calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,312 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Fri Jan 3, 2014, 1:20am Subject: Re: Need help getting the most out of my Starbucks Barista machine
It has been a while since I used a SBDU but when I do, I pull first then steam as it takes a while for the machine to cool down from steaming but not as long to warm up. I suspect that you are pulling the shots too soon after steaming and they are over temp. I suppose I could be wrong here, some of our SBDU users may be able to help you more. There is no GOOD way to do it on a SBDU, either you are letting the shots cool while you do the steaming or the milk seperates and cools while you are pulling the shots, but as I said, from what I remember, it is much quicker to warm the macing rather than trying to cool it down. What grinder do you have? The grinder is a HUGE part of the process and if you are not using a pressurized PF then the grinder is even more important.
Your beans need to be fresh too, use them before two weeks have passed SINCE THEY WERE ROASTED!! If there is a best by date or a use before date on the bag, they were stale long before you got to the store, don't buy them! I was supprised the last time I was in the supermarket, I think it was Petes brand that had a roast date on the bag, it was the first time I have seen a roast date ON the bag in a supermarket, I suppose there could be others but I don't buy coffee from the supermarket because of the age. Sadly even though I was able to find beans that were less than 3 weeks old, while at 3 weeks they are past their prime they are still drinkable but the sad thing was that ALL of the beans were raosted DARK and they had a pretty good coat of oil on them, a sure sign that they were roasted way darker than I care for, well into charcoal. I used them in a drip machine (I was totally out of coffee and the supermarket was the best I could do on short notice.) and though they did have a charcoal aftertaste, they were drinkable.
In real life, my name is Wayne P. Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
Do the best you can. If it quickly goes down, hopefully not more that 2-3F. That is the problem with a boiler too small. With some machines you can have the heater on during the pull (steam switch) to help compensate for this drop.
Posted Wed Jan 15, 2014, 7:32pm Subject: Need help getting the most out of my Starbucks Barista machine (Saeco SIN006)
I have a Starbucks Barista (Saeco Via Venezia) too. Although I'm looking forward to upgrading, I do like this machine and I believe I'm close to getting the most out of it. Here's my routine:
1) start it up. if it's the first time I'm running it that day, I'll open the steam want to 'prime the pump', dispensing about 4oz of water. 2) at least 15 minutes later I'll start preparing my first espresso drink. 3) provided green light is on, I'll press the brew button to ensure the group head, PF, and the desired cup (often taken from machine tops, which doesn't do much for pre-heating it but at least it's not cold). If the cup comes from my cabinet, I'll heat it via hot water from my kitchen sink. 4) if making a milk based drink, provided the green light is on, I'll now turn on the steam button 5) while waiting for green steam light to illuminate, I usually weigh 17g of beans via my gram scale, which isn't to the decimal 6) once green light is on I'll open the steam valve slowly, pointing the wand into a small glass. Once I confirm the appearance & sound of steam, I completely open the valve, pointing the wand down towards a little towel which is temporarily sitting on the the drip tray. Once the green light goes off, I'll close the steam wand and move to the next step...but return to this step once the green light comes back on and repeat another time. I usually do this 3 times if it's the first time running my machine that day, and typically 2-3 otherwise. Doing so ensures nearly all water has passed through the system and all that's left is pure steam. 7) pour the 17g of beans into my Vario's hopper and usually grind them directly into my portafilter via yogurt cup method (Forte portaholder incoming!) 8) shake portafilter quicklky & tightly a few times to settle and roughly level the ground espresso 9) carefully place PF on bar towel, which sits on tamper mat, and carefully ease the yogurt cup from the PF 10) level grinds, ensuring there are no low points and no areas shy on grounds near basket's perimeter, where yogurt cup previously took up some space 11) place tamper on top of grinds to assist leveling and slightly adjust if necessary, then tamp and finally lightly spin to polish grinds and remove any from tamper's sides 12) inbetween turning the steam on and off and grinding the beans, I also grab stainless steel pitcher from the freezer, fill it just shy of the spout opening with 2% milk, and attach my thermometer to its side 13) as soon as the steam light comes back on, usually at the start of the third or fourth cycle, I dip the steam wand into the pitcher, below the milk's level and fully turn on the steam wand - stretch to 100 degrees F, then steam for the remainder - typically to 140 degrees 14) remove pitcher, turn off steam wand while thoroughly wiping wand's tip with a warm, very damp towel (the one the wand was previously pushing steam into) while simultaneously turning off steam 15) slowly open steam to dispense water (it will take a little while as it converts from steam to water), which will cool the machine as room temperature water from the tank is sucked back into the boiler and turn off steam (water) shortly after green light goes off 16) have stopwatch ready and when green light goes back on, press steam button and start stopwatch. 15 seconds later, turn off steam button, quickly wipe group head, lock PF in place and hit the brew button, while restarting stopwatch to time your extraction.
I've learned this temperature surf & steam purge methods via searching the archives and feel they work well!
Now I'm most interested in learning the skills of consistently creating latte art. Please share your thoughts on everything.
pittsbri Senior Member Joined: 9 Apr 2009 Posts: 59 Location: Culver City Expertise: I like coffee
Roaster: Poppery 2
Posted Wed Jan 15, 2014, 9:02pm Subject: Re: Need help getting the most out of my Starbucks Barista machine
It's been awhile since I've used a SBDU machine but I remember that it was very instructive in that over time I became painfully aware of what it could NOT do. Every step of trying to modify the machine and learn a new 'dance' to make amazing espresso was an education. In the end I wouldn't trade a moment of that learning period for anything. Back then I thought 500 dollars was 'crazy' to pay for an espresso machine but after a couple of years I happily paid twice that for a used heat exchanger machine. I sometimes would like to know what it'd be like to use one now but the build quality of the SBDU machines now is just too much of a turn off. I hear that great espresso can be gotten from units like the Barista but I've never actually achieved those results with similar machines. Good luck with your journey and I ditto all the other helpful advice you've gotten in the previous replies. Good stuff.
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