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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Breville Oracle...  
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espressocanada
Senior Member
espressocanada
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 9:34am
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

LOL John you are right on the money...money being key here. I did end up buying the Breville 920 instead of the rocket as well as the Rancilio grinder. I still think the 980 is very expensive at $2200 but then I compared other appliances ("appliance") in the same field then they are right on the money.

As mentioned, the 980 is competing is a very lucrative area for the amateur barista like myself who just wants a good espresso...with an auto timer...haha :)

The 920 is perfectly priced at $1199 and fits under my cabinets as well :). This is a good beginner machine and can see myself buying the Rocket in the coming years for my man cave.

So my apologize for being rasp in my previous response.

Now given your experience with the 980, I'm setting my grind level at one notch above 10 on the Rancilio and set my pre-infusion to 6/60% with 15kg of tapping weight on my single wall filter. Still getting wet pucks though.

I would like to try some latte art but that's impossible with 1% milk. Tried the 2% but I think I will need to use a 3.5% for real fun.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,389
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 9:43am
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

espressocanada Said:

LOL John you are right on the money...money being key here. I did end up buying the Breville 920 instead of the rocket as well as the Rancilio grinder. I still think the 980 is very expensive at $2200 but then I compared other appliances ("appliance") in the same field then they are right on the money.

As mentioned, the 980 is competing is a very lucrative area for the amateur barista like myself who just wants a good espresso...with an auto timer...haha :)

The 920 is perfectly priced at $1199 and fits under my cabinets as well :). This is a good beginner machine and can see myself buying the Rocket in the coming years for my man cave.

So my apologize for being rasp in my previous response.

Now given your experience with the 980, I'm setting my grind level at one notch above 10 on the Rancilio and set my pre-infusion to 6/60% with 15kg of tapping weight on my single wall filter. Still getting wet pucks though.

I would like to try some latte art but that's impossible with 1% milk. Tried the 2% but I think I will need to use a 3.5% for real fun.

Posted January 29, 2014 link

Shouldn't have gotten the Rocky grinder, it's an out of date and poor espresso grinder. Narrow window for espresso dialing forcing you to play with dose constantly to compensate, as the steps are large. What made you choose that grinder? There are better and far easier grinders to use in that range, a Vario will curb stomp it in grind quality and not have to deal with the retention issues of the Rocky. You can mod it to be stepless, but even stepless I didn't care for it. It'll pry outlive you though, built like a tank lol

How many grams of beans are you dosing for a shot? I wouldn't pay too much attention to puck quality after pulling long as it isn't really soupy. Long as it taste good to you that's what matters.
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barjohn
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barjohn
Joined: 1 May 2004
Posts: 155
Location: San Clemente, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Oracle
Grinder: Breville Oracle
Posted Fri Feb 7, 2014, 10:18pm
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

We're getting backwards.

Volumetric espresso machines cut the shot at a programmed volume of water into the shot, not at a given shot volume.  

On this planet 1ml of pure water weighs 1g, by definition.  Water volume is just another way of expressing water weight.  However, the correspondence of shot volume to shot weight varies according to a number of factors -- many of which aren't predictable.  So, the only consistently accurate way to measure a shot is weight.  

Taking Wayne's figure as correct, and assuming perfect puck preparation, 54ml of water into an 18g puck would result in a 36g shot, with a 50%, ideal normale brew ratio.  
54g total water - 18g water left in the puck = 36g of espresso in the shot; and
18g/36g = 50%

However, the 1:1 ratio of puck weight to water weight isn't always correct.  Many factors can alter it, including grind.  For instance, I brew at 67% (ish), the border between normale and ristretto; so 19g (ish) nets a 27g (ish), "perfectly" extracted shot in ~32sec (including 4sec pre-infusion); but it takes nearly 50ml of water into the pf to get there.  

There is NO SINGLE RIGHT recipe for brewing a shot.  It's something every "barista" has to work out individually with allowance for particular beans and equipment.  By way of another personal example, if I tried pulling "my" shot with my beans but your equipment -- the amounts of time and water from my machine would be enough different on yours that I couldn't expect to use mine and get the same shot.      

