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Thread: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinder

  1. #1
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    Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All

    Newbie here. Its been a complete revelation having found this site. Embarrassingly, Ive had my Breville 800 for 3 years not realising the issue with the pressurised basket. I bought my Sunbeam Cafe series grinder about 2 years ago in an attempt to get better coffee.

    In the short time Ive been on this site, Ive learnt alot about the issues of the Breville and yesterday received my Krup filter basket on this sites recommendations. Before I start experimenting alot, was wondering if anyone could advise on what grind setting yields the best espresso shots for the 800.

    I tried 2 this morning, first on gring setting 4 and the shot came out very very slow (drop by drop instead of a flow) and slightly bitter but my puck was dry unlike the pressurised basket which over the last 3 months has been wetter and wetter with each shot. The second, i changed to 6 and again the shot came out very slow (drop by drop) with the puck slightly wet. I have a proper metal tamper and what I believe is a adequate tamp.

    Any suggestions on how to make the most of what I have ?

  2. #2
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Welcome JM!

    First up tell us what your grinding / settling / tamping technique is. I.e. step us through what you do to make a shot. If theres a technique problem then fixing this is the first step.

    Greg

  3. #3
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Hi Greg

    My routine is pretty simple.

    - Machine is on for at least 30mins beforehand.
    - Coffee mugs are heated with boiling water
    - I froth the milk first if applicable (for caps and lattes)
    - I then grind the coffee (as this morning setting 4-6)
    - I typically fill the FB halfway and tamp then keep filling up and tamping until the coffee is flushed to the top. The tamping pressure is at least 15lbs since I do lean alittle into it.
    - I then pour the hot water out of the mug and start the extraction
    - (I ve recently based on reading here, tried the trick of running the steam first and then switching over to get the water temperature higher)
    - I normally use a timer for the extraction more as a gauge from just watching for colour change

    Thats basically it. I know Ill need some time to get the krups FB right.

  4. #4
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Hi JM,

    Looks pretty OK. Is the portafilter in the machine during warm-up? It should be. Most of us would do the milk first as youll probably find it separates into thin milk with thick foam on the top. But thats a separate issue. The only other thing Id recommend is NOT doing two tamps. If you want to pack more coffee into the basket then do something like fill the basket to overflowing, then gently tap the portafilter on the bench a given number of times (but once youve got a number, be consistent, normally 2 or 3 is fine), and then tamp. Doing two tamps can give you two layers of coffee which is a recipe for channelling. Also more coffee in the basket isnt always a good thing as you have to grind coarser to compensate; there should be a bit of space between the showerscreen and the top of the puck. Have a read through the suggestions in http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1223035464.

    Anyway if you use a technique like this then adjust the grinder to give you the right extraction time you should be OK. Colour is really a better indicator of whether youre likely to get a nice drink or not but it can be tricky to get it right if you dont have a good set of open spouts that show the espresso clearly against a solid background.

    Greg

  5. #5
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Thanks the advise Greg.

    I do leave the portafilter during warm up. Infact, I tend to make sure everything is warmed up before I start. I agree, I kind of suspected the 2 step tamping but was doing this more out of laziness to clean up.

    Any suggestions on a good starting grind setting? Am I on the right mark?


  6. #6
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Im not real familiar with the Sunbeam grinder so Id only be guessing but I think youre in the right ballpark. But the exact setting will depend not only on technique but the type of beans and their age. So get some fresh beans (< 1 week out of roast) and once youve got your technique right do a shot on, say, 5, see how it goes and then adjust it as required to get the right shot time. Youll probably require a different setting with a different technique but once youve got that nailed you can just adjust the grinder slightly in the area you find is right.

    Greg

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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Thanks again Greg. I think Ill need to spend time experimenting until I have the right setup.

    As for the beans, Ill definitely look out for some freshly roasted ones.

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Definitely. Anything from a supermarket will be stale and you can safely presume the same about beans bought from someone who cant tell you when they were roasted. CS Brown here on coffeesnobs always has fresh beans so start your search there, or alternatively there may be a sponsor in your area (which state are you in?) who can help out. Without fresh beans youll always struggle to get good results, whether in a $10 plunger or a $10000 machine.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Greg

    Actually I dont live in any state, Im based in Hong Kong. Finding decent fresh coffee beans is tough here. Ill keep looking in my part of the world. :)

  10. #10
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    What a perfect excuse to start roasting your own then.

    Ventilation in a high rise might be a bit of an issue however....

  11. #11
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    I have some friends with small roasters and it seems good so far.

    I hate to have the firemen over every morning during coffee

  12. #12
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Hi Jumpman

    I did the Sunbeam Coffee School last weekend where we used the SB0480 Grinders (not sure if this is the same one as yours or you have a lower model).

    They recommended, when using fresh beans, to start the grinder off on about setting 12 and adjusting up or down from there in increments.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
    Di

  13. #13
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    Re: Advise needed on Breville 800 + Sunbeam grinde

    Hi Di

    I have the Sunbeam EM0480. *In the manual, it also states to use a grind setting of 12 for espresso shots but Ive found the extraction to come down too quick.

    Ive had a a chance to experiment alot more these last few days (that would probably explain my shakiness) starting with a setting of 10 and have now come down to 6-7 and the taste of the coffee is much better than before. *Im still getting occassional lighter crema streaks but that may be the coffee beans. * Im trying to get some consistency going before I start tampering with something else.



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