Now for the obvious question, whatever happened to theobvious? looks like he started at one and finished at one.
Surely he's not a one post wonder.
Hi, I live in US. Utah to be exact. Not exactly the coffee hub of the states. This is my first post, so be kind. And I'm not a expert so excuse any foolish statements. I had a Breville 900, which I really liked. When I saw that Breville was coming out with the 980, I bit, and immediately purchased one. The things that I loved about the 900 are still there but improved. It's a breeze to clean up. No messy grounds. my problem though is with the automated grinder tamper. I've been using fresh beans from small roasters in the US, like Counter Culture, Intelligentsia, and Handsome, post 5 to 10 days roast. But even with the coarsest settings, and a .5 ratio of dry coffee to liquid expresso, the shots were bland and under extracted. I have a Mazzer grinder so I weighed (21 grams) and tamped my own and then used the machine and the shots were pretty good. I then took some different coffees and measure the coffee in the basket. I got weights up to 25 grams with some of the fresher artisanal roasts and 24 grams with Illy beans. Ok I'm not an expert but this seems like too much coffee. There has got to be a way to adjust the dose. Any suggestions. It would seem like an auto doser tamper would only work if the dose is in the ballpark to start. Any help would be appreciated. I don't want to send this back and I really believe (I hope correctly) that making the grind coarser and coarser won't help if it's a dosing problem.
Now for the obvious question, whatever happened to theobvious? looks like he started at one and finished at one.
Surely he's not a one post wonder.
Last edited by Yelta; 2nd March 2014 at 05:16 PM.
The variation in dosing weight is not necessarily an indication of variation in dosing volume. As you've probably worked out, for any given dosing level in the basket (which is normally what you are trying to keep constant) the weight of ground coffee can vary according to the bean, roast level etc, and of course the fineness of your grind. The higher weights are likely to be associated with hipsters being let loose on the roaster I suspect. Do the dosing levels (not weights) appear consistent?
At the risk of sounding foolish, what are hipsters? Anyways the level is a little harder to measure. The basket on the Oracle has no clear line, or bend like most other baskets. And to be honest I'm not sure I have a way of measuring level that well. The center of the puck is often very dry and buckled if that helps. Anyways 24 to 25 grams of coffee just seems like a lot. I tried varying the grind from fine to coarse, the weight didn't vary that much. Always in that 24 to 25 range.
Last edited by Barry_Duncan; 2nd March 2014 at 07:03 PM. Reason: updated address
When you dosed / tamped manually, and achieved an acceptable result, how did you determine the dosing level (i.e. what made you pick 21g)?
With respect to hipsters, in addition to generic 'hipster' (you'll find heaps of refs on the web) I was referring to the growing number of 'innovative' roasters who produce very light roasts (which for a given volume will typically have greater weight).
Whether 21g is an overdose depends on basket being used and the machine....but 24g for a double basket does sound a bit over the top. You could try to the '5 cent test'(search this site) to get an idea of whether the dosing level is excessive. If the 5 cent piece is buried in the puck, you've likely got a pretty decent overdose.
Thanks for all the replies to my post. I picked 21 grams only because that's what was stated in one of the promotional videos. Since then I've read 22 grams +/- 2 grams (which also seems like a pretty big range). I don't know if this is variability between machines or within the same machine. My experience has been, if the machine doses high, it always doses high (and I don't have the ability to test more than one machine). I guess this seems like a problem because while i can achieve the same final beverage weight ratio with a variety of weights by adjusting the grind, the individual baskets, are optimized for a particular weight. So for instance, sure you could put 22 or 24 grams into an 18 gram basket, but I don't think it would perform optimally. In my experience, yes I can compensate for the up dosing, by increasing the grind, but what I'm seeing are pretty flat shots with early blonding and lack of nuance. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. I know this isn't a La Marzocco Vulcano Swift (nor should it be at it's price point), but I think the inability to at least calibrate and adjust the dose is a significant shortcoming, especially in light of the fact that it seems like it can deviate so far from the ideal.
