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Thread: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls help

  1. #1
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    Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls help

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys,

    I have recently bought the breville ikon grinder / espresso machine ... overall .. the price is good.. the look is great... espresso drinks with milk is great.... heres what i have done so far:
    got the krups non pressurized filter, pull blank shot, grind beans, tamp, pull shot
    I am able to get 60ml shot with 25 secondsish.. so seems great

    using fresh bean (bought from local roaster), the pull starts to get creamy in color few seconds in, and stay that way. at the end when it settles, i probably have a cm of crema on top in a shotglass

    all things technically seem great.. but thats when it starts to not work for me
    the taste is kinda acidic in nature.. and not very satisfying.. the crema is gold / tan color more than red / brown... i read it might be brew temperature..

    so i went in and pull a blank shot and use my milk thermometer to see.. and it was at 150F... normally i read it should be 190-200F

    is this common to IKON .. am i getting this because of a "low end " machine?? or is it ONLY my IKON that gives this temperature..

    is my problem solely on temperature? what else should i check?

  2. #2
    psaigh
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    is it acidic, or sour? Could be the beans, but more likely its brew temp. I dont know specifically what temp the ikon typically brews at, but the 800 (a model up from the ikon) the brew temp is arround 88-89C (which is much too low). To ramp if up, you can kick it over to steam and let that go for a few seconds, this gets the thermablock up to 103, and then insert the pf and kill the steam and start extracting the shot.
    Try this, and if the shot now tastes burnt/bitter as opposed to how it was tasting, its likely the brew temp is the issue. Now to get the optimal brew temp play around with timing, its hard to be 100%accurate without a k-type thermocouple but let taste be your guide. You might need to wait 1 second after disengaging the steam before kicking into extraction or 10 seconds (or 1.5 or 3, or 5sec etc).

    Let us know if this helps at all

  3. #3
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    The Ikon is a single boiler machine, not a thermoblock but the same thing applies if you think youre getting too low a temp. Milk thermometers may not be the most accurate measurement tool for high temps and also that the water out of the head loses heat quickly after exiting the head and with a cold glass, it goes down even further. When you finally measure it in the cup, its way down from the original temp. The brewing temp may be a little low but I doubt its as low as 150F (65 Celcius). You coudl either try temp surfing or at worse, start brewing immediately after the boiler cuts out at the top of the cycle, if that still too cold, then youd have to activate the steam switch as suggested by psaigh.

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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    hmm... thanks for the response so far..

    so.. is there a more accurate (but still easy) way to measure temp at the brewhead? i let it run blank shot for a while.. keep dumping the water out of the jug (so its heated well), and keep measuring.. and its still around 150F

    maybe it could be higher at the head.. but 50F difference??

    what exactly is temp surf again? so when the light indicates its ready.. would it be hotter if i just keep waiting and let it warm up for a while..(coz ikon warms up in like 1 minute)
    or is it better to immediately pull one?



    also.. i am just starting out on the espresso techniques... so pls bear with me. but what are the characteristics of a low brew temp again?? in terms of taste / appearance etc??

    mainly sour and tan creama??? (i have both)

    thanks

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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Cant help you with the taste department as I have a totally uneducated palate for espressos.
    I take it that when the boiler is active (ie. actively heating up the water), the light is off and comes on when it is "ready". What this means is just as the light comes on is when the water temp in the boiler is at its hottest. After this point, because the boiler is inactive, the water starts to cool down and continue cooling down until it hits the temp where the thermostat will "tell" the boiler to switch on again. At that point, its at its lowest temperature. Temp surfing is working out at which point of the boiler cycle is the best time to pull a shot. After youve ground the coffee into your PF and tamped, if the "ready" light is on, run some water out of the brew head (pull a blank shot without the PF in) for 2 seconds at a time until the ready light goes out. When the ready light comes on again, straightaway lock in the PF and pull the shot. If the shot comes up too bitter/ burnt, then maybe the temp is too high and repeat that 10 seconds before the ready light comes on (which means youll need to time how long it takes for the light to comes on from when it goes off). If too hot again, do it with 20 seconds etc... until you get the desired taste.
    To start with, it always helps to switch on the machine at least 10 minutes before you attempt to pull a shot. This gives the machine enough time to warm everything else up. With my silvia with a lot of chunky brass components, I switch it on 45 minutes before using it.
    As for measuring the exact brew temp... no real easy answers to that one without a purpose made temp measuring PF.

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Hi Guys,

    Apparently, it is possible to adjust the preset Boiler Temperature on the Ikon so if you can track down an Espresso Machine Tech. who has worked on these before, he/she may be able to tweak it for you.

