So after nearly 3 years of having owned the bes900 and bcg800, I finally went out and upgraded to the 920 and 820 variants.
I am getting some very strong, bitter, almost burnt taste using the new machine. I am confused...
All settings on the bes900 are at default.
I'm still using the bcg800 as I haven't yet unpacked the 820.
Using the double single wall basket, just opened a fresh pack of beans from the Coffee Club, dosing and tamping finishing off with the razor as supplied with the new machine.
The pressure doesn't get over 8bar, and extraction flow seems too fast, yet the taste of the coffee is awful.
I would have thought that the flow and pressure reading would suggest under dosing, or too coarse a grind in which case the taste should be weak?
Any help appreciated.
PS. I also have some two week old beans from beanbay which are giving the same results, hence why out of desperation I went to coffee club to buy some of their beans to try.
I assume you're using the new basket? If so the double basket in the new 920's has straight walls (to minimise the puck sticking to the shower screen) and is quite similar to VST's. As you said your extraction flow is fast also then I'd try grinding finer.
Hi zingzing. Yes I am using all new components supplied with the 920. I have the grind set three notches from finest, which would almost have choked my old 900. I'll try going finer and see what happens.
Hi Rico, and welcome to the forum!
When you get more responses to your question they will vary. Some will state categorically that you must include the pre-infusion time because the brew water is in contact with the coffee for that time. The majority will recommend that you exclude the pre-infusion time.
The best, most correct answer is to go with what tastes best to you. Do you prefer the taste of 30 mls per shot extracted in 30 secs from pressing the button, or in 37 secs? Enjoy the new machine!
Seeing as how the majority of the Australian adult population elected Tony Abbott I am very happy with with being in the minority position more often than not
After all... not including the time the brew water is in contact with the coffee during the pre-infusion phase is to assume (wrongly) that there is no net difference between brewing with and brewing without pre-infusuion.
Since the timer starts when you start the shot, I always include pre-infusion. Just to keep things straight. Some people don't start counting until the espresso drips. I'm generally happier with shots around 35 seconds or longer which includes a manual pre-infusion until I see the espresso dropping evenly from the basket using a bottomless PF. I'm also weighing the shots as they pour (which has been pointed out before here). So I generally shoot for 36gm in 35-40 seconds.
As mentioned before, it's all up to your taste with that particular coffee. Try different things and keep notes on a dry erase board or notepad. It's all opinion.
Steffche- if you still have the 900 double basket you can use that in the 920 and that should behave similarly to the 900. The 920 basket has many more holes which makes a big difference.
I'm not sure how much of a step up the grinder is from the one you had. Assuming you are getting fresh roasted coffee, the weakest link in your espresso making chain is the grinder.
Hi coffee lovers,
I just bought a Breville 920XL few days ago and I have a concern with the brew temperature.
I'm wondering what is common with this machine, if I do something wrong or if it's a component problem.
What is the temperature you guys get with straight water (without the portafilter) coming from the groupe head ?
Do you get exactly (or almost) the programmed temperature on your machine ?
On mine, it is always below 90 C (or 194 F).
Too cold for me.
Thanks for you help !
How are you measuring that 90C? It would be pretty normal for water (or brewed coffee) to lose several degrees C after dropping in a thin stream through the atmosphere and even more when landing in a cup. Drinking any liquid at 90C would test the skin on my tongue.
Hi Barry O'Speedwaon,
I'm testing it with a digital thermometer.
I just took another mesure:
Machine set at 95C.
In a small glass, filled with hot water just an instant before, I poured a 7 sec shot of straight water (without the portafilter).
Putted the probe in the water and reached 73 C.
Isn't it a big difference between the 95 C ?
It's about right I'd think for the method you are using. The 95 deg. C you are looking for is measured in the group, not in a cup.
Hi PrescottCR, my previous grinder is the smartgrinder bcg800.
This morning I made the grind one notch finer, ramped and used the razor to get precise level of coffee. The pressure during shot was smack bang on 9bar, temp at 93degC, the pour was 30seconds exactly and still the coffee tastes bitter, burnt, over-extracted.
I've noticed that when I purge the group head, the amount of water that flows through is quite a lot more than with my bed900. Could this be the reason why I'm having to choke the flow so much with such a fine grind and it is affecting the flavour???
Btw, with the blind filter in place the pressure goes up to just under 11 bar, probably around 10.8 at a guess.
Steffche- can you try the old 900 basket in the new machine? The basket makes ALL the difference, there is less room and fewer holes in the old one. The new baskets demand a finer grind at the same dose as the old basket.
