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Breville Infuser Review

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Last updated: December 19, 2023

Quick Answer: While the Breville Infuser is a good espresso machine, it is overpriced. You’d get better value for money with the Breville Bambino Plus.

In this Breville Infuser review, I’m going to look at whether the Infuser justifies its $600 price tag, and if so then why?

I’m then going to look at how the Breville Infuser compares to other espresso machines to see if you can get better value elsewhere.

Let’s get started.

Should I Get the Breville Infuser?

I do not think that the Breville Infuser is worth the money. It is not a bad machine – it’s just overpriced.

NOT RECOMMENDED
Breville Infuser
$599.95

The Breville Infuser is overpriced. It uses older brewing technology than other Breville espresso machines, and this use of older technology is not reflected in its price tag.

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04/02/2024 05:44 pm GMT
Espresso Quality
8/10
Steamed Milk Quality
9/10
Functionalities
8/10
Ease of Use and Cleaning
8/10
Design and Build Quality
7/10
Value for Money
4/10

The Infuser was first manufactured in 2011. Its design and build have not changed since then, and newer Breville models use better technology, especially for its heating system.

The Breville Infuser’s price tag has not been lowered since it was first released to reflect its antiquated technology compared to other Breville machines.

You can get the Breville Bambino Plus for around $200 less than the Infuser. This is a much better deal, in my opinion.

The Bambino Plus has a higher quality heating system and steam wand than the Infuser, in addition to this reduction in cost.

The Bambino Plus’s only disadvantage compared to the Infuser is that it doesn’t have multiple temperature settings. 

The Bambino Plus’s brewing settings out of the box are much better than the Infuser’s, and I think that this makes up for reduced programmability.

Cheaper and Better Than the Breville Infuser
Breville Bambino Plus
$499.95
The Breville Bambino Plus is $200 cheaper than the Breville Infuser despite having a much better internal heating and brewing system.
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04/03/2024 01:44 am GMT

The Breville Infuser is a portafilter-driven espresso machine with a steam wand for frothing milk.

It has buttons for single and double shots. These will automatically dispense 1 oz and 2 oz of water respectively. These volumes can be adjusted.

The Breville Infuser does not have a built-in grinder, unlike other Breville coffee machines like the Breville Barista Express and Breville Barista Pro.

The table below shows the Breville Infuser’s key specifications:

Specification Breville Infuser
Description
Automatic espresso machine with manual steam wand
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
12.3” W x 10.1” D x 13.1” H
Available drink presets
Single espresso, double espresso
Steam wand type
Manual pin hole steam wand
Water tank volume
61”
Heating system
Single boiler thermocoil with PID
Portafilter diameter
54 mm
Portafilter baskets
Single and double espresso, pressurized and non-pressurized (4 in total)
Pump pressure
15 Bar
Visible pressure gauge
Yes
Programmable shot volume
Yes
Programmable temperatures
Yes
Automatic pre infusion
Yes
Adjustable pre infusion time
Yes
Warranty
1 year
Available colors
Brushed steel, Black Sesame, Cranberry Red

Breville Infuser Features

Here are the Breville Infuser’s key features, along with how I think they affect the machine’s performance and usability.

User Interface: Button Operated Control Panel

The Breville Infuser’s control panel consists of buttons, a dial on its right-hand side, and a pressure gauge in the center of the machine.

Its UI makes the day-to-day of pulling shots with the machine easy – just press the single or double shot button to pull a shot. The dial on its right side turns on the steam wand.

Adjusting the machine’s settings like volume size and temperature is significantly more difficult. This is where a digital display screen (like on the Breville Barista Pro) would make your life a lot easier than just having buttons.

The video below shows how unintuitive changing the Infuser’s temperature is (watch from 1:59 – 3:24):

The Infuser’s pressure gauge is somewhat useful in assessing whether you need to grind your coffee coarser or finer (if it’s too low then you generally need to grind your coffee finer). 

However, I think it’s better just to time your shots to measure this (you want to aim for your shot to pull in 25-30 seconds).

Heating System: Single Boiler Thermocoil with PID

The Breville Infuser’s thermocoil heating system means that your brewing water/steam wand steam is heated in a small coiled tube just before it makes contact with your coffee bed/milk.

The Breville Infuser takes about 40 seconds to go from turning on to being hot enough to pull a shot.

