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Thread: Good Grinder, Cheap machine, Best Coffee??

  1. #1
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    Good Grinder, Cheap machine, Best Coffee??

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey CS community, Firstly thank you for the wealth of information posted here and for the many sleep deprived nights reading through it, it has been very helpful
    My story so farÖ I have been using a Breville Bar Vista (cheap thermo machine I was given) paired with a Bodum conical burr grinder I purchased on sale and of course Iím using fresh locally roasted beans. I was blissfully happy with my coffee until my burr grinder died. Rather than get a replacement I opted for a refund and the search began for a decent grinder. I was considering a Compak K3 or the Macap m2m. As a stroke of luck and being in the right place at the right time I scored an Iberital De Recanvas doser (Cunill Tranquillo 2) that was headed to the tip as it had never been cleaned, was assumed broken and a replacement was already purchased and installed. After 45 mins of disassembly and cleaning I was the proud new owner of a working grinder.
    A lot of research and many beans later I took an angle grinder to the bottom of a spare portafilter to make a naked version. I also cut the bottom off a spare 2 cup filter basket essentially making it non pressurised. I have been trying to perfect a 25-28 second pour both with the un-modified portafilter and the naked conversion but have not been able to replicate consistent results. I may not truly understand the limitations of the machine I am using (am I effectively trying to choke the machine to get a good pour as it has no OPV?)
    So my questions are as follows:

    1. Is it possible to make a reasonable brew with a good(ish) grinder and the cheap breville machine I am using?
    2. Am I wasting my time with the unpressurised basket and naked converted portafilter trying to get the nice flow seen on many online videos?


    I recently had a short black and loved it (usually a flat white or latte drinker) but Iím not able to replicate the taste on my current set up. I have tried to dial in my machine as best I can but struggling to get consistent results. Any ideas thoughts feedback will be greatly appreciated and donít worry I wonít take offence to referring to my machine as Crummy as it cost me nothing. Just experimenting really to get the very best out of it before I upgrade to a single boiler machine, but thatís another post.

    Cheers Matt

  2. #2
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Firstly thank you -

    You're welcome.

    After 45 mins of disassembly and cleaning I was the proud new owner of a working grinder -

    Nice work. By all accounts the Tranquillo is an excellent (if a little ugly) commercial level grinder. Does your one have a doser or funnel?

    I may not truly understand the limitations of the machine I am using (am I effectively trying to choke the machine to get a good pour as it has no OPV?) -

    Pretty much. You may have reached the limit of that machine. I just picked up a 2nd hand Sunbeam EM4820 which is somewhat similar to your Breville. I've been quite impressed with the coffee I get from it with a non-pressurized basket, and if I use one of my good grinders it's better. But it's still way below the level of my semi-commercial machine.

    So my questions are as follows:
    Is it possible to make a reasonable brew with a good(ish) grinder and the cheap breville machine I am using?

    Yes. 'ISH' being the key. (See above).

    Am I wasting my time with the unpressurised basket and naked converted portafilter trying to get the nice flow seen on many online videos?

    That depends. If you're watching nice naked PF extractions from commercial or prosumer machines then you're never going to match that. But the non-pressurized basket is the way to go and your naked PF will give you a real indication of what's happening during extraction. What are you seeing? A photo or video would help.

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    Hi LeroyC
    The grinder has a doser (or thwack, thwack as i've seen it referred to). I am finding it tricky to get the right grind. My beans are locally roasted and are now 10 days old. It's a stepped grinder so i screwed all the way down until burrs touched then backed off a step and marked as my finest option(correct me if I'm wrong here). And I have been adjusting courser to get the flow right as the finest setting chokes the machine and no flow. The video of pours i am watching were mostly from silvia or lelit, i'm not going to torture myself looking at magical pours from a machine i simply cannot afford. I have managed a few 25ish second pours from the middle of the bottomless filter but during pour it tends to spray out all directions little jets(channeling?). I have played around with different tamp pressure and have also experimented with dosing level.(although i must admit i am using the plastic tamper and i know i should probably get a metal one but i don't want to spend good money if i'm just going to upgrade with a different size basket anyway) At the moment 12 grams(not super accurate) seems to be the best dose but from one cup to another its pretty inconsistent (i know now time of day, atmospheric pressure, humidity, how i hold my mouth can effect the pour) but successive pours? and sometimes they are quite sour
    I will try to take some photos and video and upload, i appreciate your thoughts, time and input.
    Cheers Matt