Without commenting on whether or not your particular machine is working as intended, a variation in weight of +/- 2 grams from a standard of 21g is not that ridiculous. Most baskets comfortably take more than their nominal capacity (measured in grams). I've made interesting coffees without obvious defects in the same (nominally 15g) basket at doses between 16g and almost 22.5g. As I said in my original response, the density of beans can differ significantly according to origin, roast level etc. I'm just saying that the variation in weight is not, in and of itself, evidence of a problem with the machine. Obsessing about dosed weight across different beans is counter productive in my opinion. It is hard for me, however, to picture exactly what is going on with this machine in its auto grind-tamp mode.
Agree wholeheartedly BO'S. It would be be useful if the OP could elucidate on the grind settings. If you're using the coarsest grind setting then a good pour
will never eventuate.
Pretty much the coarsest grind settings and I think that is part of the problem. As the coffee ages, and I'm able to turn the grind setting to a more fine lever, the quality of the espresso seems to improve. I guess I'm just trying to figure out a way to turn the dose down on this machine.
I took a quick look at the Oracle instruction booklet online and didn’t find any way to adjust the dose.
Important variables with any machine is the quality, age and grind of the beans. Usually beans are at their best between one and three weeks after roasting.
The dose will vary with the grind size; the more coarse the grind the more air there is between the particles and hence a higher volume.
The finer the grinder the more dense and a lower volume.
It depends on how the machine determines the amount of whole beans that are ground for a shot, if it's by volume of beans or volume of grinds.
If the dose or grind time can't be adjusted then you will have to work with the allowable parameters and put up with them.
Don't get too hung about dose size or weight. You have already answered your question.......... you're shots are poor because of the coarse grind,
and when you tighten the grind..........voilá....the coffee improves!
It's probably better to concentrate on the result 'in the cup' rather than anything else.
Just had a read of the online manual, as well. Buying an automatic machine comes with a few compromises and unfortunately with this machine, as Barry found,
you have to give up the ability to adjust dose. But that doesn't mean that some reasonable coffee can't be had.
You do have the ability to adjust the tamp pressure but I suggest you get yourself familiar with the machine as it is 'out of the box',
before playing around with it.
Disregard everything you've read about dose weights....as dose is a factory preset, with this machine, you have to work with what you have.
You can adjust the tamping force & polishing duration as shown on page 12 of the instruction booklet.
What are they worth in Australia?
Post #22, page 1 of this thread, and a quick google ....... the price hasn't changed.
So I tried yet another blend of coffee, Ganesha espresso by Tony's. 14 days from roast. It's a small roaster in Washington State. Anyways, it was interesting because the weight of the ground coffee was 21.3 to 21.5 and I had to make a pretty significant adjustment to the grind to make it finer. It was pretty easy to dial in a decent shot. So I guess my next question is why does this machine up dose certain beans (the weights are pretty consistent from one grind to the next within the same coffee, but very different between various coffees? And then I guess the next question given that you can adjust for increased dose by increasing coarseness, does weight matter? My answer would be yes. It seems at some point of increasing the coarseness, you really mess up the taste profile. If you have to increase the coarseness even more because you increasing the dose, well this doesn't seem like such a good thing. I ask all of these things because I'm trying to figure out a way to keep the dose fairly consistent between coffees.
This machine doses by volume, not weight. The darker the roast the less it will weigh for a given volume.
Stop worrying about the weight of the coffee used and adjust the grind fineness and tamping settings to get a proper shot time. Start with a 30 second shot and then adjust to taste.
Java "Stop obsessing about the weight!" phile
Toys! I must have new toys!!!
I agree with Java, you are concentrating on the superfluous and irrelevant.
As I said in post #66; your grind setting is the issue not the dose weight.
You will experience different dose parameters with different coffees, different roasters, different roast levels and different ages of beans.
You have answered your own question.......grind finer.
I want to ask you why, when you have a Mazzer Mini, you bought this particular machine ...... but I won't.
I hope you achieve the results you're after............... :-D
cheers and...... over and out.
1. I don't own this machine; I own a BES900.
2. I have browsed but not studied the manual.
If I understand correctly how the BES980 grinder works, it keeps grinding into the filter basket until the set tamp pressure is obtained. You can't adjust the grind time and you can't adjust the dose, but you don't need to because as chokkidog has pointed out, you can adjust the tamp pressure which should consequently adjust the dose. This is also consistent with Javaphile's statement that the machine doses by volume and not by weight. Presumably a lighter tamp pressure means a smaller and lighter dose. To confirm this, you could try adjusting only the tamp pressure and see what that does to the dose weight.