If you old BES900 isn't flowing like the new one that's probably because it's scaled up or something. They should be identical, I would think! Best way to test is to leave out the portafilter and run the group into a measuring cup for 10 seconds or so on each machine.
You could try lowering the boiler temp a degree or two, that's what I do for my dark roasts. That number is the temp of boiler under pressure, the resulting cup is always lower than that number. The number we see is the number we set it to. Try this- pull a shot or run some water through the group head and immediately turn the machine off and on again. You'll see the number drops as fresh water replaces the hot water that was pushed out of the boiler. The number climbs pretty quickly. Breville shows us the set temp unless it's blinking. Since pressure increases temp, the reverse is true when the water leaves the boiler into our atmosphere- lower pressure means lower temp.
Hope I explained that well.
The pressure going up over 10 shows the pump is working fine and your OPV is set a little higher than 10.5.
Anyway, I'm wondering if you didn't get a bad batch of beans or something.
That's why I went in desperation to coffee club to buy different beans, in case the beans from beanbay were no good. When I get a coffee made at the coffee club it doesn't taste as strong and bitter as it does at home on the new 920.
I'll try the old filter basket and see the difference.
Thanks for your help.
Just tried the old basket from my 900 and it does the same thing. Very very strong coffee with a burnt bitter taste.
Must be that the beans from coffee club are also no good??
My guess is that in order for me to slow down the flow of water and build up the pressure to somewhere close to 9 bar, I am having to grind very fine, and use a heavy tamp pressure, thus resulting in the awful tasting coffee that I have been getting.
Last edited by Steffche; 5th January 2015 at 10:43 PM.
Well, 9bar is 9 bar. In any basket.
So you're using the 900 basket in the 920, and dosing it the same as you used to, and getting similar extraction times & amounts? Then you should have good coffee! I suppose you could try pulling a shot on your 900 (if it's still available) with the same coffee & basket just to make sure. My gut says it's the beans, but there may be something I'm overlooking. The water you are using hasn't changed... (I'm assuming)
When I'm testing my dark roasts I drop the temp 3-5ºF to counteract the roast-y flavors that can be of-putting. If that coffee used to be good at your normal temps (sorry, I don't remember the ºC for 200F) you really shouldn't have to do that.
Someone else might see a variable I'm missing. You could always run it through a cleaning cycle... or change the filter.. but I'm really guessing at this point.
I fixed my temp concern by leaving the portafilter(empty) in the group head, a few minutes just before pouring the shot.
The result were significant: coffee was not only more hot, but it's flavor was more complex.
Is this a proper way to heat the portafilter or not recommended ?
Thanks for for your help folks !
Yes, you should leave the portafilter in the group while the machine is heating. If you forget, for any reason, run it under (or submerse it in) hot water for a while (but dry the basket before adding ground coffee).
Originally Posted by bleumatthieu
Well it turns out it WAS the beans. I stopped in at the local supermarket and bought a tin of Illy's coffee beans and the result is much more what I expected. 8.5bar pressure and roughly 30ml in 30secs. Much better tasting coffee.
Now to find a good place to purchase coffee beans.
Thanks for your assistance PrescottCR.
Originally Posted by PrescottCR
Most cafés will have fresh beans but just check, I'm in Bathurst and nearly all supermarkets have best before no roast dates so you do have to be a bit wary
Hey guys, first post here. I've been a lurker on this thread for months after deliberating on getting this gorgeous machine in red, and I finally went for it over Christmas. It arrived this afternoon! However my elation has reduced significantly following some trouble getting at first a good extraction, and now to get the machine to work at all...
I've had the Smart Grinder Pro (820) for a few months now and its always worked fine for filter/chemex coffee. I have jsut today bought beautifully fresh roasted coffee (roasted 1/1/15) and thank god I bought a kilo of it, because over the last 3 hours I've gone through half of it trying to get a reasonable shot of espresso.
I begun with the single wall double basket, with the BCG820 grind set at 12. On a 2 up volumetric extraction, it was done at 15 seconds. I then tried altering the dose, then the grind, going all the way down to 1. After reading a few posts on here I thought it might have something to do with this new double basket that appears to be a bigger size than previous versions, so I tried the single basket. This was more encouraging producing a shot with the '5' grind setting at 13g dosage in 20 seconds... but to my surprise when fine tuning again the machine was actually empty. I refilled, and now the coffee machine will not even poor after 7 seconds. Manual. 1 cup. 2 cup. With group head, or without. The thing wont budge. It makes a strange bubbling sound which I could only assume is the boilers.. filling? But I can't work out how or why that would be happening. I would love to ring the Breville consumer hotline, but they aren't open when I'm at home, ever, only when I'm working.