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    So here is a pic of the set-up but I must agree it's not a pretty grinder Cheers Matt
    Last edited by Matt6; 28th August 2015 at 12:01 AM.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    No pic there Matt.


    Java "Bad link" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    Ok here try this
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    She might be no Barbie-doll but she presents okay just bit of a cradle snatcher. When Ken (the machine) morphs from a child into a man everything will be in proportion nicely.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt6 View Post
    Hey CS community, Firstly thank you for the wealth of information posted here and for the many sleep deprived nights reading through it, it has been very helpful

    So my questions are as follows:

    1. Is it possible to make a reasonable brew with a good(ish) grinder and the cheap breville machine I am using?
    2. Am I wasting my time with the unpressurised basket and naked converted portafilter trying to get the nice flow seen on many online videos?


    I recently had a short black and loved it (usually a flat white or latte drinker) but Iím not able to replicate the taste on my current set up. I have tried to dial in my machine as best I can but struggling to get consistent results. Any ideas thoughts feedback will be greatly appreciated and donít worry I wonít take offence to referring to my machine as Crummy as it cost me nothing. Just experimenting really to get the very best out of it before I upgrade to a single boiler machine, but thatís another post.

    Cheers Matt
    G'day Matt

    1. Mostly yes - it will teach you & improve your technique a lot more now you have a good grinder. You should be able to get consistently good brews in a month or two - as long as you temp surf it properly and minimise "rapidly consecutive shots". The Breville is not known for stable temps without a prod or two!
    2. No. That is the only way to get decent coffee out of that Breville. When you encounter a better class of machine you should have your basic technique sorted - that will be worth all the effort.

    However, you need to be aware that most dosers are wildly inaccurate in dosing, so a set of 0.1g scales will save you a lot of grief...


    Have fun w your brews


    TampIt

  9. #9
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    Thanks tampit. I may very well invest in some good scales when I upgrade my machine. Photo of my portafilter hack job, certainly not as clean as some but does the job
    IMG_20150816_134039.jpg
    Video of naked extraction still to come.

  10. #10
    Rbn
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    As Tampit and Leroy have said above, a yes and no from me too!

    You will get a more than acceptable coffee from your machine.
    Once you have your process sorted your friends will tell you it is as good as if not better than most coffees they get in cafes.

    As you have correctly concluded, a good grinder is most of the journey.
    (Why did I ever persevere for so long with a blade grinder, however, even with one of those you can still make very acceptable coffee once you know what to do.)

    he next part of it is in setting your grinder, learning how to dose and tamp for your machine.

    No you are NOT wasting your time with a Naked P/F
    Having a naked P/F is a very smart move, definitely the way to go.
    You can so easily see your mistakes, I am sure it improves the learning process markedly, and speed up the learning.

    And your naked P/F looks great, especially for having been done with an angle grinder.

    Baskets, Breville have put out a single walled double and single shot for your machine.
    They are good and I have these, but I have now bought a single walled Krups for my EM4800c, very similar to your machine.
    The Krups basket is an improvement, except the handle has to go further around as there is no ridge on the top of the basket as there is in Breville/Sunbeam ones.
    When I get the double shot Krups I will modify the group head.
    The idea for the Krups basket came from a thread on here.

    And again, I see you have temp gauge, smart move.
    Nice sweet microfoamed milk once you have the technique right.
    I cut the stretching process just as it hits the red.


    Make good coffee.

    Rbn
    Last edited by rawill; 30th August 2015 at 11:39 AM.

  11. #11
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    Thanks rawill tried a metal tamper today and had to grind coarser cos it choked. Best I've had with this setup so far.



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