As always, only adjust one variable at a time. If adjusting the grind finer or coarser for a given tamp pressure doesn't deliver what you want from the beans you're using, try changing the tamp pressure a touch and see if there's now a grind setting available that delivers the result you're trying to achieve.
Where's the Breville rep when you need one? A quick word from someone who actually knows the technical details would sort this out in a trice!
Glad to hear you’re enjoying the machine. Every brand and batch of coffee varies greatly and so there are no optimal settings per say. It is all up to experimentation, but the flow rate to aim for is 60ml in 30 seconds for the 2 cup setting and 30ml in 30 seconds for the 1 cup setting.
When coffee is very fresh it emits a fair bit of carbon dioxide and can be quite unstable during extraction. For example, channelling will be an issue in the first couple of days as it expands more in this early period during extraction. Channelling will lead to flat and bland coffee as the water seeks out the path of least resistance. There is also a trend among Specialty coffee roasteries to roast coffee a little lighter than the traditional or supermarket style of coffees and it appears that this coffee requires a coarser grind than the average brands.
The upper burr inside the grinder is adjustable so you can make the grind coarser if you require – One of our customer service representatives can walk you through the instructions over the phone.
Although Grind Setting 42 might be a good place to start, each machine will vary and each batch of coffee will vary. The optimal window post roast date, in which to use a particular type of coffee can take some trial and error to achieve.
Dosing manually will have a different flavour profile to automatic dosing & tamping.
As for basket sizes, the industry standards here in Australia are either 9g & 18g or 12g & 21g. A commercial ‘21g’ basket holds up to 28g+ of coffee. The Oracle’s basket holds 22g +/- 2g but this output may also vary slightly with different coffees.
The Oracle comes with a brush that can reach all the way up to the end of the chute inside the Auto Grinder/Tamper. That is of course after you remove the tamper fan & give it a brush off.
If you also remove the upper burr in the grinder & vacuum any excess coffee out, you will have substantially removed any stale grounds. Purging the grinder will then get rid of the very small amount left in the chute.
OK, a 'normal' grinder would not have the 'fan', so it seems much more difficult to clean so a bit 'worried'.
Would you normally, " --- remove the upper burr in the grinder & vacuum any excess coffee out" as part of a between sessions clean on this, or in fact any other grinder?
To stick my head out & to indeed display my ignorance, how do you "purge the grinder"
I would only purchase the Oracle over the 'normal' Dual Boiler" if the OVERALL (sorry could not use 'underline') operation of the machine is 'easier & more convenient'.
Where can I actually 'try' the machine?
As an owner of the machine, I'd say it's the easiest machine I've ever owned to clean and take care of. Taking out the tamper fan is easy and cleaning out any excess grounds is pretty much hassle free. In fact I'd have to say the biggest advantage of this machine is the ease of clean up.
The tamper fan is really easy to take out. The fan is removed with the magnetic end of the brush, then all you have to do is to put the brush up inside the Auto Tamper/Grinder and brush any leftover grinds out.
The tamper fan is then replaced with the magnetic brush end & it will lock into place.
All grinders have burrs. You do not have to remove them at all or vacuum them out. Certainly this does not have to be done after every coffee making session.
However cleaning your burrs and the grind chamber out with a brush or vacuum cleaner is recommended periodically. This will give you better tasting coffee.
The action of ‘purging’ refers to grinding out any excess coffee beans. With a normal grinder you would simply empty the hopper of beans (back into a bag or container), replace the hopper and then start the grinder. There will be a small amount of ground coffee which should be discarded.
With The Oracle you would also remove the hopper, empty the beans into a bag and then replace the hopper. You would then insert the portafilter into the Auto Tamper/Grinder and start the grinding operation – you will hear the pitch of the grinder change as the beans in the chute run out. Remove the portafilter & discard the ground coffee.
‘Purging’ clears the chute and prevents you using any leftover stale beans for your next coffee making session.
Apart from removing the tamper fan, I would recommend these cleaning instructions for any grinder.
As for road testing the machine, assuming you are in Australia (?) you can see it in Harvey Norman, Good Guys and Bing Lee.