You might as well adopt Wayne's formula as a beginning.  If you don't have a metric measure, start by programming 2 oz (59g) of water, then get your grind right so that pulling the 2 oz into an 18g dose gets you right around the blonding point, and weigh the shot.  Then alter the programming to change the amount of water until you've got the shot you want.  

Dialing in a new machine is an inter-dynamic process which requires a lot of iteration and mickey-mousing -- even for people who've done it a bunch of times before.  If it's any comfort the BDB is one of the easiest machines to work with.  Unfortunately, while you're going through the tortures of the damned, that won't actually be much comfort.  

Use your scale and timer for every shot when you're first starting out.  But once you've developed some consistency, you'll probably only have to use it often enough to keep yourself honest.  As a last, personal example:  I usually weigh and/or time no more often than every couple of weeks; but since I bought a new grinder a few days ago, during the dialing-in process I'm not only weighing and timing everything but using a naked pf as well.  

Don't get too grim over accurate measurement.  Measurement helps track progress, but not much more.  Good technique is driven by taste, not numbers.    

BDL

Posted January 21, 2014 link

Using the perfect 50% ratio that results in 36g, this would mean that if one uses the input volume set to 2oz one only gets back 1.22oz of espresso, or just over 1oz out.  Somehow, this seems wrong to me.  When I go into a coffee shop and ask for a double, I get close to 2oz not 1.  Am I missing something here?  A single would hardly be a dribble of espresso under this scenario.

I currently get a little over 2 oz in 30 sec with about 1/2 being foam.  After the foam settles it shows just slightly over 2 oz of liquid.  I did have to adjust my grinder to allow a coarser setting than the factory maximum coarseness.  There is a manual adjustment the CS walked me through that allows you to change the setting.  It can grind too fine so that you will barely get a trickle out in 30 sec if you go to the lower (finer settings) on the grinder.  I'm still learning but getting pretty decent cappuccinos and good foam doing the foaming manually.  Using a larger pitcher helps too.

 
John

Veritas en Trashitas
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,317
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sat Feb 8, 2014, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

barjohn Said:

Using the perfect 50% ratio that results in 36g, this would mean that if one uses the input volume set to 2oz one only gets back 1.22oz of espresso, or just over 1oz out.  Somehow, this seems wrong to me.  When I go into a coffee shop and ask for a double, I get close to 2oz not 1.  Am I missing something here?  A single would hardly be a dribble of espresso under this scenario.

Posted February 7, 2014 link

Yes.  You're missing something.  You're equating volume with weight.  Espresso out is not as dense as water in.  

How dense is it?  It depends on a lot of factors, including -- but not limited to -- several characteristics of the grinder and several characteristics.  

It's very hard to handicap in advance without a very good idea of how your grinder behaves and at least some knowledge of what you're grinding.  

For instance, I really switched grinders and my new grinder gives me considerably less density with considerably richer mouthfeel.  Go figure.

I currently get a little over 2 oz in 30 sec with about 1/2 being foam.  After the foam settles it shows just slightly over 2 oz of liquid.

Your meaning is a little unclear to me. 2oz turns into 2oz?  There's a typo somewhere.  

Also, assuming the "foam" is crema; don't let it subside too long before drinking.  Either start drinking when the crema is still thick, or --if you don't like its particular bitter taste -- stir or swirl it in.  By letting it collapse you're losing part of what makes espresso so good.
.

I did have to adjust my grinder to allow a coarser setting than the factory maximum coarseness.  There is a manual adjustment the CS walked me through that allows you to change the setting.  It can grind too fine so that you will barely get a trickle out in 30 sec if you go to the lower (finer settings) on the grinder.

That's actually a good thing.  Your grinder's adjustment range should go from too coarse to too fine, thus allowing you room to find whatever works best for any given bean or blend at any given stage of (usable) freshness.  Beans change over time, faster if they're stored in the hopper, and faster still if the hopper's a part of the espresso machine.  With most grinders, most people find they have to grind progressively finer as beans age.  

