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New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
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cgjamj
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler 920
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 4:21am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

cingkrab Said:

Then it's probably channeling like previously mentioned.  Are your beans fresh (< 2 weeks from roasting date)?  Also, what is the dose are you using?

Posted March 25, 2014 link

Yep, I learned the hard way when I first got my 900 to use fresh beans. I get them from Tonx and use them within 2 week. I'm using 18~18.5grams. I guess I'll have to wait until July to get the bottomless PF to see exactly what's going on.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,258
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 Wed Mar 26, 2014, 5:54am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

Sonny,

A bottomless pf will only provide more visual confirmation of what the gauge and (presumably) blonding are already telling you now.  You've got channeling.  

The questions are:  
  1. Is the espresso bad enough that you need to deal with it now?  If so,
  2. How long are you willing to put up with it?  And the one for which we wait,
  3. What are you going to do about it?  

I'm using 18~18.5grams.

IIRC, 18g is on the high side for a Breville basket.  As a first fix, grind finer and dose lower.  Try a 16g dose, and adjust your grinder for a 25sec (give or take, and not counting pre-infusion time) pull to the blond point.  

Remember, you're pulling to the blond point, and not to the clock.  If you coffee blonds too quickly or slowly adjust grind to adjust time -- don't extend or cut the pull.  

You may also try a longer pre-infusion if yours is less than 7sec.    

If that doesn't work, start trying distribution tricks like slap shot, double slap shot, slap shot with an intermediate (and very light) tamp, Stockfleith's Maneuver, WDT, etc.  

"Espresso theory" has gone from over-emphasizing the importance of tamping, to forgetting that it must be done correctly.  Make sure your tamps are level and that the edge of the puck is sealed tight against the basket all around its circumference.  Level and seal are critical aspects of barista technique, and so is "consolidation."

The easiest way to check for level is by comparing the top of the puck to the ridge line inside the basket.  

If you tamper isn't a perfect fit inside your basket, tricks like NESW and nutation work to prevent side channeling by sealing the puck against the sides of the basket.  A tamper which fits your basket(s) precisely is a nice thing to have.

Tamper force was once the holy grail of tamper technique, but turns out not to mean much at all. Tamp with at least enough force to consolidate the puck into a single, homogenous density, but don't tamp with so much that it makes it difficult to keep the top of the puck level.  

Polishing the puck by spinning the tamper with no downward force in order to clean debris off the top or remove it from the basket sides won't hurt anything, but -- strictly speaking -- is unnecessary.  

Finally -- and I'm not saying this is something you need to do, especially if you're only using one basket -- you may want to switch to VST/Strada baskets to eliminate basket inconsistency. Factor in not only the cost of the baskets -- thirty bucks a pop -- but the price of a specially sized tamper.

Rich
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cingkrab
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jun 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Ottawa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 6:32am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Finally -- and I'm not saying this is something you need to do, especially if you're only using one basket -- you may want to switch to VST baskets to eliminate basket inconsistency.  

Posted March 26, 2014 link

I think he is in the approximate right dosing range for the Breville double basket.  The BDB seems to have a lot of headspace.  For example, I use an 18g VST basket and the puck comes out very soupy if I dose 17g and still somewhat soupy at 18g.  Seems to take at least 19g for it to be dry.
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cgjamj
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler 920
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 7:15am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Sonny,

A bottomless pf will only provide more visual confirmation of what the gauge and (presumably) blonding are already telling you now.  You've got channeling.  

The questions are:  Is the espresso bad enough that you need to deal with it now?  If so, how long are you willing to put up with it?  And, what are you going to do about it?  

Rich

Posted March 26, 2014 link

Well, that's the thing...I don't drink straight espresso. I drink lattes and cappuccinos, each with 1tsp of sugar, so that certainly covers up less than ideal shots. However, the shots seem to taste ok. When I first started this about 18 months ago, I certainly made undrinkable lattes and cappuccinos, regardless of the steamed milk and sugar. So, as far as I can tell, the taste is ok, which seems odd because the pressure will often hit 7-8 bars on the first shot of the day, then drop as low as 3 bars. It usually only drops to about 5 bars. If I'm making more than 1 drink, the subsequent shots all hit 9 bars before dropping to 5-7 bars. I do remember this being the norm on the 900 as well, until I started getting beans from Tonx. With the Tonx beans, the first shot of the day would pretty much hit 9 bars.
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cgjamj
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler 920
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 7:23am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

Thanks for the great advice - boar_d_laze! I forgot to mention that I am doing the WDT every time. It doesn't add much time and I've gotten so used to doing it, and it ensures no clumping. Currently, I do the manual shot and stop it around 30 seconds. I'm alway weighing the volume of the shot. I'm not focusing as much on blonding, but I probably should. I guess that's because I'm not totally sure how to recognize when the blonding starts.