KatBrazier thank you for the “rules of thumb”
The Oracle’s basket holds 22g +/- 2g
The flow rate to aim for is 60ml in 30 seconds for the 2 cup setting and 30ml in 30 seconds for the 1 cup setting
I have been experimenting with Grind but all I have been looking at for a “Rule of thumb” had been water coming out of the porta filter at 9 seconds on the shot clock if it came out sooner then finer grind. I have never been coarser than 30 and never finer than 24. Thank you again for this additional matrix.
So can we confidently say.
A honey like stream at 9 seconds on the Shotclock culminating in a 60ml in 30 seconds for the 2 cup setting and 30ml in 30 seconds for the 1 cup is the best setting for that particular coffee?
Kat, can we create a set of numbers to create the perfect cup? (that last was just to piss off the snobs that have talent)
Received my Oracle on Friday, and it is terrific. I had been looking around for about a month after my old Sunbeam EM6910 started shorting the electricity due to a leak onto the power board. It is apparently a common fault. The boys at Cosmorex in Canberra were fantastic, and they almost had me purchase a Diadema Junior, but at the end of the day I wanted more convenience than that could offer. And I've never liked the taste from the fully automatic Saecos or Juras.
I'm still playing around with the Oracle grind settings, and haven't quite got it right yet. I have fresh coffee, but find anything higher than Grind Setting 12 delivers a double shot far too quickly (ie in around 15-17 secs). I've changed the setting from time to volume based because prior to that I was just getting too much pour (ie the cups would over flow). So I've now got a 60ml double, and it is pouring in about 21 seconds (which is still too fast), but at Grind Setting 12, the puck comes out wet and sloppy.
I'm now a little confused because I don't know what to adjust next... I have fresh beans, and I now have the right volume, but it still pours a little fast. That would suggest I should go even finer than Grind Setting 12, but the sloppy puck suggests I'm already too fine. And based on other comments, most Oracle users seem to be up above Grind Setting 25. But when I go up above 12, I end up with a 15 second pour.
Does anyone have any other suggestions? Another obvious cause is stale coffee, but I am confident the beans are fresh. Perhaps I should experiment with a different roast/blend?
Here are some things. I'd suggest that make "dialing in" new beans relatively easy on the Oracle (Again like the cleaning it is incredibly easy). First buy beans with a roasted on date (this may be the most important thing), and try not to use them before day 5 (I think because it uses a relatively high dose it has a bigger problem with CO2 from young beans). I've found day 10 is optimal. Second take out the retaining clip on the basket and buy a scale. You can return the clip later, but in the beginning it will help you get an idea of how much coffee you are actually using. I've found that maybe the biggest weakness of the Oracle is that it doses a relatively fixed amount. Turning the tamp force down will decrease the dose somewhat but not always predictably. The tamp force of 5 is fine for most beans, but for very fresh beans you might want to go as low as one. The decreased dose will allow you take the grind a little finer and get a little more nuanced flavor.
Third, I think I'd go back to time based (I use 30 seconds, mostly because it's the default and it works well). Later on you can go more by color and dose manually, but it makes it easier to adjust the initial grind if you minimize the variables. Then when I first got the machine, I'd weigh the baskets (typically it was about 22 to 24 grams), and run shots into two shot glasses. I'd then weigh the shot volume aiming for a beverage weight ratio (dry/wet x 100) in the 55%-60%.... and then maybe most important I'd taste and adjust the grind to what I liked.
Now I don't do any of this, but in the beginning it helped to learn the machine.
So to get back to your problem, I've tried at least 10 different types of beans. I don't know if I've ever been at 12 (I didn't try any super stale super market beans). With very fresh beans from what I'll call boutique roasters I usually start at the coarser settings in the the 35+ range. More conventional roasts I'll be at the 25 setting. Every bean is different, but I've found the grind settings follow predictable patterns. So as the beans age, I have to go finer, but it's not a large adjustment.
It sounds like the grind is still too coarse, but at 12 I find this hard to believe. So first check the beans. Try a different type. Second check the dose just to confirm you're in that 22 gram range. Third, you could adjust the grinder. But, I think I might be inclined to take it back to where you bought if from and see if they have any suggestions. It sounds like there might be a problem with the grinder. I'm not sure I've ever been at 12. And for the most part the pucks are very dry.
Great to hear that you’re enjoying The Oracle.