Its steam wand takes about 35 seconds to turn on.

This is much slower than Breville models that use a thermojet heating system (these include the Breville Barista Pro and Bambino Plus).

They take about 3 seconds to get to brewing temperature and their steam wand takes about 10 seconds to turn on.

I like that the Breville Infuser has a PID. This benefits the machine in two ways:

  • Temperature stability: A more stable brewing temperature means that your espresso will extract better than with machines that lack a PID. It also means that you can go from steaming milk to pulling an espresso shot without burning your espresso.
  • Temperature adjustments: The Infuser’s PID allows you to adjust its brewing temperature in 4-degree Fahrenheit increments. This is useful if you want to experiment with different coffee beans, as lighter roasts often require higher brewing temperatures to extract properly.

It’s actually quite rare for an espresso machine in the Breville Infuser’s price range to have a PID, so this is a big plus for the machine.

Pumping System: 15 Bar Pump and Over Pressure Valve

A 15 Bar pump means that the Breville Infuser’s maximum possible pressure is 15 Bars. Its actual pressure is set by its over-pressure valve. This bleeds off excess pressure to put a ceiling on your actual brewing pressure.

Many Breville Infuser users have complained on Reddit that the machine’s default pressure level is too high. This leads to channeling which creates a really unpleasant tasting espresso.

The only way you can stop channeling when your brewing pressure is too high is to brew with relatively coarse grounds. This in itself will mute your espresso’s flavor.

You can find several Reddit threads where users complain about the Infuser’s default pressure being too high here and here. This doesn’t seem to affect all units, but the problem doesn’t seem to be all that rare either.

The solution to this is to adjust the over-pressure valve. This requires opening up the machine (it’s a complicated process – I wouldn’t want to do it). It will therefore void your warranty.

The Breville Bambino Plus’s maximum pressure is set to nine Bars, and this appears to be way more consistent than with the Infuser. 

This is just another reason why I’d recommend the Bambino Plus over the Infuser.

Steam Wand: Slow but Reliable

The first thing you’ll notice with the steam wand is that it takes ages to turn on. The machine makes a thudding clicking noise as it’s waiting to turn on which if you’re not used to it can make you think that the machine is slowly dying…

You can see a video of the Breville Barista Express, which has the exact same heating system for its steam wand, turning on below (watch from 2:00 – 2:30):

Once the steam wand is on it steams your milk very slowly…ahem…I mean “heats your milk gently” (that sounds much nicer).

In all seriousness, its steam wand is less powerful than most domestic espresso machines. 

This is actually a good thing if you aren’t used to using a steam wand as you have time to get to a good level of texture before your milk gets too hot. 

However, once you get used to the technique required to texture milk efficiently you might start to find the Infuser’s steam wand frustratingly slow.

Still, it can make really good steamed milk if you use it correctly, which is the most important thing.

Shot Programmability: Adjust Volume and Preinfusion Time

The Breville infuser allows you to adjust how much water your single and double espressos are brewed with.

You do this by pressing the “program” button to put the machine into program mode. 

When in this mode the single and double shot buttons are completely manual (you press them once to start and once again to stop the shot). However long you set the shot for is now the new default dispensing time.

You can also adjust preinfusion time in this way by holding down the shot button. However long you hold the button for is the new default preinfusion time.

You can see someone adjusting the shot volume on the Breville  Infuser below (watch from 2:30 – end):

For accurate dosing, you want to be weighing your shots. Fortunately, the Breville Infuser has enough cup clearance so you can fit a scale under your mug when programming your shots.

Inclusion of Pressurized and Non Pressurized Portafilter Baskets

The Breville Infuser’s inclusion of pressurized and nonpressurized portafilter baskets allows you to brew equally well with pre-ground and freshly ground coffee.

Use pressurized portafilters for pre-ground coffee, and non-pressurized for freshly ground coffee.

Many espresso machines without built-in grinders (especially towards the cheaper end of the market) only come with pressurized portafilter baskets. 

This puts a very low ceiling on how well they can brew with freshly ground coffee.

While you can buy non-pressurized portafilter baskets by themselves, it’s nice that the Breville Infuser already includes these.

Look, Feel, and Design

The Breville Infuser’s exterior, like all Breville espresso machines, is clearly made out of plastic. Its steel finish isn’t fooling anyone.