    All the best :),
    Mal.

  7. #7
    22a
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1213034889/0#5 date=1213090041
    Hi Guys,

    Apparently, it is possible to adjust the preset Boiler Temperature on the Ikon so if you can track down an Espresso Machine Tech. who has worked on these before, he/she may be able to tweak it for you.

    All the best :),
    Mal.
    This is a juicy tidbit of information. Any idea where you heard this, Mal?

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Quote Originally Posted by 22a link=1213034889/0#6 date=1213100066
    This is a juicy tidbit of information. Any idea where you heard this, Mal?
    I had a laugh ;D

    My eldest son is an Avionics Tech. with the RAAF who also happens to own an Ikon. He decided that he wanted to know more about the inner workings of the machine at some stage and I believe that is when he discovered that the Boiler Preset Temperature can be adjusted to some extent. I dont know any of the details and is therefore, the reason I suggested that a knowledgeable Espresso Machine Tech. should be contacted for help with this.

    Poking around under the bonnet of these machines during the warranty period will no doubt put that warranty at risk and may even wreck the machine altogether (and the owner too possibly - 240V AC inside) :o. Unless you are suitably qualified, I wouldnt go in there and start poking around..... Better to play it safe,

    Mal.

  9. #9
    22a
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Mal, do I look like the kind of person who would modify or misuse an appliance?

    ...


    "What? Oh that? No, the breadmaker was like that when I got it."

    "Yes, of course the front end of the heat gun is supposed to look like that. Hmmm? I dont know, talk to the design team at Bosch."

    "Of course my grinder has always ground this fine. Look, I cant be held responsible for every little piece that goes missing from inside it."

    "Your Crazy Popper didnt come with a modifed intake and a chimney? Thats odd. Perhaps mines an older model."

    "Im just cleaning it. Once Im done itll go right back to driving the wipers on my car."


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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1213034889/0#7 date=1213112798
    Quote Originally Posted by 22a link=1213034889/0#6 date=1213100066
    This is a juicy tidbit of information. Any idea where you heard this, Mal?
    I had a laugh ;D

    My eldest son is an Avionics Tech. with the RAAF who also happens to own an Ikon. He decided that he wanted to know more about the inner workings of the machine at some stage and I believe that is when he discovered that the Boiler Preset Temperature can be adjusted to some extent.
    Good enough for me, its going onto the workbench this weekend. If by chance it starts saying "Im sorry Dave, Im afraid I cant do that" - yeah totally not my fault.

  11. #11
    nBC
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    wow. been away from the forum for a while- and been frustrated at thin crema compared to the Breville Bar vista at work (using same upressurised basket) :(. Out of desperation( and oblivious to this thread) i tried hitting steam switch for 5 secs prior to pulling shot - which did make the crema thicker and hold sugar. With this i was going to ask about possible IKON low temp issues.

    And here it is -already being discussed. ;D

    Look forward to any solutions for increasing boiler temp 8-)

  12. #12
    nBC
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    bump!!

    Any news on how to raise the IKON boiler temp.

    Mal ??........... anyone?

  13. #13
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Gday "nBc"....

    My young bloke seems to have sussed out what to do and Im sure he wouldnt mind helping out. This is his CS Profile so drop him a PM and see if he can assist you,

    Cheers, :)
    Mal.

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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Hi All,

    As much as I would like to tinker with my Ikon like most of the blokes that own them, they are still under warranty. If you are very keen to electronically adjust your Ikon I would suggest this two methods.

    Just a possible thought and maybe the very first thing to check.

    Before you start any of the below I would check the placement of the Thermistor in the bolier. I did a little reading and a bit more thinking (been out of school for a while) and found that it might be possible that the Themistor might be placed into the boiler in the wrong spot. If the Thermistor is placed to close to the heating element then it is very possible that the Thermistor is giving a false indication. Naturally the heating element of the Ikon exceeds the water temperature, if it didnt then it would take a long time to get to correct temperature. With this in mind if the Thermistor is to close to the Heating element *or to close to the boiler wall it will reach the 920C before the water and will tell the heating element to stop. The result will be the water will be cooler then 920C. If this is the case I would suggest if possible to move the tip if the Thermistor slightly further away from the heating element. This should create a more accurate environment for the Thermistor.

    If that fails then continue on.

    1. I would look for the circuit board and with some luck you should find a Thermistor adjustor. Basically an adjustable resistor that will correct the resistance before it goes to the Boiler Controller Unit (or what ever its called). I havent looked for myself so Im not 100%, but in the chance that there is no physical method to adjust the Thermistor or it is controlled by an EPROM Chip circuit, then youll most likely have to do it with plan 2.

