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how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > how to subvert...  
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AmosM
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AmosM
Joined: 17 Aug 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Denton, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sat Sep 2, 2006, 9:21am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

alanfrew Said:

Bad news. The Saeco/Solis baskets won't fit (they're a fraction too big).
Alan

Posted August 21, 2006 link

Nor will any decent tampers fit because of the odd size of the portafilter.  Ah well.  I'm still saving my pennies to spend the night with Miss Silvia.  Should be December.

In the meantime, my experimentation with the Cafe Roma took a positive turn this week.  Like others have posted, the pressurized filter on this thing jammed when the grind was too fine, and I wasn't about to soak it in vinegar or use some tool.  I guess I secretly hoped I couldn't do anything about it so I'd have no choice but to upgrade right away, but I found a local machine shop and asked them to remove the lower metal layer of the pressurized filter basket.  They did so and it came out quite well.  The image is below and taken with my cell phone, so forgive the quality, but useful when compared with the higher-res images posted earlier in this topic.

When I got home, I made my first shot with the modified basket and was amazed by the results.  About half to two-thirds crema (with Black Cat a few days too old now) and a much more complex taste and recognizable mouthfeel. Now my grind and tamp and evolution of the beans are variables I can measure and adjust.  I know the single pump thermoblock nature of this machine is still a fatal flaw, and no helpful machinist can do anything about that, but I feel like this mod makes the Roma marginally more valuable as a training device for me.

I wanted to post this for posterity and anyone else who finds themselves in a similar situation.  My first advice of course is to return the Breville and spend another three days doing your homework.  Barring that, depressurize that portafilter.

Amos

PS: exciting as that is...lol...I'm about to buy the new Dylan CD and head for Panther City where real coffee awaits

AmosM: filterbasketunpressurized.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Shorttdogg
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Joined: 26 Oct 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Oct 26, 2006, 8:08am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

I received an 800ESXL as a honeymoon present, and since have been doing a lot of research on the machine.  Probably not what I personally would have chosen, but then again I probably wouldn't have ever bit the bullet and spent that kind of money on an espresso machine in the first place.  Always been a fan of coffee (bodum was my weapon of choice) and am epicurean in nature.  Now that I am discovering the espresso ritual I find I'm really getting into it.

My first step was to buy a grinder.  I purchased the Krups GVX2, a high speed burr grinder.  A Rocky may come eventually, but the money isn't there right now.  Secondly, I got a friend to de-pressurize the double filter basket, almost exactly the same as the above.  However, I'm having some issues and hope you fine folks can help.

A lot of the reviews for my grinder state it doesn't grind fine enough for espresso.  So I've set the grind to finest possible (and it is a powder like consistency, not like sugar, for example), and am tamping with what I guess to be ~30 pounds of pressure.  On the first few tries, *no* espresso comes out of the portafilter after 20 to 25 seconds, and I'm nervous that I'm building up too much pressure so I turn the dial back to off.  First question - do I need to worry about damaging my machine?  Will the backpressure be too much for it to handle?  Secondly, when I remove the PF and dump the grinds, the top half of the grinds are still a little "soupy", while the bottom half is *very* dried out and I can't knock those grinds out unless I scrape them out.  Next question then is am I grinding too fine and/or tamping too hard?  Alternatively, am I just not waiting long enough?

I then set the grind to a coarser setting, and tamped with slightly less pressure.  This time, I brewed a shot in about 12-15 seconds and it wasn't bad (to my unrefined palate).  This time the grinds were entirely "soupy".  However, I keep coming back to the comments about my grinder not grinding fine enough for espresso.   Therefore, should I keep the setting very fine, and experiment with tamp pressure?  Should I be getting a dried out "puck" once I've pulled a shot, and is the reason I am not due to the machine or me or a mixture of both?

I know these are a lot of questions, and I'm sure most of them can be answered by additional searches in the forum (which I have done), but I'm hoping others with the same espresso machine and problem can offer some insight, as well as the many experts on the board.

Thanks very much for your help!
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Shorttdogg
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Joined: 26 Oct 2006
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Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Oct 27, 2006, 6:05am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

bump
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johnnyfiveiamalive
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Joined: 26 Jan 2007
Posts: 8
Location: los angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, Gaggia...
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Drip: Bonmac porcelain pourover
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon Feb 5, 2007, 10:18am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

Hi, I'm new here.

My wife and I were given one of these machines for Christmas and soon after, I read all about them here and despaired.  I wanted to take it back, but since it was a gift, we didn't have the receipt and couldn't ask for it.  My wife didn’t want me to cut the metal off the pressurized basket, so I e-mailed Mario, one of the guys here and he sent me this link to the de-pressurized replacement:

Click Here (www.nelsonappliance.com)(2+Cup).html

(it looks like this link is not working, so here's the part number: KR0907163)

I bought it, and it fits just right.  I also unscrewed the plastic disc thing after trying it out with and without it on.  With it off, the stream comes out of the center and the sides, so we have to catch it in one cup rather than making two shots.  But that's what we mostly did anyway.
I will say that the espresso we make now is better than it was when the pressurized filter was on, but it wasn't the magical cure-all I'd like it to be, there's still lots for me to learn.  

My poor beautiful french press is now used to fill the water tank in the back of the machine and the drip coffee maker just gathers dust.  

Thanks for this thread!

-john
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DigMe
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Joined: 27 Jan 2006
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Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser,...
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Posted Mon Feb 5, 2007, 10:52am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

johnnyfiveiamalive Said:

I will say that the espresso we make now is better than it was when the pressurized filter was on, but it wasn't the magical cure-all I'd like it to be, there's still lots for me to learn.  

