

One of the downers is that you’ll have to do some extra soul searching (and an extra bank withdrawal) to find the perfect coffee grinder for your Dual Boiler BES900. 

Accessories of the Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

With grinders, you get what you pay for. In other words, the cheaper options may be tempting but might not bring out the best flavors of your beans. 

You may want to consider a stainless steel burr grinder, as this offers the best consistency, fineness, and decreased risk of burnt beans. Stay away from blade grinders, because they tend to smash the beans, leading to an inconsistent flavor.

Setup & Operation

The biggest reason why we say this is a machine for more experienced brewsters and not beginners is that the learning curve is steep. The initial setup is quite involved and takes at least 30 minutes to go from the cleansing stage to the finished shot.

The Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL with 2 glasses on its drip tray and working steam wand

Scrutinizing the user manual will ensure you don’t hit any snags. But we’ve also created a condensed version for you below.

1. Cleansing & Water Tank Setup

Let the Breville Double Boiler water filter soak for five minutes, and then gently clean all of the machine parts and accessories while waiting. 

Install the filter into the 84-ounce water tank before opening the top-fill lid (or removing the entire tank) to fill it with cold water. A water hardness test strip comes with the machine, which must be used to set the correct level

Now it’s time to flush the system by running water through the group head, steam wand, and hot water dispenser. All of this should take around 20 minutes, and then you’re ready to brew.

2. Breville Dual Boiler Warmup Time

Breville BES920XL's steam wand working on a stainless steel milk jug

You’re going to have to wait about 10 minutes for the Breville 920 Dual Boiler to heat up to 

200-degrees. Only then can you go ahead and place your espresso-packed portafilter inside and then lock it onto the group head.

[pull quote] Pro Tip: Breville recommends filling the 58mm porta-filter with 19-22 grams of freshly ground coffee for the best flavor.

3. Pull the Shot

Select the size of your shot for either 1 cup or 2 cups, and then press the corresponding button on the machine. Extraction will begin, taking around 30 seconds to pull the shot.

Note that you can adjust the extraction time in the settings or even stop it early by pushing the cup button again.

4. Good Taste Takes Time

Patience is key, but once you get your bearings you’re rewarded with a superior espresso from the rich crema on top to the aromatic taste that envelops the senses like no cup of green tea can. 

You can also use the machine to make cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos

Clean-Up & Maintenance of Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Espresso Machine

Extensive maintenance is another reason why we recommend this espresso maker for passionate home baristas and not beginners or busy individuals. It requires regular cleaning to get the best coffee consistently.

That means Breville 920XL cleaning should be done each time you use it. Start by running the filter baskets under hot water and wiping the group head with a damp cloth.

Place an empty basket into the portafilter and flush it for about 20 seconds. Administer a backflush before turning off the machine by placing a cleaning tablet into the filter basket of the portafilter, locking it into place, and then flushing the system for another 20 seconds.

It’s recommended to backflush 5 times to remove all of the bean oils and debris, which is incredibly time-consuming. So ask yourself, how much do you love your espresso?

Wipe down the steam wand to get rid of any dried milk and finally, empty the drip tray. Luckily, there’s a little yellow sign that will pop up to let you know it’s time to empty the tray. 

Breville BES920XL Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Can steam milk and brew espresso at the same time
  • Many customization options
  • Digital display PID
  • 360°swivel steam wand

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Must clean after each use
  • Complicated setup
  • A steep learning curve for beginners

It doesn’t get any better than the Breville Espresso Dual Boiler. This is a top-of-the-line semi-automatic that can perform right alongside the best of them, making it perfect for the espresso aficionado’s home kitchen or a bustling office environment.

It’s a bulky machine that takes up space, but it comes packed with well-implemented features that, when used correctly, will give you consistent, delicious shots on the regular. 

Even better, you can adjust several of the key settings right on the digital display

Its convenience and personal preference rolled into one stainless steel package. This is the espresso lover’s playground from the simultaneous brew and steam dual boilers to the powerful swivel wand.

A hand pouring milk from Breville Dual Boiler's stainless steel jug into a cup of coffee

That’s why we recommend the BES920xl for experts, while beginners may want to shop around some more. 

The price is expensive, and the learning curve is steep. Set up takes a good bit of time, and after you’ve meddled with the settings to get the flavor and temperature just right, you need to take even more time to thoroughly clean the machine.

If you’re determined to learn espresso, you might be better off with the user-friendly BES870 or a superautomatic if you’re busy and need a drink that’s fast and hands-free.

Breville 920XL Warranty

Breville offers a 2-year limited warranty on the BES920 that is valid from the date of purchase. 

Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Review Conclusion

Experienced espresso brewers will find the quality and flexibility they are looking for with the BES920XL. This is a professional semi-automatic that gives you the luxury of brewing and steaming simultaneously, with customizable settings galore. 

To conclude this Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL review, remember that it’s expensive, and you’ll have to purchase the coffee grinder separately. That, along with the complicated setup and cleaning process, might be too much of a hassle for rookies and too slow for people on the go.


Official Manufacturer Support

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Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Espresso Machine Review 2021 was last modified: November 21st, 2021 by Consumer Files