Breville Dual Boiler Review (BES920)

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Breville’s range of espresso machines stretches to match almost every level of consumer. From price-conscious, streamlined, entry-level machines to espresso machines capable of competing with some of the best home coffee makers on the market.

In this review, we look at the Breville Dual Boiler, Breville’s most premium, grinder-less coffee maker, to help you decide if this is the right machine for you. 

Who is the Dual Boiler for?

The Breville Dual Boiler espresso machine is for coffee lovers looking to plunge into “prosumer” level espresso gear, with the added bonus of the ease of use Breville offer with all of their semi-automatic espresso machine range.

This high-end Breville espresso machine offers every function one would look for that helps to deliver consistency and quality in the brewing process. It also has a commercial-style stainless steel steam wand for high-quality milk steaming.

Small office spaces or busy households may want to consider the Dual Boiler as the machine has the features to withstand regular use throughout the day.

This machine could also be the answer for someone looking to upgrade from their entry-level coffee machine. The step-up into full-sized 58mm portafilters is one of the next moves into recreating cafe-quality espresso shots. 

When upgrading to one of Breville’s full-sized group head espresso machines, you need to consider that any accessories purchased for previous, smaller Breville machines will become obsolete. 

You also need to consider the build quality of this machine compared to other coffee machines built to endure the rigorous demands of a commercial setting. This Breville coffee machine leans more on the consumer’s side over professional with some internal parts being made of plastic.

The price of the Breville Dual Boiler puts it at the low end of the market compared to commercial-style espresso machines. Keep in mind that while dual boilers can raise a machine’s performance and efficiency, the level of quality isn’t necessarily going to be higher than a well constructed single steam boiler espresso maker.

Getting started with the Breville Dual Boiler

Breville always supplies customers with most things needed to make great coffee right away. 

This stainless steel machine has a sizeable two-litre water tank capacity. In the box, you’ll receive Breville’s standard package of pressurised and non pressurised coffee baskets, a latte art capable milk jug, cleaning essentials, razor trimming tool and water filter.

Getting started

Before you start, make sure the water filter is ready to go. Having a built-in filter means you can use water out of the tap without worrying about any mineral build-up from water hardness that can affect the machine’s functionality and your coffee’s clarity of flavour.

Once you have filled the water tank, you’re all ready to go; turn on the machine and allow it to reach the set water temperature.

Making coffee

For those wanting to keep things simple, manual mode is easily accessible, controlling the water flow by just opening or closing the valve. 

More experienced users will enjoy the full range of customisable settings they have access to with the Dual Boiler.  This coffee maker allows users to fully customise the machine’s settings when brewing their espresso shots.

Adjustable temperature, pre-infusion, volumetric settings and timer controls mean you can develop a nicely dialled-in profile for your favourite espresso coffee beans, minimising the effort needed to get the most out of your daily brews.

Another handy feature on this machine is its instant hot water outlet, great for anyone who drinks long blacks or wants to preheat their cup before making coffee.

Important Features

Triple Heat System

The Dual Boiler’s triple heat system helps to create temperature stability throughout the machine during the brewing process.

With the steam wand and espresso extraction system having their own dedicated boilers, Breville has also added an embedded element dedicated to heating the group head to bring a stable temperature throughout the whole process so as not to take away any of the heat used to extract espresso.

PID Temperature Control

PID temperature control is a feature installed on most of Breville’s espresso maker range. The PID brings stable and adjustable water temperature control and allows the user to accurately change the water temperature machine.

Over Pressure Valve

The overpressure valve is there to limit the maximum pressure used during the extraction process. If the pressure gets too high, it could cause channelling or over-extraction, taking away some of the qualities you are looking for in your coffee.

Espresso Pressure Gauge

Without auto heat capabilities, having an espresso pressure gauge lets the user monitor the machine to use it correctly. Allowing the pressure to build up to the right level will also help deliver consistent results during the extraction process, avoiding low-pressure brewing.

Commercial Size 58mm Group Head

A 58mm group head is often thought of as needed to replicate cafe-quality espresso extraction. In a 58mm coffee basket, the coffee grounds are spread out slightly shallower than smaller basket sizes which helps to create a more even extraction across the ground coffee bed. 

A larger porta-filter works best with a high-quality grinder, so consider this when moving up to 58mm machines. 

Auto start Function

The auto-start function allows users to set their machine to wake up at a specific time, allowing your coffee maker to heat up to its optimal temperature without you having to even get out of bed. 

Programmable Shot Volume and Temperature

Having programmable shot volume and temperature allows users to build and customise profiles for their favourite coffee beans.

Different styles of coffee roasting extract best at different temperatures. Most coffee machines have set temperature levels, which may not be perfect for every coffee bean.

Espresso Shot Clock

An espresso shot clock lets users view how long their shot runs for and means that they receive accurate data when reviewing whether their espresso ran within the optimal time range. 

This feature saves the hassle of having to use an external time device to monitor your espresso shot.

Hot Water Tap

Having a direct hot water outlet helps make the home workflow more efficient. The two steam boilers bring a balance of workload inside the machine, meaning that, unlike most single boiler espresso machines, it can handle the added workload without it affecting the rest of the machine’s performance.

What do users say about the Breville Dual Boiler?

Feedback for the Breville Dual Boiler is generally very positive, with users appreciating the reliability, consistency, and quality of coffee the machine is able to produce. It’s also considered to have an impressive range of features for its price.

Positives

This machine offers a high-performance machine that allows users to customisation for their brewing needs, meaning that you can find different ways to perfect the way you extract the flavours from your favourite coffee beans. 

