Review: Breville Dual Boiler

I hate large kitchen appliances. Because I live in a small apartment, I prefer to keep surfaces as clear as possible. More work surfaces mean more room to experiment, whether it’s brewing my own dye from black walnuts, experimenting with dozens of different fermentables, or simply preparing a cup of coffee. If an appliance occupies any of that space, it must be well worth it.

For my family, this means that our stand mixer, food processor, rice cooker, and electric kettle have all found permanent residence on our counters. All of them are dwarfed by the Breville Dual Boiler. The Breville might be bigger if you fused all those countertop appliances together into a huge ball of plastic and metal. But after a few months with it, there isn’t a single appliance in my kitchen that has done more to earn its keep. It’s enormous, it’s pricey, and it’s well worth it.

Boil in a flash
A $1,500 coffee pot is the Dual Boiler. Let’s get that out of the way first. It costs the same as a MacBook Pro, a 65-inch OLED TV, 600 drip coffee cups, or 300 lattes. It’s a commercial-grade espresso machine designed for at-home use, and I’m guessing most people don’t require commercial-grade kitchen equipment to get by. It’s not a machine that every home requires, but it’s a great to have.

It contains two internal boilers, as the name implies. The boiler is a metal chamber that heats the water and converts it to hot water or steam. Most at-home espresso machines only have one that doubles as a grinder. Because you just have one boiler, you’ll have less water available for espresso shots, steam (for milk frothing), or hot water (for tea). When you’ve used up all of the water, the machine will need to draw more into the boiler and re-heat it. It isn’t a significant deal for most households; it simply takes a few minutes longer than usual. You won’t have any problems using just one boiler unless you’re making a lot of cappuccinos in a short amount of time.

At least two boilers are common in commercial-grade machinery. That means you can make a couple of shots of espresso, steam some milk, and make a cup of tea with plenty of hot water left over. You’ll never have to worry about your boilers’ capacity again. Throughout the day, my spouse and I drink a lot of coffee and tea, and we’ve never had to wait for the Dual Boiler to heat up. It’s always prepared to use.

That’s in contrast to a single-boiler machine I recently tested, which took so long to get hot water that we just put the kettle on instead of attempting to make coffee and tea at the same time.

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