Not all coffee enthusiasts have the same incomes or level of patience when it comes to brewing coffee. Some people just want a programmable coffee machine, but others want a high-end espresso maker. Some people drink coffee as an art and others just use it to wake up in the morning.
Breville makes high-end espresso machines. They range in price from $180 to $2,000. There are far more expensive espresso machines out there. Consumers who buy those might want to fund their 401k first and start a home business selling espresso.
Cuisinart makes programmable coffee makers that range in price from $77 to $230. It’s up to the consumer to decide which benefits he wants and which he can live without in the Breville vs. Cuisinart shootout.
Regardless of which machine consumers choose, they will be saving money and time for years to come. Even reusable K-cups can save on waste and are certainly less trouble than waiting in line at a cafe behind that guy who has never used a credit card machine until today. We love that guy, by the end of this shootout, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 probably will be the clear choice for him.
Quality and Design – Breville vs Cuisinart
When it comes to espresso Breville is the Cadillac of machines. Its makers are made of mostly stainless steel. Along with lasting quality, many Breville models offer the benefit of allowing users to grind coffee with the same unit. The BES980XL automatically grinds the correct amount of coffee for a single espresso.
The automatic features of the BES980XL come in the form of automatic doses, grinds and tamps. There is a removable hopper for beans. The unit has dual boilers which allow the users to froth milk and brew coffee at the same time.
Users can program the shot temperature and volume. On the milk side, users can program temperature and texture. The Breville has an auto-start and shutoff feature. Users can monitor the time it takes to extract a shot of espresso with the built in clock. The unit is heavy, but it has a swivel foot underneath for easy maneuverability.
The last cool thing about the BES980XL is the automatic purging of the steam wand after each use. With this super fancy model, their will be lots of parts to wipe down, but the steam wand feature will come in handy.
The Cuisinart EM-600 does not grind coffee, but it makes espresso at a variety of sizes and has a detachable milk warmer and dispenser. The option to fit a commuter mug to an espresso machine should not be overlooked.
The EM-600 uses coffee capsules from illy. This is miles ahead of a Keurig in espresso K-cup quality, but it does offer the same level of convenience for single-serve. Some users have complained about inconsistent foam. Some users may be turned off by the dependence of illy for capsules and lack of a reusable capsule option. There is not much chance of Cuisinart beating out Keurig with the masses. There are about 22 illy capsule flavor options.
The EM-600 has a 1-liter water reservoir that is removable, so refilling will not often be a requirement. The 22-ounce milk container is small enough to store in a refrigerator but not so small that users will have to refill it after every use. Owners will not have to toss the used capsules after every shot either. The unit can hold up to 10 used capsules.
Users can control the ratio of air to milk with the steamer. That’s about as customizable as the Cuisinart gets, and for some people that’s enough.
Our Verdict on Quality and Design
The Breville is of superior quality as one would expect from the higher prices. The Breville art not commercial grade, but they look solid like something one would see in a trendy coffee shop just much prettier. A Breville model will last for years and be worth repairing.
The BES980XL is super expensive. For $2,000, a consumer is making an investment that warrants seeking apartment renter’s insurance. The unit weighs about 35 pounds, but a thief might be drawn to the shiny exterior. With the Breville model, the level of decadence is approaching a Lisbeth Salander level. So the BES980XL might be a status symbol on top of being a great espresso machine.
In contrast the Cuisinart models look more like something one sees in a diner. They are not cheaply made, but they are not quite works of art. Cuisinart is mostly known for its food processors. Most of the brand’s coffee makers don’t look like Keurigs, and they should last longer. The Cuisinarts should stand up to daily use for years. If they break, usually the replacement cost is low enough to warrant tossing out the old model.
Functionality – Breville vs. Cuisinart
The Breville BES870XL has a steeper learning curve than a typical coffee or espresso machine. It requires work and technique to operate the machine properly. The unit costs about a fourth of what its big brother does.
Users will have to manually tamp their coffee with the BES870XL. That’s a process that looks cool but only takes seconds. It’s the same principle as a mortar and pedestal but a lot easier. Chances are an owner of the BES870XL will be performing for an audience, so the more wiping down and tamping the better.
Commuters will have to get up pretty early. For those wanting to feel like a barista, this model might be a good choice. Hardcore coffee enthusiasts will insist on a separate coffee grinder, so the Breville offers a nice middle ground for the less purist. It’s still a very fancy espresso machine.
The BES870XL includes a purge feature in that is regulates the temperature of the water after owners use the steam. Coffee enthusiasts will not have to wait for it for cool down before the next shot, and their coffee will not taste burnt like at Starbucks.
There is no dual boiler on the BES870EXL, but the water tank is 2 liters. That’s a lot of shots. Purists will be made their espresso got cold waiting for steamed milk. They’re also saving $1,500.