I could use someone's advice... what's going on here? It was functioning to begin with, albeit pulling extremely fast, watery 2 cup shots. But now it doesn't even work. I'm stressing out here!
Cheers in advance for your help
Originally Posted by Steffche
Exactly which 'two week old' beans from beanbay did you have a problem with? (i.e. those referred to in post #1).
Breville issuing razors with their kit? Doesn't inspire much in the way of confidence...... ;-)
Originally Posted by Steffche
You'd hope but not necessarily....... to check is good.
Originally Posted by Dradyz
There are a truck load of cafés that only order once a month ( or less), or who are on minimum quantity
orders each month who, without question, would use older stock instead of throwing out what they have paid for.
Sad but true......
Hey guys, coming back again.
I tried again this morning to dial in my BES920 and BCG820 combo. And I actually found some measure of success. After letting the machine cool down overnight, switching it back on this morning wouldn't choke the machine or otherwise stop the extraction from taking place after pre-infusion.
Firstly, I changed the grinder setting to it's finest '1' setting manually (i.e. taking out the hopper and removing the metal clip, turning the burr from it's normal '6' position, through each of the stops all the way to '1', reinserting the pin and reinserting the burr in to the grinder... going through about 300g of coffee in the process). Then, starting at 12 on the grinder, I adjusted all the way down to 2 really pushing the limits of the grinder (it's making that mechanical smell now). Grinding for 22g of coffee in the new, steep walled double shot basket gave me a bar pressure of 6 and pulled 60ml in 17 seconds including pre-infusion. That's as close as I've gotten with the double.
In desperation I tried the single basket again. Low and nehold for the first ever time, filling with 12.5g of coffee on this same '2' grinder setting, I hit almost 9 bar pressure! This pulled a 30ml shot in 23 seconds including pre-infusion.
I'm happy enough to consistently reach 9 bar pressure, even if I'm still getting a reasonably fast shot..
Does anyone have any advice or a similar experience here? The only thing I can think is that the beans are still too fresh? (roasted 5/1/15 according to the bag, meaning they're 3 days old now). I'm tamping hard and hesistant to over-dose too much further.
Columbian, Peru and Ethiopian.
Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon
With the greatest respect, there is nothing wrong with the roasted beans sold by beanbay (in my experience, they have always been of excellent quality). Any chance they were inadvertently exposed to heat / light etc?
Try again with 7 - 10 day old beans.
Originally Posted by rightosighto
It's happened to me in the past too, twice. Sell a hundred kilos of a particular roast one week; cup it, sample it as espresso when it's rested.... all good.
Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon
Then someone will complain a couple of weeks... (or more) later that one 500 gm bag out of the 20 or 30 they bought was 'burnt'.
No complaints from other clients or myself.
Both times it's happened I've been able to trace the problem back to the person making the coffee.
You'd think there would be a string of posts about the coffee that was so described in post #1
In response to my posts above, I've now had some measure of success with extraction, although only with the single basket.
Although the general rule of thumb is 7g for a single and 14g for a double, with the BES920 stock baskets if I pack 13.7g in to the single with a super fine grind (burr setting 1, electronic setting 2), I can get a flow rate of around 50ml in 25-27 seconds. Is this normal for this machine? I still can't quite get a proper extraction from the double basket, I'm packing close to 24g coffee and cannot grind any finer than I already am with the BCG820. I'll get 70-80ml coffee in around 18-19 seconds.
To get these measures by the way, I'm not really relying on the 1 or 2 cup buttons, rather I'm pressing manual and watching until I get a blonding of the espresso flow and stopping it at the appropriate time, which is how I've always preferred to extract a coffee. Saying that, when I'm using a single filter basket packed with 13.7-13.8g of coffee and getting around 50ml extraction before anything close to blonding occurs.... this might as well be a double shot, right? If I use the double basket, I'm getting almost 90ml of coffee (although the flow rate is too fast still)... so that is basically a triple?
Has anyone had much success with using industry baskets, VST etc, in the stock Breville group head? Any recommendations?
Something's not right rightosighto. My machine would choke with those settings. Usually the problem is stale and or decaf beans
My old bes900 would have choked also, but Im finding the bes920 flows much stronger, thus requiring either a finer grind, larger dose, or heavier tamp, or a combination of all of the above.
Originally Posted by TRRR
The bes900 wasn't as temperamental with regards to freshness of beans as the 920 seems to be???
So far not very happy with the 920....