    2. Add a potentiometer in circuit with the Thermistor. First of all if you have not already googled it already a Thermistor is not a Thermocouple (they work using a different principle). In a nut shell there are two types of Thermistors and there are;

    *1. Positive (+ve) temperature coefficient (as temp increases - the resistance increases) <---- Most likely in the Ikon
    *2. Negitive (-ve) temperature coefficient (as temp increases - the resistance decrease)

    For more information go to this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermistor

    There is a different method to deal with both types of Thermistors. Both will require a potentiometer (pot) but the way that it placed into the circuit is different. I will just try and deal with the +ve temperature coefficient Thermistor as I think that will be the most likely type that is installed into the Ikon. Before going to much futher you will need to work out the resistance (ohm) range of the Thermistor at rest (cold) and at temperature (920C or so). This should not be to hard to get (you will need a Multimeter), this stage is important as this will determine the size of the potentiometer, there is no point just getting any type. Just be careful when taking the readings, as I would imagine the Ikon should be nice and warm.

    With a +ve temp coefficient to make the boiler work longer (make water hotter) you will need to add the pot in parrell with the Thermistor a reduce the total resitance enough to achieve to make the water hotter as desired. One thing to keep in mind with this is that when you add a resistor is parrell the overall resistance is alot less. So will find that you will have to make the potentiometer alot bigger value then the Thermistor. The basic formula used to calulate is:

    1/R1 + 1/R2 = 1/R(result) * * R is Resistance is ohms

    For example: The Resistance of the Thermistor at 920C is 120,000 ohms. If you set the potentiometer to 120,000 ohms the result would be.

    1/120,000 ohms (Thermistor) + 1/12,000,000 ohms (Potentiometer) = 118,811 ohms (not 12,120,000 ohms)

    Using this as the example you would have to use a 12000000 ohm (12M Ohm) resistor to make the total resistance 118,811 ohms which is pretty close. This is only and example. The neat thing about a potentiometer is that you can adjust to suit.

    Using the resistance that you got when you checked the Thermistor at temperature (hot), with the pot is place (I would solder it in for realiablity) you want to recreate the same result to establish a starting point. From there you can decrease the resistance in small movements to achieve the water temperature that you want. Once you have the desired water temperature I would use a permenant marker and make a witness mark on the pot so that if later down the track you wish to further adjust it and if you make a miss of it there is a reset point for you.

    Sorry if this post is a little bit cloudy its been one of those weeks.....I had a laugh. If you are still keen to make the modification be happy to explain in more detail over the phone.

    Cheers,

    Kenny M

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    nBC
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Kenny,
    * * * * * Thanks for the reply. I was under the impression you had already taken covers off and sussed out the internals of the IKON. Not that im lazy ::) *As you know its a lot easier (and quicker) just to follow someone elses notes.
    Whilst i fully intend to pull covers and see what makes the Ikon tick (unless somebody beats me to it) i also am a little gunshy until warranty is closer to expired. 8-)

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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Yeah... Im in the same boat. I think that I got extended warranty on mine as well...I had a laugh

    KennyM

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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    It is with great sorrow that I bring the news of the ikons shortcomings...

    I had an international Champion Barista over my house today for 4hrs who concluded that the shots are under-extracted, the Crema is indeed golden instead of dark red and the notes are bitter.

    I attemped to grind on 0 with my EM0480 and that was the only time he said the taste was acceptable even though the shot look over minute to pour..

    As much as I want to live in denial about this issue I am greatly dissappointed that an out of the box espresso is magically reserved for machines that cost 20times more than this one did.

    My only hope is to take the unit back to a Breville service agent in the hope the thermal temp can be stabilised.

    My aim in this coffee life of which I have only had 5 weeks of is to get a machine that can perform on par with what is expected in an espresso, in the spirt of creating a Coretto out of heat guns etc there just has to be a better way.

    A real espresso is not just something to be enjoyed by those who can afford to, help join the search and keep this thread alive until this issue get resolved.

    If you are also experiancing this issue please post so we can assess how common this problem is.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyhc link=1213034889/0#16 date=1220176961
    It is with great sorrow that I bring the news of the ikons shortcomings...

    I had an international Champion Barista over my house today for 4hrs who concluded that the shots are under-extracted, the Crema is indeed golden instead of dark red and the notes are bitter.

    I attemped to grind on 0 with my EM0480 and that was the only time he said the taste was acceptable even though the shot look over minute to pour..

    As much as I want to live in denial about this issue I am greatly dissappointed that an out of the box espresso is magically reserved for machines that cost 20times more than this one did.

    My only hope is to take the unit back to a Breville service agent in the hope the thermal temp can be stabilised.