The Cuisinart SS-10 is made for fast and easy single-server coffee. Neighbors will mistake this model for a Keurig. It is compatible with K-cups. The programmable functions are what really make the SS-10 much functional than a Keurig. Users report the Cruisinart brews faster than the Keurig and is very reliable. Users spend less time waiting for the Cuisinart to warm up water like its K-cup competitor. The Cuisinart also is compatible with unofficial K-cup brands.
The Cuisinart even makes soup. Users also get the advantage of charcoal water filters. Depending on the quality of the local water supply, this can be a huge advantage. The Cuisinart also automatically cleans the inside of the brew chamber, which means less work for users.
Our Verdict on Functionality
The Breville line of espresso makers offers consumers more flexibility to customize their coffee. The BES980XL and BES870CBXL models offer the convenience of grinding coffee beans, brewing coffee and warming milk. This all saves counter space and speeds up the process. Owners can make amazing coffee with these Breville models. If cost is not an issue and the desire for a separate grinder is not essential, Breveville is a good choice.
The Cuisinart coffee machines offer a range of benefits depending on the model. The EM-600 might be good for an espresso enthusiast who is in a hurry. The Cuisinart models are functional and practical enough for the average coffee drinker to use daily and not let the unit collect dust. The Breville line is flashy, but owners may grow tired of using them because of the extra effort required and switch to a programmable coffee maker.
Value – Breville vs Cuisinart
The Breville ESP8XL is pretty basic for an espresso maker. Only a button and dial are needed to make espresso, and the unit includes a steam frother. The drip tray is removable, and there is a warming plate on top of the unit. All users need to do is add water and coffee grounds to make coffee with the ESP8XL.
One big selling point for this Breville is the 15-bar thermoblock pump. Instead of boiling the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, a radiator heats the water separately for brewing or steaming. This helps prevent scalding hot coffee. Users rave about the crema from the ESP8XL. The unit comes with a stainless steel cups, saucers and a pitcher. The only thing challenging about the unit is keeping the filter clean and developing a technique for the steamer wand.
For those really just wanting drip coffee in the morning without having to think, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 might be a good choice. The unit is programmable, has a permanent filter and lets users select brew strength. The DCC-3200 makes up to 14 cups of coffee at a time. The model also includes features such as brew pause and an auto-shutoff.
Putting coffee grounds into a filter 24 hours in advance is a feature purists may cringe at, but for the practical consumer, it can be a really help. There also is a carafe heating option for coffee that sits around for up to four hours. We’re not big fans of 4-hour-old coffee, but some people make like their coffee aged. Like with all coffee and espresso machines, regular cleaning and using clean water will help ensure proper performance and increase product life.
Our Verdict on Value
Those consumers who want espresso at home that tastes better than Keurig coffee, the Breville ESP8XL might be a good choice. Owners can use ground coffee in the machine without feeling guilty. It’s simple to operate compared with other Breville models, so owners probably won’t get burned out on the espresso making process. The unit definitely looks expensive, but it’s not. It should last for years and get almost as much use as a drip coffee maker.
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 looks like most drip coffee machines but it has more features than less expensive models. The features of the DCC-3200 should not be wasted on most coffee drinkers. As far as convenience goes, the Cuisinart is a great choice for average coffee drinkers not concerned about the minutia of coffee making.
The Breville ESP8XL and the Cuisinart DCC-3200 are user-friendly. They are relatively low-tech, which is means there is less to break and figure out. Both have solid construction, and their price is for value only. There are no bells or whistles for owners to ignore or give up on after the first use.
A Cuisinart vs. Breville comparison may not seem fair to some, but the beauty of each brand’s models depends on the potential owners. The Breville models may be pricey compared with Cuisinart, but the Breville models are aimed at espresso drinkers more than coffee drinkers.
Cuisinart does offer an espresso model, but for consumers serious about espresso, a Breville model would be a better choice. It will provide the opportunity for more drink customization and last longer. Espresso does take more work than coffee, excluding Keurig users.
Those who want something a little different and more convenient than a Keurig should go with the Cuisinart SS-10. It’s fast and programmable. For the middle of the road espresso enthusiasts, the Breville ESP8XL is less expensive than the Cuisinart EM-600. In practice, the Breville might even be more convenient.
Regular coffee drinks can’t go wrong with the Cuisinart DCC drip coffee maker. It costs less than $100 and will last for a few years at least. It’s also not hard to look at compared with a Mr. Coffee. Those contraptions remind us of motels and fast-food.
In the end, the true winners of the Breville vs. Cusinart battle are the consumers who end up using their purchase often and for years. If super specialized espresso is a daily requirement, then a $2,000 investment might make sense.