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Thread: Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

  1. #1
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    Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,
    Joined recently and WOW! what a steep learning curve. My wife and I have ended up with a free 2nd hand Breville Bar Italia and a cheapie Breville coffee smasher. I know this is extremely low end gear but until upgraditis takes hold, what are the main things apart from fresh roasted and fresh ground beans, and grind (Ill be borrowing a mates old burr grinder soon) that I can do to improve the coffee I get from it? And how hard should I tamp for a "steamtoy" machine like this?
    And please dont say throw it out and get something better ;) This I already know ;D

    Cheers!
    Jono.

  2. #2
    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Re: Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

    Welcome BigJono,

    Firstly you wont get anything looking like real crema from the machine and grinder.* Secondly, Im assuming its not a burr grinder but a blade that whiz around (a herb/spice grinder) you will not get anything fine enough to choke the machine...so tamp as hard as you can and you might get something.*
    I was given the bar italia a couple of years ago and thought it was giving me decent coffee.* I was still drinking instant back then and had the bar italia coffee when I got home.* Everything changed when I upgraded and tasted what a real machine could do like the Lelit.* They say ignorance is bliss...now Ive got the Lelit sitting in my office and an ECM Giotto at home... ::)

  3. #3
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    Re: Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

    The two suggestions I have for you is a) get yourself a proper burr grinder, I think the usual recommendation is "no lower then the sunbeam em0450" which you can find for around 100 dollars or so, maybe less if you look about

    I think the current suggestion goes "em0450" then "smartgrinder" then "something worth $500+"

    Second, and this is probably the cheapest suggestion I can make, (if you havent got them already, this is) is get yourself some unpressurised baskets, Call up your nearest Breville supplier and ask for the 51mm unpressurised baskets, and theyll likely have them, they cost around $20rrp, but Ive seen them around for cheaper. This will stop with the fake crema, and start providing you with the real thing.

    Failing that, Im gonna say that its all about what you already know, Fresh Beans and practice are what makes for good coffee. Sure, you might not get a god-shot from your little bar-vista, but its a start. Upgradus will take effect when you feel youve mastered the 90% that is required to get decent coffee out of your machine. ;D

  4. #4
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    Re: Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

    Thanks guys!
    Im lucky (small mercy ::) ), this is an older Bar Italia that came with the unpressurised baskets. Thats why I asked about tamping. I figured I didnt have a pinhole 2nd wall to clog but wasnt sure what pressure the whole system could handle without choking a shot. The blade grinder/"smasher" gives and inconsistent grind (no surprises) and I thought the powdery fines from the around the outside might still clog things up, especially without a true 9 bar of pressure pushing through it.

    Cheers!
    Jono.

  5. #5
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    Re: Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

    well, I guess the standard 30 pound tamp pressure is a good place to start. though honestly, unless youve got a decent (read, fitting) tamp, its pretty much a semi-wasted effort. I dont suppose your score managed to get you a nice 51mm tamp to match instead of the el-cheapo plastic thing that seems to be common with, well, pretty much all coffee machines for sale. :(

    But yeah, Perhaps practice the NS/EW tamp technique and work around the whole even pressure thing?

  6. #6
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    Re: Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

    I have had the "pleasure" of trying to get coffee out of a Bar Italia. First thing to say is ignore all the usual advice. It is a completely different beast to most low end machines as it has no pump and relies on steam pressure. As a result you will end up with 100+ steam being pushed through at about 3 bar (Good espresso requires about 92 and 9 bar.)

    I never managed to get anything out that wasnt horribly burnt. Do not tamp at all, or you wont get anything out. Really the machine is more like a drippilator than an espresso machine.

    Honestly, my best advice would be to get a $15 stovetop Moka pot which, with some practice, will give much better coffee and is more convenient to use. The Bar Italia will do a decent job of steaming milk (dont use the froth enhancer, and get a larger jug) and the 1-2 cup filter works well in other cheap espresso machines should you decide to upgrade.

  7. #7
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    Re: Breville Bar Italia - anyone still use one?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4D6A6E617C60617B606E7C7B0F0 link=1319374000/5#5 date=1319439672
    Honestly, my best advice would be to get a $15 stovetop Moka pot which, with some practice, will give much better coffee and is more convenient to use.
    I had a laugh, just bought one for camping! Have been enjoying practising with it too. Im gonna see if I can wrangle a kyocera hand grinder for Christmas ;)

    Cheers!
    Jono.



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