I'm still learning but getting pretty decent cappuccinos and good foam doing the foaming manually.  Using a larger pitcher helps too.

Keep it up!

BDL
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mbwelchutah
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Joined: 26 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Salt Lake City
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 11:33pm
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

So I'm one of the "other" brave few who took the leap when I heard the Oracle was coming out, and decided to bite, fully expecting that if you're on the bleeding edge.... expect to bleed.  I had a Breville 900, that I liked and sold to get this machine.  I also have a La Marzocco GS3 and Mazzer Mini that I can use as a reference standard.  I'm not an expert, but I think I know the basics.  And I bought this machine as an appliance with the expectation that a new model and improvement would come out in a year or two.

So my initial impressions are generally positive.  Overall it's a breeze to clean up and I think for a home user it's a great machine.  I don't know, though, if it's a replacement for a super automatic.  It still took me a while to dial in the shots and you sort of have to know what you're looking for to get the best results.

I've had a love/hate affair with the grinder.  I'm impressed that they could copy the technology from a La Marzocco Swift and put it in a $2000 machine.  In some ways it works great.  But with fresh beans from high end roasters it seems to balk.  I've tried beans from Counter Culture, Velton's, Handsome, Intelligentsia with the same results.  At 5 days from roast I'm not sure I can get the grinder coarse enough, and when I do (weighing shot volume and ground coffee weight and aiming for a ratio of like .45 to .5) the shots were pretty bland and really unnuanced.  By 8 days things seem to settle in and I can take the grinder to a mid level and get pretty good nuanced shots.  Breville, as in another post, suggested adjusting the grinder to a coarser level.  But I don't think this is the solution.  I've tried decreasing the tamp and this seems to help and I'm going to try just using my own grinder and doing my own tamp and see how this effects the results.   The basket is a 21 gram basket.  Most of the time the grinder delivers pretty close to that, but it tends to err high around 22 grams.

So I guess my questions are, any idea of why this machine performs so badly with fresh beans?  The 900 seemed to do great.  And I guess secondly any ideas of how to correct it (other than waiting..I tend not to be patient).  I'm going to try some other things with the tamp.  My impression using a naked portafilter is that it does a good job, but I wonder can it do too good a job?
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 374
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 2:04am
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

mbwelchutah Said:

So I guess my questions are, any idea of why this machine performs so badly with fresh beans?  The 900 seemed to do great.  And I guess secondly any ideas of how to correct it (other than waiting..I tend not to be patient).  I'm going to try some other things with the tamp.  My impression using a naked portafilter is that it does a good job, but I wonder can it do too good a job?

Posted February 26, 2014 link

Thanks for sharing.. I was really interested in getting a machine like this for my sis for her house warming gift but wanted some first hand accounts.

I think maybe the grinder needs to be calibrated.  I'm wondering if it's out of alignment.  How did your manual grind and tamp come out?
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mbwelchutah
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Joined: 26 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Salt Lake City
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 5:37pm
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

No.  I'm not sure it's that. At some point in time post roast date (like 7 or 8 days out), the shots are excellent.  I would love to know how the grinder/tamper works and how it determines the dose.  Any ideas?  My best guess is that it's time based and that's why there is a problem as you go to a coarser grind.  My next "experiment" is to weigh the baskets at different grind settings from finest to coarsest.  My hypothesis is that as the grind gets coarser, it puts more coffee into the basket.  I think when they were designing the Oracle they came up with a best case scenario - something based on 21 grams coffee in the basket.  But with very fresh beans you'll have to use a coarser grind.  If doing this by hand it's pretty easy to keep the weight pretty constant.  But using time, with a coarser grind, you'd increase the dose and then pack more coffee into the basket,  and then the tamper doesn't compensate well for this increased dose, and maybe over compresses the coffee, and then thinking that your coffee isn't coarse enough you make the grind even coarser which sort of worsens the whole problem even more.

Anyways today, I used 7 day old Cartel.  I tried shots from a Mini Mazer weighed at 21 grams and then shots from the Oracle.  They were both excellent.  But in the meantime I'd decreased the tamp set to 1 and the time to 2 seconds.