Breville products generally sacrifice external build quality for increased functionality and internal build quality. The Infuser is no different from this.

The Breville Infuser has a smaller footprint than most espresso machines with its level of functionality. A big downside of this is that it has a very small drip tray.

This, combined with the fact that the machine dispenses a lot of water when its over-pressure valve is activated (this happens every time you pull a shot or use its steam wand) means that its drip tray will need changing after about every four uses.

You can see a video of someone demonstrating how fast the Infuser’s drip tray fills up below (watch from 1:20 – 2:30):

The Breville is available in a black, silver, and red finish.

Breville Infuser Pros

It lets you adjust temperature and shot volume which allows you to brew well even when using different types of beans.

Its “low and slow” steam wand is great for beginners to learn how to steam milk.

It has a durable internal build and can last years.

Breville Infuser Cons

It is overpriced.

Many units brew with too much pressure.

I’m now going to evaluate the Breville Infuser across the following criteria:

  • Quality of espresso
  • Quality of steamed milk
  • Functionalities
  • Ease of use and cleaning
  • Design and build quality
  • Value for money

Quality of Espresso

The Breville Infuser can make good espresso so long as its over-pressure valve is set to nine Bars. It appears that a lot of units have their over-pressure valve set too high out of the box.

The Breville Infuser’s PID and use of a non-pressurized portafilter means that it can make good espresso if paired with a high-quality burr grinder.

Some units are let down by the Infuser’s tendency for its over-pressure valve to be set too high.

As I said earlier, this prevents you from brewing finely ground coffee without channeling, making it impossible to pull an excellent shot with the machine.


So long as the machine’s over-pressure valve is set to nine Bars, it should be able to make really good espresso.

Quality of Espresso Rating: 8/10

Quality of Steamed Milk

The Breville Infuser’s steam wand allows it to make good thick textured steam milk and fine microfoam. Its ability to do this does depend on how good your steaming technique is, however.

The Breville Infuser’s pinhole steam wand allows you to make really well-textured milk so long as you are patient and position the steam wand in the right part of the milk at the right time.

It’s a fully manual steam wand, so milk steaming performance depends on your technique as much as it does on the machine, however, the Infuser does not put a ceiling on your milk foam’s quality. 

Espresso machines with panarello steam wands (as opposed to pinhole steam wands) do put such a ceiling on your milk foam quality (they are generally a bit easier to use, however).

Quality of Steamed Milk Rating: 9/10

Functionalities

The Breville Infuser allows you to adjust your shot volume and brewing temperature making it more functionally rich than most portafilter-driven espresso machines.

In addition to pulling shots and steaming milk, the Breville Infuser lets you:

  • Adjust shot volume and preinfusion time.
  • Adjust brewing temperature (in increments of 4 degrees Fahrenheit from 190-206 Fahrenheit)
  • Dispense plain hot water for Americano and tea.

The only notable omission functionality-wise from the Breville Infuser is the automatic steam wand found on the Breville Bambino Plus and Breville Oracle Touch.

Despite this omission, the Infuser can still do more than most espresso machines in its price range.

Functionalities Rating: 8/10

Ease of Use and Cleaning

The Breville Infuser is easy to use and keeps clean. The only pain with the machine is how often its drip tray needs to be emptied.

The Breville Infuser is very easy to pull shots and steam milk with. Its slow steam wand makes it particularly easy for beginners.

The machine tells you when it needs to be rinsed and descaled. 

Although it does not walk you through the descaling process to the same extent as machines with a digital display screen like the Breville Barista Pro, this is still a very simple process that’s explained well in the machine’s manual.

Although programming the machine’s shot volume and temperature is not the most intuitive (you’re probably going to have to search on YouTube for how to do this if you haven’t done it before) it’s quick and easy once you have learned the process.

The Infuser’s drip tray needs to be emptied a lot more than other espresso machines, but at least it tells you when this needs to happen so you can empty it without sloshing water everywhere because it’s too full.

Ease of Use and Cleaning Rating: 8/10

Design and Build Quality

The Breville Infuser pairs a plasticky (but not flimsy) external build with a very high-quality internal build. This is typical of Breville coffee machines.