    My aim in this coffee life of which I have only had 5 weeks of is to get a machine that can perform on par with what is expected in an espresso, in the spirt of creating a Coretto out of heat guns etc there just has to be a better way.

    A real espresso is not just something to be enjoyed by those who can afford to, help join the search and keep this thread alive until this issue get resolved.

    If you are also experiancing this issue please post so we can assess how common this problem is.
    Your Barista friend could well be used to working on equipment that costs 50x the price of the Ikon. Id expect it to be better. Again, I think its like the scenario of expecting a kia to go like a ferrari. Im guessing you and your friends/family were really enjoying the Ikon until today. Go back to that time and enjoy your coffee! ;)

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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1213034889/0#17 date=1220178061

    Your Barista friend could well be used to working on equipment that costs 50x the price of the Ikon. *Id expect it to be better. *Again, I think its like the scenario of expecting a kia to go like a ferrari. *Im guessing you and your friends/family were really enjoying the Ikon until today. *Go back to that time and enjoy your coffee! *;)
    How true your statements were, however after hearing my wife go eck after having a Brazil Daterra Sunrise estate saying it tasted like cigarettes, I knew something was wrong..

    In order to keep my marriage from divorce papers I quickly went down to Coffee Hit about paid a whopping $25 for 500grams of St Elena!

    After countless shots and then going back to the Daterra I had to conclude whilst withholding tears that the shot was better then what I could pull, there was no bitterness and the taste was smooth from a pure 60ml espresso shot.

    Mind you I never used to drink coffee and only took up this hobby about 2 months ago, I enjoy all the tinkering.

    I have invested in the ikon plus a EM0480 and a custom made tamper with my trusty sunbeam knock box and now I just cant help feeling ripped off if this problem cannot be resolved.

  20. #20
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Hmmm....

    Are you using standard baskets(non-pressurised) in your Ikon Danny or the original ones(pressurised) that came with the package? Each type of basket requires a different approach to grind setting, dosing and tamping but the non-pressurised baskets are the ones to aim for and Im sure that once you grab one or two of these, you wont look back... 8-)

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Yes Mal, I already own one of those and will be taking it back to a service agent today, will keep you guys posted to how this adventure goes.

    Update:

    Breville said they cannot increase the tempreture and would have to replace a thermister which will take up to 2 weeks, seeing as the machine is brand new I doubt it would be faulty.

    I just pulled another shot this morning with the grind on 3 and it basically dripped out into the 2min mark, the taste was terrible.

    After a lot of back to the basics I took it from the top, set my grind to 12 which is the default setting for espresso, filled the basket to the top of the rim with all the new dosing techniques I was taught and wha la a 27.74sec shot and the taste, not bad at all, slightly sour but not as bad as before.

    I think the problem was that I was leaving about a 2mm gap from the top of the basket it seems updosing seems to resolve it, I just hope I can keep it consistant.


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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Have taken it to a service agent today as I just cant get consistant quality from this unit, perhaps I am just expecting too much for the money I spent..

    Have complained about the following aspects,

    Steam is too wet.
    Water temp is too low for ideal extraction.
    Non Pressurised basket has a chip in one of the outside holes.

    Will keep you posted but am looking forward to trying plunger coffee until my ikon is returned.

  23. #23
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Hi Guys,

    Just an update to say the technician could find nothing wrong with this machine in terms of Temp.

    I had the original baskets put on a lathe to remove the wall, the single has a huge plastic ring to allow the basket to sit on, the double looks great and it seems you can put a lot more than just 17grams of coffee in.

    The bad news is that I cannot be a decent shot from this setup, I tried grinding at 6 on my EM0480 and tamping at no more than 15kg of pressure, getting very fast with little bleed back or dripping it just seems to pour out fast with 25seconds shots but there is no decent dark red crema and the taste is just terrible.

    I am using freshly roasted El Salvador St Elena blended with Brazil Daterra Sunrise.

    Can anyone recommend me any other option? I am looking at getting a mod to increase the water temp as my last resort.

    Cheers

    Dan *

  24. #24
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Breville Ikon unsatisfactory taste/crema? pls

    Gday Dan,

    If youre making sure the dosing is consistent and of appropriate volume after tamping so that the top of the puck just "kisses" the shower-screen when locked in before pulling a shot.... Then, all that remains is to continue to grind a little finer until such time as youre achieving a 30/60ml pour for a Single/Double in the requisite 25-30 seconds.

    If you run out of grinder adjustment before you achieve this, then there is a lot of information to be found on this grinder within the forum that addresses some of its short-comings with simple mods. All the best mate, :)

    Cheers,
    Mal.



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