There are a couple of things going on between the 900 and 920-
First, where't the OPV set on each machine? If one machine has a 10bar threshold and the other a 9bar, well that's different. Way different. I had adjusted my 900 down to 9bar and now my 920 is set to 9 as well. I prefer it there.
Second, the baskets. The 920 basket is completely different than the 900. Deeper, more holes, holds move ground coffee and so it behaves differently. The 900's double basket was a nice compromise in that it was slightly sloped at the same time had a good amount of (what appears to be) well made holes. Then there were pucks sticking to the screen. So straight walled baskets come out to stop the puck sticking but they have a TON more holes which means you must grind finer for the same dose. Add to that the new baskets hold more like 21g instead of 18g and you have more adjustments to make.
Try weighing your espresso shots. Since you're using more coffee, pull a little more liquid through the puck. The ONLY way to know how much you're pulling is to WEIGH THE ESPRESSO. Never, ever, ever trust a button to do things exactly right. Ever.
Also of note- if you are tamping around 15k or more you should be able to grind fine enough to choke your machine at some point. Even if your OPV is set high. If your grinder will not go any finer, it's your grinder. As nice as the 820 must be, it's still just 'good' as an espresso grinder. With sloped baskets it'll be better than with VST or straight walled baskets.
The single basket- Why does the single basket hold so much coffee? I dunno. I found I had to put in 13g+ or so or else my tamp would hit the basket. Still, this basket might work well if it turns out that it does better with a chunkier grind setting. It was a little finicky for me so I stopped using it. If you put 14g in, then pull a shot weighing 28 out and adjust from there.
Noticed this morning that during extraction the pressure gauge flutters back and forth 0.5bar each way...not sure what that means?
Hi All... I got hold of my BES920 machine about 3 months ago and it's just told me to clean it for the second time... That's over 400 great cups of coffee! (mmm that averages over 4 cups per day - just for me!) It didn't come with a "free" grinder at that time and about a month ago, my old Sunbeam grinder died so I then bought BCG820 to go with my new machine.
Once I got used to the grinder, I started fiddling with the grind setting and grind timer to get a consistent extraction. I finished up with 10.8 seconds and a grind setting of 16 for a single shot which suits the coffee I'm using. At this the razor just barely marks the surface of the ground coffee.
The machines themselves are not absolutely perfect for example there's the stuck puck issue already discussed in here and a ON/OFF switch on the grinder would be nice... But Oh My... these minor foibles are worth putting up with! (I must try and get a different basket...)
It shouldn't be doing that... I think it means that the pressure required to push the water through the coffee is much too high (at least that was the cause in my old machine!) Perhaps the grind is too fine? Or the coffee is too heavily tamped?
Originally Posted by Steffche
You shouldn't have it working above 9.5 to 10 bar.
So, it might *not* be those pesky beanbay beans, hey?
Originally Posted by Steffche
Could the gauge flutter be due to channelling of the water through the puck?
I regularly use a naked portafilter and channelling is very obvious to me when it occurs.
Does it flutter with the blank? I noticed a flutter during extraction on occasion with my 900, didn't really do anything. I believe it did happen when my grind was tight.
No flutter with disc, but when it's coffee grinds, it builds up to around 8.5, then drops to around 7.5, but then goes up again to around 8bar.
With my old 900 machine it never dropped once it got up to pressure.
Hmmm, still not overly satisfied with this machine.
The beans are definitely fresh enough. I'm wondering whether it's something to do wit hthe grinder, in that having adjusted the Burr settings from default '6' to '1', maybe the electronic setting isn't calibrated properly now... I'm at work at the moment but when I get back home I'll try adjusting the grind all the way up to its max 30, grind a couple of beans, and then back down to 12 and try to dial it in again. I agree that at some point I SHOULD be able to choke the machine. If my old $130 sunbeam grinder could choke it then surely this one can. I really want to be able to use the double basket.
Originally Posted by TRRR
Also, does anyone have any recommendations on/experience with a smaller, after-market double basket for the BES920 group head? I'm not a huge fan of using around 24-25g of coffee for two shots, or 14g for 1 shot with the stock baskets. I'd like to be around the 18-19g per double in the long run, just for economy
Is that right...24-25g of coffee in the double basket??? That seems excessive. I put around 21g of finely ground in mine and am able to get pressure up to 8-9 bar. Where are your beans from?
They're from a local, awesome cafe. The beans are far and away not the issue, I'm convinced at this stage it's something to do with the Smart Grinder Pro not being able to grind fine enough. I'll try again in the morning with 21g in the double and report back though! The reason I'm reaching 23g is because the razor dosing tool if I used it went way way too quickly so I just worked my way up in the dosage. 21g whizzed by a while ago but I haven't tried in the last 2 days.
