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Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need Help With...  
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
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Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 2:09pm
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

Until you get a better grinder and beans don't bother with the unpressurized basket.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
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Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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jonbik
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Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 28
Location: McLean
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 2:22pm
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

Accually, I have a good grinder. Fresh beans are coming from fair mountain coffee tomorrow!
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,375
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 3:26pm
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

jonbik Said:

Accually, I have a good grinder. Fresh beans are coming from fair mountain coffee tomorrow!

Posted April 22, 2013 link

Fair Mountain is good, everything I've had from them I loved and you can even have them change the roast style for you if you want (i.e. want a medium espresso roast). As far as the grinder, the problem is the built in ones (burr set may be same/similar as Smart Grinder) is they don't have the adjustment, that goes for all built in grinders in any machine, even $$$$ superautos (which is the main reason superautos kinda suck, the non-capable built in grinder). On the Breville Machines the built in one is good for using the pressurized portafilter, not so good for the regular baskets as that takes a grinder (like my Preciso which is bare minimum) to grind not only fine enough but consistent enough, the built in grinder as large/wide steps.....where as espresso really needs a stepless or one that has so many macro/micro adjustments (like the Preciso which has 400+ settings) that it acts stepless. Breville includes the single wall baskets with their machines for people who have capable grinders or will be upgrading to one down the road, even on the more expensive Dual Boiler they included both sets.

You could still play with it, but you'll pry get better results with the pressurized ones until you get a better grinder. That's why you'll get more of a gusher shot and little/no crema (real crema) with the built in grinder and stale beans. But try the Fair Mountain and see what happens, fresh beans make a huge difference. My 1st machine used pressurized baskets, no comparison to my CC1 setup, but with fresh beans it was still better then Starbucks and similar places.

If you want to play more with the single wall baskets, you could pick up a cheap hand grinder like the Hario Slim. What did you order from Fair Mountain?
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jonbik
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Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 28
Location: McLean
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 6:14pm
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

I purchased a Guatemalan medium roast blend and a Honduras Decaf blend. I feel like i will get a better grind with my built in grinder than a Hario Slim. If i did get a new grinder, what would you suggest within a $200 price range. Also, how come i always see people like seattle coffee gear and whole latte love using Lavazza Super Crema?
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,030
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 10:14pm
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

Well, good is subjective, in my opinion I would rather have the Hario Slim over your built in grinder any day of the week. The grinder affects the taste in the cup more than the machine.

But if you reject good advice there is nothing I can do about it. I have to ask why you would ignore advice of the people trying to help you for no gain and believe people trying to sell you stuff?

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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jonbik
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Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 28
Location: McLean
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 23, 2013, 5:16am
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

I have not "ignored" anyone's advice. I cannot just start blindly buying things that people tell me to buy. I need to express my concerns or questions. Someone told me to use the unpressurized baskets, i tried them. You told me to keep using the pressurized baskets until i get a new grinder and that is what i am doing now. Someone told me to buy fresh beans so i did that. I could try buying the hand grinder, but no one has provided me much information on it. Are there any good electric grinders under $200 that are better than the hand grinder? which ones?
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OttoMatic
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Joined: 24 Feb 2013
Posts: 78
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brewtus IV-R
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario,...
Drip: Capresso MT500+
Roaster: Cast iron dutch oven
Posted Tue Apr 23, 2013, 6:10am
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

Hey, Jon --

I understand where you're coming from.  You've got a lot of things coming at you, and you (like most all of us) have a limited budget.  You are definitely headed in the right direction with fresh beans, working with the different baskets, and discussing grinders.  People here are trying to lead you toward a new grinder, which I would tend to agree with.  It's probably already been stated in this thread, but the reasons for that are probably consistency, control and ability to grind rather fine.

In order to get that rich and colorful crema to come out of a nonpressurized basket, you need the right grind, the right dose, the right time, etc.  I'm sure someone already suggested that you get a 0.1 gram-precise scale -- that will help you get a consistent dose.  They are around $20 or so on eBay or Amazon.  The right time will come from your programming of the machine, and your knowledge of when the shot is done -- but that can come later.  The right grind comes from a good grinder.  

Now, all that said, I think we can be patient.  Let's get the fresh beans to your house, and let's hopefully get a scale.  You can then start playing with the grinder that you have to dial everything in and see how far you can get with the nonpressurized basket.  If you find that, with the nonpressurized basket, all you can get is a super fast pull that's water and un-tasty -- even with the finest grind and the right dose -- you'll definitely need to look for a new grinder.  

