Posted on February 07, 2017
Here is a comparison between the La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II Espresso Machine and the Breville BES920XL Double Boiler Espresso Machine:
> Steam wand – The steam wand on the Mini Vivaldi is a traditional stainless steel steam wand. The BES920XL has a traditional steam wand with a 3 hole tip. Comparing the Mini Vivaldi and the BES920XL’s steaming performance, the Mini Vivaldi provides stronger, drier steam that makes better microfoam.
> 3 way solenoid valve – The Mini Vivaldi has a 3 way solenoid valve. The Breville also has a 3 way solenoid.
> Pressure gauge – The Mini Vivaldi has a dual manometer that provides brew pump pressure and steam pressure.
> Steam control – The Mini Vivaldi uses a lever to control steam pressure. The Breville uses a knob.
> Boiler(s) – Mini Vivaldi - Steam boiler: 1.2 liters with 1250 watt heating element, Brew boiler: 0.45 liters with 800 watt heating element. The boilers are copper with coating to prevent leaching. The BES920XL has two boilers as well. The steam boiler is 0.95 liters and the brew boiler is 0.3 liters. The Mini Vivaldi has larger boilers that will provide longer brewing and steaming. The BES920XL has stainless steel boilers. In terms of temperature stability, the thick copper walled Mini Vivaldi boilers are better than the thinner walled BES920XL boilers. Copper as a material tends to maintain temperature better than stainless steel, although increased thickness of stainless steel would help make them more comparable.
> Preinfusion – The Mini Vivaldi requires the purchase and installation of a preinfusion chamber. The Breville has built in preinfusion. The Mini Vivaldi’s system uses a chamber that drips water gently down onto the grounds prior to extraction. The Breville BES920XL pulses the pump to prewet the coffee. The result is about the same.
> Safety ratings – The Mini Vivaldi has ETL ratings that are required by most health departments for the machine to be used in a commercial environment (only recommended for office or small commercial applications). The Breville BES920XL does not have any approval ratings.
> Boiler refill – The Mini Vivaldi has electronic boiler refill.
> Grouphead – The Mini Vivaldi has a saturated style grouphead with the main benefit being faster warm up time to achieve optimal brew temperature when compared to other grouphead styles such as the E61 grouphead.
> PID Temperature Controller – The Mini Vivaldi’s group temperature can be adjusted in one degree increments. Steam temperature can also be adjusted. The BES920XL has PID for both boilers as well. The Mini Vivaldi has a commercial grade temperature probe, that we feel provides better accuracy and temperature consistency.
> Height – The Mini Vivaldi is 15.25” tall, which is shorter than a lot of prosumer machines. The Breville double boiler is about the same height at 15”.
> Width – The Mini Vivaldi is 16.5” wide, which is wider than a lot of prosumer machines. The Breville double boiler is 0.25” narrower.
> Depth – The Mini Vivaldi is 16.5” deep, or 1.5” wider than the Breville double boiler.
> 15amp or 20amp – The Mini Vivaldi can be operated in either 15amp or 20amp mode. If operated in 20amp mode, warm up time and recovery time is significantly reduced. The Breville only operate
> Auto On/Off Timer – The Mini Vivaldi requires a special La Spaziale timer (additional cost) and cannot be used with standard appliance timers. The Breville BES920XL has built in auto on/auto off timers.
> Ease of use – With features like the double boilers, powerful steam, PID, and volumetric dosing, the Mini Vivaldi is a relatively easy machine to use. It will take some practice to dial in shots, etc. but that is the case with any espresso machine. The Breville BES920XL is a popular beginner machine and is easy to use, but does require the same practice that the Mini Vivaldi will to get the best drink quality.
> Volumetric dosing – The Mini Vivaldi has programmable buttons that can be programmed to dispense preset amounts of water to provide consistent shot volumes – a feature known as volumetric dosing. It can also be used manually.
> Brew and steam simultaneously? – The doubles boilers on the Mini Vivaldi allow you to brew and steam simultaneously without waiting for the temperature to change between brewing and steaming like you have to do on single boiler machines.
> Weight – The Mini Vivaldi is a well built, sturdy machine that weighs in at 62lbs. The BES920XL weighs considerably less at 30lbs.
> Water source – The Mini Vivaldi has a 3 liter water reservoir and cannot be direct connected. If you want a direct connected machine, the La Spaziale Vivaldi is a direct connect only version of the Mini Vivaldi. The Mini Vivaldi’s water tank is located on the front of the machine, compared to most machines that load from the top or the side. If you have limited space and overhead cabinets, the location of the water tank on the Mini Vivaldi might be an attractive option to you. The Breville BES920XL has a 2.48 liter water reservoir that is removable from the back of the machine. This means you will most likely have to pull the machine out and spin it around to fill the tank. Make sure you have enough room on the counter to do this operation!
> Hot water spigot – The Mini Vivaldi has a hot water spigot for tea, hot chocolate, etc. The BES920XL does not have a hot water spigot.