Overall it's a fun machine.  It's easy to quantitate the changes you make.  I wish, though, they had put a pressure gauge on it.  But maybe because they has so many problems with people returning the 900 because they said the OPV didn't work, they thought it would just be better if people didn't know.

It would make a very nice house warming gift.
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Iluvdabean
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Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,277
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 7:16pm
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

In the Oracle all Breville wants you to do is buy one, use it and dont think about anything. Let the machine do it all because according to them you have reached Espresso Nirvana. You just push some buttons and boom you've arrived.
I think this machine is over priced. Two thousand dollars,seriously,and its made in China. It has no track record and even Phil cant provide one. I dont hate Breville I simply think at this time there
are much better choices. Heck Im still trying to figure out as one commenter here said it has a grinder tamper unit modeled after the La Marzocco Swift grinder/tamper which by the way lists for $ 4800.00 dollars.
There are no short cuts in good espresso. This market strategy of bridging the gap between the best of semi-auto where you grind and tamp and extract and the full super auto where it does it all may
sound great in a board room of market analysts but in the real world it hasnt bridged anything yet.The greatest test of a machine in my mind is the test of time. Will these Oracles still be running ten years from
now? Hmmm that to me seems a fair question. As far as a full auto taking the place of a skilled home barista with fresh beans and a good grinder and good machine thats another point that could be
seriously discussed. Im skeptical.

mbwelchutah Said:

No.  I'm not sure it's that. At some point in time post roast date (like 7 or 8 days out), the shots are excellent.  I would love to know how the grinder/tamper works and how it determines the dose.  Any ideas?  My best guess is that it's time based and that's why there is a problem as you go to a coarser grind.  My next "experiment" is to weigh the baskets at different grind settings from finest to coarsest.  My hypothesis is that as the grind gets coarser, it puts more coffee into the basket.  I think when they were designing the Oracle they came up with a best case scenario - something based on 21 grams coffee in the basket.  But with very fresh beans you'll have to use a coarser grind.  If doing this by hand it's pretty easy to keep the weight pretty constant.  But using time, with a coarser grind, you'd increase the dose and then pack more coffee into the basket,  and then the tamper doesn't compensate well for this increased dose, and maybe over compresses the coffee, and then thinking that your coffee isn't coarse enough you make the grind even coarser which sort of worsens the whole problem even more.

Anyways today, I used 7 day old Cartel.  I tried shots from a Mini Mazer weighed at 21 grams and then shots from the Oracle.  They were both excellent.  But in the meantime I'd decreased the tamp set to 1 and the time to 2 seconds.

Overall it's a fun machine.  It's easy to quantitate the changes you make.  I wish, though, they had put a pressure gauge on it.  But maybe because they has so many problems with people returning the 900 because they said the OPV didn't work, they thought it would just be better if people didn't know.

It would make a very nice house warming gift.

Posted February 27, 2014 link

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KatBrazier
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Joined: 30 Jun 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Sydney Australia
Expertise: Professional

Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 9:10pm
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

Hi All,

The tamper is not a copy of the La Marzocco Swift. The BES980 tamper consists of a fixed height auger with a torque sensor that digitally senses resistance to determine dose.
The La Marzocco Swift uses different technology the tamper mechanism works on height. Once the coffee has pushed the auger up to a certain height, the dose is achieved.
The BES980 basket is actually a 21g basket +/- 2g.

Because the auger senses resistance, it does not put more or less coffee in when grind size is increased or decreased.

I would say that the ideal window to extract most high quality coffees would be between 5 and 10 days post roast date but of course this is a matter of personal taste.
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mbwelchutah
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Joined: 26 Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Salt Lake City
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 10:20pm
Subject: Re: Breville Oracle - Anyone know anything?
 

Thanks for the information on tamper technology.   Since you seem to have a lot more information on the auger used in the 980, any suggestions on optimal settings and how those settings might effect what I achieve?  And I'm still wondering then about the problems at days 5 and 6...
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