Ok, so firstly I would ascertain whether the coffee is fresh as Mbwelch has also suggested. Does it have a roast-date? If so, it is ideal to use it from 5 days post roast & then within 2 weeks (max. 3 weeks) from this date.
After this time, it will pour faster.
Even fresh coffee will stale quickly if the bag is opened & closed numerous times or not kept in ideal storage conditions e.g. dry, dark, room temperature, airtight, odour free etc
Secondly, some coffee brands that we tested at Breville, need a significantly higher or lower grind size than others.
You are doing exactly the right thing by making your grind size finer and it will not be an issue if you go finer still. If you need to go beyond the grind size settings on the LCD, you have a further option of adjusting the actual burrs inside the grinder. If you should require this, a phone call to customer service can go through this step by step over the phone.
The wet puck is usually to do with the age/staleness of the coffee.
Let us know how you go.
Bought a Breville Oracle after my brother recommended it, knowing that I only has limited knowledge/no experience with coffee making even though I have been a avid (and addicted) long black drinker for many years. We have bought a holiday house in Bali and I needed to get my daily coffee fix as we live 7 km from town (Ubud). I live in Perth Western Australia, and the Breville people basically laughed when I asked how many lessons I would get when the machine was delivered and set up. Apparently in Australia, there is no set up and no free coffee or anything else for that matter. This was a little daunting for me because I really didn't know where to start - literally did not know the process of coffee making. The instructions seem to assume a little too much for a novice like me. I waited a few weeks until my daughter came to visit and she immediately started using it. After that I was able to make coffee but not long blacks yet. We packed the machine up and took it to Bali and I set it up and started refining the machine to my favourite beans. I needed a 20 grind and 91 degrees temperature to get the best for my taste. From that day I made the SAME coffee every day for myself and loved it. Clearly the best coffee I have ever had in Bali It appears I just have a double espresso not a long black after all I LOVE the machine and my husband says it is the bet flat white he has ever had too! A major point being that is consistent every time. I am in the process of buying another machine to have at home - sorry coffee shops I am leaving you all, except to buy beans.
I've had the machine for a little over a week now and still getting used to it, but so far, so good. I had an issue this morning before work though, but didn't have time to explore before heading out.
I believe the grinder is acting strange. My first clue was that it ran inordinately long and when it shut off, the polishing didn't continue (it's set to run 4 seconds). Sure enough, the filter was not completely full and it wasn't leveled/polished. I reinserted the portafilter and rotated right to see if I could finish the dose. It did add more grounds and polish, although I don't think the polishing continued after the grinder (again). It looked good so I tried to brew. The grounds must have been too fine/compacted, because only a couple dribbles came out in 30 seconds.
I checked my beans and made sure the chute wasn't clogged, and tried everything again, twice more. Basically the same thing result, although the polisher did run for 4 seconds after the grinder stopped (at least once).
So... I've got two possible issues. 1) Polishing didn't continue after grinder, and 2) is my grind too fine/tamp too heavy, so that only a partial shot is extracted in 30 seconds?
Second one first... I'll explore the "fineness" of the grind tonight to make sure it corresponds to the setting I used. I wasn't anywhere close to grinding fine though, I think I was around 40 (and have ground extensively all the way from 15 to 43 as I played with the machine this past week). Last time after using the machine I did clean the grinder out real well, including removing and cleaning the upper burr. Is it possible I didn't reassemble it correctly? I've seen posted here that there is a way to manually adjust the grind (range) by adjusting the upper burr. Is it possible I inadvertently "adjusted" the upper burr instead of simply reassembling it? Making sure I've assembled it correctly and that my grind corresponds with my relatively course grind setting is my first concern. Can anyone describe this manual upper burr adjustment? I see the "align" mark and how to align it and then rotate to lock, so I'm not sure what I could have done incorrectly.
Paid for one of these today in Myer for $1874.25! It has to be delivered from 'the warehouse' (presumably in Melbourne). 25% off! Really good price for Tassie. I also get about $40 of Myer gift cards for that so it works out about $1840. I also get a second year of warranty through my credit card. (they also offered the BES920 /Smart Grinder combo for $1240 thanks to the bargaining power of a receipt from tanethomas who got that for $1198 in Hobart)
First poster here.
A quick report after owning the BES980 for a couple of weeks.
First of all, it's very easy to use, and clean. This makes a refreshing change from all of my previous machines. The looks aren't a refreshing change, but I guess that's a matter of personal taste...