In Dec, I upgraded to a big espresso machine -- I had been using a Breville machine for a few years and decided I wanted something with more power and features.  They didn't have the big grinder that I wanted at the time, so I had to continue to use the grinder that I had, which was a six year old Capresso Infinity -- I would suspect that your grinder is probably on par with the Infinity, perhaps better, definitely newer and cleaner.  Until I was able to get my new grinder (Mazzer Mini-E), I continued to use the Infinity.  I had to hold it in the finest grind position so that it wouldn't try to grind more coarsely, and it had little control over small changes.  It also wasn't as consistent as I'd like in that some particles were small and some were smaller.  BUT!  I was still able to make fairly reasonable espresso from my new espresso machine.  It wasn't undrinkable dreck that sent me running to my favorite coffee shop, nor was it terribly un-tasty in one direction or another.

When my new grinder came in, I could ABSOLUTELY see a difference in the grind, tell a difference in the ability to control the machine, and a taste a difference in the cup.  It was great.  Until I decided that that machine had its drawbacks and I had to have something different; upgradeitis had hit within three months, and I had a perfectly good grinder.  See, this hobsession can just go on and on forever.

So, I'd suggest to just chill and get your new, fresh beans in.  Old beans have made the biggest difference (in a bad way) for me.  There's really nothing I can do to rescue bad beans, and I'll end up with a weak/fast pour with horrible tastes.  I also tried to do some home roasting and -- no surprise -- my first batch was just horrid!  All I could use it for was a base to practice latte art pours into.  Work with the new beans and your grinder, measuring doses as precisely as possible until you get somewhere that works -- keep in mind that this may take a while, and you may "waste" some beans by ending up with sink shots.  That's OK, and for me, that's part of the fun.  

As for a $200 grinder, I'm not sure you'll be able to do better than what you've already got, unless you would consider a hand grinder, as was suggested.  I think most people around here will suggest the Baratza Vario, which I think is around $350 or $400, and most will say to pass on the Rocky, which is about the same price point as the BV.  After that, you'll get suggestions for the Mazzer Mini-E, which is fine ($800) and you go on up from there.  If you don't have the $400 to get into the next level of grinder, work with what you have.  If you can't get results that you like, save up, because if you're using fresh beans, your problem probably lies in the grinder.

Another thing...  it's possible that you're doing something wrong.  We're all in a learning process, there are a lot of variables here, and it's natural to screw things up.  In my area, there is a free barista class that was beneficial to me.  You might look for something in your area that could kickstart you in the right direction.

Regarding SCG using Lavazza or whatever -- yeah, they're trying to sell you stuff, but I've also seen them use fresh beans in the big machine demos & taste tests.  I wouldn't pay any attention to anyone telling you to use anything other than fresh-roasted beans.

OK, a bunch of thoughts there...  Hope it kinda makes sense.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,375
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Apr 23, 2013, 6:18am
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

Below $200, not really, bare minimum is the Baratza Preciso which is around $300 or so new. Smart Grinder is around $200 or under, however a $30 Hario Slim will grind better for espresso use. Seattle Coffee Gear and others are just trying to sell you stuff, like Top Gear the car show, just good entertainment but not to be taken seriously, still like watching SCG reviews though. Notice when their using stuff like Lavazza etc or other preground options, the shots are like 15-20 second gushers, when they use fresh roasted beans the shots look waaaaay better. I mean I time 25-30 seconds from 1st drip for a double, huge difference in taste, mouthfeel etc.
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jonbik
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Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 28
Location: McLean
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 23, 2013, 7:16am
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

Thank you ottomatic for your kind response. I purchased that hand grinder that someone suggested to me from amazon. I will definitely look up Barista classes near my area. Thanks for the suggestion! If i still cannot pull a good shot with the fresh beans, i
will take a video and maybe you can make some suggestions. If I cannot post it on this website, is there an email I can reach you at?
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OttoMatic
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Feb 2013
Posts: 78
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brewtus IV-R
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario,...
Drip: Capresso MT500+
Roaster: Cast iron dutch oven
Posted Tue Apr 23, 2013, 7:40am
Subject: Re: Need Help With Breville Barista Express Settings Please!
 

Yeah, if you click on my username, there's a link under that for "public email address" or something like that.  You can email me there (though I may be slow to respond, since I don't use that account much).  The easiest way is probably to post a YouTube video and then just post the link here (I think that's allowed...).
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