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Thread: Breville 800ES newbie questions

  1. #1
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    Breville 800ES newbie questions

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    G'day folks, long time lurker, first time poster. I just picked up an 800ES on the weekend, my first machine, and paired with a secondhand Sunbeam 0440 grinder ($30 on Gumtree, gotta start somewhere right? ) I've been loving it so far. I've been digging through all the old 800ES threads although there were a few things that I was a bit unsure of so thought I'd just throw em out to the board to see if anyone can help out. Cheers!

    1. I've noticed my machine is version B of the machine. One thing I'd noticed is that some pictures I'd seen online had a water refil access door at the top-back of the machine. I'm guessing that was a version A feature that was deleted. Does anyone know what other differences there are between the older and newer revisions?

    2. Being a thermoblock machine, should I be at all worried about corrosion of the aluminium block? The 800ES isn't listed on the Breville website anymore but both the product pages for the lower model Cafe Venezia and what I assume is the 800ES's replacement the 810ES claim to have stainless steel piping through the thermoblock which I imagine would alleviate that risk. Does the 800ES have this?

    3. Is it at all possible to get a good 30 second extraction out of the included dual wall basket or is that a pipe dream?

    4. Similarly, is it worth getting a decent tamper before I've moved on to single wall baskets, or does tamp not matter so much with the double? On that note as well, I plan to shim the 0440 to achieve a finer grind. Is there any point in pursuing a finer grind when still using dual wall baskets? Basically I guess I"m asking, is should I wait until I get around to upgrading the baskets before I bother to get a tamper and mod the grinder?

    5. Any ideas on the lifepan of this kind of machine? I don't expect it to last forever, but it feels pretty solidly built so would be nice to get a few years out of it.

    Thanks to anyone who bothers to read this. Liking this little machine so far. I know I'm not making the best coffee in the world but so much nicer than what I'd normally drink at home. I know they're pretty mundane questions but I guess I've got a new obsession haha been trying to research as much about my hardware and the brew as possible!
    Last edited by pantryfight; 9th December 2014 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Wrong venezia

  2. #2
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    Hello Pantry fight,
    Welcome to the coffee lovers forum, I've had several of these models pass through my possession, I've found them to be sound tidy machines,despite what some say of dual floor baskets,I believe they make a good coffee when operated correctly,just because some look down their nose's at this style shouldn't rattle you.
    Good techniques with coffee grinding ( good beans) and experimenting with tamping/basket selection will lead you to excellence with any machine.
    Enjoy your coffee journey and build up your experience along the way,you can't loose,it's all so interesting,failure's lead to better results eventually.
    I have twenty seven coffee machines and growing, I love coffee however,I particularly enjoy the varied processes involved with my coffee making,tinkering and getting them to their best level of operation.
    I use only rain water in my machines although I'm pretty fussy about smooth and clean machine operation too.
    Be bold and have a good play with your breville,while enjoying that coffee.
    Great times ahead for you.
    Cheers,
    Mick.

  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantryfight View Post
    1. I've noticed my machine is version B of the machine. One thing I'd noticed is that some pictures I'd seen online had a water refill access door at the top-back of the machine. I'm guessing that was a version A feature that was deleted. Does anyone know what other differences there are between the older and newer revisions?
    Interesting. Mine must have been a series A. There was a wide bar thingy at the top back that opened it.

    Quote Originally Posted by pantryfight View Post
    2. Being a thermoblock machine, should I be at all worried about corrosion of the aluminium block? The 800ES isn't listed on the Breville website anymore but both the product pages for the lower model Cafe Venezia and what I assume is the 800ES's replacement the 810ES claim to have stainless steel piping through the thermoblock which I imagine would alleviate that risk. Does the 800ES have this?
    I think the two-piece block in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=379YtdIRpRU) is the BES800 thermoblock. It's teflon coated, so no worries about the aluminium.