Posted February 5, 2007 link

I think your espresso will always be plagued by the problems of temp instability with this machine.  Getting temps stabilized makes a huge difference in the cup and I don't think it will happen with the Cafe Roma's thermoblock.

bc

 
ch-ch-ch-ch-ch
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stevephilo
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Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 8
Location: québec
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Feb 5, 2007, 11:01am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

Would it be possible to specify (i.e., part number) which non-pressurised basket sold by Nelson Appliance fits in the Breville Cafe Roma?

Steve
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johnnyfiveiamalive
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Joined: 26 Jan 2007
Posts: 8
Location: los angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, Gaggia...
Grinder: Compak k10 Pro Barista,...
Vac Pot: Belgan Balance Siphon
Drip: Bonmac porcelain pourover
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Feb 6, 2007, 10:22pm
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

I agree about the temp instability.  I held a probe on the stream once and was pretty disappointed at the plummeting results.

So I've come to accept that my espresso will be less that average.  I've gotten the hang of making micro-foam though, I can make it nice and fine like the foam on a Boddingtons’s cream ale.  Well, unless the stupid steam pump belches and puts bubbles in it, or gets too cold and just shoots water into the milk.  Oh well.  

I'm sure at some point I'll save up and buy a nice big heavy chrome machine.  But first, I have to buy a nice big heavy grinder just for the espresso beans.  With all the buying fresh beans and milk and equipment, this is a pretty expensive hobby.  Maybe I should go back to the french press and the moka Pot!
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Breville_ESP8XL_Owner
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Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Posts: 1
Location: WestCoast
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Feb 20, 2007, 3:04am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

Hi all,

Unfortunately in all my research I failed to take the time to explore this forum prior to purchasing my espresso maker.  I think it still would have been difficult for me to have made another decision (until today) because of the "perceived value" I had at the time of purchase.  I would have been satisfied with the Brew Quality I have been able to achieve with the ESP8XL, its ease of use, and stylish appearance... overlooking its noisy pump/vibrator and the necessity of double-shot-single-pulls to get the desired strength without the bite.

Unfortunately... today was the day that my 2-month grace period on trouble-free operation expired, leaving me with the multitude of exasperated consumers who wonder how "trouble-free operation" was overlooked in the design of the double-walled filter.  Yep... mine is non-functional and I have been "meticulous" in my care of it, every single use.  In fact... I am not convinced that it is "plugged" as much as it is "compressed".  I say this because there doesn’t appear to be any coffee trapped between the two walls... The perforated wall (with all the holes) shows square impressions around each hole... leading me to believe that what has actually happened is thus… heat & pressure have stretched/distorted the perforated wall… causing it to collapse against the lower wall when pressurized… with/without coffee in the filter.  If this is so, it seems like making the perforated wall out of slightly thicker metal might resolve this issue all together?

- UPDATE - Spoke with Breville Customer Care, they said that the above scenario was partly correct, but that it would be remedied by soaking the filter in vinegar.  Sure enough after soaking for 48 hours in white vinegar the machine is just like new again.  To avoid an interruption in my daily consumption I am thinking about ordering another filter, but wanted to hear back on the Krups option 1st.  I want to provide an update even though I haven't heard from anyone as of yet.

Questions for now are directed at or anyone else who has tried his suggestion:

Is the "Krups #0907163 Espresso Maker Filter Cups (2 Cup) " really a viable solution to replacing the Breville ESP8XL/132A (2 Cup) Removable Filter?

What benefits has this provided with regard to taste & ease of use?

If so... please clarify what you meant by "wasn't the magical cure-all I'd like it to be"...
  • What other issues are you experiencing?
  • What issues has changing to the Krups filter created?
  • You mention you removed the plastic liner inside the filter handle... was it absolutely necessary?
  • Please offer any other observations you have regarding using the use of the Krups filter

Thank you so much!  Look forward to hearing your thoughts!
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Noonievut
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Joined: 9 Sep 2006
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Location: Toronto. Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Rocky DL
Vac Pot: Other - Aeropress, Clever,...
Posted Fri Mar 9, 2007, 5:00am
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

Breville_ESP8XL_Owner Said:

Questions for now are directed at or anyone else who has tried his suggestion:

Is the "Krups #0907163 Espresso Maker Filter Cups (2 Cup) " really a viable solution to replacing the Breville ESP8XL/132A (2 Cup) Removable Filter?

What benefits has this provided with regard to taste & ease of use?

If so... please clarify what you meant by "wasn't the magical cure-all I'd like it to be"...
What other issues are you experiencing?
What issues has changing to the Krups filter created?
You mention you removed the plastic liner inside the filter handle... was it absolutely necessary?
Please offer any other observations you have regarding using the use of the Krups filter

Thank you so much!  Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Posted February 20, 2007 link

^bump^

I've had a Breville since September and wish I would've followed this thread earlier.  Since reading this I've made enquires about getting this Krups basket and I'm also planning on having a friend at a tooling company look into fixing the double basket.  If either of these work I expect good improvements to my espresso.  I know the thermablock will still cause issues, but I believe you can work on timing the pull of the shot maybe after the light goes off (x number of seconds after, find the sweet spot and this could work).

I too would like to know about removing the plastic liner in the PF, I won't do this if it doesn't help, where I know taking the bottom of the basket out will help.

edit: I found a tamper that fits.  I got it from espressotec.com.  It's a 2-sided aluminum tamper, not a reg barber, but much better than plastic.  It fits very nice in the basket.

Thanks and look forward to the replies.
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donzelli
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Mar 2007
Posts: 6
Location: towson
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Mar 22, 2007, 3:48pm
Subject: Re: how to subvert my Breville Cafe Roma's evil intentions?
 

Hi,
I would appreciate if somebody could tell me where can I get non-pressurized filters for the Breville e800.

thanks a lot.
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