Now that I have your attention, I want to talk to you about the fantastic Breville dual boiler BES900 (now BES920) espresso machine. The feature set you see on this machine is AMAZING – dual boiler, electronic temperature control, programmable single and double shot button, manual pour button, shot timer, clock and automatic wake-up feature so the machine is hot and ready to go when you’re out of bed…need I say more? This machine has got to be one of the best espresso machines you can buy straight off the shelf from a department store under $1,500. Most stores have this machine on sale at around $1,100 at the moment – a steal!

This post is not a review but rather an informative post about something peculiar I’ve noticed about this machine. I’ve had a lot of customers lately purchasing the Breville dual boiler along with the Breville Smart grinder and there was always one thing bugging me about this machine, the fact that the group head sucked up the extracted coffee cake/puck from the filter basket when you remove the group handle from the group head of the machine. It bugged me so much that I promised a customer I’d find out the reason why the machine was doing this, so I went straight to the top, Breville’s own coffee guru and global business manager, Phil McKnight. Here is what Phil had to say about the machine:

The reason the puck sticks is the 3 way solenoid that releases pressure to the drain is inverted. So when the 3 way opens it creates some negative pressure (vacuum) on the puck. Then the baskets have a generous internal taper to allow then the puck to be knocked out easily, but this just lets this small vacuum hold it against the shower screen. Answer, buy some aftermarket 58mm baskets. LM, Synesso, VST but be careful with the VSTs, because they have a lot more holes & as such total hole area, then you have a grind a lot finer, something the smart grinder may not cope with too well.

So there’s your answer Breville dual boiler owners – straight from the horse’s mouth and completely unedited from my email -go buy yourself some aftermarket filter baskets!

  1. Thank you for the information especially about the VST.
    When making purchases online it can be hard to spot the finer details.
    Thanks again

  2. I bought this machine and I have a query. I noticed that after turning it on and allowing it to warm up for 20 minutes, that the porta filter was only warm to the touch and not super hot. I thought this strange since it has a heating element on the group head. My old Rancilio Silvia had no grouphead heater and the portafilter would be scaldingly hot after 10 minutes. Why doesn’t the Breville portafilter get as hot as other machines? Is it because the grouphead is not attached directly to the boiler or is it because the stainless steel portafilter conducts heat less than the brass portafilter of other machines?

    1. Hi Matty,
      The machine does have an active heating element in the group head, so it should get the portafilter nice and hot. Even in the morning when I have the machine wake up an hour before me, I always run hot water through my handle first, fully dry it out and then make coffee.
      In terms of materials, stainless has a higher specific heat capacity than brass so, it takes more energy to heat 1 kg of stainless by 1 degree C than it does for the same mass of brass. In other words, brass portafilters will always heat up faster than stainless ones, but once they are both up to temperature, stainless handles will hold heat longer because it has a lower thermal conductivity than brass.
      Hope this helps.

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