Having a heating system for the group head and another steam boiler for the steam wand makes a big difference to those wanting to minimise the wait time between preparing espresso and milk steaming for either a latte or flat white.

Negatives

A few users have found descaling the machine harder than it should be, and extra steps are needed to maintain the appliance properly.

Also, some people do report that their Dual Boiler needed significant repairs after around two years.

Is the Breville Dual Boiler right for you?

If you’re looking for a high quality home coffee machine for a busy household, the Dual Boiler could be your best bet. With the inclusion of every feature and function one could expect of a home espresso machine, it provides users with the ability to make consistently high-quality coffee.

Pros:

  • With fully customisable brew profiles, this machine is designed for its users to get the most out of their coffee experience. It will be great for users who have some experience with espresso preparation. 
  • Two boilers pulling their weight in the machine can be a handy feature for someone wanting to brew regularly throughout the day or to steam milk whilst their espresso is pouring.
  • Full-sized 58mm portafilters

Cons:

  • Being able to control so many variables could be overwhelming if new to home espresso.
  • For the price, this machine is competing with other great espresso machines. Experienced coffee lovers could be underwhelmed by the build quality and may want to invest a little more money to get a commercial style machine.

Breville BES900 vs BES920 vs BEP920 (is the Dual Boiler being discontinued)?

The Breville Dual Boiler BES920 is an updated version of the BES900. It has not been discontinued, but it is now sold in a bundle known as the Dynamic Duo (BEP920) with the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.

Alternatives to the Dual Boiler

Rancilio Silvia

The Rancilio Silvia, along with the Gaggia Classic Pro, is one of those machines often mentioned when looking for an entry-level high-quality espresso machine.

The machine itself is well built but lacks many modern features that coffee-lovers now look for when brewing at home, like temperature controls and pre-infusion.

Breville the Barista Pro

The Breville Barista Pro is a great all in one coffee maker. It lacks some of the intricate settings and features of the Dual Boiler, but the built-in grinder makes this an excellent option for someone looking to save a little counter space when brewing espresso at home.

RELATED: Barista Pro Review

Breville the Oracle

The Oracle is one of Breville’s premium espresso set-ups. The most significant difference is that the Oracle offers close to fully automatic workflow. With a built-in grinder, the Oracle can tamp, brew and froth milk for you, leaving you to pour your milk and drink your coffee.

RELATED: Breville Oracle Vs Dual Boiler

Comparison Table

The Dual Boiler sits in between the Oracle and the Barista Touch in Breville’s line-up of home coffee machines. Check out the key differences below:

the Oraclethe Dual Boilerthe Barista Touch
Link to Instruction bookBES980BES920BES880
RRP$2,999$1,999$1,699
Check PriceThe Good GuysThe Good GuysThe Good Guys
BoilersDualDualSingle
Heating SystemTriple Heat SystemTriple Heat SystemDual ThermoJet
Power2400 Watts2200 Watts1680 Watts
Dimensions (WxDxH)40.9 x 37.3 x 45.3 cm35.8 x 37.1 x 37.3 cm32 x 41 x 32 cm
Auto Purge FunctionYesNoYes
Over Pressure ValveYesYesNo
Espresso Pressure GaugeNoYesNo
Water Tank Size2.5L2.5L2L
Integrated GrinderYesNoYes
Colour Touch ScreenNoNoYes
Rapid Heat UpNoNoYes
Auto OnYesYesNo
Auto Milk TexturingYesNoYes
Saved Coffee Settings228
Dual Wall Filter BasketsNoYesYes
Portafilter Size58mm58mm54mm
Heated Group HeadYesYesNo

Conclusion

Overall, Breville’s most advanced Semi-automatic espresso machine is an excellent option for the right consumer.

It may not have a built-in grinder, but that shouldn’t be thought of as a disadvantage, as it allows fine tuning of the espresso process via a dedicated, seperate espresso grinder.

Teaming this machine up with either Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro or investing in an even better quality espresso grinder will give users a home set-up hard to beat at this price range.

For users looking to take their home barista game even further, this espresso machine has a bunch of possible upgrades and modifications that can be made to it, including bottomless porta-filters and a scale integrated drip tray.

Comparing this machine to other popular 58mm models like the Gaggia Classic Pro, the Breville Dual Boiler offers a lot more in terms of brewing customisation, however it may be more likely to need repairs at some point in its lifetime.

RELATED: The Best Bottomless Portafilters

Breville Dual Boiler FAQ

Is the Breville Dual Boiler worth it?

To the right customer, this machine is worth the cost. The features that it holds will be hard to find in any other espresso machine within this price range. A machine like the Gaggia Classic Pro may be cheaper, but it lacks the range of features Breville’s premium machines offer.

How long does a Breville Dual Boiler last?

This machine, just like any other machine, varies in life from user to user. Some users have found the Dual Boiler to show problems after a couple of years; others have been using the Dual Boiler for a long time after that.

Is a Dual Boiler espresso machine worth it?

Dual boiler espresso machines are great for people wanting to save time between making their espresso and using the steam wand. This feature helps raise the quality of a latte or cappuccino by minimising the time an espresso sits before the machine is ready for steaming milk.

Is Breville Barista Express Dual Boiler?

No, the Breville Barista Express is a single boiler machine. The step-up, similar machines with dual boilers would be the Breville Oracle or Breville Dual Boiler.

Review Summary

the Dual Boiler

The Breville Dual Boiler espresso machine is for coffee lovers looking to plunge into “prosumer” level espresso gear, with the added bonus of the ease of use Breville offer with all of their semi-automatic espresso machine range.

Product SKU: BES920

Product Brand: Breville

Product Currency: AUD

Product Price: $1,999

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.5