    Quote Originally Posted by pantryfight View Post
    3. Is it at all possible to get a good 30 second extraction out of the included dual wall basket or is that a pipe dream?
    That depends entirely on your definition of good! The dual wall baskets are designed to get better extractions out of pre-ground (i.e. stale) coffee grinds. They do that better than a single wall, however if you have freshly ground decent beans they will definitely limit the quality you can reach. I found that by getting a set of single walled baskets my coffee was able to improve substantially. Took a little while to get used to as the single wall baskets don't make up for any of your shortcomings as the dual wall baskets can.

    Quote Originally Posted by pantryfight View Post
    4. Similarly, is it worth getting a decent tamper before I've moved on to single wall baskets, or does tamp not matter so much with the double?
    No not really. Personally I didn't bother getting an expensive tamper for my 800 as it has a 51mm portafilter, whereas almost all high-end machines use a 58mm portafilter. I bought a solid stainless steel 51mm tamper from eBay for less than $30. Did a much much better job than the plastic junk that comes with the machine. If you're happy to spend that much it will almost certainly improve the consistency of your tamping. Consistency is far more important than than the pressure used, because as long as the grind etc is adjusted to suit your tamp you can tamp with very little pressure and still get just as good an extraction as a 15kg tamp. I believe it has been shown that you can even not tamp (as long as grind is adjusted to suit) and it will be just as good.

    Quote Originally Posted by pantryfight View Post
    On that note as well, I plan to shim the 0440 to achieve a finer grind. Is there any point in pursuing a finer grind when still using dual wall baskets? Basically I guess I'm asking, is should I wait until I get around to upgrading the baskets before I bother to get a tamper and mod the grinder?
    The dual wall baskets always ran a little fast for me. I could get my grind fine enough to choke the machine, but I couldn't get it to run much slower than 15s no matter what I did. Mod your grinder if you want. You can always wind it back a bit coarser again. Just be aware of the dual wall basket limitations.

    Quote Originally Posted by pantryfight View Post
    5. Any ideas on the lifespan of this kind of machine? I don't expect it to last forever, but it feels pretty solidly built so would be nice to get a few years out of it.
    Mine was about 1-2 years old when I bought it second hand for $50. I stopped using it about a month ago after upgrading, after it being used daily to make a coffee for my wife and I for nearly 2.5 years. It is still going just as strong as the day I bought it. Very solid little machine.

    Also just a word of advice on steaming milk. Lose the tube thingy on the steam arm, and just touch the end of the arm to the surface of the milk. After about 40*C lower the arm a bit deeper.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I'm sure I'll remember more if you ask.

  4. #4
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Also to turn your dual wall baskets into single wall for nothing, check out this thread: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/pay-forwar...e-sunbeam.html

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    Thanks for the replies folks. Got myself a stainless steel tamper off ebay and some fresh beans from this very website and I've been making some pretty tasty coffee. Compared with the fairly stale beans I'd previously been using, I've actually managed to choke up the dual wall baskets quite a few times, I guess because of the extra moisture/oils in the coffee.. whereas the stale beans would never choke so have toned down my grind a bit.

    Like I said, pretty tasty compared to what I'm used to making at home, although the flavour seems a little I dunno.. hollow? compared to some of the coffees I've been drinking in Melbourne CBD. I think it's time to splash out on the single wall baskets and continue the experimentation.

    Speaking of the filters, I've read a lot of people say to skip using the single shot basket and skip straight to the double shot? Can anyone tell me why this is? Does this mean I need to make/drink a double shot every time or is it OK to use a single shot worth of coffee in the double shot basket?

  6. #6
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    That hollowness you're describing (what I would call lack of depth of flavour) is largely due to the dual wall baskets. They improve stale coffee but make fresh coffee a bit worse.

    You can use the single baskets if you want, there's no problem with that. Most people skip them because of two things: the amount of coffee you get out of a single 51mm basket isn't much compared to a 58mm, and the double is similar to a 58mm single. Also getting everything right for two baskets can be twice the work of one, if you're going to ever use the double. I can't say I used the single ever. You should always dose for the size of basket you're using, so don't use a single shot worth of coffee in a double basket.



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