Also, I'm obsessive about making sure my tamp is level! So much so that I hold up the PF with the tamper in it once I'm done to make sure it looks level. If it's tilted, I'll set it back down and put some pressure to level it out. :-)
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,258
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 Wed Mar 26, 2014, 7:28am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

cingkrab Said:

I think he is in the approximate right dosing range for the Breville double basket

Posted March 26, 2014 link

Yes, Breville recommends 18g in the DB manual, but one thing at a time.  

A dry puck isn't the goal here, a puck which will take 9bar is.  So let's fix the channeling problem. It's easier to build a solid, homogenous puck with a finer than a coarser grind; and a finer grind needs a smaller dose.

Rich
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cgjamj
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler 920
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 7:57am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Yes, Breville recommends 18g in the DB manual, but one thing at a time.  

A dry puck isn't the goal here, a puck which will take 9bar is.  So let's fix the channeling problem. It's easier to build a solid, homogenous puck with a finer than a coarser grind; and a finer grind needs a smaller dose.

Rich

Posted March 26, 2014 link

Any suggestions on fixing the channeling? Especially since I can't see it for sure until I get the naked PF? And here's some additional info...I'm currently grinding at 1C-E (it varies) with the Tonx beans on the Vario grinder. This is much finer than I had to go with previous beans. With Counter Culture beans, I was in the 3K range. So, I don't have too much room to go finer. Also, if I'm making more than 1 drink for multiple people, I usually have to drop it down 1 or 2 steps on the micro side after the first shot, or else it's a little too fine. Still not sure why the first shot of the day is like this.

Thanks!
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cgjamj
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler 920
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 11:37am
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

Espresso sucks. This is complete BS. Wish I'd never gotten into this crap. It's not just the machine, that's really the least of it...I can't even steam the milk consistently on a daily basis. Plus, I just made a horrible shot after doing everything exactly like I do every day. Whatever.
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lparsons21
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jul 2006
Posts: 311
Location: Herrin, IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Ascaso i2,...
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Behmor,...
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 12:06pm
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

cgjamj Said:

Any suggestions on fixing the channeling? Especially since I can't see it for sure until I get the naked PF? And here's some additional info...I'm currently grinding at 1C-E (it varies) with the Tonx beans on the Vario grinder. This is much finer than I had to go with previous beans. With Counter Culture beans, I was in the 3K range. So, I don't have too much room to go finer. Also, if I'm making more than 1 drink for multiple people, I usually have to drop it down 1 or 2 steps on the micro side after the first shot, or else it's a little too fine. Still not sure why the first shot of the day is like this.

Thanks!

Posted March 26, 2014 link

I just got my Vario yesterday, and after playing around with grind settings I set it to 2Q as their chart shows and I'm getting a consistent 25 second pours.  I usually tap the portafilter on the counter top before I do the tamp.  No channeling, no blonding, just shot after shot that are as close to perfect as I could ask for.

This is with 24-hour after roast beans just taken into 2nd crack, which is my preferred roast level.  So I gotta ask, how old from the actual roast are the Tonx beans you are using?

 
Lloyd
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cgjamj
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler 920
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 12:23pm
Subject: Re: New Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
 

lparsons21 Said:

I just got my Vario yesterday, and after playing around with grind settings I set it to 2Q as their chart shows and I'm getting a consistent 25 second pours.  I usually tap the portafilter on the counter top before I do the tamp.  No channeling, no blonding, just shot after shot that are as close to perfect as I could ask for.

This is with 24-hour after roast beans just taken into 2nd crack, which is my preferred roast level.  So I gotta ask, how old from the actual roast are the Tonx beans you are using?

Posted March 26, 2014 link

The beans are shipped day after roasting and I get them within 2 days, so freshness isn't an issue. Plus, I was using the same beans with the 900 and wasn't having this issue. Obviously, I would have some days better than others, especially after the beans got close to the 2 week mark.
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