> Cup Warmer – The Mini Vivaldi has a large cup warmer. If you have overhead cabinets in the machine location, many cup warmers on other machines are unusable. The Mini Vivaldi is shorter than a lot of machines, so the cup warmer can be used on this machine more frequently than on a lot of other machines. The Breville has a cup warmer as well, but many users don’t feel it heats the cups very much.
> Shot Timer – The Mini Vivaldi does not have a shot timer. If you want to time your shots you will have to use a phone app or stop watch of some sort. The Breville BES920XL has a shot timer.
> Ground Coffee / Pods – The Mini Vivaldi makes the best shots with freshly ground coffee beans that are ground specifically for espresso and with a grind size that is fine tuned for the roast, type and age of the bean being used. It can however, use PODs with an additional add on (additional cost). The Breville can also use ground coffee. It’s recommended that you use freshly ground coffee, but if you don’t have that option, the Breville has pressurized baskets that make it easier to use pre-ground bagged coffee.
> Vibratory vs Rotary Pump – The Mini Vivaldi has an ultra-quiet vibratory pump. If you want a machine with a rotary pump, the direct connect version of this machine, the Vivaldi, has a rotary pump.
> Portafilter Size – The Mini Vivaldi has a 53mm portafilter, which is a little narrower than the more common 58mm. Some argue that the reduced width doesn’t provide a good of extraction as wider basket sizes due to the reduced surface area. We have found this to be speculation and haven’t found a noticeable difference in extraction quality. The Breville BES920XL comes with the more standard 58mm portafilter. The construction material of the portafilter on the BES920XL is stainless steel. On the Mini Vivaldi it’s coated brass. Brass has better temperature stability, but stainless steel is easier to keep clean and you don’t have to worry about the coating coming off.
> Maintenance/serviceability – For either machine, always use soft water, which will greatly reduce the need for maintenance / service. Both machines should be backflushed and the grouphead should be brushed/wiped on a regular basis. The Mini Vivaldi should be backflushed, but has a double screen system that makes this less critical. If someone is considering self-servicing their machines, the Mini Vivaldi is more serviceable than most. The Breville double boiler needs similar basic maintenance. In terms of self-servicing, the Breville machines are much more difficult to service.
> Popularity – The Mini Vivaldi is one of our most popular, well-loved machines. Breville machines are pretty popular with first time espresso machine users. They aren’t as popular with prosumers that are more particular about the flavor and quality of drinks.
> Display – The Mini Vivaldi has manual push buttons for programming and operation and does not have an LED display. The Breville BES920XL has a LCD display with programmable functionality for temperature, dosing, timers, etc.
> Accessories Included – The Mini Vivaldi has single and double commercial grade portafilters, double and triple non pressurized baskets, blind basket and cleaning brush. It also has a useless plastic tamper. It is highly recommended that you purchase a high quality 53mm tamper. The BES920XL comes with a portafilter, single non pressurized basket, double non pressurized basket, single pressurized basket, double pressurized basket, blind basket, and decent metal tamper. Pressurized baskets are good baskets to get if you want to use bagged pre-ground coffee. There will be a loss in flavor quality, but some people like the convenience of not grinding their own coffee.
> Alarms/warnings – The Mini Vivaldi has fault diagnosis alarms. The Breville has a cleaning cycle alert and is an automatic feature that lets you know when it’s time to backflush the grouphead.
> Warm Up Time – To reach optimal temperature it takes about 20 minutes (15 with 20 amp connection) on the Mini Vivaldi. On the Breville BES920XL, it takes about 8 minutes. The reduced warm up time on the Breville is due to the machine have less/thinner metal. While the BES920XL beats the Mini Vivaldi in warm up time, the trade-off is less temperature consistency and stability – critical aspects to brewing outstanding shots.
> Customization – The Mini Vivaldi can have the standard black or red side panels replaced with gorgeous wood side panels (additional cost). The Breville double boiler comes in black, red or silver, but cannot be customized.
> Built in grinder – The Mini Vivaldi does not have a built in grinder and will require a separate stand-alone grinder. While built in grinders can be convenient and economical, built in grinders are not considered ideal for making the best flavored drinks due to both the beans and burrs being exposed to excessive heat. The Breville BES920XL does not have a built in grinder.
> Quality/Longevity – The Mini Vivaldi is a high quality machine, made with high quality commercial grade components. It is one of the most reliable machines we sell and warranty issues are not common, especially if customers are careful to use soft water. The Breville is a decent quality machine, but has fewer commercial grade components and a lot more plastic. This is evidenced by the weights of the machines - the Breville dual boiler weighs 30lbs, compared to the weight of the Mini Vivaldi at 62lbs.
> Shot quality – The Mini Vivaldi makes high quality shots. In our personal opinion, on a scale of one to ten, we would rate the shot quality at 8. The Breville makes good shots. In our personal opinion, on a scale of one to ten, we would rate the shot quality at 6.
> Drip Trays – Both machines have drip trays. The Breville has a float design that tells you when to empty it, but the added functionality also makes it harder to clean due to the extra parts.
All prices are in USD