Originally Posted by Steffche
I don't know how easy it is to get VST baskets for you, but the 15gm basket that I use fits ~18gm of coffee without hitting the screen. That's using my coffee, I'm sure darker coffee won't fit as much. Oddly enough my decaf fits 19g!
EDIT- VST baskets are very good, but you WILL need a grinder up to the task.
If you can find La Marzocco baskets they *should* fit, I haven't done it but I am assuming they'll fit because VST baskets fit in the LM portafilter.
I think you're okay to under-dose the basket, it'll give sloppy pucks and you'll have to grind finer (which is an issue roof you right now) but if you get it sorted out you can do it.
You might checking with Breville to see if they have any of the old style baskets left over to sell you.
That's really great advice, thanks PrescottCR! I'll look in to it.
I'm really starting to think it's the grinder being flimsy over any other issue. I actually have a spare BCG820 lying around (one came free with the BES920 and is still unopened, I had bought this BCG820 grinder months earlier). I'll try swapping them over and giving Breville a call. Wish they were open Saturdays though!
Last edited by rightosighto; 13th January 2015 at 03:31 PM.
Reason: wrong name
How sure how I typed 'which is an issue roof you right now' but that was supposed to be 'which is an issue for you right now.' I'll blame autocorrect and 3 Americanos.
If Shakespeare were a Barista instead of a Bard he would have said 'The GRINDER is the thing!' Or something like that.
Grinders make or break the experience in the cup, like a race car's power train or something.
Love the Futurama avatar BTW!
I think Shakespeare (or maybe Robert Frost) had an influence on 'How sure how I typed' as well
Originally Posted by PrescottCR
It's an autocorrect virus... I swear.
hahaha thanks... and accordingly:
Good news everyone!
I switched out the BCG820 with my other, unopened BCG820 and surprise surprise - it's FINE. I'm pulling excellent double shots on Burr Setting 2 and Grind setting 12, 21g in the basket. The noise this new grinder makes when it's on is very very different to the previous BCG820. I spoke to Breville customer service this morning and they agreed that the previous unit appears to be faulty and the store I bought it from will happily exchange it for me when I send it back to them. So I'm out a bit of P&H but such is life.
In the meantime this new BCG820 has turned everything around, just a bit ruffled that I wasted about $60 of beans in the stupid thing. Advice for any current or future BCG820 ownwers: ONLY ADJUST THE GRIND SETTING WHEN THE GRINDER IS EITHER RUNNING OR EMPTY.
Failure to do so could result in P&H.
Thanks for your help all, really appreciated. I'll be sure to stick around in these forums and continue to learn all about the art... I can already tell my next endeavour will be home-roasting.
Last edited by rightosighto; 14th January 2015 at 12:13 PM.
Reason: you're does not equal your
So after having my BES920 for about a month, I decided I should order a naked portafilter from Breville to assist me in improving my espressos. It turned up earlier this week, with last night being my first opportunity to try it.
My first pour was terrible, when someone tells you that the coffee will spray out at in different directions if you haven't got the grinds evenly distributed properly, they're telling the truth haha.
After a terrible first pour, my second pour was much better, however, it's really pointed out that I've got a long way to go before I get my espressos just right.
I haven't used many other espresso machines apart from my BES920, but I must say, I've found it to be a very good machine. I've been able to make coffee that tastes good (not always, but I'm getting more consistent and results are improving). Being able to steam the milk while the shot is pouring is fantastic, makes life so much easier than other machines I've used that aren't dual boiler.
There seems to be plenty of steam power to froth the milk.
I like that I have the option of manual pour or automatic ( which works well after I worked out that I needed to set the volume)
The auto on function is fantastic for the weekend, I can have everything nice and warm, ready to go when I wake up.
It's easy to keep clean.
Everything has been working well since day 1.
I've had the BES920 paired with the BCG820 (they came as a package). The grinder has been working really well for me, I had to adjust the burr down to the second setting, but once I did that, I've been able to get the grind fine enough to choke the machine, so I've got a good range of grind settings available to get the pour right.
Anyway, that's just a very quick update on where i'm at in the very early stages of my coffee journey. I know already that once I can get my espressos excellent every time, I'm going to want to start roasting my own beans.
And I want to add a thankyou to everyone on this forum, the posts on here are the reason I finally gave in and bought the BES920, which was a fantastic, if not a little bit of expensive decision
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