How To Use Breville Espresso Machine? Easy Tips & Tricks

Don’t know how to use your new Breville machine?

Reading through a manual can be boring.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to do that.

Today, I’ll share with you how to use Breville espresso machine – but abridged.

Let’s dive straight in.

How to Use a Breville Espresso Machine

breville espresso machine

Let’s talk about everything you need to know to properly use a Breville espresso machine.

Setting Up

While it comes assembled, your new Breville coffee machine still needs a bit of setup before you can use it.

The first step will be to clean all the removable parts of the machine.

While your new espresso maker obviously came unused, there’s probably some dust and dirt collecting on it. You can never be too meticulous about hygiene, can you?

Once you’re done cleaning, put those removable parts in their designated places.

Fill the water tank all the way to the indicated maximum line. Then, place a larger container (17 ounces or more) underneath the portafilter and steam wand, to collect water from the cleansing brew.

Finally, check everything is in place before running the cycle. Press the 1-Cup button to start rinsing.

The First Brew

Alright, after a successful rinsing cycle, it’s time to make coffee!

Grinding

If your Breville machine has a built-in grinder, that’s where we’re starting.

First, you need to choose the grind size for grinding the coffee bean.

You might have more or less grinding sizes available, but what we’re aiming at is fine grounds. Set your grind size dial to a point between the middle and the largest number.

After you’re done grinding, check out how large the coffee particles are. They should be slightly finer than table salt. If they end up too coarse, adjust the grind size for the next brew.

Grind Amount

Now, how much coffee do you actually need to grind?

For a single shot of espresso, you’re aiming at 8 to 10 grams of coffee. Now, to set that amount on the Breville, turn the knob at the 3 o’clock position.

This, also, can be adjusted for a future brew if it ends up not being the right amount.

How do we check that, you might ask?

We’ll need a scale for that, either a coffee or kitchen scale with 3 digits. If you don’t own either, you can measure the approximate amount with scoops

First, measure how much the actual portafilter weighs. Then, after you’re done grinding, measure it when filled with coffee. Subtract the numbers, and you’ll get the amount of coffee.

Tamping Coffee

After you’ve pushed the portafilter in, your machine will grind coffee.

Once done, take the portafilter out. 

With your finger, push coffee grounds into the portafilter, packing them down lightly. You don’t want to be either too gentle or too heavy. Ideally, aim to achieve a flat surface at the level of the portafilter edges.

Of course, this is best done when using a tamper to pack down coffee grounds. If you don’t already own this tool, I highly recommend getting one, as it will make your job much easier.

Brewing

Finally, the fun part.

Before you actually place the portafilter in, press the 1-Cup button. This will start a short brewing cycle that will warm up the machine for the real thing.

Once that’s done, insert the portafilter in its place and turn it into the lock position.

Press the button to start brewing.

Your espresso extraction should start within 8 to 12 seconds.

Milk Frothing

Want to make a latte or cappuccino?

Then we need to put that milk frother into work.

For a latte, go with whole milk, as it creates a thick microfoam.

To make a cappuccino, skim milk will make a more foamy layer.

Now, before you use the frothing wand, make sure it’s purged first. In fact, you want to do that every time you plan on using it. To do that, position the wand into an empty container, then turn the dial to the steam position. 

After about 15 seconds, water should start dripping out the wand, then turn into steam. After a few seconds, turn the dial back to the standby position.

Now, let’s do the actual frothing.

Pour milk into the jug you get with your machine. Hold the handle with one hand, while keeping the other on the bottom of the milk jug.

Then, place the tip of the wand so that it’s just below the milk surface. Tilt the jug slightly, so that it creates the whirlpool.

How do you know the milk is ready?

Once the jug is too hot to touch, that’s your cue to stop frothing. Turn the dial back to standby to stop the action.

Expert Tips

The difference between a good and great espresso lies in details. Here are some tips that can help you achieve that:

Preheat the machine before brewing – Your espresso maker is technically ready to brew after a minute. But it’s advisable to let it heat up for 15 minutes before you start brewing. If you brew right away, certain parts of the machine might still be cold, causing your coffee to be as well. 

Preheat your cup before pouring coffee – Having a warm cup will keep your coffee hot for longer.

Rinse the steam wand as soon as you’re done – Dispose of any potential milk residue inside the steam wand by running a quick rinse with hot water. You don’t want any bacteria to grow inside. 

Use good coffee – your espresso can’t be good if you’re using bad coffee. You want to make sure to use the freshest coffee possible for optimal flavor. 

How to Make a Perfect Latte With the Breville

Yes, it’s possible to make a perfect latte with the Breville coffee machine. There are a few tricks to that, and we’re going to elaborate on them in this section.

Obviously, the base of a good latte is quality espresso.

For optimal flavor, you should grind your own coffee beans. If your Breville machine doesn’t come with a built-in grinder, consider investing in a separate one.

When buying the beans, pay attention to the “roasted on” date stamp on the packaging. You want to choose a bag that was roasted 2 to 10 days ago. 

The choice of water used in the Breville machine matters as well. Ideally, you want to filter your water to make sure your coffee doesn’t gain any odd flavor. 

Now, the key to a perfect latte lies in getting the right microfoam. For that, you want to go with whole milk. It has just the right amount of fat to get that creamy texture that gives the latte that rich profile. Tap the jug onto the counter to get rid of any big bubbles. 

Finally, what’s a latte without latte art?

To do that, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Hold the jug with your dominant hand, while the espresso cup is in the other one. 
  2. Tilt the espresso cup at an angle of 20 degrees towards the jug.
  3. Slowly pour milk until it’s halfway full. You don’t want to do it too fast, as it can destroy the crema.
  4. Once halfway full, place the espresso cup back in a straight-up position. While doing that, move the pitcher directly above the cup. At this point, microfoam should start appearing on the surface.
  5. Swirl the jug in different motions to create latte art.

There you have it! It takes a bit of practice to master, but nothing you can’t overcome in a few tries.

FAQ

Have other Breville-related questions?

Let’s answer them in this section.

How to use Breville espresso machine cleaning tablets?

Put the cleaning disk into a 1-Cup filter, then add the tablet to the disk center. Place the portafilter in its place, then press the power button, 1-Cup, and 2-Cup buttons at the same time. The light will flash to indicate the cleaning cycle has started.

Why is my Breville espresso bitter?

Your coffee is probably ground too fine, causing over-extraction. You want to achieve medium-fine ground size for an espresso.

Can you use pre-ground coffee in the Breville espresso machine?

Yes, you can. In fact, certain Breville models allow you to bypass the bean hopper and use pre-ground coffee in a separate chamber. That way, you don’t have to constantly switch the grounds inside your machine.

Final Thoughts

So there you have, everything you need to operate the Breville espresso maker.

Breville machines are pretty simple and straightforward to use. And with our tips, it’s practically impossible to do anything wrong.

Don’t have a Breville machine yet? Check our article about the best Breville espresso machines out there to find which one to buy.

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Viktoria Marks
Viktoria is a writer and a journalist who can't imagine sitting by her computer without a large cup of java in her hand. She loves sampling coffee from all over the world as much as writing about it.