I bought it because I decided to move on from the joy of the process of making coffee to the joy of drinking a nice cup every morning.
I wanted to keep the settings as stock as possible, so I played with the beans first. As reported before, the grinder seems to like a bean that's around 5 days old but not more than 10 days (Actually I don't like them over 10 days old...). I've kept the same bean from the same local roaster to cut down the variables at this point.
At 5 days old I need a grind of 21 (settings are 1 - 40 if you're not familiar with the machine), cutting down to 19 as the beans age.
With these settings the blonding starts at 22 seconds and I get 2 x 3/4 full shot glasses of about 1/2 each of liquid and crema, which settles to 2/3 - 1/3 after a minute.
I think it's a bit of a short shot, but after the blonding starts the pour instantly gets thin and fast and ruins the drink.
I might try a different bean first...
EDIT: I set the tamp up a notch and it's doing a lot better!
But I use the same batch on the same day at my friend's cafe and get nice long shots with no blonding...
If I do a finer grind it just comes out more slowly, but then rushes out after the blonding, still at 22 sec, which just gives me a shorter shot. Almost like it's tunnelling, but I've dissected the pucks and they're great, a little wetter with the finer grind.
In the end, a slightly courser grind and faster flow than I'm used to gives me the most nuanced shot.
The milk is terrific. I get the perfect creamy texture at the right temp (on auto) every time, with only minor variations with the age of the milk. I run it at about 25% up from the least textured end.
When I occasionally get the latte art right it has very good contrast.
All in all it's a great move. Finally my wife can make a decent cup and it's cut about 15min out of my morning routine, mainly down to the twin boiler.
Best thing - the perfect milk
Worst thing - I miss playing with a thing of beauty to produce a beautiful cup of coffee.
Last edited by surfinchina; 18th April 2014 at 12:25 PM.
Another new member and new Oracle owner
I've had a Saeco Talea Touch Plus for about 4 years. Although the coffee was just OK, the auto was the difference between ground coffee each morning and only using it on the weekends.
My old Gaggia classic at the holiday house made a much better cup of coffee but was too fiddly when in a hurry during the week.
I'd read reviews and comments, but was still a little worried that the Oracle would be closer to an auto coffee machine quality wise. Happy to say that after using the Oracle for a couple of days, wow, wow and wow! Great coffee in a hurry. Better by far than most cafes. I love this thing!
Thanks to the price tip from wfdTamar I've bitten the bullet and ordered my Oracle today.
Delivery Tuesday. Can't wait!
Are you able to post your receipt (if your price is the same or better)? I can't get it to upload from here.
Lets see if this works Receipt for BES980 for A$1874.25 from Myer.
Last edited by Javaphile; 24th April 2014 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Fix Link(s)
Mods - is there any reason I shouldn't share this? I don't want to annoy vendors (especially Breville) and anyone else who makes a living in the bean biz. I saved over $600 on the retail and it's the perfect machine for me.
Just made my first coffee with all settings as out of the box. My beans are about 8 weeks past roasting date, so not very fresh (though they are from a roasting house) and geeez this thing made a fantastic coffee. With fresh beans and getting the setting right it will be incredible.
I have to add I'm not a coffee expert and my former machine was a Jura Ena Micro 9 One Touch which is an easy auto coffee maker and I thought made an OK coffee (but compared to this it's not). Been trying with a Subeam 6910 manual I got for my girlfriend and that's pretty difficult after an auto. I can see a manual would take lots of coffees to get the hang of. This BES980 popped one out that rivalled a good cafe coffee first pop.
Same here. Ive had mine for a week after graduating from a pod machine. I watched a couple of videos of people going through the whole grind, dose, tamp, prep process and thought, "That's not for me". I wanted great coffee all the time and the ability to learn more and play with settings when I feel like it.
It heats up so quickly, I'm cleaning up with a fresh brew in my hand 5 mins after turning the machine on in the mornings. My wife (who hardly drinks coffee) made a couple while I was out of the house for friends after watching me make a coffee once.
Having comfort that the grinding and extraction process is controlled has let me turn to the idea of roasting my own beans. I understand true snobs would want to have full control over the whole thing (and perhaps this kills the "art" in making a great coffee) but I'm really pleased I went the path I did. . . . .