The Breville Infuser looks and feels more cheaply built than other similarly priced espresso machines – especially those made by manufacturers other than Breville.

Breville tends to sacrifice external build quality for added functionality and internal build quality.

For example, although the Breville Infuser uses a lot of plastic in its exterior, you won’t find many espresso machines in this price range that include a PID.
By all accounts, the Breville Infuser has a very high internal build quality. I found many people on Reddit saying that their machine lasted them several years without any deterioration. You can find a thread where someone says this here:

 “Coffee guy for almost 50 years. Running an Infuser at home for about four years. Zero complaints”

u/realkinmixer

Despite this high level of durability I will have to dock the Breville Infuser a mark here since a lot of the machines come out of the box with their over-pressure valves set too high.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 7/10

Value for Money

The Breville Infuser does NOT offer great value for money, especially compared to other Breville espresso machines.

The Breville Infuser is overpriced, plain, and simple.

There are cheaper Breville machines with more functionalities and higher-quality internal builds (the Breville Bambino Plus for example). 

Spending a fraction more money will also get you a much better machine (the Breville Barista Pro for example).

The Infuser’s inflated price tag is the only reason why I don’t recommend the machine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the coffee maker itself.

Value for Money Rating: 4/10

Product Alternatives: Breville Bambino Plus and Breville Barista Pro

Two espresso machines that I think are better purchases than the Breville Infuser are the Breville Bambino Plus and the Breville Barista Pro.

Breville Bambino Plus: Cheaper and Better than the Breville Infuser

Cheaper and Better Than the Breville Infuser
Breville Bambino Plus
$499.95
The Breville Bambino Plus is $200 cheaper than the Breville Infuser despite having a much better internal heating and brewing system.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:44 am GMT

The Breville Bambino Plus is a better quality coffee maker than the Breville Infuser for the following reasons:

  • The Bambino Plus has a better quality thermojet heating system than the Breville Infuser. This means that the Bambino Plus can go from off to ready to brew in 3 seconds compared to the Breville Infuser’s 40-second turn-on time.
  • The Bambino Plus has an automated steam wand that can heat milk to a specified temperature and texture. You don’t even need to maneuver the steam wand in the milk to do this. The Breville Infuser does not have this feature.

The one disadvantage that the Bambino Plus has compared to the Infuser is that it does not come with non-pressurized portafilter baskets.

However, these baskets only cost around $25. The Bambino Plus is $200 cheaper than the Infuser.

You’re therefore still saving $175 by getting the Bambino Plus instead of the Infuser (and you’re getting a better espresso machine with the Bambino Plus).

Breville Barista Pro: Best if You Want a Built In Grinder

Best Espresso Machine With a Built-In Grinder
Breville Barista Pro
$849.95
The Breville Barista Pro’s thermojet heating system and digital display screen user interface make it the best espresso machine with a built-in grinder.
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04/03/2024 05:13 am GMT

The Breville Barista Pro is around $100 more expensive than the Breville Infuser.

The Barista Pro justifies this additional cost (and then some) in several ways.

The first of these is that it has a built-in grinder. This grinder is very similar to the Breville Smart Grinder Pro which by itself costs between $175 and $200.

The Barista Pro already offers better value than the Infuser just by virtue of having this built-in grinder

In addition to this, the Barista Pro has the following upgrades compared to the Infuser:

  • It has an LCD screen user interface. This makes programming and descaling the Barista Pro much more intuitive than with the Infuser.
  • It has a thermojet heating system compared to the Infuser’s thermocoil system.
  • It has a built-in shot timer, which gives you more insightful feedback on how your shots are pulling than the Infuser’s pressure gauge.

To find out more about this machine, please see my Breville Barista Pro review.

Breville Infuser Review: Final Verdict

I do not recommend you buy the Breville Infuser because it’s overpriced.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Infuser, you can pull very good shots and steam milk well with it. 

There are just other espresso machines out there that are cheaper and better.

The Breville Bambino Plus is one such machine that I’d recommend you get instead of the Breville Infuser.

It’s $200 cheaper than the Infuser and has a much better heating system and steam wand.

Cheaper and Better Than the Breville Infuser
Breville Bambino Plus
$499.95
The Breville Bambino Plus is $200 cheaper than the Breville Infuser despite having a much better internal heating and brewing system.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:44 am GMT

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